Great Famine of 1315 vs The Sun

From the “Well that’s not good.” department…

All indications are that we are headed into a Grand Solar Minimum. The timing is right. The solar activity is right. The weather shifts are starting to match up (cold / wet in the UK and Europe, dry / hot in the US Midwest and East Russia).

So any historical examples of what happens then?

Solar Cycles

Several folks have done a lot of work to show repeating patterns of solar activity. One very useful chart is here:

based on the (roughly) 179 year solar cycle and the periodic return of “chaotic” motion as the sun enters a retrograde orbital motion about the barycenter.

Solar Angular Momentum 1620 to 2180

Solar Angular Momentum 1620 to 2180

Notice that the Maunder Minimum runs between the two green arrows at the start panel. Note, too, that the panels are aligned on a 180 year repeat. 1640, 1820, 2000 A.D. for alignment points of grand minima episodes. This is a nice feature for our use. We can make a ‘good guess’ about the past just by subtracting 180 from 1640 recursively to get prior “aw shit” alignments. Yes, it’s crude. Not nearly as good as actually running the computation backwards. But “good enough” for my purposes. I don’t care about a 10% change of intensity or a 1 year drift. I just want “rough decades” (since things seem to have a bit of a lag to onset of climate issues anyway).

So, 1640 then 1460, then 1280, then 1100, then 920, 740, 560…

But most likely there will be a little delay after those dates. On the graph we can see that the alignment is ahead of the onset of the minimum. There is a 10 – 60 year band. So 1470-1520, 1290-1340, 1110-1160, 930-980, 750-800, 570-620, 390-440 etc.

Notice that I am not paying attention to the Dalton Minimum type pattern at the right edge of each graph. So some of my “not a match” findings below might match on those dates / pattern.

Anything interesting in the history of those times?

The Famine of 1315 A.D.

The first one to stand out to me is the Great Famine of 1315 A.D.

The Great Famine of 1315–1317 (occasionally dated 1315–1322) was the first of a series of large scale crises that struck Northern Europe early in the fourteenth century. From the Pyrenees to Russia and from Scotland to Italy it caused millions of deaths over an extended number of years and marks a clear end to an earlier period of growth and prosperity during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.

Starting with bad weather in spring 1315, universal crop failures lasted through 1316 until summer harvest in 1317; Europe did not fully recover until 1322. It was a period marked by extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death and even cannibalism and infanticide. It had consequences for Church, state, European society and future calamities to follow in the fourteenth century.
European famines of the Middle Ages

Famine in the Medieval European context meant that people died of starvation on a massive scale. As brutal as they were, famines were familiar occurrences in Medieval Europe. As an example, localized famines occurred in France during the fourteenth century in 1304, 1305, 1310, 1315–1317 (the Great Famine), 1330–1334, 1349–1351, 1358–1360, 1371, 1374–1375 and 1390. In England, years of famine included 1315–1317, 1321, 1351, and 1369.

For most people there was often not enough to eat and life expectancy was relatively short since many children died. According to records of the royal family of the Kingdom of England, among the best cared for in society, the average life expectancy in 1276 was 35.28 years. Between 1301 and 1325 during the Great Famine it was 29.84, while between 1348 and 1375, during the Black Death and subsequent plagues, it went down to only 17.33.

So there was a warm “Really good time” (rather like the last 100 years or so) and then a few ‘local famines’ in France and some modest crop failures. Finally, a major Aw Shit hits with two back to back years of very poor crops over much of Europe.

Centered right over that low angular momentum interval.

Coming out of it, things get better but still have some ‘carryover’ for a generation after the event.

So what did the “onset” look like? Anything closer to 1280 or 1290 A.D. that might give an idea what early signs might be?


The Great Famine was restricted to Northern Europe, including the British Isles, northern France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Germany, and western Poland. It also affected some of the Baltic states except for the far eastern Baltic which was only affected indirectly. The famine was bounded in the south by the Alps and the Pyrenees.

So the warmer more southern parts of Europe do “OK”…

During the Medieval Warm Period (the period prior to 1300) the population of Europe had exploded, reaching levels that were not matched again in some places until the nineteenth century (parts of France today are less populous than at the beginning of the fourteenth century.) However, the yield ratios of wheat (the number of seeds one could eat per seed planted)Mb< had been dropping since 1280 and food prices had been climbing. In good weather the ratio could be as high as 7:1, while during bad years as low as 2:1 – that is, for every seed planted, two seeds were harvested, one for next year’s seed, and one for food. By comparison, modern farming has ratios of 30:1 or more.

The end of the Medieval Warm Period coincided with the onset of the Great Famine. Between 1310 and 1330 northern Europe saw some of the worst and most sustained periods of bad weather in the entire Middle Ages, characterized by severe winters and rainy and cold summers.

Changing weather patterns, the ineffectiveness of medieval governments in dealing with crises and a population level at a historical high made it a time when there was little margin for error.

So yields start to drop ( though modern yields are so much higher that we will likely have less ‘issues’ from any reduction of yield and we ship grains globally) in Northern Europe and the weather goes pretty cold and wet in the summer in the UK / Northern Europe.

In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and summer, it continued to rain and the temperature remained cool. These conditions caused widespread crop failures. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured and there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise. Food prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because it could not be evaporated in the wet weather; it went from 30 shillings to 40 shillings.

Looks to me like water dominates the process, at least for Europe. Grains and foods that need drying conditions fail. Likely water loving and cold tolerant gardens would do better. Beets and Kale anyone?

OK, so from 1280 to 1315 is 35 years. Take 2000 and add 35 gives 2035. Smack on top of the predicted cold peak from Habibulo Abdusamatov. We’re getting similar results from divergent methods. ( Habibulo looks at solar diameter changes, Landscheidt is based on planetary positions / solar motion – but changes in angular momentum might well show up as diameter changes).

Good news / bad news time… Good news is that there’s still about 22 years (next solar cycle or two?) before it’s likely to be “bad”. Also, we have global food distribution so “good times” somewhere like Brazil might well offset for us, but not in 1300. Bad news is that things start getting colder, wetter, and having less yield before the couple of “Aw Shit” years.

If you think you will be around, and in North Europe, in the next couple of decades this might be a good time to investigate food storage systems. It’s pretty clear the the government will not be doing anything to prepare for ‘bad times’ and pretty much everyone is ignoring the Biblical directive to prepare for 7 bad years.

I have a ‘rule of thumb’ that it takes about 1 lb of dry food per person per day. Rice, wheat, beans, whatever. That’s 360 lbs a year or a bit over 700 lbs for a 2 year crop failure. That’s about $400 for bulk grains. Hardly a bank breaker and can be stored in one large closet ( or make a rectangle out of it, put a cover over it, and call it a table ;-)

FWIW, Lentils can be stored for 10 to 15 years ( I have some that I’ve kept for 19 years and were still edible) but regular “common beans” and especially peas get hard in storage and it takes forever to cook them (think ‘fuel storage’…) or for peas they may never soften. ( Some bicarb of soda helps then to soften). So my ‘typical’ is jugs of wheat, rice, and lentils. I’m working on adding some quinoa and millet for variety.

At present, I’ve got about 3 months of “food storage” as I’ve been terribly lax about it. I grew up in a Mormon Town where the “norm” was a 1 year supply of stored food; but having moved to a “just in time” urban area, never did get enough ambition about it to go over about 6 months worth. (Which turned into 3 months when I got married ;-) IMHO, the time for being lax is ending.

Frozen Constantinople

There are a couple of other interesting bits of coincidence.

Lists some known dates for the freezing of the Bosporus.

YAVUZ, Vural, Engineering Geological Department, Faculty of Mines, ITU Maslak Campus, Istanbul, 80626, Turkey,, AKÇAR, Naki, Institute for Geol Sciences, Baltzerstrasse 1-3, Berne, 3012, Switzerland,, and SCHLUECHTER, Christian, Institut for Geol Sciences, Baltzerstrasse 1-3, Berne, 3012, Switzerland

The first evidence of a frozen Bosphorus has been noted during the times of Herodotus. Analysis of the historical data about the freezing events in Bosphorus (Istanbul, Turkey) merits the presence of four main cold periods since 0 AD.

The first period was around the 1st century. Although the temperature was close to or perhaps a little lower than, that of the present, Ovidius indicates 3 successive freezing events between 7-17 AD.

So if we run that 390 A.D. on back a couple: 210-260 A.D., then 30-80 A.D. Within one solar cycle of 15 A.D. and not bad at all given the crude method of wiggle matching / cycle calculation.

The second cold period was in the 4th century. At that time Scaliger reports another freezing event in 401 AD. Then there was a slight increase in temperature up to the beginning of the 8th century.

