Will there be a Mini Ice Age in 2030?

Sky News is reporting the following, so it just must be true, they would not get something like this incorrect and would of course fact check … right?

A model of the Sun’s magnetic activity suggests the River Thames may freeze over within two decades, experts say.

A mathematical model of the Sun’s magnetic activity suggests temperatures could start dropping here from 2021, with the potential for winter skating on the River Thames by 2030.

A team led by maths professor Valentina Zharkova at Northumbria University built on work from Moscow to predict the movements of two magnetic waves produced by the Sun.

It predicts rapidly decreasing magnetic waves for three solar cycles beginning in 2021 and lasting 33 years.

Professor Zharkova claims 97% accuracy for the model which dovetails with previous mini ice ages, including the Maunder Minimum period from 1645 to 1715 when frost fairs were held on the frozen Thames.

They interviewed a scientist, so it must be really really true … right?

Least you wonder, all the other usual suspects are running with in, and that includes the tabloids such as the Mirror, the Sun, and the Daily Mail.

So is it really true?

If anybody at any of these news outlets, and I mean literally anybody including the guy who washes the windows, had bothered to take about 30 seconds to google this, it would have revealed that it is all nonsense and that there will not be a mini Ice Age.

Like a game of whack-a-mole this popped up two years ago and was debunked then – same scientist and exact same claim – and so I can only conclude that these news outlets think we all suffer from alzheimer’s.


Phil Plait, an astronomer, wrote an article back in 2015 debunking all this …

This new claim comes from a presentation at a conference by Valentina Zharkova, a mathematician and scientist at Northumbria University. To be clear, she’s not predicting a 60 percent drop in the light and heat emitted by the Sun, but a drop in magnetic activity in the Sun. This has only a marginal effect on the Sun’s light/heat output. Also, if you listen to an interview with her on Radio New Zealand, you’ll hear some unusual claims, like the climates on other planets are changing due to the Sun—a red herring when it comes to climate change on Earth. She also admits at the end she doesn’t do atmospheric research, so the claim that lowered magnetic activity of the Sun can cause an ice age here on Earth is in my opinion shaky at best.

The funny thing is, I debunked this Sun-influenced cooling idea back in 2011!

The fact that it is the exact same claim is actually quite handy, all he needs to do is point back to that 2015 article …

Even snopes has a rebuttal from 2015.  They in turn reference a Washington Post article that lays out in great detail how this was all simply a misunderstanding by the media back in 2015.

Washington Post July 2015 – Sara Kaplan

Unlike the “journalists” at Sky News and the various UK based tabloids, Sara Kaplan at the Washington Post actually did some research.

Increased magnetism will not lead to a mini ice-age …

Though University of Northumbria mathematics professor Valentina Zharkova, who led the sunspot research, did find that the magnetic waves that produce sunspots (which are associated with high levels of solar activity) are expected to counteract one another in an unusual way in the coming years, the press release about her research mentions nothing about how that will affect the Earth’s climate. Zharkova never even used the phrase “mini ice age.” Meanwhile, several other recent studies of a possible solar minimum have concluded that whatever climate effects the phenomenon may have will be dwarfed by the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

The previous Mini-Ice age was localised and not global …

that “Little Ice Age” that occurred during the Maunder minimum, it wasn’t so much a global ice age as a cold spell in Europe, and it may have been caused more by clouds of ash from volcanic eruptions than by fluctuations in solar activity.

This work by Valentina Zharkova has not been peer-reviewed. Well, back in 2015 that was true, it might no longer be true, but so far I’ve not found any papers on this within a reputable peer-review journal.

Frost Fairs?

Basically no …

As for that image of Londoners frolicking at “frost fairs” on the frozen-over Thames? Those had less to do with the activity of the sun than the activities of humans. Historical climatologist George Adamson told the BBC last year that the river used to freeze because of the architecture of the old London Bridge, whose arches prevented salty sea water from passing upriver and lowering its freezing point. The construction of a new bridge in the 19th century, and other landscape changes that made the river flow faster, brought an end to those festivals — less so than the end of the Maunder minimum.

