Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Climate Change And The Quiet Of The Sun

A sunspot was seen this month on the twenty second of September. However , it disappeared very quickly the following day.

The truth is that the lack of sunspot activity in 2008 is beginning to remind some observers of the low sunspot activity at the beginning of the Dalton Minimum.

Of course, none of us were alive at the time, but the Dalton Minimum was a forty year period (1790 to 1830) of low sunspot activity that would lead to a dramatic cooling of the planet. So, low sunspot activity could well be an indication that colder not warmer times for our planet are immediately ahead.

It was also interesting to read the NASA press release yesterday about the discovery from its Ulysses Spacecraft. The spacecraft revealed that global Solar Wind Output was at a 50-Year Low.

Dave McComas (Ulysses’ solar wind instrument principal investigator and senior executive director at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio) is quoted as follows: “The sun’s million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where it meets the galaxy." He continued: "Ulysses data indicate the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age.

So what does this discovery from the Ulysses Spacecraft mean? Of course, nobody knows for sure, but low solar wind pressure will mean an increase in the amount of cosmic rays entering our solar system.

Now, consider that the study of cosmic rays has been the focus of Physicist, Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen for over a decade. Svensmark's research has led to his theory that during the last 100 years cosmic rays became scarcer because unusually vigorous action by the Sun batted away many of them. As a result, fewer cosmic rays meant fewer clouds leading to a warmer world and the increase in global temperature.

In his book released last year called: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, Svenesmark described his theory that cosmic rays "have more effect on the climate than manmade CO2". So, if Svensmark is right, the increase in cosmic rays will lead to an increase in cloud cover and global cooling.

There has been little sunspot activity throughout 2008. In fact, last month was the first month without a sunspot since 1913. Meanwhile, the Ulysses Spacecraft has just measured solar wind output at a fifty year low. The quiet of our sun may well mean that the global climate is beginning to change once again. It could be that colder not warmer times are just ahead.

For more on man-made global warming read: A Nobel Peace Prize And A Weather Balloon
For more on the Sun read: To Predict Global Climate Change Look To The Sun on

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