This Might Not End Well — Sunspot Activity Is Trending Toward Zero By As Early As 2016

With all the talk of global warming and the trillions of investment and forgone economic growth politicians and the major media tell us we must sacrifice to prevent it, there has been little discussion among activists, politicians and the media about the role of the sun in the matter.  Notwithstanding its central role in heating the planet, the sun seems to be all but ignored.

Solar activity, specifically sunspot activity, changes through cycles that last about eleven years.  The highest point of sunspot activity is called the Solar Maximum, and the point of lowest activity is called the Solar Minimum. 

Solar astronomers and some climate change researchers have noticed a significant decrease in sunspot activity over the past several years, as we transition from what is known as Solar Cycle 23 to Solar Cycle 24.   Solar Cycle 23 was unusually long, and the transition to Solar Cycle 24 was unusually quiet, with a large number of spotless days in 2008 and 2009.  

Now, solar astronomers Matthew Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, have released a paper in which they conclude that the trend overall sunspot magnetic field strength implies that there will be “half the number of sunspots in Cycle 24 compared to Cycle 23, and . . . virtually no sunspots in Cycle 25.” 

The last time we had an extended period with virtually no sunspots is known as the Maunder Minimum, a period roughly from 1645 to 1715, when sunspots were extremely rare.  Another period of observed very low sunspot activity was the Dalton Minimum, which occurred from about 1790 to 1830.  

Why is this relevant?  Well, the Maunder Minimum corresponds with the so-called “Little Ice Age,” an era in which Europe and North America had bitterly cold winters, leading to starvation and the migration of populations.  The Dalton Minimum corresponds with another period of exceptionally cold weather, including 1816, “the Year Without a Summer.”  

Wouldn’t it be ironic if global warming activists had it exactly backwards, and we are entering a cooling period?  It would also be quite scary, since cooling temperatures are a much greater threat to human life and activity than warming temperatures. 



Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] we don’t know what the climate impact of these Dalton Minimum sized numbers may […]

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