atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2802: I had forgotten that.

Mike Flynn worked on Fallen Angels with Niven and Pournelle. He wrote the excellent Firestar cycle.

...and the charts he presents in that post are not comforting to me. While they do indicate that we don't have to worry about runaway global warming, it does look like we may have to worry about global cooling, depending on how long the sun remains taciturn.

Cycle 24 is looking to be anemic at best. As Flynn points out, some astrophysicists are saying there won't be a Cycle 25, not as we have seen sunspot cycles in history; if we're lucky it'll actually occur but be weak, and possibly months late. If we're unlucky it'll be years late.

If we are spectactularly unlucky, it'll be decades.

From here we can't really tell what we're facing--a Dalton or Maunder event--though we can make educated guesses. During the Maunder minimum we did not have instruments capable of sensing the magnetic field strength of the sun, nor did we have radio equipment; it hadn't been invented yet--the physics underlying electromagnetism had not been developed sufficiently.

Have a gander at the image over on Wikipedia showing 400 years of sunspot cycles.

(I had to look at this link on the Spörer minimum just to further drive that nail into the coffin.)

...we can infer that, during the Maunder minimum, things like solar field strength and solar wind particle density and such were drastically reduced from the values we saw during the 1960s and 1970s when we first started lobbing satellites into space and recording what they saw. Certainly the current statistics are the lowest ones we've ever measured, though we've only been able to record some of these data since 1979.

It doesn't look good, does it?

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