Solar scientists continue to identify a sharp fall in sunspot magnetic field strength. The sun is the most important heat engine driving our planet’s temperatures. A prominent paper by Matthew Penn and William Livingston (solar astronomers with the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona) has been analyzed and confirmed by many and the reduction in magnetism has continued unabated and they are predicting that sunspots will disappear completely by 2015.
The link between a prolonged drop in sunspot activity to a cooling Earth or even a little ice age is well documented. Californians just had the coldest summer in decades. Last year in the northern hemisphere, Britain suffered one of the worst winters in 100 years. While in the U.S. last winter broke numerous temperature records with the 4th coldest February on record. Rutgers University Global Snow Lab also confirms that the 2010 Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent was the second highest on record, second only to February, 1978.
The last time sunspots disappeared altogether, during the Maunder Minimum (1645 to 1715), our planet descended into a lengthy period of cooling known as the Little Ice Age.