German scientists predict a century of global cooling

Weather Gems

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Two German scientists, Horst-Joachin Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy, say that "two naturally occurring climate cycles will combine to lower global temperatures during the next century."

They added, "by the year 2100, temperatures on this planet will plunge to levels seen at the end of the 'Little Ice Age' in 1870."

These researchers used historical data detailing temperatures as well as cave stalagmites to show a recurring 200-year solar cycle called the DeVries Cycle.

They likewise featured into their studies a well-established 65-year Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle of warming that has occurred since 1870 and will soon shift to a much cooler cycle of sea-surface temperatures, in other words, more chilly 'La Ninas' and less warm 'El Ninos.'

Solar activity is one area of evidence that scientists have used for decades in predicting both global warming and global cooling. Low sunspot activity has been linked to the 'Little Ice Age' between 1350 and 1870. The recent warmer periods have been associated with much higher than normal solar activity.

But, despite the current sunspot 'maxima' phase, which has been weaker than normal, we've seen a series of very harsh winter seasons in both hemispheres in the past several years, especially in Europe and Asia.

Already this bitterly cold 2013-14 winter season, we've seen killer blizzards and minus-40 degree actual air temperatures with wind-chill factors of minus-55 degrees on Montana's Glacier National Park earlier this month. My gas and electric bill that I received this week was near $300.

Elsewhere around the planet, it was one of the coldest and snowiest winters in 200 years in parts of South America between June and August. Some weather stations in northern Argentina and Paraguay saw their first measurable snowfalls this past July in living memory. This July likewise saw the coldest temperature ever on earth in Antarctica, an incredible minus-135.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the past 10 days, as of this Friday, Dec. 20 writing, Cairo, Egypt saw its first measurable snowfall in more than 100 years. Its domes and minarets were coated with a rare covering of snow, a picture of winter beauty. Kids of all ages had snowball fights in the streets of Cairo with ice, rather than bullets, much more fun to say the least. Imagine seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx covered in snow!

Syrian refugee camps in Jordan saw their flimsy shelters collapsed by the heavy snows. The snows in Jerusalem were the heaviest in 60 years, more than three feet deep in places. Hundreds were stranded in vehicles on impassable roads. Jerusalem's major, Nir Barkat, called the rare heavy snowstorm, "a snow tsunami."

What's next weatherwise in 2014 is anyone's guess.

NORTH IDAHO WEATHER REVIEW AND LONG-RANGE OUTLOOKS

I wrote this North Idaho weather review on a chilly, snow-covered Saturday morning, Dec. 21, the first official day of the winter season.

The temperatures was a frigid 24 degrees at my station on Player Drive at 10 a.m. More than three inches of powdery snow blanketed the landscape, a last minute gift from the departing mostly rainy fall season of 2013. Kevin Cooper had to plow my driveway for the first time this season.

The $64,000 question remains, will we still have at least an inch of snow left on the ground on Dec. 25 to quality for a WHITE CHRISTMAS? At the time of this writing, the chances were between 55 and 60 percent for the city of Coeur d'Alene and near 85 percent for areas north and east of us above 3,000 feet. Remember, I've frequently preached the 'gospel of elevation' for the past couple of months. If you're 'too low,' you get 'less snow,' pure and simple.

After a brief warmup early in the week, I see colder temperatures returning by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day along with a slight chance of more snow flurries. What bothered me this Saturday morning was the rainstorm on Monday that could "wash it all away." This is the typical 'La Nada' sea-surface winter pattern, extremes in both temperature and precipitation.

Longer-term, I still believe that the next six weeks into early February will feature slightly cooler and snowier weather conditions than normal across North Idaho and the rest of the Inland Empire. I also see the possibility of an early spring arrival this late February or March. Once again, only time will tell.

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, folks, weather or not.

Cliff Harris is a climatologist who writes a weekly column for The Press. His opinions are his own. Email sfharris@roadrunner.com

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