Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our Somewhat inactive Sun

Sunspots have finally returned to the Sun after a long absence. There had been concern that the recent prolonged absence might mean the start of centuries long inactivity such as the Maunder minimum of the past that was associated with severely cold weather.

Even with the return of spots, the now commenced Sunspot Cycle 24 is predicted to be weak with relatively fewer spots. That might mean some cooling influence, or, maybe not. If there is any cooling influence it is unclear at the present time whether that will offset the warming influence of increased CO2.

Climate predictions are difficult due to the complexity of the many effects from physical, astrophysical, geomagnetic, solar, biological aerosols, clouds, particulates, biological and soil surface reflections, and anthropogenic pollutant influences. Climate modelers try their best to take it all into account, but the biological influences on the climate are near impossible to model, in part, because the climate influences the biology ! As someone who has done his share of computer modeling, I don't have a lot of confidence in it. As one British scientist put it, it is time to abandon a consensus prediction on the climate. We don't know.

If you would like to keep track of space weather, including sunspots see this link to space weather.

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