Frozen right on top of the 390-440 A.D. window. Then warming to the 700s (skipping the Dark Ages? 540?) but then getting cold again “right on schedule” in the 700s (8th Century on top of that 750-800 window). But the following says it was cold ‘to the 13th’ or for about 400 years. The implication being there may be a longer cycle on top of the fast 180 year cycle. A 1/2 Bond Event from that 1500 year swing? Probably worth a ‘test fit’ to the Lunar cycle pattern… (on another day).

The third cold period extending from the middle of the 8th century to the 13th, during which the Bosphorus, and even parts of the Black Sea, were repeatedly frozen, and floating ice masses were present in the Sea of Marmara in 739, 753, 755, 762, 928, 934, 1011 and 1232. Winters were markedly mild for 400 years from the middle of the 13th century to the middle of the 17th. The fourth colder period starting in the early middle of the 17th century and lasting up to the present day was characterized by severe winters (with freezing of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and parts of the Black Sea in 1620, 1669, 1755, 1823, 1849, 1862, 1893, 1929, 1954). However, the intensity of the winter cold has gradually diminished during this interval.

These four episodes are more or less contemporaneous with the phases of glacial advances in the Northern Hemisphere. As the accuracy of the historical data increases with time, evidences of events are more condense in the fourth period. During this interlude that coincides with the Little Ice Age, freezing events are not all contemporaneous with the central European evidences. This can be explained by the low index of North Atlantic Oscillation that resulted in higher precipitation ratios.

Currently, the examination of glacial features in Anatolia contributes little to the interpretation of the Quaternary paleogeography and climate, and investigations of glacial features are incomplete and a sound chronology is non-existent. Our aim is to evaluate existing historical data on the modern cold periods, to analyze instrumental meteorological data and to correlate with the amplitude and frequency of paleoglacier advances both in the Alps and in Anatolia.

So it can get cold and icy in Turkey during those cycles, but there is a larger / longer pattern that seems layered on top. Unfortunately for us; we’ve just come out of a 700 year or so ( 1/2 Bond Event) warming trend from the start of the Little Ice Age and are likely at the start of a new 700 year cooling phase.

I note in passing that the 1620 onset of the frozen series of recent centuries was right on top of one of the cycle alignment points of 1640 (modulo one solar cycle of 22 years) and the 1669 is right where one would expect cold.

Oddly, the 1232 time is a bit early for the Famine of 1315 cycle, and a bit late for the end of the 1110-1160 time. There’s likely a complicated bit of interaction in Turkey, being about 1/2 way between ‘cold wet’ Europe and ‘hot dry’ Russia during times of “meridional flow” jet stream. This could also benefit from looking for those Dalton type dates too. Either that, or it is uncorrelated and just random matches on some dates. The mid to late 1800s land on an alignment, but are ‘bookended’ by other freezing events.

To me, it looks like there is some correlation, but a confounding longer cycle overlay.

Other Famines

There is a significant problem with “famine matching” in that once a society collapses, bad times and famines may keep showing up for centuries after until society reforms stability. War and other destruction can cause a great deal of shortage. Still, the ‘onset’ can be useful. Often the first onset of weather induced famine leads to the collapse of social order and wars.

Has an interesting item that lines up on that 390-440 solar status alignment.

441 BC Ancient Rome
400–800 AD Famine in Western Europe associated with the Fall of Rome and its sack by Alaric I. Between 400 and 800 AD, the population of the city of Rome fell by over 90%, mainly because of famine and plague.

So did a solar downturn (perhaps part of a ‘double tap’ with a volcano or rock fall from space in 536 A.D.) lead to the downfall of the Western Roman Empire? Hmmm…

Anything on that 750-800 A.D. point?

800–1000 AD Severe drought killed millions of Maya people due to famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization Maya Empire
809 Frankish Empire
875–884 Peasant rebellion in China inspired by famine; Huang Chao captured capital China

A bit of a lag. China could be an ‘out of phase’ effect, coming about 100 years off ‘schedule’. Might be interesting to make an A/B comparison of famine in China vs Europe with a cold / hot and wet / dry comparison too. I would be Very Happy to find out that as a globe, we have places offset in time from each other on this cycling…

The Maya look like another example of a ‘longer cycle’ laid on top of the trigger event shorter cycle (or we just have “the fall” and political chaos carries if for the next 100 years…)

Then there is the 930-980 period.

927–928 Caused by four months of frost Byzantine Empire
1005 England
1016 Famine throughout Europe Europe
1022, 1033, 1052 Great famines in India, in which entire provinces were depopulated India
1064–1072 Seven years’ famine in Egypt Egypt
1051 Famine forced the Toltecs to migrate from a stricken region in what is now central Mexico Mexico (present day)
1097 Famine and plague France

Starts off with 4 months of frost right ‘on schedule’. England and Europe take a while to “have issues” with famine showing up after the solar downturn is over. Hmmm… Bad match? Or some factor causing a delay or sporadic cycle skip? A history of actual weather events matched to political events would be helpful sorting that out.

Then India and Egypt get on board a century late, along with Mexico. (Again a bit of hope that it’s a ‘rolling effect’ and simply moving food around the globe can cope.)

I also note that this is about 1/2 Bond Event after the 400 A.D. time. That longer cycle overlay…

The 1110-1160 has a complete miss, then we’re back at the 1290-1340 period.

1230 Famine in the Republic of Novgorod Russia
1229–1232 The Kangi famine, possibly the worst famine in Japan’s history. Caused by volcanic eruptions. Japan
1235 Famine in England, 20,000 died in London alone England
1255 Portugal
1275–1299 Collapse of Anasazi civilization, widespread famine occurred United States (present day)
1315–1317 Great Famine of 1315–1317 Europe
1333–1337 China
1344–1345 Great famine in India India
1387 After Timur the Lame left Asia Minor, severe famine ensued Anatolia
1396–1407 The Durga Devi famine India

Again we have Russia being a bit early and Europe goes wet, while the USA gets a severe drought for the Anasazi. China and India bring up the rear about 100 years late. That “rolling” pattern looks more promising…

1470-1520 ?

1441 Famine in Mayapan Mexico
1450–1454 Famine in the Aztec Empire, interpreted as the gods’ need for sacrifices. Mexico (present day)
1460–1461 Kanshō famine in Japan Japan
1504 Spain
1518 Venice Italy (present day)
1528 Famine in Languedoc France
1535 Famine in Ethiopia Ethiopia
1567–1570 Famine in Harar, combined with plague. Emir of Harar, died. Ethiopia
1586 Famine in England which gave rise to the Poor Law system England

Mexico is again ‘out of cycle’ ( a good thing…) Japan comes in early (rather like it did with Russia above). Europe ‘on schedule’ with north Africa / Ethiopia again running ‘late’. Perhaps more cold and wet helps in an African desert ;-) but the warming cycle not so much… The 1586 famine in England is clearly a ‘miss’.

At this point we start having “too much information”. The records are more complete, so it isn’t just exceptional events in the record. We have less opportunity to see the ’empty space’ as somebody somewhere is almost always having a famine. It is also the Little Ice Age cold period ( that longer cycle? or a 1/2 Bond Event?) so I’m not going to list them all. Hit the link to see them. But what happens at the start of that period?


1601–1603 One of the worst famines in all of Russian history; famine killed as many as 100,000 in Moscow and up to one-third of Tsar Godunov’s subjects; see Russian famine of 1601–1603. Same famine killed about half Estonian population. Russia 2 million

Again Russia goes early. Hmmm… Wonder if the “warm phase end” is a problem for Russia? I’m reminded of the burning wheat fields of a few years back. Then we get to the European set. Starting with a war driven famine, then more. Also Japan is again ‘going early’…

1618–1648 Famines in Europe caused by Thirty Years’ War Europe
1619 Famine in Japan. During the Tokugawa period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious. Japan
1630–1631 Deccan Famine of 1630–32 (Note: There was a corresponding famine in northwestern China, eventually causing the Ming dynasty to collapse in 1644) India 2 million

And on the Starting Gun, it’s back to Europe:

1648–1660 Poland lost an estimated 1/3 of its population due to wars, famine, and plague Poland
1649 Famine in northern England England
1650–1652 Famine in the east of France France
1651–1653 Famine throughout much of Ireland during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland[30] Ireland
1661 Famine in India, when not a drop of rain fell for two years India
1669 Famine in Bengal India
1670s and 1680s Plague and famines in Spain Spain
1680 Famine in Sardinia Italy (present day) 80,000
1680s Famine in Sahel
1690s Famine throughout Scotland which killed 15% of the population Scotland
1693–1694 France 2 million
1695–1697 Great Famine of Estonia killed about a fifth of Estonian and Livonian population (70,000–75,000 people). Famine also hit Sweden (80,000–100,000 dead) The Swedish Empire, of which Swedish Estonia and Swedish Livonia were dominions at that time
1696–1697 Great Famine of Finland wiped out almost a third of the population Finland, then part of Sweden proper
1702–1704 Famine in Deccan India 2 million
1708–1711 Famine in East Prussia killed 250,000 people or 41% of its population East Prussia

There does seem to be something of a pattern here. More famine about the cycle points. Early onset in Russian / Asian areas, late in Mexico / North Africa. USA having drought while N. Europe / UK drown. Then back to “good times” for a 1/2 long cycle.


