Wikipedia and the Maunder Minimum

16 Feb 2012

It seems too recent but it was only in 1976 that JA Eddy had an article published in Science 192 (no 4245) that established the Maunder Minimum as a fact (see www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/citation/192/4245/1189 and http://bill.srnr.arizona.edu/classes/182h/Climate/Solar/Maunder%20Minimu... ) and see also www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/5595750/Jack-Eddy... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._Eddy . He used a variety of sources including the 19th century work of Maunder and Sporer to identify a 70 year period of low sunspot activity between 1645 and 1715. However, in order to firm up the idea he gathered a lot of supplementary evidence from elsewhere including historical observations of the Sun going back to Galileo as well as other scientists with an eye for the telescope, in the 17th and 18th centuries. He checked out similar reports of the aurora borealis, naked eye observations from China and Korea, and measurements of C14 in tree rings (which apparently can be used as a proxy indicator of solar activity). In so doing he found an even larger solar minimum, now known as the Sporer Minimum, from 1460 to 1550, and both seem to fall during very cold periods of the Little Ice Age - or that is the assumption. This research is now at the core of work by solar scientists who think present low sunspot activity may well fall even further and we may enter another minimum event. It is by no means certain there will be a plunge in global temperature even if sunspots are less common - or not common at all. However, it is more than likely but whatever happens the facts can be slewed, you can be sure, to fit the CAGW agenda.