Solar Activity

Variations in solar activity are seen as another variable in the triggering of ice ages, as the relationship between low solar (sunspot) activity and cold periods throughout Earth's history demonstrates. In the figure, the timing of low sunspot activity coincides with intervals of cooler climate on Earth. NASA released a new computer climate model that reinforces the long-held theory that low solar activity could have changed the circulation in Earth's atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere from the 1400s through the 1700s and triggered the Little Ice Age in regions such as Europe and North America. Change in the amount of radiation received from the Sun figures prominently into this episode. It was so cold during the Little Ice Age that transportation canals in

Calendar Years (BP)

© Infobase Publishing

Calendar Years (BP)

© Infobase Publishing

This graph represents the cyclic solar activity recorded in radiocarbon records. The Maunder minimum is associated with the Little Ice

Age occurrence.

Holland were frozen, glaciers were actively flowing in the Alps, Iceland was surrounded by sea ice, and there was virtually no access to Greenland because of all the ice surrounding it.

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