1645 to 1715 Maunder minimum are we seeing somthing similar?

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PaulB
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1645 to 1715 Maunder minimum are we seeing somthing similar?

Post by PaulB »

During this current spell of very severe weather, and coupled with a lack of Sun spot activity.

Yes I know there have been a couple of Sun spots visible recently.

I have started to wonder whether there is a connection between the lack of Solar activity and our weather.

Every one has heard of, the Maunder minimum which occurred during 1645 to 1715.

During this period, Sun spots were very rare as noted by solar observers of the time. And during this period; We had very severe winters with frost fairs on the Thames. I think that it was know as "The Mini Ice Age"

I am not suggesting that in 2010, our current spell of very severe weather, coupled with some of the lowest temperatures recorded. Are in any way, linked to the lack of Sun spots over the past number of years.

But it does make you wonder whether or not the Sun is partly to blame for this decidedly Arctic feel.
Paul Anthony Brierley
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M54
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Post by M54 »

WHAT? A few days, started Wednesday here so 5 days so far, of bad weather and it is a major solar event!

On the timescales of the sun even the Maunder Minimum is a short minor and irrelevant event. What is it 70 years in the 10,000,000,000 year life of the sun.

Look at the position of the jet stream and its effects for the weather. I notice that the Met office rarely mention the jet stream in the UK, in the US it is on all the weather maps owing to its effect (major) on the weather.
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear PaulB
Well, I would not want to suggest that the current cold spell is directly a result of solar activity - or the lack of it.
However, me being a fence sitter about global warming, I personally would not rule out the possibility that our Sun affects our climate.
It is always difficult to use anecdotal evidence properly (if at all!!!), but when I was a youngster I remember playing in the snow and sledging down a road behind our house (in east greater Manchester) in conditions I think not dissimilar to those now. Furthermore the sledges were proper home made ones (which would not have been made if the snowy conditions hadn't remained for a reasonable length of time - there were no cheap supermarket plastic sledges then).
Indeed when I was a schoolboy in 1947 I recall two brothers who lived in the countryside didn't attend school for several weeks (6 weeks I think).
The out and out global warmists seem to say that global warming will result in extremes in conditions. Well possibly but it could be a really good cop out; using that philosophy they cann't go wrong. And no doubt if we got an average Summer and\or Winter that would fit in with global warming philosophy as well.
From 1950 until 1990 I was an enthusiastic hill goer (though my activity declined after about 1975). I particularly enjoyed snow and ice climbing (not at the highest standard!) throughout the UK. My recollection is cold winters varied in unequal cycles. In particularly recall going up on Kinder Scout in early november for several years running mid 1960s to mid 70s and it was usually snow covered. That November snow only lasted a few days though but more came later in the winter. Since then I think the brief November snow spell on Kinder has been a rarity.
My wife and I have lived here in north Manchester for just over 30 years and agree that the until this year snow here has been a rarity and we never experienced a spell of cold as bad as this.
However, irrespective of global warming being a serious problem or not it certainly makes sense to me not to waste energy. However, I am not convinced armies of politicians flying about the World supposedly intent on putting things right does any good at all. Several thousand delegates going to Copenhagen, what a nonsense. And now we are told to drive 5 miles less every week. Although I suppose a rise in sea levels will make the UK smaller reducing travel distances somewhat.
All we need to do is have an election once in a while, give the winning politicians a free computer and internet connection and make them stay at home. Thus they would be get attable by their constituents every day and not be the lobby fodder of the whips.
I suppose once global warming is avoided our politician will still then have a few billion years left in which to save the Sun !
Best wishes from Cliff
G Burt
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Post by G Burt »

Dear All,

Just a suggestion, but do you think it would be worthwhile starting a geophysics section on this forum? After all, even the RAS includes geophysics within its remit.

Meanwhile, I hope that no-one out there has been badly affected by the recent global warming.....

Best Wishes,

Geoff
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Post by orson »

G Burt wrote:Dear All,

Just a suggestion, but do you think it would be worthwhile starting a geophysics section on this forum? After all, even the RAS includes geophysics within its remit.

I think that would be very interesting, Geoff, what a good idea!
Best Wishes,

Geoff
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Geoff
I totally agree with you.
Indeed I have considered suggesting it myself but had reasons for not doing so.
I think one of my very old dictionaries defines astronomy as the study of everything in the universe excepting earth. Or something of that sort.
However, these days most people seem to accept planetary science as a part of astronomy and it would seem nonsensical to study planets and completely avoid the earth.
Best of luck from Cliff
brian livesey
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Post by brian livesey »

Paul mentioned the "frost fairs" they had on the Thames when the river froze.
As a matter of fact, the Old London Bridge was responsible for this. The bridge held back, and consequently slowed down, the water, allowing it to freeze in winter.
When the bridge was demolished in the early 1800s, the river stopped freezing over.
Last edited by brian livesey on Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
brian
Lady Isabella
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Post by Lady Isabella »

This is where your local library is a great source of information.
In my case, they have every edition of our local paper for the past 150 years on film.
Over the years I've made notes of all the fireballs, meteors, comets, eclipses etc that have been reported in the paper. I've also made notes of bad weather reports.

