As far as I can tell harvests in Europe are doing fine this year; taking a look at the FWI site in the UK there are the usual concerns about yields and prices but no real moaning about bad weather delaying harvests etc. etc. On the other hand across the pond in the USA we have a rather different story. Reading the USDA report for last week we find statements like:
Corn: Acreage at or beyond silking reached 59 percent, 28 points behind last year and 22 points behind the 5-year average.
Soybeans: Sixty-two percent of the soybean acreage was at or beyond the blooming stage, 20 points behind last year and 17 points behind normal.
Winter Wheat: Seventy-nine percent of the winter wheat crop was harvested, 8 points behind last year and 7 points behind the 5-year average. The majority of the crop was harvested in most States, except Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington. In Montana and South Dakota, harvest progress was 35 and 61 points behind normal, respectively.
Crops are late. And the further north you go the later they are. All of this is due to the nice cold winter and spring our American cousins had. If it turns out that those of us who think solar activity is a likely cause of global climate change rather than humans then we've got problems. As noted by lots of people all over the place the sun has been very very quiet this year instead of bursting with sunspots as it should be.
The sun has done this before and when it has done so it has corresponded with colder than normal temperatures - the Maunder Minimum coincided with the "Little Ice Age" of the 17th century, the Dalton minimum in the early 19th centuty also corresponded with lower temperatures and longer winters (and it didn't help that a volcano erupted causing the "year without summer" in 1816).
All this is worrying for those of us who fear that we may be re-entering a Dalton minimum period and what is even more worrying is that german researchers report that the last ice age 13000 years ago kicked off in a year or so (Hat tip AnEnglishman's Castle):
The word irony would be insufficient to define the situation (portrayed by John Ringo in The Last Centurion) where the world's leaders remain panicked about global warming while the world enters a new ice age.