The temps dropped below zero last night in Chicago, marking the first time temps hit that mark this earlier in a year since 1995.
What was the winter of 1995-1996 like?
–The 2nd worst snowstorm in New York City history
-Record snowfall to Boston; 107.6 inches. Collapsed roofs, cars buried in snow and snow banks were common in Beantown that year.
-Snowiest winter in Connecticut history.
-An abnormally cold and snowy winter in the Eastern half of the US
-Seasonal snowfall records from Duluth, MN to Jackson, Kentucky, through Ohio and all the way to Sault Ste Marie, Maine
Is this a harbinger of things to come this year? While I am not a meteorologist, I play one in the propane industry. Here are my thoughts.
THE SUN: It’s been quiet….unexpectedly quiet for what was supposed to be a solar maximum period (a great deal of sunspots). Every 11 years the sun fluxates between maximum and minimum periods, with temps higher during the maximums and lower during the minimums. This data has been tracked for hundreds of years and lines up quote well. So this summer and winter were supposed to be hot and moderate..except the sunspots did not show up and this winter is off to a frigid start. The last time we experienced a ‘typical’ solar minimum? Right around 1995 going into 1996. See the graphic below (then more text below that)
Here is a link that talks more about sunspot activity, or the lack thereof in 2013. The sun’s magnetic polarity flips every 11 years with these cycles…and is doing so now…but the expected solar maxim that should have come along with it just isn’t happening. This one is weird, but it looks COLD!
Could we be entering a ‘Grand Solar Minimum’ period, the last one experienced in the 1700’s (referred to as the Maunder Minimum) where there were no sunspots for 70 years and spawned unusual cooling in several regions around the globe?
If you are REALLY into weather discussions like this, click on this link…it discusses Maunder Minimums AS WELL AS Dalton Minimums. They are fairly certain we’re entering a Grand Minimum phase…I don’t know enough to be sure and truth is they probably don’t either. But it’s possible. If so, it would be pretty good news for the industry at a time when it badly needs it. Here’s one more link that leans towards a Dalton Minimum