Monday, June 18, 2007

Solar Cycle Delay and Global Warming

My list of links that I view every morning includes SOHO, The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, which has a set of images of the Sun updated frequently. The Sun right now has zero sunspots.

Sunspots are dark places on the Sun where the magnetic lines have broken and loop above the Sun's surface. There is an 11 year cycle of sunspots. Over the cycle the number of sunspots increases and decreases. Sunspots start appearing near the poles of the Sun and gradually migrate south to the equator, then disappear. There are fairly accurate records of daily sunspot counts going back to the 1700s.

There is a hypothesis that when the sunspot cycle is reduced in amplitude, the Earth's climate cools. The exact mechanism is not known, but might be due to the solar wind intensity. When there are lots of sunspot you get much more particles being blasted off the Sun into deep space. This wind may act as a shield against cosmic rays, which in turn effects high altitude clouds, which in tern makes the climate warmer or cooler.

Back in the 1700s to 1840 the earth's climate was very cool and was called The Little Ice Age. At that time the sunspot cycle was also markedly reduced. Europe had very cold long winters. This is when Marie Antoinette said 'let them eat cake'. (Ok, she didn't actually say that.) The peasants were starving due to crop failures.

Right now the current sunspot cycle is delayed and may be a year late.

There is also a theory based on the wobble of the Sun caused by Saturn and Jupiter. This makes the Sun wobble around it's center and influences the sunspot cycle. The theory predicts lower sunspot cycles starting in 2030 for a hundred years. There are also several other competing and complementary theories of sunspot cycle drivers.

We are right now on the cusp of getting real data as to whether sunspots influence climate much more heavily that CO2 levels. If we have a drastic cooling in the next 20 years, then CO2 is not a factor. If the sunspot cycle is greatly reduced, and the climate does not get cooler, then CO2 is the driving factor. My bet is with a cooling.

Current climate theories are very shaky both for and against Global Warming. On the warming side the data is so heavily manipulated for political reasons that is is very difficult to trust any conclusions, especially from 'reputable global climate scientists'.

The sunspot/global cooling theories the data seems to fit climate changes very well going back a very long time. The number of sunspots yearly before 1700 can be estimated by isotope differences in ice cores and several other corroborating methods.

The political climate is quite hot right now and make rational scientific discussion difficult and charged with name calling and governmental edicts.

Luck for us, if we just wait about 20 years the answers will be much more clear. If the next cycle amplitude is low then we may get some very chilling data in just the next 5 years.


Update: Still no sunspots Sept 18, 2008. Just a few very tiny 'pores' that show the field has reversed as it should, but no spots appearing. Weird.



Thunderfist said...

Update Sept 18, 2008 - Still no sunspots. Just a very few 'pores' (ultra small spots, not detectable until recently) to show that the field has reversed so we are in the next cycle, but nothing is happening.

Meow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meow said...

I think the phenomena might be a little more complex and any research should also include the influence of the earth's magnetic field strength and orientation relative to the sun's. My guess is that the sun emits a fairly constant amount of heat-convertible radiation. That is in part absorbed by the solar wind's charged (and magnetically polarized?) particles. These are either repelled or not, hence transferring or not their heat to the Earth (by friction, radiation, convection or some other phenomena).
In order to simplify the matter, I think we must eliminate from the equation the thermo-regulating effect of the ice. So, one must first speak in therms of global ice surface.
low sun activity = smaller ice surface
high sun activity= either high or low global ice surface, depending on the earth/ sun magnetic field strength and relative orientation.
What data i have from another site:

Other data (not yet reviewed by me):
Can you post additional data useful for this article? I was not yet able to find any raw data related to the magnetic fields, solar activity and global ice surface over a long period of time.