It is the pattern that is most of interest now (as the data has a famine somewhere almost all the time due to the large data collection happening in more modern times).
We again have early onset in Asia, then a migration into Europe. Most notably the Great Irish Famine. We also have Tambora erupt in Indonesia and the “Year without a summer” in 1816 to get things started.

1810, 1811, 1846, and 1849 Four famines in China China 45 million.
1811–1812 Famine devastated Madrid Spain 20,000
1815 Eruption of Tambora, Indonesia. Tens of thousands died in subsequent famine Indonesia
1816–1817 Year Without a Summer Europe 65,000
1830–1833 Claimed to have killed 42% of the population Cape Verde 30,000
1830s Tenpo famine Japan
1837–1838 Agra famine of 1837–38 India
1845–1857 Highland Potato Famine Scotland
1845–1849 Great Irish Famine killed more than 1 million people and over 1.5–2 million emigrated Ireland 1.5 million
1846 Famine led to the peasant revolt known as “Maria da Fonte” in the north of Portugal Portugal
1850–1873 As a result of Taiping Rebellion, drought, and famine, the population of China dropped by more than 60 million China
1866 Orissa famine of 1866 India 1 million
1866–1868 Finnish famine of 1866–1868. About 15% of the entire population died Finland, northern Sweden 150,000+
1869 Rajputana famine of 1869 India 1.5 million
1870–1871 Famine in Persia Iran (present day) 2 million
1873–1874 Famine in Anatolia caused by drought and floods Turkey (present day)

And rounding it out again are Iran and Turkey (near North Africa) toward the end.

In Conclusion

It looks to me like on a global scale things are much more manageable. The Americas have a drought issue, but it happens a bit off cycle between N and S America. Eurasia has a ‘rolling event’ that looks to sweep in from Japan / Russia, over the EU, then exit via Africa / India. A bit of ‘belt tightening’ and some global cross shipping along with a few “Meatless Mondays” and it ought to all be manageable.

OTOH, one good social collapse / spreading war or a volcano followed by disease pandemic and the whole thing could fall apart.

It also looks like there is a long cycle overlay, and we just had the ‘Cold 1/2 Bond Event’ in the Little Ice Age, so this one ought to be the mild half. (Unless we are due for a full on Bond Event… but I’m hoping that isn’t until about 2300 A.D.) Watch out for major volcanoes, don’t indulge in wars, and pay attention to both water and cold cycles.

There does seem to be an interaction (perhaps even synchronous due to orbital resonance) with some dust causing events. Volcanic for some cycles, cometary for others. It is likely to be about 2300 A.D. before we are back in the thicker part of the Taurid stream, so cometary dust not likely to be an issue for us this cycle. In 537 or so A.D. there was a significant issue with the sun being obscured by dust, but it is unclear if it was a volcano or not. Similar events are noted in some of the other historical times (especially the deeper historical events like the 2000 BC collapse).

So unless a giant Indonesian volcano blows up ( or, Lord forbid, a giant Icelandic eruption happens), I’m not seeing too much of a problem. Still, it would be prudent to start some kind of preparations. Just buy an extra 25 lb bag of rice or other grain every year and in 10 years, you have 250 lbs. Enough for one person on ‘minimal’ rations for a year. I just bought a bag of rice for $10 (for 20 lbs) so it isn’t exactly a hardship. (In reality, you cycle the inventory faster than 10 years, it’s just that you are adding some excess each year and that 250 lbs is on average only about 4 years old. Less if you really like rice ;-)

If nothing else, eating more whole grains and legumes contributes to a healthy and longer life anyway and you can’t beat the cost. (Though, in reality, I have as much in noodles as I do in rice… and a lot of sugar and tea in sealed tins.)

At some point I need to work up a better comparison of the last 1000 years of ‘drought’ in the USA vs ‘famine’ in Europe and see if there is more ‘offset’ or ‘overlap’. But now it’s lunch time. All this talk of famine has me hungry. I think I’ll start a tub of rice in the rice cooker ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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64 Responses to Great Famine of 1315 vs The Sun

  1. omanuel says:

    Thanks for mentioning the important contributions by the late Dr. Landscheidt. The basic problem today, E.M. Smith, is just this:

    Responses by frightened world leaders to “nuclear fires” that consumed Hiroshima/Nagasaki on 6/9 Aug 1945 robbed us of basic rights

    _ a.) To live happy, joyous and free
    _ b.) To know God, Reality, Truth by
    _ c.) Contemplation, experimentation, meditation, observation

    Our society is now very much like that George Orwell predicted for the future in 1948

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    There were crop problems in Greenland and Iceland around 1230-1280, leading to them submitting to Danish rule, although that didn’t seem to have helped the food supply.
    There was a famine in England in 1280/1, usually said to have caused a population drop of 10%, but that might have been the exaggeration common in those times. (In modern times you don’t find people carrying on about climate change and the end of civilisation, do you? sarc off/).

    The problem in 1315-1318 was excessive wetness causing shortages of grain and hay. The “great dying of the beasts” resulted. In England pigs were able to feed in the forests, and so escaped – starvation anyway, as the English diet now had pork as the favoured meat. It was the improvement in the weather in the 1700’s and the use of turnips as winter feed, that led to much selective breeding of cattle, horses and sheep there.

    Outbreaks of St. Antony’s fire (ergotism) are associated with wet weather in Europe during the Middle Age (even into the 1900’s).

    The levels of the Nile River have been fairly well recorded for about 1300 years, so could give you a guide to rainfall in Ethiopia & central Africa.

  3. EM – looking at the cycles in the past, even if we don’t yet know why they are cyclical, seems a good tactic.

    Looks also that the idea of enclosed microfarms, driven by electric lighting and possibly hydroponic, could also be a good idea to have. I’d hope that some form of LENR will be in wide use with sufficient lead-time to get the new systems set up.

    Instead of Catastrophic Warming, we’ll be preparing for a cold, wet and hungry time. Oh well, people laughed at Noah, too.

  4. TinyCO2 says:

    Very interesting. I wish warmists would refer to history more often.

    I wonder if part of the change from warming to cooling is an increase in loops in the jet stream ie negative Arctic Oscillation. It would lock weather patterns in place leading to intense cold or heat. Long periods of wet or dry depending on the position of the loops and the time of year. Weather truly is crazy when the jet stream changes from what we’re used to.

    I know that there’s a possibility that the sun affects the quantity of cloud (cosmic rays and all that) but do the positions of cloud belts also have an affect on overall global temperature?

  5. John F. Hultquist says:

    One of my favorite books – A History of Wine, by H. Warner Allen –
    A History Of Wine by H. Warner Allen

    explains many of the reasons why the world wine trade (accumulating, marketing, promoting) became London based. Either in this one or another historical wine book the issue of sugar is discussed in the following sense: Sugar was hard to come by in Northern Europe. Wild honey is approximately sugar, but not easily obtained – and not in large quantities. Sugar provides calories. As does alcohol. Imagine a squiggly line across Europe. South of the line sugar is easy to get on a regular basis from crops, especially grapes. They don’t store or ship well within the historical conditions and technology. Wine does. Without modern knowledge they found that wine has a longer shelf life within larger containers. The book mentioned explains how the glass bottle “changed everything” about wine.

    Prior to glass and science, however, hogsheads and tonnes (large wine casks) were also important because they were hard to make disappear. A wood cask of tonne size cannot be moved by one (historical) man. Sugarcane, plantations (but not in N. Europe), and rum contribute to this history. Europe, the tropical islands, and N. American and the sailing ships made destinations for goods going south and sugar or sugar products going north.

    Okay, so alcohol is high in calories, has a long shelf life, and is warming on cold winter evenings in parts of Europe where calories are hard to come by. This history is usually hidden in academic courses that emphasize kings, queens, the intrigue of royalty, and battles fought and lost.

    Having not done the detail work, I am simply throwing this into the mix because it seems to fit into the timeframe of the events discussed in the post.

    Just last week I added 25 pounds of sugar to the pantry. A search on the internet regarding bulk food storage yields hundreds of hits of places wanting to sell something. The link below has a higher information density than most, including a chart showing an estimate of ‘shelf life’ of some basic items and many other interesting tips.

    This whole thing about “repeating patterns of solar activity” and climate shifts is fascinating and frustrating. To me it doesn’t yet make sense – something is missing and I don’t know what. Pattern matching isn’t enough to make me jump up and down – a eureka moment. Still, it is enough to induce me to stock up on non-perishable food.

