A ‘mini ice age’ is coming in the next 15 years

A new model that predicts the solar cycles more accurately than ever before has suggested that solar activity will drop by 60 percent between 2030 and 2040, which means in just 15 years’ time, Earth could sink into what researchers are calling a mini ice age. Such low solar activity has not been seen since the last mini ice age, called the Maunder Minimum, which plunged the northern hemisphere in particular into a series of bitterly cold winters between 1645 and 1715.

The prediction is based on what’s known as the Sun’s ’11-year heartbeat’. The Sun’s activity is not the same year in year out, it fluctuates over a cycle that lasts between 10 and 12 years. Ever since this was discovered 172 years ago, scientists have struggled to predict what each cycle will look like. But just last week at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, mathematics professor Valentina Zharkova from Northumbria University in the UK has presented a new model that can forecast what these solar cycles will look like based on the dynamo effects at play in two layers of the Sun. Zharkova says she can predict their influence with an accuracy of 97 percent.

What exactly are these so-called dynamo effects? They’re part of a geophysical theory that explains how the motion of Earth’s outer core moves conducting material, such as liquid iron, across a weak magnetic field to create an electric current. This electric current also interacts with the fluid motion below the surface of Earth to create two magnetic fields along the axis of its rotation. Source: A ‘mini ice age’ is coming in the next 15 years

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