Unexpected winter heating costs can lead to financial stress at the coldest time. Is our recent streak of mild winters about to be broken? What could it mean to your wallet?
It is well known by now that the sun has been in a protracted minimum state. Solar irradiance
has declined significantly as a consequence
Recent winters have been mild. This behavior is not atypical of 1-2 years leading up to solar minimums. The second diagram places our region firmly in the warm spot during the most recent periods of declining solar activity.
I am worried that many families are unaware of the dramatic shift in winter temperatures which appears LIKELY to be on the way.
In terms of heating degree days 1976-77 is the King of Cold with a whopping 2796! This value is nearly 50% greater than last winter (2008-09). I PROMISE that the relationship between heating degree days and amount of energy needed to warm a space is NOT LINEAR.
Other solar minimum seasons were also much colder than last year's season. 1986-76 was 2273 and 1995-96, a similar 2270. Both near 24% greater than last year!
I am not yet able to be more specific about the 2009-10 Winter. It is difficult for me to see a pattern of colder winters correlated to passing a solar minimum not repeat this time. Therefore my recommendation is to have a plan for how substantially increased heating costs will be paid.
Source Link: examiner.com