Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high


Here’s more inconvenient news from solar researchers. Even though our sun is quiet at the moment while we are in between peaks in the 11 year sunspot cycles, scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star’s activity in the past.

Researchers extended the record into the past by measuring isotopes of Beryllium-10 (created by cosmic rays entering our upper atmosphere, which then drifts earthward and is trapped in the ice) in Greenland ice cores. Based on both observations and ice core records, we are now at a sunspot peak exceeding solar activity for any time in the past thousand years.”

The number of cosmic rays entering our atmosphere is modulated by the suns magnetic and solar wind activity, which modulates earth’s magnetic field, setting up conditions to either allow more or deflect more cosmic rays entering the upper atmosphere.

They say that over the last century the number of sunspots. which are a proxy indicator of solar magnetic activity, rose at the same time that the Earth’s climate became steadily warmer. According to climate scientists, the Sun’s radiance has changed little during this period. But looking back over 1,150 years, Solanki found the Sun had never been as bright as in the past 60 years.

“The change in solar brightness over the past 20 years is not enough to cause the observed changes in our climate. But the indirect effects (such as the cosmic ray to cloud connection) may be larger, and the range of their influence is unclear, so more study is needed,” he added.

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April 11, 2007 7:46 am

I’m curious as to why the solar brightness isn’t enough to cause any supposed changes in the last 20 years? After all, the margin of error in our temperature measurements is as great as any so-called observed changes. Seems to me that even a slight change in the sun is going to have a large impact. It certainly does based on the angle of the Earth to the sun.
*** Reply: You have a point, I’ll see what I can do to find the answer and present it here.

David Walton
April 13, 2007 4:31 pm

Without doing any research on the subject I can come up with two speculations.
One) is that the angle of the earth in relation to the sun is several orders of magnitude more significant than overall average output of the sun so any immediate effects are washed away or obscured by other climate mechanisms and
Two) is that the process of global dimming (which seems to have a lot more scientific merit than the usual blow from global warming alarmists) may be a mitigating factor.

David Walton
April 14, 2007 8:55 am

Oops, that should have read “…more significant than the changes in the overall output of the sun…”
Oh, well.

May 5, 2008 7:16 pm

Indirect effects… clouds…. more study needed…
sounds like they could be talking about global warming.
except THAT ‘science’ is ‘settled’.
So why did they predict ever more worse hurricane seasons after the ’05 mess, and then look like fools when the hurricanes didn’t appear? They’ve been telling us that ’08 and ’09 are going to be the worst warming storming years ever… up until last week, when they HAD to acknowledge the cooling and released a study saying global warming might ‘take a break’ for the next TEN YEARS. Long after everyone else had already figured out it had STOPPED.
Back about three years ago I read a story on some former Soviet meteorologists who had predicted the next ten years of cooling, and named the sun as the likely culprit. Now that the solar cycles have had such an unexpectedly long interim, and the sun has sat quietly for two years longer than expected– and counting– the rest of the scientific world is catching up to those guys.
The sun is the only indicator that directly ties to warming and cooling periods and is NOT a lagging indicator, like CO2 is. Maunder minimum, meet little ice age. Not hard to understand.

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