What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.
The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun’s recent behaviour all indicate that a period of unusually low solar activity may be about to begin.
Actual scientists? As opposed to Al Bore and Mittens Romneycare?
So just how cold might it get as a result of all of this?
Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past.
What? You mean that the Ice Ages weren’t caused by temperature drops due to organic farming and use of “sustainable energy sources?”
Are you saying that that giant ball of nuclear explosions in the sky might actually have some influence on Earth’s climate, even more so than Aunt Priscilla’s old Cadillac?
The debate is over! Noted seminary dropout Al Bore and famous Fabulous Hair Guy Mittens Romney have spoken!
UPDATE: Well we’ll be buggered by the entire 2nd Warwickshire Regiment of Foot if LC Darth Scoundrel didn’t point out to us what’s behind all of this. It is, of course, once again the tireless work of our Savior, Comrade Ogabe!
How could we have forgotten how the day he got the NSDWP nomination as the day when “the seas started receding?” How big of a deal would it be for that truly stupendously awesome uber-dude to tell the sun to tone it down a bit? Heck, he’d hardly have to delay his tee time for a minute to do that! We’ve been skooled, we tells ya. Well and truly SKOOLED.
(OK, we suspect LC Darth Scoundrel may have been employing that Super Sekrit Imperial Weapon, “sarcasm”, but we’ll report for reeducation camp anyway, just to be on the safe side).