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Newly discovered interactions between the Sun and the Earth affect our climate.
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Image Courtesy of UCAR

Scientists Discover Connections among the Solar Cycle, the Stratosphere and the Ocean
News story originally written on August 27, 2009

Scientists used information they got from over a 100 years of weather observations and from three powerful computer models to try and answer a very difficult question about the weather. They wanted to know why the 11-year solar cycle causes major changes in weather patterns on Earth.

They learned that the Sun impacts one of the layers of the atmosphere called the stratosphere and parts of the ocean. The stratosphere and the Pacific Ocean work together to create some weather patterns on the Earth. Sunspots send solar energy to the Earth, and when these sunspots are very active, there will be stronger winds and rainfall in some parts of the Earth, ocean currents can change. These things can affect the climate in some places on Earth.

This new study will help scientists use information they have about the Sun to predict how the regional climate patterns on Earth might change over the next ten or twenty years.

Last modified September 3, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

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