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Climate will a grand solar minimum cool the globe  | Upload Natural

Will A Grand Solar Minimum Cool the Globe?

by: Sharai Hoekema
will a grand solar minimum cool the globe  | Upload

In these days of a zinging heatwave scorching over large parts of Europe, it may seem like a weird topic, but some believe that there might be a major cooling event going on. One that is not hinging on any human action, but completely natural. Welcome to the miraculous world of natural global warming or, in this case, cooling.

Those Funny Black Things Are Sun Spots

Let’s start off with some theory. The Sun provides the fuel that the Earth needs to thrive. Like a ball of electrically charged hot gases, it basically holds our solar system together, with planets gravitating around it. This means that any changes in the Sun’s activity will inevitably impact everything around it - including our Earth.

We first saw the Sun through a telescope in the early 1600s. Back then, people were confused by the dark spots on its surface. Now we know that those are sunspots. Large, periodically occurring areas of up to a few times the size of the Earth. They are incredibly magnetic, probably due to an underlying magnetic cycle of the Sun, produced by the solar dynamo mechanism in its interior. 

Recommended: Cooling By Grand Solar Minimum Or Warming By CO2?

Solar Cycles Are A Regular Thing

The number of sunspots increases and decreases in a cyclical way - with a cycle lasting 11 years. This is known as a solar cycle. Several patterns can be observed during the cycle, one of which being the solar minimum. Actually, there are two types of solar minima. 

First, the grand minima phase is a period during which the sunspot cycle goes in a so-called deep sleep for a large number of years - meaning that a minimal number of sunspots are visible on the Sun. The last time this happened was between 1645 and 1715.

Second, there is the normal, regular minimum, which is a part of the solar cycle. It appears once every 11 years and lasts a couple of years, right between two peaks. We just experienced this regular minimum in 2019, and before that in 2008. 

sun, moon, earth

Recommended: Solar Geo-Engineering: Answer To Climate Change?

Solar Activity Goes Down

During those minima, the solar activity dwindles. There are no more solar storms, while solar radiation and particle fluxes are definitely on the low as well. Basically, the solar system environment becomes more peaceful and calmer in the absence of solar activity.

The solar cycle is tracked religiously, with sunspots visible through telescopes - both down on Earth as well as in space. Through these, we were once again able to see how the sunspots were gone for a period of time. Eventually, the new cycle starts up again, as the number of sunspots rises. Fittingly, this period is dubbed the ‘rising phase’ of the cycle. 

This rising phase builds up to the opposite of the solar minimum: the solar maximum. This is the period during which the highest number of sunspots is visible. After a while, the number will start to drop as the cycle heads for its next solar minimum or period of inactivity. 

Radiation Goes Down With The Sunspots

During a solar minimum, the radiation as emitted by the Sun is lower than normal: the temperature on the Sun’s surface will drop as solar activity drops, and a lower temperature of the emitting source means that radiation goes down as well. As sunspots start appearing again, the radiated energy will increase once again. This explains the periodic increase and decreases in radiation throughout the cycle, although this will not be very noticeable for us, down on Earth.

The solar conditions are important for us as they help us in determining the exact weather and climate effects. Solar minimum conditions, for instance, help us to determine what the climate impacts of the sun are throughout the solar system. This makes it the base for establishing the effect of higher solar activity levels and their potential impact on our Earth. 

Graph temperature vs solar activity
The above graph compares global surface temperature changes (red line) and the Sun's energy that Earth receives (yellow line) in watts (units of energy) per square meter since 1880. The lighter/thinner lines show the yearly levels while the heavier/thicker lines show the 11-year average trends. Eleven-year averages are used to reduce the year-to-year natural noise in the data, making the underlying trends more obvious.

The amount of solar energy that Earth receives has followed the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs with no net increase since the 1950s. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. It is therefore extremely unlikely that the Sun has caused the observed global temperature warming trend over the past half-century. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Recommended: Cooling Earth By Sun Dimming Or Warming By CO2

Will Solar Minima Cool The Planet?

This does not mean that periods of solar minima and solar maxima actually change our climate. Far from it. Although many people believe that such a solar minimum can cool our globe, perhaps even solving climate change as we speak, this is definitely not the case. The regularly occurring solar minimum mostly influences radiation and UV levels, not the actual temperature. Even the effect of grand solar minima on our climate is debated, as it will not have a lasting effect in the face of our increasing emissions.

The solar activity must directly impact our climate, or so was the prevailing thought that has now been debunked by detailed calculations and climate models. It is not ‘just’ a solar cycle that has led to the rising temperatures on Earth. Those are largely due to anthropogenic or man-made causes. Even if we would be experiencing another grand minimum phase, this would not help us in cooling down the Earth enough to save it from its wasteful, polluting inhabitants. So sorry, folks, the Sun isn’t going to help us. This one is all on us.

