Sunspot Drop Won’t Cause Global Cooling
News that solar activity might fizzle for a few decades has prompted talk of a new “Little Ice Age,” even a quick fix for global warming. But that’s just not going to happen.
The cooling impact of the last prolonged solar lull “was probably only a couple tenths of a degree Celsius,” said climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State University. “It’s a tiny blip on the radar screen if you’re looking at the driving factors behind climate change.”
The possibility of imminent solar dormancy was raised by reports from the ongoing American Astronomical Society meeting of fading sunspots and dips in the sun’s magnetic patterns. Those are considered portents of solar inactivity, suggesting that the next solar minimum — a natural downturn in activity — would be especially pronounced, perhaps lasting for decades.