Pieter Brueghel’s 1565 picture of The Hunters in the Snow is still a common scene from a northern winter.


The Thames froze over about ten times between 1408 and 1814, and the Little Ice Age usually refers to the time between 1645 and 1750.  In 1677 Abraham Hondius captured the scene of a Frozen Thames  (

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Around the same time, between 1680 and 1700, Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) made violins using wood from the slowly growing trees of European forests.

150px-Stradivarius_violin_front    220px-Cremona_centro  Stradivari’s home town, Cremona

Almost two centuries later, in London, Edward and Annie Maunder were the first to detect minimum sunspot activity and they projected this back to the time of Stradivari and Hondius . They also suggested that the low activity may have caused the cold interval now known as the Maunder Minimum.

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Recent studies of the sun suggest we are entering a new phase of low sunspot activity,

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so get out your skates.