Could the sun save us from global warming?

Although it’s not often mentioned in history class, a Little Ice Age descended on the northern hemisphere between 1350 and 1850, peaking between 1645 and 1715.  It is “little” not because it confined itself to a conveniently small corner of Earth, preferably near the north pole,but because for an ice age, it was short.  But it was serious.

Agriculture was drastically affected and millions of people died as a result.  Glaciers in the Swiss Alps buried entire villages, and plummeting temperatures froze the River Thames in London and the Hudson in New York.  People walked on ice from Manhattan to Staten Island.

There are two theories about what caused this Little Ice Age.  One is that, after the plague, agriculture was drastically reduced and so was the emission of greenhouse gases.  The stronger theory, though, is that the sun itself dimmed, emitting less heat and so sending out a lot less warmth. 

Scientists today have noted that the sun is dimming once again.  Why, we don’t know.  Nor have we any idea how long it might last.  It could last for as little as a few more months.

So scientists are cautioning that it would be very risky to count on the sun to turn the heat down and so solve our global warming problems for us.

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About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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