    Good post, E. M., thanks!

  6. John F. Hultquist says:

    Sorry. I did not know that Amazon would stick a graphic ad into my text. I think the link was enough and would tell Jeffrey Preston Bezos they should not be so intrusive. Maybe not quite that politely!

  7. BobN says:

    Mankind can never get it right. I just read that CO2 dropped in 2011 for the US.

    Maybe its time to rerun the 1977 Time magazine cover story – How to survive the coming ice age.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Drought in Turkey, Middle East threatens wheat supply
    Global supplies face “major ramification,” already reduced by poor harvest from other suppliers.

    Middle East wheat production next year is threatened by a drought during the main planting period that is weighing on crop development, forecaster Martell Crop Projections said.

    Wheat-growing regions in southern Turkey, Syria, Iraq and northern Iran received less than 20 percent of normal rainfall in the 60 days through Dec. 7, according to a report sent out by Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin-based Martell today. Drought in the region would have “major ramifications” for global supplies, already reduced by poor harvests and lack of exports from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, the forecaster said.
    The entire region has suffered from “intense drought” except for western Turkey and a “small” area in Iran south of the Caspian Sea, Martell said.

    Some parts of western Turkey received more than twice the normal amounts of rain in the past two months, according to data provided by the forecaster.

    Turkey and Iran jointly grow more than 60 percent of the region’s wheat, according to Martell. The climate is “not very conducive” to wheat production, with a typical yield in Turkey of 33 to 35 bushels per acre compared with 43 to 45 bushels in Kansas, the forecaster said.

    So looks like any places that were marginal on water are ‘having issues’… It also looks like there is a swap from “steady and predictable” mode to “oscillating wet / dry cycling” for some places (probably where the ‘loops’ of the jet stream wander a bit).

    Watch for unrest in Anatolia to the Middle East (as if there wasn’t already enough reason…)

    @Graeme No.3:

    Any easy to find place with the Nile data? ( I know, “text search is my friend” ;-)


    That’s another bit of “good news”. We have more than enough technology to have “no problems” if we choose to use it and move fast. (Unfortunately there is little evidence we will and if you have a sudden “2 year famine” and a 5 year build plan… )

    In Saudi Arabia they have some very large greenhouse food production facilities using desalinizing. And making a profit… There’s a lot of other tech, too. There is even a variety of corn that makes a tap root (from a very dry desert area… Hopi I think… or maybe Navaho) and I’m sure that right now someone is looking at putting that gene into field corn…

    The yield increase from greenhouses pays for them while the control lets you deal with whatever comes, heat or cold, dry or wet. In some western areas the ability to add shading is the big feature as is the ability to reduce evaporation of water. In my personal seed bank I have a mix of seeds. Some hot / dry others cold / wet. So I’ve got some Tepary Beans
    that are very desert / dry friendly while I also have Runner Beans that like it more cool damp. All I have to do is gauge one season in advance what’s likely.



    The more “loopy jet stream” is called ‘meridional flow’ while the less loopy is called ‘zonal’ flow.

    It swaps with the ENSO state, but the frequency of state looks to be modulated by the combined PDO / AMO (and perhaps AO and…) interactions. Generally we get 30 years or so of “more zonal” nice and steady then 30 years or so of “more meridional” and lots of flood here / drought there / winds and changing suddenly from one to the other.

    Frankly, that the “AGW Mantra” changed from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” and then “Climate Chaos” just BEFORE the shift of weather (but when the PDO swap was known to be happening) leads me to belief that The Team knows this and are trying to use known weather patterns of 30 years duration as “climate change”…

    There is also an equatorial / polar overall shift ( that I think Steven Wilde has documented well) that has a large impact. I think think this article has a pointer to his stuff:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    I’ll see if I can turn it into a plain link. Amazon used to just put up a picture of the book. Don’t know that that is they did here. No worries though. Better to have the link even if it comes with a bit of fluff…

    In N. Europe and the Americas we used beer and whiskey as a way to store the calories from grains. Stores really really well….

    Generally I’ve learned that things like sugar, salt, soap, etc. store for roughly forever. Dry grains for about 20 years (that I know of ;-) but white rice stores better than brown rice (as the rice oil can oxidize) and lentils are much much longer lived in storage than common beans whlie Peas are a ‘use this year’ thing even for dry split peas. After a decade, the flavor goes flat on most seeds, but they are still edible. (Best is to rotate stock over the year or three span). Canned goods keep for a year pretty easy, but over 2 or 3 they start to lose quality and eventually the cans rust. (Glass jars work better as the liquid is not in touch with the metal lid. So home canning is your friend.) MREs keep for a couple of years, but the flavor starts to get every more uninteresting, eventually becoming “yuck” after 5 to 8 years. (Freeze Dried keeps better than cooked-pouch).

    Simply buying a bunch of “rounds” of oatmeal and a bag each of beans and rice covers most diet needs in a real emergency. (Especially with a bottle of vitamin pills…) So if you do that “quick” then while working your way through it over the next couple of months figure out just what you REALLY wish you had with it; well, pretty quick you make a decent inventory… (Mustard and Ketchup anyone? :-) And some brown sugar and some soysauce and…


    I was wondering when that would start. Now that the air is colder aloft, more CO2 ‘washing’ with cold snow / rains ought to start stripping the air… (IFF my theory is right…) Didn’t expect it for a few more years though…

    UPDATE: Now I read the article… OK, it’s about using less coal and swapping to a lot of Nat Gas, not reduced global levels in the air, just reduced production from the USA. That’s even less of a surprise. Recession and “War On Coal” coupled with $2 nat gas will do that…

  9. Hector Pascal says:

    In the year 970, Germany suffered from famine.

    “The summer and autumn had been so wet,
    That in winter the corn was growing yet.
    ’Twas a piteous sight to see all around
    The corn lie rotting on the ground.

    “Every day the starving poor
    Crowded around Bishop Hatto’s door,
    For he had a plentiful last year’s store;
    And all the neighbourhood could tell
    His granaries were furnish’d well.”

    Bishop Hatto and the rats (Robert Southey)

  10. Pingback: Gale Combs: More evidence of long term climate cycles « Tallbloke's Talkshop

  11. “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”, says Henry Kissinger, unaware that power is an illusion.

    Kissinger played a major player in events that deprived us of basic human rights

    Mis-shaping our democracy into the grotesque one predicted by George Orwell in 1948

    Nineteen eighty-four (“1984”)

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: Once more! : After the last harsh European winter rats became hungry, and…: Hamelin: German town hit by new plague of rats

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Hmmm…. Pied Piper was supposedly in 1284 A.D. just at the start of one of the quiet sun periods… Wonder if the rats know something…

  14. @E.M. Smith:

    I am certain many forms of life – plants, animals, and even rats – are much smarter than world leaders and their pet pseudo-scientists that try to obscure the energy source that made our elements, sustains our lives, and controls Earth’s climate.

    Separation from reality, truth, God, . . . IS mental illness

    Oliver K. manuel

  15. All this evidence on famines going back to the Old Testament makes the case for carbon sequestration on the Hammurabi model. During the fat years wise rulers in the ancient world built and stocked granaries to feed their people during the lean years. Contrast our foolish modern leaders who create mountains of butter and wine while converting grain into fuel for automobiles.

    It would only take a single event comparable to the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815 to create another “Year Without a Summer” followed by world wide famines. When it happens our children will realise that we (their parents) wasted an opportunity by engaging in the wrong kind of carbon sequestration.

  16. Pascvaks says:

    @OManuel – But in such ‘drastic’ times that is precisely the form of govt. that people want (well, the hungry ones anyway) to “Get Things Done!”. Wars and famines require such drastic measures. The reason we’re where we’re at today is because of 20th Century Wars, and the fact that once people get superpowers they don’t like letting go of them, you know, in case something bad happens it’s better to be prepared, right? Global famines would be a great opportunity for them to show us what they can do (and ‘make’ us ‘team up’ to pull a plow for a slave boss in S.Carolina). Think maybe someone up there already knows what’s coming? Why departments are all ordering hollow point ammo? Why we’re being so nice to Mexicans looking to make it in the USSA? Like we’re actually trying to be friendly so if something hits the fan they’ll be nice and sell us lots of food on credit one day?

    @TinyCO2 – People, in general, don’t refer to ‘history’ at all; they’re either too fat or too hungry to care.

    @All – Interglacials seem to have had more than one peak. I have a feeling the current one only has one and it’s sputtering out and will crash soon. Well, sooner than later. (Just a feeling;-)

    “Global Humanitarian Cooperation” is a pipe dream. Remember Haiti? Now think of N.America as Haiti, or Europe, or Russia, China… Oh, and I don’t think it helps to be the Top Dog when something bad happens to your climate and… (don’t even think about it, it will make you sick).

