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Inactive sun could herald new mini-Ice Age

Posted on Sunday, 19 January, 2014 | Comment icon 107 comments

The sun is becoming less and less active. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Paul Anderson

Scientists remain perplexed by the inexplicable and severe lack of activity being exhibited by the sun.

The sun's activity has dropped to such an extent that there are fears that it could trigger a miniature Ice Age similar to the one that occurred during the 17th century when the sun entered an extremely quiet phase that became known as the Maunder Minimum.

"I've been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I've never seen anything quite like this," said astrophysicist Richard Harrison. The lack of solar activity is particularly surprising because the sun is currently at the peak of its cycle at a time when activity should be at its most intense.

Scientists have warned that it is quite possible that the sun will become increasingly quiet, leading to much colder winters, especially in Europe. The last time this happened both the Baltic Sea and the River Thames froze over.

"It's a very active research topic at the present time, but we do think there is a mechanism in Europe where we should expect more cold winters when solar activity is low," said space environment physicist Professor Mike Lockwood.

Source: | Comments (107)

Tags: Sun, Ice Age

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #98 Posted by hammerclaw on 29 January, 2014, 22:41
So, just in my lifetime, we've gone from worrying about Nuclear Winter, to Global Warming and now to a Mini Ice Age?
Comment icon #99 Posted by Doug1o29 on 30 January, 2014, 0:16
US and Russian subs still play hide-and-seek in the oceans and we still have a lot of missiles pointed at each other. An accident is still very possible. India and Pakistan are shooting at each other over Kashmir and they both have nuclear weapons. North Korea and Iran are rattling sabers. And then there's nuclear terrorism. Nuclear winter is only 100 or so megatons away. The risks are still very real. Global warming is still with us and likely to get worse. The downturn in solar activity hasn't yet started to affect global temps in any way that can be measured. And the sola... [More]
Comment icon #100 Posted by DieChecker on 30 January, 2014, 1:20
WHAT? Everyone else is trying to catch up? QUICK Everybody, go out and get a fourth family car. We don't want the Red Chinese to have more cars then us.... Merika!!! (Sarcasm?)
Comment icon #101 Posted by DieChecker on 30 January, 2014, 1:23
You know the countering arguement, right? That the uber-religious are still going to have 10 kids each, if they are allowed to. So Mormons, Muslims, and Catholics (maybe) still will have big families and will therefore begin to gain percentage of the population and eventually gain popular control of governments. It is interesting logic, but in practice I think it still ranks as a Conspiricy Theory.
Comment icon #102 Posted by DieChecker on 30 January, 2014, 1:32
Yeah, but isn't that combined Ocean and Land data? Are the oceans heating up faster or slower then the land measurements? If oceans are heating up "rapidly" that would say to me that it is comparable to the land values.
Comment icon #103 Posted by Doug1o29 on 30 January, 2014, 2:09
Maybe so with Mormon, Muslim and Catholic men (and maybe an occasional woman), but wherever women could control their family sizes, they have, religion notwithstanding. Women just don't want the health problems and headaches that go with too many children. As one Catholic couple I know said in reference to the Pope's stand on birth control: "You no play the game, you no make the rules." Doug
Comment icon #104 Posted by Doug1o29 on 30 January, 2014, 2:11
Those URLs contain both land and sea data. And I've heard that the oceans are warming faster than land, but I haven't checked the actual numbers. Doug
Comment icon #105 Posted by MonkeyLove on 31 January, 2014, 10:16
More like BRIC and emerging markets: "The rise of the global middle class"
Comment icon #106 Posted by DieChecker on 3 February, 2014, 2:06
Isn't that only going to happen if there isn't a Collapse? With oil disappearing and alternative energy sources not taking up the slack, I'd think that the middle class would soon start to reverse into Poverty. At least that is how the Doom and Gloom crowd seem to be portraying the future...
Comment icon #107 Posted by MonkeyLove on 3 February, 2014, 12:25
Re: your question, that's my point. For the second sentence, that's inevitable no matter how the future is portrayed.

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