Bottom Line

If it sounds extraordinary and your source is the Daily Mail, The Sun, the Mirror, or Sky News, then it is probably not true.

Doubt is your friend.

11 thoughts on “Will there be a Mini Ice Age in 2030?”

  1. She was NOT the only one right last time, Leif Svalgaard got it pretty much spot on (he’s a Stanford Professor).

    Right now Prof Zharkova has made a very specific set of predictions and only time will tell whether she is right or not.

    I can’t say she is right yet, nor can you and nor can she.

    All we can say is that she has made a future prediction based on an analytical method which did well in the recent past.

  2. Leif Svalgaard also predicted Solar Cycle 24 correctly and his prediction for Cycle 25 is to be pretty similar to cycle 24.

    So you obviously have two different models which happened to hit on the right answer for cycle 24 but one of them is going to be wrong where Cycle 25 is concerned.

  3. The point of Zharkova’s research was the sun acts like a dynamo under the influence of planetary gravity perturbations. The sunspots are locations of magnetic force lines being perturbed by the gravitational forces. You know, magnetic fields like in a dynamo. Lots of spots, lots of energy. No spots, low energy. The fact that ALL climate computer models factor solar irradiance as a constant, and factor cloud cover similarly, is nonsensical on either a prima facie or detail basis. Especially since 99% of all environmental energy originates with the sun. So; climate runs on energy, almost all the energy comes from the sun, the sun’s irradiance (the energy output) varies over time and can now be modeled, but all climate computer models treat the solar irradiance as a constant. Anybody who as ever modeled anything knows well how easily you can manipulate your outcomes to fit your hypothesis by simply adjusting your constants. If treating solar irradiance as a constant makes logical sense to you, and you really believe the AGW climate models, I have a real deal for you to buy parts of some bridges in NYC. The same if you believe any prediction including such fundamental, foundational errors can predict anything accurately, ESPECIALLY a 2 degree temperature rise 100 year in the future. One final note, ever notice how all the climate hysteria shows temp in Centigrade, instead of Kelvin? It’s because the Kelvin is a more accurate measure of heat energy than C or F but since it starts from absolute zero percentage variations of a couple of degrees looks the actual mouse nuts that they actually are. Can’t have that when you need alarming conclusions to feed your grant whore habit.

    • I’d be tempted to explain to you why almost everything you wrote is wrong … but then noted the use of the term “grant whore habit”, and have decided to simply eye-roll and wish you the very best of luck in finding any actual data that validates any part of your hypothesis.

  4. Dr. Zharkova actually did predict a mini ice age starting in 2020-2055 but she said it will not be as severe as the Maunder Minimum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl2gg7lT7OM&t=2977s While NASA has confirmed that solar output will reach 200+ year lows in 2020 (cycles expert Martin Armstrong says it will be 224 year low based on his pi cycle) they have not said it will affect the lower atmosphere (troposphere) as far as I have seen, although they have said the thermosphere in the upper part of the atmosphere has been cooling rapidly, but some have said there is no evidence that a cooling thermosphere will lead to a cooling troposphere. Russian scientist Dr.Irina Kitiashvili working for NASA predicted the last solar cycle correctly and now says cycle 25 will be much lower than the last one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP9_4uoEdKg&t=155s Some are saying that the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will stop the cooling into a mini ice age this time. Time will tell who is going to be right.

  5. And am I clearly reading this correct?

    You are claiming that the Thames froze over because of old London Bridge? I mean come one. It’s that supposed to be a debunk? I’m lost for words.

    Granted we may not be heading into an ice age. That’s the sensationalist press and is not claimed by Prof Z.
    However she has claimed we are heading into a grand solar minimum starting next year. She was (the only one) right last time with cycle 24, my money is on her being correct this time. And guess what we only have one year to wait.

    NASA have even said the same thing now.

    This is a disgusting smear article. Nothing more.


