Suns Odd Quiet Hints at Next Little Ice Age
for National Geographic News
May 4, 2009
A prolonged lull in solar activity has astrophysicists glued to their telescopes waiting to see what the sun will do next—and how Earth's climate might respond.
The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the
dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the
Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and
The coldest period of the Little Ice Age, between 1645 and 1715, has been linked to a deep dip in solar storms known as the Maunder Minimum.
During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off
by ice, and canals in
But researchers are on guard against their concerns about a new cold snap being misinterpreted.
"[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward,"
said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the
He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call "preemptive denial" of a solar minimum leading to global cooling. . .