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News Link • Climate Change

Sun's Surprise: Even As It Relaxes, It May Heat Earth's Climate

• Denise Chow via
As the ultimate source of all the energy on Earth, the sun has an inextricable hand in driving our planet's climate and atmosphere. But a new look at the sun's connection to Earth's climate has returned some surprising results.

The study finds that during the most recent lull in the sun's weather cycle, the amount of energy that reached Earth increased, instead of decreasing as predicted. The planet may have experienced a slight warming effect as well, researchers said.

Breaking down the radiation

The study, led by Joanna Haigh, a professor of atmospheric physics at the Imperial College London, analyzed the types of radiation that reach Earth from the sun, and the various effects they have on our planet's atmosphere.

Haigh and her colleagues used satellite measurements taken from 2004 to 2007, the declining phase of the latest 11-year solar weather cycle.

As the sun becomes less active, it typically releases less energy in the form of radiation. Previously, this was understood as a decrease in the total amount of radiation that reaches the top of the Earth's atmosphere.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

It is amazing how scientists can be surprised at something as simple as more light penetration when UV rays diminish... as explained by the article. Yet many of these same scientists think that they have the answers, that there is such a thing as evolution, and how it occurred millions of years ago, even though they weren't there to watch it happen.

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