Hello Al Gore: Low Sun Spot Cycle Could Mean another 'Little Ice Age'

The sun is known to be the main driver of all weather and climate. With 99.86% of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of violent fire in the sky has recently gone quiet in what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century and actually flatlined in recent days. Weak solar cycles, like the current one, have been associated with benign “space weather” that can cause a “Little Ice Age.”

Al Gore argues for draconian cuts in U.S. economic activity to mitigate the man-made “greenhouse effect” that will lead to “global warming and the end of civilization”. Gore’s theory posits that solar energy from the sun that readily penetrates into the lower atmosphere onto the surface of Earth and is converted to heat cannot freely leave the planet because it is being increasingly trapped by a buildup of greenhouse gases.

Strong solar activity’s impact on the Earth has been scientifically studied since 1759, because it is known to have a direct impact on temperature changes in the “thermosphere,” which extends from about 56 miles to between 311 to 621 miles above the Earth. The thermosphere sits between the mesosphere below and exosphere above. As the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures have been documented to rise and fall in the thermosphere, depending on the amount of highly energetic solar radiation that is released from flares and sunspot.

With solar cycles last about 11 years, not since ‘Solar Cycle 14’ in February 1906 has there been a cycle that compared to the current one has fewer sunspots during what astrophysicists call its “solar maximum” phase. The smoothed average number of daily sunspots in the current ‘Solar Cycle 24’ spiked to a “solar maximum” of 81.9 in April 2014, surpassing an earlier cycle peak of 66.9 in February 2012. Since the solar maximum in April 2014, the number of sunspots has consistently shrunk.

The current ‘Solar Cycle 24’ has also experienced an unusually deep “solar minimum” that lasted from 2007 to 2009. That period had more “spotless days” on the sun than in any minimum for almost a century. Six years into ‘Solar Cycle 24,’ the sun is virtually “blank” of sunspots.

Weak solar cycles have been associated with benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. This may explain why, since the extremely active hurricane seasons of 2004-2005 there hasn't been any category 3 to 5 major hurricanes to make a U.S. landfall at that strength. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geo-effective solar activity, ‘’Cycle 24’ has been extremely quiet.

But more importantly, weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere, which is the bottommost layer of Earth’s atmosphere where we all live.

There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder and lasting from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton and lasting from about 1790 to 1830. Both historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures and are often referred to by scientists as the “Little Ice Age.”

Physicists have found a direct relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. In times of low solar activity that result in weak solar winds, more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere. This has been shown to generate an increase in certain types of cloud cover that can act to cool the Earth.

The current historically weak solar cycle is a continuation of the twenty-year downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began in ‘Solar Cycle 22.’ This would explain the recent 10 to 15 year pause in the rise of global mean temperatures. The current surface warming “hiatus” is manifested by upper tropospheric teleconnection wave patterns that have created “climate anomaly” easterly trade winds and large rainfall in the Pacific. 

Al Gore and his acolytes call the “pause” in global warming a head-fake before the real trouble begins. But if the weak sunspot trend continues for the next couple of solar cycles, then the Earth could suffer real trouble in another “grand minimum” event, similar to the “Maunder” and “Dalton” minimums that caused the last “Little Ice Age.” 

The sun is known to be the main driver of all weather and climate. With 99.86% of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of violent fire in the sky has recently gone quiet in what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century and actually flatlined in recent days. Weak solar cycles, like the current one, have been associated with benign “space weather” that can cause a “Little Ice Age.”

Al Gore argues for draconian cuts in U.S. economic activity to mitigate the man-made “greenhouse effect” that will lead to “global warming and the end of civilization”. Gore’s theory posits that solar energy from the sun that readily penetrates into the lower atmosphere onto the surface of Earth and is converted to heat cannot freely leave the planet because it is being increasingly trapped by a buildup of greenhouse gases.

Strong solar activity’s impact on the Earth has been scientifically studied since 1759, because it is known to have a direct impact on temperature changes in the “thermosphere,” which extends from about 56 miles to between 311 to 621 miles above the Earth. The thermosphere sits between the mesosphere below and exosphere above. As the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures have been documented to rise and fall in the thermosphere, depending on the amount of highly energetic solar radiation that is released from flares and sunspot.

With solar cycles last about 11 years, not since ‘Solar Cycle 14’ in February 1906 has there been a cycle that compared to the current one has fewer sunspots during what astrophysicists call its “solar maximum” phase. The smoothed average number of daily sunspots in the current ‘Solar Cycle 24’ spiked to a “solar maximum” of 81.9 in April 2014, surpassing an earlier cycle peak of 66.9 in February 2012. Since the solar maximum in April 2014, the number of sunspots has consistently shrunk.

The current ‘Solar Cycle 24’ has also experienced an unusually deep “solar minimum” that lasted from 2007 to 2009. That period had more “spotless days” on the sun than in any minimum for almost a century. Six years into ‘Solar Cycle 24,’ the sun is virtually “blank” of sunspots.

Weak solar cycles have been associated with benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. This may explain why, since the extremely active hurricane seasons of 2004-2005 there hasn't been any category 3 to 5 major hurricanes to make a U.S. landfall at that strength. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geo-effective solar activity, ‘’Cycle 24’ has been extremely quiet.

But more importantly, weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere, which is the bottommost layer of Earth’s atmosphere where we all live.

There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder and lasting from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton and lasting from about 1790 to 1830. Both historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures and are often referred to by scientists as the “Little Ice Age.”

Physicists have found a direct relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. In times of low solar activity that result in weak solar winds, more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere. This has been shown to generate an increase in certain types of cloud cover that can act to cool the Earth.

The current historically weak solar cycle is a continuation of the twenty-year downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began in ‘Solar Cycle 22.’ This would explain the recent 10 to 15 year pause in the rise of global mean temperatures. The current surface warming “hiatus” is manifested by upper tropospheric teleconnection wave patterns that have created “climate anomaly” easterly trade winds and large rainfall in the Pacific. 

Al Gore and his acolytes call the “pause” in global warming a head-fake before the real trouble begins. But if the weak sunspot trend continues for the next couple of solar cycles, then the Earth could suffer real trouble in another “grand minimum” event, similar to the “Maunder” and “Dalton” minimums that caused the last “Little Ice Age.”