Did you know that we are experiencing the lowest sunspot activity since 1929? Interesting trivial fact, isn’t it?
The Pink Flamingo has been covering the Sunspot situation for ages now. The very real problem with a lack of sunspots is the fact that once the sun becomes active again, we’re in for some very big trouble.
“…Global warming, you may have noticed, seemingly stopped dead in its tracks in 1998. Solar activity is in a valley right now, the deepest of the past century. NOAA reports that in 2008 and 2009, the sun set Space Age records for low sunspot counts, weak solar wind and low solar radiance. The sun has gone more than two years without a significant solar flare.
“The sun is behaving in an unexpected and very interesting way,” says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA’s lead representative on the panel. “In our professional careers, we’ve never seen anything like it. Solar minimum has lasted far beyond the date we predicted in 2007.”
If the sun stays this quiet, is another Little Ice Age possible? NASA says it has detected a tiny uptick in solar radio emissions. This may be a sign of a return to normalcy, something similar to a dormant volcano returning to life.
“Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather,” says Biesecker. “The great geomagnetic storm of 1859, for instance, occurred during a solar cycle of about the same size we’re predicting for 2013.”
That 1859 event electrified transmission cables, started fires in telegraph offices and produced Northern Lights bright enough to read a newspaper by. A recent report by by the National Academy of Sciences found that if such a storm occurred today, it could cause up to $2 trillion in damages to society’s high-tech infrastructure.
The National Research Council has estimated that such a storm would play havoc with our power grid, resulting in “large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people (in the U.S.) and (exposing) more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage.”
NASA says this solar cycle will peak in 2013. The Mayan calendar identifies Dec. 12, 2012, as the end of the world as we know it. Seems to us we might better spend our money protecting our power grid and high-tech infrastructure against such a possibility rather than worrying about the emission standards for our cars….”