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Reduced sunspots on the sun could mean cooling


UK’s Met Office and Royal Astronomical Society are reporting a significant decline in the number of sunspots on the sun. It is referred to as a “solar minimum” that typically takes place every 11 years.

The Daily Mail writes: 

Which means that the activity on the Sun’s surface has fallen dramatically, and its magnetic field has become weaker, letting into the environment more of the sort of cosmic rays that cause dramatic lightning storms and interfere with astronauts and space hardware. 

They can also can lead to the explosion of ‘sprites’ — clusters of orange and red lights that shoot out of the top of thunderstorms like 60-mile-high palm trees in the sky. 

Oh yes, and on top of all that, theoretically it could cause the temperature on Earth to drop to potentially catastrophic new lows.

… So far this year, the Sun has been ‘blank’ — with no sunspots — 76 per cent of the time. A figure surpassed just once since the Fifties, last year, when it was 77 per cent blank.

But fortunately it shouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as the “grand solar minimum,” that the world went through from 1650 to the early 1800s. During one 70-year period, astronomers saw only 50 suns spots, when there would typically be upwards of 50,000.

During this ‘mini ice age,’ the UK experienced catastrophic crop failures, snow in July and the Thames River actually froze over.

So I know this will sound ridiculous to some, but if the lack of sunspots can cause cooling, would more sunspots cause, you know, warming or should we just continue to blame SUVs?

READ: Now the sun has gone into lockdown! Reduced activity on the solar surface has sparked fears of a doomsday mini ice age. So is it time we saw the light, asks JANE FRYER

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