Astronomy

Climate Change in Astronomy

Astronomy

A lot of energy has been put into the Climate Change conversation, and most of the focus has been on local human activity that may be influencing climate. Not much attention, however, has been focused on celestial influences.

Reality is that even minute shifts in the solar system can have major implications for the planet. The Royal Astronomical Society has studied this and describes some of the data they have collected here.

According to NASA, solar flares are another potential influence on our planet. Our sun goes through a cycle every 11 years, at which point the number and intensity of solar flares are at their highest. 2011 was such a year. The radiation from a solar flare can reach earth’s atmosphere in eight minutes, and has a negative impact that can affect climate conditions. According to an international team of researchers, “The effect of sporadic solar energetic particle events is shown to be limited on the global scale, even for the most severe event, but can be very strong locally in polar regions, affecting the physical-chemical properties of the upper atmosphere, especially at high altitudes.” Perhaps the change we have seen in polar ice is due to some degree to solar radiation.