WHAT IS A GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM?
This visualization represents the constant changing of the Sun’s magnetic field over the course of four years.
Roughly every 11 years, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips.
This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. It then takes approximately another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again. The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. As the magnetic fields change, so does the amount of activity on the Sun’s surface.
One way to track the solar cycle is by counting the number of sunspots.
The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, when the Sun has the least sunspots.
Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases.
The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots.
As the cycle ends, it fades back to the solar minimum and then a new cycle begins.
now that you have the basic concept of what a typical Solar Minimum & Solar Maximum is in a Solar Cycle, let’s discuss a Grand Minimum.
his graph shows the number of sunspots seen each year for 400 years (from 1600 to 2000). There were almost no sunspots during the Maunder Minimum. During the Dalton Minimum, there were fewer sunspots than normal. Click on image for full size Image courtesy NASAA Grand Solar Minimum occurs when several solar cycles exhibit lesser than average activity for decades or centuries. Solar cycles still occur during these grand solar minimum periods but are at a lower intensity than usual. Grand solar minima have shown some correlation with global and regional climate changes.
A grand solar minimum would barely make a dent in human-caused global warming
The Maunder Minimum was a period of very low solar activity between 1645 and 1715, and the Dalton Minimum was a period of low (but not as low as the Maunder Minimum) solar activity between 1790 and 1830. Solar research suggests that we may have a similar period of low solar activity sometime this century.
Fortunately, Solar Output is Stable
We’re fortunate that the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is very stable. Climate contrarians will often ask if we’d prefer if the planet were warming or cooling, suggesting that global warming is a good thing because at least the planet isn’t getting colder. This is a false dichotomy – an ideal climate is a stable one. The relatively stable climate over the past 10,000 years has allowed establishment of human civilization, by making it possible to create large stationary agricultural farms because we could rely on stable weather patterns.
What difference would a grand solar minimum make in the amount of solar energy reaching us? Relative to current levels, the Dalton Minimum represents a 0.08% decrease, and the Maunder Minimum represents a 0.25% decline in solar radiation at the Earth’s surface. That’s how stable solar activity is. That’s also why we’re playing with fire by increasing the greenhouse effect so much and so quickly. We’re threatening the stability of the climate that has been so favorable to our development.
Peer-Reviewed Research Says Global Warming will Continue
There have been several studies in recent years using climate models to see what impact another grand solar minimum would have on global surface temperatures, since solar research suggests it’s possible we could be due for another extended minimum. Feulner & Rahmstorf (2010) estimated that another solar minimum equivalent to the Dalton and Maunder minima would cause 0.09°C and 0.26°C cooling, respectively.
he global mean temperature difference is shown for the time period 1900 to 2100 for the IPCC A2 emissions scenario (relative to zero for the average temperature during the years 1961 to 1990). The red line shows predicted temperature change for the current level of solar activity, the blue line shows predicted temperature change for solar activity at the much lower level of the Maunder Minimum, and the black line shows observed temperatures from the NASA GISS dataset through 2010. Adapted from Feulner & Rahmstorf (2010).
Jones et al. (2012) , Anet et al. (2013), and Meehl et al. (2013) arrived at nearly identical results, with cooling from a grand solar minimum causing no more than 0.3°C cooling over the 21st century. Meehl et al. also point out that as soon as solar activity began to rise again, that cooling would be offset by solar warming. This is a key point, because a grand solar minimum would not be a permanent change. These minima last for a few decades, but eventually solar activity rises once again. Thus any cooling caused by a solar minimum would only be temporary.
The cooling effect of a grand solar minimum can also be estimated very easily without the aid of climate models.
Human Influence on Climate Change is Bigger than the Sun’s
The bottom line is that the sun and the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth are very stable. Even during the Maunder and Dalton grand solar minima, global cooling was relatively small – smaller than the amount of global warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions over the past century.
A new grand solar minimum would not trigger another LIA; in fact, the maximum 0.3°C cooling would barely make a dent in the human-caused global warming over the next century, likely between 1 and 5°C, depending on how much we manage to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. While this is equivalent to about a decade’s worth of human-caused warming, it’s also important to bear in mind that any solar cooling would only be temporary, until the end of the solar minimum.
The science is quite clear that the human influence on climate change has become bigger than the sun’s
Solar minimum: Is it really going to bring famine, drought and freezing temperature on the Earth?
The Sun is the center of the universe for all the planets revolve around it, including the Earth. Without the Sun’s heat and light, Earth would be a lifeless ball coated with ice. Sunlight keeps the seas warm, is responsible for the change in the weather pattern and helps in the growth of the green plants, which further provides food and oxygen to other living beings.
But ever now and then even sun needs to rest. The hot star is currently on its downtime mode known as SOLAR MINIMUM.Several theories are going around on social media on how the Sun’s dimming activity would affect the life on Earth and would lead to problems like famine, drought, volcanic eruptions and even war. We will tell what exactly is solar minimum and will clear all the speculation around this major event.
What is solar minimum?
The sun rays do not shine upon us with the same intensity all the time. The brightness varies over the period, predictably after every 11 years, which marks the end of a solar cycle. During this time, very few sunspots appear on the surface of the Sun. After every 11 years, the Sun embarks on a new journey, which is believed to be controlled by the Sun’s magnetic field. All the activities of the Sun are influenced by its magnetic field. The magnetic field goes into a periodic cycle when the North and South poles of the Sun switch sides. After the end of the solar cycle, they again switchback. The sun’s activity is mostly measured by sunspots. During the midpoint of the solar cycle, the activity of the Sun increases. That means you will see more flareups and sunspots.
Some reports suggest that we have already crossed 100 days in the year 2020 with usually low sunspots.
What will be its impact on the Earth?
There are several theories which highlight the result of this major event on the Earth, but not all are true.Solar minimum does not mean that the Sun will stop shinning and this event will have any major impact on the life here on the Earth.
NASA’s Global Climate Change team clarified that there is no impending ice age to be caused by an expected reduction in the sun’s energy output in the next several decades.
The change in the flow of energy is a natural phenomenon. Rarely, the Sun’s activity dip to lower levels, which is called as Grand Solar Minimum. The last Grand Solar Minimum was in the late 1600s. This drop in the temperature was linked with a rise in the volcanic eruption. But today’s challenges are completely different. Apart from the Sun’s heat, several factors affect the global temperatures on the Earth that include global warming caused due to greenhouse gas emissions.