What is Wrong with the Sun?

Wednesday 08 July 2009 at 2:45 pm. Used tags:

NOTE WELL; this article is in the process of being updated to reflect the facts surrounding the new sunspot cycle #24 which is finally underway.

What happened to the Sunspots?

Can Sunspots Cause Climate Change?

Why is the Media Silent on this Unusual Sunspot Cycle?

Do Sunspots hold the Secret to Global Warming/Cooling?

Is the Media Afraid that Sunspot Theory will unmask the Gore Hoax?

Did You Know that Greenland was Green when Discovered by the Irish and Norsemen around 1100AD?

At the time the Earth was about 2° Warmer than this Decade?

What's wrong with the Sun? The current sunspot cycle is in its 13th year - an unusual aberration from its typical 11 year cycle.  There have been much fewer sunspots in the past 36 months. We are in a period of Global Cooling on Earth which is contrary to the hype of Global Warming.  The media has been avoiding the Sunspot issue so as not to spoil their advocacy for Global Warming.

So what is happening. Will the Global Cooling continue - no one knows;  we can only guess based on historical records.   

A sunspot is caused by a burst of hot plasma from 1000 Kms below the sun's surface, creating a dark spot on the surface, as it flares out into the atmosphere above the surface of the sun.  The flare then loops or falls back to the surface of the sun creating another dark spot. The sunspots are cooler than the surrounding area of the sun and appear darker when viewed with a telescope.

On average, sunspots follow an 11 year sunspot cycle.  At the beginning of the cycle (i.e. the minima),  there is very little sunspot activity.  In the middle of the cycle (the maxima) there is heightened sunspot activity.  As the cycle completes, it returns to the minima at the end of the 11 year period, on average.  Sunspots occur in pairs.  The plasma (and electrons and sometimes protons) are hot charged particles with magnetic qualities.  So one dark spot is positively charged and the other negatively charged.

 During periods of heightened sunspot activity, the magnetic field of the earth has been disturbed causing radio interference as an example.  Global cooling has been associated with  periods of minimal sunspot activity.  Shouldn't this provide a clue about Global Warming.

Sunspots occur in pairs, one positively charged and the other negatively charged.Sunspots are cooler and therefore appear darker than their surrounding area.They appear to move along the surface as the Sun rotates on its axis every 25 days. Because of the rotation, the Sun has a magnetic field, like the Earth.However the equatorial plane of the Sun rotates faster than its poles.  Some believethis causes the Sun's magnetic field to become entangled and periodically erupt withflares of plasma which are essentially free electrons.  The Sun contains all fourforms of matter:  solid, liquid, gas and plasma.

During the Grand Maxima, or Medieval Warm Period, Earth temperatures were 3° higher than today.  During the Medieval Warm Period, Greenland was named “green land” by Irish and Norse explorers.  The Grand Minima was known as the Maunder Minimum or Little Ice Age, during a 70 year period of virtually no Sunspots, and accompanied by unusually cold temperatures, crop failures , and even famine (see March 2009 Issue, page 30, Sky & Telescope; and August 2009 issue, page 27, Sky & Telescope). 

 Frontal positions of calving Jakobshavn Isbræ since 1851, after reaching the maximum Little Ice Age position around 1850 (Bauer et al. 1968). Between 1893 and 2003 the glacier front retreated about 34 km. According to inuit legends, the embayment Tissarissoq used to be glacier-free in the past and was used as hunting area (Hammer 1883), most likely before before the Little Ice Age glacier advance (Weidick et al. 2004). Picture source: Google Earth.  
 Technical Explanation: In the second half of the twentieth century a mechanism of sunspot formation was proposed which accounts for much of their observed behavior. To begin with, the Sun does not rotate as a rigid body; the polar regions rotate somewhat more slowly than the equator. (The reason for this is still not known.) Because the solar material is electrically charged, the Sun's overall magnetic field is dragged along with the solar rotation; because the solar rotation is faster at the equator, the field will be dragged faster at the equator than at the poles. Although the overall magnetic field of the Sun is weak (i.e., similar to that of the earth), this differential rotation both distorts and intensifies the magnetic field over time. The faster-rotating regions of the equator drag the local magnetic field so that the field lines are drawn out into long, thin tubes; the more these tubes are stretched, the more intense the magnetic field within them becomes. As the magnetic tube breaks the surface of the Sun (and returns into it, as all magnetic field lines form closed loops), it forms two spot-like structures. As the field direction is out of the solar surface at one spot and into it at the other, one of these spots will have act as north magnetic pole and the other will act as a south magnetic pole. The global nature of the general solar field is what guarantees that the stretched magnetic tubes will yield leading spots with opposite polarities in opposite hemispheres. A reversal of the Sun's general field between 11–13 year cycles would account for the observed periodic reversal of this order; however, there is no compelling explanation of why the general field should reverse after each 11–13 year solar cycle. Nevertheless, this relatively simple model does provide a beginning basis for understanding sunspots. Refer to this site for more detail:  

