River Thames could freeze over in 2030s when Northern Hemisphere faces bitterly cold winters, scientists say
The earth is 15 years from a “mini ice-age” that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over, scientists have predicted.
Solar researchers at the University of Northumbria have created a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”.
They said fluid movements within the sun, which are thought to create 11-year cycles in the weather, will converge in such a way that temperatures will fall dramatically in the 2030s.
Solar activity will fall by 60 per cent as two waves of fluid “effectively cancel each other out”, according to Prof Valentina Zharkova.
In a presentation to the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, she said the result would be similar to freezing conditions of the late 17th century.
“[In the cycle between 2030 and around 2040] the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the sun,” she said.
“Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other.
“We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum'”.
Maunder minimum, indicating low sunspot activity, was the name given to the period between 1645 and 1715, when Europe and North America experienced very cold winters.