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Is the Weather Channel trying to hide the truth?

I say the sun is headed for a Grand Minimum

They say, "A Sleeping Giant Awakens"

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22 Jun 10 - What's going on here? Yesterday I ran a story quoting Prof. Dr. Cees de Jager, prominent astronomer, solar expert, and former head of the Utrecht University Observatory, who claims that we're headed for a long Grand Minimum "not shorter than a century." 

A couple of days prior to that, I ran an article "What's Wrong with the sun?" in which I spoke of evidence that sunspots could be gone altogether by 2015, "plunging us into a new Maunder minimum - and perhaps a new Little Ice Age."

Today, a reader sent me an article from the Weather Channel that appears to say just the opposite. Their headline shouts "A Sleeping Giant Awakens," which would certainly make it seem that - as my reader points out - "nothing is wrong with the sun." In fact, it might even appear that the sun is roaring back to life.

But the headline is misleading.

                                           Aurora - Courtesy of NASA

In the Weather Channel article, meteorologist Carl Parker writes about the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched into orbit this past February.

"The SDO helps scientists study solar storms," writes Parker, "and for a long couple of years prior to the launch, those storms were few and far between."

"Our nearby star was in a deep sleep, largely devoid of the sunspots, flares and prominences that indicate heightened magnetic activity," Parker continues. "But this year our sun has come back to life, with spectacular outbursts of magnetism and light that arc into loops many times the size of the earth."

Okay so far. Now you would probably expect Parker to tell us exactly how the sun has awakened. Right? Tell us about those "spectacular outbursts of magnetism and light."

But no. Parker now explains a little about how the SDO works, and how solar particles in coronal mass ejections "collide with molecules in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, exciting them to the point of illumination, and creating the wondrous displays known as auroras."

He also tells of a solar superstorm in 1859 - the Carrington Event - that triggered brilliant auroras that blanketed the globe all the way to the tropics and triggered widespread telegraph system failures.

To be sure, this is all good information. But that was 150 years ago. How about telling us exactly how the sun has awakened?

Not yet. Parker now warns that our smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications could all be knocked out by intense solar activity. If the storm were big enough, says Parker, it "could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina."

Well sure. And if an earthquake were big enough, that also could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

But leave out the "ifs." What is going on right now?

Parker then talks more about the SDO, and how it "is watching our sun 24/7," but still, he doesn't tell us just how the sun has awakened.

Finally, in the very last paragraph - the very last paragraph! - we get to the truth.  

"Thus far solar cycle 24 has not been particularly intense," says Parker. "Some scientists at the recent American Astronomical Society meeting say that it could be half as strong as the last three cycles."

Half as strong!

This is an awakening?

So you tell me. Was the Weather Channel headline misleading?

Thing is, I don't understand why.

See Weather Channel article here:
http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_22170.html
Thanks to Brad Neave for this link

 

 



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