June 16, 2011
The next solar cycle – the 11-year pattern when dark spots appear on the sun’s surface – may be delayed or even go into “hibernation” for a while, according to US scientists.
But this does not mean a new ice age is coming, said astronomer Frank Hill of the US National Solar Observatory. “We have not predicted a ‘little ice age’,” Hill said, speaking from an astronomical meeting in New Mexico. “We have predicted something going on with the sun.”
Hill and other scientists cited a missing jet stream, fading spots and slower activity near the sun’s poles as signs that our nearest star is heading into a rest period.