A bombshell study, led by professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, suggests that in the next few years Earth will enter into a cooling phase that will set off a series of events leading to a mini ice age.
Researchers came to the somewhat alarming conclusions by creating a mathematical model of the sun's magnetic fields.
According to the models, there will be a "huge reduction" in solar activity for 33 years between 2020 and 2053. This will cause global temperatures to decrease—drastically.
The temperatures will plummet to levels not seen since the 17th century.
As IFL Science reports, the future predicted activity of the Sun has been likened to the Maunder Minimum. This was a period when the Sun entered an especially inactive period, producing fewer sunspots than usual. This minimum happened at the same time that conditions in Northern America and Europe went unusually icy and cold, a period of time known as the “little ice age.”
“During the minimum, the intensity of solar radiation will be reduced dramatically. So we will have less heat coming into the atmosphere, which will reduce the temperature,” Zharkova explained.
While some of those in the mainstream media used this study as a means of inciting panic about mass famine and human casualties, in reality, a mini-ice age will be managable—thanks to modern technology.
As IFL Science reports:
The previous Maunder Minimum occurred in the 17th century and lasted between 50 and 60 years. During this time, winters were colder: for example the River Thames, which usually flows through London, notoriously froze over. The ice was so thick that people could walk from one side to the other. However, the citizens that lived in freezing, 17th century Europe survived these cold winters, and they didn't have the heating technology that we are fortunate enough to have today. If the next solar activity minimum does affect the weather on Earth, it will not be deadly for the human race.
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Speaking to Sputnik, Zharkova explained that ice ages "keep repeating every 350-400 years because the Sun goes through this [period of] minimum activity."
She said planet Earth has “natural mechanisms” designed to withstand ice ages and has done so “for billions of years and survived."
Although humans have the technology to survive such a drastic shift in climate, as Zharkova notes, it will not be without some struggle.
“The problem will be for us to pass through the minimum of current magnetic field activity, which will come in the next 30 years, because I can only guess that the vegetation period will start reducing," she said.
“If you have less [solar] emissions, less radiation and dropping temperatures it means that vegetables won't be able to grow properly, wheat can't grow properly, so we might have a problem with some sorts of food which we will probably need to think through.”
The reduction in global warming will only last until the sun becomes more active again in the 2050s, Zharkova said.
“We have to be sorted by that time and prepare everything on Earth for the next big solar activity,” she said.
Zharkova's research has been carried out over many years and has come to similar predictions for the future of the climate in the past. As TFTP reported in 2015, the group of astrophysicists noted that our planet is just 15 years from a new ‘mini ice age’ that could cause extremely cold winters characterized by the freezing of normally ice-free rivers as well as by year-round snowfields in areas that have never witnessed such climate conditions before.
In continuing their studies, it appears that this ice age is closer than originally thought. Although the media and government may use this coming cool period to promote fear, Zharkova left IFL Science with a word of advice. “It will be cold, but it will not be this ice age when everything is freezing like in the Hollywood films,” she said.