Weather And Climate: The Effect Of Sunspot Activity

Apr 28, 13 Weather And Climate: The Effect Of Sunspot Activity

You always hear NASA talking about solar activity, but how much do you really know about that and the impacts that it has on our climate? Modern day propaganda has removed the sun from most of the discussion and people and governments are wrapped around man-made CO2 as the primary driver of our climate; however, that is not the case. In this blog post I will explain to you how the sun is very important in our climate.

Image Credit: Joshua Kelly

Image Credit: Joshua Kelly

So, let’s talk about the difference between a Solar Max (also known as an active sun) and the Solar Min (or the inactive sun). With an active sun you will see a lot of solar activity going on from the sun’s surface, such as solar flares, solar storms, geomagnetic storms and sunspots; all of these features are being released or seen on the sun’s surface. They have a drastic impact on the Earth, through our upper atmosphere in places like the ionosphere and the stratosphere. When the sun is at an active time in its cycle, it will release all of this energy to the Earth, bringing more heat. Think of this, if you take a propane heater and point it at an object full blast, that object will heat up. The same thing happens with the Earth and the Sun relationship. Now, if we look at the Solar Min, we see the opposite going on; less solar activity is being marked on the Sun’s surface, which in return leads to an inactive Sun or a cooler Sun. Now, take that same propane heater and point it at the object; however turn the heat down a lot and you can see the difference. This same thing is happening on Earth when the Sun goes inactive; we get less radiation towards the Earth, causing parts of the Earth to cool.

Now, this Solar Max and Min work in a cycle, about every 11 years. You will see the cycle repeat itself, with a Solar Max and a Solar Min occurring repeatedly. However, the Sun also goes through other cycles where it will have a stronger Solar Max and where we could see higher sunspot activity. This would also impact the Earth’s climates.

Remember the definition of climate is temperature and precipitation averages over at least 30 yearss. So if you do the math, we see at least two complete cycles and usually over half of a third cycle in one Earth climate cycle. This is why we see so much fluctuation in our temperatures from year to year. Just like last year, we were setting record heat across the globe, but also remember we were approaching our “SOLAR MAX” at this exact same time. So, now that we are leaving the Solar Max, we are beginning to see side effects of that. Just look at the United States this past March and April; record cold being set across a good portion of the country and then the crazy amount of April snows. This is all just part of the larger cold phase cycle of our climate that we are about to enter into. So, pull up a chair and enjoy until my next blog post.

Featured Image Credit: Balefire / Shutterstock

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