The sharp downturn in the sunspot cycle may mark the point where solar activity significantly decreases as the sun enters the beginning of another minimum period. The result of this would be dramatic cooling; in some ways, it could have worse consequences than global warming. The lack of activity in solar cycle 24 has prompted concerns about this.
This shift in global temperature could have a substantial impact on the agricultural belts of Europe, North America, and Russia, which are responsible for a substantial part of the world's current food supply These are vulnerable to a downward temperature change of more than a few degrees. Greater decreases in temperature are certainly possible if the sunspot cycle fails to gain momentum.
For Europe, the possible collapse of the Gulf Stream and its underwater equivalent, the Atlantic warm convector, could signal a massive change in climate. The warming these currents provide prevents European countries from being as cold as those on the equivalent latitudes in North America. Without them, some of the most populated parts of the European continent would be under Arctic conditions.