The Northern Lights, Solar Cycles and Climate

Luckily last labour day weekend there was a geomagnetic storm, so it was possible to photograph the northern lights near Toronto. Here is a timelapse I shot:

For anyone interested in trying to photograph the northern lights, here are some great resources:
– Check an Aurora forecasting service to see if anything is expected in the next few days. Spaceweatherlive has a good forecast and also shows the level/phase of moonlight. Less moonlight increases the chances of seeing faint auroras
-Check could cover at:
-Get out of the city and light polution, check:
– Get a good camera, preferably with a wide lens with large aperture. ISO 2000, f3.5, 20-30 second manual exposure, manual focus, constant temp

Other resources:

It may have been the wrong time to get into trying to photograph the northern lights, as in 2015 we were near the peak in the current solar cycle and now we are near the trough. The next cycle is projected to the be the lowest in hundreds of years.

Source: NOAA

“The Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. (Emphasis added) The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.”

You can see where we are in the current solar cycle and some potential projections of the future cycle:



“SUNSPOTS FROM THE NEXT SOLAR CYCLE: Solar Minimum is here, but it won’t last forever. In fact, the next solar cycle made a brief appearance this week. On July 1st, a small sunspot materialized in the sun’s southern hemisphere (S21W02), then, hours later, vanished again. The polarity of its magnetic field marks it as a likely member of Solar Cycle 25:
Southern sunspots from old Solar Cycle 24 have a -/+ polarity. This ephemeral sunspot was the opposite: +/-. According to Hale’s Law, sunspots switch polarities from one solar cycle to the next. The unnumbered sunspot of July 1st appears to be a herald of Solar Cycle 25.
Solar cycles always mix together at their boundaries. Indeed, ephemeral sunspots belonging to Solar Cycle 25 have already been reported on Dec. 20, 2016; April 8, 2018; Nov. 17, 2018; and May 28, 2019. Now we can add July 1, 2019, to list. The slow transition between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 25 is underway.

Earlier this year, an international panel of experts predicted that Solar Minimum would deepen in 2019 and begin to rebound sometime next year. The increasing pace of ephemeral sunspots from the next solar cycle is roughtly consistent with their forecast.

It has been suggested that the solar cycle has much more affect on global climate change than other factors such as C02. This remains to be seen, but if its true, the climate emergency has the potential to be in the complete opposite direction if the forecast for a very weak solar cycle is true.

Global cooling predictions:

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China scientists warn of global cooling trick up nature’s sleeve

“The 2014 research, which drew on 5,000 years’ worth of data, suggested the current warm phase of the cycle could terminate over the next several decades, ushering in a 250-year cool phase, potentially leading to a partial slowdown in man-made global warming.
Wu said the latest study, with 10,000 years’ worth of new data, not only helped to draw a more complete picture of the 500-year cycle, but also revealed a previously unknown mechanism behind the phenomenon, which suggested the impact of the sun on the Earth’s climate may be greater than previously thought.
According to Wu, the variation in solar activity alone was usually not strong enough to induce the rapid changes in vegetation the research team recorded in the sediment cores of Moon Lake. Instead, the scientists found the warming impact was amplified by a massive, random interaction between surface seawater and the atmosphere in the Pacific Ocean known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.
As a result of the research findings, Wu said she was now more worried about cooling than warming.”

While the solar cycles effects on climate are yet to be seen over the next decade, make no mistake, we are killing the environment in others ways:

Mapping the Flow of the World’s Plastic Waste

There seems to be increasing doubt on the quality of the temperature data, as well as the type and consistency of adjustments made in predicting global warming. Then you have media bias compounding this effect, its hard to sort through the noise when you don’t know what is the truth, and who is being funded by what organization.

Are forest fires as bad as they seem?




A future Time cover?


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