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Volcanoes and Other Stuff

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All this hot weather lately has stoked the speculation about the cause of the heat, and the drought, and other weather extremes.  And while we have had a very hot summer so far…other parts of the northern hemisphere have actually been rather cool.  England is having a cool summer, and other parts of Europe had a record cool June!

The heat truly is parked over the United States this summer, and it happens to be the pattern we are in….simple as that. But…it’s really not that simple. It is part of a natural cycle that occurs about every 60 years, due to the sun.  The center mass of the sun shifts every 60-62 years…and the displacement has an effect on the sunspots…and the output of solar radiation.  This has been known for quite some time…I have talked about the solar cycles in the past, and their effects on our weather.  Tonight, however, I read a great blog by Joe D’Aleo who shows why it’s likely that we are in a pattern similar to the 1950s an 1960s, which were marked by weather extremes like we are experiencing now.

Climate patterns are far from simple and D’Aleo’s blog should demonstrate that.  He correlates volcanic patterns, various ocean temperature patterns, and the all important solar cycles to what we are going through right now.  His predictions for the next 10 year look like this:

(1)Temperatures globally which stopped rising in 1997 will begin accelerating down

(2) More meridional patterns and reduced variability which translate into more extremes – warm and cold, floods and droughts

(3) More southwest, southern and central drought and global droughts and floods

(4) More La Ninas – stronger and longer lasting. Briefer, weaker El Ninos

(5) More hurricanes and landfalls in the Atlantic

(6) More La Nina impacts including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, winter snows north (south and east in the occasional El Ninos)

Sounds like Armageddon…but it’s just part of a climate pattern that has been repeated over and over again for hundreds of years. Powerful forces both on…and off of this planet determine these long scale patterns that span time periods longer than our lifetimes…so when we see a particularly hot summer…or bitterly cold winter…some people tend to think it’s never happened before. The truth is that even the most extreme weather that we’ve experienced, pales in comparison to weather on this planet 12,000 years ago….during the last ice age.

What is interesting is that droughts, and very hot summers can actually be more frequent during periods of a cooler climate cycle. That’s because cooler periods slowly but surely trap more of the global water budget into ice…limiting the amount available to turn into clouds and rain.  Over the past year or so…we have been seeing the global ice coverage growing again.  That correlates to the less active solar cycle we’ve been in for some time now.

Bottom line…we’ll get through this scorching dry summer. I am a bit more worried about the drought as it will force food prices higher as crops fail, and shortage develop. Some of the corn crops are already in big trouble.  Not good.

So, the next time the guy behind you in the line at the grocery store says this weather pattern is caused by…whatever…you can set him straight with the facts!


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