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.
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.