Are you ready for bone-chilling cold this winter? The Old Farmer’s Almanac and other weather forecasters that rely on solar activity as a factor in their weather forecasts are projecting that this upcoming winter will be bitterly cold. Solar activity is at a 100-year low, and even though we were supposed to be in the midst of a solar maximum this year, our sun has been eerily quiet. So precisely what in the world is going on?
There have been other periods throughout history when solar activity has been extraordinarily quiet, and those times have corresponded with periods of extreme cold. For example, the “Maunder Minimum” which stretched from 1645 to 1715 corresponded with the most bitterly cold period that the earth experienced in the last 1000 years. So could we be heading toward another “mini-ice age”? That is a question that some scientists are now beginning to ask.I would note that there has been an onset of snow storms in the United States. The Chicago Tribune reports:
A rare and fierce October snowstorm rolled out over the central Rocky Mountains on Friday, downing trees and forcing closures of state offices and 380 miles of Interstate 90 across parts of Wyoming and South Dakota, state highway officials said.
The storm dropped up to 37 inches of snow in parts of the Black Hills region of western South Dakota, according to a Rapid City National Weather Service report.
"It's not normal this time of year, but it is not unheard of," said Cory Martin, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in North Platte, Nebraska. "But this amount of snow for an October storm is on the higher end."This article notes that snow has fallen early at Crater Lake, in Oregon.
Peru has declared a state of emergency in 10 regions as temperatures in the Andes this week plunged to their lowest levels in decades.
Tens of thousands of animals, including valuable alpacas, have died and crops have been ruined as heavy snowstorms continue to sweep the area. About 100,000 people living in vulnerable mountain communities, some as high as 15,000ft, have been affected.
Oxfam said Peru authorities suspected the extreme weather had been triggered by climate change. "The people at these high altitudes say that year after year the climate impacts are becoming stronger," said the charity's country co-ordinator, Frank Boeren. "The climate is more extreme and unpredictable, and there is more snow and hail and more frequent frozen spells in January and February." Some government aid had been delivered, he added.