Scientists have calculated that much of the planet could soon be plunged in to a decade-long cold spell.
The northern hemisphere could soon find itself being plummeted in to a period of bitter winters – that is according to researchers at the University of Northumbria who have developed a new solar activity model capable of predicting temperature changes with ‘unprecedented accuracy’.
The last time this happened was over three centuries ago and caused winters so cold that the River Thames famously froze over for weeks at a time and frost fairs were held on the ice.
These miniature ice ages are brought about by fluid movements in the sun and occur when two prominent waves cancel each other out leading to what is known as a “Maunder minimum.”
“We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the sun’s interior,” said Prof Valentina Zharkova. “They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time.”
“Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent.”