Space Weather

posted in: Michigan Weather Forecast | 14

All weather on Earth, from the surface of the planet out into space, begins with the Sun.  Space weather and terrestrial weather (the weather we feel at the surface) are influenced by the small changes the Sun undergoes during its solar cycle.

The most important impact the Sun has on Earth is from the brightness or irradiance of the Sun itself. The Sun produces energy in the form of photons of light. The variability of the Sun’s output is wavelength dependent; different wavelengths have higher variability than others. Most of the energy from the Sun is emitted in the visible wavelengths (approximately 400 – 800 nanometers (nm)).  The output from the sun in these wavelengths is nearly constant and changes by only one part in a thousand (0.1%) over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

At Ultraviolet or UV wavelengths (120 – 400 nm), the solar irradiance variability is larger over the course of the solar cycle, with changes up to 15%. This has a significant impact on the absorption of energy by ozone and in the stratosphere. At shorter wavelengths, like the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV), the Sun changes by 30% – 300% over very short timescales (i.e. minutes). These wavelengths are absorbed in the upper atmosphere so they have minimal impact on the climate of Earth. At the other end of the light spectrum, at Infrared (IR) wavelengths (800 – 10,000 nm), the Sun is very stable and only changes by a percent or less over the solar cycle.

The total wavelength-integrated energy from sunlight is referred to as the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). It is measured from satellites to be about 1365.5 Watts/m2 at solar minimum to 1366.5 Watts/m2 at solar maximum. An increase of 0.1% in the TSI represents about 1.3 Watts/m2 change in energy input at the top of the atmosphere. This energy is scattered, reflected, and absorbed at various altitudes in the atmosphere, but the resulting change in the temperature of the atmosphere is measurable. It should be noted that the change in climate due to solar variability is likely small, but more research needs to be done.

There are other types of space weather that can impact the atmosphere. Energetic particles penetrate into the atmosphere and change the chemical constituents. These changes in minor species such as Nitrous Oxide (NO) can have long lasting consequences in the upper and middle atmosphere, however it has not been determined if these have a major impact on the global climate of Earth.

The duration of solar minimum may also have an impact on Earth’s climate. During solar minimum there is a maximum in the amount of Cosmic rays, high energy particles whose source is outside our Solar system, reaching earth. There is a theory that cosmic rays can create nucleation sites in the atmosphere which seed cloud formation and create cloudier conditions. If this were true, then there would be a significant impact on climate, which would be modulated by the 11-year solar cycle.

For the current info on solar activity go to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.


Now looking at yesterdays weather guesses which were a total bust we had little or no rain in lower Michigan with the exception of  areas around Warren and Sterling Heights which received around 2.5 inches while areas around Detroit metro received a trace to zero rain (these are CoCoRaHS reports).  Areas northeast of Fort Wayne picked up over four inches and the area around Dayton Ohio 1.5 to 1.9 inches, so most of the rain and storms stayed well south of Michigan.

Today we should see gradual clearing with our next chance of rain (about 30% chance) coming tomorrow.  The NWS is backing off on the heat wave this weekend with a weak cold front pushing through over the weekend.  Still our temps will remain slightly above normal through that period into Monday.  Normal temps are 79° for SW Michigan.  Probabilities of above normal temps are 62% for next week and precipitation may be above normal at 40% chances.

All in all it just goes to show our weather predictions are only guesses, the great ocean of air above us will do what it wants having a mind of its own.


 

 

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Sandy (Hudsonville)Jeff(Portland)Mark (East Lansing)Rocky (Rockford)Mookie Recent comment authors
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INDY
INDY

61* degrees 6am out at thee YARDofBRICKS NE of GR no air conditioning no fans windows wide open beautiful cool morning love it ..INDY

Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

What a summer!

Sandy (Hudsonville)
Sandy (Hudsonville)

Nice day today. The sun felt good but it wasn’t too hot. The gardens are loving this weather this summer.

Slim

It happens every year in mid to late August when a few trees show some color due to dryness or stress or just tree old age or whatever. That does not mean it is the start of a early fall color season we are still about a month or more from that happening
Slim

Mookie
Mookie

Phew yesterday was another warm one. Lake Michigan temps continue to be above average – just like our summer!

INDY
INDY

I was watching Mark Toragrosa MLive weather this morning he was talking about around the Traverse City area the maples already have a red tint on them maybe we will get some Fall beauty this year early with all the rain we have had in the spring, around my neck of the woods I have a lot of dead leaves dropping out at thee YARDofBRICKS NE of GR I hope that’s not a bad sighn for mid way through August on Fall beauty “sad face” uggg love Fall beauty!! The next 3 days will feel like Fall especially at night… Read more »

Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

More below normal temps are on the way! Bring it!

Mookie
Mookie

Is this the same individual?

Jeff(Portland)
Jeff(Portland)

Yep.. Same person with two different accounts.. Imagine that.

Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

About the same person as mookie and Barry! Get a Grip!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

It’s been so dry, I’m seeing a few leaves change too.

Slim

Looking ahead long term (long range guess at best) The CPC is making this week’s ENSO update the final El Nino Advisory as NINO 3.4 has been neutral for at least the past 4 weeks, which will reduce the three-month average just below El Nino status. And it looks like the fall and early winter season could be in a neutral or even a weak La Nina pattern. Also we are in what looks to be a solar minimum so we will see what if any effects this will have on our upcoming fall and winter seasons. I will toss… Read more »

Slim

Of course there was no rain here at my house last night. And while the overnight low was a warm 70 at GRR and 69 here at my house it feels much cooler out this AM. It now looks like this weekend will not be nearly as warm as some had thought it would be. The current temperature here at my house is 73 with cloudy skies’
Slim

Barry in Zeeland
Barry in Zeeland

Good read on space weather. There is much to be discovered yet as to how it all has impacts on our weather. Bummer we didn’t even get a drop of rain, our yard is just scorched now. Hot day yesterday coming in at +7.