Our quiet sun: long-term cooling on the way?

May 3, 2015

science agw sun

No, I’m not predicting from computer models where the results are largely predetermined by the inputs and assumptions of the programmers (1). I’m just noting a possibility based on simple observation of centuries of data. When Sol grows quiet for extended periods, the Earth grows colder:

The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. The sun’s X-ray output has flatlined in recent days and NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of strong flares in the next 24 hours. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

The article notes that declining solar activity doesn’t mean no solar storms that can disrupt communications — some very strong ones happen on the down-slope, so to speak. But, what we’re concerned with here is the possible effect on Earth’s climate. As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’m of the school that holds the Sun far more responsible for Earth’s changing climate than any amount of carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere in the last century of so. And I believe the evidence supports that much more than it does the catastrophic man-caused climate change theology theory. From later in the article, here’s what happened the last time the Sun had a quiescent period of this magnitude or larger:

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere – and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830 (below). Both of these historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many scientists as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

The highlighted portion refers to the work of Henrik Svensmark and others to study the relation between solar activity, cosmic rays,  and cloud formation on Earth, the last of which is a regulator of temperature  Early experimental results have lent credibility to this hypothesis, and I think we’ll eventually find that such natural cycles are the real reason for climate change on Earth, and not a trace gas that’s been raised to the level of an all-powerful demon.

Footnote:
(1) That’s the UN IPCC’s job.


Quiet Sun

November 6, 2009

sun

At Heliogenic Climate Change, James Marusek, a retired USN physicist, discusses the continuing lack of sunspot activity and what it may portend for Earth’s climate:

So what does this all mean? Well, the sun’s interplanetary magnetic field has fallen to around 4 nT (nano Tesla) from a typical value of 6 to 8 nT. The solar winds pressure is down to 50 year lows. And the heliospheric current sheet is flattening. All these changes allow high-energy galactic cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system. In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years, when satellite measurements began. Greater numbers of galactic cosmic rays driving deep into our atmosphere cause greater cloud formation (through ionization) which then results in decreasing surface temperature on Earth. This is because low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. This is why Northern and Southern hemispheres have experienced unusually cold winters during the past couple years. The influence of the sun’s magnetic field is a force to be reckoned with in natural climate change.

Sorry, O Goracle.

More on the Svensmark theory of the interrelation of clouds, the sun, and cosmic rays in Earth’s climate.