The quiet sun is puzzling scientists - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

The quiet sun is puzzling scientists

Posted: Updated:
Toledo, OH -

The sun goes through an 11-year sunspot cycle, oscillating between high and low solar activity. The sunspot cycle is responsible for increased solar storms that can alter our daily activities here on earth. The most intense solar flares can create geomagnetic storms on earth if the flare hits earth directly. This has happened many times in the past occasionally causing radio blackouts, overloading the electrical grid, and producing the northern lights in southern latitudes.

The last solar minimum between 2007 and 2009 was the longest and deepest in the past 100 years. Now that solar activity has picked up, scientists are once again trying to understand the sun's behavior. Solar maximum was expected this year, and while activity jumped up in 2011 and early 2012 it has recently stalled. Solar activity has dropped in recent weeks and on Tuesday the activity hit a year low. NASA said that the current solar maximum is the weakest they have observed in 50 years and it may be the lowest in a century or more depending on what happens later this year and in 2014.

A few researchers suggest that the current solar maximum is double peaked with one peak that has already arrived and another that will arrive in 2014 or early 2015 at the latest. Regardless, the current solar cycle is currently well below predicted activity and most experts believe the sun will become more active this fall through 2014.

Regardless of what happens in the next year or two, building research shows the sun is warning us of a prolonged weak period on the sun that could last 10 to 50 years. Prolonged weak periods on the sun occur every few hundred years, and it has been more than 200 years since the last slow period. If this were to occur, the number of geomagnetic storms on earth would be very low in the coming decades. On the other hand, studies show the sun's solar cycle does impact earth's climate. An active solar cycle will produce more solar radiation on earth and thus increase the overall global temperature by a small amount. A lack of sunspots for a prolonged period could decrease the global temperatures slightly with all other factors being equal. 

  • LocalMore>>

  • Helping students cope with death and tragedy

    Helping students cope with death and tragedy

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:21 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:21:12 GMT
    In the past week, multiple teenage students in our area have died in accidents. Now school districts are working to help students cope with the tragedies. From homework, to standardized tests, students have a lot on their plates but many of them are also dealing with death of a classmate. Yesterday, a Oregon junior high school student died in a car crash. Zachery Brantley, 14, was thrown from a car, after the driver lost control on Howard Road. In Monroe County, an 18-year-old and two oth...
    In the past week, multiple teenage students in our area have died in accidents. Now school districts are working to help students cope with the tragedies. From homework, to standardized tests, students have a lot on their plates but many of them are also dealing with death of a classmate. Yesterday, a Oregon junior high school student died in a car crash. Zachery Brantley, 14, was thrown from a car, after the driver lost control on Howard Road. In Monroe County, an 18-year-old and two oth...
  • Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    A few patients who have lost their sight due to a rare disorder are regaining some vision thanks to a procedure performed at the University of Michigan.
    A few patients who have lost their sight due to a rare disorder are regaining some vision thanks to a procedure performed at the University of Michigan.
  • Ohio state park facilities to be modernized

    Ohio state park facilities to be modernized

    State officials are preparing to invest $88.5 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's state parks over the next two years.
    State officials are preparing to invest $88.5 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's state parks over the next two years.
  • Storm TeamMore>>

  • Showers expected overnight Monday

    Showers expected overnight Monday

    Sunday, April 20 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-04-20 22:10:24 GMT
    Monday could be the warmest day of the year.
    Monday could be the warmest day of the year.
  • Easter boating forecast

    Easter boating forecast

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:11:58 GMT
    Small craft advisory in effect tonight.
    Small craft advisory in effect tonight.
  • Easter Sunday forecast

    Easter Sunday forecast

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:12 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:12:06 GMT
    Here is your Easter Sunday forecast. It will be a cool start with a low near 34 degrees. You may want your winter coats for sunrise service. The sun will rise at 6:47am on Easter. Once the sun comes up,
    It will be a cool start, with a warm and sunny afternoon.

Weather: Home | Forecast | Radar | Cams

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Entertainment District proposed for downtown Toledo

    Entertainment District proposed for downtown Toledo

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:08:24 GMT
    Empty buildings and store fronts downtown could soon have new life under a Community Entertainment District.Nothing has been approved just yet, but many are excited about the idea of new growth."I'd welcome a new entertainment district," Adam Ramos, who lives in Bowling Green saidRamos likes to take trips of I-75 to visit restaurants and attractions in downtown Toledo."We mainly hang around the ball park, but we love all the restaurants around here," he said.Toledo City Council is working to ...
    Empty buildings and store fronts downtown could soon have new life under a Community Entertainment District.Nothing has been approved just yet, but many are excited about the idea of new growth."I'd welcome a new entertainment district," Adam Ramos, who lives in Bowling Green saidRamos likes to take trips of I-75 to visit restaurants and attractions in downtown Toledo."We mainly hang around the ball park, but we love all the restaurants around here," he said.Toledo City Council is working to ...
  • 'Bachelorette' contestant Eric Hill dies in paragliding accident

    'Bachelorette' contestant Eric Hill dies in paragliding accident

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:20:13 GMT
    (ABC News) One of the competitors on Andi Dorfman's season of "The Bachelorette" has died, his sister confirmed.Eric Hill, an adventurer who sought to visit every country in the world in less than 1,200 days, was involved in paragliding accident Sunday that left him in a coma. He died this morning."Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away. Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting," ...
    (ABC News) One of the competitors on Andi Dorfman's season of "The Bachelorette" has died, his sister confirmed.Eric Hill, an adventurer who sought to visit every country in the world in less than 1,200 days, was involved in paragliding accident Sunday that left him in a coma. He died this morning."Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away. Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting," ...
  • Helping students cope with death and tragedy

    Helping students cope with death and tragedy

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:21 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:21:12 GMT
    In the past week, multiple teenage students in our area have died in accidents. Now school districts are working to help students cope with the tragedies. From homework, to standardized tests, students have a lot on their plates but many of them are also dealing with death of a classmate. Yesterday, a Oregon junior high school student died in a car crash. Zachery Brantley, 14, was thrown from a car, after the driver lost control on Howard Road. In Monroe County, an 18-year-old and two oth...
    In the past week, multiple teenage students in our area have died in accidents. Now school districts are working to help students cope with the tragedies. From homework, to standardized tests, students have a lot on their plates but many of them are also dealing with death of a classmate. Yesterday, a Oregon junior high school student died in a car crash. Zachery Brantley, 14, was thrown from a car, after the driver lost control on Howard Road. In Monroe County, an 18-year-old and two oth...

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!