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The Sun's Odd Behavior

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the to-be-fair-it-was-a-little-tipsy dept.

Space 285

gyrogeerloose writes "Most of us know about the sun's eleven-year activity cycle. However, relatively few other than scientists (and amateur radio operators) are aware that the current solar minimum has lasted much longer than expected. The last solar cycle, Cycle 24, bottomed out in 2008, and Cycle 25 should be well on its way towards maximum by now, but the sun has remained unusually quiescent with very few sunspots. While solar physicists agree that this is odd, the explanation remains elusive."

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Global warming is the cause (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389800)

This is clear to everyone except the Denialists.

Re:Global warming is the cause (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389874)

Correlation is not causation!! (The slashdot favorite that is quoted constantly for wrong reasons...)

Re:Global warming is the cause (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389992)

Correlation is not causation!!

Our computer models will show causation. Coding starts on Tuesday.

Re:Global warming is the cause (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389908)

No it's worse than that.

ITS GALACTIC WARMING!

We're doomed, the end is nigh!

Re:Global warming is the cause (5, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389994)

Worse yet, it's Anthrogenic Galactic Warming. It's all the fault of Western Civilization.

*pounds on bongo drum in protest*

Re:Global warming is the cause (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390318)

The aliens realized we could hack their systems using TCP/IP, so instead they are just going to slowly boil us off the planet, then reduce the temperature and take all the resources after we die.

Re:Global warming is the cause (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390518)

Not to break off this delightful train of thought, but the problem is that the sun is getting cooler. A lot cooler. It's magnetic field is looking dismal. It hasn't thrown a single plane even slightly off course for years, when predictions were it should have caused at least a few disasters by now (at it's higher intensities it can block radio communcations for weeks, make every compass useless (including ill-shielded gyroscopic ones, so it can even make the instruments in older planes miss where the ground is. Confused instruments and the resulting panicking pilots do not make for safe air traffic), and in simulations it has destroyed every electricity grid on the planet in a matter of seconds). And every day it is cooling and weakening a bit more (this "bit" more meaning you could power Al Gore's electricity bill for a billion years with the "bit" of power that it loses in a nanosecond). It's not yet "oh no it's the end of the world" solar cooling, ... but it's confusing and if it doesn't stop, it won't be long for that.

And while everyone fully expects the sun to start it's next cycle any second now (it hasn't for 1.5 years now, only a few pathetic false starts), if for any reason it doesn't do so soon there won't be any more global warming for 2010-2020 than there was for 2000-2010, or it might even cool significantly more. And while global warming, in the worst cases, displaces a few coastal cities and makes jungles the size of continents out of deserts (esp. in conjunction with rising co2 levels), global cooling does indeed the reverse (deserts are created by cold, not warm, weather, and the process is sped up by low concentrations of co2 (today's "alarming" concentrations of co2 are still in the "I'd like 10 times that, please" level where plants are concerned)).

Needless to say, the IPCC's predictions are entirely dependant on the assumption that you could correct cesium clocks by checking the solar cycle.

Re:Global warming is the cause (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390150)

We're doomed, the end is night !

There, corrected it for you.

Re:Global warming is the cause (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390568)

ITS GALACTIC WARMING!

So when they speak of the eventual "heat death" of the Universe, it's not what you think it is?

Re:Global warming is the cause (0, Flamebait)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389940)

Mod parent funny, please. Some thin-skinned dolt doesn't like being the butt of a joke.

Re: Plants are the cause (5, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390060)

Don't you know that plants have been using the Sun's energy for millions of years, no wonder there is nothing left! The solution is simple: burn the forests.

Re: Plants are the cause (3, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390188)

No, the sun isn't having its cycle because it's pregnant. DUH.

(Also am I the only one who thought Sun as in the company?)

Re: Plants are the cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390542)

I think we've been doing a good job at that already!

Re:Global warming is the cause (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390458)

Well somehow I thought it was cycle 23 that finished and cycle 24 being underway... so much for journalistic accuracy. Look for instance here: http://www.solarcycle24.com/ [solarcycle24.com]

Anonymous Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389820)

Its George Bush's fault.

