The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory may be “settled science”, but the study of solar physics is not so settled and new scientific studies just released show that the Sun is about to do something “highly unusual and unexpected”. Space.com has the story:
The results of the new studies were announced today (June 14) at the annual meeting of the solar physics division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
The studies looked at a missing jet stream in the solar interior, fading sunspots on the sun’s visible surface, and changes in the corona and near the poles. [Photos: Sunspots on Earth’s Star]
“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Hill said. “But the fact that three completely different views of the sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”
“The solar cycle may be going into a hiatus,” Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory’s Solar Synoptic Network, said in a news briefing today (June 14).
Some scientists even believe we could have another Maunder Minimum.
Currently, the sun is in the midst of the period designated as Cycle 24 and is ramping up toward the cycle’s period of maximum activity. However, the recent findings indicate that the activity in the next 11-year solar cycle, Cycle 25, could be greatly reduced. In fact, some scientists are questioning whether this drop in activity could lead to a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 when the sun showed virtually no sunspots.
Now you don’t have to be a scientist to see the implication here. In a nonchalant manner the article informs us that from 1645 to 1715 there were no sunspots. I wonder if anything else happened during that time? Oh yes, I remember. Large numbers of people died from starvation and disease during the Little Ice Age.
At some point you begin to wonder if it is considered the highest form of heresy for any scientist — not just climate scientists — to say that the temperature of the Earth could fall in the future.
Of course this article was not about the climate. But the consequences of another Maunder Minimum would be a pretty big deal and maybe it would be a good idea to let the public know they should start buying more winter clothing.
However at the end of the article we do learn that “the implications could be far-reaching.” That could be the understatement of the decade.
Over at National Geographic they do make the connection between low solar activity and a colder climate:
Three independent studies of the sun’s insides, surface, and upper atmosphere all predict that the next solar cycle will be significantly delayed—if it happens at all. Normally, the next cycle would be expected to start roughly around 2020.
The combined data indicate that we may soon be headed into what’s known as a grand minimum, a period of unusually low solar activity.
The predicted solar “sleep” is being compared to the last grand minimum on record, which occurred between 1645 and 1715.
Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages.
Get ready for the big freeze. It might be a good time to invest in property in South America. But wait, what about all of that CO2 we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere? Maybe that would help warm the planet. Let’s ask a NASA scientist:
“We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don’t understand the association,” said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn’t think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.
“With what’s happening in current times—we’ve added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,” said Pesnell, who wasn’t involved in the suite of new sun studies.
“I don’t think you’d see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior.”
Here is our situation in a nutshell: The Sun may be entering a quiet phase for several decades. Some scientists believe this might result in another Maunder Minimum which could trigger another Little Ice Age. But, according to Dean Pesnell at NASA we have nothing to worry about because “we’ve added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere”.
Who knew that man-made global warming could prevent another Little Ice Age? It’s time for everyone who owns a big SUV to gas ’em up and hit the road. We’ve got a planet to save!