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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Author: Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Solar Cycle 24 Continues Historically Weak Pace and Cosmic Ray on the Rise”

  1. In 2015, London’s Express carried a startling headline on CERN’s recent study of interactions between cosmic rays and the clouds that let varying degrees of solar heat warm our planet. “Has climate change been disproved? Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels may not be the primary cause of global warming…”The Express ventured that the experiment “might turn the whole climate change debate and projected temperature increases upside down.”
    The rest of the media – and the alarmists – ignored CLOUD.

    Now, CERN has just informed its community of researchers that its CLOUD Experiment suggests “estimates of high climate sensitivity [to CO2 changes] may have to be revised downwards.” That is lead author, Ken Carslaw, quoted in the CERN Courier (Dec., 2016).

    We know, from the Old Masters’ paintings in the world’s museums, that the Medieval Warming skies were generally sunny. Little Ice Age skies, in sharp contrast, were painted as heavily overcast. Researchers also agree that in the years since the intense cold of the Maunder Minimum, the sun strongly (but erratically) increased its sunspot average. (The more sunspots the warmer the earth.) The average day in 1710 had only three sunspots. By 2000, the average was up to 114!

    But what links sunspots and the changes in cloudiness?

    In 2008, Henrik Svensmark of the Danish Space Institute filled a cloud chamber with the earth’s atmospheric gases, and turned on a UV light to mimic the sun’s ultraviolet heat. He was amazed at how fast the chamber filled with myriad tiny cloud seed particles.

    CLOUD used a particle accelerator and a super-clean cloud chamber to carry Svensmark’s experiment to the next level. CLOUD found that the computers had underestimated the cloudiness of the Little Ice Age, because they completely failed to understand the dramatic impact of the ionized cloud seed particles created by cosmic rays! The ionization attracts other molecules in the atmosphere, so the cloud seeds grow instead of evaporating,

    In a related Nature article, CERN’s Jasper Kirkby says that ions from cosmic rays increase the number of cloud seeds by one to two orders of magnitude. In addition, the ionized clouds reflect more solar heat back into space – and they’re longer-lasting. The cloud variations thus amplify the sun’s variability! The clouds, in effect are the earth’s thermostats – and the IPCC has admitted it can’t model them!

  2. From ‘http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50′ on March 14th, 2017: ”Eleven spotless days are recorded with the overall area at an all time low for SC24. For the first time since using the SDO image the LSC recorded zero pixels above the Wolf threshold. F10.7 flux dropping further.’

    F10.7 flux Date/Time UTC
    68.8 (69.5) 2017/03/14 08:00

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