Mini Ice Age Fears: No Solar Activity for Two Weeks Sparks Concern
Written by Sean Martin
According to Nasa, there have been no sunspots on the surface of our star in two weeks, leading to predictions the solar minimum has begun early. The sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches a solar maximum and then a solar minimum.
During the former, the Sun gives off more heat, and less in the latter. By observing the sun through Nasa’s powerful Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, experts have noticed there has been very little activity.
The space agency said in a statement: “This is the longest stretch of spotlessness since the last solar minimum in April 2010, indicating the solar cycle is marching on toward the next minimum.”
Scientists had not anticipated the next solar minimum until around 2020. If it has begun early, it could lead to a cold snap on Earth.
NASA The comparison in solar activity
The last time that there was a prolonged solar minimum, it led to a ‘mini ice-age’, scientifically known as the Maunder minimum. The Maunder minimum began in 1645 and lasted through to 1715, where sunspots were exceedingly rare. Temperatures across the globe could drop During this period, temperatures dropped globally by 1.3 degrees celsius. Although it seems insignificant, it led to shorter seasons and ultimately food shortages.
“Low solar activity is known to have consequences on Earth’s weather”
Vencore Weather, a meteorological website, said: “Low solar activity is known to have consequences on Earth’s weather and climate and it also is well correlated with an increase in cosmic rays that reach the upper part of the atmosphere.
“The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.”
Read more at www.express.co.uk