13 December, 2021

This Is a Risk, But...

Like so many things in climatology and astronomy, we really don’t know enough to predict with any kind of accuracy.

A "Mini-Ice Age" Could Hit Earth By 2030, Scientists Warn - Science world (sciencenatures.com)

They’re talking about an upcoming “Maunder Minimum”, which based upon sunspot activity may be happening soon. Or it may not. We just don’t know. Also, we don’t really know enough to even accurately predict sunspot activity. The sun has been very quiet for the last several years, which is why we’re having this discussion. But it could get noisy again tomorrow. And while that would be surprising, it probably wouldn’t be more surprising than the low sunspot period we’re in now.

According to the model, the two magnetic waves will become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26 between 2030 and 2040, the waves will become out of sync, causing reduction in solar activity by as much as 60 percent.

“In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other — peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun,” Zharkovareportedly said in 2015 while conducting a previous research on the phenomenon. “Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum'.”

Although Zharkova claimed 97 percent accuracy for the model that corresponds to previous mini ice ages, she did warn that her model could not be used as proof of a future mini ice age, partly because of global warming. The new research paper on the findings was published this year in Astronomy & Geophysics.

“I hope global warning will be overridden by this effect, giving humankind and the Earth 30 years to sort out our pollution,” Zharkova told Sky News, adding that any possible downward impact on global warming will last until 2050s when the Sun's two magnetic waves become active again. “We have to be sorted by that time and prepare everything on Earth for the next big solar activity.”

We just don’t know. Could get a little warmer. Could stay the same. Could get a little cooler. Could get a lot cooler. Make your picks and place your bets.

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