The following letter of mine appeared in the Guardian Weekly (October 10-16 2008). Thanks to Joe D’Aleo for alerting us to his work on the Farmers Almanac. Also full marks to the Guardian Weekly for being open to ideas which seem to oppose their supposed ideological base.
Although “Channelling the weather” (the Guardian Weekly, September 26) presented the climate predictions in the Farmers� Almanac as a mixture of old-fashioned observation and whimsy, in fact the science behind these predictions is leading edge. Joint work by the Russian and Ukranian Academies of Science has identified a 200 year cycle in solar activity that has peaked and is now decreasing. Global cooling is predicted, not only on the basis of decreased solar intensity reaching the earth but also because of the associated increase of the cosmic ray barrage. The latter occurs due to the drop in the shielding power of the solar magnetic field and the solar wind velocity.
Increased cosmic ray flux can cause global cooling because it promotes an increase in low altitude cloud formation. As shown by Project SKY at the Danish National Space Centre, this happens because the passing muons in the cosmic radiation release electrons that promote the formation of molecular clusters, the building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei. A follow-on study of this crucial effect, the CLOUD experiment has been established at CERN, with an interdisciplinary team of scientists from 18 institutes in 9 countries, comprised of atmospheric physicists, solar physicists, and cosmic-ray and particle physicists. This is important because of the significant decrease in solar shielding associated with the expected prolonged downturn in solar activity.
Project Astrometria has been given high priority by the Russian and Ukranian Academies of Science to try to identify the likely duration and depth of the predicted global cooling period associated with decreased solar intensity. Some researchers fear that the predicted cooling period may be similar to that of the little ice age from about the 16th to the 18th century.
Climate change is a serious threat, all the more dangerous because by being fixated on the possibility of warming due to increased greenhouse gasses, we are oblivious to the really dangerous global-cooling threat of mass starvation and wars based on access to food and water. We build our defenses in the south, but the enemy comes from the north.