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'Mini Ice Age' Could Hit Earth by 2030, Say Royal Astronomers

Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 06:45 AM

A predicted "mini Ice Age" that could hit Earth by 2030 may be real or could just be a lot of hot air, according to media reports after a review from Royal Astronomical Society presentation started the hubbub.

Valentina Zharkova made a presentation last week at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno in the United Kingdom, noting that models of the Sun's solar cycle predicts "unprecedented" irregularities within the star's 11-year heartbeat, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

 


"The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone," said the astronomical society. "Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645."

Zharkova predicted the phenomena could lead to what is called a "Maunder minimum."

"The Maunder Minimum … is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time," reported The Daily Mail. "It caused London's River Thames to freeze over, and 'frost fairs' became popular.

"This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the 'Little Ice Age' when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes," said the newspaper.

The Washington Post's Sarah Kaplan said the press release did not make a prediction on how the phenomena will affect Earth's climate this time around.

"Meanwhile, several other recent studies of a possible solar minimum have concluded that whatever climate effects the phenomenon may have will be dwarfed by the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions," said Kaplan.

"Besides, that 'Little Ice Age' that occurred during the Maunder minimum, it wasn't so much a global ice age as a cold spell in Europe, and it may have been caused more by clouds of ash from volcanic eruptions than by fluctuations in solar activity," said Kaplan.

 


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A predicted "mini Ice Age" that could hit Earth by 2030 may be real or could just be a lot of hot air, according to media reports after a review from Royal Astronomical Society presentation started the hubbub.
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Tuesday, 14 Jul 2015 06:45 AM
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