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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Climatic Effects Of A Solar Minimum On Planet Earth

May 7, 2012
Image Credit: Photos.com

Joshua Kelly for RedOrbit.com

Researchers with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers are investigating a link between the massive solar minimum that occurred around 2800 years ago and the effects that it had on the climate of Europe.  They are still researching how the solar minimum could possibly impact the region of Europe in general. One thing they have been researching is information from Lake Maar to see how the sediment in the lake correlates to the solar minimum.

However, it is important to understand these facts about what a solar minimum can and will do. A solar minimum is described as the decrease in sunspots and solar activity around the sun. During this period of time the sun is referred to as being quiet.

What does that mean to us here on Earth? It means that the sun is our huge external source of heating. So if the sun decreases activity, the amount of solar energy that it is releasing to the Earth could only mean that the amount of heat the Earth feels will also decrease. This decrease in solar activity could possibly be the reason why the Earth goes through cycles of ice ages and warming.

The scientist are still doing further research in Europe to determine if this could in fact be the reason we experience ice ages. This research also includes a look into the troposphere winds to see how they, and general circulation patterns, are being impacted.

If the sun goes through the very strong minimum in 2013 as projected, what could that mean here on Earth? Will it be possible that we could be in line to experience a small ice age?

Also, if we look back at previous solar cycles, we can see that there is a correlation between solar minimums and climate impacts from such things as the ice caps expanding in coverage and also the snow cover extending itself further southward that normal for longer periods of time.

As research continues into how the sun impacts our climate here on Earth, we may just need to begin preparing for a colder cycle. Some major things that may come with these changes are the way we as people live. Instead of the 2000 global warming crisis, we may be heading towards a global cooling period which could impact the way our seasons fluctuate and we could be looking at longer, colder periods.

Results of the study are published in Nature Geoscience this week.


Source: Joshua Kelly for RedOrbit.com