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How the sun affects temperatures on Earth

The sun is going through a stage known as a solar or Maunder Minimum.

This is where the solar activity that ignites solar flares or sun spots has decreased. It’s a normal cycle and one that has been linked to the mini ice age that lasted more than 50 years starting in the mid-1600s.

According to space weather since 2015, the number of days without a recordable sun spot has been rising year over year. NOAA, NASA and others all appear to agree the sun is entering a solar minimum phase.

What it means is open to interpretation because as Professor William Happer pointed out when I asked him about the growing number of people and agencies that suggest a solar minimum could lead to a cooling off period, he directed me the Danish proverb: “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

It has been suggested that mathematics can establish patterns and back them up with empirical evidence to support a prediction. We reached out to Professor of Mathematics Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, one of the first people to raise awareness of the decrease in solar activity, for a Conversation That Matters about the sun, its reduced activity and her reading of the impact it will have on temperatures on earth.