From 1645 to 1715 the Sun produced virtually no sunspots.  This period, called the Maunder Minimum, was a time when the Earth went through a period dubbed as the Little Ice Age, a time of unusually cold temperatures, crop failures , and even famine (see March 2009 Issue, page 30, Sky & Telescope; and August 2009 issue, page 27, Sky & Telescope).

  Although sunspots are cooler they actually increase the energ out of the sun  by .1%.  because the dark spots are surrounded by faculae (bright spots) which in the aggregate increase the solar output.   

Since March 2008, the Sun has remained unusually quiet, in one of the deepest solar minima on record.

Historical observations include tree ring data, core samples, astronomical observations by Chinese astronomers, and data in the London and Paris records.

The period 1100 to 1300 AD, know as the Medieval Warm Periode or Grand Maxima accompanied by significantly higher temperatures on Earth.

During the past 10,000 year record, Per NASA, the Earth has spent about 15% of its time in periods of grand minima.

2008: 266 out of 365 Days the Sun has been blank (i.e. no sunspots).

2009, 115 out of 140 days thus far have been blank (i.e. through May 2009)

A typical solar minimum has 485 blank days.  So far thru May 2009, we have had 626 minimum days

The Ullyses spacecraft is in polar orbit around the sun, and

solar winds dropped by 3%, density dropped by 20% and temperature dropped by 13%;  solar wind is exerting less pressure on intergalactic medium, thereby shrinking the heliosphere and allowing more cosmic rays from our galaxy, the Milky Way to leak into the solar system.

   Does Carbon Dioxide really cause the earth's temperature to increase?   Is this the new cause of every undesirable weather condition in modern times?  Do politician Al Gore and elite socialist circles at the United Nations have a sudden keen insight and understanding of climate science? According to several scientists and meteorologists, the global warming threat is a political hoax. Carbon dioxide does not cause global warming. CO2, (that air you exhale that plants and trees love), is NOT a pollutant, and not a problem. 5, 9 The "man-made global warming" threat is nothing more than deceitful propaganda. 7   It is a scam masquerading as science, designed as a political tool to redistribute wealth and power to those who should not have it. Irrelevant beauracratic organizations attempting to manipulate climate science in order to take advantage of looted wealth, exist not to solve any problem, but to sustain marketed problems whether they be real or imaginary. 

Earth's Climate is always changing, and always has been changing regardless of carbon dioxide, and without any help from human activity. Despite the drastic changes in temperatures throughout the centuries, the warmer eras show signs of prosperity. Inhabitants of the planet, including polar bears were able to adapt to the higher temperatures during these warmer times and survive the warmer period for 3000 years. 3, 6 Modern industrial society may produce carbon dioxide as well as other gases and chemicals. However, simply because this is true, does not mean that the climate is affected by carbon dioxide. During a RISE of temperature in the 1940's, CO2 production did not rise, and after World War II, temperatures FELL for decades, while the level of CO2 being produced was rising. 1, 8, 9, 10 CO2 and Elements of the Environment Only 0.054% (less than half a percent) of the environment is made up the apparently dangerous and infamous CO2, compared to other gasses. When examining greenhouse gas, the content of CO2 is less than other elements such as, water vapor, which is 95%. If warming of the globe were occurring due to an increase in greenhouse gasses like CO2 there would be an increase in heating higher in the atmosphere, however there is a slight decrease, the opposite of what would occur if the theory of man made global warming were true. The amount of CO2 produced by humans is insignificant compared to that produced by sources such as dying leaves and animals. Volcanoes and oceans also produce far more CO2 than humans. The greatest producer of CO2 by far is the ocean, while the greatest source of greenhouse gas is water vapor. 1, 5


