NASA’s states on its website: “All weather on Earth, from the surface of the planet out into space, begins with the Sun.
“Space weather and terrestrial weather (the weather we feel at the surface) are influenced by the small changes the Sun undergoes during its solar cycle.”
The space agency adds on its Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI) “a weather metric that tells us how the top of Earth’s atmosphere (or ‘thermosphere’) is responding to solar activity” that “the top of Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 10 times cooler than it was during the record-setting Solar Max of 1957-58.”
The Sun was not expected to head into a solar minimum until around 2020, and if it is heading in early, it will mean a prolonged cold snap.
The last time there was a prolonged solar minimum, it led to a ‘mini ice-age’, scientifically known as the Maunder minimum – which lasted for 70 years.
The Maunder minimum, which saw seven decades of freezing weather, began in 1645 and lasted through to 1715, and happened when sunspots were exceedingly rare.
During this period, temperatures dropped globally by 1.3 degrees celsius leading to shorter seasons and ultimately food shortages.
Long-term weather forecast: ‘RECORD COLD’ temperatures on way as SOLAR MINIMUM begins (Image: GETTY)
Courtesy of express.co.uk