The scientists who issued a dire warning during the 1970s about an impending new “Ice Age” that would start in about the year 2020 may have been right after all, with one group of scientific researchers now warning that in about five years the Earth may start to dip into a miniature Ice Age if conflicting solar systems cancel each other out.
The phenomenon is called the “Maunder minimum,” and was last experienced in the period between 1646 and 1715, reports The Daily Mail, and caused London’s River Thames to freeze over.
According to results presented by Professor Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, the new solar cycle models are producing accurate predictions of irregularities in two layers of the sun, one that is close to its surface and the other deeper inside, and suggest that solar activity could drop by 60 percent in the 2030s.
The waves will start becoming increasingly offset in the year 2022 when one cycle peaks, the model shows, while during the following cycle, covering the decade between 2030-2040, the waves will be out of sync, which will cause the reduction in solar activity, the model predicts.
“In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other — peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun,” Zharkova commented. “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.'”
When the waves are in phase, though, there is strong solar activity, but when there is “full phase separation,” the Maunder conditions take over, according to the researchers.
Scientists first discovered 172 years ago that solar activity generally varies in cycles that last between 10 and 20 years, reports The Daily Mail, and Zharkova said she and her colleagues have been able to create a model that can complete solar predictions with better-than-ever accuracy rates of 97 percent.
“We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior,” she said. “‘They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time.”
In their research, using principal component analysis of magnetic field observations gathered at the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California, the scientists examined three solar cycles, covering the period between 1976 and 2008 and compared their predictions to sunspot numbers. Research revealed the predictions and observations matched closely.
Zharkova and her colleagues are not the first scientists to predict an Ice Age to start in the year 2020. Back in the 1970s, the media often promoted the idea that the globe would be freezing over, reports Popular Technology, with many blaming man-made pollution, not the cycles of the sun.
In one movie, “The Coming Ice Age,” Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy narrated a dire warning in 1978 that mirrored Zharkova’s modern-day predictions, stating that the hard winters experienced in places like Buffalo, NY were what people could expect in the 2020s and ahead.
And climate expert John Casey earlier this year told Newsmax TV’s J.D. Hayworth that the direction of climate change cannot be determined based on a single event, but the collection of record-breaking winters shows that the planet is getting colder.
“Just about every American can now see that we’ve had a series of brutal, record-setting winters that are starting earlier, staying longer and breaking records that are 100 and 150 years old,” Casey told Hayworth.
“Clearly, the planet is getting colder,” said Casey, president of the Space and Science Research Corp.