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Sun may 'go to sleep' in 2030, causing 'mini ice age'

( Updated: 2015-07-13 17:29

Sun may 'go to sleep' in 2030, causing 'mini ice age'

A group of woolly mammoths, the huge Ice Age mammals that lived and roamed the frigid tundra steppes of northern Asia, Europe and North America, are seen in this undated illustration provided courtesy of Giant Screen Films. [Photo/Agencies]

British scientists warn the sun will 'go to sleep' in 2030, which could cause temperatures to plummet, and the Earth could be headed for a 'mini ice age', Daily Mail reported.

The new study predicted that solar cycles will cancel each other out between 2020 and 2030, leading to a phenomenon known as the 'Maunder minimum' - previously known as a "mini ice age". It hit between 1645 and 1715, lasting 70 years and even caused London's River Thames to freeze over.

According to the report, the new model of the sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat. It draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the sun, one close to the surface and another one lying deep within its convection zone.

As suggested by the predictions from the model that solar activity will fall by 60 percent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645. This was confirmed by Professor Valentina Zharkova at Britain's National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, in Wales.

If the model's prediction is right, the pair of waves would become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which will peak in 2022. Following this situation, in Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.

'In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other - peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other,' said Zharkova. Researchers predicted that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum.'

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