Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Here Comes the Sun, and I Say
The sunspots we detect go in an approximate 11 year cycle. The intensity, that is, the number of sunspots at the peak of the cycle, has a much tighter correlation to average Earth temperatures than any other measurement. The cycles have had high peaks over the last several decades, and lo, temperatures on average have increased. As a result of sunspot minimums, the Dalton and Maunder minimums are examples that we know about, the temperatures here on Earth tend to plunge.
The sunspots which appear on the surface of the sun are caused by magnetic forces within. There is apparently a minimum amount of magnetism necessary for there to be sunspots. We have detected a lessening of the required magnetic forces and, worse, a downward trend. The sun also has a radio signal the flux density of which ranges between 64 and 264 (at the 10.7 cm frequency). The more magnetic and sunspot activity, the higher the radio flux density number. (I don't know what flux density is. My son tried to explain it to me but I failed to grasp it beyond the most rudimentary of levels.) While the number of observed sunspots has increased lately, the magnetism and radio activity have remained low. Last year, for example, there were 280 spotless days (71%); this year there have only been 45 (13%). However, the average planetary magnetic index, the Ap Index, is as low as it has ever been measured (that is, since 1932). The radio signal is at 88 today and has never been to 100 in the past several years, even though the new sunspot cycle, No. 24, began almost 3 years ago on January 8, 2008 to predictions of an ever more intense cycle, which predictions have been modified down ever since. Something unseen and perhaps unknown to science is going on inside the sun which is delaying the increased magnetism, radio signal and even the normal climb in the number of sunspots of the new cycle; and it all means that it will get colder, on average around the planet, over the years to come. If that is the case, the Warmie true believers are sure to be regarded absolutely as losers and charlatans (as they are), but we will all be the losers too, as extreme cold kills at a much higher rate than extreme heat, and reduced arable land due to cold weather could cause the world wide famines Paul Ehrlich was predicting for the 80s.
It's certainly something to keep an eye on.
Labels: Global Warming: Sunspot Activity