Re:Anonymous Coward (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389974)

Actually, I think this might just be Captain Larry Ellison closing the deal with the Sun.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390016)

Poor Larry thought that was the deal he was making.

Re:Anonymous Coward (0, Redundant)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390402)

-1 Redundant? The mods have a cruel sense of humour today!

Enough data? (5, Interesting)

fenring (1582541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389826)

I almost know nothing on the subject, but I'm thinking the 11 year cycle was empiricaly determined. One has to wonder do we have enough data on the subject compared to the age of the sun?

Re:Enough data? (4, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389882)

Its a good point, but, ever since Galileo observed that there were sunspots, scientists have observed the sun to be on a fairly regular 11 year cycle of maxima and minima. So, until now, the scientific consensus was that the 11 year cycle was due to some kind of underlying fluctuation in the sun itself. Now that theory has to be revised (or maybe even rejected entirely) as this prolonged solar minimum continues.

Re:Enough data? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389912)

Or maybe there some longer cycle of...cycles ;) With the Sun now manifesting a shift of this ubercycle, which will give "short" cycle of different lenght.

Re:Enough data? (3, Funny)

clintp (5169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390194)

Or maybe there some longer cycle of...cycles ;) With the Sun now manifesting a shift of this ubercycle, which will give "short" cycle of different lenght.

Epicycles! Ptolemy was right, just not about the planets.

Re:Enough data? (3, Funny)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390216)

It's cycles all the way...up?

Re:Enough data? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390564)

And turtles all the way down

Re:Enough data? (4, Interesting)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390394)

Well, all this time we have known about different cycles, but we don't know why they happen. That is a problem. The sun is really just a huge fucking fusion reactor, and having any kind of regularity is confusing. When we understand the layers, processes, and everything else about the sun, it might make a bit more sense.

Re:Enough data? (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390160)

Maybe time is speeding up.

Re:Enough data? (5, Informative)

Bobke (653185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390282)

That is not entirely correct. There is a period after Galileo's discovery called the Maunder Minimum where sunspots "became exceedingly rare", from wikipedia:

The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 by John A. Eddy in a landmark 1976 paper published in Science titled "The Maunder Minimum",[1] when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum [wikipedia.org]

So, is it really odd behavior?

Re:Enough data? (1, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390626)

Given that the Maunder minimum led to global cooling, killing off (every last man, woman and child) in the -then- populated Greenland, almost a million people, and caused a number of famines everywhere else, I sure hope so.

The wikipedia entry here [wikipedia.org] does not do justice to the horror stories in a few remaining journals of the people living in cities upon which the ice advanced a little more every year, awaiting help that never came. It did not just "not come" for a week or a month, but for a century and a half. The journals literally end mid-sentence with the author describing how it's "suddenly warm", after having lost animals, the city, his family and finally his life, in a process taking years.

Re:Enough data? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390030)

I almost know nothing on the subject, but I'm thinking the 11 year cycle was empiricaly determined. One has to wonder do we have enough data on the subject compared to the age of the sun?

Why in the world would we need 5 BILLION years of data to make wild speculation about the various Sun cycles?!?!?!

Oh, wait... they actually dont think it's just wild speculation, do they? Ah well. Yeah, in that case, I agree with you. a few hundred years of data is a drop in the bucket compared to the Sun's current age.

Probably Ignored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390548)

I'll probably be ignored, but Native Americans have long known the sun to be on an (average) FIFTEEN (15) year cycle. They might have just been lucky it was low during their observations.

Anthropomorphic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389834)

All these solar power devices are using the sun up.

Re:Anthropomorphic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390034)

lulz

Re:Anthropomorphic (1)

rbmorse (833877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390146)

Damn. I knew it!

Re:Anthropomorphic (2, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390478)

Seriously though; supposing (just because we're being crazy and ridiculous) that global warming is happening, wouldn't it be a concern that the next solar cycle will be starting later, reducing only the short-term effects of a problem that is only significant in the long-term (and without delaying/decreasing those long-term effects)?

