Solar Cycle 24 Continues Historically Weak Pace and Cosmic Ray on the Rise

Meteorologist Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc.

Historically weak solar cycle 24 continues to transition away from its solar maximum phase and towards the next solar minimum. There have already been 11 spotless days during 2017 and this follows 32 spotless days that occurred during the latter part of 2016. The blank look to the sun will increase in frequency over the next couple of years leading up to the next solar minimum – probably to be reached in late 2019 or 2020. By one measure, the current solar cycle is the third weakest since record keeping began in 1755 and it continues a weakening trend since solar cycle 21 peaked in 1980. One of the impacts of low solar activity is the increase of cosmic rays that can penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and this has some important consequences.

More details and graphics are HERE.

One of the consequences of extended periods of low solar activity is that it can result in an increase in stratospheric radiation. Specifically, as sunspot activity goes down, there is an increase in cosmic rays that penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Cosmic rays are high-energy photons and subatomic particles accelerated in our direction by distant supernovas and other violent events in the Milky Way. Usually, cosmic rays are held at bay by the sun’s magnetic field, which envelops and protects all the planets in the Solar System. But the sun’s magnetic shield is weakening as the current solar cycle heads towards the next solar minimum and this allows more cosmic rays to reach the Earth’s atmosphere.

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One of the consequences of extended periods of low solar activity is that it can result in an increase in stratospheric radiation. Specifically, as sunspot activity goes down, there is an increase in cosmic rays that penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Cosmic rays are high-energy photons and subatomic particles accelerated in our direction by distant supernovas and other violent events in the Milky Way. Usually, cosmic rays are held at bay by the sun’s magnetic field, which envelops and protects all the planets in the Solar System. But the sun’s magnetic shield is weakening as the current solar cycle heads towards the next solar minimum and this allows more cosmic rays to reach the Earth’s atmosphere.

The impact of cosmic rays on the climate are still being debated some scientist think more rays increase cloud cover, thus cooling the plant, other see the opposite impact, less cloud cover. The science is still unsettled. What is your opinion?  More cosmic rays equal more clouds?  Fewer clouds?

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The New Maunder Minimum? Vegetable Shortages Strike London

Eric Worrall writing at WUWT

Why do I describe this as a possible early taste of Maunder Minimum like conditions? As WUWT has reported, solar activity has been unusually low this cycle, and appears to be trending downwards, leading to predictions we are entering a new solar grand minimum.

While the connection between solar activity and weather is controversial, in Europe, Solar Grand Minima appear to be associated with cold, rainy weather, and growing season difficulties.

Consider this description of the Little Ice Age, one of the most brutal periods of which coincided with the Maunder Minimum (1645 – 1715). The description is from Hubert Lamb, founded of the Climatic Research Unit.

Hubert Lamb said that in many years, “snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today.” In Lisbon, Portugal, snowstorms were much more frequent than today; one winter in the 17th century produced eight snowstorms. Many springs and summers were cold and wet but with great variability between years and groups of years. Crop practices throughout Europe had to be altered to adapt to the shortened, less reliable growing season, and there were many years of dearth and famine (such as the Great Famine of 1315–1317, but that may have been before the Little Ice Age).

Read More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

Obviously in today’s connected world high speed transport will soon solve the shortage in England. It is possible to fly or ship vast quantities of food from other regions to make up for any lack.

However this unexpected food shortage should be a wakeup call to Europe and the world, that there are potential climate problems other than global warming which should occupy some of their attention.

If current conditions worsen, and crop losses in Europe and other Northern growing regions become the norm, at the very least poor people will begin to suffer from the impact of rising prices.

The rest of the article is HERE. This may be only temporary, so watch carefully if it becomes longer term trends. We are having excessive snow and rain in California which is producing excessive flooding. Long-term flooding will slow spring planting.