Earth heading for decade-long 'mini ice age' in 15 years?

Researchers in the UK claimed to have created a new model that predicts the solar cycles more accurately than ever before.

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2015, 00:06 AM IST
Earth heading for decade-long 'mini ice age' in 15 years?

London: Scientists have warned that the earth could be headed for a 'mini ice age' as a result of decreased solar activity.

Researchers in the UK claimed to have created a new model that predicts the solar cycles more accurately than ever before.

Predictions from the new model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent between 2030 and 2040, which means in just 15 years’ time, earth could sink into a decade-long freezing conditions.

The prediction is based on what’s known as the Sun’s '11-year cycle or 'heartbeat'.

Solar cycles typically last 11 years and during that time, the north and south magnetic poles flip. According to scientists, we're currently in Cycle 24.

The latest model predicts that the Sun's magnetic waves will become offset in Cycle 25 which peaks in 2022. Then, in Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, solar activity will fall by 60 per cent causing this 'mini ice age'.

“In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun,” said Northumbria University Prof Valentina Zharkova, who presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales.

“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',” said Zharkova.

It is said that such low solar activity has not been seen since the last 'mini ice age' or the 'Maunder minimum' (1645 and 1715) which saw the River Thames in London completely frozen.