The Earth … 2

Do you have a garden? More specifically, do you have a vegetable garden? For the first time in my life, I have a vegetable garden. Well, I have seven 5 gallon buckets, each with a different vegetable in it, so I win on a technicality! I mean I will win … if I harvest any actual vegetables, that is. I wanted to see if I could grow anything (besides my waistline) and so far so good! The plants started budding a few days ago.

I know, I know … what does my pathetic excuse for an attempt at farming have to do with this blog? Hopefully … nothing.

Let’s get back to it with some basics about the relationship between the Earth and the sun. First of all, did you know that the Earth wobbles? That’s right, just like a top starts to wobble just before it falls over, once a year, our planet wobbles up and down. This wobble has the effect of changing the seasons. In the northern hemisphere, we are farther north in winter and farther South in summer. The opposite is true in the southern hemisphere. So, in Australia, Christmas is a warm holiday! The parameters of this wobble are defined by the procession of the equinoxes (look that up). Here’s another fact; the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is eliptical (look that up too). Now, here’s the crazy thing, the Earth is about a million miles closer to the sun in the northern winter than it is in the summer!

Why am I telling you this? Because they are examples of how planetary physics (I never took physics in school) can do some unexpected things.

For example: what causes cloud nucliation (formation)? Answer: cosmic rays. What are they? Look it up. So, the more cosmic rays, the more clouds. Get it? Now, here’s a tricky one. What regulates cosmic rays? Answer: (you had to know this was coming) that’s right … the sun. The more active the sun is, the fewer cosmic rays.

So what?

So glad you asked. Remember in my last post when I told you that the sun has phases? Well, those phases are cyclical. The most commonly known phases of the sun are the eleven year cycle of increased and then decreased solar activity. Simply put, the number of sunspots that we can see on it’s surface. The more sunspots, the more active the sun is.

Okay, you say, what does an active sun do? Go to parties? Play minor league baseball? Run marathons? Well, kinda … yeah. The more active the sun is, the more charged particles and electromagnetic energy it emits. And, this activity is dramatically displayed when the sun emits solar flares. Yes, just like in the movie 2012, but not with the dire effects depicted … or are there?

If you did your homework, you looked up The Carrington Event. So, I don’t need to explain myself.

I just realized I can talk into this thing and it will type out what I say. That’s just super cool!

The Carrington event was a solar flare that was so intense that in 1865 the energy released caused telegraph poles to catch on fire. In 2008 NASA posted a warning about solar flares in 2012. Whether you realized it or not, in 2012 there was a Carrington event type solar flare, it just wasn’t directed at Earth. If it had been there would have been catastrophic damage done to our satellite network and electrical grid. It might have even knocked out power across the entire world.

Did that get your attention?

I know this sounds like science fiction but bear with me, it gets weirder.

We are now at that point in the solar cycle where the sun is emitting very little radiation. There are almost no sunspots visible on the surface. And if you’ve been paying attention that means that more cosmic rays are getting through. Therefore there are more clouds and there is more precipitation. The other thing that clouds do is reflect sunlight back to space. So between the fact that the sun is emitting less energy and there are more clouds reflecting the sun’s energy back into space, that is a recipe for the planet getting cooler.

Oh, you say, now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re starting to talk about the planet getting cooler instead of getting warmer like we’ve been lied to about for the last 40 to 50 years. But, you ask, if the solar cycle only last 11 years, then why has it been getting hotter for 40 or 50 years? Yes, I do agree that we have been getting hotter for the last number of years. But just remember, the 11 year cycle is not the only cycle of the Sun. A Russian team of scientists came out a few years ago with a theory that there is a 206 year cycle of the Sun. For roughly 176 years the sun gets hotter and heats the solar system including the Earth. But for 30 years it gets cooler. So all the warming that our planet did over 176 years all gets erased in only 30 years. In other words our planet cools much more rapidly then it warms. Again, if you did your homework you looked up the Maunder Minimum. This was a period of solar cooling that happened roughly 400 years ago. Roughly 200 years ago there was the Dalton Minimum. Another period of solar cooling that was not as intense as the Maunder Minimum. Here’s another fun fact for you; in 1815 Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia exploded. This put enough particulate matter into the atmosphere that it caused the very famous Year without a Summer in 1816. You can look that one up too. But considering what’s happening right now, as I speak, in the Pacific on a little island called Hawaii … not to mention the 14 other volcanoes that are erupting around the Ring of Fire.

Yeah, okay, that’s fine. But what does that have to do with the planet getting cooler other than the fact that volcanoes spit stuff up into the air? Only that the sun affects more than just our weather.

And I think that’s enough for today.

I just want to make one thing perfectly clear. Although what I’m talking about I take very seriously, I am a Christian who believes firmly in God the Father, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He is in charge. But Proverbs 22:3 says, and I quote, “The Prudent see danger and take refuge but the simple keep going and pay the penalty”, unquote.

God bless you all. There’s more coming soon … literally and figuratively.

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