I'm in Ireland where a few papers have recently parrotted an independent body's assertion that we're heading for low solar activity and, accordingly, a very cold winter. The statement has been presented without criticism.

Given that one of the main reference points, the Maunder minimum was about 300 years ago, is there anything to back up the claims?

An independent irish weather site

A national paper reporting on the topic

  • these articles referenced seem to indicate that the winter will be consistant with recent winters rather than "Very Cold" relative to recent winters. So the inference would be that the weather is not changing because the sunspot activity is staying low and consistant with recent years.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


It's a case of bad press reporting. Dr. Hill specifically said his research applies to solar activity and not climate.


"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."


How strong a connection is there between a Little Ice Age and a Maunder Minimum? "Not as strong a connection as people would like to believe," Hill said by phone.

"The Little Ice Age actually lasted for hundreds of years, of which the Maunder Minimum was only a small segment ... My personal opinion is that there is only an anecdotal connection without a whole lot of scientific background behind it."


"In my opinion, it is a huge leap ... to an abrupt global cooling, since the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood," he said in an e-mail.

  • A single cold winter is not indictive of climate change. So the reduced solar activity could lead to a single cold winter, relative to other recent winters, but not have a signifgant impact on long term climate activity. On top of the fact that these articles referenced seem to indicate that the winter will be consistant with recent winters rather than "Very Cold" relative to recent winters.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 14:59
  • @Chad: he clearly states there is no proven relation between sun activity and weather (or climate) prediction. Ergo: the claim that this winter will be colder because of less sun activity is not supported by science.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 16:09
  • 2
    Sorry Sklivvz - Either weather prediction and climate prediction are related or they are not. The claim the climate scientists make is that you can not compare predicting weather and predicting climate they are different things. I personally think that is hooey but they are the so called experts. The only claim I am seeing from him relates to climate not weather. And additionally appears to allow for the potential for the activity to relate to a small segment of weather but not the whole iceage.
    – Chad
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 16:16

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