  17. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    A very deep and meaningful study into past climatic cycles which doesn’t need to be read thoroughly to give us credence to two factors. One, that this sort of intelligent study runs rings (orbits) around the AGW science and its conclusions. Two, that this is evidence of potential global cooling, a warning to think very seriously about pursuing carbon controls and taxes.

  18. Ken – nice point. One thing we’ve got from EM’s work is that the CO2 level is pretty well totally irrelevant providing it is high enough for plants to grow. As regards its effect on global temperatures, forget it since it’s going to be below experimental errors. The actual climate will depend on three main things – the distance from the Sun, how much energy the Sun is putting out, and what the vegetation (and perhaps some fauna) manages to change in the albedo in order to try and stabilise the climate to a level it likes.

    We don’t really yet understand the processes that drive the Sun well enough to work out why the cycles are there, and we haven’t yet got enough accurate historical data to work out a long-term model. It’s possible that the position of the major planets relative to the Earth will have some effect – that 60-year or so cycle does seem reminiscent of Saturn’s orbit. Astronomers look for “wobble” in distant stars to deduce the presence of large planets, and the same happens in our system where the Sun also orbits the centre-of-mass of the solar system. When Saturn is on the other side of the Sun from us, the Sun will be closer to us. If you look at the differences in absolute temperature, what the climate scientists call a large rise (2°C) turns out to be around 0.7% variation in energy balance – actually not that much for an essentially chaotic system.

    It looks like we might be able to model the global average temperature (whatever that is) as a function of actual solar output and the amount of it we receive. Could take a while to do, though, given the tentative nature of the historical data – it has to be estimated based on assumptions that certain things such as overall albedo of the Earth remains either constant or predictable, and there are no grounds to assume this.

    One slight problem of having a few years’ stock of food in the house (apart from the mouse problem, of course) is that if you don’t look at least half-starved when your neighbours are starving, someone might come and take the food, or try. Maybe those hollow-point rounds are not such a bad idea.

  19. ArndB says:

    It is a fine and very informative comment. But is there any evidence that any solar cycle over the last millions of years has ever initiated and sustained a serious climatic change?

    The impact of the sun is immense. The earthly system would not work without the sun. Any solar activity change is reflected in the air temperatures, not necessarily synonym, but always traceable, if reasonable significant. The Earth weather/climate system consists of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere (UNFCCC, Art.1, par.3), influence of the water volume and the water conditions in and processed in each sphere. The medium that sustains and controls the atmospheric temperatures are the oceans and seas. They determine the region, the timing and the magnitude water vapor and temperatures. The sun is the fuel of the climatic system, but the driver is the ocean, and, with an average temperature of mere 4° Celsius, the major source of serious climate changes. Oceans make climate, and the next ice age.

    It is worth to note that the UNFCCC definition on the “Climate System” does not mention the: SUN. More about the climate definition at:

  20. Arndb – Thanks for the link – I’d been relying on my internal definitions of “climate” and “weather” and it’s somewhat amusing to see the confusion of the IPCC definitions. If something is so badly-defined, it’s not so surprising that there are problems in predictions.

    Any historical data on sun-cycles is going to be inferred from other things, and so we really can’t be certain of the truth of such data. As such, we also can’t be certain that any climatic change (however you define it) would have been triggered by such a change. Although the IPCC seems to be very certain of both its data and the inferences from that data, in reality this cannot be truth.

    I would add to your ocean climate-making idea the continents – changes in vegetation will affect the airflows and heat concentration, and the total climate is going to be a sum of everything with the Sun as the main driver with possibly some internal heat from the ground (internal nuclear activity and volcanic eruptions at specific points) as a modification. This is such a massive measurement and computation problem that any models are going to be oversimplifications, and the only model that would work would be just as complex as the Earth system is. Even with a model just as complex as the Earth (a second Earth in some parallel universe), you’d expect some variations to accrue since some things are random.

    Given the difficulties of prediction long-term, it’s probably the best strategy (for us as individuals) to prepare for what can reasonably be predicted on the grounds of analysing cycles estimated from the past, and to take the IPCC’s predictions with a good dose of Sodium Chloride. Making sure of a year or more survival seems not unreasonable. As Pascvaks says, get in a good supply of popcorn.

  21. Pascvaks says:

    I hate popcorn, gets between the choppers and I’m pickin’ for hours. I have a feeling EM gets the credit for the “get in a good supply of popcorn” from an earlier post. Now I’ve never tried Popped Lintels, I have a feeling that the skin on those little babies wouldn’t bother me too much. Can anyone here speak from experience as to what Popped Lintels taste like?;-)

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    In order to make popcorn we need to break a lot of Monkey´s Sustainability Very Intelligent Green Rules, concocted by the most selected apes through a process they call “Piers´review”, a process by which they mutually groom while picking and eating fleas which reproduce on their skins.

    As about predictions: Here you will find, by courtesy of our enlightened friend M.Vukcevic, how the Sun´s Electrocardiogram goes:

  23. Ulric Lyons says:

    ” Good news is that there’s still about 22 years (next solar cycle or two?) before it’s likely to be “bad”.”

    I am very confident that a 179yr analogue can be successfully applied over the next couple of decades, in which case, 2015 to 2024 is likely to have the longest cluster of cold anomalies this century. See 1836 to 1845 on CET:
    Spring and early summer of 2016 looks particularly severe, here are some accounts of crop failures and famines from the 1837 analogue:

  24. Pascvaks says: “Can anyone here speak from experience as to what Popped Lintels taste like?;-)”

    I think you mean “Lentils”, found in soups, stews and curries. My personal favorite is the papadum. Sometimes called the “Thinking Man’s Turnip Chip”.

  25. Ulric Lyons says:

    ” Good news is that there’s still about 22 years (next solar cycle or two?) before it’s likely to be “bad”.”

    I am very confident that a 179yr analogue can be successfully applied over the next couple of decades, in which case, 2015 to 2024 is likely to have the longest cluster of cold anomalies this century. See 1836 to 1845 on CET:
    Spring and early summer of 2016 looks particularly severe, here are some accounts of crop failures and famines from the 1837 analogue:

  26. Pascvaks:
    “Can anyone here speak from experience as to what Popped Lintels taste like?;-)”

    I think you mean “Lentils” found in soups stews and curries. My personal favorite is the papdum, sometime called the “Thinking Man’s Turnip Chip”:


  27. ArndB says:

    Simon Derricutt says: 19 August 2012 at 12:00 pm :”…..the confusion of the IPCC definitions. If something is so badly-defined, it’s not so surprising that there are problems in predictions.”

    I would put the emphasis elsewhere: It is presumably the main reason for the widely very aggressive and fruitless AGW debate. Is a science that is not able to define the main topics they are talking about, e.g. WEATHER and CLIMATE, a serious academic discipline?

    I reasoned about the matter already in a Letter to NATURE, 1992 (Vol. 360, p. 292):
    “….What is the point of a legal term if it explains nothing? For decades,
    the real question has been who is responsible for the climate. Climate should have been
    defined as ‘the continuation of the oceans by other means’…”.
    Full text here:

  28. Arnd – I see your point. By defining it this way they could have used the existing legal framework to have done something about it.

    In any case it looks like the IPCC reasoned thus: (a) what major difference in the measurements can be defined as man-made?, (b) Carbon Dioxide has increased a lot since the Industrial Revolution, (c) let’s find correlations that prove that climate change follows Carbon Dioxide increase (despite the evidence implying that the extra warmth preceded the CO2 increase) and (d) ban anything that produces CO2 – including 6 billion of the current 7 billion world population (Agenda 21). Given this jump to conclusions and the subsequent scrabble for the evidence, it’s probably good that they didn’t take your advice.

    I’ve stated elsewhere that I used to accept the AGW data – in my lifetime I’ve seen changes, and in the last decade there has been more extreme weather than I remember. The hypothesis seemed to be generally accepted, I hadn’t studied it in depth and in any case I couldn’t see what I could do about it. With EM’s work on the real data (caused me also to look at other sites and blogs), I’ve seen the AGW hypothesis as just bad science, and not only that but the various regulations imposed as a result are damaging real people – it’s not just an academic subject now.

    Giving any government body sufficient power to grant any whim with full legal backing seems to be a Very Bad Thing. It seems good to me to reduce pollution and to modify the planet as little as possible – just sufficient for us to live nicely. The reason here is that it is such a complex system that we don’t know what we are changing – possibly some major irrigation project (making the desert green again) could modify the rainfall patterns elsewhere and cause major disruption. Removing a large amount of rainforest may have larger effects somewhere else on the planet – we don’t know and can’t tell till afterwards, if even then. I think (but I’m not sure) that small and slow changes will be safe, and that the tendency to equilibrium of the planet will most likely be maintained providing we don’t make big changes too quickly. The only real evidence I have for this perceived tendency is that we are still here to argue about it.