Put another way: Supposing the temperature is going to be X degrees higher by 2YYY, wouldn't it be much better for the increase to be steady and predictable?

crossing the galactic center (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389836)

ya try investigating that one

In conclusion... (1, Redundant)

quanticle (843097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389848)

We all know that something's up, but we have no idea what the underlying phenomena are, so we have not a clue as to why the sun is behaving the way it is.

Well, its good to see that there are still mysteries left in the universe.

Re:In conclusion... (0, Troll)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389942)

Let's see how they try and blame this on human activity.

Murdoch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389854)

I thought this was about the newspaper bought by Rupert Murdoch.

(CATCHPA: maggot)

Re:Murdoch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389932)

(CATCHPA: maggot)

I'm not I want to catch your 'pa, especially if it has sth to do with maggots...

Radio Pollution (1)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389858)

I think our radio broadcasts must be doing it.

Okay, who broke the Sun? (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389862)

I don't know, you'd think a massive ball of fusion fire wouldn't need warning signs, but apparently some joker still managed to break it. For future reference, the Sun does not contain any user-servicable parts. Please try to remember this, or you will invalidate the warranty.

Re:Okay, who broke the Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389968)

Just need to send Courage the Cowardly Dog up there to change out the light bulb and we will be back on or way to normalcy

Re:Okay, who broke the Sun? (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390010)

I don't know, you'd think a massive ball of fusion fire wouldn't need warning signs, but apparently some joker still managed to break it.

And to think that Consumer Reports told me the 3 billion year warranty was a scam.
It was only $5 a month!

Re:Okay, who broke the Sun? (2, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390094)

My money is on the oil cartel. They had to silence the competition of energy from the sun.

Re:Okay, who broke the Sun? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390240)

I guess Mr. Burns got his hands on something bigger than just a giant umbrella.

2012 (2, Funny)

mederbil (1756400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389872)

I see what's going on here. The Mayan were right!

I know the answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389878)

...We are doomed I tell you, doomed.

I think you're off by a bit (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389900)

On the one hand, outside the kind of geeky population represented by slashdot, I really doubt a lot of people know about the 11 year cycle. On the other hand, I've seen othee articles about the recent abnormally low period, and the subect also seems to come up frequently on the recurring global warming debate that seems to crop up in every third article. (Which isn't to say that more information about the subject isn't wanted of course.)

Re:I think you're off by a bit (2, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390532)

We had an extreme low solar output about 400 years ago too, and no one has a clue what caused that. Except most of the world was an ice cube at the time. Now for those of us here in Ontario, we're in a mini-heatwave. But the rest of the country? Below average, last I heard even the easties were hoping for spring to start, they're still getting snow.

zOMG Planet X!@~ (0, Offtopic)

Ilsundal (3288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389902)

Holy crap, it's coming!

Here's your answer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389918)

It's the sun, it does whatever the f it wants.

there is a guy with a theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389924)

Explains the odd behavior. Read read about it on Slashdot. Not long ago. Or maybe it was long ago, in Slashdot time. No, I won't look it up for you, because you kids are pissing me off!

Conspiracy! (4, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389928)

The explanation is simple: the Sun is actually getting hotter, but the climatologists, in their conspiracy to frame things like the Earth was getting warmer due to greenhouse gasses, have forged all records to make it seem like the Sun was at low activity instead. That way the warming climate is blamed on human activity.

I will consider all replies and downmods to this post as further evidence of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Conspiracy. If you disagree with me, you're obvilously a paid chill or a poor, deluded fool. Or maybe you're just an evil ecoterrorist who wants to destroy our economy despite knowing better.

Go on, conspirators! Give me your best shot!

Re:Conspiracy! (-1, Troll)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390050)

They did NOT forge the sunspot records !

They simply corrected the sunspots' temperatures based on the alignment of the planets (and proximity to air conditioning outlets and barbecue pits).

(Sun Temp. + Neptune Temp + Typical 25oC Aircon + Robert Rainford Grill Temp) / 4 = -17oC

Ergo, the sun is very very cold right now, and it's those bloody apes with their carbon dioxide that are causing the hurricanes, flood, tsunamis, oh my.

