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Subject: Sunspot Disk is in the Red! rss

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Chad Marlett
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"WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — A huge solar flare unleashed by the sun has delayed plans to launch a private cargo ship to the International Space Station Wednesday (Jan. 8) due to worry over space weather radiation."

"The solar flare registered as an X1.2-class sun storm, the strongest class of solar flares the sun can release."

"The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008."

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/huge-solar-flare-delays-priva...

Never plan a launch in the red zone, someone will always roll a 6...

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Calavera Despierta
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My saying while playing is:

"When the sunspot disk is in the red, it means my rocket's probably dead."

And yet I still managed to be caught out in the solar storm game after game...

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Matthew Eklund
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When you've spent twelve+ turns putting your mission together... it can be awfully difficult to sit around and wait for the space weather to clear.

But it is awfully thrilling to land at your target site just as the monster flare hits and roasts everyone else's missions... while you hide on the lee side of a giant rock.
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Bob Bob742
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Speaking of sun spots... there's some US senator who supposedly believes global warming is caused by sun spots. Anyone know what the heck he is talking about? What about sun spots might he be drawing upon to come to his conclusion?
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Jeff Chamberlain
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Bobobob598 wrote:
Speaking of sun spots... there's some US senator who supposedly believes global warming is caused by sun spots. Anyone know what the heck he is talking about? What about sun spots might he be drawing upon to come to his conclusion?


There is a sub-culture of the denialist community out there who believe that the since the sun's temperature can and does influence the average temperature here on the planet, that all other possible influences on temperature are therefore unimportant. It's bad logic of course, since it can be shown that the other variables can, and do, matter. But if you believe the falsehood that the sun's temperature is the only relevant variable, the only remaining conclusion is that sunspots are the predictor of world temperature. But the fact that it leads to the sunspot conclusion only demonstrates the fallacy of the base argument in my view.
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Phil Eklund
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The Ice Age we live in is an astonishingly variable climate period. The forest where I live was under a kilometer thick ice-sheet not so many thousand years ago, and was a tropical forest not so many thousand years before that. For the last two million years, climate swings that would have normally required 12 million years are accomplished in only 12 thousand years. Solar inputs (such as Milankovitch cycles and solar wind) seem to be responsible. Earth is closely linked to space weather: Since the outermost portion of our atmosphere is plasma, it is not surprising that it can 2X or 3X its reach into space depending on sunspots & solar wind output. I will be in Sweden in 2 weeks, and I hope to actually SEE the solar wind charged currents entering the lower atmosphere!

I have made a prototype of a game (called "Greenland") in which players are one of the three cultures (Dorset, Thule, or Vikings) attempting to survive in a harsh land during extreme climate swings 1000 years ago. During the Medieval Warm Period, temperatures and worldwide glacial retreats were comparable to today's. But then the sunspots stopped appearing and the solar wind died, a condition called "Maunder's Minimum". The Earth suffered a cold snap (called the LIC "Little Ice Age") in which all its glaciers rapidly advanced. As soon as the sunspots resumed, the Earth warmed again and the glaciers retreated, a condition continuing to this day.
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Bob Bob742
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Thanks guys. Gives me some starting points to look into things more. I never would have thought sun spots could affect Earth's temperatures in such ways.

Also makes me interested in finally making everyone try out the 1st H.F. expansion I've had since I first bought the base game. I think a couple people in my group have enough base games in.
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Jeff Chamberlain
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It isn't exactly the sunspots causing the temperature, but that the same thing increasing the solar output is also increasing the frequency of sunspots. Sunspots I believe are just a visible indicator of intense magnetic activity on or near the surface of the sun.
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Phil Eklund
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The solar constant isn't. The amount of electromagnetic radiation from Sol varies with the sunspot cycles (both 27 days & 11 years), the Gleisberg cycle (88 yrs), the DeVries cycle (208 years), the Eddy cycle (1000 yrs).

As Sol manufactures helium etc. from hydrogen via nuclear fusion, it accumulates ever increasing higher density elements in its core. This heats it up, and fusion is so temperature sensitive that even slight increases in temperature increases the solar constant. So Sol is slowly heating up, and the solar irradiance during Earth's early history was only 75% of today's. (The mystery of how Earth kept in the Goldilocks zone despite suffering a solar output so low the oceans should have frozen over is called the "Faint Early Sun Problem", as discussed in Chap 14 of our book "Earth, Evolution of a Habitable World").

On top of irradiance variations are orbital variations (the three Milankovitch cycles, see the charts in Bios Megafauna) operating over thousands & tens of thousands of years.

Short & long term Sunspot cycles have a significant effect on the photon flux, yet I believe variations of the electric current called the solar wind can have more of an impact on Earth's climate than the solar photons. Almost all the atmospheric area is the ionosphere, a plasma from 85 to 600 km altitude created by solar UV and charged by the solar wind. During weak solar wind, such as during the Little Ice Age (LIC), the ionosphere is largely non-magnetic and freed from the shackles of Earth's magnetic field.

The Earth's ionosphere controls auroras, lightning, sprites, red elves, sudden ionosphere disturbances (SIDs), ionospheric storms, electrojets, etc. and perhaps controls mesosphere weather conditions: weather cells, jet streams, hurricane formation, ice age onsets and recoveries (although this field is almost totally unknown).

In the wind pause after a big CME strike on Venus, her ionosphere stretches tens of thousands of km into space like the tail of a comet. When the solar wind switched off during the LIC, the tail of Venus likely stretched far enough to hit the Earth. Both Venus and Earth are intimately connected to heliocentric space by this system. We are one with space.
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