The actual causes of increasing temperature are the sun, oceans, and clouds, not carbon dioxide. Sunspots are intense magnetic fields which appear at times with higher solar activity. In 1893 minimal sunspots were counted during the cooler period, known as the little ice age. Records of sunsponts and temperature changes compiled in 1991 showed a relation between solar activity and temperature. More solar activity was directly linked higher temperature. This holds true over the past 400 years. The records of history show that solar activity and temperature have always been correlated. Science indicates that it is the sun leading temperature changes, not carbon dioxide. Sunspots are closely correlated with temperature changes. More sunspots indicate warmer temperatures, while fewer sunspots indicate cooler temperatures. Clouds also affect the temperature on Earth by their cooling effect. Clouds and climate are linked, with more clouds causing a lower temperature, and higher temperatures when there are fewer clouds. While clouds are controlled by cosmic rays, the are rays controlled by the sun. (2005 Harvard University Astrophysistist's Official Journal of the American Geophysical Union) 2, 3, 4, 6, 11, 12

  The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energythat particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energythat particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energythat particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.



1. Core 2. Radiative zone 3. Convective zone 4. Photosphere 5. Chromosphere 6. Corona 7. Sunspot 8. Granules 9. Prominence Energy productionEnergy is produced by exothermic thermonuclear reactions (nuclear fusion) that mainly convert hydrogen into helium. The core is the only location in the Sun that produces an appreciable amount of heat via fusion: the rest of the star is heated by energy that is transferred outward from the core. All of the energy produced by fusion in the core must travel through many successive layers to the solar photosphere before it escapes into space as sunlight or kinetic energy of particles.StatisticsAbout 3.6  × 1038 protons (hydrogen nuclei) are converted into helium nuclei every second, releasing energy at the matter-energy conversion rate of 4.3 million tonnes per second, 380 yottawatts (3.8  × 1026 watts), equivalent to 9.1  × 1010 megatons of TNT per second. The rate of nuclear fusion depends strongly on density, so the fusion rate in the core is in a self-correcting equilibrium: a slightly higher rate of fusion would cause the core to heat up more and expand slightly against the weight of the outer layers, reducing the fusion rate and correcting the perturbation; and a slightly lower rate would cause the core to cool and shrink slightly, increasing the fusion rate and again reverting it to its present level.The high-energy photons (gamma rays and x-rays) released in fusion reactions take a long time to reach the Sun's surface, slowed down by the indirect path taken, as well as by constant absorption and reemission at lower energies in the solar mantle. Estimates of the "photon travel time" range from as much as 50 million years[2] to as little as 17,000 years.[3] After a final trip through the convective outer layer to the transparent "surface" of the photosphere, the photons escape as visible light. Each gamma ray in the Sun's core is converted into several million visible light photons before escaping into space. Neutrinos are also released by the fusion reactions in the core, but unlike photons they very rarely interact with matter, so almost all are able to escape the Sun immediately. For many years measurements of the number of neutrinos produced in the Sun were much lower than theories predicted, a problem which was recently resolved through a better understanding of the effects of neutrino oscillation.


METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY Even when the temperature is below freezing, surface snow cover will gradually reduce over time if no additional snow or moisture precipitates or accumulates on the ground. Ice can go straight from an ice to a vapor. This is called sublimation. Sublimation is fairly slow since it takes quite a bit of energy for an ice molecule to escape the solid rigid structure and escape to a gas. Sublimation will be enhanced under direct sunlight since photons of solar energy will add the energy necessary for solid ice molecules to escape. The relationship between sun angle and solar intensity is such that as the sun angle increases above the horizon the solar intensity at the surface increases at an increasing rate. Therefore higher sun angles are much better at surface snow sublimation than lower sun angles. Sublimation will occur even at the low sun angles but the amount of sublimation is very weak. At very low sun angles the reflection of solar energy off the snow surface is a very high percentage, the sun has to travel through a longer fetch of the atmosphere thus weakening the solar intensity, the sinusoidal relationship between sun angle and solar intensity results in weak solar intensity at a low sun angle, and shadow casting on the earth's surface reduces much of the sunlight that strikes the surface. The higher the sun angle gets the weaker the four effects mentioned previously are. These effects weaken at a more rapid rate for each degree higher the sun angle becomes. Since sun angle is a minimum at the start of winter and much higher in late winter, the sublimation power of the sun on surface snow will be much higher in late winter as compared to early winter on sunny days. 2008: Global solar wind plasma output at 50-yr low  

NASA News Release 08-241 states the following about recent solar activity and potential consequences: 

Ulysses Reveals Global Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low

WASHINGTON -- Data from the Ulysses spacecraft, a joint NASA-European Space Agency mission, show the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings became available. The sun's current state could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our solar system.

