Reduced periods of sunspot activity correlate with cooler and very cold periods, with higher incidences producing opposite effects — according to a recent study, highlighted by Larry Bell.
If a leading theory regarding why this occurs is correct, a weaker magnetic heliosphere surrounding our Solar System evidenced by low sunspot activity permits more cosmic rays from deep space to enter Earth’s protective magnetosphere and atmosphere. This increased flux of heavy electrons — or “muons” — striking the atmosphere produces increased cloud cover, in turn reflecting more solar radiation away from Earth and back to space.
While the Sun was exceptionally active during the 20th century, many scientists believe that this condition is now coming to an end. Although the Royal Observatory of Belgium’s July average monthly sunspot count increased slightly for the sixth straight month despite a rare mid-month spotless day, solar Cycle 24 still remains to be the weakest in 100 years.
It is predicted that increased counts may continue for a few more months before activity once again begins to fade. In fact, long-term indicators suggest that the next sunspot cycle will be much weaker than this one. If so, as with other extended periods of inactivity as occurred during Cycles 3, 4, and 5 which marked the beginning of a “Dalton Minimum”, we can expect the past 18 years of flat global temperatures to become significantly cooler.