The sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers.
Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto.
In that era, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century.
The Japanese study found that the trend of current sunspot activity is similar to records from that period.
The researchers also found signs of unusual magnetic changes in the sun. Normally, the sun’s magnetic field flips about once every 11 years. In 2001, the sun’s magnetic north pole, which was in the northern hemisphere, flipped to the south.
It’s long been known that eruptions on the sun, known as solar flares, produce sunquakes, but now scientists have discovered that bursts of solar wind– known as coronal mass ejections – do as well.
The effect is described as like watching a ripple in a pond when a stone is dropped in - except the 'ripples' can shake the star to its centre.
Scientists led by University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has shown for the first time that sunquakes can be produced during eruptions of magnetic field and charged particles, as the immense magnetic structure blasts off into the Solar System
The first observation of a sunquake was reported in the late 1990s.
During the last decade it has become well established that explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere, known as solar flares, can create sunquakes through the impact of powerful beams of particles which travel into the Sun.
The thin line indicates the annual reconstructed solar irradiance, while the thick line shows the running 11 average. The values shown include a background component. See Lean (2000) for discussion of the amplitude of the background component. Last year included in the Lean (2000) analysis: 2000. The small green columns in the bottom panel indicate different kind of historical evidence for past climate change effects.
Meanwhile......the World Meteorological Organization annual statement for 2011 has produced their latest world temperature graph below.
Whenever I think of the Sun’s influence on the Earth’s climate I think of the difference between relative and absolute numbers, and how they can provide completely different views of a situation.
Very often articles about the Sun’s effects on the Earth’s climate state that it must be small because variations in TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) takes place on the 0.1% level over the approximately 11-year solar cycle (measured over the last three cycles). This is very small so how can it have any influence, many argue, pointing out that considered this way the Sun is a very constant star.
Indeed, we call the most familiar measure of its output the solar constant – the electromagnetic flux density at the Sun-Earth distance. It is 1,361 Watts per sq metre. So 0.1% of this is 1.3 Watts per sq metre. When looked at in absolute terms this is not a little amount of energy. In fact it’s an enormous amount of energy.
The solar constant isn’t constant. It varies from day to day due to the occurrence of sunspots and faculae, and throughout the year due to the changing distance to the Sun of the Earth’s orbit. In January it is 1,412 Watts per sq metre and in July 1,321 Watts per sq metre, a variation of 7%. Longer term variations than the solar cycle in TSI there must be, but estimates are very uncertain.
Research by Dr. Theodor Landscheidt of the Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar Activity points to a cooling Earth climate at least until 2030.
The study ‘New Little Ice Age Instead of Global Warming?’ comprises a rigorous analysis of more than 100 leading peer-reviewed papers. It comes as a sharp retort to unfounded global warming alarm propagated by government-sponsored climatologists and discredits claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who had speculated temperature rises this century as high as 5.8 degrees Celsius.
Indeed, Dr. Landscheidt’s study points to statements by the editors of the journal Science (2002) admitting an increasing in the number of publications that point to varying solar activity as a strong factor in climate change. The new paper advises,
“The continuing debate about man-made global warming has reached a crucial stage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), no longer publishes well defined best estimate projections of global temperature rise to the year 2100 caused by increases in greenhouse gas accumulations in the atmosphere, but publicizes storylines to speculate about warming as high as 5.8 Degrees C till 2100.”
In a recent article from National Geographic by Jason Major headed "Venus Spinning Slower Than Thought—Scientists Stumped", he mentioned the following..
Planet lovers take note: Venus is spinning even slower than astronomers thought, according to new data from a European space probe.
In the early 1990s scientists with NASA's Magellan mission calculated that a single rotation of Venus takes 243.015 Earth days, based on the speed of surface features passing beneath the orbiting spacecraft.
But scientists now mapping Venus's surface with the European Space Agency's Venus Express orbiter were surprised to find the same features up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) from where they were expected to be, based on the previous measurements.
According to the new data, Venus is rotating 6.5 minutes slower than it was 16 years ago, a result that's been found to correlate with long-term radar observations taken from Earth.