See, you don't argue with the sunspot scientists, they've been PEER REVIEWED, you have not. You are NOT fit to have an opinion, you denialist crank !

Perhaps a tad over the top with the sarcasm, but this is what people who dare to question the establishment have to put up with.

Mankind's fault. (-1, Troll)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389938)

This is clearly a result of the industrial revolution. All of those pollutants aren't just hanging around on Earth... they are obviously escaping into space (or we'd be on a smoke-filled ball right now) and the Sun's gravity is causing them to fall to it. This is the result!

The Republicans are clearly at fault.

Re:Mankind's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389986)

Hurf durf, I'm a closet-republican trying to make the other side look bad. Nobody will figure it out. Durr, I R smart!

Re:Mankind's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390110)

British Petroleum's new mascot: http://imgur.com/3JFae.jpg [imgur.com]

Re:Mankind's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390524)

Nah, it is only oracle fault

The release cycle has changed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389962)

because Sun was acquired by Oracle.

Re:The release cycle has changed (0, Troll)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390036)

because Sun was acquired by Oracle.

Gee, I bet nobody predicted this joke.

Re:The release cycle has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390298)

Yes but... it's still funny;)

WATCH THIS ONE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389978)

i think enough is enough just watch this video...

http://bit.ly/cu4wDQ

Sun misbehaves, humans angry (2, Funny)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389980)

The Sun has better and more important things to do than to adhere to our primitive line of thought.

The following analogy comes to mind:

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/the_search.png [xkcd.com]

Re:Sun misbehaves, humans angry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390136)

best xkcd ever!

Easy to fix (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389984)

Odd, I just met a an eccentric young man with a bow tie, tweed jacket and braces. He owned a small wooden blue box (about the size of a beach hut) and he said that this was a harbinger of doom and that the sun would go out if he didn't do something about it. He dashed off with a pretty young female in tow....but it's pretty cold and overcast now, so maybe the end is nigh!

Re:Easy to fix (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390190)

http://www.instantrimshot.com/ [instantrimshot.com]

seriously do you think its the daleks or cybermen thats at fault??

Solar cycles have always varied (4, Informative)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389988)

Over the past few hundred years, the solar cycle has regularly varied from as short as 9 years to as long as 14*. The tone of the summary (and the S.A. article) make this sound as if it is a new thing.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_solar_cycles [wikipedia.org]

A.

New Maunder Minimum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390024)

Hasn't anyone else noticed that the Maunder Minimum (q.v.) corresponded almost exactly with the period covered by The Baroque Cycle? Started with the death of Charles I and ran to the coronation of George I. Who is our 21st century Waterhouse and where is Enoch Root when we need him?

It's simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390032)

It's simple, the Sun is conspiring with Earth to get rid of us. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire Milky Way is part of the conspiracy, in an effort to keep us from invading other parts of it.
An analogy would be that of the doctor (Sun) working together with the patient (Earth) to get rid of an infection (human race). This happens in a hospital (Milky Way), whose staff is interested in destroying the infection too.

Preggers? (4, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390048)

If the sun missed it's last "cycle", maybe one of the "probes" used to "explore" forgot to use adequate "shielding" and now the sun is pregnant.

Re:Preggers? (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390448)

Can you imagine how large the diapers will have to be for mini-Sun? Where will we get to throw them?

(Good one, pal!)

Correction. (1)

hailstop (638166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390080)

Cycle 23 bottomed out in 2008. We're now into cycle 24. That said, Cycle 24 is following fairly closely the Dalton minimum of the early 1800s.

I blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390096)

Larry Ellison. Its not been the same since Oracle took it over.

It gets worse though, it seems they are trying to turn open office into a commercial rpoduct.

most? (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390100)

""Most of us know about the sun's eleven-year activity cycle."[citation needed]

And then it really got odd (2, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390144)

When James Gosling left.

man-made solar system pollution (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390148)

gota be it. The global warming refracted too many of the sun's rays back, and stopped the core of the sun. Any day now, it will be a red giant, and we'll just be swallowed up by it (when it expands this far, natch).

