Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Little Ice Age?

So, did you hear that stuff about the new little ice age?. A lack of sunspots has been linked to the the Little Ice Age, which occurred back in the 17th and 18th Century. It was a period of unusually cold weather, not a full-scale, woolly mammoth ice age (or the movie. The theory goes that the prolonged decrease in sunspots, called the Maunder Minimum, caused this time of cooler temps. It's not a theory that is out-to-lunch by any stretch of the imagine. The sun is most active when there are a large number of sunspots. A less-active sun could mean cooler temps here on Earth.

That said, could this really lead to a new little ice age? Scienties have their doubts about that. While the connection between sunspot activity and temperatures on Earth are not well understood, their is a correlation there. But the other thing to keep in mind is that the Little Ice Age took place before the Industrial Revolution. There is more carbon dioxide in the air now than back then. With the current global warming trend, should a Maunder Minimum occur, all that may happen is that the warming trend will be knocked back a little. It would give the illusion that manmade global climate change is not occurring. Then when the cycle occurs once more, sunspot activity increases, and temps start to rise, we will be right back in the position we were in before. Which wouldn't be good.

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