The sun is on the verge of a new “ice age”, says scientist

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Solar activity in 2012 instead of the expected maximum stopped growing and fell below the previous year – a star could be on the verge of a new deep recession, the third in the history of observations, told RIA Novosti, Laboratory of X-ray astronomy, the Sun Institute of Physics Lebedev (FIAN), Sergei Bogachev.

He said the current level of solar activity is four times lower than the maximum values recorded over 260 years of continuous observation, and only a few percent higher than during the last crash in solar activity – the Dalton minimum in 1790-1830, respectively.

In the summer of 2011 three research groups at a conference of astronomers, heliophysics at the University of New Mexico (USA) presented new results, according to which solar activity over the next 20-30 years could be reduced dramatically, and the next, the 25th, the cycle of solar activity can be significantly weakened, if any, will be skipped.

New Ice Age?

“2012 was expected not only to fans of esotericism, connecting with the completion of the next, fifth, the era of the Mayan calendar, but also by professional astronomers as the year of the next solar maximum. Fact that our star every 11 years into a state of high activity – one of the most the true facts about the sun, which are verified without exception for over 263 years of observations, “- said Bogachev.

Previous 23rd solar cycle (they are numbered beginning in 1750, the year the Zurich Observatory) deep minimum distinguished record. The number of days without spots was the biggest since the early 19th century. In this new upsurge of activity in the 24th cycle was very “flat”, the growth of solar activity, according to scientists, behind the “schedule” for about three years.

The beginning of the current cycle was accompanied by a very serious failure. Our star about three years, from mid 2006 to mid 2009, was in a deep minimum, from which, despite all predictions, could not get out. During this time, has been updated, or a repeated a number of anti-record of solar activity, “- said the scientist.

In particular, during this period there were a minimum average value of the solar wind velocity in the history of observations and records beaten by the total number of days with no sunspots and very long break in the sunspot.

Bogachev said that such a long sunny “winter” has generated a number of predictions about the characteristics of future solar maximum, among which could provide at least two contrasting scenarios. According to the first of them to compensate for the “depressed” at the beginning of the cycle, the sun on the growth phase in the new cycle was very “dispersed” and could reach very high values of the activity.

The second scenario, by contrast, involves only a deep decline in activity, because the history of solar studies it has never recorded an extremely high highs, but there were two of the recession – Maunder and Dalton minima. Maunder Minimum in the years 1645-1715 coincided with the coldest phase of the so-called Little Ice Age, and the subsequent minimum of Dalton, from 1784 to 1810 years, is often considered a kind of “echo” of the first downturn.

“Then over the next 200 years of observations of the Sun has worked like clockwork. So, the second scenario of the solar activity in the new cycle is just assumed that only a deep dip in solar activity in 2006-2009 could be a harbinger of a new major failure of at least several solar cycles, ie from 25 to 100 years “- said Bogachev.

According to him, to date, the analysis of flare activity and the so-called Wolf numbers that characterize the number of sunspots on the Sun, shows that a scenario of extremely high solar cycle the sun is not realized, but more likely to become the second scenario – an extremely weak solar cycle, which is comparable level with a minimum of Dalton.As the scientist, “to record the activity of the Sun is still very far, while unique to the low value activity, by contrast, there are very few.”

“Thus, although the sun has not yet passed into a state of failure, a new global activity – for such conclusions is not enough the past three years – but it is very dangerous teetering on the brink of this,” – said Bogachev.

He added that solar activity has ceased to grow since 2011, when it hit the peak of the Wolf numbers. Thus, according to Bogachev, solar activity this year by almost 50% lower than in the previous year, and since March 2012, it stabilized at levels equal to the minimum level of Dalton.

“Apparently, crucial to an understanding of where to move our star will be the second half of this year, during which it will become clear whether the sun came up trend or our star frozen at current levels or even began to fall to even lower values , “- concluded the scientist.

According to him, if the current level of activity does not increase by 1.5-2 times in the next 6-12 months, it would mean that the sun passes through one of the lowest in the history of the solar cycles, which were previously recorded only during prolonged fault activity, and almost inevitably accompanied by abrupt changes in the Earth’s climate.


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