Today’s Modern Grand Solar Minimum Will Lead to Terrestrial Cooling – and a Little Ice Age

Studies by Valentina Zharkova show that the recent dearth of sunspot activity must inevitably lead to the kind of cooling that took place during the Little Ice Age. (Please remember that millions – mullions! – of people died of starvation during the Little Ice Age, when the population was far less than today.)

In this particular paper, Zharkova shows that the Sun has entered the modern Grand Solar Minimum (GSM), which will last from 2020 to 2053. This will lead to a significant reduction in solar magnetic field activity and to noticeable cooling, cooling such as occurred during the Maunder minimum.

Here I will paraphrase that paper.

The Sun has just completed solar cycle 24 – the weakest solar cycle in the past 100+ years – and 2020 saw the beginning of solar cycle 25. During periods of low solar activity such as this modern GSM the Sun will often be devoid of sunspots. This is just what happened at the start of this minimum, because in 2020 the Sun saw a total of 115 spotless days (or 78%). This placed 2020 firmly on track to surpass the space-age record of 281 spotless days (or 77%) in 2019. However, since cycle 25 is still slow in firing active regions and flares, every extra day/week/month that passes extends the null in solar activity. This extension marks the start of a grand solar minimum.

What are the consequences for Earth of this decrease in solar activity?

Let us explore what happened with solar irradiance during the previous grand solar minimum – the Maunder Minimum. During this period, very few sunspots appeared on the surface of the Sun, and its overall brightness decreased slightly.

Temperature plunged during the Maunder Minimum

From 1645 to 1710, during the Maunder Minimum, temperatures plunged across much of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. This likely occurred because total solar irradiance was reduced by 0.22%, which lead to a decrease in average terrestrial temperature by 1.0–1.5°C (measured mainly in the Northern hemisphere in Europe). This seemingly small decrease in average temperature led to frozen rivers, long cold winters, and cold summers.

Surface temperatures were reduced all over the Globe, especially in the Northern hemisphere. Europe and North America went into a deep freeze: alpine glaciers extended over valley farmland, sea ice crept south from the Arctic, and the Dunab and Thames rivers froze regularly – as well as the famous canals in the Netherlands.

The temperature decline was related to dropped ozone levels created by solar ultra-violate light in the stratosphere. Since the Sun emitted less radiation during the Maunder Minimum, including strong ultraviolet emission, less ozone was formed, thereby affecting the jet stream.

Role of magnetic field in terrestrial cooling in Grand Solar Minima

In addition to the change in solar radiation during the Maunder Minimum, another contributor to the cooling came from the solar background magnetic field, whose role has been overlooked so far. After the discovery of a significant reduction of magnetic field in the upcoming modern Grand Solar Minimum (and also during the Maunder Minimum), it was recognized that the solar magnetic field controlled the level of cosmic rays reaching planetary atmospheres, including the Earth’s. That significant reduction of the solar magnetic field will undoubtedly lead to an increase in the intensity of galactic and extra-galactic cosmic rays, which, in turn, will lead to a formation of high clouds that will also assist atmospheric cooling (as shown by Svensmark et al. [5]).

In the previous solar minimum, between cycles 23 and 24, cosmic ray intensity increased by 19%. Currently, solar magnetic field as predicted by Zharkova et al. [1] is dropping radically, which leads to a sharp decline in the sun’s interplanetary magnetic field. This decrease naturally leads to a significant increase in the intensity of cosmic rays [6]. This process of solar magnetic field reduction, which is progressing as predicted by Zharkova et al. [1], can cause cooling during the modern Grand Solar Minimum (which, again, already started in 2020).

Expected cooling during Grand Solar Minima

When you look at the graph below, you can see that grand solar minima (and hence, little ice ages) recur in an undeniable cycle.

Solar activity 1200–3300 AD – Zharkova et al
(If you look at the larger version, you can see that we’re just to the left of center of the graph, at the beginning of Modern Minimum #1)

This modern Grand Solar Minimum during solar cycles 25–27 (from 2020 to 2053), and also the forecast Grand Solar Minimum from 2370 to 2415, will bring the same unique and significant reduction in solar activity as occurred during the Maunder Minimum. Similarly, the reduction of solar magnetic field will cause a decrease in solar irradiance by about 0.22% during the same three solar cycles, and yet again during the four solar cycles of the second Grand Solar Minimum from 2370 to 2415.

Zharkova’s full article:

Valentina V. Zharkova
Northumbria University · Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering · BSc, MSc , PhD, FRAS

36 thoughts on “Today’s Modern Grand Solar Minimum Will Lead to Terrestrial Cooling – and a Little Ice Age”

  1. I think you should also consider the predictions of Prof Leif Svalgaard, one of the few scientists to correctly predict the strength of solar cycle 24. He predicts that cycle 25 will be similar in nature to cycle 24, not much weaker.

    If that is the case, the minimum will be akin to the Dalton Minimum, not the Maunder Minimum.

    Let’s see what happens, but my hunch currently favours Svalgaard, but I remain very open to changing my mind if the evidence changes….

