Researchers are predicting that our Sun is about to enter a period of long-term quiet called a grand solar minimum, a state that might begin as soon as 2020, and could last as long as fifty years. While this period will see a decrease in sunspot formation, magnetic activity and ultraviolet radiation output, the decline in solar radiation isn’t expected to help alleviate the problem of global warming in any meaningful way; however, it may cool the extreme upper atmosphere to the coldest it’s been for the past 70 years.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a dire warning that our current efforts at addressing the problem of climate change are not keeping pace with the increase of the rate of global warming, and that we need to act quickly if we are to avoid evoking the more immediate catastrophes that come with allowing the planet’s climate to rise past 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) above the pre-industrial average. This warning comes with the admission that we can indeed meet this seemingly impossible goal, but it comes at a cost: the human community needs to cut its carbon emissions by nearly half in the next 12 years.
Deadly wildfires are raging around the globe again this year, driven by heat waves and dry conditions exacerbated by global warming. Major fires in Australia, Europe, North America and Russia have prompted states of emergency and calls for assistance from the international community, and the conditions in Sweden have resulted in wildfires occurring north of the Arctic Circle.