"The sun's million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where it meets the galaxy," said Dave McComas, Ulysses' solar wind instrument principal investigator and senior executive director at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Ulysses data indicate the solar wind's global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age."

The sun's solar wind plasma is a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun's upper atmosphere. The solar wind interacts with every planet in our solar system. It also defines the border between our solar system and interstellar space. This border, called the heliopause, surrounds our solar system where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the wind of other stars. The region around the heliopause also acts as a shield for our solar system, warding off a significant portion of the cosmic rays outside the galaxy.

"Galactic cosmic rays carry with them radiation from other parts of our galaxy," said Ed Smith, NASA's Ulysses project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "With the solar wind at an all-time low, there is an excellent chance the heliosphere will diminish in size and strength. If that occurs, more galactic cosmic rays will make it into the inner part of our solar system."

Galactic cosmic rays are of great interest to NASA. Cosmic rays are linked to engineering decisions for unmanned interplanetary spacecraft and exposure limits for astronauts traveling beyond low-Earth orbit.

In 2007, Ulysses made its third rapid scan of the solar wind and magnetic field from the sun's south to north pole. When the results were compared with observations from the previous solar cycle, the strength of the solar wind pressure and the magnetic field embedded in the solar wind were found to have decreased by 20 percent. The field strength near the spacecraft has decreased by 36 percent. "The sun cycles between periods of great activity and lesser activity," Smith said. "Right now, we are in a period of minimal activity that has stretched on longer than anyone anticipated."

Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment over the sun's poles. Data Ulysses has returned have forever changed the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable spacecraft has lasted more than 18 years, or almost four times its expected mission lifetime. The Ulysses solar wind findings were published in a recent edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

The Ulysses spacecraft was carried into Earth orbit aboard space shuttle Discovery on Oct. 6, 1990. From Earth orbit it was propelled toward Jupiter, passing the planet on Feb. 8, 1992. Jupiter's immense gravity bent the spacecraft's flight path downward and away from the plane of the planets' orbits. This placed Ulysses into a final orbit around the sun that would take it over its north and south poles.

The Ulysses spacecraft was provided by ESA, having been built by Astrium GmbH (formerly Dornier Systems) of Friedrichshafen, Germany. NASA provided the launch vehicle and the upper stage boosters. The U.S. Department of Energy supplied a radioisotope thermoelectric generator to power the spacecraft. Science instruments were provided by U.S. and European investigators. The spacecraft is operated from JPL by a joint NASA-ESA team.

More information about the Ulysses mission is available on the Web at:

Click here, here, here and here for a few additional relevant links.

Click here to jump back to the list of contents.

2009: The the quietest sun seen in almost a century  

The sunspot cycle from 1995 to the present (March 2009; NASA; left). Total solar irradiance calculated as the brightness summed across all wavelengths (NASA; right).

NASA Science News for April 1, 2009: The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower. 2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008. Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).

It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Click here, here, here and here for a few additional relevant links.  The Antarctic ice cap

The volume of the ice sheet over Antarctica is now about the same as that of the Laurentide ice sheet over North America during the last Ice Age. The average elevation of the continent is 2.2 km, far above the 700 m for others, yet the bedrock elevation of most of Antarctica is near sea level. The atmospheric pressure at the South Pole (at 2,800 m) is about 680 hPa, and at Vostok (3,500 m) about 620 hPa. The extreme temperatures at the South Pole are -14� C to -81� C, and at Vostok -21� C to -89� C.

In total, there is enough snow and ice on Antarctica to raise the sea level by 70 m. The Antarctic ice cap has been present continuously for the last 5 million years and there is no evidence that the ice volume is changing. During the next century, the ice volume could grow a little, on account of global warming (1). The accumulation rate would increase, because warmer air, when saturated, caries more water vapour. But the amount of melting would remain insignificant. The Antarctic accumulation would lower global mean sea level by 0.9 mm/a.

Apart from the inland ice there is sea ice, and ice shelves in relatively shallow bays. The Ross and the Filchner-Rome ice shelves are each the size of France.

