Mini Ice-Age Is On The Way, Newcastle Academic Predicts

  • Date: 13/07/16
  • Peter McCusker, Newcastle Chronicle

Solar expert Valentina Zharkova warns that the earth is about to be affected by a solar event that will see temperatures plunge

This damp and cold summer may be a sign of things to come with the earth poised to enter a 30-year mini ice-age which may freeze the Tyne, says a world-leading Newcastle academic. Peter McCusker reports.

Ice skating on the River Tyne in the early 20th century

Ice skating on the River Tyne in the early 20th century

The sun is in good shape and has a ‘healthy heartbeat’ which will last at least another five billion years, says Prof Valentina Zharkova, of Northumbria University.

Ms Zharkova, a professor in the department of mathematics, physics and electrical engineering, says this regular heartbeat of the sun is subject to predictable fluctuations of its magnetic field, and over the next few years as it enters a lull temperatures, here on earth, will plummet.

This time last year Prof Zharkova announced she had discovered a key solar event which determines magnetic field variations over time.

And she ‘confidently’ predicts we will be heading to another ‘Solar Grand Minima’ in solar cycle 25, beginning in 2020 and lasting until 2053.

During the last such event on the sun between 1645 and 1715 – and known as the Maunder Minimum – people skated on a frozen Thames as the average temperature in England fell by almost 2°C.

Prof Zharkova believes the cool summer we are currently experiencing is a precursor of things to come.

For over 400 years people have associated such cooler periods with reduced sun spot activity on the sun’s surface.

Prof Zharkova and her team postulate from their observations of the whole sun that sun spots on the solar surface are caused by the movement of a pair of background magnetic waves across its interior and surface, in both hemispheres.

The magnetic waves start their journey from opposite hemispheres and when they interact with each other on this journey sun spots develop.

The intensity and number of sun spots depends on the amplitude of the magnetic waves when they cross.

We are now entering a period where the sun’s pair of magnetic waves will cross at low amplitudes, beginning with solar cycle 25 in 2020.

And in solar cycle 26, beginning in 2031, we may enter a period of little, or no sunspot activity – and much cooler temperatures – as the pair of magnetic waves fail to cross at any point as they will remain fully separated in the opposite hemispheres of the sun.

Prof Zharkova and her colleagues have been able to simulate this on computer models allowing them to predict future cycles for the next millennium.

Prof Zharkova says her research is ‘the first serious prediction of a reduction of solar activity and upcoming Maunder Minimum that might affect human lives’. […]

Prof Zharkova’s predictions also fly in the face of much of what is being said and written about global temperatures.

This worldwide movement was crystallised in last year’s Paris Agreement which saw almost all of the nations of the world unite to vow to try and keep temperature rises to less than 2°C by the end of the century.

Prof Zharkova said: “When it comes to controlling the earth’s temperature the sun trumps the work of mankind infinitesimally.

“The sun controls the temperature of all of the planets and anything else is pure fallacy. As the earth’s ice caps have melted so have the ones on Mars, and Jupiter has had more typhoons in the last decade than in any previous period.

“I accept and agree that we should be doing all we can to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as cutting pollution, but the models that are being used to support this idea of manmade global warming are flawed.

“Much of the research is misleading, the models downplay solar activity but solar activity is by far and away the key player in any attempt to explain fluctuations in global temperatures.”

She added: “How this reduction of temperature will be offset by global warming and increasing temperatures caused by the technological progress of human civilization remains to be seen.”

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