  2. The article from Dr. Zharkova was published in early August, 2020.
    That calendar year ended up with 208 spotless days (57%) as Cycle 25 kicked in.
    The site ‘’ has a day by day counting of spotless days and one can clearly see how the trough years (2018/9/20) of Cycle 24 were far more spotless than the corresponding years of Cycle 23.

    This is becoming so obvious that a GSM is in its early stages that it behooves all of us to continue to try to spread the word.

  3. Thanks. Wasn’t she silenced by media and universities or considered as a flawed scientist? What will come, I don’t know but what is going on now seems to be more important. The question is: give all these vaccination protection against illnesses developped under quite different circumstances?

    • Wasn’t she [Zharkova] silenced by media and universities or considered as a flawed scientist?
      … then you really ought to check out more of these highly respected fact checker references too sometime. Always trust the fact-checkers.
      ht tps://
      ht tps://

      I’d say Zharkova’s in pretty good company like a bunch of other heretic kooks.

      “Never forget” –– the collective plea of Holocaust survivors. And in the first few decades after WW2 ended, it really did seem as if humanity would always remember, and perhaps even learn from, the Nazi genocide so that future atrocities may be prevented.
      I guess not.

      • Thanks for the reply. Factcheckers? Really amazing, what is written down can be checked not the ‘facts’ itself as it is subject of research. I just read some comments on a letter of a scientist to WHO; essentially the comments are about ‘what is a fact w.r.t. covid-19 and it’s spread and replication’, it is disputable, as usual. P.S. I am not qualified to give any answer in the field of science but just asking questions. I got the feeling that it is more about believing than about gaining knowledge. I don’t have any comment on Zarkhova. As I don’t understand, I don’t believe what is said, until undertaken an attempt to figure out what the statements are about.

  4. “…in 2020 the Sun saw a total of 115 spotless days (or 78%). This placed 2020 firmly on track to surpass the space-age record of 281 spotless days (or 77%) in 2019”.

    If you must cite figures, do try to get them right. No knowledge of the subject is required to notice that 115 is by no means 78% of 365.

    • I cited the exact figures given in the article. If those figures were wrong, well, enjoy your righteousness.

      • That article is dated August 4, 2020, which had 115 spotless days up till then in that calendar year.
        2020 wound up with 208 spotless days total (57%).
        Site ‘’ has up to date, running tally of sun spot status.

    • If you must cite figures, do try to get them right. No knowledge of the subject is required to notice that…
      Tomboy, or what ever gender you identify as today, all of us progressive mult-letter types who think and talk like this need to schtick together.

    • Yeah, I noticed the same thing. There must be something else she is saying by the numbers because 115 is not 78% of 365. Is it a typo?

      • Article was dated August 4.
        115 spotless days till that point.
        Calendar year wound up with 208 spotless as Cycle 25 kicked in.
        Trend towards more spotless days is obvious if you look at numbers from Cycle 23 (partial) and Cycle 24 on space site

    • My “guess” is the 115/57% was correct according to the timing of her publishing her article on 8/4/20, not the whole year of 2020? That would make more sense.

    • I believe this was a reference to how many days (115/57%) to the publishing of her article on 8/4/20. That would make more sense after downloading and reading her article.

  5. A great many more died of the plague and a host of other viral and bacterial diseases.
    War and political violence was no small time killer either.

    • Starving humans are susceptible to all kinds of illnesses, the one leads to the other. It’s also a consideration that a modern square metre of land is capable of producing seven times as much food as its 17th century equivalent.

    • Steve, the wars and pestilence were caused by the Maunder Minimum climate. No crops leads to starvation and wars.

  6. We have to remember that currently sun specks are now counted as spots. The past record could not count them so the Grand Minimum could be deeper than we realize.

  7. Low Sunspots correlate with enlarged Coronal holes. Large Coronal holes correspond to more Magnetized Coronal Flares which (depending upon location on the Sun with respect to Earth) can lead to more Coronal Storms heading towards Earth which impacts with Earth’s ferromagnetic core causing Magma to expand which causes more Earthquakes / Volcanic Actiivity whose ejectae corresponds with diminishing Solar Irradiance from reaching Earth’s surface which corresponds with reduction in Earth’s Temperature – which causes a depletion in Food Supply which causes more Deaths of Life Forms…. Volcanic Activity has been noticeable on the upswing.. And any series of serious Volcanic Events can almost immediately shut off much of the Sun’s Light which would have an enormous negative impact upon, for instance, humanity – no matter what they believe or not. ……. Water, Food, Warmth would become very difficult to obtain…

  8. This upcoming GSM is the very least of our problems for the future. We are at the very tail end of this current Holocene Interglacial, and set to re-enter the next round of Glaciational Phase, which will last another 99-100 years.
    Then there is the long descent into the next chapter of this Pleistocene Ice Age. Pray for Global Warming, because……………….:(

  9. They suspended carlton Brown Robert on twiitter I bet you twitter could not take the truth on there aginda on climate change.shame as he is a great read.

  10. Putting this into context on geologic timescales, given that we should be – based on the length of past interglacials – at the end of the current interglacial, there is always that fear now that a little ice age will lead into a big 90,000-year glacial period. The last Little Ice Age, some say, was a false start to the big ice age (glacial) period.

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