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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mini Ice Age? Sunspot Cycle Is 'Going Into Hibernation'

US Air Force Research Laboratory and National Solar Observatory (NSO) have done three separate analysis of the sun's recent behavior and hypothesize that the Earth may be headed into what they term a "mini ice age" because the sunspot cycle is going into hibernation.

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

Then they show this little tidbit from NASA:

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the "Little Ice Age" when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past.

H/T Memeorandum.