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The weather this year has been, in a word–bizarre! Mega earthquakes in Japan, off-the chart tornadoes in the south-land, flood so severe they defy the record books dating back more than 200 years. And then there is the drought in the southwest whose malicious offspring, the wildfire, has already destroyed hundreds of square miles of pristine forest along with many homes and ranches.  So what’s going on? Is it the result of global warming? Or is it the beginning of the next ice age?

Of late,  scientists seem to be scratching their heads and muttering about the next “Mini Ice Age.”  Here’s what’s been bandied about around the water cooler in recent days:

“The solar cycle may be going into a hiatus,” Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory’s Solar Synoptic Network, said in a news briefing today (June 14).  

The studies looked at a missing jet stream in the solar interior, fading sunspots on the sun’s visible surface, and changes in the corona and near the poles.

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Hill said. “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.” …

“If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades,” Hill said. “That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

Solar activity has long been thought to control weather patterns. The folks at MSNBC report:

Storms from the sun are expected to build to a peak in 2013 or so, but after that, the long-range indicators are pointing to an extended period of low activity — or even hibernation.

“This is important because the solar cycle causes space weather … and may contribute to climate change,” Frank Hill, associate director of the National Solar Observatory’s Solar Synoptic Network, told journalists today.

In the past, such periods have coincided with lower-than-expected temperatures on Earth. The most famous example is the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period with virtually no sunspots from 1645 to 1715. Average temperatures in Europe sank so low during that period that it came to be known as “the Little Ice Age.”  

    —- So, as you head out into the world today take a moment to look up at the sky and reflect on the fact that we are only as “in control” of our destinies as the elements allow. Be it global warming, or the next ice age–humans are “naked mammals” sweating, or shivering depending on Mother Nature’s mood.   Enjoy today–tomorrow belongs where it is…  fantastically yours,   LC

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