There is an 11 year cycle, during which the sun becomes cooler and then warms again. The lowest energy point, which usually lasts one or more years, is called a solar minimum.
The term “solar minimum” comes from there being a minimum of sunspots (massive explosions on the surface of the sun), which is an indication that the thermal output of the sun is lessened.
When the solar minimums are longer the cooling of the sun is more significant and an “ice age” can occur on the earth. The most recent ice age occurred between 1300 and 1800. It was called the Little Ice Age. Unfortunately during that time the arrangement of our planetary system from 1645 to 1715 was in what is known as the Maunder Minimum (1645 to 1715) which further lessened the heat reaching that Earth from the sun. This produced catastrophic results in terms of crop loss, sickness, starvation and unemployment which led to a general collapse of European society.
The best solar science specialists and their mathematical model simulations are projecting a major Solar Minimum within the next 20 years. While all the talk today concerns a fear that the Earth may warm a couple degrees within a hundred years, we may be wiser to consider mitigating a cooler period within the next few decades.
Unlike the unwise desire to eliminate fossil fuels so as to reduce carbon emissions which some believe control the Earth’s thermostat, preparation for colder weather is far less costly and dramatic.
The areas in which effective mitigation can occur, provided there is sufficient time and resources include but are not limited to:
Power (Electrical) Systems
A new book on this subject ICE AGE 2025 covers these subjects in detail.
As for food production, just as we have taken advantage of genetic engineering to make crops more stable in hot and dry conditions we will advance our knowledge to grow crops in colder conditions.
Regarding, transportation, the present US urban methods of keeping roads open in winter are inadequate for the coming cold weather, but can readily be improved and advanced. Similarly most of the urban US water systems are ill equipped to deal with freezing temperatures over a long period of time but can be upgraded at reasonable expense with existing technology already in use in northern climates.
Power and energy will not be a problem as long as the calls to end use of our abundant oil and natural gas are ignored.
We are now in a solar minimum. It may be the first step toward a cooler Earth for a period of time. Different models project different dates for it, but most solar specialists believe it is not far away.
Society during the past Little Ice age was agrarian and the industrial revolution had not yet occurred. For the high technology urbanized societies today, the effects of solar minimums which could lead to “little” ice ages may be more difficult to deal with the climatic effects. Transportation, electricity, and food systems are more complex today but are managed with great advances in technology.
During the Little Ice Age, and particularly the Maunder Solar Minimum, it was not only cooler temperatures which brought chaos to society and agricultural life, some extreme weather occurred as well.
Some food crops did manage to survive the cooler temperatures and shorter growing seasons, were destroyed by storms of snow and ice or frost. Weather prediction today offers far advanced warnings of advancing weather, making mitigation protocols far more effective.
One interesting effect of potential cooling is the prevalence of noctilucent clouds over large parts of the Northern US.
As a result of the present solar minimum, much of the northern part of the US, can see astonishing blue clouds at sunset. Usually reserved for arctic areas, they are now at our door step if we are in the northern part of the US.
Not only are these noctilucent clouds a different color, they have a different structure. Looking at these clouds, it’s not a very large jump to assume we can find other changes here on earth, and plant growth cycles are among them.
The most advanced solar model developed yet does project a major Solar Minimum.
Valentina Zharkova, a mathematics professor from Northumbria University (UK), presented a model that can predict what solar cycles will look like far more accurately than was previously possible.
Her model has been accurate with short term projections and she believes Earth is heading for a Super Grand Solar Minimum ( that could be really cold) in approximately fifteen years.
That we are heading for cooler temperatures on earth, something quite opposite of the Global Warming movement mantra, seem much clearer than the evidence for a warming trend
The results of deep solar minimums are far more complex than simply cooler temperatures, and combined, these effects present a formidable challenge to prepare for. Taking a dispassionate focused look at the potential problems provides an opportunity to harden infrastructure against future challenges.