Scientists believe the sun is about to go through a major cooling event that could have a big impact on global temperatures.
Scientists say that we could be in for a very big event with regards to the sun, with a “grand minimum” approaching around the 2050 time frame. That would mean that the sun would be at an unusually low point in its normally steady 11-year cycles, which could result in global cooling temperatures.
It is not clear how that might impact global warming and climate change, but scientists are studying the situation further to figure out just how much cooling might happen and when exactly it would occur. The last such major minimum happened back in the 17th century, called the “Maunder Minimum” that caused the freezing of the Thames river in England as well as the Baltic Sea.
The sun is on a constant cycle due to its core, which sometimes surges in energy and forces out more radiation and creates sunspots and flares at a rapid pace, and then quiets down and ejects less energy. Scientists are working hard to better understand these cycles and how they impact the Earth.
The latest study, from University of California San Diego physicist Dan Lubin, was published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. Lubin believes that the sun will be 7 percent cooler than the standard minimum, but more work will need to be done to get more accurate figures and a timeline.
“The Sun might emit less radiation by mid-century, giving planet Earth a chance to warm a bit more slowly but not halt the trend of human-induced climate change,” reads a university statement. “The cooldown would be the result of what scientists call a grand minimum, a periodic event during which the Sun’s magnetism diminishes, sunspots form infrequently, and less ultraviolet radiation makes it to the surface of the planet. Scientists believe that the event is triggered at irregular intervals by random fluctuations related to the Sun’s magnetic field.”