What if the Sun cools off? Updated with LOL Sunz

Global warming, if it’s happening, might have a few positive effects — more land in warmer climes suitable for crops, etc. Global cooling, not so much. It’s tough to grow corn in an ice age.

Some scientists who watch the Sun, also known as that big glowy thing that delivers all of the earth’s warmth, are worried that it might enter a cooling phase.

Not every scientist is part of Al Gore’s mythical “consensus.” Scientists worried about a new ice age seek funding to better observe something bigger than your SUV — the sun.

Back in 1991, before Al Gore first shouted that the Earth was in the balance, the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study using data that went back centuries that showed that global temperatures closely tracked solar cycles.

Imagine that: The Sun plays a role in the earth’s temperature.

To many, those data were convincing. Now, Canadian scientists are seeking additional funding for more and better “eyes” with which to observe our sun, which has a bigger impact on Earth’s climate than all the tailpipes and smokestacks on our planet combined.

And they’re worried about global cooling, not warming.

Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada’s National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.

Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century.

Such an event occurred in the 17th century. The observation of sunspots showed extraordinarily low levels of magnetism on the sun, with little or no 11-year cycle.

This solar hibernation corresponded with a period of bitter cold that began around 1650 and lasted, with intermittent spikes of warming, until 1715. Frigid winters and cold summers during that period led to massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe.

Tapping reports no change in the sun’s magnetic field so far this cycle and warns that if the sun remains quiet for another year or two, it may indicate a repeat of that period of drastic cooling of the Earth, bringing massive snowfall and severe weather to the Northern Hemisphere.

Read the rest. Clearly, we need a big international movement to harness the power of all the governments and industries of the earth to stop this.

Or, we could stop suffering from collective delusions of grandeur and realize that nature outsizes us in ways we don’t yet comprehend.

Update: Reader Michael sends in LOL Sunz.