[Update 2013/11/01: Solar Activity and the so-called “Little Ice Age” is sufficient evidence of Lockwood’s opinion].
Sigh. Paul Hudson (remember him?) says Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist, and the person he purports to rely in is Mike Lockwood, who is sane. However, if you look closely there is no direct quotation of ML in the article, so I think I’d be very cautious in interpreting it.
But if you want to know what ML actually thinks on the subject of future solar variations and their probable effects on climate, then reading a recent paper of his, Jones, G. S., Lockwood, M. and Stott, P. A. (2012) What influence will future solar activity changes over the 21st century have on projected global near-surface temperature changes? Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (D5). D05103. ISSN 0148-0227 looks like a good idea. And the abstract is (my bold):
During the 20th century, solar activity increased in magnitude to a so-called grand maximum. It is probable that this high level of solar activity is at or near its end. It is of great interest whether any future reduction in solar activity could have a significant impact on climate that could partially offset the projected anthropogenic warming. Observations and reconstructions of solar activity over the last 9000 years are used as a constraint on possible future variations to produce probability distributions of total solar irradiance over the next 100 years. Using this information, with a simple climate model, we present results of the potential implications for future projections of climate on decadal to multidecadal timescales. Using one of the most recent reconstructions of historic total solar irradiance, the likely reduction in the warming by 2100 is found to be between 0.06 and 0.1 K, a very small fraction of the projected anthropogenic warming. However, if past total solar irradiance variations are larger and climate models substantially underestimate the response to solar variations, then there is a potential for a reduction in solar activity to mitigate a small proportion of the future warming, a scenario we cannot totally rule out. While the Sun is not expected to provide substantial delays in the time to reach critical temperature thresholds, any small delays it might provide are likely to be greater for lower anthropogenic emissions scenarios than for higher-emissions scenarios.
[Oh, yeah, and the bit in the blog about Mann is stupid, too. As he says “Hey Beeb (@BBC). Yes “I AM ‘vociferous advocate’ of global warming.. & relativity, quantum mech, all 3 laws of thermo,..”]
[Update: Lockwood thinks he was misrepresented:
[Looking further down, we get a comment from PH:
“Paul Hudson Has anyone actually read my article? It makes it very clear that the main effect would be regional. It says that most scientists believe global impact – along the lines of research my Michael mann in 2001 of 0.3c to 0.4c cooling (research I specifically link to) – would be temporary and ‘swamped’ by global warming. That element wasn’t even attributed to my interview with mike who did only discuss with me regional impacts. I added the mann research.I think you guys need to take a deep breath and calm down. Anyone point to any inaccuracies in the article do please tell me I’d he very curious to know where they are.”
Now this is quite interesting. If you re-read the original piece (here web-cited) then it does indeed say:
“It’s known by climatologists as the ‘Little Ice Age’, a period in the 1600s when harsh winters across the UK and Europe were often severe. The severe cold went hand in hand with an exceptionally inactive sun, and was called the Maunder solar minimum. Now a leading scientist from Reading University has told me that the current rate of decline in solar activity is such that there’s a real risk of seeing a return of such conditions.”
So arguably the piece is only about regional temperature. I’d still be pretty dubious that Lockwood has predicted a chance of LIA-type severe winters for Europe. Hopefully he’ll clarify what he really thinks in a somewhat more citeable forum than facebook.]