Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's the Sun, Stupid

Anthony Watts in a posts titled: Climate science solar shock and aweinforms us of a story in New Scientist headed: The Sun joins the Climate Club.

Where has New Scientist been hiding?

A week before, Science Now published an article entitled SAY GOODBYE TO SUNSPOTS reporting on a paper -Long-term Evolution of Sunspot Magnetic Fields Authors: Matthew Penn, William Livingston submitted 3 September, 2010 to the International Astronomical Union Symposium No. 273, an online colloquium.

Astronomers have been observing and counting sunspots since Galileo began the practice in the early 17th century. From those studies, scientists have long known that the sun goes through an 11-year cycle, in which the number of sunspots spikes during a period called the solar maximum and drops—sometimes to zero—during a time of inactivity called the solar minimum.

The last solar minimum should have ended last year, but something peculiar has been happening. Although solar minimums normally last about 16 months, the current one has stretched over 26 months—the longest in a century.

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