Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00

Solar Cooling Could Begin in 2020

By 2050, the sun is expected to be seven percent cooler, a process that could begin as early as 2020. The process, called solar cooling, is caused by a periodic event known as a grand minimum and experts say there’s no reason for concern.

The most recent grand minimum occurred in the mid-1600s and was called the Maunder Minimum. It happened during a time when parts of the Earth reached temperatures that led to the period being called the Little Ice Age, which started in 1300 and lasted until 1850. The cooling was not uniform across the planet, with Europe cooling while areas like Alaska experienced warmer weather.

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Throughout Earth’s existence, mass extinction events have wiped out entire species, potentially changing the ecosystem permanently. In fact, scientists name five mass extinction events, with the most recent being the wipeout of dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago. The cause of such extinctions has been proposed as asteroids, the Ice Age, and oxygen depletion in the ocean, but in some cases, the cause is unknown.

A possibly upcoming extinction event has experts reviewing those five previous incidents to see what they have in common. With each extinction event, the normal cycling of carbon was disrupted, either in the atmosphere or in the oceans. This brings concerns from scientists who are already well aware of the danger rising carbon emissions pose to our planet. The question is, could this changing environment cause a carbon jolt that could cause the sixth mass extinction?

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If the summer heat is keeping you indoors, you aren’t alone. In fact, a new study reveals that 30 percent of the global population experiences potentially fatal heat levels for at least 20 days or more each year. Due to climate change, this issue is only getting worse, with scientists estimating that these heat levels will rise to as much as 75 percent by the end of the century.

To avoid this danger, the study cautions that greenhouse gas emissions will need to drop dramatically. Even with a reduction in emissions, the study says one in two people will face a risk of dying due to heat at least 20 days a year.

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