Earth could be braced for a ‘mini ICE-AGE’ as one expert warned a solar minimum could last until the 2050s. Sunspot activity on the surface of the Sun follows a well-known but little understood 11 year cycle. Activity rises and falls creating the so-called solar maximum and then solar minimum. During a solar maximum, the Sun is more powerful and is littered with sunspots.
From 1650 to 1710, temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere plunged when the Sun entered a quiet phase now called the Maunder Minimum.
During this period, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere on land and in the winter were reportedly 1.3C lower than yesterday leading to shorter seasons and ultimately food shortages in what NASA described as a “little Ice Age”.
A recent announcement from solar scientists suggests that the Sun may soon enter a period of significant reduced activity, possibly causing a mini ice age by 2030 – just 10 years from now.
The model has shown to have a 97% accuracy when mapping the past movements of sunspots, using data of solar cycles from 1976 to 2008. And if this reliability continues, then the model also has some alarming predictions for the future: a mini ice age sometime around the 2030s.
Experts warned icy spells and wet summers could persist until solar activity picks up again in 2053.
NASA results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025
As a result, scientist predicts that 2C decline over 20 years would happen.
World will require more enclosed Green house plants to overcome food shortage.
Effect on Oilfield
As colder weather and more rain will be extended over many parts of the world the solar energy will decline and need of fossil fuel will increase. Several parts of the world like North Sea and Russia will face extreme winter that could lead to reduction in drilling activities. Deep water drilling could also be affected. All these factors will lead to short supply and increase in demand. Oil price for sure will gain momentum.
Some scientist suggests that increased Carbon emissions would minimize the effect of reduction in solar activities, but this is hard to predicts.
Personally, I think world space agencies will focus more to study the sun effects and suspend several projects to explore Mars and other planets.