The Sun has an 11-year cycle of highs and lows, one that scientists are predicting will have an extraordinary low-point in its next cycle. This unusually low point is expected to occur around mid-century or 2050.
The ‘grand minimum’, as it is being called, is an especially low point in the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which could lead to a noticeably dimmer world. People shouldn’t expect darkness, but reportedly, they might experience a miniature ice-age and a slowing of the effects of global warming.
What to expect during the next Grand Minimum of 2050
As fewer sunspots are created, the Earth begins approaching a grand minimum. There are more than 20 years of data from the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite mission documenting these patterns. More sunspots create a brighter, warmer Earth. In contrast, fewer ones create a noticeably dimmer planet.
This has happened before, centuries ago. The “Maunder Minimum” occurred, as it is known, occurred in between 1645 and 1715. Although England and parts of Europe experienced unusual freezing such as the Thames River and the Baltic Sea turning to ice, other areas such as Alaska and Greenland actually had warmer temperatures.
As the solar activity quiets down, Earth’s ozone layer thins. This creates erratic weather patterns. Overall, it is expected to be 7 percent cooler than the average temperature. The global air temperature is expected to be a few tenths of a degree Celsius cooler.
Will this stop the damaging effects of global warming? No, but it could slow down things. While the help of grand minimum is appreciated and gives humanity a lot of help, it does not stop global warming.
Also, these small advantages also come with disadvantages. The thing is, after a grand minimum, the sun heats back up again. When it does this, it is expected and believed that it will heat up more than ever.
Current study results were released in a paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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