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By Climatologist Cliff Harris

 I’ve received numerous letters, phone calls and e-mails lately asking me to give my reasons for believing that our planet has cooled off a bit in the past decade.

Why don’t I agree with the an AP news reports claiming the ‘opposite’ position that "global warming continues to bake the Earth."

Well, according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, in the 11 years since the last warm cycle peaked in 1998, global temperatures have already dropped 0.6 degrees Celsius, or a bit more than a full degree Fahrenheit. Half of that cooling has occurred since early 2007 when our Sun went ‘silent.’

Recently, parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including the central U.S., observed one of the coolest summers since the end of the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ in 1850.

October of 2009 was the third coldest since at least 1895 in the U.S., more than 4 degrees below normal. For Kansas and Oklahoma, it was the most frigid October in recorded history dating back to the Civil War Days.

As of this mid-November writing, the 2009 harvest season in the nation’s midsection has been one of the latest on record. Only half of the 2009 corn crop was "in the bins." The rest of the crop was still "trapped in the fields of mud and slime" on November 19.

All-time record snows were gauged in parts of Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Colorado during October of 2009. One station west of Cheyenne, Wyoming was buried by more than FOUR FEET of the white stuff just before Halloween, a nasty ‘trick’ indeed from Ma Nature.

Locally, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we observed our coldest morning for so early in the season since at least 1895 with a bone-chilling 15 degrees on Columbus Day, October 12. Our birdbath froze solid! Late-season gardens were ‘blackened’ by the week of hard freezes between October 7-14, likewise the most frigid early autumn week on record. Record low maximum readings near 40 degrees, more typical of the same period in November, were observed on November 10, 11 and 12. Leaves turned color overnight!

Elsewhere around the world during October, there were record early season snows in China, Japan and Norway. In the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand observed record cold readings for early spring and the heaviest late-season snows on record, more than THREE FEET in places.

In Europe, October of 2009 was the coldest such period on record in Germany, Denmark and northeastern France, where ‘rare’ October snowflakes were reported.