Planet Earth could be headed for a mini ice age which will make winters ever grimmer
It’s not entirely clear whether the sun could save us from climate change
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This Nasa photo of the sun shows its surface without sunspots (Photo: Nasa)

Professor Zharkova believes that the sun goes through cycles which periodically cause a drop in the level of heat it produces.

This phenomenon is believed to have caused the Little Ice Age between 1645 and 1700, which caused the Thames to freeze solid on several occasions.

During this chilly period of history, astronomers noticed that significantly fewer sunspots were appearing on the solar surface – a phenomenon described as the Maunder Minimum.

Zharkova believes sunspot activity will soon slow again, causing a mini Ice Age.

Planet Earth could be headed for a mini ice age which will make winters ever grimmer
February 1895: Vessels frozen into the River Thames at Greenwich. (Photo by Miss E. R. Taylor/Express)

However, not every scientist agrees with her claims.

Michael Brown, an associate professor of astronomy at Monash University in Australia, said the Maunder Minimum could have been caused by other factors including the eruptions of volcanos.

Sadly, he does not believe a mini Ice Age is enough to save us from manmade climate change.

‘There is 40 percent more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the air now than during the 17th century, and global temperature records are being smashed,’ he claims. ‘A new Maunder Minimum would slow climate change, but it is not enough to stop it.’