African Research on Solar Cycles: Science vs. Net Zero

“Climate change is no hoax, because the climate always changes. Modest global warming might be beneficial for the globe. But not all climate change is beneficial. Cooling would be disastrous.”

“The American Geophysical Union … displays a diminishing interest in science, that is, in the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Instead, it revels in an escalating interest in politics, including much talk about nebulous ideas like ‘environmental justice’ and mobilizing scientists to be ‘change agents.’

Since November 2020, the price of gasoline has steadily increased like a rising tide. A good portion of the pain at the pump that Americans, and people around the world, have felt, and increasingly feel, is due to enormous monetary expansion coupled with disastrous energy policies. The energy-price emergency began long before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

It almost makes one yearn for the halcyon days when nasty tweets were offset by low energy costs, when He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named adopted policies for American energy progress and directly challenged the myth of energy scarcity, most of which he argued was self-imposed. In 2018 these policies resulted in the United States’ becoming energy independent, exporting for the first time in over 70 years more oil than was imported. Oh, how the times they are a-changin’! American energy independence came and went like the warm scent of summer.

Looking further back, one can barely remember the happy days when the energy secretary of the Obama-Biden administration said that transition to a Green New Deal would only become possible if gasoline neared European prices, $7 at the time he spoke. What was only a politician’s pipe dream now approaches reality. As I write, gasoline in California has just reached $7.00/gal, and the national average is at a 40-year high. Just a little bit more and we can reach the promised Green utopia, at least in terms of prices though not in all the promised unicorns and lollypops.

Green Extremism

In its pursuit of green extremism, ostensibly to save the planet from global warming, the Biden-Harris administration appears to be a retread of the Obama-Biden government, only on steroids. Ratcheting up energy prices, as has happened continuously over the past year, is not a problem to be fixed, but a feature of the administration’s Green policies.

It is intentional. In pre-revolutionary France, Marie Antoinette was infamously said to suggest that if the little people couldn’t afford bread they should simply switch to eating cake. In January 2022 the US Transportation Secretary suggested, with all the self-awareness of European royalty, that if the little people don’t like high energy and gasoline costs they should just switch to buying an electric vehicle. It is the virtuous thing to do. No matter that the average price of an electric vehicle is close to $60,000. Put it on the expense account.

The American public, like the world at large, is now compressed between eco-extremism and the dogs of war, the Scylla and Charybdis of Biden and Putin, both happy to continue to increase energy prices, but for different reasons. Between the demented and dementia it is not inconceivable that energy prices may double again, and again, and thus the cost of all else, since energy is the master resource.

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Agency
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_spt_s1_d.htm

Solar Science

Coming back down to Earth, I recently studied a research paper authored by scientists at the University of Nigeria entitled, “Prediction of Solar Cycles: Implication for the Trend of Global Surface Temperature,” (Communication in Physical Sciences: 2020) by E. A. Ibanga, et al. (The article’s keywords are solar cycle, solar-geomagnetic activity, grand episode, greenhouse emission, general circulation model.)

This article brought to mind my work several years ago on a committee of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). We were tasked to decide on an annual award to an African scientist for completing significant work which had promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Earth and space sciences. It was a pleasure and privilege to acknowledge, support, and advance research from this continent.

The AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization which once existed exclusively to advance the Earth and space sciences. Today, however, these formerly ironclad AGU commitments appear increasingly shaky and subservient to fashionable dogmas. This organization displays a diminishing interest in science, that is, in the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. Instead, it revels in an escalating interest in politics, including much talk about nebulous ideas like “environmental justice” and mobilizing scientists to be “change agents.”

In such a milieu, I’m pretty sure that this paper on solar cycles and climate would immediately disqualify the African authors from competing for the above-mentioned award. Why? I think it is because the AGU, like too many Western scientific societies, has been completely overrun by zealots who wish to politicize all pursuit of scientific activity.

A few years ago, a B.A. in English was on the board of directors, tasked with establishing priorities and directives for the organization. How could a B.A. in English be in charge of establishing scientific priorities for thousands of real scientists? It is because science no longer has pre-eminence. His appointment was primarily because of his devotion to “correct” dogma, as demonstrated by his skills to dramatize ostensible crises such as global warming and demonize scientists who wish to consider alternatives to politically correct ideas.

Real scientists are under pressure. Do they ignore this co-opting of their scientific organizations, challenge it, try vainly to keep their heads down, or get on the bandwagon? When activism is a ticket to professional success, it may be too much to hope that we can turn back to the disinterested quest for knowledge that I believe scientists should prefer.

The Nigerian paper argues that the modest warming over the past hundred years or so is largely due to natural phenomena. That is not likely to be welcome at the AGU. It is inconceivable that the work could pass the litmus test of political correctness, because it directly addresses, and contradicts, the idea that the planet is undergoing unprecedented, catastrophic warming and all because of human activity. Rather, it considers that great ball of fire—the Sun—and ascribes to it a large role in the planetary climate.

If the Sun suddenly went out, we’d not notice anything. Well, not for about 8.3 minutes, for that is how long it takes light to cross the distance to Earth. But 8.3 minutes later we’d find ourselves in complete darkness. There is a delay in the cause and effect. Then, within a week, cause and effect would bite deeper: Earth’s average global surface temperature would probably drop below 0°F. A year later it would be closer to –100°F.

Climate cycles have been connected to solar activity in the past. Humans have experience of ice ages, the most recent “Little Ice Age” extending from the mid-16th to mid-19th centuries. It was terrible. During this time England’s River Thames regularly froze over, and harsh winters caused increased death and suffering. The cold weather that plagued the world coincided with an inactive Sun in a period called the Maunder Minimum.

The Sun goes through subtler cycles than just a binary on and off. It follows a solar cycle of brighter and dimmer phases, also called the sunspot cycle. It follows also longer century and millennial scale cycles. The “Prediction of Solar Cycles” paper by Ibanga et al. argues that the Earth’s climate response to solar cycles is delayed. Thus, according to the authors, the present decline in the solar cycle, expected to continue for several decades, implies a coming, delayed, response of global cooling.

In their paper, Ibanga et al. argue that due to the decline in solar geomagnetic activity over the past three or so decades the Earth could be poised to endure a cooling period, with the coldest temperatures arriving by 2039±11 years. These results comport with forecasts by other climate researchers and scientists who have warned we are at the end of a long cyclical warming trend and entering a decadal cooling trend.

Conclusion

Yogi Berra apparently said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” It is notoriously difficult to forecast climate. That hasn’t stopped the Green blob from crying impending doom due to minor global warming. This doom is screeched from the rooftops, in kindergarten classes, movies, you name it. The ubiquity of the one-track messaging makes this scientific paper on solar cycles rather refreshing, if unsettling. It is unsettling because while no one knows the future, what will we do if we are now heading into an ice age?

Climate change is no hoax, because the climate always changes. Modest global warming might be beneficial for the globe. But not all climate change is beneficial. Cooling would be disastrous. This is especially so because, in a staggering display of wishful thinking, politicians continue to drain vast sums of national treasure to fund so-called alternative energy schemes. These not only cost a fortune, and so reduce our ability to become more resilient to untoward natural events, but also attack the lifeblood of modern civilizations, which is our energy infrastructure. Let’s pray that the global cooling forecast by many scientists does not come to pass.


James Wanliss, Ph.D., is a physicist who studies solar cycles and nonlinear dynamical systems. He is a Senior Fellow of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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April 12, 2022 at 01:12AM

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