Scientists say that the sun will likely experience a Maunder minimum effect in 2030 that will effectively put the sun in a “sleep” cycle. This would result in a mini ice age across parts of earth. Scientists say the last Maunder minimum occurred in 1646, which resulted in London’s River Thames to freeze over.
Professor Valentina Zharkova disclosed at the National Astronomy Meeting that a mini ice age may soon be upon earth. The scientists claim that their research has a 97 percent accuracy rate and that the mini ice age will result from something called the Maunder minimum effect. The research was completed by monitoring sun spots and solar activity for changes. The researchers draw on “dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone.” The study found that around 2030, the earth will likely enter a phase of little solar activity due to the fact that during Cycle 26, which covers the years 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of sync. This will cause an approximately 60 percent reduction in solar activity which has not been seen since the “mini ice age” of 1646.
“In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum”
The researcher notes that the cycles last 10 to 12 years and it is expected the same will hold true for the 2030 Maunder Minimum. Zharkova notes that will his dual layer monitoring, his solar activity prediction is at a 97 percent accuracy rate.
“Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%.”
The Carbon Brief notes that though a Maunder minimum will send the earth into a “mini ice age” it won’t be global. In fact, the brief notes that the northern hemisphere is expected.
“A more negative Arctic Oscillation or North Atlantic Oscillation is associated with reduced westerly winds over the North Atlantic sector and a southward shift in the mid-latitude storm track which causes reduced temperatures in the US and northern Europe.”
What do you think about the possibility of a mini ice age? Are you prepared for a decade of harsh winters?
[Image Credit: Getty Images/ NASA]