You should know by now that the past decade was one of our worst on record in terms of intense heatwaves and warming of the earth in general.
Not coincidentally, this bushfire season is also one of the worst we've experienced.
The big question thrown around is pondering whether the patterns of the sun have anything to do with this.
All stars have variations in activity or fluctuations in energy outputs.
When sunspots (powerful magnetic fields on the surface of the sun) are quite prevalent on the suns surface, ultra-violet and x-ray radiation is emitted.
The number of sunspots at a given time is dictated by the solar maximum or minimum, you can guess which means more and which means less.
The suns magnetic field also adheres to this principle, weakest at minimum and most strong at maximum.
Every 11 years the number of sunspots rises and falls as part of the solar activity cycle.
This was first observed by Galileo who begun the first solar cycle in 1755 until 1766.
This is known as solar cycle 1.
Solar activity has been linked to temperature and too often gets slapped with the climate change schtick.
This is due to the weakness of the solar magnetic field during minimum allowing more cosmic rays to reach Earth's atmosphere, thus affecting the global climate.
Following the course of Galileo's solar cycles, we are now at the back end of cycle 24 with the new cycle and solar minimum rapidly approaching.
But, doesn't that sound right?
Solar maximum more radiation more heat?
Solar cycle 24 has been unusually weak with fewer sunspots comparative to earlier cycles.
The last time a solar maximum was this weak was in 1902.
If solar activity played such a role as some claim, temperatures should have stayed the same if not declined over the decade.
The hottest decade ever recorded was during the weakest solar cycle in more than a century.
Below is a graph made from the data collected by the Japan Meteorological Agency that illustrates the activity of our sun compared to global surface temperatures.
Broken down it goes like this:
- Image 1 and 2 display warming over time in reference to the number of sunspots (activity). There is no significant correlation based on the number of sunspots and atmospheric or sea temperatures, especially within our most recent solar maximum.
- Images 2 and 3 provide scatter plots showing instances of sunspots vs temperature with no clear relationship. Mathematically, a value of 0 suggests no correlation at all while 1 means a definitive correlation. Values of 0.09 and 0.04 are nearest to zero than attributing climate change to other sources.
Sun activity has little to no effect on global temperature.
If that was the case the graphs would actually look mirrored in their data and not how we see it now.
If anything, this data helps contribute evidence in humankind's responsibility for climate change.
While the sun does dictate the climate on Earth, there has been no long-term difference in solar activity since industrialisation to suggest anything other than man has affected our global climate.