Solar Cycles and Weather

14 Nov

Much has been written in the popular press attributing solar cycles (sun spots) to forcing weather cycles. The latest inference comes in the form of a QST article (Pg. 90 November 2008) that does not explicitly attribute solar cycles to cause weather and temperature cycles, but does in fact, obliquely infer that sun spot cycles at least in part cause some warming/cooling by their presence or absence. The reference is via Carbon 14, the Maunder and Dalton Minimums and inferred sun spot numbers.

I would like to make several points vis a vis the correlation on cool weather (Maunder etc) and lack of sun spots. Because one observable phenomenon occurs while the second is in play does not prove causality. In fact there is significant data that suggests that sun spots have little to no forcing action with respect to temperature cycles and our earths weather. I submit, via a published paper from 1977 the following:


Further, a second, less rigid but mathematically similar study completed with an additional two solar cycles completed and additional, more modern, math treatments.

This last reference is not a published journal source, however, I find it interesting that both treatments come to similar conclusions albeit separated by 30 years and two solar cycles and much more earth temperature data included.

I believe there is little data to show a causal relationship between solar cycles to warming/cooling trends on our earth. Saying that solar cycles are the primary reason for these temperature cycles is crossing over the line of proven science.

Thanks for reading. Best, Chas W7MAP/5


Posted by on November 14, 2008 in Radio


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2 responses to “Solar Cycles and Weather

  1. Fran Manns, Ph.D., P.Geo. (Ontario)

    November 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Correlation is not causation to be sure. The fourth most important greenhouse gas does not correlate very well with global warming or cooling; as a matter of fact it trails warming and cooling which is clear evidence for its well studied inverse solubility in water. CO2 dissolves in cold water and bubbles out of warm water. The equilibrium in seawater is 50, making seawater a great ‘sink’.
    The causation has been studied, however, though the radiation from the sun varies in the fourth decimal place, the magnetism is awesome. As I understand it, the hypothesis of the Danish National Space Center goes as follows:
    Active sun → enhanced magnetic and thermal flux = solar wind → geomagnetic shield response → less low-level clouds → less albedo (less heat reflected) → warmer climate
    Quiet sun → reduced magnetic and thermal flux = reduced solar wind → geomagnetic shield drops → galactic cosmic ray flux → more low-level clouds and more snow → more albedo effect (more heat reflected) → colder climate
    That is how the bulk of climate change might work, coupled with (modulated by) sunspot peak frequency there are cycles of global warming and cooling like waves in the ocean. When the waves are closely spaced, the planets warm; when the waves are spaced farther apart, the planets cool.
    Check the web site of the Danish National Space Center.

    The ultimate cause of the solar magnetic cycle has been postulated as cyclicity in the sun-Jupiter centre of gravity. We await more on that. In addition, though the warming period is over, it has allowed that great green house gas, water vapour, to kick in with clouds, rain and snow to provide the negative feedback that scientists look to to explain the 4+ billion year history of life on Earth.

  2. Ray Tomes

    June 28, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Your links are all broken now.

    I study cycles, and the cycles found in C14 (considered a solar proxy) and climate are quite similar. Some of this is mentioned here:

    Looking at the temperature record over long periods, these cycles show up as related to both the sun and climate – 2300 years, 208 years, 50-60 years (variable) are the most dominant.


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