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(Time)   The sun is about to flip upside down, switching left and right   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, the Sun, Maunder Minimum, solar telescopes, space weathers, Richard Carrington, Solar Dynamics Observatory, poison ivy, Little Ice Age  
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3558 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Nov 2013 at 7:59 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-11-13 09:06:03 AM  
2 votes:
TFA:  From the mid-1600's until about 1715, observers saw barely any sunspots ... During this period, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures in Europe were abnormally low -- so low that people could (and did) ice skate on the Thames, which never freezes today.

While the low temperatures of the time were certainly a factor, another reason the Thames could freeze then -- and not now -- was the constriction at the medieval London Bridge, whose 19 stone arches stood upon massive piers which acted as a dam upon the river:

London's final "Frost Fair" (in which games and festivities were held upon the frozen surface of the Thames) occured in 1814 -- just 16 years before the last remnants of the medieval London Bridge were finally dismantled, allowing the river to flow freely again after its 600-year existence.
2013-11-13 02:04:15 PM  
1 vote:
But it's still the same in a relative way.
2013-11-13 09:03:38 AM  
1 vote:

J. Frank Parnell: But i really suspect this is more about maintaining the idea we have the sun all figured out, or maybe even deliberately avoiding the very real possibility that the delay is an indication of a much more intense solar maximum when it does happen.

No, it's not maintaining some abstract fallacy. It's acknowledgement of data gathered for the past 500 years or so that show the sun's primary (as counted by sunspots) cycle is about 10.8 years long on average. Cycle length has ranged from as little as about 8 years to as long as 14, so a 12 or 13 year cycle is perfectly normal.

Moreover, delayed onset of a new cycle is indicative of a LESS intensive next maximum...and a cooler climate for a decade or so. Link a couple of low, long cycles together and we could be looking at decades of bitter cold winters and cool summers. We'll know more in about a decade.
2013-11-13 08:11:04 AM  
1 vote:
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there...
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