SUNSPOTS AND SOLAR CYCLE 24 UPDATEJanuary 19, 2010
The following is an e-mail to Benny Peiser of the UK who maintains a comment e-mail site on climate science called CCNetMedia. Posted on Monday 1/18/2010. The long-term review of earth climate data (long-term meaning over the last several million years) has demonstrated the strong correlation of glaciations/interglacials with sunspot activity. The mechanism appears to be related to the ability of the Sun to deflect cosmic rays intensity on the Earth during periods of high sunspot activity. Cosmic ray activity is strongly linked with cloud formation (more clouds – less direct solar heating – more cooling). The Sun has been unusually quiet for the past 24 months and weather is responding as has been theorized.
As of the end of December, the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) in the transition into solar cycle 24 now stands at 771. The number of spotless days are beginning to taper off. There were only 10 spotless days in December. It appears very likely that the final number when this solar minimum comes to a close will be in the 800’s. It is fairly obvious now that the sun is undergoing a state change.
The Average Magnetic Planetary Index (Ap index) is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. It has been referred to as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. An Ap index of “4” was the lowest recorded monthly value since measurements began in January 1932.
For 11 months, from November 2008 to September 2009, the Ap index had hovered near rock bottom with readings of 4’s and 5’s. But in October and November 2009, the index broke through the glass floor and spawned the lowest Ap monthly index value in the past 77 years with values of “3”. Now in December the Ap Index has sunk even lower setting a new record with a reading of “2”.
I find it interesting that at the same time the sun’s magnetic field is breaking record lows that the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing the coldest temperatures in decades. Massive cold waves and heavy snowfall are battering North America, Europe, Russia, China and India. In the U.S., October 2009 was the third coldest October in 115 years of record keeping. December 2009 produced the 14th coldest December on record. In the U.K. and China, December brought the coldest December in three to four decades.
There are those that deny that a link exists between the sun’s magnetic field and natural climate change. These are the real deniers. The sun’s magnetic field controls the flux rate of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) into the inner solar system where Earth resides. As GCRs drill down into our lower atmosphere over the oceans they ionize particles of moisture to form clouds. Greater cloud cover causes sunlight to be reflected back into deep space. When there is less sunlight, the Earth cools. This is a natural process. This process, related to changes in the sun’s magnetic field, modulates Earth’s temperatures. Those that deny this process ignore the fact that Henrik Svensmark at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen in 2006 demonstrated the process through scientific experiments. Galactic cosmic rays are a very effective amplifying mechanism for natural climate forcing because the energy needed to change cloudiness is small compared with the resulting changes in solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface.
James A. Marusek