Taking a look at the latest images from the SOHO solar observatory. Still no sunspots. This is not exactly good news for those who enjoy sunbathing. Cycle 24 is very late. Significantly so.
It is a well accepted principle that Earth's climate closely follows the sunspots. Lots of sunspots mean lots of flare activity and more radiant heat hitting the Earth. A 'quiet' sun means less flare activity, and thus less energy being pumped out towards our home world. It gets cooler. The lowered solar activity being mainly responsible for the rather chilly winter we're still experiencing up here on Vancouver Island.
Now this doesn't mean there's going to be another ice age. The Earth would have to cool quite a bit for that to happen, and that will take a century or so. Glaciers will not be rolling down our Streets any time soon, no matter what any prophets of doom in the media might say. They're only out to sell column inches anyway.
My best guess is that we're due a cooling like in the 1940's and 1950's. Maybe even as long as thirty or so years. If the cyclic nature of the climate holds true, then we should be investing in new energy sources and intensive agriculture to make good the inevitable shortfalls. House design standards will have to be improved with better insulation and more efficient heating. Over here, if things do get significantly colder, we might be looking at snow tyres year round.
For myself, I think investment in cold weather clothing suppliers might be a good idea. Perhaps a four wheel drive with snow tyres. No need to panic, just adapt a little.