Ice cores trap atmospheric gases, and samples from the 1690s (a period of particularly severe cooling in Europe) show significantly more atmospheric sulfur than usual. A dip south can bring very cold arctic air to one place while a northward kink keeps another region temperate.
The jet stream strength and direction depends on many factors, including, of all things, ozone.
The dependence is complicated, but the bottom line is the jet stream is weaker when there’s less ozone (it has to do with latitude-dependent temperature gradients across the upper atmosphere; those gradients are strong in winter and weak in summer). So that may be the connection between the Sun’s Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice Age.
But when you look at the numbers, again, it’s not so simple.
The effect from faculae is very small, not enough to significantly change the Earth’s temperature on their own.
He also points out that a weak cycle may not have an effect on our climate; we simply don’t know for sure. If the Sun has fewer sunspots and no flares, what difference does that make here on Earth? The Little Ice Age In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, much of Europe experienced incredibly cold winters.
People were ice skating on the Thames river (which was never before seen to have frozen, even in winter), glaciers in the Alps advanced, and the entire Dutch fleet of ships was frozen in its harbor.
Much ado was made over the recent news that the Sun’s magnetic activity may be cooling off over the next few years. And if you have the attention span of an bacterium, you can skip down to the conclusion section.
Can this mean the Earth itself will literally cool off, slipping into an ice age? I want to make sure that’s clear, because I will bet essentially any amount of money that some climate change denial sites will run with this story and claim that we don’t need to worry about global warming. The reasons take a minute to explain, but of course that’s where the cool stuff (haha! [Note: a lot of this is taken from my book "Death from the Skies!
Some news sites are reporting it that way (of course, the execrable Daily Mail uses the headline "Earth facing a mini-Ice Age ‘within ten years’ due to rare drop in sunspot activity"; which isn’t even within a glancing blow of reality). ", where I interviewed approximately a bazillion people.