Could the deep solar minimum be responsible for our cool, cloudy summer?
The answer to your question varies in scientific circles. Storms on the face of the sun — so-called sunspots — have all but disappeared in recent years. On Sept. 3, NASA reported: “The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years.” Astronomer Dan Joyce reports the last Earth-sized sunspot — something which occurs with some frequency in typical years — occurred in December 2006.
Some researchers believe lengthy solar minima triggers global cooling. Others dismiss solar cycles as having little more than a modest effect on the planet’s climate. Global temperatures continue to run above normal, but there’s no question subnormal summer temperatures have occurred over much of the U.S., though the West and Southwest U.S. have baked in record warmth.