The Sun has a cycle in its activity, changing slowly back and forth from solar maxima (lots of solar activity) to solar minima (little solar activity). During solar minimum periods, there are fewer sunspots and solar flares, and the Sun also imparts less energy onto the earth. A “grand” solar minimum, is a prolonged solar minimum during which time there is an abnormally low amount of solar activity, such as the Maunder Minimum, which lowered mean global temperatures and caused the “Little Ice Age” during the 18th century.
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