Daily Archives: June 14, 2011

Solar Cycles and Water Resources

For many years a few solar scientists have predicted a period of cooling as a result of decreased sun spot activity. No one paid much attention.  Click here for one such peer-reviewed paper published in 2006. (Lavoisier Group)

Recently the Southwest Research Institute Planetary Science Directorate issued a press release on this very topic, announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting.  Click here for the complete press release and discussion of its significance. (Watts Up With That)

Does this matter to water providers?  Yes!  Click for a paper discussing observations in South Africa. This paper was presented in 2007…..has any water supplier in U.S. taken this seriously? Not really.  From what I have seen attention has only been given to using global climate models or subsets thereof to model hypothetical CO2 impacts on global temperatures by those interests pushing an agenda (either to get more research funding or see more regulations).

Alexander et al (2007) examined the relationship between solar activity, climate predictability, and water resources in South Africa.   A regular grouping of alternate sequences of wet and dry years was found to be linked with a 21-year periodicity.  An important characteristic was that the most extreme conditions occur at the beginning of the periods (floods) and at the end of the periods (droughts) with sudden reversals from droughts to floods that identified the beginning of the periods. In addition, no evidence could be found of trends in the data that could be attributed to human activities. These authors conclude:

“It is extremely important that all those involved with water resource studies should appreciate that there are fundamental flaws in current global climate models used for climate change applications. These models fail to accommodate the statistically significant, multiyear periodicity in the rainfall and river flow data observed and reported by South African scientists and engineers for more than the past 100 years. They also failed to predict the recent climate reversals based on Alexander’s model (Alexander 1995b, 2005a). The global climate model outputs can therefore not be used for adaptation studies.”

“All those who have a genuine interest in the prosperity of our country and the welfare of its peoples are urged to assist in the development of joint strategies to optimise future water resource development and management. Those who have expressed concerns regarding the environmental consequences associated with water resource development should appreciate that the provision of water to meet rising demands is essential for the prosperity of any nation. South Africa does not have the luxury of abundant water supplies. The provision of water and conservation of the water environment are non-commensurate objectives in that one cannot be met without sacrificing the other. Reasoned compromises will have to be made. This can only happen if all parties have a sound knowledge of the multiyear properties of rainfall and river flow. It is hoped that the information in this paper will go a long way towards meeting this requirement.”

Could a similar statement be made for the U.S.?

Fred Pontius