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Scripps Research Shows Sun Could Dim By Mid-Century

Magnetic loops gyrate above the sun, March 23-24, 2017.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Above: Magnetic loops gyrate above the sun, March 23-24, 2017.

Scripps Research Shows Sun Could Dim By Mid-Century


Dan Lubin, research physicist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography


Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography expect the sun to emit less radiation sometime in the middle of this century, which could cause global temperatures to cool slightly.

Scripps researchers estimate the sun could give off about 7 percent less ultraviolet radiation in the next 20 to 50 years. The event is known as a “grand minimum,” something that has only happened 27 times in the past 11,000 years. The last time one of these grand minimums was this severe was in the 17th Century, when the Baltic Sea froze over and allowed the Swedish army to march over the ice and invade Denmark.

But while temperatures may dip overall, the effect will be especially concentrated in Europe, according to Scripps research physicist Dan Lubin.

“Europe becomes colder but southern Greenland and Alaska become warmer,” he said. “We’re already concerned about Greenland warming, the largest contributor to sea level rise. So this could make things worse.”

Lubin joins KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday with the latest science on what could happen during a grand minimum.

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