As far as I’ve been able to tell, most climate scientists — the honest ones — seem to agree that global warming should be happening, according to the data they have. They also agree that it isn’t, that the evidence just doesn’t support their models (i.e. their best educated guesses) of what the temperatures should have climbed to by now. They’ve long wondered just where all the heat, that their models say should be there, actually is.
A few months ago, they may have found their answer. Our local stellar furnace seem to be headed into one of its cyclical periods of low activity:
According to a statement issued by the NSO, announcing the research:
An immediate question is whether this slowdown presages a second Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots [which occurred] during 1645-1715.
As NASA notes:
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.
During the Maunder Minimum and for periods either side of it, many European rivers which are ice-free today – including the Thames – routinely froze over, allowing ice skating and even for armies to march across them in some cases.
If that’s the case, any human-made global warming may be irrelevant for the next few generations.
That’s cold comfort (no pun intended), because when it’s over, if humanity hasn’t changed its ways, there will be a huge global warming effect. :-/
But given the ever-increasing rate of technological progress, we’ll be a lot better equipped to deal with it then.