Scientists puzzle through effect of ‘deep solar minimum’ on Earth’s atmosphere

There haven’t been any sunspots for the last 44 days, and some scientists believe that the sun is entering a period called a “deep solar minimum,” with unpredictable but potentially devastating effects.  But don’t worry: even if we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next couple of years, it is still “settled science” (ask Al Gore if you doubt this) that in a century, the “Earth’s temperature” will rise and cause catastrophe.

Meanwhile, in the short run, the science isn’t looking very settled.  The New York Post reprints a story from the U.K. Sun:

The sun might soon batter us with a shower of deep space rays so intense, it could cause part of our atmosphere to collapse.

Space scientists reckon we are on the verge of a “deep solar minimum,” which is a period of low activity.

Unlike the name suggests, this could cause an outer layer of the atmosphere called the thermosphere to contract – and it’s not entirely clear what the effects of this could be on our planet.

Professor Yvonne Elsworth at the University of Birmingham in England believes that a “fundamental change in the nature of the [sun’s magnetic] dynamo may be in progress.”

It’s backed up by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s daily snaps, which have shown a spotless sun for 44 days in a row.

This led scientists to believe that it’s nearing a tumultuous period not seen since 2008.

There is too much “may” and “might” floating around here for me to be 100% confident that the atmosphere will “collapse.”

One finding I have arrived at (and I am a “social scientist” with a Ph.D. in sociology, after all) is that claiming catastrophe is a good way for a scientist to get attention.  Maybe even some grant money.


The effect can already be seen:

June Crop Losses You arent Hearing About


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