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Dr. Velasco Herrara  (Source: Reuters)
A "little ice age" in our future?

Previous DailyTech stories have detailed recent cooling experienced by the planet, and highlighted some of the scientists currently predicting extended global cooling.  Even the UN IPCC has stated that world temperatures may continue to decline, if only briefly.

Now, an expert in geophysics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico has added his voice to the fray. Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at UNAM's Institute of Geophysics, has predicted an imminent period of cooling intense enough to be called a small ice age.

Speaking to a crowd at a conference at the Center for Applied Sciences and Technological Development, Herrera says the sun can both cool and warm the planet. Variations in solar activity, he says, are causing changes in the Earth's climate.

"So that in two years or so, there will be a small ice age that lasts from 60 to 80 years", he said. "The most immediate result will be drought."  Herrera says satellite temperature data indicates this cooling may have already begun.

Recent increases in glacier mass in the Andes, Patagonia, and Canada were given as further evidence of an upcoming cold spell.

Herrera also described the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "erroneous". According to Herrera, their forecasts “are incorrect because are only based on mathematical models which do not include [factors such as] solar activity".

Herrera pointed to the so-called "Little Ice Age" which peaked in the 17th century, as a previous cooling event caused by solar fluctuations.

Herrera made his remarks at UNAM, located in Mexico City, is the oldest university on the North American continent.

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By foolsgambit11 on 8/20/2008 5:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
Reason 1: The variations are not predictable.
Reason 2: The variations are not statistically significant.

Since we've been able to measure variance in the sun's radiation, despite cyclical variations on the order of 0.1%, there has been no evidence to suggest that the average amount of solar radiation has been increasing - despite a consistent increase in terrestrial temperatures during that period. No model based on solar intensity can account for temperature variations.

Of course, there are other aspects of solar activity than only intensity - sun spots and the solar wind, for example. While it could be possible that these would have noticeable effects on the climate, there are no accepted means of predicting variations in these phenomena in the medium-term (next 20, 50, 100 years) accurately, nor is there consensus in exactly how much effect these phenomena would have, if any.

I don't know this guy's credentials, I'm trusting him as a credible source based solely on the fact that used him as a source. Not good enough, I'll admit.

"The small measured changes in solar output and variations from one decade to the next are only on the order of a fraction of a percent, and if you do the calculations not even large enough to really provide a detectable signal in the surface temperature record," said Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann.

"The link between solar activity and global warming is just another scapegoat for human-caused warming," Mann told LiveScience.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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