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Solar scenarios

By Alan Caruba
web posted April 27, 2009

The end of the world has always been a popular theme for various religions and for doomsayers in general. The Mayan calendar identifies December 12, 2012 as the end of the world. In the second century B.C., the Jewish cult, the Essenes, framed it as a battle between good and evil, and the Book of Revelations offers its own scenario.

The latest version, of course, is Al Gore's prediction that the Earth is on fire from "global warming" and we have to buy his carbon credits to avoid it. Even President Barack Obama is preaching this absurd, baseless nonsense in order to drum up votes in Congress for his economy-killing "cap-and-trade" scheme to tax all energy use.

Sun without spotsA real, science-based apocalyptic scenario exists and humanity has had a taste of it over its brief 10,000 years on Earth. It has to do with solar cycles during which there is a significant reduction of magnetic storms, otherwise known as sunspots, on the engine of our galaxy. These cycles are closely tracked and we are now in Solar Cycle 23.

James A. Marusek, a nuclear physicist and engineer, recently wrote about the current cycle and I will excerpt his article. He believes there are two paths ahead and each is marked with a "Danger" signpost. You need to know about them, even if there is nothing that anyone on the planet can do about it.

"It is now evident," Marusek writes, "that the Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end." Older solar cycles averaged 797 spotless days, more than twice that of recent ones. They accounted for the cold spells often called little ice ages.

"We are now at a crossroad," writes Marusek. "Two paths lie before us. Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine."

Our most current experience with the latter has been the cycle that began around 1998 when the Earth's average temperatures began to cool. It has been accompanied by glaciers that have begun to grow, increasing ice at the North and South Poles, and snowfall in desert nations that have not seen snow in their recorded history.

If the current solar cycle, devoid of sunspots and closing in on some six hundred days continues, solar scientists have a name for it, a "Dalton Minimum" or a "Maunder Minimum." It is still too early to say if the Sun will take this route.  The alternative is a period of very intense solar storms.

Either way, the result would wreak havoc on the Earth. Fewer sunspots will mean a colder Earth and that means reduced production of the crops we depend upon for food for ourselves and for the livestock that provide part of our diet. The alternative is massive solar storms that produce magnetic field energy that is released in the form of huge magnetic flares.

The effect of such flares could destroy the large extra high voltage power transformers in the United States and other nations. Replacing such transformers would take over a year and each cost in the area of ten million dollars. The National Research Council examined what could occur and concluded that "it would result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people (in the U.S.) and expose more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage." 

Try to imagine an electrical blackout that lasts months, even years.

Too much magnetic activity destroys the electrical system. Too little brings on either a little ice age or triggers the next full scale one. The Earth is at the end of the 10,000 to 11,500 year cycle between ice ages, so the potential for the latter scenario is very real. When it arrives, it will do so very swiftly.

If you are tempted to dismiss either scenario, history has another story to tell. During a particularly brutal winter in 1779-1780, the surface of the Hudson River was solid ice for five weeks. Early settlers traveling west in covered wagons crossed a frozen over Mississippi near present day St. Louis in 1799. In England, the Great Frost of 1683-1684, the River Thames was completely frozen for two months and nearly a foot thick at London.

A nation without electricity with millions of people unable to light, heat or cool their homes or apartments, to use any appliance, to control traffic, to use any communications, to function based on modern technology is almost beyond our imagination.

Thus, while politicians and other charlatans preach "global warming", talk of green jobs, and refuse to permit energy industries to have access to oil, natural gas, or coal, while planning to tax the emissions from what energy we do use, the Sun has other plans.

You can read James A. Marusek's paper at:
http://paradigmsanddemographics.blogspot.com/2009/04/there-are-two-paths-ahead-each-marked.html. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com and a weekly commentary at http://www.anxietycenter.com, the website of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, April 2009


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