The climate alarmists just can’t catch a break. NASA is reporting that the sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age; and Earth’s atmosphere is responding in kind.
So, start pumping out that CO2, everyone. We’re going to need all the greenhouse gases we can get.
“We see a cooling trend,” said Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”
The new data is coming from NASA’s Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry or SABER instrument, which is onboard the space agency’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite. SABER monitors infrared radiation from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances that play a vital role in the energy output of our thermosphere, the very top level of our atmosphere.
“The thermosphere always cools off during Solar Minimum. It’s one of the most important ways the solar cycle affects our planet,” said Mlynczak, who is the associate principal investigator for SABER.
Who knew that that big yellow ball of light in the sky had such a big influence on our climate?
There’s a bit of good news in all of this. When the thermosphere cools, it literally shrinks, therefore reducing aerodynamic drag on satellites in low Earth orbit. In effect, the shrinking thermosphere increases a satellite’s lifetime.
But that appears to be where the good news ends, unless you prefer cold weather and increased space junk. “The bad news,” according to Dr. Tony Phillips, editor of spaceweather.com, is: “It also delays the natural decay of space junk, resulting in a more cluttered environment around Earth.”
Mlynczak and his colleagues have created the Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI), which measures how much NO is dumped from the Thermosphere into outer space. During Solar Maximum the TCI number is very high. At times of Solar Minimum, TCI is low.
“Right now, (TCI) is very low indeed,” said Mlynczak. “SABER is currently measuring 33 billion Watts of infrared power from NO. That’s ten times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle."
SABER has been in orbit for only 17 years, but Mlynczak and the scientists at NASA’s Langley Research Center have been able to recreate TCI measurements back to the 1940s. “SABER taught us how to do this by revealing how TCI depends on other variables such as geomagnetic activity and the sun’s UV output — things that have been measured for decades,” said Mlynczak.
In fact, TCI numbers now, in the closing months of 2018, are very close to setting record lows since measurements began. “We’re not quite there yet,” Mlynczak reports. “but it could happen in a matter of months.”
The new NASA findings are in line with studies released by UC-San Diego and Northumbria University in Great Britain last year, both of which predict a Grand Solar Minimum in coming decades due to low sunspot activity. Both studies predicted sun activity similar to the Maunder Minimum of the mid-17th to early 18th centuries, which coincided to a time known as the Little Ice Age, during which temperatures were much lower than those of today.
If all of this seems as if NASA is contradicting itself, you’re right — sort of. After all, NASA also reported last week that Arctic sea ice was at its sixth lowest level since measuring began. Isn’t that a sure sign of global warming?
All any of this “proves” is that we have, at best, a cursory understanding of Earth’s incredibly complex climate system. So when mainstream media and carbon-credit salesman Al Gore breathlessly warn you that we must do something about climate change, it’s all right to step back, take a deep breath, and realize that we don’t have the knowledge, skill or resources to have much effect on the Earth’s climate. God — and that big yellow ball of light in the sky — have much more impact on our climate than we ever could.