Cosmic Rays Increasing According to Spaceweather.com

Meteorologist Paul Dorian writes about a Spaceweather.com Study, which was reported on here in January 2016.

Current cosmic ray activity

We happen to be in a weak solar cycle (24) which is actually on pace to be the weakest cycle in more than one hundred years. Therefore, it would not be surprising to have relatively high cosmic ray penetration into the Earth’s atmosphere; especially, since we are now heading towards the next solar minimum phase when solar activity is generally even quieter. During solar maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay.

In fact, for the past year, neutron monitors around the Arctic Circle have sensed an increasing intensity of cosmic rays. Polar latitudes are a good place to make such measurements, because Earth’s magnetic field funnels and concentrates cosmic radiation there. As it turns out, Earth’s poles aren’t the only place cosmic rays are intensifying. “Spaceweather.com” has led an effort in the launching of helium balloons to the stratosphere to measure radiation, and they find the same trend increasing intensity of cosmic rays over California. Their latest data show an increase of almost 13% since 2015. [For more on this study click here]:

cosmicrayincrease
Cosmic rays have been steadily increasing in recent months during historically weak solar cycle 24; plot courtesy spaceweather.com and California data courtesy study sponsored by spaceweather.com

In the plot, neutron monitor measurements from the University of Oulu Cosmic Ray Station are traced in red; gamma-ray/X-ray measurements over California are denoted in gray. The agreement between the two curves is remarkable. It means that the intensification of cosmic rays is making itself felt not only over the poles, but also over lower latitudes where Earth’s magnetic field provides a greater degree of protection against deep space radiation. There’s a new section on spaceweather.com where you can monitor cosmic rays in the atmosphere.

As reported elsewhere on this blog, here,  more cosmic ray has been shown to produce more clouds, and more clouds reduce the plant’s temperature.  We can expect some cooler climate as Solar Cycle 24 sunspots and CMEs decline.

 

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A Report on Sunspot Cycle 25

Dr. Sten Odenwald, a retired astronomer and educator formerly with the National Institute of Aerospace and NASA writing in the Huffington Post.  He concludes his sunspot article, Waiting For The Next Sunspot Cycle 2019-2030, with this view forward:

Statistically speaking, the current Cycle 24 is scheduled to draw to a close about 11 years after the previous sunspot minimum in January 2008, which means sometime in 2019. We entered the Cycle 24 sunspot minimum period in 2016 because in February and June, we already had two spot-free days. As the number of spot-free days continues to increase in 2017-2018, we will start seeing the new sunspots of Cycle 25 appear sometime in late-2019. Sunspot maximum is likely to occur in 2024, with most forecasts predicting about half as many sunspots as in Cycle 24.

The bad news is that some studies show sunspot magnetic field strengths have been declining since 2000 and are already close to the minimum needed to sustain sunspots on the solar surface. This is also supported by independent work in 2015 published in the journal Nature. By Cycle 25 or 26, magnetic fields may be too weak to punch through the solar surface and form recognizable sunspots at all, spelling the end of the sunspot cycle phenomenon, and the start of another Maunder Minimum cooling period perhaps lasting until 2100.

But the good news seems to be that none of the current forecasts suggest Cycle 25 will be entirely absent. A few forecasts even hold out some hope that a sunspot maximum equal to or greater than Cycle 24 is possible.

Full article is HERE: