Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Sun Could be Heading into Period of Extended Calm

We were expecting to reach the next solar maxima around 2011–2012. However, space weather experts have been surprised over the past few years to report very few signs that the number of sunspots has been picking up since the last solar minimum in 2006. This has prompted some space scientists to forecast that we are heading towards another prolonged spell of quiet sunspot activity, the last of which was observed between 1645 and 1715 in a period called the "Maunder Minimum".

The Maunder Minimum occurred during a cold, mini "Ice Age", period in the Earth's history. It is still not known whether this sun spot cycle was related to the Earth's temperature at that time.

However, we are at the potential end point of an interglacial period so we could be headed back into the deep freeze. Watch out for snow falling in the winter months that doesn't end up melting during the "summer".

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, September 30th, 2009.]

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