Thursday, 10 December 2009

Solar Geomagnetic Activity Is At An All Time Low – What Does This Mean For Climate?


Yesterday, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center released their latest data and graph of the interplanetary geomagnetic index (Ap) which is a proxy for the activity of the solar dynamo. Here is the data provided by SWPC.

At a time when many predicted a ramp up in solar activity, the sun remains in a funk, spotless and quiet. The Ap value, for the second straight month, is “3″. The blue line showing the smoothed value, suggests the trend continues downward. To get an idea of how significant this is in our history, take a look at this data (graph produced by me) from Dr. Leif Svalgaard back to the 1930’s.

The step change in October 2005 is still visible and the value of 3.9 that occurred in April of this year is the lowest for the entire dataset at that time. I’m hoping Dr. Svalgaard will have updated data for us soon.

Why is this important? Well, if Svensmark is right, and Galactic Cosmic Rays modulated by the sun’s magnetic field make a change in cloud cover on Earth, increasing it during low solar magnetic activity, we are in for some colder times.

There’s a presentation by Jasper Kirkby, CLOUD Spokesperson, CERN, which shows what we currently know about the correlations between Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s) and variations in the climate.

The CLOUD experiment uses a cloud chamber to study the theorized link between GCR’s and cloud formation in Earth’s atmosphere. Kirkby talks about the results from the first CLOUD experiment and the new CLOUD experiment and what it will deliver on the intrinsic connection between GCR’s and cloud formation. This is from the Cern, one of Europe’s most highly respected centers for scientific research.

Kirkby’s one hour video presentation is hosted here. It is well worth your time to view it.

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