WINTER’S HERE: Dee Hartin’s photos of snow at Glenn Innes.
WINTER’S HERE: Dee Hartin’s photos of snow at Glenn Innes.

Science predicts mini-ice age: Winter is coming - eventually

SNOW in our region could become a regular thing if new scientific models predicting a 'mini ice age' years prove correct.

Professor Valentina Zharkova and her team have developed a new model of the sun's solar cycle which is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities in the sun's 11-year heartbeat.

Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60% during the 2030s, replicating the conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645.

Prof Zharkova said during cycle 26 - which covers the decade from 2030-2040 - the Sun's two waves will peak at the same time but in opposite hemispheres creating a 'Maunder minimum'.

The Maunder minium was a period of time from 1654 to about 1715 where sunspots were rare and Europe and North America both experienced very cold winters (there would be few if no records of the Australian climate at that time.)

"Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity," Prof Zharkova said.

"When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums.

"When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago."

Fortunately for us, Australia is in a very good position to survive climate change, according to research from the University of Notre Dame.

Australia came in at number six in a list of 192 UN countries ranked on their vulnerability. Measures included food, health, ecosystems, human habitat, infrastructure, water, adaptive capacity, economic readiness, governance and social readiness.


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