Thursday, 10 January 2019: 4:30 PM
North 122BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
The Sun provides the energy required to sustain life on Earth and drive our planet's atmospheric circulation. However, establishing a solid physical connection between solar and tropospheric variability has posed a considerable challenge across the spectrum of Earth-system science. The canon of solar variability, the solar fiducial clock, lies almost exclusively with the 400 years of human telescopic observations that demonstrates the waxing and waning number of sunspots, intense magnetic concentrations, over an 11(ish) year period. Recent research has demonstrated the critical importance of the underlying 22-year magnetic polarity cycle in establishing the shorter sunspot cycle. Integral to the manifestation of the latter is the spatio-temporal overlapping and migration of oppositely polarized magnetic bands. The points when these bands emerge at high solar latitudes and cancel/ annihilate at the solar equator are separated by almost 20 years. Here we demonstrate the impact of these "termination" points on the Sun's radiative output and particulate shielding of our planetary atmosphere through the dramatically rapid reconfiguration of solar magnetism. These events reset the Sun's fiducial clock and present a new portal to explore the Sun-Earth connection. Using direct observation and proxies of solar activity going back some six decades we can, with high statistical significance, demonstrate an apparent correlation between the occurrence of a solar cycle termination and the largest swings of Earth's oceanic indices–a previously overlooked correspondence. A forecast of the Sun's global behavior places the next solar termination point in early 2020; should a major oceanic swing follow, then the challenge becomes: when does correlation become causation and how does the process work?
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