Could the Sun's unusual behavior herald a new ice age?

Not by Fire but by Ice

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Could the Sun's unusual behavior
herald a new ice age?

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27 Jan 09 – (Excerpts) “For about 50 years from roughly 1650 to 1700, the Sun took a break from its typical sunspot activity. That phase of solar rest coincided with what we now refer to as "The Little Ice Age" -- a period of cooling on the Earth that resulted in bitterly cold winters, particularly in Europe and North America. Scientists attribute the Little Ice Age to two main causes: increased volcanic activity and reduced solar activity.”

“Could it happen again? And are we headed there now?”

          This is a very good article describing how the present low solar activity
          might -  or might not - lead to another Little Ice Age.

          One scientist maintains that "everything we're seeing now we've seen
          the Sun do before, and it still went on to produce a normal solar cycle."  

          But Tom Woods, Associate Director for Technical Divisions at the
          Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), points out that
          the magnetic field at the Sun's poles is about 40 percent lower than
          normal at solar minimum. The last time the polar field was that weak
           coincided with lower-than-average global temperatures.

          Even a smaller solar cycle could induce some cooling on Earth, says
          Woods, but it's unlikely that we're headed into a Little Ice Age.

           "It's probably unlikely that we will go into a phase where we don't
           have any sunspot activity for 50 years,” says Woods. “We can't
           eliminate the possibility, but I would say the probability is not high."

See entire article by Laurie J. Schmidt  
http://www.popsci.com/node/31506
Thanks to John Sumption for this link

 

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