The Sun, like all stars, generates powerful magnetic fields, similar to a dynamo. The model developed by Zharkova’s team suggests there are two dynamos at work in the Sun: one close to the surface and one deep within the convection zone. They found this dual dynamo system explains aspects of the solar cycle with much greater accuracy than before — possibly leading to enhanced predictions of future solar behaviour. They found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs; originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different [for both] and they are offset in time, Zharkova says. The two magnetic waves either reinforce one another to produce high activity or cancel out to create lull periods.
This is very significant. The number of sunspots accurately predicts the small changes in temperature here on Earth, such as those associated with global warming, but with a delay of one sunspot cycle (which averages 11 years, but is only half the Sun’s full cycle, which averages about 22 years). There was a large fall in solar activity in 2004 (in 11 year smoothed TSI), so there will be a significant and sustained fall in global temperature on Earth starting in about 2017 (the current sunspot cycle is a long one, about 13 years, 2004 + 13 = 2017). This will outweigh the warming effect of extra carbon dioxide.
The Earth has been in a warming trend for the past 350 years, since the depth of the Little Ice Age during the Maunder Minimum, in the second half of the 1600’s. This warming trend is driven by solar activity—carbon dioxide didn’t start increasing until 1800 or so, and didn’t really get going until after WWII with post-war industrialization. So the prediction that the Sun is going inactive, and will lead to a cooler Earth such as last seen in the Maunder Minimum of the 1600s (when ice fairs on the Thames River in London were common), is plausible and likely.
CREDIT for Image featured at top – A graph of 80 solar cycles seen from the surface, i.e. more than 1,000 years in solar time – SOURCE: Aalto University, as featured on sciencedaily.com