View Article

view the latest news articles
Magnetic flows cause sunspot lows, study shows by Ron Cowen, ScienceNews.org
Friday, March 12th 2010, 2:18 AM EST
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Satellite observations could improve forecasts of future solar cycles

Newly reported observations of gas flows on the solar surface may explain why the sun recently had such an extended case of the doldrums.

From 2008 through the first half of 2009, the sun had a puzzling dearth of sunspots, flares and other storms, extending the usual lull at the end of the 11-year solar activity cycle for an extra 15 months. Findings from the study, which relied on the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, may also suggest a better way to forecast the intensity and duration of future solar cycles.

Better predictions could be critical because some solar outbursts can blast Earth with massive, magnetized clouds of charged particles capable of knocking out electrical power grids and harming communications satellites.

In the March 12 Science, David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Lisa Rightmire of the University of Memphis in Tennessee analyzed 13 years of SOHO measurements that tracked the movement of ionized gas from the solar equator to the poles. The researchers found that the relatively slow gas movement, known as the meridional flow, sped up a few years before the last solar minimum began in 2008. What’s more, the flow was substantially faster than the speed at the previous solar minimum, a more typical and less extended downturn in solar activity some 11 years earlier.

Hathaway and Rightmire suggest that the faster meridional flow produced weaker magnetic fields at the sun’s poles, which extended the solar minimum.

Click source to read more
Source Link: sciencenews.org
Articles by Climate Realists and Topics

» Recently used highlighted

ALL #-E F-J K-O P-T U-Z
Useful links
Disclaimer
  • » News articles may contain quotes, these are copyright to the respective publication which will be stated, along with a link to the source article where available.
  • » If you feel your copyright has been violated please contact us and the article will be removed or amended at your request.
Site Details
  • » Launched 15 May 2009
  • » Website Design by Mr Zippy
Climate Depot Feed
  • » Feed Error