Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Mini-Ice Age

Having scared the wits out of us for twenty years with dire predictions of global warming, rising sea levels, desertification, wildlife extinctions, large-scale starvation, and massive demographic dislocation, scientists are now telling us that, well, maybe not. We may instead be headed for a mini-ice age such as hasn't been seen in over three hundred years.

According to an article in the UK Daily Mail the sun appears to be on track to reach a minimum of solar activity by 2030 although the effects of the trend may be felt well before that. Here's the gist:
The new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat. It draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone.

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, according to the results presented by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

The model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.
The last time the sun experienced this type of minimum was 1646 - 1715, a period which has been called a mini-ice age during which England's River Thames froze over for the only time in its recorded history.

If this global cooling actually does come to pass perhaps we'll be reading about how fortuitous it is that the atmosphere is laden with greenhouse gases keeping the planet insulated against the cold. We may even be treated to the spectacle of frantic environmentalists and politicians demanding increased production of atmospheric carbon dioxide to reverse the effects of the solar minimum before agricultural production around the globe is diminished by the lower temperatures and much of the northern latitudes become uninhabitable.