Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Consulting Editor


When Every Song Reminds You of a Dead Universe
by Karl Johanson

Side Effects of Yeah- Yeah Pills
by A.J. Kirby

A Breederax for Dalia
by Janett L. Grady

by Byron Barton

One of Our Starships Is Missing
by Terry Savage

Help Desk
by Robert J. Mendenhall

Toca la Guitarra
by Wayne Helge

How to Travel Through Time & Space
by Allen Quintana

by Kevin Gordon


Bracing for a Brave New World
by Hunter Liguore

Sizing Things Up
by Eric M. Jones





Comic Strips




Perihelion Forum

Global Warming … Uh-Oh …

By Eric M. Jones

THE EARTH HAS BEEN WARMING for a very long time. We live in the Holocene Interglacial Epoch. Virtually all human civilization from about 11,550 years ago took place in it. There is every reason to believe that we will return to kilometer-thick glaciers sometime in the future. All it takes is for the polar winter to get a minute longer year-by-year. You wouldn’t even notice.

Whether or not human civilization is responsible for global warming is a widespread popular argument. Humans are certainly responsible for a part, and perhaps most of this temperature rise, but there many reasons to take a less rabid view:

1. Science is not a matter of getting a show-of-hands or signing petitions. Really it isn’t. Honest! I would guess that most scientists—if faced with a call for a show-of-hands at a conference—wouldn’t comply.

2. In the words of Quantum Physicist Dr. David Deutsch, “Regardless of which side you are on, it is too late to prevent a global-warming disaster if there is to be one. In fact, it was too late to stop the global-warming disaster back in the 1970s when the best scientific theory said that atmospheric particulate pollution was going to cause a new ice age that would destroy industrial civilization and kill millions. We can ease the current problem somewhat, but we certainly can’t prevent it.”

3. Not long after the Pilgrims landed in the New World in 1620, one could skate across New York harbor on the winter ice. The Earth is now not as much warmer-than-average, as it was then colder-than-average. This should give one pause.

4. Having a First World baby is a Jolly Green Giant carbon footprint. Little has been said about this. A U.S. baby is responsible for adding one-million kilograms of CO2 to the environment over a lifetime. It does no good to halve the CO2 per person and then double the population. Until environmentalists are interested in tackling First World population growth (and they won’t ever be), they’re just whistling past the graveyard. So don’t talk to me about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) if your first words aren’t “We gotta control the population ...”

You might have guessed that I am not likely to be seen marching in any AGW Environmentalist parades. But, nevertheless, I think something big is going on. And at the risk of being exposed as wildly naive, I present to you some evidence that at least should make you stop and think, and with which you should be familiar ... whichever side of the argument you are on—

Have you seen the Sun recently? It is now quieter than any time in the last century. Fewer sunspots mean a cooler, less active Sun with a shorter solar-cycle period. Many people are concerned over this “Solar Minimum.” Solar Minimums— such as the Oort Minimum, 1010-1050; the Wolf Minimum, 1280–1350; the Spörer Minimum, 1460–1550; the Maunder Minimum, 1645–1715; and the Dalton Minimum, 1790–1820—were all accompanied by global cooling and crop failures, bad weather, mass migrations, wars, starvation and social unrest. (Many historians attribute the witch burning hysteria of the middle ages partly to the “Little Ice Age,” starting with the Wolf Minimum and continuing until the end of the Maunder Minimum.)

And were there Solar Maximums, too? Yes, indeed. The Medieval warm spell 1100–1250 was one; but there was not another one of any significance until about 1950 and lasting until today. Maybe ...

Milutin Milankovitch calculated the various components of Solar-system celestial mechanics to definitively show what caused ice ages. Others have corroborated his work and have shown the same thing. This is viewed as settled science, because it is only physics and math. All the calculations point to a coming ice age, also depending somewhat on how humans influence the climate. But it is still a complicated problem due to many overlapping influences; volcanoes being one, humans being another. Could people screw up the atmosphere sufficiently to delay the onset of the next ice-age? Maybe ... but nobody knows.

Some years ago I stumbled across a stunning paper by Matt Penn and Bill Livingston, both of the NSO, that declared: “Sunspots may disappear by 2015.” This is a bold assertion and if true, a very bad thing for us humans. These two very soft-spoken NASA scientists determined this simply by recording the data for 20 years that showed the magnet fields associated with sunspots were declining by 50 Gauss per year (the equivalent of a really-really-really gigantic refrigerator magnet).

Just look at the graph below and be amazed.

Drs. Sallie Baliunas’ and Willie Soon’s expertise is in Stellar Variability. So far, they say, we have had an unusually smooth ride, but based on the study of other stars, this seems unlikely to continue, according baluniusto this graph (Figure 4) from the linked article by Baliunas and Soon. Shortening of the Sun’s solar cycle period correlates ominously with global temperature increase in the last three centuries. This is now believed to have reversed itself as sunspots are becoming increasingly rare, indicating a cooler, less active sun.

So call me a “Biostitute,” “Denier,” or whatever ad hominem argument you like. I will freely admit that any idea here is open to revision. But as they say—you can have your own opinions, but not your own facts. I’ll take the long bet that AGW is pretty much nonsense. In the meantime, let’s clean up the planet and live a good life. If the oil and coal companies want to send me another big check like the one they sent me last Christmas, that really would be appreciated.

We are now nearing the middle of Solar Cycle 24. Solar Cycle 25, peaking around the year 2022, is predicted to be the quietest in 300 years. Worried yet? infinity

Further Reading

The Sun—Still Slumping.
First Estimate of Solar Cycle 25 Amplitude.
Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages.
Forecasting Cycle 25–Livingston and Penn Method.


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