Space Weather & Heliophysics

Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 6, 2018
Filed under
Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability

The Sun provides the energy required to sustain life on Earth and drive our planet’s atmospheric circulation. However, establishing a solid physical connection between solar and tropospheric variability has posed a considerable challenge across the spectrum of Earth-system science.

The canon of solar variability, the solar fiducial clock, lies almost exclusively with the 400 years of human telescopic observations that demonstrates the waxing and waning number of sunspots, over an 11(ish) year period. Recent research has demonstrated the critical importance of the underlying 22-year magnetic polarity cycle in establishing the shorter sunspot cycle.

Integral to the manifestation of the latter is the spatio-temporal overlapping and migration of oppositely polarized magnetic bands. The points when these bands emerge at high solar latitudes and cancel at the equator are separated by almost 20 years. Here we demonstrate the impact of these `termination’ points on the Sun’s radiative output and particulate shielding of our atmosphere through the dramatically rapid reconfiguration of solar magnetism. These events reset the Sun’s fiducial clock and present a new portal to explore the Sun-Earth connection.

Using direct observation and proxies of solar activity going back six decades we can, with high statistical significance, demonstrate an apparent correlation between the solar cycle terminations and the largest swings of Earths oceanic indices–a previously overlooked correspondence. Forecasting the Sun’s global behavior places the next solar termination in early 2020 and we thus anticipate a strong El Niño in 2019, and a strong La Niña in 2020; should such a major oceanic swing follow, our challenge becomes: when does correlation become causation and how does the process work?

Robert J Leamon, Scott W. McIntosh, Daniel R. Marsh
(Submitted on 6 Dec 2018)

Comments: 28 pages, 10 figures, 3 tables
Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:1812.02692 [astro-ph.SR] (or arXiv:1812.02692v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)
Submission history
From: Robert J. Leamon
[v1] Thu, 6 Dec 2018 18:21:03 UTC (12,786 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