An ice cap is defined as a thick permanent covering of ice and snow on land. This permanent layer extends outward in every direction. In this case, it extends from the north pole and the south pole. Ice caps were formed millions of years ago from layers of snow that were compressed together for millions of years. Between these layers, grains of snow were forced out as the bottom layers hardened into ice. Today, ice caps form over 80% of the fresh water on earth.Ice caps are also called ice sheets or continental glaciers. They are composed of ice domes, ice lobes, and outlet glaciers and are surrounded by cold, ocean currents. As a result, the land is constantly being cooled. Ice caps are either in a circular or an oval shape. Due to their great weight, they are constantly sliding towards the coasts. In Antarctica, the thickest parts of the ice cap dip approximately 2 miles below sea level.Ice caps are found in several places in the Arctic region (Greenland, Iceland, Baffin Island, and the island of Spitsbergen) and over most of the Antarctic region. Approximately 90% of the ice on earth, is found either in Greenland or in Antarctica. The largest ice caps on the planet are found there. Greenland is a plateau surrounded by mountains. Antarctica is composed of mountains, valleys, and lowlands. From my research, I have found different values for the volume of the polar ice caps. For Antarctica, the approximate volume is 30,000,000 km3. For Greenland, it is approximately 3,000,000 km3.The volume of the polar ice caps is very important, because it may provide answers to future problems regarding the earth's fresh water. In the future, fresh water in the other six continents might be depleted. Since ice caps contain over 80% of the earth's fresh water, they could be used in the future to provide fresh water for earth's growing population.Since the 1900s, the climates of Antarctica and Greenland have been gradually warming. Since 1850, the mean temperature of the earth has risen by one Celsius degree. As temperature rises, glaciers will melt, especially the the ones outside of the north and south poles. By 2100, melting glaciers will contribute to a sea level rise of 50 cm. This will cause coastal flooding.

Hanna Berenblit -- 2000

  Past warming shows gaps in climate knowledge - studyWed Jul 15, 2009 2:19pm IST By David Fogarty, Climate Change Correspondent, AsiaSINGAPORE (Reuters) - A dramatic warming of the planet 55 million years ago cannot be solely explained by a surge in carbon dioxide levels, a study shows, highlighting gaps in scientists' understanding of impacts from rapid climate change.During an event called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, global temperatures rose between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius within several thousand years. The world at that time was already warmer than now with no surface ice."We now believe that the CO2 did not cause all the warming, that there were additional factors," said Richard Zeebe, an oceanographer with the University of Hawaii at Manoa."There may have been an initial trigger," he told Reuters on Wednesday from Hawaii. This could be a deep ocean warming that caused a catastrophic release of methane from hydrate deposits under the seabed.Methane is a potent greenhouse gas but much of it is oxidised into CO2 when it is released from hydrate deposits.Zeebe and his colleagues estimated the amount of CO2 released during the Palaeocene-Eocene event by studying sediment cores from seabeds around the globe. Their study is published in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience.FUTURE WARMINGThey estimated about 3 trillion tonnes of carbon (11 trillion tonnes of CO2) was released over several thousand years from the methane deposits, leading to a 70 percent rise in atmospheric CO2 levels from pre-event levels.But Zeebe said this could only explain a 1 to 3.5 degree Celsius rise in temperatures, adding that a commonly accepted scientific range for a doubling of CO2 is between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius.This meant other factors must have been at work to drive up temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius."If this additional warming which we do not really understand, was caused as a response to the CO2 warming, then there is a chance that also a future warming could be more intense than people anticipate right now," Zeebe said.He said the study suggested there could be atmospheric or ocean processes as yet unknown or poorly understood that might have accelerated the warming. Possibilities could be changes in ocean currents, a much larger release of methane or even greater impacts from higher CO2 levels than currently thought.At present, CO2 levels have already risen from 280 parts per million to nearly 390 ppm since the Industrial Revolution and could exceed a 70 percent increase during this century, a rate much faster than the Palaeocene-Eocene event, Zeebe said.While this would cause initial effects, much worse could follow in the coming decades and centuries as the oceans, land and atmosphere tried to deal with the higher CO2 levels, he said."The carbon that we put into the atmosphere right now is going to stay there for a very long time. Much of it will stay there for tens of thousands of years."

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