Will the Sun come to our rescue?

Not being a subscriber to the New Scientist these days, I’ll have to wait to find this issue on the newstands. Meanwhile one can also find these tantalizing opening tidbits here. I am wondering if this is another way to make us feel good about Global Warming, another way of taking the global warning out of the warming…

Global warming: Will the Sun come to our rescue?

  • 18 September 2006
  • Stuart Clark
  • Magazine issue 2569
We may have one last chance to tackle climate change, and it comes from the unlikeliest source, as New Scientist discovers

It is known as the Little Ice Age. Bitter winters blighted much of the northern hemisphere for decades in the second half of the 17th century. The French army used frozen rivers as thoroughfares to invade the Netherlands. New Yorkers walked from Manhattan to Staten Island across the frozen harbour. Sea ice surrounded Iceland for miles and the island’s population halved. It wasn’t the first time temperatures had plunged: a couple of hundred years earlier, between 1420 and 1570, a climatic downturn claimed the Viking colonies on Greenland, turning them from fertile farmlands into arctic wastelands.

Could the sun have been to blame? We now know that, curiously, both these mini ice ages coincided with prolonged lulls in the sun’s activity – the sunspots and dramatic flares that are driven by its powerful magnetic field.

Now some astronomers are predicting that the sun is about to enter another quiet period.
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1 Response

  1. Laura Steele says:

    “O sun, you have ever been a helpmate in times of need”

    – John Ashbery, Girls on the Run

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