Our precious Sun might hit us all with some dangerous space rays that will cause the collapse of the part of our atmosphere. That usually comes after the period of the “solar maximum” and it seems that our Sun is exactly there. This can make the outer layer of the atmosphere called the thermosphere to contract. And it is not exactly clear where will that lead us.
What is the “Solar Maximum”?
The Sun follows cycles of 11 years where it reaches solar maximum and solar minimum. During the solar maximum, the Sun gives its maximal heat, and it gives its minimal heat during the latter, because of the decrease in magnetic waves.
We are currently in that Solar Maximum, however, in 2021, the temperatures will begin dropping as we are entering the solar minimum.
A team lead by a Prof. Valentina Zharkova at Northumbria University predicted that there are going to be a massive decrease in magnetic waves emitted by the Sun in the next three cycles which last for 33 years.
What Does This Mean?
This means that the Earth could go into a mini Ice Age in the next few decades. However, there is a good side to this – it could override our mistakes. This mini Ice Age could actually reverse the damage done by global warming. By that 2030, the temperatures on Earth could plunge to low that rivers will most probably freeze during the winter. That also happened between 13th and 17th century. Even the river Thames was one huge block of ice.
These Cosmic Rays Are Not Alone
It doesn’t matter if those cosmic rays come from our Sun or some other, maybe dying star, they are doing its thing to our planet. As soon as those rays rain ions down onto our planet, a new ice age starts.
Those charged particles from cosmic rays pull all water and sulfuric acid together and they make clouds. Those clouds cover the Earth, change the long-term weather cycles, and cool it down.
Other Aspects of Cosmic Rays
These cosmic rays emitted by our Sun could harm the health of our astronauts, destroy (or interfere with) some of our satellites, and could down power grids. This will be the first such period since 2008.
It is not clear why that low solar activity causes our atmosphere to collapse, or what else could be doing with our planet. But when that happened last time in 2008-2009, some scientists noticed that the climate change could also be adding to the cooling and contracting in that upper level of our atmosphere.
The ISS Is In The Middle Of The Thermosphere
The thermosphere which is going to be hit the hardest by those cosmic rays is at a height of about 53 miles above our heads, and the International Space Station is in the middle of that.
Professor Yvonne Elsworth at the University of Birmingham in England said that we will see the next “minimum” in 2019 and that we are already seeing some very strange things with our only star. In one of her interviews, she even said that sun is slowing down, “This is not how it used to be. The rotation rate of the Sun has slowed a bit at latitudes around 60°.”
Strange Thing is That No one Is Sure What Comes Next
While one group of scientists says that we are entering a period of the new ice age, others are afraid because of our electronic systems and the safety of our data. However, both groups of scientists agree that we are yet to see the effects of this process. So, we only need to wait for 2019.