Articles Tagged "Stuart Clark"

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What’s wrong with the sun? by Stuart Clark
Sunday, June 20th 2010, 5:39 PM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
SUNSPOTS come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to fade away again after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.

But for the past two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged for nearly a hundred years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise. “This is solar behaviour we haven’t seen in living memory,” says David Hathaway, a physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The sun is under scrutiny as never before thanks to an armada of space telescopes. The results they beam back are portraying our nearest star, and its influence on Earth, in a new light. Sunspots and other clues indicate that the sun’s magnetic activity is diminishing, and that the sun may even be shrinking. Together the results hint that something profound is happening inside the sun. The big question is what?

The stakes have never been higher. Groups of sunspots forewarn of gigantic solar storms that can unleash a billion times more energy than an atomic bomb. Fears that these giant solar eruptions could create havoc on Earth, and disputes over the sun’s role in climate change, are adding urgency to these studies. When NASA and the European Space Agency launched the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory almost 15 years ago, “understanding the solar cycle was not one of its scientific objectives”, says Bernhard Fleck, the mission’s project scientist. “Now it is one of the key questions.”

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Source Link: newscientist.com
Quiet sun puts Europe on ice by Stuart Clark
Friday, April 16th 2010, 5:57 PM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
BRACE yourself for more winters like the last one, northern Europe. Freezing conditions could become more likely: winter temperatures may even plummet to depths last seen at the end of the 17th century, a time known as the Little Ice Age. That's the message from a new study that identifies a compelling link between solar activity and winter temperatures in northern Europe.

The research finds that low solar activity promotes the formation of giant kinks in the jet stream. These kinks can block warm westerly winds from reaching Europe, while allowing in winds from Arctic Siberia. When this happens in winter, northern Europe freezes, even though other, comparable regions of the globe may be experiencing unusually mild conditions.

Mike Lockwood at the University of Reading in the UK began his investigation because these past two relatively cold British winters coincided with a lapse in the sun's activity more profound than anything seen for a century. For most of 2008-9, sunspots virtually disappeared from the sun's surface and the buffeting of Earth by the solar magnetic field dropped to record lows since measurements began, about 150 years ago.
Source Link: newscientist.com
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It was the Sun wot done it. Or was it? by Dr. Stuart Clark, The Times
Wednesday, November 18th 2009, 9:37 AM EST
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Like it or not, it will soon be time to start placing bets for a white Christmas. If most climatologists are to be believed you are almost certainly throwing your money away.

The onward march of global warming is consigning such traditional Christmas card scenes to history. No more deep and crisp and even winters for Britain, replaced instead by damp and slush and stormy.

But, if a small group of maverick scientists are right, the chances of Yuletide snow may rise dramatically over the coming decades.

The difference of opinion hinges on what role — if any — the Sun plays in climate change. The vast majority of climate scientists maintain that the solar influence is limited or even negligible, and it is the unsustainable growth of industrialised nations that is driving the climate into chaos. The mavericks contend that the Sun’s activity dwarfs the human contribution, and that there is nothing we can do except wait for the Sun to change.
Source Link: timesonline.co.uk
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