A grand solar minimum can make the sun appear a little dimmer and can make the planet a little cooler. A new study predicts that the next grand solar minimum could see the sun with almost a 7% reduction in light and heat – and this is 7% below the normal solar minimum. Historians believe that a grand solar minimum occurred between 1645 and 1715, named the Maunder Minimum after the scientists who studied it at the time.
The Maunder Minimum roughly coincided with the middle part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America experienced colder than average temperatures. Whether there is a causal relationship, however, is still under evaluation. Many scientists attribute the Little Ice Age to four massive tropical volcanic eruptions.
When we have another grand solar minimum, there will be profound influences on the economy, including possible crop failures and rising energy use for home and workplace heating. Or in other words, expect bigger bills for food and energy. After a period in which the supply of both has been increasingly abundant then this change will likely come as a shock to many people and likely the broader global economy as well. (Forbes)
One way to track the solar cycle is by counting the number of sunspots. Sunspots form on the surface of the Sun due to strong magnetic field lines coming up from within the Sun trough the solar surface and appear visibly as dark spots compared to their surroundings.
The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, when the Sun has the least sunspots. Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases. The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots. As the cycle ends, it fades back to the solar minimum and then a new cycle begins. Each solar cycle lasts about 11 years.
We are currently estimated to be near the solar minimum in this cycle. Over the course of a solar cycle the solar wind modulates the fraction of the lower-energy galactic cosmic ray particles such that a majority cannot penetrate to Earth near solar maximum. Near solar minimum, in the absence of many coronal mass ejections and their corresponding magnetic fields, galactic cosmic ray particles have easier access to Earth.
A Grand Solar Minimum occurs when several solar cycles exhibit lesser than average activity for decades or centuries. Solar cycles still occur during these grand solar minimum periods but are at a lower intensity than usual.
The most recent solar minimum is becoming very deep indeed. In December 2019, the sun set a Space Age record for spotlessness. So far in 2019, the sun has been without sunspots for more than 271 days, including the last 34 days in a row. Since the Space Age began, no other year has had this many blank suns.
The previous record-holder was the year 2008, when the sun was blank for 268 days. That was during the epic Solar Minimum of 2008-2009, formerly the deepest of the Space Age. Now 2019 has moved into first place.
Solar Minimum is a normal part of the 11-year sunspot cycle. The past two (2008-2009 and 2018-2019) have been long and deep, making them “century-class” Minima. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days. [spaceweather.com]
Studies in solar-terrestrial relationships have consistently shown the close and occasionally elusive link between the evolution of activity on the Sun and geomagnetic manifestations on the surface of the Earth and in the magnetosphere. Grand solar minima have shown some correlation with global and regional climate changes.
One way scientists can monitor the magnitude of geomagnetic storms is with the Kp-index. Celeste Bishop-Solum (Shepherd’s Heart) postulates the low Kp index is related to decreased health and increased violence because it distorts the equilibrium. Because cosmic rays are intensified when the Kp index is low, the following health risks have been identified:
- Coronary/Ventricular Dysfunction
- Cognitive diminution
- Exacerbation (including suicide, anxiety, depression, bipolar)
- Exacerbation (including arthritis, lupus, epidermal/glandular)
Celeste Bishop-Solum sees the current increases in cosmic rays hitting the earth will cause an extinction level event.
It’s not beyond God to use galactic events to demonstrate His power over the entire universe to signify spiritual truths. In biblical history we saw God pour rain upon the globe for 40 days setting off the last extinction level event. He used a star to guide the wise men to the place of Jesus’ birth. And, He promises to use wonders in the heavens above to announce the end of days.
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious Day of the Lord. – Acts 2:19-20
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