COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Spring has been an especially welcome event this year after a terrible winter in most of the U.S. Is it a sign of worse winters to come?
It was another nasty winter not just in the United States, but in Europe and parts of Asia. Norway and Sweden had the worst November in 100 years. In Britain, it was the coldest December in recorded weather history and it was the worst winter in Moscow in a century.
Has a Cooling Period Begun?
At the Danish Space Institute, scientists are studying the correlation between sunspot activity and the severe winters many parts of the world are experiencing.
The Institute's Dr. Jens Olaf Pedersen said it's too early to know whether the last two harsh winters are the beginning of a prolonged cooling period.
"The sun is behaving in a very unusual way. We've just been through a solar minimum which has been unusually long, and it seems we have to go back 200 years to find such a long solar minimum," he explained.
Low Sunspot Activity Theory
The Danish Space Institute is a proponent of the Svensmark Cosmic Ray Theory -- that low sunspot activity allows more cosmic rays to reach the earth, leading to more clouds and colder temperatures.
"When the sun starts to become more passive or less active, then we will have more cosmic rays and we will have more clouds and we will have colder climate on earth," Pedersen said.
In 2009, the earth had 290 days without sunspots and 51 days without sunspots last year. This year, sunspot activity has not only picked up, but has included at large solar flare.
Does that mean warm weather ahead? Pedersen said it's too soon to know, but may be just be a blip during a longer term solar minimum.
Global Cooling on the Way
Dr. Don Easterbrook, professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University, said we'll be in a cold pattern for a while.
"The good news is that global warming is over -- at least for the next few decades. The bad news is global cooling is on the way. Actually, it's arriving now," he told CBN News.
Bad news because for all the talk about how warming was going to threaten life on the planet, cooling is actually much worse.
"The reason is cold climates kill twice as many people as warm climates. Cold extremes, the death rate is twice what it is for warm extremes. There is decreased food production, which is already occurring," Easterbrook said.
A Modern Ice Age?
An expert at the Niels Bohr Institute said the greatest climate challenge mankind has faced has been surviving ice ages. Many scientists say there were several ice ages. Leading creationists claim there was just one, after the flood.
But they both agree that the most recent one, ending many thousands of years ago, was cataclysmic. A towering ice sheet spread south over northern Europe, most of Canada and the northern U.S. Chicago was buried under a mile of ice.
It was an event so colossal that when it melted, it left behind natural wonders like the Great Lakes and the Niagara Falls.
If it were to happen in today's world, the most populated parts of the northern U.S. and Europe would become all but uninhabitable, creating economic chaos and food shortages. It would be a disaster on a monumental scale.
But there's little mainstream scientific concern about global cooling. Last year, 2010, was declared one of the warmest years on record, although the whole business of temperature reporting has become politicized because of global warming.
"There is of course a totally different agenda for the people who are pushing global warming. That's all about money -- about making hundreds of billions of dollars for certain individuals who are pushing the whole thing," Easterbrook noted.
This week the European Union released a plan that would ban cars from European cities, as a way to fight global warming.
The belief in global warming is also a belief that man can somehow predict future climate. But the sudden and catastrophic Japanese earthquake was a grim reminder that man remains at the mercy of nature's unpredictable and sudden extremes.
This is not likely to happen in our lifetime but scientists say the climate perhaps is the most unpredictable part of nature.
--Published March 31, 2011.