A mini ice age could hit the UK in next 20 years, according to a new study carried out by the researchers from universities in the UK and Russia. The study predicts that a mini ice age in next 20 years would freeze main rivers in the UK, including the Thames River.
The initial work on this study was carried out by the Russian researchers. In the current study, the British researchers created a mathematical model of the magnetic activity of the Sun. The team was led by Professor Valentina Zharkova who works in the Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences at Northumbria University.
The mathematical model indicates a rapid decrease in the magnetic waves for three solar cycles starting from 2021 and lasting for next 33 years. This decrease in magnetic waves could result in steep drop in the temperature in the region, reaching its peak by 2030.
Very low magnetic activity on the Sun also corresponds with earlier cold periods on Earth.
The findings of the model are expected to be 97% accurate, according to Professor Zharkovacy. The findings match well with previous mini ice ages, including the Maunder Minimum period from 1645 to 1715 that led to the freezing of the Thames River. During the Maunder Minimum period, the Sun had just about 50 sunspots left on its surface, instead of the usual 40-50 thousand sunspots. Several studies also suggest that the ‘Maunder Minimum’ coincided with the coldest phase of global cooling. During this Little Ice Age, North America and Europe faced extremely cold winters.
Professor Zharkovacy however cautions that global warming could also offset the impact of the mini ice age.
“I hope global warning will be overridden by this effect, giving humankind and the Earth 30 years to sort out our pollution,” she said.
Professor Zharkova says Sun’s two magnetic waves will become active again in the 2050s, and it would be better if humans sort out the problem of global warming by that time.
“We have to be sorted by that time and prepare everything on Earth for the next big solar activity,” she said.