Attention landscapers, farmers, gardeners, water districts and firewardens, New England and all of the Midwest are very likely to experience a drought, starting now and lasting off and on, for the next two or more years. There is a well established 17.2 year cycle of drought and conversely wet periods. The most recent dry cycle occured in 1998 and again in 2001 to 2002. You may recall that we had a dry period in the early 1980s, basked by the dust from the Mount St. Helen volcano. In the mid-1960s (roughly from 1964 to 1965, to be exact), New England underwent a very cool, dry, summer.

I recall that the hay crop on my father’s farm was short and had only one cutting. We all knew about the dry spell that occured 17 years before that, from 1947 to 1949. Those were the years of the forest fires here in Southern Maine as well as Bar Harbor. So here we are about 68 to 69 years later, or four times 17.2. The natural cycle for drought is back. How serious it may be is still to be experienced. I surmise that it will likely be a tough one.

Added to the phenomenon: the sun, the center of our solar system, as started on a lessening sunspot cycle. This cycle of sunspots is very close to 11.1 years. We just went through a peak from 2013 to 2014. Imagine, if you will, that most sunspot cycles go up to a level of 10, then decline at a level of 2, then repeat that again and again. Sometimes it does not go up to 10 and this time it only went to 5 and the next time the peak of the cycle will be lower than 5. Think of a bouncing tennis ball that bounces lower until it finally rolls on the ground. High sunspot activity brings warm periods similar to the recent period. With the sun going through a long, low, two cycles, we are likely to experience much colder temperatures. How much colder will it be? In the severe part of the cold cycle the temperatures can average 2-4 degrees fahrenheit. That period will likely be in the years 2029 to 2032. Remember this February 2015. It averaged 6.3 degrees colder in Portland and over 13 degrees colder in Bangor. Get used to these drastic new numbers. Oh, yes. We will also have summers and growing seasons. but they will not be what we think as normal.

Folks, do not doubt me. Sunspot cycles are one of the most recorded of all cycles. The Chinese and Russians and the U.S. all have studied to understand what is in the future for us. Our news outlets have been coerced into ”˜Global Warming’. Just pray that we do not have volcanoes spewing tons and tons of dust on the upper stratosphere. That will only exasperate the cooling that will occur.

Lawrence Dwight

Kennebunk