You may have missed a few brief mentions of an emerging threat in the mainstream news: The face of the sun has gone mostly blank in the past few years, with an extremely low number of sunspots. There have only been sunspots visible on the the sun for 133 days in the past year. The last three solar cycles have become progressively weaker. There is now a legitimate concern that because there have been several very weak solar cycles in succession, that we could tip over into another Grand Solar Minimum (GSM).
This potentially developing GSM could be something similar to the Maunder Minimum that lasted from 1645 to 1715. (Or even longer, depending the climatologist you consult.) In northern Europe, the Maunder Minimum was famous for decades of brutal winters in the deepest part of what is commonly called The Little Ice Age. This climate aberration caused huge crop failures that may have triggered or exacerbated the Anglo-Spanish War, the Second Northern War, the Austro-Turkish War, the War of Devolution, the Franco-Dutch War, two Russo-Turkish Wars, the Great Turkish War, the Nine Years War, and countless smaller civil wars and pillaging. Notably, the River Thames in England froze quite deeply, in 1677. (As shown in today’s illustration.) It was also during the Maunder Minimum that the Vikings abandoned all of their settlements in Greenland.
According to climate historian Dagomar DeGroot, the Maunder minimum had profound sociological, economic, and political effects. He wrote: “As growing seasons shortened, food shortages spread, economies unraveled, and rebellions and revolutions were quick to follow. Cooling was not always the primary cause for contemporary disasters, but it often played an important role in exacerbating them.”
For some background on the current GSM prediction, see this article by Michael Snyder: Climate Chaos: Following Record Heat This Summer, Experts Are Predicting There Will Be A Nightmarishly Cold Winter
But getting back to a much more mainstream source of information: The Old Farmer’s Almanac is famous for the accuracy of its long range weather predictions. For the winter of 2018-2019, they have predicted a very cold winter, east of the Great Divide. Be ready for a cold winter. And if you feel convicted to do so, then get ready for a long series of hard winters.
First, study. Make your own assessment of the risk of a GSM in this solar cycle, or the next. Next, if you deem that threat credible, then evaluate your own locale and your personal/family situation. Then tailor a plan to suit your particular needs in your climate zone. Lastly, Stock up! Food storage makes doubly-good sense: Both as a means to feed your family in the midst of famine, and as a hedge on future food price inflation. Widespread crop failures always will accelerate food prices much faster than the underlying ongoing currency inflation. Likewise, stored firewood, coal, and liquid fuels make good sense–for the same two reasons.
If you live inside of city limits, then inquire about the maximum quantity of propane, gasoline and other liquid fuels that can legally be stored. Outside of city limits, store all the fuel that you will need for two years of isolation, plus some extra for barter and charity. (Again, consult state and local laws.) If you can afford it, then buy underground fuel tanks. This makes your fuel storage much less obvious to visitors or passers by. It is also substantially safer than above ground tanks, for fire and ballistic protection.
Be prepared for extended power outages. Unless you live in Florida, buy thermal underwear and true mil-spec cold weather clothing for every member of your family. Preferably, this clothing should be in muted forest or earth tone colors, so that it can double for tactical use.
The next priority is getting a true winter sleeping bag for every member of your family. I have long recommended the Wiggy’s brand FTRSS which incorporates two sleeping bags. This is not just some casual product recommendation. It comes following a lengthy trial. I slept in a single Wiggy’s bag on a carpeted floor for six years, when I had severe back problems, following a black ice rollover accident. Over the course of those years, I laundered that bag so many times that it was the equivalent of more than a full lifetime of recreational backpacking use. That bag never lost any loft, and the zipper never failed. Again, I highly recommend them. They are worth every penny. (Oh, and unlike most of their competitors, the Wiggy’s brand is American made, in Colorado.)
I realize that you might not have room to plant a garden or build a greenhouse. And if you live in an apartment, you might not have room for much food storage. But at least be prepared to grow sprouts, indoors.
Those of you who live at a high latitude or at very high elevation should consider making contingency plans for relocation.
I’ve just scratched the surface of this topic in this brief article. For greater detail on a potential GSM and how to survive it, I can recommend a book. It is: Cold Times: How to Prepare for the Mini Ice Age, by Dr. Anita Bailey, PhD.
In closing, pray. If this possible GSM does indeed occur, we will be in for some truly calamitous times. – JWR