Many people have been emphasizing the chance of Global Warming for decades, but new research says that something quite different is actually heading our way. According to these researchers, a drop in solar magnetism will actually cause a miniature ice age in the next decade or so.

Currently, solar activity is at the lowest level it has reached in the past 300 years. Researchers say that the last time it reached a point this low, London’s Thames River froze over, during another mini ice age known as the Maunder Minimum. According to data provided by a new breakthrough model that scientists are now using, solar magnetic activity should decrease by 50% between 2030-2040. By looking at the Sun’s “11-year heartbeat’, or the time period in which magnetic activity fluctuates. The “heartbeat” cycle was discovered around 173 years ago.

A mathematician has come up with a more up-to-date model that has the ability to predict future solar cycles based on dynamo effects in two layers inside of the Sun. This also suggests that the Thames River could end up freezing over again. This mathematical model suggests that temperatures from 2021 could end up dropping well into the year 2030 according to Sky News.

Basically, the ‘dynamo effects’ as noted above are the geographical theory that decides how the movement of the Earth’s outer core will conduct materials such as liquid iron across the magnetic field to create an electric current. The also predicts fluid motion underneath the Earth’s surface to create two magnetic fields across the axis of the rotation of planet Earth.

By using the theory of the Sun, Professor Valentina Zharkova from Northumbria University was able to predict the effects of solar cycles with 97 percent accuracy. Through this predicting rapid decreasing magnetic waves for three solar cycles. These beginning in 2021 and lasting about 33 years. That being said, this isn’t a for sure thing, nothing is ‘set in stone.’ While there could be a mini ice age coming, we don’t know for sure and global warming could without a doubt have a lot to do with why it doesn’t if we do not end up seeing as such.

If you’ve been keeping up with things in recent years, the fact that it’s ‘colder’ doesn’t seem quite true depending on where you are in the world, so I could see why you would find the idea of a mini ice age hard to get behind. Now, while these findings are from a few years back, they are still quite interesting to look at and think about in relation to how things are right now.

In regards to all of this, The Northumbria University Newcastle wrote as follows on their website back in 2015:

Speaking about her confidence in her team’s work, Prof Zharkova added: “I am absolutely confident in our research. It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly. In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity.”

Following Prof Zharkova’s prediction at last week’s conference, the story has captured the public imagination with stories across the international press in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany, France, China, Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and many other countries including The Independent, The Telegraph, and Science Daily(UK), ABC News, USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times. Australia Today and numerous other newspapers and radio stations worldwide.

Prof Zharkova said: “The public imagination has been captured by the first serious prediction of a reduction of solar activity that might affect the human lives – as it did in the 17th Century. Solar-terrestrial physics literarily enters everyone’s house – this is the main beauty of the event.”

Prof Zharkova, who works in the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences at Northumbria, believes the research further positions the University as a leader in this area.

She said: “Yes, I think so, given what we have done so far. Previously, in 1998, we with Dr. A Kosovichev, of Stanford University, USA, discovered quakes on the Sun associated with solar flares, which were reported in Nature covered by the worldwide media on five continents. This topic continues to be one of the most interested in for the past decade.  Now we decided to report the new finding on solar activity at the National Astronomy Meeting to enhance the profile of the UK science and to emphasize the contribution of three UK collaborators, including Northumbria.”

What do you think about this concept and do you think it could play out as predicted? I for one am on the fence but curious to see where things end up. How would you feel about a mini ice age?

earth

Hopefully, during the next 15 years, more research will be conducted to decipher the exact future of our climate and environment. If we are in fact on the verge of a mini ice age, we will need to find ways to make it through harsh climates that would be presented, and adapt to a completely different world. Of course, in the world of science, 15 years can be a lifetime, however, scientists need to get a jump start on working through the new research and discovering what can be done. Whether you think it potentially being a mini ice age wouldn’t affect you or not, I can assure you that it would more than you might realize.

Image via The Day After Tomorrow 

Sources:

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/dynamo_effect.html

https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/news-events/news/2015/07/northumbria-academic-says-little-ice-age-could-hit-earth-in-2020/

https://news.sky.com/story/scientists-predict-mini-ice-age-could-hit-uk-by-2030-11186098

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