Evidence from tree trunks and ice cores suggest the sun is calming down after an unusually high point in activity. Scientists say the sun experiences 11-year cycles of activity and, at its peak, has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. Then a calmer period follows.
Last year, according to the London Telegraph, it was expected that it would have been heating up after a quiet spell. Instead, it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.
Mike Lockwood, a professor at Britain’s Southampton University, believes we are witnessing an underlying solar oscillation lasting hundreds of years.
He suggests 1985 marked the "grand maximum" in this long-term cycle and the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century marked its low point.
"We are re-entering the middle ground after a period that has seen the sun in its top 10 percent of activity," Lockwood told the Telegraph on Thursday. "We would expect it to be more than a hundred years before we get down to the levels of the Maunder Minimum."
He added that the current slight dimming of the sun is not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels."What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the sun is coming to our aid," he said.
Click here for the Telegraph article.