Recent observations in space and universe show that Sun has gone a bit lazy and its activity is lowest in last 100 years. According to the recent studies, these conditions are similar to one observed in1645 which resulted in freezing of Thames. Researchers have predicted that there are major chances of temperature changes due to the solar lull.
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Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent, as this image shows – despite Nasa forecasting major solar storms
According to the conventional theory, solar activity can swing back and forth like a pendulum, where at one end we get to see very few sun spots and flares whereas at the other end, the sun spots intensify with frequent solar storms. Theory suggests that this cycle repeats every 11 years whereas practical results are bit drifted.
Richard Harrison of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in his interview to BBC told that “Whatever measure you use, solar peaks are coming down. I’ve been a solar physicist for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.’ He further said that such a situation can result in to cold winter similar to Maunder Minimum which resulted in freezing of Thames.
The Maunder Minimum represents a period from 1645 that lasted till 1715 when the sunspots were found out to be very rare as noted by scientists of that time. During that time ‘frost flairs’ had become popular and even the famous London River Thames froze. Here is an oil painting by Abraham Hondius showing the Frozen Thames.
This period is specifically remembered as “Little Ice Age” when rivers are usually found to be ice free frozen and the presence of snow fields over the low altitudes remains round the year.
What the space agency says this as ‘Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent.’ NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the surface of the sun facing the Earth last year on February 28th 2013 and the below is the image captured by Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI).
Solar physicist Dean Pensell from NASA has his own explanation. He says ‘This is solar maximum. But it looks different from what we expected because it is double-peaked.The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.Solar activity went up, dipped, then rose again, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years. I am comfortable in saying that another peak will happen in 2013 and possibly last into 2014.’