SCIENCE

The Sun Has Lost Its Spots -- Should Earth Prepare For An Ice Age?

  • Mary Nichols , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jun, 29, 2016, 08:17 PM
Tags : science, space
Sun Spots
(Photo : Getty Images/NASA) The sun has lost its spots, according to a new report.

The sun has lost its spots, according to 

The phenomenon indicates that Earth could be heading towards a mini ice age, according to scientists.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian of Vencore Weather raised the alarm in his latest report, writes the New Zealand Herald.

"For the second time this month, the sun has gone completely blank," Dorian wrote in a blog post. "The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years."

The blankness is a sign that the Sun is entering a new stage in its solar cycle -- a period characterized by decreased activity.

"At first, the blankness will stretch for just a few days at a time, then it'll continue for weeks at a time, and finally it should last for months at a time when the sunspot cycle reaches its nadir," he wrote.

According to the study, the next solar minimum phase will occur around 2020.

The sun's natural solar cycle lasts approximately 11 years. The presence of sunspots on the sun's photosphere, visible as dark marks on the surface, indicates where it is in the cycle. The peak number of sunspots within any solar cycle is called the "solar maximum", while the lowest is known as the "solar minimum.

Prof Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University predicts that there a sharp decline in solar activity will occur between 2020 and 2050.

"I am absolutely confident in our research," Zharkova said in a press release last year.

"It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly," she added. ‘In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity.'

All weather and climate is dependent on the sun, meaning the sun blankness has some experts predicting a "Maunder Minimum" phase similar to the "Little Ice Age" which occurred in 1645 lasting 70 years.

During this period, temperatures reached such lows that the Thames froze over.

"If history is any guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottommost layer of Earth's atmosphere - and where we all live," Dorian said, as reported by News.com.au.

Other consequences of not a blank sun include a higher concentrations of cosmic rays, which can have potentially fatal effects for astronauts.

"Solar wind decreases and sun's magnetic field weakens during solar minimums making it easier for cosmic rays to reach the Earth," Dorian said.

"This is a more dangerous time for astronauts as the increase in potent cosmic rays can easily shatter a strand of human DNA," he added.

© 2015 Design & Trend All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

SPOTLIGHT

Latest Stories