Sun spot activity
Always look beyond the things we are being told, towards the things we aren’t being told.
NASA forecasts the next solar cycle, cycle 25, to be even lower than the cycle we’re now in, cycle 24, which is itself much lower than the recent preceding cycles. If the prediction is correct, cycle 25 will be the lowest since the Dalton minimum 200 years ago.
Interestingly, the last time I looked, the relevant NASA website only talked about how this predicted long period of low Solar activity will provide a safer environment for astronauts on space missions. It gives none of the detail provided in the video link below. It is my belief that this video will in time have implications that will reach far beyond the health and safety of a small number of space-faring astronauts.
So, if NASA’s prediction turns out to be correct, what can we expect to see happen?
Low solar activity is associated with high cosmic ray levels which increase cloud nucleation and therefore cloudiness. This in turn increases rainfall and also increases the Earth’s albedo, having a cooling effect.
Furthermore, when solar activity is low, incoming EUV (Extreme ultraviolet) is much reduced. It can be ten times lower at Solar minimum than at Solar maximum. EUV heats the upper atmosphere in the high and low latitudes so when the Sun is quiet the upper atmosphere in the far North and South cools and contracts. This disrupts the polar jet streams and causes them to wander. This in turn results in cold polar air plunging into temperate and even tropical regions and warm, moist, tropical air streaming polewards.
The change in EUV is quite small compared with total Solar irradiance, which, when averaged out, does not change much at all over a Solar Cycle. It therefore seems likely that when EUV, which is blocked by the upper atmosphere, is low it is compensated for by a slight increase in lower frequency radiation resulting in an increase in ocean heating.
The contraction (thinning) of the atmosphere in the temperate and to a lesser degree, subtropical zones might also have other effects. Here I’m thinking of atmospheric rivers which lead to severe local flooding while depriving surrounding areas of normal rainfall and extremely large hail. (Hail melts on the way down. Less atmosphere, less melting.)
Writings and paintings from the time of the Maunder and Dalton Minimums, which, when taken together, are known as the little ice age, depict a frozen Thames and snowy scenes and describe famines, floods and droughts. (Like the failure/late arrival of the Indian monsoon.) Drawings which show arrows shooting down from sky are now thought to depict deadly hail.
One can, even during the minimum of a normal Solar cycle, often see the signature of a solar minimum in the weather. E.g. an unusually snowy period in winter in the UK. Such events are not confined to the actual minimum itself and may occur in the seasons before or after the minimum. (This is not weather forecasting!)
However, we are now near or in the minimum of a very low cycle and apparently, in approximately 11 or 12 years’ time, will be at the bottom of a cycle predicted to be even lower than the one we’re in now.
Although here in the UK we have not (so far) seen much in the way of a Solar Minimum impact on our weather, with the possible exception of the Beast from the East cold spell, in Canada and the US there is no doubt whatsoever. The last winter started early and ended late with, e.g., temperatures in Chicago falling to North Pole levels. Snowfall was very heavy with long time and all-time records being broken and has been followed by a record cool, cloudy very wet summer resulting in catastrophic record flooding in the Mississippi catchment area. Not only has this delayed or prevented planting this season’s crops in many areas, but much of the grain stored from last season has been destroyed by the floods.
This short video will, I believe, in time, have far-reaching implications
A short while ago a paper was published demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that there is correlation between past solar cycles and the movements in their orbits of our planets in their never ending, possibly never repeating, complex dance about our heavens. I find it tantalising to think, given enough time and computing power, that from this it might one day be possible to predict future solar cycles with complete confidence and accuracy.
Finally, in this regard, while focus has naturally been on the gravitational interaction between the gas giants and the Sun I would like to suggest that consideration be given to the huge electric currents that flow through space to and from the Sun and the possibility that planetary alignments, including those of the smaller planets, provide conductive stepping-stones for these current flows and therefore might play a part in the cycles of the Sun.