Monitoring the Sun’s Activity to Predict the Sun’s Influence on Earth’s Climate
The Earth’s climate is heavily affected by the amount of energy radiated onto Earth by the sun. The amount of radiation from the sun influencing Earth and the way in which this radiation is distributed across the various seasons and latitudes around the Earth, is directly influenced by changes in solar activity.
Throughout Earth’s history, the solar cycle has caused major climatical changes to our planet. Satellite technology can be harnessed to monitor solar activity to predict the influence of this activity on the Earth’s climate.
Life on Earth is powered by the sun, as it provides the planet with enough warmth to sustain a multitude of species, habitats, and ecosystems. Additionally, the sun has a major influence on the Earth’s climate: historic ice ages are proven to have occurred due to changes in the rotation of Earth around the sun.
The increase in global temperatures that has taken place over the last few years is happening at a rate too fast to indicate that it is as a result of changes occurring in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, and too large to be caused by solar activity.
The sun does not always radiate equal levels of brightness; it takes 11 years to carry out just one solar cycle, varying in brightness with the ability to dim throughout this time. The appearance of the sun and its activity varies through each solar cycle, causing the levels of solar radiation emitted to increase and decrease.
The size and quantity of solar flares and sunspots, as well as the volume of material emitted into space by the sun is additionally varies throughout each solar cycle. These variations have an array of effects on Earth’s surface, in the Earth’s atmosphere, and in space.
Variations in solar radiance that occur over a sustained period of time such as decades or centuries have the potential to directly effect our planet’s climate system. For this reason, climate models include information regarding variations such as sun flares and sunspots, along with information concerning human-driven influences and natural influences.
It is impossible to decipher how much of variable such as the Earth’s temperature and global levels of rainfall are affected by changes in solar radiation on Earth. Both temperature and weather patterns are affected by man-made and natural occurrences, such as emissions from volcanic eruptions, increase in greenhouse gases, and periodic climate fluctuations.
- Climate.NASA.GOV (2019), What is the Sun’s Role in Climate Change?
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2020), Climate data monitoring
- NASA.GOV (2020), Does the Solar Cycle Affect Earth’s Climate?