Top scientists claim that we may be heading for a mini ice age as soon as 2030.
Top solar scientists have announced at the National Astronomy Meeting that the Sun may soon be entering ‘a period of reduced activity’ in just 15 years time, IFL Science reports.
Extensive research has not yet been carried out, due to how new a finding this is, but the findings come from a computer model of sunspots that has made ‘unprecedentedly accurate predictions’.
Over a 32 year timeframe, the computer model showed 97% accuracy… So it’s far from a wild claim.
IFLScience explained what Sunspots are, and how they work:
Sunspots are relatively ‘cool’ regions on the Sun that appear darker when photographed. They are cooler than the rest of the Sun, but they are still around 4500 K (4200ºC, 7600ºF). They are caused by a concentration of intense, magnetic field from the Sun. This inhibits and redirects the flow of hot matter to that region and makes it darker – what we call a sunspot.
Sunspots last between 1 to 100 days, during which they rotate around the Sun, following the flow of solar fluid. Sunspots go through cycles of intensity and sparsity based on the motion of the fluid cycles. There are two main waves that are slightly offset over time, producing periods of maximum and minimum solar activity.
The belief is that solar activity will mimic that of a ‘Maunder minimum’.
The Maunder minimum took place between 1645 and 1715, and Earth experienced a miniature ice age. It was uncharacteristically cold, and the Thames even froze over. So much so that people were walking across it, and even holding fairs on it.
I’m not entirely sure what this ‘mini ice age’ will entail. I imagine it won’t involve hijinx with a sloth called Sid.
How will it affect global warming? Just how cold will our winters get? How long will it last?
It’s a potentially scary thought, but not everybody is convinced.
Some scientists have issued conflicting statements, and say that anthropogenic global warming — brought on by a human outpouring of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere — ‘will far outweigh any climate effects that might be caused by the Sun’.
Michael Mann, professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, said:
The effect is a drop in the bucket, a barely detectable blip, on the overall warming trajectory we can expect over the next several decades from greenhouse warming.
So, WTF is actually happening? I think a visit to The Winchester will sort it.