How significant is this? Well, it’s coming at a time when fuel prices are hitting new highs daily, food prices are shooting up thanks in part to commodities speculators and fuel transportation costs, China and India are becoming wealthier and their energy demand is up, and energy companies have been prohibited from exploiting known oilfields due to “environmental” concerns. The timing sucks in terms of more costly food production and transportation simultaneously hitting countries whose harvests will be adversely affected by cold and/or drought, for countries reeling under the devastation of the poultry industry by the H5N1 virus and rice shortages, and for the people that are going to have to deal with colder winters for years to come.
Here is a short history of PDO phase shifts:
In 1905, PDO switched to a warm phase.
In 1946, PDO switched to a cool phase.
In 1977, PDO switched to a warm phase.
California agriculture has ridden a wave of success on that PDO warm phase since 1977, experiencing unprecedented growth. Now that PDO is shifting to a cooler phase, areas that supported crops during the warm phase may no longer be able to do so.
Cheap imported/transported foods are not going to be as inexpensive anymore. This could be a business opportunity for somebody with some unused land and the ability to grow food that did not do so previously because he/she was priced out of the market by lower-priced foods from across the nation as well as internationally.
So, what is a person to do? Shrug. Nothing, if you worship at the Church of Man-Made Global Warming with the Reverend Al Gore. Your mind is already made up.
For everybody else, I’d investigate to see what the weather in my area was like during the previous cold oscillation and prepare accordingly. Even though I live in Florida, my insulation ain’t all that it could be, and new energy efficient windows would probably be a good idea, particularly with electricity costs going up.