According to scientists, there’s a phenomenon called ‘mini ice age’ or the ‘little ice age’ that is around the corner. According to a lot of scientific studies, predictions and mumbo jumbo, the details of some of which I’ll get into a little later, by the year 2030, we will witness something called as the Little Ice age. So essentially you can quote the famous words of House Stark ‘Winter is Coming’ outside the universe of Game of Thrones and actually mean it, because if the scientists are to be believed winter is coming and we need to brace ourselves.
What is the Little Ice Age?
A new research study conducted by scientists suggests that between the years of 2030 - 2040, the solar activity of the sun will fall by 60%. This will lead to a condition called as the Maunder Minimum in which the sunspots become exceedingly rare. A similar condition of the Maunder Minimum was seen during the last Little Ice age which took place between 1646 - 1715. The causes for the last ice age are speculative, with some saying it was due to variations in solar activity. Some attribute it to the earth’s orbit around the sun that lead to a long term cooling of the northern hemisphere. This time around the scientists speculate the Little Ice age is going to be caused due to solar variation.
What to expect?
Little ice age does not mean that we’re going to be plunged into a perpetual state of winter, but that the winters are going to be harsher. Since this condition happened once before in the past, we have a better idea of what to expect. The last time the phenomenon of Little Ice age occurred, Europe and North America saw harsh winters. So harsh that the river Thames froze for a period of seven weeks. During this time the Thames river became passable by foot and Londoners held the River Thames Frost Fair.
Most of Europe and North America snow storms during their winters, with one of the winters in the 17th century recording as many as eight snowstorms. There was a case of food shortage, with a lot of people in Greenland and Iceland starving. The snowfall that was recorded was much heavier and would lay on the ground for a longer period of time than it does today. There were springs and summers, yes, but they too were cold and wet. The result of which was that the crops were damaged and destroyed and some places even experienced food shortage.
Since this isn’t the first Little Ice Age we’ve experienced, it means we have past records to fall back on and study. With the advancements in technology that have taken place since the 18th century we are well taken care of. With science on our side we know more or less when the Little Ice age will be coming, which gives us enough time for preparedness. Even though harsher times might be coming, we are well equipped to handle it and take care of it. So there’s no need of panic and assuming that it’s the apocalyptic end of the world. Furthermore this is what scientists are predicting might happen, but haven’t guaranteed that it will for sure. I guess in fifteen years time we’ll know if we’re going to have a little ice age or not. Till then the Game of Thrones fans can proudly proclaim, Winter is Coming!
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Author : Sanjana Sule