QUIET SUN , MORE ACTIVE AND COLDER WINTERS
Good morning everyone , my name is Steve and I am a weather forecaster with a focus on the mid atlantic / northeast US.
In this blog I would like to address the solar activity or lack thereof and its influences on our climate in particular the troposphere. It is June and the mid atlantic/northeast is on the heels of a very warm week so why not talk about colder temps, longer winters and more dynamic winter storms. The chart above shows the sunspot activity going back to 2000. now we just passed a solar cycle (24) which was the weakest peaks in over 100 years.as we pass this solar maximum (so called) we might be entering a historically quiet period. there are scientists out there that disclose the solar influences and quite frankly i do not know how they say so with a straight face. however , I would like to basically explain the reasons for this importance. when the sun is active it sends radiation to the earth , there are many different forms of radiation but lets keep it simple. With an active sun the wave forms of radiation break down ozone in the ionosphere and stratosphere. It is this breakdown of ozone and the release of energy( heat) that cools the stratosphere. any cooling of the stratosphere leads to the layer being contracted and therefore the troposphere where we live expands. With an expansion of the troposphere we normally see above normal 500mb heights globally and an increase in temperature as atoms in the atmosphere have more space and move faster producing more energy. However , as you can see the total opposite is prevalent. the sun is producing far less energy output , and therefore the troposphere is contracting due to the stratospheric expansion and build up of ozone. all data and observations point to the months ahead with the sun becoming days and weeks with no sunspots. I think everyone in the mid atlantic/northeast remember the winters 2009-11 with bitter cold temps and very dynamic winter storms as we head toward those consecutive sunspot less weeks and months.