The 11 year sunspot cycle reached a minimum around December 2008 - and seems to have stayed there. The spot which appeared on August 31, after 51 clear days, just missed last year's 52-day record - the longest spot-free period since 1913.
Maybe it's just coincidence that the snow in Scotland was better this year than for ages, and that the summer wasn't a terribly hot one either. But we live in hope, or I do - while I love an English, fluffy-white-cloud summer day, bit of a breeze, I find those baking cloudless days we've been used to over the last decade quite oppressive.
The next Dalton minimum, if not Maunder minimum, can't arrive too soon. Bring on the Frost Fairs !
UPDATE - I'm an agnostic on the current global warming mullarkey. Although it's obvious that chucking a load of CO2 into the atmosphere isn't going to make things any cooler, it's difficult to sort out the facts from the religious fervour of the warmists. Take a look at the site of the late John Daly for some of the arguments. But I'm in favour of the precautionary principle of trying to reduce emissions - my nightmare being some kind of runaway feedback loop. Mars was a wet planet once.
A Maunder or Dalton minimum might give us valuable breathing space (a Maunder minimum might also lead to mass starvation as global crop yields fall, but that's another story).
6 hours ago