A mini-ice age on the way?

Why not? Climate hysterics have kind of worn out the global warming scare. Now it's time to reverse gears and scare the beejeebus out of us by positing global cooling.

Actually, this has a little bit more basis in science. Sun spot activity is disappearing, which has led in the past to "The Little Ice Age" and other cold snaps lasting a couple of centuries or more.

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth - far from facing a global warming problem - is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun's recent behaviour all indicate that a period of unusually low solar activity may be about to begin.

The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.

This could have major implications for the Earth's climate. 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.

Global cooling actually has a lot more potential to cause massive problems for humans than global warming. People thrive in warmer weather, grow more crops, eat better, and are in better health. Global cooling brings shortened growing seasons, more virulent bugs, less arable land, and a drier climate. At least, that's been the pattern in the past.

As Ed Morrissey presciently points out:

Of course, if those AGW advocates suddenly convert to Maunder Minimists, why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the same solutions - central control of energy production and usage, elimination of fossil fuels - will be pushed?

Gee - could be because they don't care a whit about saving anybody, only their own drive for power and control.

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