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Major Sunspots on the Way

We recentlywrote that "After a period of exceptionally high activityin the 20th century, our sun has suddenly gone exceptionallyquiet?Astronomers are waiting for the sunspots to return andmark the start of the next, the so-called cycle 24. Theyhave been waiting for a while now with no sign it's on itsway any time soon." Well, solar cycle 24 has started! Howwill it affectglobal warming?

Solar physicist David Hathaway says, "New solar cyclesalways begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot."

NASA reports that, ?Many forecasters believe Solar Cycle 24will be big and intense. Peaking in 2011 or 2012, the cycleto come could have significant impacts ontelecommunications, air traffic, power grids and GPSsystems. (And don't forget the Northern Lights!) In this ageof satellites and cell phones, the next solar cycle couldmake itself felt as never before.? However, the furiousstorms won't start right away, since solar cycles usuallytake a few years to build.

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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