Sun worshippers, take note – scientists say that Earth’s life-giving orb of light is dimming, and by 2050 we’ll be living in a colder, darker world than the one we know today. If you think that’s positive news for global warming, brace yourself: while we might get a short reprieve, in the long run, we are still as screwed as ever.

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The sun has a regular 11-year cycle in which solar radiation rises and falls. But according to a recent study in The Astrophysical journal Letters, for the past few cycles the high has been lower than normal. Consequently, the amount of heat and light we get from the sun has been dropping. In the next few decades, that effect is likely to continue, leaving us with 5 to 8% less radiation. The last time this happened was when the Earth went through what is known as a mini-Ice Age (aka The Grand Minimum to scientists), which happened during the mid-1600s.

There’s some debate that this mini-Ice Age was actually due to volcanic activity, but the point is this: even though we may experience some reduction in the heat and light reaching the Earth, the rapidly warming planet is heating up faster than the sun is dimming. Which means that, in all likelihood, we may experience a few years that aren’t as hot as they could be, but they will still be hotter than normal.

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Related: Scientists Consider Blocking Out the Sun to Stop Climate Change

Short term, this means that we might get a bit of a break from the effects of climate change. But the problem is that we humans have a hard time making difficult changes based on future consequences. If we start to see a lessening of global warming’s impact, many may conclude that the threat is over and continue business as usual. But eventually, the sun is going to heat back up, and when it does, we will be in really bad shape.

+ The Astrophysical journal Letters

Via Outer Places

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