Archive for Solar variation

Solar Physicists think Sun about to enter a “grand minimum”, Chilly Conditions on Earth, The “Little Ice Age”

Posted in 2013 with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2013 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


There’s been criticism for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over its latest AR5 report from many quarters for many reasons. But today there’s new research focusing on one particular aspect of that criticism.

The particular part of the IPCC’s science in question is its accounting for the effects of changes in the Sun on the climate of planet Earth. Many climatologists have long sought to suggest that the effects of solar variability are minor, certainly when compared to those of human-driven CO2 emissions. Others, however, while admitting that the Sun changes only a very little over human timescales, think that it might be an important factor.

This matters because solar physicists think that the Sun is about to enter a “grand minimum”, a prolonged period of low activity.

The current 11-year peak in solar action is the weakest seen for a long time, and it may presage a lengthy quiet period. Previously, historical records suggest that such periods have been accompanied by chilly conditions on Earth – perhaps to the point where a coming minimum might counteract or even render irrelevant humanity’s carbon emissions. The “Little Ice Age” seen from the 15th to the 19th centuries is often mentioned in this context.



Sun Pillar

Sun Pillar (Photo credit: tomhe)


Sun Dog Phenomenon

Sun Dog Phenomenon (Photo credit: John F Hark)




The Sun Goes Strangely Quiet‏

Posted in 2013 with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


With the Sun’s disk almost completely devoid of sunspots, solar flare activity has come to a halt. Measurements by NOAA’s GOES 15 satellite show that the sun’s global x-ray emission, a key metric of solar activity, has flatlined:

The quiet is unlikely to break this weekend. NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of M- or X-class solar flares during the next 24-48 hours.

The quiet spell is a bit strange because 2013 is supposed to be a year of solar maximum, with lots of flares and sunspots. Supporting this view are data from NASA-supported observatories which show that the sun’s magnetic field is poised to flip–a long-held sign that Solar Max has arrived. Nevertheless, solar activity is low.
One possible explanation is that

Solar Max is double-peaked and we are in the valley between peaks. If so, solar activity could surge again in late 2013-2014. No one can say for sure, though. Researchers have been studying sunspots for more than 400 years, and we still cannot predict the behavior of the solar cycle. Continued quiet or stormy space weather? Both are possible in the weeks and months ahead.

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