Scientists have found evidence suggesting that the sun will be dimmer and cooler by 2050.
Researchers identified that the sun goes through a “grand minimum.” This is a point during an 11-year cycle where the sun’s surface is calm.
During the high point of this cycle, the sun ejects more ultraviolet rays leading to more flares and sunspots. The “grand minimum” is the low point in the solar cycle since the nuclear fusion subsides.
Interesting enough, scientists found historical proof of an even longer sun cycle. They cited the period between 1645 and 1715 to be a cool period. They dubbed this interval as the “Maunder Minimum.”
In 1658, the Baltic Sea froze over, making it possible for the Swedish Army to march toward Denmark. A similar occurrence also happened with the Thames in England.
However, these cooler periods are not uniform.
A study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters entitled “Ultraviolet Flux Decrease Under a Grand Minimum from IUE Short-wavelength Observation of Solar Analogs” looks into these patterns.
Dan Lubin, from the University of California San Diego, led the study. Based on the information gathered by the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite mission during the past 20 years, and the behavior of other stars close the planet, he estimates that the next cooling spiral will make the sun 7 percent cooler and dimmer.
What Happens When The Sun Becomes Dimmer
As revealed by the UC San Diego News Center, changes in the sun’s behavior will have significant effects on the planet. The stratospheric ozone layer will thin out according to Lubin, and this will change the atmosphere’s insulation effect. However, it will have little impact on global warming.
“The cooling effect of a grand minimum is only a fraction of the warming effect caused by the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
A simulation reveals that the sun’s cooling effect will only reduce the Earth’s warming by 0.25 percent from 2020 to 2070.
“A future grand solar minimum could slow down but not stop global warming,” the study predicts.
As for the implication of the study, Lubin reveals that they now have a benchmark for creating more accurate climate simulation models. Identifying the period when the sun will be dimmer and cooler will provide researchers with a better idea of how UV radiation from the sun affects climate change.