What’s The Sun Got To Do With That Weird Weather We’ve Been Having?

I don’t know, but it’s completely out of our hands. Maddening, isn’t it?

Just add a creepy soundtrack to emphasize our powerlessness, and BAM! You can forget your burdens for a moment, and gaze in wide wonder at the wonderful works of God the Artist.

So what about the weather connection? A NASA website called Space Weather may be of interest to you. Here’s a snippet,

The most serious effects on human activity occur during major geomagnetic storms. It is now understood that the major geomagnetic storms are induced by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Coronal mass ejections are usually associated with flares, but sometimes no flare is observed when they occur. Like flares, CMEs are more frequent during the active phase of the Sun’s approximately 11 year cycle. The last maximum in solar activity was in the year 2000. The next maximum is expected to occur in 2013.

Coronal mass ejections are more likely to have a significant effect on our activities than flares because they carry more material into a larger volume of interplanetary space, increasing the likelihood that they will interact with the Earth. While a flare alone produces high-energy particles near the Sun, some of which escape into interplanetary space, a CME drives a shock wave which can continuously produce energetic particles as it propagates through interplanetary space. When a CME reaches the Earth, its impact disturbs the Earth’s magnetosphere, setting off a geomagnetic storm. A CME typically takes 3 to 5 days to reach the Earth after it leaves the Sun. Observing the ejection of CMEs from the Sun provides an early warning of geomagnetic storms. Only recently, with SOHO, has it been possible to continuously observe the emission of CMEs from the Sun and determine if they are aimed at the Earth.

Awesome! Read more about our move toward “solar maximum” as we observe the Sun’s 11 year cycle, over at Space.com. You’ll learn all about the coronal mass eruption captured in the amazing composite photograph above.

Meanwhile, a couple of Top Men ponder the differences between “climate” and “weather.” Top. Men.


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