Records of the sun's brightness during the 20th century show that it gets slightly dimmer when it is less active, so could a long-term reduction in activity help to offset global warming? No such luck, says Nigel Weiss from the University of Cambridge, who is a member of Abreu's team. While there is a rough correspondence between a period of very low activity from 1645 to 1715 and the middle of a period of lower average global temperatures lasting from the late 16th to mid 19th century, leading some to suggest a causal link, this correlation could be a coincidence, Weiss says.
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