    So I see your point, but I’m really glad you were ignored.

  29. ArndB says:

    @Simon Derricutt says: 19 August 2012 at 4:22 pm : “So I see your point, but I’m really glad you were ignored.”

    Presumably it may take another few decades before science is putting the oceans at the centre of climate research trying to find out from were the threat of anthropogenic climatic changes is the most serious.
    Climate is all about water!
    __Globally, the hydrological cycle is characterized be the evaporation of about 500,000 cubic kilometers of water per year, of which 86% is from the oceans and 14% is from the continents [Quante and Matthias, 2006].
    REMARK (added):
    • Only about 0.001 percent of the total Earth’s water volume is in the atmosphere.
    • The volume of water in the atmosphere at any one time is about 12,900 km3 .
    • The volume of the Baltic Sea is about 20,000 km³
    • The entire water in the atmosphere is replaced about 35 times in one year.
    • Each water drop (vapor) in the air remains there for not more than about 10 days.
    • The ocean mean temperature is about 4°C.
    __Most of the water that evaporates from the ocean (90%) is precipitated back into them, while the remaining 10% is transported to the continents, where the water precipitates. About two thirds of this precipitation is recycled over the continents, and only one third runs off directly into the oceans.
    __Water vapour concentrations decrease rapidly with the height.
    __Near the surface, where most water vapour resides, concentration vary by more than 3 orders of magnitude, from 10 parts per million by volume in the coldest regions to as much as 5% in the warmest [Quante and Matthias, 2006].
    __The tropical atmosphere contains more than
    3 times as much water vapor as the extratropical.
    __In the midlatitudes the water vapor distribution is subject to intense day-to-day variations, responding strongly to the passage of cyclones.
    Extract from:

  30. vukcevic says:

    Orchestral music of Sun, Earth and Ocean we perceive as climate, some time it is as sweet as the best of the romantic Mozart (the age we are lucky to currently enjoy in the Northern hemisphere) or as thunderous and dissonant as some of Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, that many of our ancestors had to endure.
    It is harshness of the Little Ice Age that propelled humanity to a higher degree of advancement and prosperity in science, it is the benign climate of the late 20th century that led to the scientific hypocrisy, double standards and rise of the AGW lunatic extreme.

  31. Graeme No.3 says:

    Re Nile levels:
    Sorry, haven’t got figures. They are apparently available in 2 lots; one from ~620 to 1420, and one from earlier times to close to present. Need to be dropped from databases.
    They are complicated by some years not recorded, and the use of different Nilometers.

    If searching try the names Ruzmaikin, A. and Feynman, J. (the latter is Richard’s sister).

    You can get confirmation from various authors of just about any periodicity you like, although 88 and ~200 are popular.
    The level has been low in the Nile for the last 2 years, reflecting rainfall in the lakes regions.
    Apparently not the result of volcanic action, unlike Laki in 1783/4 which changed northern hemisphere atmospheric circulation, and lowered summer rainfall. Tropical volcanos are thought to affect the winter weather. (Tambora, 1815/6 year without summer?)

  32. Ulric Lyons says:

    I am very confident that a 179yr analogue can be successfully applied over the next couple of decades, in which case, 2015 to 2024 is likely to have the longest cluster of cold anomalies this century. See 1836 to 1845 on CET:
    Spring and early summer of 2016 looks particularly severe, here are some accounts of crop failures and famines from the 1837 analogue:

  33. Tom Bakewell says:

    Hi Sir. I know this ‘comment’ doesn’t belong here but I can’t find the way to just send you something. I ran across this link while looking up high latitude windows. The little steam engine looks pretty good and a great way to harvest some heat energy
    Thanks for mantaining such an interesting blog Tom Bakewell

  34. Tom – off-topic stuff goes on the “tips” page, currently T7. Meantime you missed the final “l” off the link . Nice idea, and looks like it could run on other than water, with lower boiling-point, and thus use lower temperature sources.

    [Reply: I’ve stuck the ‘l’ on the end. ;-) -E.M.Smith]

  35. Pascvaks says:

    I’m not sure what’s happening. I keep getting these DejaVue flashes like I’ve read something two or three times since I came back to see what’s been going on since the last time I was here and I know I took my meds this morning and… I… “lentils”… hummm, Got It!

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No.3:

    No worries. Found this that has a nice chart in it..

    Click to access 06-1989.pdf

    Paper finds solar cycles showing up in Nile water levels…

    @Tom Bakewell:

    There’s also an email address written in words in the “donate” box on the right and IIRC also in the About tab up top.

    Looks like an interesting engine. Especially the low temperature aspect. Might be interesting to stick one in the exhaust vent of my water heater ( and old non-condensing one) and home furnace…

    Glad you like the place!


    Found some things in the SPAM queue and fished them out. Haven’t gone back to delete the “duplicates” yet. I’ll get a round Tuit pretty soon ;-)


    LIA = Wagner ? ;-)


    So if “past is prologue” we can expect increasing drought in China for the next decade or two and a destabilized society (perhaps mitigated by their couple of $Trillion worth of foreign exchange money in the bank with which to buy food and Tropical land…)

    Drought hurts crops, fish in C China
    Updated: 2012-08-16 14:46

    A boat is stuck near a dying pond due to drought in Zhongxiang city, Central China’s Hubei province, Aug 15, 2012. Continuing drought has hit 32 cities and counties in Hubei province, causing a large area of crops to wither and die. As of Aug 12, an area of 6 million mu (4 billion square meters) of crops is affected and 526,000 people are suffering shortages of drinking water in the province. [Liu Junfeng/Asianewsphoto]

    And a video:

    Well… That’s a disturbing bit of confirmation that I’d rather had not existed…

    So if the “Asia First” thesis has validity, Europe “gets issues” in a couple of years and then North Africa / Middle East too.

    Though Turkey is already having some issues with drought…

    Not liking the way things are “matching”…

    @Hector Pascal:

    Interesting connection.


    Unfortunately, as folks are higher in political rank / status they are ever more removed from reality and normal human feedback processes…


    That’s why I advocate personal preparedness solutions. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It cuts your costs (as the ‘bulk buy’ gets consumed over the following months while a new ‘bulk buy’ goes into storage). Doesn’t really take much. Heck, you could put several months worth of “stuff” in a layer under the bed in jars and cans… Or just put shelving along one wall of the garage (not ideal due to heat) for a larger area. Heck, put a ‘wall’ of stuff about 1 foot deep at one end of a ‘guest room’ and hang a drape in front of it…

    We will have another “year without a summer”. The only question is when. Both largish volcanoes and modest sized ‘rocks from space’ will do it; and we will have both. As we used to have locally stored food for a whole year just because we didn’t ship food globally, but now have only a couple of months food “in the pipeline” and then we’re toast: It will be far worse ‘next time’…


    If you look at prior interglacials, they had a HIGH spike at the start, then a ‘dribble down’. This one had that peak ‘clipped’ (IMHO by a rock fall from space into the ice sheet causing the Younger Dryas / Clovis Event) and is flatter after it. BUT, that flatter part is almost exactly the width of the prior interglacials from entry / exit sides at our present temps. While I hope that the long flat makes the entry into cold more gradual, we are due for a drop and past drops were faster about now. So “hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”…

    Sometime in the next 1 – 2 kyr we’re going to have one of those Bond Event dips and NOT recover from it. Hopefully not “this one”… But hope…

    @Ken McMurtrie:

    Thanks for the endorsement!


    Also “rock falls from space” and “lunar 1800 year cycle” look to be very significant. The “rock fall” does not have to be an explosive event ( i.e. extinction class crater) but can just be a ‘heck of a lot more dust and modest meteor storms’ when in the middle of the Taurid debris field. The 1800 year lunar cycle looks to stir the ocean and air via tides and change flow patterns…

    So in addition to the “inputs” and the “reflectors” there’s the “stirring” and the “occluding”…

    And yeah, CO2 only matters when it drops too low for plants…

    For the “mouse problem” I use glass canning jars. Over the last 40 years I’ve been “playing with” food storage. Retort pouches. Cans. Plastic bags. Plastic drum / canisters. You name it. BEST: Dry food in inert gas in tin cans (commercial pack mostly). Almost as good: Home packed in jars (mostly 1/2 gallon sized) with vacuum (‘vacuseal’ brand device sucks are out) though just packing it full works pretty well. Water proof, air proof, rodent proof ( for a while I had some on the back patio. Squirrels chewed through plastic tubs / ice chests even but not the jars… Jars in a carboard box with crumpled newspaper around it came through a 7.1 quake without any issues.

    If we DO have a major problem, believe me, you don’t end up looking “fat” on oatmeal without milk or butter and on beans and rice… Try, just try, to eat 3000 calories a day of cooked rice and beans. (No ham, remember…) So by the time “they” are noticing you are “not quite as thin”, energy levels are a bit low for a ‘food fight’ about it.

