Special to the Tribune-Star
What you’re about to read may sound ridiculous. Here we are in the heat of one of the hottest summers ever, one of the largest droughts ever, and I’m about to tell you it may all come to a crashing end. What the scientists are telling us is what we’re about to see has never happened in any of our lifetimes.
According to the National Solar Observatory, sunspots that normally wax and wane every 11 years may be disappearing from the sun for the first time in about 400 years. The studies suggest the sun’s magnetic field may soon become too weak to produce them.
This year, 2012, should be the peak of sunspots, and then they will disappear.
The last time sunspots disappeared was roughly 1645, and this lasted for quite some time. In that time frame, the Earth experienced a frigid period known as “The Little Ice Age.” Summers disappeared, it wrecked agriculture, and some historians say it was responsible for the French Revolution. (The kind of grains Europe had produced … wheat, barley, oats, could not be grown and it caused a great famine.)
You’ll remember all those Currier and Ives prints about sledding, tobogganers, and sleigh rides, all occurred during “The Little Ice Age.” Is another one coming? If the men who observe the sun are correct, it may be.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.