A “team of researchers had analyzed the sun’s 11-year cycles from a purely astronomical perspective and found that the solar cycle that will come into force in the 2030s looks much like the one last seen in the mid-17th century, a time period known as the Maunder Minimum, when Europe and North America experienced particularly bitter winters…
“Outlet after outlet echoed a line from the press release that solar activity would ‘fall by 60 percent’.”
Solar activity is NOT solar output, though you’re excused if the popular media gave you that impression.
“A decrease in solar output of 1 percent would be a very big deal for the climate system. A 60 percent decrease would end all life on Earth, forever probably,” says James Renwick, Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
And NO, we’re not all gonna die.
The projected decrease in solar activity would equal a decrease in solar output of roughly 0.1 percent between 2030 and 2050. The rate of rise in overall global temperature might stall over this time, but “once the solar cycle strengthened again, we would be back to greenhouse gas-related warming again.”
If the model pans out, it will be a fine illustration of the effect of solar output on Earth’s climate, but not the end of global warming. “Over the last 35 years the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. However global temperatures have been increasing. Since the sun and climate are going in opposite directions scientists conclude the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming.”
Thanks to newsweek.com for debunking the “new ice age” headlines and livescience for provising nuance: “The Little Ice Age may have been more significant in terms of increased variability of the climate, rather than changes in the average climate itself… solar activities can align with changes in temperatures, there are many processes that contribute to climatic variations, and human-induced climate change will likely prove too big a force for muted solar activity to influence.”
For more on global warming, my favorite site is skepticalscience.com. There’s loads of information, a handy list of all the significant arguments against and why they fail to convince, and a handy mouse-over glossary.