    I don’t think “hollow points” are needed (though I do have some). Cast wadcutters in .45 ACP do just fine (and can be made from scavenged wheel weights ;-) Seriously, though: I’m more likely to be organizing community gardens (“victory gardens”) and teaching folks how to identify and collect local edible weeds to go with my “rice buffet pot luck” for the neighbors than to be shooting at things.

    That, BTW, was also the case in other recent disasters. Folks help each other. (After “Andrew” hurricane IIRC the locals in one Gulf area set up a Neighborhood Watch with the folks who had shotguns while the other folks set up kitchens and such. Each brought what they could.

    Besides, if you encourage enough of your friends to ‘stock up’ then everybody is cared for…

    Back in a minute…

  37. adolfogiurfa says:

    Hope these droughts affect some self conceited brains…..this would make us more free from “sustainable ideas”.

  38. E.M.Smith says:


    The argument of the form “It doesn’t ALWAYS happen so it is not causal” is frequently made. To my mind, that’s a poor approach.

    There is a high probability that it takes more than one causal factor, but there ARE times when things come in clusters. The correct response is to prepare for it, but if it doesn’t happen, count your blessings. The wrong answer is to NOT prepare and then regret…

    So there are several of the solar cycles that come on top of cold / drought / crop failure / social collapse cycles of wide spread impact. And a few that are a ‘miss’. There are very few examples of wide spread collapse of empires when the sun is warm and benign (though plenty of evidence for expansion of one empire dominating another via war).

    The essential conclusion of this is that “good times” are more likely during high solar activity times, then we grow “to our limit”; when any downturn can then cause a social collapse.

    Some of these collapses are much much bigger than others (such as the 2000 BC one) and they look to match mostly to meteor dust / impact events. BUT, as the meteor debris fields are subject to the same Orbital Resonance timing effects as the Lunar Tidal cycle and as the Solar Activity level: It just does not matter if there is ZERO evidence for solar activity loss causing ‘the bad times’. It may simply be an indicator of the timing of other things.

    What we know is that there is a higher than median tendency to crop failures, droughts, and social collapse during times of solar ‘chaotic’ motion. Why is unknown. We know it isn’t “always”, but we also know that 1000 folks can be exposed to HIV and not all of them get it and die and we know that 1000 folks can be stuck in a forest for a week and not all of them die (or live)… So we “play the odds”… and bet “with the house”…

    BTW IMHO, anything that starts with “UN” is essentially useless. They are a political body with an agenda, nothing more. And certainly have fully proven they are not Scientific…

    Per the definition of “climate”: The IPCC has thoroughly broken thinking on it. When I was a kid we learned it in Geology class… It is determined by latitude, distance from water, land form…

    Koppen does it right. IPCC and NASA and NOAA not so much…

    It is NOT the 30 year average of weather. The Mediterranean climate zone has been such for a few thousands of years, despite weather changes. The Alpine climate zone has been such for tens of thousands of years, despite weather changes. The Arctic climate zone has been such for millions of years, despite weather changes… The Tropical Rain Forest climate zone has been such for so many millions of years that most of the plants there can not survive frost… despite weather changes…


    Don’t think lentils can be popped, can they?

    I’d suggest trying popped quinoa instead. Available at Whole Foods and other health food outlets. Seeds are tiny so not much “shell’ to them to get stuck (though I’ve not personally tried them).

    Or Amaranth:

    that’s also supposed to be good…

    Grows like a weed, too, so I have some “Hopi Red” naturalizing in my ‘maintenance free’ garden…

    Though GallopingCamel’s ‘lentil bread’ is probably as good ;-)


    It’s that 2030 / 2040 ‘dip’ that I think is going to be the worst of the “Aw Shit” time. But probably a 2020 early ‘taster’…

    @Ulric Lyons:

    Nice links ( the number of them had it caught in the SPAM queue).

    That’s why I’m “preparing now” instead of waiting for 2030… just in case “past is prologue” matters more than “solar sunspot predictions”…


    While the oceans determine the gross averages, smaller changes can cause large areas of continents to have droughts and famines. If the monsoon does not go to India, it matters little if there are floods in Thailand… and the average is ‘normal’ rainfall…


    There’s not a lot of impact from clearing Europe and North America of vast areas of trees… Nor of planting huge chunks of Argentina and Australia to grains. We’re just puny compared to the pressures of nature.

    I think your assessment of the IPCC and their definitions is “spot on”.

  39. John F. Hultquist says:

    “. . . to go with my “rice buffet pot luck” for the neighbors . . .”

    There are many variations but you could also try stone soup:

  40. EM – sorry but I disagree (first time here!) since we don’t know the effects of clearing vast areas of trees, ditto for the monoculture imposed in Argentina or Australia. Such things will change local albedo, thus local temperatures, and will thus affect wind directions and speed. Ground-level temperature changes (from cool forest floor to wheatfield, for example) will affect air moisture levels, especially if the fields are also irrigated. Although the “butterfly effect” is largely derided, here we’re looking at several degrees of temperature change not a few millijoules of wing-flapping. Change a big enough area, and the effects will be measurable though pinpointing the exact cause will be, as usual, close to impossible.

  41. Also, one thing I should have asked in that post – As a glider pilot, where do you look for thermals?

  42. Truth, Humility vs Ignorance, Arrogance

    Truth is humbling. Therefore, arrogance
    Is the constant companion of ignorance !

  43. E.M.Smith says:


    On the micro scale or local scale there will be impacts, clearly. The problem for the “major impact” thesis is that 70% of the planet that is ocean and then added to it the large chunk of Antarctica AND the large areas of Siberia / Alaska / Canada / Sahara / Brazil that have not had changes. All that adds huge inertia. So we plant some wheat in Argentina. The Andes and oceans all around and the deserts of Chile didn’t change, so moderate and diffuse any impact.

    The simple demonstrable fact is that the Alpine areas are still Alpine. The Prairie of N.America is still a drought prone prairie (just now corn / soy where before it was other grasses). The Deserts of the world are still deserts. Tundra is still tundra. Etc. etc.

    Any changes are small and local. (So you might be able to find some measurable effect at a margin between two areas. Yet even there we’ve had Alpine margin move both down and back up mountains and we’ve had Sahel margin move back (and forth) in Africa more in tune with solar cycle changes than any human changes.)

    Heck, California had the entire central valley changed from periodic swamp / desert to consistent agricultural land via massive water projects ( stopped winter flooding and ended summer drying). No detectable changes in the Sierra Nevada mountains (just down wind) and certainly none in the desert areas and Basin and Range areas beyond. Even the local effects are very local…

    For that matter, just a ways away from any irrigated areas, the land goes back to ‘summer desert’.

    So you may choose to “disagree” all you like. But I’d rather see an “existence proof” of a major regional climate change attributable to human activity (and not the hypothetical “CO2 did it”…).

    Could we, in the future, have a significant impact? If, for example, we denuded the Amazon? While I’d be willing to say “maybe” just because it’s an especially large area of peculiar impact; the odds look pretty low to me…

  44. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts –
    European and Lower48 American Forests: It’s so true that they aren’t there anymore, always thought that their absence (and the barbaric manner in which they were disposed of;-) and the rise of concrete and the spread of asphalt and loss of the Great Praries made for the littlest of blips on someone’s screwy little CO2 graph, and as you say EM, very little. Still, I’ve always thought that heaven looked a lot like what I imagine 15th Century North America looked like –with or without a draught;-) I’m sure that the biggest impetus to human development has been draught. Mother Nature’s way of saying “Playtime’s over Kiddies! Pack up your toys, time to move!” Come to think of it, it wasn’t so much the trees, it was the absence of ‘others’ that seem to make it heaven; not all mind you, just most. Instead of blaming everything on some innocent gas, they ought to put the blame square on the back of those most responsible for all our problems; those stupid, worthless ‘other’ people! (And we all know who ‘they’ are, don’t we?;-)

    Folks do get by in little groups better than BIG groups or NO groups during times of global chaos, national turmoil, local disaster, etc.; it’s instinctive. Heck, as I think of it, people always get along better in the family/clan/neighborhood mode; the more ‘civilized’ and prosperous we become, the more we redefine who’s ‘In’ and who’s ‘Out’ of our groups and where the heck they are on the map but it’s still the same little groups. If disaster strikes, they may not be very functional anymore, and we may need to join a closer family fast. But we’re smart. We can cross that bridge if and when we ever have to. Well, maybe some of us can, if we live near a guy we haven’t said hello to in 15 years who has a few hundred pounds of lintels stored away, and a big soup pot, and…. (oh wouldn’t a little piece of Salted Person taste good in those lintels… I mean pork… I mean pork, honest EM, you know how crazy folks get when their hungry, right?;-)

    Funny thing, after a while, you can just about figure when Old Mother Nature is going to drop the hammer and say it’s time to move. Maybe that’s why everyone’s always talking about the weather.

