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Scientists predict rare 'hibernation' of sunspots
WASHINGTON (AFP) – For years, scientists have been predicting the Sun would by around 2012 move into solar maximum, a period of intense flares and sunspot activity, but lately a curious calm has suggested quite the opposite.
According to three studies released in the United States on Tuesday, experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century.
Experts are now probing whether this period of inactivity could be a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645-1715, a period known as the "Little Ice Age."
"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate," said Hill.
Little Ice AgeThe Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle — and coldest part — of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters. Whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters has not been proven; however, lower earth temperatures have been observed during low sunspot activity. The winter of 1708–9 was extremely cold.
 Other observations
Solar activity events recorded in radiocarbon.
Graph showing proxies of solar activity, including changes in sunspot number and cosmogenic isotope production.Some scientists hypothesize that the dense wood used in Stradivarius instruments was caused by slow tree growth during the cooler period. Instrument maker Antonio Stradivari was born a year before the start of the Maunder Minimum.
Originally posted by juleol
reply to post by freestonew
It wont happen over as short time span as a year... The temperature will most likely drop off over years and i think we might be in the very start of this period now.
Either way temps will most likely come down if sun is one of the major climate drivers.
Originally posted by snowspirit
Being where I am, our winters are already bitterly cold, down to -40 celcius, and then add wind chill. I'm not worried about the winters, you get used to it.
I read both the links, and couldn't find anything about the summers. If we still have some kind of summer, we can still grow some food, or pick wild stuff. Plus the trees will survive.
Did the mini ice age still have summers? Even if short ones? I'm not finding much info on that, might be time to stock up on some stuff. At least with lots of snow, there's still water