A series of images released by NASA have sparked concerns that the Earth could be heading for a mini ice age.
Photographs of the sun show that the star’s sunspots have vanished, with the normally volatile surface appearing relatively calm, reports the Daily Star.
This is the fourth time this year the sun’s face has appeared smooth, with experts saying solar activity is falling more rapidly than any time in the last 10,000 years.
This large reduction in sunspot activity could mean the Earth is about to enter a cold phase – the last time sunspots vanished at such a rapid rate marked the centuries-long ‘ice age’ that began in the 15th century.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian believes this sharp decline in solar activity could be a sign another ice age is coming.
It is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on the troposphere, the bottom most layer of Earth’s atmosphere – where we all live.
Dorian’s views are backed up by research headed by Professor Valentina Zharkov of Northumbria University suggesting a cold snap will hit Earth between 2020 and 2050.
Prof Zharkov said:
I am absolutely confident in our research. It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly.
Our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence.
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