The Sun Will Be Unusually Cool By 2050

Posted: Feb 11 2018, 1:26am CST | by , Updated: Feb 11 2018, 1:30am CST, in Latest Science News


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The Sun will be Unusually Cool by 2050
Credit: NASA

Scientists say that a dim and cooler sun could have a profound effect on Earth's weather

Our sun is expected to be unusually cool by the mid-century.

The cooldown would be caused by a periodic solar event called grand minimum during which sun’s magnetic field decreases and becomes so weak that it could not generate sunspots or intense solar activity.

Scientists assume that grand minimum will begin around 2020 and last through 2070. During this 50-year period, sunlight will reduce by 0.25 percent. As a result, global temperatures could drop by up to several tenths of a degree Celsius.

“The reduced energy from the sun sets into motion a sequence of events on Earth beginning with a thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer. That thinning in turn changes the temperature structure of the stratosphere, which then changes the dynamics of the lower atmosphere, especially wind and weather patterns.” Researchers from UC San Diego's Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences said.

Scientists already know that sun changes over time. It goes through a natural cycle every 11 years. The solar cycle involves, among other things, increase and decrease in sunspots. Sunspots or dark areas commonly appear on the sun’s surface, but they become less frequent as we head toward solar minimum, which is the period of low solar activity during its regular 11-year cycle.

However, grand minimum is different from that. During this event, the solar radiation diminishes 7% beyond the lowest point of its 11-year cycle and a dimmed sun could change the temperature structure of Earth with a cooling throughout the atmosphere.

The projections are based on geological and historical data related to a cold period in Europe in the mid-17th century. The event was named “Maunder Minimum.” In England, temperatures were low enough to freeze the Thames River, while Baltic Sea froze to such an extent that a Swedish army was able to invade Denmark in 1658 on foot by marching across the sea ice. But the cooling was not uniform. Although areas of Europe chilled during Maunder Minimum, other regions like Alaska and southern Greenland considerably warmed.

To estimate the intensity of grand minimum, researchers reviewed nearly 20 years of data gathered by the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite mission. They compared radiation from stars that are similar to the sun and identified those that were experiencing the phenomenon.

“Now we have a benchmark from which we can perform better climate model simulations,” said lead researcher physicist Dan Lubin. “We can therefore have a better idea of how changes in solar UV radiation affect climate change.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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