Will Thames Freeze Again? UK Vulnerable to Cooling Catastrophe

Vijay Jayaraj | September 30, 2019 | 2:17pm EDT
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(Photo by ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Kingdom’s role in the global economy is important. It is the 10th largest export economy in the world. It exported $778 billion USD worth of products and services in 2018. In recent months, fears about a post-Brexit UK economy have gripped the minds of Britons.

But the UK’s economy faces a bigger challenge from changes in climate. Nearly 70 percent of the UK’s land is used for agriculture, and the country depends on its own produce for 60 percent of its domestic needs. Any sharp departure from average temperature levels could cause significant disruption to the economy.

However, unlike the popular narrative that warns us of rising temperatures, the real climate threat to the UK in the next few decades could be from cooling, not warming.

Here is why.

The biggest climatic event that haunted Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries might be coming back to haunt it again in the coming two decades. NASA has predicted a period of low solar activity for the next two solar cycles, technically known as a Solar Minimum.

Almost completely ignored in the mainstream climate debates is the fact that solar activity has an impact on earth’s climate. While some say this is insignificant, the impact of solar activity on the climatic events in the past—and the on-going lull in solar activity—has prompted scientists to study this extensively.

Studies suggest that the previous lows in solar activity—solar cycles 5 and 6 during the Dalton Minimum (1790–1830)—coincided with the Little Ice Age that disrupted the entire Northern Hemisphere. It was during this time that London’s River Thames (not far from the Parliament) froze, and agriculture in Britain and elsewhere came to a standstill.

According to recent research papers by scientists, the two coming solar cycles—25 and 26—will display much lower solar activity than the solar cycles of the Little Ice Age, with a potential period of cooling, as NASA suggests.

“The solar cycle 25 will start in the year 2021 (January) and will last till 2031 (February), while the solar cycle 26 will start in the year 2031 (March) and will last till the year 2041 (February),” said the report.

The scientists concluded, “We have also compared the activities of solar cycles 5 and 6 (Dalton minima periods) to solar cycles 25 and 26 and have observed that the other solar minimum is underway.”

Such a period could demolish the UK’s agricultural sector. It would also negatively affect agriculture in the rest of the world. There could be a complete lockdown of agriculture and a severe proven stress on the energy sector, including electricity generation, not just in Britain but throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Warnings about the on-going solar minima should not be ignored. Yet the climate crisis movement, focusing exclusively on warming as a threat, promotes a lack of awareness of this threat.

The UK is poised for an unpleasant surprise if temperatures drop in the coming decades as scientists predict it might. The repercussions will dwarf the impacts of other economic disruptions—including so-called global warming.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.


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