Oops Where’s our Sunspots

We are heading for the low point in sunspot activity. Sunspot activity occurs in 11 year cycles (10.7 years) and we are now heading for the lowest point which will occur at some point between now and the end of 2020. The Maunder minimum period in which sunspots became very rare occurred from 1645 to 1715. This coincided with a series of very bad winters known as the Little Ice Age. It also caused some short summers. Apparently these winters caused a lot of failed harvests and an increase in food prices which was one of the causes of the Civil War, or so I understand.

Now there is no suggestion of a return to that period of cold because the maunder minimum also coincided with a lot of volcanic activity which also affects the weather. It is difficult to think about winter after one of the warmest Easters on record especially with the day time temperature maximums not being lower than about 14c for the next couple of weeks. However I do need to think about when to order my oil and logs for next winter if it is going to be a cold one.

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