According to a research team based at the University of California in San Diego, the sun cycle is approaching towards solar grand minimum which effectively create another ice age on our planet earth. They say that the sun will be nearly seven percent cooler and dimmer by 2050, which could result in a mini ice age. Their calculation is based on 20 years of observations and collected data.
- As per the researchers, they have figured out a way to track the sun’s 11-year-cycle. They believe that there is a ‘significant probability’ of a near-future grand minimum observing the downward sunspot pattern in recent solar cycles, which is similar to the period prior to previous grand minimum events.
- The grand minimum would most likely cool the earth by about 0.25 percent between 2020 and 2070. It might make the surface of the earth comparatively cooler up to several tenths of a degree Celsius.
- The sun moves through an 11-year-cycle where it experiences active and quiet periods, known as the ‘solar maximum’ and ‘solar minimum’.
- The researchers believe they have worked out when the next solar minimum could occur.
- A solar minimum is a condition where the sun’s magnetism decreases, fewer sunspots form and less ultraviolet radiation makes it to the surface of the planet. These conditions make the sun’s surface clearer and and dimmer too.
- The researchers say that, next solar minimum will be the ‘grand minimum’, similar to those experienced in Europe which occurred between 1645 and 1715, when the River Thames froze as a result of the extremely low temperatures.
- ‘Maunder Minimum’ caused the Baltic Sea to freeze in 1968. It was similar to a mini ice age.
- During solar minimum, the effects of Earth’s upper atmosphere on satellites in low Earth orbit changes.
Solar Minimum and Solar Maximum: According to the NASA, ‘the sun goes through a natural solar cycle approximately every 11 years. The cycle is marked by the increase and decrease of sunspots – visible as dark blemishes on the sun’s surface, or photosphere. The greatest number of sunspots in any given solar cycle is designated as solar maximum and the lowest number is solar minimum.’