The Maunder Minimum: Maximum snow for Colorado?

A sun without spots
A sun without spots
Photo by NASA
Certain antsy astronomers are super-freaked-out: The sun has lost its spots.

The sun's magnetism has been decreasing for years, and now there hasn't been a single sunspot since last year. The last time this happened was during the "Little Ice Age" in the late 17th century, when Europe was reportedly really, really cold; there is no good data on North America. Some of those who know sunspots are saying this is another Maunder Minimum, i.e. a frigid epoch.

Is this why Loveland and A-Basin opened so early? Is it responsible for our early October low in Denver of 17 degrees Fahrenheit? How about our mid-October blizzard? And will the phenomenon counteract global warming?

Most scientists say probably not on all three counts. But I really enjoy saying "Maunder Minimum" nonetheless.


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