Northern lights activity will lessen from 2019-2021 due to decreasing solar activity, Vísir reports. There will be fewer of the colourful, bright displays which have recently attracted tourists to Iceland.
Northern lights are caused by solar activity, which goes through 11-year cycles. During these solar cycles the sun experiences changes in levels of solar radiation and magnetic activity, and as this activity decreases, so do northern lights.
“Now and in the next few years [the activity] will begin to decrease, slowly but surely. So that 2019 will probably be very quiet, 2020 as well, 2021, and then the activity should increase again after that and should reach a high point in 2026, around that time, and the following years, three or four years, there should be very nice northern lights as well,” stated Sævar Helgi Bragason, editor of Stjörnufræðivefurinn website and Facebook page which aim to promote interest in astronomy.
Sævar Helgi assured that even in periods of low activity, northern lights never disappear completely. “We will, however, get fewer colourful, splendid displays of the kind we would like to show off to tourists and see ourselves,” he stated.
Great displays of northern lights are still expected this winter, before the activity begins to diminish.
“This winter has gotten off to a good start, and seems to be continuing to be quite good. So I’m very optimistic about this winter and also pretty optimistic about next winter, though we may see graceful and beautiful displays a bit less often then,” adds Sævar Helgi.