That’s a good question that many scientists are trying to answer. Periods of low sunspot activity have coincided with cooler climate, like the Little Ice Age, for example. We are currently in a period of very low sun activity. Sunspots have a cycle of 11 years, reaching a peak every 11 years but also a low. The sun peaked in the 1950s and the 1980s, and this was a time of high sunspot activity and warming.
Scientists are now wondering if there is a bigger relationship between the sun and the earth’s warming. Previously, they agreed that the sun’s cycles didn’t greatly affect the earth and its variations ceased to make a difference once global warming had reached a certain level. Now, they wonder if this is the case. So we don’t know if the sun is holding off the full effects of global warming, if it is responsible for our global changes, or if it is not a major player, as previously thought. Most people say “wait and see” but the other option, as pointed out by Earthtalk, is to reduce our carbon emissions and see if that was the problem.
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