A Mini Ice Age On The Way? Really?

Scientists warn the sun will ‘go to sleep’ in 2030.

Apparently, that news is not as ominous as it sounds. Bottom line is this, folks – a sleeping sun won’t help us escape the global warming issue.

Why so?

Here’s a rebuttal of the ice age predictions on Newsweek:

Last week, a press release from the Royal Astronomical Society caught the British news media’s attention. It quickly spread to American outlets, and soon headlines blared across the Internet announcing the coming of a “mini ice age” in 15 years. “Winter is coming,” announced one. “Scientists warn the sun will ‘go to sleep’ in 2030,” ominously intoned another. Global warming skepticsannouncing their vindication on Twitter followed shortly thereafter.

The problem is, none of this is true.

The press release in question was an announcement of a presentation to be given by Valentina Zharkova, a professor of mathematics at Northumbria University in Newcastle, at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales. She and her team of researchers had analyzed the sun’s 11-year cycles from a purely astronomical perspective and found that the solar cycle that will come into force in the 2030s looks much like the one last seen in the mid-17th century, a time period known as the Maunder Minimum, when Europe and North America experienced particularly bitter winters. “Solar activity will fall by 60 percent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645,” the press release said.

The trouble is, the press release said nothing about what implications that solar cycle would have for conditions on Earth. It described conditions only on the sun. Yet the headlines announced a deep freeze anyway. Outlet after outlet echoed a line from the press release that solar activity would “fall by 60 percent.” Any reader who took a moment to digest the severity of that statement ought to have gone into a panic.

“A decrease in solar output of 1 percent would be a very big deal for the climate system. A 60 percent decrease would end all life on Earth, forever probably,” says James Renwick, a professor at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and an expert in atmospheric physics, via email. “I am kind of surprised no one much has commented on this yet or pointed out how unlikely it is.”

The full article on Newsweek.

Guess we shall find the truth in 15 years.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in environment news, science news

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