Renewable Farming

Hopefully, climate warming will arrive in time to offset the global chill ahead

You may not hear much about the cyclical cooling just a few years ahead. The solar cycle data pointing to a potential replay of the chilling “Maunder Minimum” of global cooling gets spiked by government and media riders on the tax-financed climate-change gravy train.

July 4, 2017 By Jerry Carlson — One data-logging retired Illinois farmer, Bill Fordham, has soldiered on for many years, tracking the double sunspot cycle and relating it to what happened to weather and climate in previous cycles. It’s part of Bill’s service at C&S Grain Market Consulting. He gave us permission to publish the chart below; normally his analysis is reserved for clients.

Natural cycles which have happened, can happen again. And what happened in the chilling “Maunder Minimum” of 1645 to 1715 were years with poor crops and social struggles worldwide. Those related closely to decades of very low solar geomagnetic activity, as measured by sunspots visible from earth.

Bill Fordham’s continuation charts show that historic patterns of solar activity (the double sunspot cycle) are shaping up for a replay of Maunder Minimum conditions during solar cycle 26, which will occur approximately 2030 to 2040. That looks a long way off, but many farmers operating now will still be farming in 2030 to 2040. In that cycle, solar geomagnetic activity will probably plunge by 60%, an exceptional decline. 

Sunspots are evidence of massive magnetic eruptions on the sun’s surface. In the 1980s and 1990s, I charted geomagnetic energy, following data from the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado. This source of solar data gains in sophistication year by year.

Many scientists around the world are also analyzing these cycles. One is Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, Great Britain. Here’s a link to a story on her paper at a 2015 meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society. 

Bill Fordham has a way of relating the cycles to crop production, and offering early caution signals to prepare for a probable cooling. Historically, warmer climate cycles have been benign for agriculture, and for civilizations worldwide. Cooler eras correlate with wars and massive social stress in which borders are swept away; people even change their religious convictions out of desperation. 

So here’s Bill’s data. The chart below is a low-resolution version from the more detailed four-page PDF file you can download here for further review. I suggest you tuck it away in a stack somewhere in your office and think about it for a few years; 2030 isn’t that far away. 

The relationship of the most recent cycles, 22, 23, and 24, closely tracks (82% correlation) the cycles leading up to the “Maunder Minimum” era. If the correlation continues, the next current cycles, 25 and 26, are a forecast of intensifying Maunder Minimum conditions. Historically these periods of low solar activity are sometimes labeled “Little Ice Ages,” though they are not consistently cold. Rather, they are erratic, with several bitterly cold winters and more frequent and violent cool stretches during growing seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The wilder summers mean less favorable growing conditions and more frequent early frosts. 

Our bottom line for you, from a crop production standpoint, is this: Gradually adapt your production strategy away from a goal of large acreage volume and high inputs which generally lead to thin profit margins per acre.  Rather, build a weather-resilient production program based on excellent soil health, inherent fertility that demands fewer purchased inputs, and generally leads to deeper profit margins per acre. That’s a strategy which will make your farming operation much more survivable in erratic seasons.

The July Wallaces Farmer quotes Elwynn Taylor, veteran climatologist at Iowa State University, dying “Weather volatility is likely to be greater in the next 20 years compared to the last 18 years.”

Update July 13, 2017: Mark Morano, originator of the website Climate Depot, just offered Al Gore a copy of the Depot’s new film, “Climate Hustle,” in a chance meeting of global war mists at Melbourne, Australia. Gore refused.  For a chuckle, visit this link to see Morano’s report, where you’ll also get information on the new Climate Hustle video.

Even if the cycles don’t repeat, the strategy of healthy, biologically based growing is a sound production model. In the worst of times, you still win — and in the best of times, you win even bigger. Besides, everyone we’ve seen who has migrated to non-GMO, non-captive biological farming is having a lot more fun and feeling more confident about the future.