Monday, May 7, 2012

What Happens When the Sun Goes Into Hibernation?

Expectations are for the sun to go into a hibernation over the next several decades. This 'hibernation' basically is the sun running in a lower power stage, if you will, than normal. So, what will happen to us if the sun goes into hibernation?

1. It will get cooler.
The sun is what keeps us living. The sun directs seasons and the overall temperature of our atmosphere. When the sun is stronger, it only makes sense that the world will be a bit warmer. However, when the sun goes into a lower energy stage, the world will likely cool down. The atmosphere is something that always tries to keep itself in balance. So, if the sun cools down, it is impossible for one area to be brutally cold and the rest of the world to remain warm. No- the whole world will have to cool to keep the atmosphere in balance with itself. A lack of balance would throw off the atmosphere, because the atmosphere's mission really is to keep itself balanced.
And for some more information, this would indeed mean cooler summers and colder winters.

2. Global Warming topics will spin out of control.
As soon as this lower sunspot phase begins to have effects on temperatures, both pro and anti Global Warming activists will spring into action to defend their theories and attack the others. One argument will be that Global Warming is simply a solar-controlled event, while another argument will involve the notion that Global Warming still exists but is temporarily hampered by the sunspot cycle. The meteorology and science communities will be ordering double doses of aspirin if this forecast comes to pass.

3. Some crop issues will occur, but mass famine is unlikely.
While it is true we will have not seen this sort of hibernation from the sun since the Maunder Minimum in the 1600's (Figure 2), we must remember we live in the 21st century. Technologies have advanced lightyears beyond what there was in the 1600s.
Figure 2
400 years of observed sunspots, from the 1600s to the early 2000s.
I am expecting some regional crop 'issues', but a catastrophic meltdown of the agricultural system is unlikely. Possible? Sure. Anything's possible. Likely? I doubt it. Now, in poorer countries, like parts of Asia and especially Africa where agriculture takes a front seat in priorities, those people may have additional struggles if the sun directly affects their crops. However, I am not one to direct where and how  intense the sun's effects will be.

Now, let's set the record straight. I am not nearly an expert climatologist, and while forecasts 5 days plus may be unreliable (much less 10 years), the Sun is a special variable that is not quickly changing. There is something to be said for solar flares, but in general, the Sun is a slowly changing beast, which lets me know that the forecast at the top probably has some bite as well as bark to it.



ERN WX said...

Great article, Andrew!!!!!!!!!!! Basically, expect summers and winters to be cooler during this. Record breaking cold is possible. This a very interesting event. I look forward to it.

ERN WX said...

Thanks, again!!!!! The sun plays an extreme role in our temperatures. This is a very well written article. This is why I say you have the best weather site out there!!!!!!!!! Take care, Andrew!!!

ERN WX said...

Andrew, I noticed a few people claim you are overly model dependent. The NWS fellows practically worship the ECMWF (the good majority of them). Just read the AFD's. I am just making an observation, and don't want to offend anyone. If you are offended, I am sorry and I approve this post being removed if you are that offended, anyone. It just looks to me like bullying. Andrew, has OFTEN differed with the models. And just note, I am often called model dependent too........ even when I basically say the models should never have been developed. Very close to that. Computer models often give me terrible headaches and migraines!!! They are generally used by forecasters to give ideas. That is why meteorologists use them. Everyone should use them!!! So I hope I have not offended anyone, and I have given you a reason why Andrew uses the computer models. And trust me, others use them a LOT more than he does. Have a great day everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!