American researchers say sun spot activity will start to recede in the next two years leading the Earth towards a new ‘Little Ice Age’ in the coming years.
Three separate studies conducted by scientists of the American Astronomical Society’s solar physics division say solar activity will start to recede after its 11- year cycle comes to its peak in 2013.
“The fact that there are three separate lines of evidence all pointing in the same direction is very compelling,” said Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico, who worked on one of the studies.
Atmospheric physics professor of the Imperial College London, however, believes global warming will win over any cooling effect.
“Global warming could override any cooling effect on the Earth’s climate,” said Joanna Haigh.
“This work suggests that the sun’s activity might be entering a longer period of change – a Grand Minimum, similar to that of the late 17th century,” she added.
Haigh said the “cooling effect is only ever temporary” and “When the sun’s activity returns to normal, the greenhouse gases won’t have gone away.”
Astronomers believe increasing sun spot activity will be less intensive than normal during the next cycle or even fail to happen at all, the Independent reported.
Since the decreasing trend of solar activity has been linked to low global temperatures in the past this natural process could affect climate change around the globe.
Lack of sun spots between 1645 and 1715 caused frequent terrible winters in Europe and the period was later called the Little Ice Age when the temperature in northwest Europe was about 1C lower than normal and about 0.5C lower than the global average.
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