News about scientific topics annoys me. The latest, on the melting of the Martian polar ice caps hinting at a warmer than usual Sun causing global warming makes me wonder if Kate reads about science as voratiously as I do? I mean, as I started to read this, I recalled that the number and size of sunspots was related to the amount of solar wind from the Sun. It was tied to that the Sun is currently in a decades long period in which it would make the Earth hotter. A simple Google search yielded this web page from 1997!
At present there is no concern about another Little Ice Age. Recent satellite measurements of solar brightness, analyzed by Willson (4), show an increase from the previous cycle of sunspot activity to the current one, indicating that the Earth is receiving more energy from the Sun. Willson indicates that if the current rate of increase of solar irradiance continues until the mid 21th century, then the surface temperatures will increase by about 0.5� C. This is small, but not a negligible fraction of the expected greenhouse warming. Ref: Sunspots and climate
It doesn’t make sense to me that either one of these must be wrong. A hotter than normal Sun * an Earth predisposed to trap more heat than normal = a hotter Earth.