WolframAlpha to the rescue (1)

laxisusous (693625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390152)

WolframAlpha recently added space weather [wolframalpha.com] , including sunspot activity [wolframalpha.com] . Seems to me that the next cycle is just a bit of a late riser.

Vishnu Rocket (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390154)

The Sun is being outsourced which means longer hold times and incomprehensible activity in response to the question being asked.

It's Global Warming (2, Funny)

MikeV (7307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390184)

Darn, someone beat me to the punchline. So. Did anyone check to see if it's still plugged in?

Re:It's Global Warming (2, Funny)

zephvark (1812804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390580)

Oh fer gosh sakes. It doesn't need to be plugged in. It's solar-powered.

It's not global warming! (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390210)

Duh... it's George Bush's Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator! It's a conspiracy between Marvin and Old Georgie Boy to put out the sun since it's obviously the cause of global warming.

Disappointed.. (1)

byrdfl3w (1193387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390230)

Smoked Suns Pot all day. Didn't feel a thing.

So... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390256)

Should we start building Magellan? And who gets on board? A good chance to get rid of all those telephone sanitizers, you know.

Gravitational tides and orbital resonances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390286)

I believe the establishment is in denial. There is a long history of literature investigating the correlations between orbital resonances and solar activity. Hopefully, the next two or three cycles will resolve the relative standing of forcing factors.

Dolphins? (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390320)

Someone make sure the dolphins are still here.

It's the Darrians (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390336)

Obviously, the Imperium has struck a deal with the Darrians to destabilize the Solomani Confederation by striking at the capital system.

Sorry, had to be done.

Sun's acting odd? (0, Redundant)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390338)

Hold on, let me consult the oracle about that.

Just a prelude... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390352)

... for the solar explosion in 2012 that wipes out all life. Mayan calendar FTW!

2012 (1)

edivad (1186799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390356)

Just getting ready for 2012.

sunspots? (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390408)

The sun got spots and now they are missing? Might be because of the suncream

It's gods work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390446)

We humans are creating better insulation for our home, earth, in a desperate effort to reduce energy consumption. Now that everything this plan is working out fine, god is turning down the heating system.

Or, more seriously, the next ice-age is due soon (though technically already started - both poles are fully covered in ice), and reduced solar power output helps for sure.

hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390462)

We're all doome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111!!!!!!!!!!!

Livingston and Penn tell an interesting tale (2, Interesting)

SockPuppet_9_5 (645235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390526)

If you want a solar story that adds a bit more mystery to the rehash of the current solar tale in the linked article, google up Livingston and Penn about the observations that the sunspot frequency is diminishing. In the past, the solar flux would match up to the sunspot number closely. Beginning some twenty some odd years ago, this century long curve matching parted ways. To sum up the mystery, in ten years time, solar cycles will continue. It's just there won't be any more sunspots. (a little hyperbole, but not as much as you think)

Clearly, it's the Oracle (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390554)

Enough said

You insensitive clods! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390618)

I live in Seattle. What is this 'sun' you speak of?

Effects on the weather (4, Interesting)

Retron (577778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390620)

One of my hobbies is meteorology and as I'm in the UK there's no shortage of discussion about the weather!

Over on the various weather forums we've been discussing the solar minimum for the past couple of years, as in the UK at least there's a strong correlation between climatic cold spells and low sunspot activity (the Little Ice Age a few hundred years ago coincided with the Maunder minimum, for example). There was another minimum in the early 1800s, again coinciding with a colder period in the UK climate. It was during this time that Charles Dickens popularised the idea of a White Christmas, something which hasn't occured in 40 years here (30 miles east of London).

The effects are pretty immediate in climating terms, with an onset of years rather than decades. Although yes, the Sun's becoming more active there's been a lot of discussion as to whether the low solar activity was responsible for the coldest winter in 17 years in England (and longer than that in Scotland).

The Sun's effect on the climate is probably beyond any numerical weather prediction models at the moment but it'd be fascinating to see what the effects would be if we were to experience a prolonged period of much lower solar activity than normal!

Gordon Brown... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390632)

...claimed he would end boom and bust. This is what we got.

It's the photino birds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32390736)

They are eating our Sun!

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