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A 2005 prediction of solar activity. The sunspot number should now stand close to 100, instead it is zero.
"Spin-orbit coupling" to blame; effects could last decades.

A new paper published by the Astronomical Society of Australia is warning of upcoming global cooling due to lessened solar activity.  The study, written by three Australian researchers, has identified what is known as a "spin-orbit coupling" affecting the rotation rate of the sun.  That rotation, in turn, is linked to the intensity of the solar cycle and climate changes here on Earth.

The study's lead author, Ian Wilson, explains further, "[The paper] supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 - 30 years."   

According to Wilson, the result is a strong, rapid pulse of global cooling, "On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World’s mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 - 2 C."
 
A 2 C drop would be twice as large as all the warming the earth has experienced since the start of the industrial era, and would be significant enough to impact global agriculture output.

Earlier this year, astronomers from around the world noted solar activity was suspiciously low; some began predicting global cooling at that time.  Since then, activity has remained far below average, with it now being over two months since a single sunspot has appeared on the surface of the sun.

In May, a team of German climatologists published research stating that, due to "natural effects", global warming would halt for up to 15 years.

The new paper appears in the June issue of PASA, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.





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