Saturday, 14 April 2012

Theodor Landscheidt

Theodor Landscheidt
Theodor Landscheidt (1927 - 2004) was an author, astrologer and amateur climatologist. Wikipedia says this about him:-

In 1989, Landscheidt forecast a period of sunspot minima after 1990, accompanied by increased cold, with a stronger minimum and more intense cold which should peak in 2030 which he described as the "Landscheidt Minimum" His work on solar cycles is cited by global warming skeptics to argue that observed warming is not anthropogenic and will soon be reversed, based on an assumption that fluctuations in climate are controlled by solar activity.

The Wikipedia entry is accurate but very misleading. I don't think many climate sceptics cite Landscheidt or make much use of his work - after all, the guy was an astrologer.

I don't hold that against him though, in spite of making fun of astrology on this blog. If he made a claim about sunspots and climate then the fact that he was an astrologer doesn't invalidate those claims. Only the sun and the climate can do that.

Oddly enough, we are now well into a sunspot minimum and the earth hasn't warmed for about ten to fifteen years. The loss of Arctic sea ice has stabilized and severe winters with heavy snowfalls have been common for the last few years.  

Maybe Landscheidt's work is worth keeping an eye on, astrologer or not. Maybe he was right for the wrong reasons, but he doesn't have the right credentials and that matters even though it should not. I'm no solar expert, but I am interested in behaviour and the way we assign, over-assign and under-assign credence to people.

So even if Landscheidt's predictions are fully vindicated by 2030, I don't think the period will end up being called the "Landscheidt Minimum". You can check out his work here and here.


Woodsy42 said...

Aparently Newton was an alchemist, but that didn't stop him doing (what's now considered) real science.

But astrology, like alchemy, was considered a science. It's likely that someone skilled in looking for and researching evidence of celestial influences on people's lives - ie an educated astrologer - is exactly the person who would notice and study sun activity cycles. Probably more so than a so-called 'climate scientist'.

A K Haart said...

Woodsy - I agree, we place far too much weight on mainstream credentials even though progress often comes from offbeat thinkers.