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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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Little Ice Age
By Enlightenment777 on 8/20/2008 5:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling occurring after a warmer era known as the Medieval Warm Period or Medieval Climate Optimum. Climatologists and historians find it difficult to agree on either the start or end dates of this period. Some confine the Little Ice Age to approximately the 16th century to the mid 19th century. It is generally agreed that there were three minima, beginning about 1650, about 1770, and 1850, each separated by slight warming intervals.

Northern Hemisphere

The Little Ice Age brought bitterly cold winters to many parts of the world, but is most thoroughly documented in Europe and North America. In the mid-17th century, glaciers in the Swiss Alps advanced, gradually engulfing farms and crushing entire villages. The River Thames and the canals and rivers of the Netherlands often froze over during the winter, and people skated and even held frost fairs on the ice. The first Thames frost fair was in 1607; the last in 1814, although changes to the bridges and the addition of an embankment affected the river flow and depth, hence the possibility of freezes. The freeze of the Golden Horn and the southern section of the Bosphorus took place in 1622. In 1658, a Swedish army marched across the Great Belt to Denmark to invade Copenhagen. The winter of 1794/1795 was particularly harsh when the French invasion army under Pichegru could march on the frozen rivers of the Netherlands, whilst the Dutch fleet was fixed in the ice in Den Helder harbour. In the winter of 1780, New York Harbor froze, allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. Sea ice surrounding Iceland extended for miles in every direction, closing that island's harbors to shipping.

The severe winters affected human life in ways large and small. The population of Iceland fell by half, but this was perhaps also due to fluorosis caused by the eruption of the volcano Laki in 1783. The Viking colonies in Greenland died out (in the 15th century) because they could no longer grow enough food there.

One researcher noted that, in many years, "snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today." Many springs and summers were outstandingly cold and wet, although there was great variability between years and groups of years. Crop practices throughout Europe had to be altered to adapt to the shortened, less reliable growing season, and there were many years of death and famine (such as the Great Famine of 1315–1317, although this may have been before the LIA proper). Viticulture entirely disappeared from some northern regions. Violent storms caused massive flooding and loss of life. Some of these resulted in permanent losses of large tracts of land from the Danish, German, and Dutch coasts.

The extent of mountain glaciers had been mapped by the late 19th century. In both the north and the south temperate zones of our planet, snowlines (the boundaries separating zones of net accumulation from those of net ablation) were about 100 m lower than they were in 1975. In Glacier National Park, the last episode of glacier advance came in the late 18th and early 19th century.

In Ethiopia and Mauritania[citation needed], permanent snow was reported on mountain peaks at levels where it does not occur today. Timbuktu, an important city on the trans-Saharan caravan route, was flooded at least 13 times by the Niger River; there are no records of similar flooding before or since. In China, warm weather crops, such as oranges, were abandoned in Jiangxi Province, where they had been grown for centuries. Also, two periods of most frequent typhoon strikes in Guangdong coincide with two of the coldest and driest periods in northern and central China (AD 1660-1680, 1850-1880). In North America, the early European settlers also reported exceptionally severe winters. For example, in 1607-1608 ice persisted on Lake Superior until June.




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