Earth could witness a new Mini Ice Age as researchers warn that the Sun could be ‘hibernating’ until the 2050s. Sunspot’s performance on the Sun’s surface is led by a well-known but not so good understood 11 year-cycle.
Such an event brings some rises and falls, developing the so-called solar minimum and then the solar maximum. So, during a maximum range, our host star becomes stronger and is scattered with sunspots.
Conversely, when the Sun begins a minimum range, the last one occurred two years ago, energy from it starts to decrease. However, one researcher has predicted that the Sun will initiate a period of “hibernation” later this year. Such an event will mark a GSM, Grand Solar Minimum.
Professor Valentina Zharkova from Northumbria University forecasted this could bring some negative results, such as global temperatures lower with one Celsius degree. While it might look like an irrelevant decrease, it could have severe consequences for Earth, including a reduction of agricultural production.
Sun’s Extended Period of Hibernation Could Lead to a new Mini Ice Age
The researcher stated that the Sun’s period of hibernation could be for approximately three decades, which will drive to colder and wetter summers.
Professor Zharkova detailed: “Fewer sunspots will be formed on the solar surface, and thus less energy and radiation will be emitted towards the planets and the Earth. The reduction in temperature will result in cold weather on Earth, wet and cold summers, cold and wet winters.”
The consequences, however, will mark only the beginning of GSM, so we should expect more in the upcoming 33 years. For example, the last GSM, which occurs almost every 400 years, happened in the 17th century.
Studies developed by NASA showed that during that period, from 1650 to 1710, temperatures across the majority of the Northern Hemisphere fallen when our host star began a quiet stage, now dubbed the Maunder Minimum.