New scientific research has just been released that shows a phenomenon known as the solar “grand minimum.”
Known as the “prolonged sunspot minimum,” it is a period when the Sun’s magnetic field will wane, sunspots become much less frequent, and less UV radiation reaches Earth, allowing for unpredictable changes. All of these might indicate extremely chilly temperatures for us and weaken the Sun’s appearance.
Even though the Sun already follows an 11-year up/down cycle, this grand minimum will be particularly chilly since the Sun’s activity will go below the average 11-year low. This results in some parts of the earth having colder temperatures.
How chilly? Estimates suggest that the Sun’s light and heat output will decline by 7 percent, which is 7 percent less than the lowest point in the Sun’s 11-year cycle that we regularly observe. These estimates are based on research of previous sunspot decreases nearing a grand minimum phase.
This exceptional minimum occurred in the middle of the 17th century. The Thames River and the Baltic Sea both froze as a result of what is known as the “Maunder Minimum” (named for two prominent solar astronomers of the period, Anne Russel Maunder and Edward Walter Maunder). This allowed a Swedish army to march over the ice and invade Denmark.
Due to the thinning of the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, which affects wind and weather patterns all across the world, Alaska and Southern Greenland warmed at the same period.
The disaster’s exact date and severity are still up for debate, but all the signs point to a bottoming out around the year 2050. However, it may begin as early as 2030. Until put things in perspective, the Maunder Minimum lasted from about 1645 to 1715.
Will it protect us from climate change? The very same scientists disagree.
The study concluded that “the cooling impact of a grand minimum is just a small part of the warming effect generated by the increasing quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
citation(s) needed: peer-reviewed research paper