Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Look, ma, no sunspots!

In the last day or so I've stumbled upon groggy earthworms while digging up more garden, watched a few potato bugs scurry as I (finally) raked up some leaves, and got my hand covered with pond scum while unjamming the filter.

In December....

I have little doubt that the world is warming up, and that our activities have a bit to do with it. On the other hand, I frequent NASA's space weather site, and the sun has been amazingly quiescent (as far as sunspots go).

I know we are in a solar minimum. I also know we know less than we pretend to know.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the mud on my hands and startled worms wishing me a Happy New Year. If there's any correlation between sunspots and climate, we might be skating on the Navesink River again in our lifetimes.

Yes, that's the sun--it was taken today by the folks at NASA--look, ma, no sunspots!


Souly Catholic said...

I've been reading about the lack of sunspots this year through some investment letters I subscribe to. They recommend going long wheat futures as the cold winter could mean a kill freeze for the spring wheat crop. I can't seem to shake the former trader in me. I bot some wheat calls today.

doyle said...

We've been in the sunspot lull for almost three years, and may be at the tail end of it.

I've grown wheat in my backyard--its a tough plant.

Don't bet the farm. A better bet is that a very good PR firm is behind the recent spate of news on sunspots. Your response reminded me to go check the credentials of the fellow who wrote about this in the Farmer's Almanac.

I may return to this yet.

Souly Catholic said...

I won't be betting the farm. Only 1.5% of my account value. A former trader I am but a disciplined one at that. Some one once linked a large volcanic eruption with a 12% rise in global wheat prices. I imagine it has something to do with not as much sunlight damaging yields.

doyle said...

Volcanoes have a tremendous effect on sunlight--if you want to gamble, bet on Yellowstone Park going *BOOM* in the next few months--lots of seismic activity there at the moment.

[This is all tongue in cheek, folks--do NOT invest based on flimsy science. If the volcano does blow, though, jump on the bandwagon!]

The Farmer's Almanac guy is Joseph D'Aleo, who makes a lot of money (after the ton he made from Weather Channel) promoting the idea that the world is headed for a global cooling.

He's entitled, of course, but if he's basing it on the latest sunspot data, he's a tad disingenuous. Exxon likes him though. And I guess some folks can never be too rich.

A shame, too--I've been a faithful reader of the Almanac for over 40 years. I may have to give up the habit.

(CO2 + H2O leads to more carbonic acid--I suspect acidification of our oceans may ultimately be more of a problem than the actual warming, but again, my gentle readers, take my words with a grain or two of salt.)

Kim said...

Hi Mr Doyle,

No sun spots means poor radio propogation =/ Oh well its all supposed to get better from here.