Some recent study results linking shifts in sunspot frequency and climate changes over thousands of years suggest that the past 18-year-long period of flat global temperatures may be a prelude to a much longer cooling cycle. 

sunspotsWhile causes behind these magnetic vacillations are uncertain, observable connections between solar and Earth climate patterns are clear. Reduced periods of sunspot activity correlate with cooler and very cold periods, with higher incidences producing opposite effects.

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. 

Since none of this has anything to do with human-caused atmospheric CO2 emissions, you can bet that the UN and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very cool on the theory and its chilling political science implications. It follows that since both the Sun and climate began changing billions of years before the Industrial Revolution, neither conditions can be blamed on fossil-fueled smokestacks and SUVs. 

A notable IPCC critic is Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a former leader of Germany’s environmental movement who also headed the renewable energy division of the country’s second largest utility company. He recently co-authored a book with Dr. fritzSebastian Luning titled, The Cold Sun: Why the Climate Disaster Won’t Happen

Although the two don’t deny that CO2 has some warming influence, they believe the Sun plays a far greater role in the whole scheme of things.

Dr. Vahrenholt expects the world to get cooler in the future for three reasons: (1) we are or soon will be beginning on the downward flank of the Sun’s Gleissberg and Suess cycles; (2) solar activity during the next cycle may extend our current very weak one; and (3) ocean cycles will be in cooling phases over the next decades as well. 

A research team in Sweden which analyzed patterns of solar activity at the end of the last Ice Age around 20,000 – 10,000 years ago concluded that changes in solar activity and their influences on climate are nothing new, especially on a regional level. An analysis of trace elements in ice cores in Greenland and cave formations from China revealed that Sweden was then covered by a thick ice sheet that stretched all the way down to northern Germany. 

Water contained in those frozen ice caps resulted in sea levels which were more than 100 meters lower than at present.

Furthermore, the August 2014 study report’s co-author Dr. Raimund Muscheler, a lecturer in Quaternary Geology at Lund University, observes: “Reduced solar activity could lead to colder winters in Northern Europe. This is because the Sun’s UV radiation affects the atmospheric circulation. Interestingly, the same processes lead to warmer winters in Greenland, with greater snowfall and more storms.”

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.

Dr. Habibiullo Abdussamatov, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg and iceagedirector of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, predicts that we may soon witness the coming of a new Little Ice Age with a deep freeze lasting throughout this century. The last one, which began in the mid-16th century, killed millions in Europe. It mercifully ended soon after Washington’s troops suffered brutal winter temperatures at Valley Forge in 1777 and Napoleon’s bitterly cold 1812 retreat from Russia.

Whether present cooling continues or not, is there any reason at all to panic? No, and by the same token if, for any reason, global warming resumes as it probably will along with following intermittent cool-downs, let’s remember to be grateful for the good times we now have the great fortune to enjoy.

This article first appeared at


  • Larry Bell

    CFACT Advisor Larry Bell heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax."