Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cooling Off

Time to stock up on thermal underwear?

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Not the first time that evidence has emerged of such a trend. Expect the current environuts wailing about the weather getting too nice to be crying about it getting too bad in a few years. And all the billions of dollars spent on global warming will have been wasted.

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