Sun Flatlining Into Grand Minimum, Says Solar Physicist – Forbes

Jan 20, 2014 @ 01:32 AM 46,584 views
Sun Flatlining Into Grand Minimum, Says Solar Physicist

Bruce Dorminey

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I cover over-the-horizon technology, aerospace and astronomy.

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With each passing season, the weather seems stranger and more extreme.

Who can argue with a sudden outbreak of the “polar vortex” phenomenon; unprecedented winter drought in California; and summer temperatures so torrid Down Under that even play at the Australian Open was briefly halted?

Is any of this connected to the sun’s drastically diminished recent sunspot cycles?

Weather isn’t climate, but circumstantial evidence indicates our sun may be entering a grand minimum of sunspot activity, not unlike the Maunder Minimum that some climatologists think caused record low winter temperatures in Northern Europe during the latter half of the 17th century.

said Mark Giampapa, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. “I’m seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots’ mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows.”

Theoretical details of how sunspots are actually produced continue to be debated. But one popular idea is that they are generated as the result of concentrated and twisted solar magnetic fields blocking internal convection in the outer third of the sun’s interior. This, in turn, gives the sunspots their dark appearance, since on average they are 2000 degrees cooler than the surrounding solar plasma.
First official sunspot belonging to the So…

First official sunspot belonging to the Solar Cycle 24. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Sun Flatlining Into Grand Minimum, Says Solar Physicist – Forbes.

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