‘Little Ice Age’ in 2030, truth or myth?


Research predicted sunspot decline in 15 years has been associated with the weather

The Sun is the most important astronomical object. Thanks to him, our planet was formed and could sprout life to allow the emergence of our species, which now develops technology to probe the mysteries of the sun.

One of the aspects that disturbed the early observers of the cosmos were some ‘scars’ that was observed on the solar surface. It was several centuries before concluding that those spots are direct evidence of the magnetic field emerging from the star, reaching permeate interplanetary space to the limits of the solar system.

In the early seventeenth century regularly started counting the number of spots seen on the Sun’s surface. So-called solar cycle of about 11 years of life was discovered.
A recent study, led by researcher Valentina Zharkova, Northumbria University (UK), predicts a decrease in the number of sunspots from 2030.

This would mean a reduction in solar activity, which would result in the decrease of explosive phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Zharkova If predictions are correct the Sun will enter a period similar to that observed in the mid-seventeenth century.

During the period called the ‘Maunder Minimum’, since 1645 and for 70 years, the sun hardly showed spots on its surface. At that time it did not seem strange, since only in 1843 the solar cycle was discovered. Now he is still investigating why the Sun interrupted his ‘normal’ activity at the time.

This period is also studied because it coincides with the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ on Earth, in which Europe is immersed in an intense cold. Some directly link the lack of sunspots with the effect on the climate on Earth. Therefore attributed to the ‘Maunder Minimum’ the low temperatures of the time.

The controversy was revived with the outcome of the investigation of Zharkova, especially now when discussing climate change and global warming.

Since Zharkova and his team presented their work at the Annual Meeting of Astronomy in the UK a few weeks ago, the ads warn of a “mini-Ice Age ‘in 15 years have become viral networking. But behind alarming warning that there are aspects that should be analyzed in detail.

The new solar model Zharkova suggests that there are two mechanisms for generating the magnetic field in the solar interior. A mechanism to reproduce the known activity period of 11 years plus a second mechanism underlying the global magnetic field of the Sun, known as’ solar dynamo ‘.

Between 2020 and 2030, says Zharkova-, both cycles would cancel each other in a kind of destructive interference, thus the magnetic field does not emerge at the solar surface and stains disappear almost completely. The consequences of this process could lead to the Sun to the same properties that were experienced during the ‘Maunder Minimum’.

“Our predictions are precisely matched 97 percent to observational data of the current solar cycle,” adds the researcher.

But predictions about the solar cycle have always been somewhat remote from the facets that show the sun in periods of 11 years.The previous cycle, for example, a couple of years longer than expected and were extended very few sunspots over an extended period of time. That made ​​in 2009 also alerted about other ‘Little Ice Age’, that never happened. And the current cycle, which was expected very strong, has astonished scientists because it was the weakest of the past centuries.

Captured the attention this issue has aroused, advocates and critics of global warming, interest in the new solar model and that has made ​​that relate to the Earth’s climate. Despite having served the controversy, Zharkova does not refer in any time to a ‘Little Ice Age’ .

Studies on the effects of various factors on climate, while taking into account fluctuations in solar radiation that strikes the planet, should consider volcanic eruptions that ash clouds filled the atmosphere; the El Niño and La Niña; oceans, and carbon emissions. A minority remains that there is not enough to attribute global warming to human activity evidence.

Research on the subject suggests that the Sun’s effect on climate would not explain the global warming the planet is experiencing today, but it remains an open issue.

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