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Sunspots may mean a drop in solar activity

Written on June 16, 2011 by R. Depp

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The sun could be less active in its next cycle according to results from three separate studies. Some scientists say this could slow down the warming trend on Earth, since the relationship between solar activity and climate is still a matter of scientific debate.

The results were announced Tuesday during the annual meeting of the ’s division.

Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory’s Solar Synoptic Network, told Space.com, “This is highly unusual and unexpected…. But the fact that three completely different views of the sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

Al three studies propose an upcoming period of less solar activity than the typical 11-year cycle of solar activity would suggest. One sign was the number and frequency of sunspots, which are caused by powerful magnetic forces. Others include the magnetic strength of the sunspots and patterns in a gas stream under the surface of the sun.

reports that Scientists say the sun’s activity will peak in about 2013, but the signs from the studies point to an absolute period of low activity after that.

The period between 1645 and 1715, that coincided with lower temperatures on Earth is similar to what the Earth is about to go through. That was called “the .”

On another note, scientists are still debating whether there’s any relationship between solar activity and climate. There is little evidence so far to support that it does, and scientists don’t expect to see a large change in Earth’s climate even if the sun does go into semi-hibernation for a while, according to MSNBC.

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