LONDON, ENGLAND – There’s new information to heat up the debate over climate change.
And that heat is coming from what could happen if the sun starts to cool, or at least becomes less active.
A study by the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s official weather service, seems to point to a mini Ice Age in the near future, maybe by the middle of the century if we go through what’s known as a “Grand Solar Minimum.”
Researchers found that a decline in solar activity will lead to an average temperature drop of 0.1 degree Celsius around the world, and a drop of 0.8 degree Celsius for Britain, Northern Europe, and North America.
That’s just a fraction over 1.0 degree Fahrenheit.
But researchers say that could be enough to bring on the kind of mini Ice Age last seen in the 300 years between 1410 and 1720.
That’s when canals in Holland froze over, glaciers advanced in the Alps, and “frost fairs” were regular events on the frozen rivers of England and Europe.
The sun goes through an 11-year cycle where it goes from a lot of sun spots to hardly any. That’s where we are right now.
But hold on before bringing out your winter clothes.
The sun is still showing us who’s the boss. Over the weekend, the sun let loose with a major solar flare, the biggest in about ten years.
NOAA forecasters tell us to prepare for possibly severe geomagnetic storms that could disrupt communications, computers, and other things that run on electricity.
The upside is that it also creates impressive light shows in the night skies.
Australians have been treated to the southern hemisphere’s version of the northern lights.
They call them the Aurora Australis, the result of solar flares hitting the Earth’s magnetic field.
A far out light show from far out in space.