Before you go!

Recommended: Global Cooling Or Warming: Will It Kill Us?

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

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Will A Grand Solar Minimum Cool the Globe?

In these days of a zinging heatwave scorching over large parts of Europe, it may seem like a weird topic, but some believe that there might be a major cooling event going on. One that is not hinging on any human action, but completely natural. Welcome to the miraculous world of natural global warming or, in this case, cooling. Those Funny Black Things Are Sun Spots Let’s start off with some theory. The Sun provides the fuel that the Earth needs to thrive. Like a ball of electrically charged hot gases, it basically holds our solar system together, with planets gravitating around it. This means that any changes in the Sun’s activity will inevitably impact everything around it - including our Earth. We first saw the Sun through a telescope in the early 1600s. Back then, people were confused by the dark spots on its surface. Now we know that those are sunspots. Large, periodically occurring areas of up to a few times the size of the Earth. They are incredibly magnetic, probably due to an underlying magnetic cycle of the Sun, produced by the solar dynamo mechanism in its interior.   Recommended:  Cooling By Grand Solar Minimum Or Warming By CO2? Solar Cycles Are A Regular Thing The number of sunspots increases and decreases in a cyclical way - with a cycle lasting 11 years. This is known as a solar cycle. Several patterns can be observed during the cycle, one of which being the solar minimum. Actually, there are two types of solar minima.   First, the grand minima phase is a period during which the sunspot cycle goes in a so-called deep sleep for a large number of years - meaning that a minimal number of sunspots are visible on the Sun. The last time this happened was between 1645 and 1715. Second, there is the normal, regular minimum, which is a part of the solar cycle. It appears once every 11 years and lasts a couple of years, right between two peaks. We just experienced this regular minimum in 2019, and before that in 2008.   Recommended:  Solar Geo-Engineering: Answer To Climate Change? Solar Activity Goes Down During those minima, the solar activity dwindles. There are no more solar storms, while solar radiation and particle fluxes are definitely on the low as well. Basically, the solar system environment becomes more peaceful and calmer in the absence of solar activity. The solar cycle is tracked religiously, with sunspots visible through telescopes - both down on Earth as well as in space. Through these, we were once again able to see how the sunspots were gone for a period of time. Eventually, the new cycle starts up again, as the number of sunspots rises. Fittingly, this period is dubbed the ‘rising phase’ of the cycle.   This rising phase builds up to the opposite of the solar minimum: the solar maximum. This is the period during which the highest number of sunspots is visible. After a while, the number will start to drop as the cycle heads for its next solar minimum or period of inactivity.   Radiation Goes Down With The Sunspots During a solar minimum, the radiation as emitted by the Sun is lower than normal: the temperature on the Sun’s surface will drop as solar activity drops, and a lower temperature of the emitting source means that radiation goes down as well. As sunspots start appearing again, the radiated energy will increase once again. This explains the periodic increase and decreases in radiation throughout the cycle, although this will not be very noticeable for us, down on Earth. The solar conditions are important for us as they help us in determining the exact weather and climate effects. Solar minimum conditions, for instance, help us to determine what the climate impacts of the sun are throughout the solar system. This makes it the base for establishing the effect of higher solar activity levels and their potential impact on our Earth.   The above graph compares global surface temperature changes (red line) and the Sun's energy that Earth receives (yellow line) in watts (units of energy) per square meter since 1880. The lighter/thinner lines show the yearly levels while the heavier/thicker lines show the 11-year average trends. Eleven-year averages are used to reduce the year-to-year natural noise in the data, making the underlying trends more obvious. The amount of solar energy that Earth receives has followed the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs with no net increase since the 1950s. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. It is therefore extremely unlikely that the Sun has caused the observed global temperature warming trend over the past half-century. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Recommended:  Cooling Earth By Sun Dimming Or Warming By CO2 Will Solar Minima Cool The Planet? This does not mean that periods of solar minima and solar maxima actually change our climate. Far from it. Although many people believe that such a solar minimum can cool our globe, perhaps even solving climate change as we speak, this is definitely not the case. The regularly occurring solar minimum mostly influences radiation and UV levels, not the actual temperature. Even the effect of grand solar minima on our climate is debated, as it will not have a lasting effect in the face of our increasing emissions. The solar activity must directly impact our climate, or so was the prevailing thought that has now been debunked by detailed calculations and climate models. It is not ‘just’ a solar cycle that has led to the rising temperatures on Earth. Those are largely due to anthropogenic or man-made causes. Even if we would be experiencing another grand minimum phase, this would not help us in cooling down the Earth enough to save it from its wasteful, polluting inhabitants. So sorry, folks, the Sun isn’t going to help us. This one is all on us. Before you go! Recommended:  Global Cooling Or Warming: Will It Kill Us? Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about global cooling? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
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