World facing mini ice age in 15 years

THERE will be a "mini ice age" in 2030, solar scientists have said.

We are now able to predict solar cycles with far greater accuracy than ever before thanks to a new model which shows irregularities in the sun's 11-year heartbeat.

The model shows that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent between 2030 and 2040 causing a "mini ice age".

The conditions predicted have not been experienced since the last "mini ice age" which lasted from 1645 to 1715, called the Maunder Minimum.

The findings are being presented by Professor Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

In 1843 scientists first discovered that the sun's activity varies over a cycle of 10 to 12 years.

Fluctuations within that cycle have been difficult to predict, although many solar physicists new that the variations were caused by a dynamo of moving fluid deep inside the sun.

Professor Zharkova's team of researchers has found that adding a second dynamo close to the surface of the sun, creates a far more accurate model.

The scientists found magnetic waves in two different layers of the sun's interior which fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the sun.

A depiction of the frozen River Thames from 1754 A depiction of the frozen River Thames from 1754

"Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent," Professor Zharkova said.

The magnetic wave patterns show that there will be fewer sunspots in the next two solar cycles. Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022 and Cycle 26, from 2030 to 2040 will both have a significant reduction in solar activity.


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