On average our area gets large snowfalls every 20 years or so, in between these periods we get none or very little in the way of snow.
I don't know how this fits in with thee Solar cycle?
It is interesting to see how in-capable the country has become in recent years following even very small falls of snow. When I was younger we would fit snow-chains or even studded tyres to our vehicles to get around.
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Post by orson »

[
Solar cycle?
It is interesting to see how in-capable the country has become in recent years following even very small falls of snow. When I was younger we would fit snow-chains or even studded tyres to our vehicles to get around.[/quote]

Interesting point. Nowadays nobody using their own initiative. They all sit around waiting for someone else to do the work.
G Burt
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Post by G Burt »

Dear Above Fellow Members,

Many thanks for your responses, if a passing moderator notices this thread :wink: perhaps we can set up a geophysics section ?

My trusty Collins Astronomy Dictionary (2nd edition, 2000) says,

geophysics The physics of the Earth. It includes the study of the history, motion, and constitution of the planet; movements within it, such as those associated with continental drift, mountain-building, earthquakes, glaciers, tides, and atmospheric circulation; geomagnetism; and the interaction between the Earth and its interplanetary environment.

Sounds like a great discussion topic to me (especially when the weather, climate or global warming of Sol's 3rd planet doesn't allow observing...).


Best Wishes,

Geoff :)
mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

Interesting idea and could include atmospheric phenomena - halos, rainbows etc etc (so could be practical as well) but lets not get too technical...."geo-physics" like "astro-physics" might be a bit off-putting to non-scientists. ....even through atmospheric/ weather, tidal and volcanic effects etc are interesting to many people.
Including "global-warming" might however be a great mistake...........this forum is generally quite friendly and going down that route might lead to "lasers at dawn"...................
maf
G Burt
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Post by G Burt »

Dear Mike,

Yes, as with all discussion threads there's a balance between, in this case, someone simply saying 'Isn't all this snow dreadful.' and at the other extreme trying to publish a long complicated technical paper on integrated climate dynamics (assuming there is such a thing). Regarding the 'lasers at dawn', I agree that global warming is potentially controversial, as too are those laser pointers!

Thinking about it, what about a 'History of Astronomy' category on here as well? Astronomy history is, or until recently was, covered in 'PA' and I believe it deserves a place on our forum. My own enjoyable experiences researching Thomas Harriot over the past couple of years have led me to suggest this. By the way, next time you're at South Downs Planetarium, I'd recommend an excellent booklet for sale there titled Thomas Harriot: A Brief Report, by Ann Mills.

Best Wishes,

Geoff
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Post by joe »

While I wouldn't rule out an "Earth Science" section, I think much of it (solar/atmospheric phenomena, etc.) can be accommodated in the Observing Section. Earthquakes and plate tectonics are fascinating but personally I see it as moving away from astronomy in the popular sense. Also, has there really been enough discussion about the history of astronomy to justify its own section? Again, the odd discussion now and then can fit nicely into General Chat.
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Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Brian
I was interested in your mention of the Thames not freezing over after the old London Bridge was demoished.
I recall attending a talk some years ago before "global warming" became a popular issue (if popular is the right word ?).
The lecturer seemed to rule out the Maunder Minimum as a factor related to the Thames freeze-ups but instead suggested the area tended to freeze over because there was a lot of shallow marshland.
I have never seriously gone into the matter, but thought that the so-called mini-ice-age period affected much of Europe, with the odd famous painting of skaters thrown in as evidence. (The Dutch artis Brogel I think ?).
Best of luck from Cliff
Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Lady Isabella
I am pleased that your local library and local paper are good sources of astronomical information.
However, I don't think that is universal in the UK.
I have lived here in north Manchester for over thirty years and only recall ever seeing one astronomy related article in either of our two local rags. It was actually about a school acquiring a telescope.
There isn't an astronomical society in our borough (although two rangers organise a monthly astronomy group meeting in a park in winter months only allowed in winter when the bowling facilities are not in use and even then I understand the astronomers have to leave the park by 9:30 pm)
However, there are several societies in the Manchester area. I once asked our local library to display a poster related to one of those society's. One of the library staff accepted the poster -but it was never displayed (I think the reason was the poster wasn't related to our borough).
Best wishes from Cliff
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