WASHINGTON — US scientists say the familiar sunspot cycle seems to be entering a hibernation period unseen since the 17th century, a pattern that could have a slight cooling effect on global temperatures.
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.
Experts are now probing whether this period of inactivity could be a second Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645-1715 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.
Read the rest of the article via AFP: Scientists predict rare ‘hibernation’ of sunspots.