It’s a phenomenal irony how we humans carry on with our lives, least observant of the geographical and environmental changes happening around us. Factors like global warming may be issues addressed in worldwide conferences, but for the common man, how much of an issue is it, to influence us to reduce our carbon footprint upon the earth which we take so much for granted.
Did you know that a new phenomenon has been unfolding before our very eyes and it could well be a warning signal that heralds an impending ice age? Yes!! That’s right an ICE AGE, all because the sun has gone blank.
The Last Mini Ice Age Was In the 17th Century
As per reports of scientists and noted sun watcher meteorologist Paul Dorian, the sun went blank with no solar activity twice last month where there were no sunspots visible at all on its surface. Such an incident has sparked a flurry of activity akin to mild panic among scientists, who fear an impending, extremely harsh winter, last seen in the 17th century. The signs are a warning that the Earth may soon experience a mini ice age scientifically called the maunder minimum phase which last occurred in 1645.
The absence of solar sunspots is also an indication of the onset of the next solar minimum in which the sun will display its least activity with an increase in the spotless feature of the sun in the coming years. In a solar minimum, there may be a blank sun for a few days after which the phenomena may stretch into weeks and months until the cycle is complete. The next phase of the solar minimum is actually expected in 2019/20. But it seems to have started now!
The Sun Has Never Been Quieter Than Before
According to Paul Dorian of Vencor weather, the sun has gone blank and has never been quieter than before. It could well herald the possibility of a Maunder minimum, which of course is a mini ice age. During such a period, you can well expect rivers and lakes to freeze, where temperatures would plunge way down into subzero readings. The last Maunder Minimum was so cold it froze the Thames in England solid.
According to Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University, solar activity will decrease considerably by 2020 and continue till 2050. She is extremely confident about her prediction based on solid evidence and concrete data provided by her researchers.
The Present Sun Is Just an Orange Ball with No Blemishes or Sun Spots
A typical image of a blank sun is provided below where there is just an orange ball, free from any of its common blemishes or sunspots caused through solar activity and solar flares. As per an explanation provided by NASA, a solar minimum occurs every 11 years marked by the increase and decrease of solar activity on its photosphere or surface. If there is a solar minimum, there is also a maximum where solar activity is increased and marked by huge solar flares. Radiation generated during such activity damage satellites where CB radio is completely blacked out at times. The last solar maximum took place in 2000-01.
What we need to worry about right now is the fast approaching solar minimum, which could cause a mini ice age. The last mini ice age or maunder minimum lasted a phenomenal seventy years. Meteorologist John Dalton feels that the decreased solar activity could well cool down global temperatures in the earth’s troposphere. That’s the layer closest to us starting from the earth’s surface.
A Solar Minimum Poses Several Risks to Space Research and Astronauts
A solar minimum with no sunspots also brings with it several risks. Astronauts especially, run the risk of being pierced by cosmic rays that could shatter their DNA. Such phenomenon can occur during moments of solar inactivity where cosmic rays can easily enter into the innermost areas of the solar system. This occurs as a result of decreasing solar wind and a weak solar magnetic field. Space junk also accumulates during phases of solar inactivity when the sun goes blank, making it dangerous for space research.