  45. vukcevic says:

    Hi E.M.
    Belatedly I found time to read all of your article.
    My ever friend Adolfo linked to one of my web pages, which shows solar formula, based on what I consider to be an electro and magnetic feedback between solar and two gas giants magnetic fields (Saturn only plays secondary role). If the formula is extrapolated back in time as in
    it identifies nadir of Wolfs minimum (1280-1340) at 1310-1316 (see inset)
    Maybe coincidence, maybe not, probability is there but no one can put any certainty on it either way.
    (first posted herewithout inset, which was added for this post)

  46. EM – it’s not a major disagreement. What I was saying is that we don’t know. As far as I can tell, no-one actually knows why the Jet Stream takes the route it does, or why it sometimes changes – I asked a guy I know at the UK Met Office in Exeter, and he didn’t know. Weather forecasts on TV say they can’t predict what it will do. My point was basically that changing the temperature and water-content of large masses of air ought to have an effect somewhere else, but we probably can’t predict where or whether it’s going to wetter or drier in any particular place. No proof for this idea and probably no way of proving it either. Meanwhile I’ll accept the evidence from California to say it’s probably not a major effect if it’s there at all.

    Pascvaks – In the UK I can buy “Bombay Mix” which is a mixture of deep-fried pasta of various types/grains and pulses. It’s well-seasoned with curry. Amongst the mix there is normally lentils – I believe they are soaked in water and then deep-fried in oil, but not popped. Crunchy and tasty. I don’t know whether you can buy the mix in the States, but may be worth looking in a whole-food store or, if you find one, an Indian store. The lentil skins (also deep-fried) do tend to get stuck between the teeth, though.

  47. adolfogiurfa says:

    “It´s the Sun, and it´s a Solar Minimum, we, men, have nothing to do with it. Climate Change? Nope!, climate always changes.
    The Sun is at the E.R., just look its “electrocardiogram”:

  48. ArndB says:

    @ Simon Derricutt says: 20 August 2012 at 5:39 pm : “…..As far as I can tell, no-one actually knows why the Jet Stream takes the route it does, or why it sometimes changes – I asked a guy I know at the UK Met Office in Exeter, and he didn’t know. Weather forecasts on TV say they can’t predict what it will do.”

    Maybe UK Met Office and others should have listened to what the oceanographer H.U. Sverdrup (“Oceanography for Meteorologists”, New York 1942, page 223) had already told meteorologists 70 years ago:

    “It might appear, therefore, as if the oceanic
    circulation and the distribution of temperature
    and salinity in the ocean are caused by the
    atmospheric processes, but such a conclusion would be
    erroneous, because the energy that maintains the
    atmospheric circulation is to be greatly supplied
    by the oceans. ”

    Extract from a book result at:

  49. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ArndB says: “…..As far as I can tell, no-one actually knows why the Jet Stream takes the route it does, or why it sometimes changes”
    IT IS KNOWN from MANY YEARS AGO, though the keepers of the current paradigm of Official Science don´t want people to know it or they just simply don´t know it.
    Search for BIRKELAND TERRELLA, as for example:
    Birkeland proved EXPERIMENTALLY
    that those currents around the earth move according to the GMF.

  50. E.M.Smith says:


    We’re up to our eyeballs in Indian stores. I rather like them. You can get nice small pressure cooker pots at them ( originally designed / made in England, now relocated to India) with an oval lid and not a lot of complicated machinery.

    We’ve also got many kinds of Indian foods and restaurants (and only the authentic ones tend to survive thanks to the influx of H1-B visa technical folks from India).


    In addition to the terrella, there is the Ozone influence on air flow. I’ve run into an article that I’m presently reading that explains it pretty well. Interaction of several things… I’ll likely to a posting on it.


    Said article has a model that gets 0.6 out of 0.8 C variation right, so we’re getting close. Now if they would just add the electrical bits they would likely get the next 0.2 C ;-)


    Any chance you could run the model backwards to, oh, 6000 BC so we could do a comparison with all of history? ;-) Plot the rise and fall of dynasties and empires on it … So where the EU goes POOF! in 2020 ;-)

  51. Pascvaks says:

    @Simon – “The lentil skins (also deep-fried) do tend to get stuck between the teeth, though.”

    Yuck! OK, Popped Quinoa; anyone tried it? Maybe I shouldn’t even bother, I have enough bad habits already. If the Tennessee freezes I’ll just walk out on the ice, sit down, roll a little t’bacco, light up, and wait for ‘Break Up’ (lighting up out there will probably keep my mind off my stomach), might even scrape a hole and drop a hook, maybe I should get me an old port-a-potty now and modify it for ice fishing (ice, wind, and skin don’t mix too well)… always wondered why the stories said Eskimos put the Old Ones on ice, starting to make sense now… maybe i ought to stick with grits and forget the popped stuff, you know what grits and a little piece of meat make? Scrapple!;-)

  52. The very best thing that we can all do for society, world leaders and ourselves is just this: Immediately Reclaim Your Birthright !

  53. vukcevic says:

    That indeed would be astrology, lining-up falls of great empires against the sun-Jupiter-Saturn interaction. Many empires lasted x1000s of years (number of grand minima), and some are much stronger than the others.
    Since the separation of grand minima follows sequence (going back from Dalton)
    1 1 0 11 0 1 (1) etc, length of individual sections varies from119-125 years (approximately 122 years) then it follows (under proviso that J-S synodic period is 19.859 is constant, but it is not) that Grand minima would be centered at:
    1800 ……….. -152 ……….. -2226 ……….. -4178
    1678 ……….. -396 ……….. -2348 ……….. -4422
    1434 ……….. -518 ……….. -2592 ……….. -4544
    1312 ……….. -762 ……….. -2714 ……….. -4788
    1068 ……….. -884 ……….. -2958 ……….. -4910
    946 ……….. -1128 ……….. -3080 ……….. -5154
    702 ……….. -1250 ……….. -3324 ……….. -5276
    580 ……….. -1494 ……….. -3446 ……….. -5520
    336 ……….. -1616 ……….. -3690 ……….. -5642
    214 ……….. -1860 ……….. -3812 ……….. -5886
    -30 ……….. -1982 ……….. -4056 ………..

  54. E.M.Smith says:


    There can easily be percentage variation without 100% causality… Also, Charvatova has a ‘skip beat’ every couple of thousand years where a 370? or so long period has no grand minimum.

    Part of the idea would be to see if more failures happen in the more chaotic events and / or if the ones that cluster have common known causalities ( such as droughts) where those that do not cluster have no common cause.

    That is, it would be a “search for common causality” not an “assignment of causality” …

  55. adolfogiurfa says:

    it would be a “search for common causality” not an “assignment of causality” …
    I would say both have a common answer: If the Sun, as it is most probable, works with such a mysterious force which all “modern” gadgets use, i.e.: Electricity, I am sure our dear “Vuk” already knows how such a power works in the case of our Sun.

  56. E.M.Smith says:


    One would expect that the cause would arrive at solar variations, but one still does a search… in my experience, it isn’t possible to purge all “expecting” at a problem, but they can be ignored so that a proper search can still be done. Those give a ‘surprise’ often enough to make it worth the effort.

  57. vukcevic says:

    Certainly it is not simple. Major minima Maunder type are very exceptional
    with a chance of one every 500 or so years.
    Earth’s and solar magnetic field have common frequency spectra with major periods of 167 years, with every third peak at ~500 years particularly strong.
    For ‘skip beat’ I favor natural beat of 2-1 found in the sea waves, two ordinary with the third wave tipping over, it is suppose to work on the stock market too (W.D. Gann).
    This may suggest Maunder type minima at every 1500 (or plus 167, or minus 167) years.
    That is as far as I go, then give up.

  58. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Vukcevic: I have not calculated anything, but, what about the famous .666= 2/3 beat ?

  59. vukcevic says:

    You got me there.
    Let’s see, 2 ordinary waves, the third tipping over; total 2+1 =3 waves
    normal / total = 2/3 =0.666 :)

  60. vukcevic says:

    What is important to us down here is not only what sun is doing up there, but also how the Earth reacts to those changes. NASA may be able (if their budget allows) to tell us more in the near future.

  61. adolfogiurfa says:

    You know that is the real number for a Quanta emmision. Planck´s constant=0.0066252 plus local EMF interference = 0.666666….

  62. las artes says:

    – that heat from the sun is at the root cause that is affecting the earth! Other scientist have also been pointing to this and that in fact the evidence is that the earth is entering into a mini ice age. These mini-ice ages have been evident in history before causing huge famines and migrations of populations.

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