Following the end of the Sun’s most active period in over 11,000 years, the last 10 years have displayed a clear cooling trend as temperatures post-1998 leveled out and are now plummeting.
China recently experienced its coldest winter in 100 years while northeast America was hit by record snow levels and Britain suffered its coldest April in decades as late-blooming daffodils were pounded with hail and snow on an almost daily basis. The British summer has also left many yearning for global warming, with temperatures in June and July rarely struggling to get over 16 degrees and on one occasion even dropping as low as 9 degrees in the middle of the afternoon.
“Summer heat continues in short supply, continuing a trend that has dominated much of the 21st Century’s opening decade,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “There have been only 162 days 90 degrees or warmer at Midway Airport over the period from 2000 to 2008. That’s by far the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930.”
The reason? Sunspot activity has dwindled. There have only been a handful of days in the past two months where any sunspot activity has been observed and over 400 spotless days have been recorded in the current solar cycle.
“The sun’s surface has been fairly blank for the last couple of years, and that has some worried that it may be entering another Maunder minimum, the sun’s 50-year abstinence from sunspots, which some scientists have linked to the Little Ice Age of the 17th century,” reports one science blog.
Long-time man-made global warming advocates NASA assure us that significant sunspot activity will return in 2012, but a recent a paper on recent solar trends by William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, predicts that sunspots will all but vanish after 2015.
Since the sun, and not carbon dioxide, is the principle driver of climate change, a dearth of sunspot activity would herald a repeat of the Maunder Minimum, the name given to the period roughly from 1645 to 1715, when sunspots became exceedingly rare and contributed to the onset of the Little Ice Age during which Europe and North America were hit by bitterly cold winters and the Thames river in London completely froze.
Forecasts of a sharp cooling trend are backed by the UK’s Armagh Observatory, which has been observing solar activity for over 200 years.
The observatory notes that solar cycles 21 and 22, which were characterized by being short and intense in their activity, led to the natural global warming observed in the 80’s and 90’s.
“Cycle 23, which hasn’t finished yet, looks like it will be long (at least 12 to 13 years) and cycle 24, which has still to start, looks like it will be exceptionally weak,” writes one observatory scientist.
“Based on the past Armagh measurements, this suggests that over the next two decades, global temperatures may fall by about 2 degrees C — that is, to a level lower than any we have seen in the last 100 years….“Temperatures have already fallen by about 0.5 degrees C over the past 12 months and, if this is only the start of it, it would be a serious concern,” concludes David Watt.