It is Time to Bury the Grand Solar Minimum Myth

by J. Vinos, Feb 19, 2023 in WUWT

Fourteen years ago, a new climate myth was born. A grand solar minimum (GSM) was in the making that would not only reverse global warming but plunge the planet into a new Little Ice Age, surprising the warming alarmists and causing undue suffering. The time has come to bury that myth.

1. The origin of the myth

The deep solar minimum of 2008-2009 was a complete surprise to solar physicists. They did not know that solar activity could become so low because it had not occurred during the time of solar observations with modern instrumentation. In 2009, a solar scientist named Habibullo Abdussamatov published a paper in Russian in which he argued that the following years would see a major cooling based on the onset of a new GSM. His evidence was

  • The low solar activity of the then ongoing solar cycle (SC) minimum 23-24.

  • A bicentennial cycle in solar activity that supposedly decreased solar activity after 1600 and after 1800

  • The pause in global warming since 1998

Figure 1. From Abdussamatov 2009. “The Sun defines the climate”. Nauka i Zhizn, N1, pp. 34-42.

This prediction reached the West and became very popular, like any catastrophic prediction, actually. Articles about the arrival of a GSM proliferated on climate blogs, such as the one on WUWT: The ‘Baby Grand’ has arrived.

Other scientists, such as Livingston & Penn and de Jager & Duhau, joined Abdussamatov in 2009 in proposing the arrival of a GSM, though being more cautious about its climatic effects. It went so far as to threaten the global warming narrative at a time under assault from the Pause and Climategate. Thus, none other than Stefan Rahmstorf came to their defense saying that according to the models

“a new Maunder-type solar activity minimum cannot compensate for global warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions.”

(Feulner & Rahmstorf 2010)

2. 2012-2015, the myth’s golden years