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Russell Steele: The ‘new normal’ is not what you think

Other Voices
Russell Steele

As millions of Californians endured power outages, and thousands more were evacuated under threats of catastrophic wildfires this weekend, former Gov. Jerry Brown told Politico that “this is only a taste of the horror and the terror that will occur” in coming decades if officials in Washington don’t deal with climate change.”

I agree with former Gov. Brown. This is only the taste of what is to come; however, it will not be from his version of anthropogenic climate change. The climate will vary significantly as the earth experiences yet another grand solar minimum.

During regular solar cycles, approximately every 11 years, the sun’s magnetic field flips. As the sun’s magnetic field flips from one pole to the other, there are fewer sunspots. Fewer spots reduce the activity on the sun’s surface, thus lowering the solar energy emitted by the sun. This low point is called solar minimum, which we are currently experiencing.

A Grand Solar Minimum occurs when several solar cycles exhibit less than average activity for decades. Solar cycles still occur during these grand solar minimum periods but are at a lower intensity. Past grand solar minimums are correlated with extreme global and regional climate variability.

California’s new normal is going to be more extreme weather, floods, droughts, and unfortunately, devastating fires as the next grand minimum deepens.

Grand Solar Minimums occur about every 200 to 400 years, the last one is known as the Maunder Minimum, and is associated with the Little Ice Age, which disrupted the global climate for hundreds of years.

Brian Fagan, in “The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850” writes:

“There was never a monolithic deep freeze, rather a climatic seesaw that swung constantly backwards and forwards, in volatile and sometimes disastrous shifts. There were arctic winters, blazing summers, serious droughts, torrential rain years, often bountiful harvests, and long periods of mild winters and warm summers. Cycles of excessive cold and unusual rainfall could last a decade, a few years, or just a single season. The pendulum of climate change rarely paused for more than a generation.”

According to solar scientists, we have entered our next grand solar minimum and will experience all the climate chaos past grand minimums have brought to the earth. The past climate chaos was captured in the arctic and antarctic ice cores, cave stalagmites and stalactites, and lake and ocean sediment cores.

Given the history of past grand minimums, we can expect higher than average wind events like we are experiencing in California, flooded grain, and soybean fields like the Midwest experienced this spring. More rapid temperature changes like Denver had in October when the temperature dropped from 83 degrees to 13 degrees the next day. More early snows will damage Canada and U.S. grain crops. Early storms destroyed up to 40% of this year’s harvest.

California’s new normal is going to be more extreme weather, floods, droughts, and unfortunately, devastating fires as the next grand minimum deepens. Prepare!

More grand solar cycle information can be found on the Next Grand Minimum blog at https://nextgrandminimum.com.

Russell Steele lives in Lincoln.


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