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Are we going to face a mini ice age 30 years from now?

A recent research study has just been published explaining a phenomenon known as the "grand minimum." of solar energy.

Also known as the "prolonged sunspot minimum," it is a time where the magnetic pull of the Sun will decrease, sunspots will be much less frequent, and less ultraviolet radiation will make it to planet Earth, all because of random variations in the magnetic field of the Sun. For us, all of that will mean exceptionally cold temperatures, and it can also make the sun seem dimmer.

As it is, the Sun is on an 11-year up/down period, but this grand minimum will be extremely cold, as the activity of the Sun will go lower than the usual 11-year low. For parts of the world, that translates to colder temperatures.

Hey, how cold? Based on an analysis of past sunspot decreases prior to a significant minimum duration, projections are that we will see a 7 percent decrease in the light and heat of the Sun, and note that this is 7 percent lower than the lowest of the 11-year cycle we normally see.

In the mid 17th century, such a grand minimum occurred. The ensuing cold temperatures saw the Thames River freeze and the Baltic Sea as well, known as the "Maunder Minimum" (from the names of two well-respected solar astronomers of the time, Anne Russel Maunder and Edward Walter Maunder), enabling a Swedish army to conquer Denmark by marching through the ice.

Due to the thinning of the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer, which affects wind and weather patterns around the planet, Alaska and Southern Greenland warmed at the same time.

The precise date and magnitude of the occurrence are still in doubt, but all the clues point to things coming to a close around 2050. However, it might start as soon as 2030. Just for reference, from 1645 until about 1715, the Maunder Minimum lasted.

Is that going to save us from global warming? It's not the very same scientists who say so.

"According to the study, "the cooling effect of the great minimum is just a fraction of the warming effect induced by the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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