Intensifying cosmic rays, grand solar minimum and Earth’s climate

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Data provided by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus and Dr. Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com show cosmic ray levels are intensifying, as the Solar Minimum approaches, with an approximately 13% increase since March 2015. This article provides a brief overview of some of the consequences for our planet, its climate and us.

Today, May 13, 2017, marks the 34th day in 2017 that the Sun has been spotless. This exceeds the total number of spotless days in entire 2016 by 2.

“The accelerating pace of spotlessness is a sign that Solar Minimum is approaching,” Dr. Phillips explains, adding that forecasters expect the sunspot cycle to reach its nadir in 2019 – 2020.

Although many people think Solar Minimum is boring, this is wrong, he says. “During the nadir of the sunspot cycle, the entire heliosphere changes its personality with many consequences for the space around our planet. One of the most important changes involves cosmic rays, high-energy radiation reaching Earth from deep space. As sunspot numbers decline, cosmic rays intensify.”

Intensifying cosmic rays

The main reason why the cosmic rays are intensifying is the Sun, he says. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

To prove this is happening, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring radiation levels in the stratosphere with frequent high-altitude balloon flights over California. Their data show cosmic ray levels intensifying with an approximately 13% increase since March 2015. Here are the latest results, current as of May 6, 2017:

TO BE CONTINUED ON
https://watchers.news/2017/05/13/intensifying-cosmic-rays-grand-solar-minimum-and-climate/

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