Robert's Post....

>> Friday, March 19, 2010

Today and Tomorrow will be about perfect if you ask me. I couldn't ask for better weather conditions for the first day of spring tomorrow. We will see temperatures around 72 and 75 for Friday and Saturday, with temperatures in the 40s over night. Our next weather maker will be Sunday night into the overnight hours. Currently it looks to be mainly showers with a few embedded thunderstorms. This doesn't look to be a widespread severe event for us due to lack of instability (Cape,lapse rates) shear will be around so if we can get some storms to fire off along the frontal boundary then we could see a few severe warnings issued.

I have been looking at some literature on recent and forecasted solar activity. In the 11 year cycle we are currently exiting the minimum phase. Generally this means we have had low sunspot activity on the sun. Theoretically the more sun spots the more radiation is emitted towards the earth which can affect satellites, satellite transmissions, magnetic fields, and even global climate. It is believed that for the past 50 years we have been in a highly active phase and we are beginning to shift to a very low period or solar minimum. Some studies even show that this solar minimum can even counter global carbon based warming.

The most well documented minimum occurred during the period of 1645-1715, known as the Maunder Minimum. Coincidentally or not it match up with The Little Ice Age of that same period. This period saw the coldest average global temperatures in over a 1000 years. However scientist have yet to be able to connect the Little Ice Age to solar activity. Other reasons could be connected to high volcanic activity, global ocean currents variability, or even the huge die off of humans during the black plaque and Columbia exchange, which would have limited carbon emissions.

Robert Elvington
robert.elvington@gmail.com

3 comments:

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Robert,

One question I have about the Maunder minimum is that, how do scientists accurately know that the solar output was low during that period? How can they tell whether there was lots of sunspot activity or not, historically?

Thanks,
Jason

robert 3:50 PM  

From what I have read astronomers have been keeping track of sun spots for at least the last 500 years. their documentation was about as accurate as it is today, since observing sun spots is relatively easy technologically speaking. I beleive they also have looked at ice core samples in the artic and tree ring samples. Mainly it was historical records from astronomers. It was also noted that some cycles recently included up to 40,000 spots. Decades in the Maunder Minimum observed less than a dozen. Pretty amazing I think.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Agreed! Pretty amazing indeed. Thanks very much for the response and information. Being a cold weather lover, I hope this winter is the start of a period of colder winters for us. With the apparent changing phase of the PDO and the low sunspot activity, we might just have an extended period of colder weather, globally. We shall see.

Jason

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