  6. What of the work of Dr Richard Muller? He has claimed his statistical analysis shows that humans have been responsible for most of the warming over the past 250 years but has not given predictions on the outcome apparently. There has also been some new research that claims the earth has warmed very little and that humans have had virtually nothing to do with it which is what Dr. Zharkova said and these studies say it is the cosmic rays and cloud cover that is responsible. So there are two different correlations but which on is correct? The Japanese studied ancient deposits of sand in nothern Asia for evidence from the past. ‘Correlation is not causation’. see these links… https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/climate/finland-japan-confirm-the-global-warming-data-is-not-supported/

  7. What are we supposed to believe you over Prof Z’ with a pathetic stick in the river analogy over a published paper and a model that operates with up to 97% accuracy?

    Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s not correct. Sounds like sour grapes to me!

    Wasn’t she the only one to correctly predict cycle 24?

    Also NASA have basically said the same thing now 6 months latety, only they don’t commit any numbers.

    We’ll find out soon enough bit you haven’t debunked a thing.

  8. Latest paper and interview about it with Dr. Valentina Zharkova. She states on the video that the warming of the past decades is not caused by human activity , it is the Sun and Planets, she says we are headed for a Maunder Minimum between 2020 and 2055 although not as cold as back then, then after 2055 it will get even warmer than now and then it will get cooler again much later. It has been reported that her forecasts have been correct and NASA is now paying attention to her work as the Sun is headed for it’s lowest output in over 200 years in 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45584-3#Fig1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl2gg7lT7OM&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3nlYs1U5dOcjsXsiCIbP-xanGYYag1cc3a2OOqoL8SBl1LX_6ewW8vqa8

    • Sigh! … here we go again. She has already been around this loop before, this is just more of the same. Zharkova blew her credibility last time, I’m not convinced she will gain any traction this time around with the same rehash of what is essentially the same claim.

      A good place to start might be here …

      To quote from that link …

      A grand solar minimum probably isn’t imminent

      Although it would have a relatively small impact on the climate, it’s still an interesting question to ask whether we’re headed for another quiet solar period. Valentina Zharkova thinks so. Her team created a model that tries to predict solar activity, and suggests another solar minimum will occur from 2020 to 2055. However, other solar scientists have criticized the model as being too simple, created based on just 35 years of data, and failing to accurately reproduce past solar activity.

      Ilya Usoskin, head of the Oulu Cosmic Ray Station and Vice-Director of the ReSoLVE Center of Excellence in Research, published a critique of Zharkova’s solar model making those points. Most importantly, the model fails in reproducing past known solar activity because Zharkova’s team treats the sun as a simple, predictable system like a pendulum. In reality, the sun has more random and unpredictable (in scientific terms, “stochastic”) behavior:

      For example, a perfect pendulum – if you saw a few cycles of the pendulum, you can predict its behavior. However, solar activity is known to be non-stationary process, which principally cannot be predicted (the prediction horizon for solar activity is known to be 10-15 years). Deterministic prediction cannot be made because of the essential stochastic component.

      Just imagine a very turbulent flow of water in a river rapid, and you throw a small wooden stick into water and trace it. Then you do it second time and third time … each time the stick will end up in very different positions after the same time period. Its movement is unpredictable because of the turbulent stochastic component. This is exactly the situation with solar activity.

      Solar expert Mike Lockwood agrees that we don’t yet have a proven predictive theory of solar behavior. He has published research examining the range of possible solar evolutions based on past periods when the Sun was in a similar state to today, but as he puts it, “that is the best that I think we can do at the present time!”

      Solar physicist Paul Charbonneau at the University of Montreal also concurred with Usoskin. He told me that while scientists are working to simulate solar activity, including using simplified models like Zharkova’s,

      on the standards of contemporary dynamo models theirs is extremely simple —in fact borderlining simplistic … To extrapolate such a model outside its calibration window, you need an extra, very strong hypothesis: that the physical systems underlying the magnetic field generation retain their coherence (Phase, amplitude, etc.). As my colleague Ilya Usoskin has already explained, this is very unlikely to be the case in the case of the solar activity cycle.


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