July 13, 2015

Winter is coming – find out why you need to prepare for the next Ice Age

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If you think the heavy snow and freezing temperatures that hit large parts of the USA in the last couple of years were bad wait until you get a taste of the great ice age of 2030. Or to be more accurate the “Mini Ice Age” that is set to hit us between 2030 and 2040 thanks to a decrease in solar activity.

painiting of skaters on the thmes during the Little Ice Age

Skating on the Thames during the Little Ice Age (painting by Hendrick Avercamp)

Scientists working at the University of Northumbria have predicted that we will see the worst winters since the times of the Maunder Minimum of 1645-1715. You know all of the paintings you have seen of people ice skating on the River Thames? Yep that was the time of the Maunder Minimum – the last time the Earth was hit by a mini ice age.

Speaking at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, UK, Professor Valentina Zharkova revealed that her team has developed a technique that allows them to predict sunspot activity more accurately than ever before. Scientists already knew that the solar cycle was caused by a natural dynamo in the sun that generates a magnetic field. By adding a second dynamo nearer the sun’s surface into the model Zharkova was able to significantly increase the reliability of the predictions, and it is this new model that suggests the upcoming ice age.

“Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 per cent,” Professor Zharkova said.

Solar activity is expected to fall by 60 per cent between 2030 and 2040 and with this we can expect to see plummeting temperatures across the globe. The problems that will face us this time are likely to be very different to those that our ancestors faced during the Maunder Minimum. Back then there were big problems with food supply but it was really all they could do to survive the freezing temperatures. This time around the parts of the globe most affected by the low temperatures will likely be able to burn their way through their fossil fuel supplies and make sure they keep themselves heated through the dark winter.

One of the biggest problems we are likely to face could well be food shortages. Population is now around 15 times what it was in the 17th century and although we are producing a lot more food we also have a lot more mouths to feed. If food production were to ever take a particularly heavy blow then the effects could be catastrophic. It’s possible we could see riots in the streets as people fight to get the last of a dwindling food supply. The productive areas of the planet would also likely shift closer to the equator – resulting in a power shift to the nations who can produce food at this time and of course, possible conflict. Northern countries will still be able to make use of heated greenhouses but for foodstuffs like grains that require large growing areas, this would be completely impractical.

The additional burden that oil and gas would have to bear would rapidly decrease our stocks of fossil fuels, causing them to be used up way ahead of where we currently see ourselves exhausting our current supply. Oil production is currently expected to be down to around 20% of current levels by 2040 and gas is expected to be gone completely by the sometime in the 2070’s. This is only going to decrease if we are forced to burn more of it because of freezing temperatures.

As fun as skating down the Thames sounds, our recommendation here at the Apocalypse Watch Bunker is to start brushing up on your ice hole fishing technique and dust off that old wolf skin cloak as come 2030 you’re going to need it. Winter is coming and only the prepared will survive.

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