What are the Solar Cycles - How Do They Affect the Environment?

Solar Cycles are a scientific phenomenon that can have a significant impact on the earth’s environment. This blog covers various points which will help you understand it in a better way.

The Sun is the centre spot of earth’s life which influences it in varied ways. Imagine life without the sun, there will be no food, no life and eventually it will be all dark. While various solar phenomena impact the earth in one or the other ways, the Solar Cycles are something that also has a significant impact on the earth’s atmosphere and environment. 

While you might be curious to know what exactly it is, in simpler terms, you may understand it as a Sun’s activity over the time of 11 years, which can be observed through the number of sunspots. During this period, the sun’s activity may experience varied phenomena which are referred to as solar minimum and solar maximum.

Solar Cycles are the change in the sun's magnetic activity which is observed through the number of spots observed in the sun. Since the core of the sun is filled with numerous gases it results in powerful magnetic forces influencing activities on the sun.

What Happens During the Solar Cycles and How it May Affect Earth?

During a solar cycle, the Sun goes through a lot of activities such as eruptions, solar flares and magnetic impacts which influence planet Earth as well. The beginning of the solar cycle is referred to as Solar Minimum while the ending of the solar cycle is called Solar Maximum. During the period of solar maximum, the number of sunspots is observed on the surface of the Sun. It also has varied impacts on the planet Earth as it receives illuminations caused by the sun in the form of exposure to ultraviolet rays and X-Rays.

How Solar Cycles Impacts Earth Environment

The solar cycle impacts the environment in varied ways by providing solar energy. Here are some of the points which will help you to understand it in a better way:

  1. Climate Change - It can be referred to as a change in the Earth’s temperature and weather patterns. Due to the Solar Cycles, the Earth's upper atmosphere faces radiant heat which also impacts the temperature on the earth’s surface. Due to this, the climate of the earth gets impacted in varied ways.
     
  2. Global Warming - Due to the sun's heat, it may be observed that the solar maximum which is referred to as the highest level of activity during a solar cycle may result in rising temperature. This is something that may result in global warming. However, scientists suggest that it may be one of the rare contributing factors apart from emissions from industries and other non-environmental friendly practices.
     
  3. Effect on Earth’s Weather - While the solar cycles might result in eruption and magnetic forces, it influences a lot of aspects of the planet earth. One of them is natural phenomena such as a rise in the level of CO2 which might also impact weather patterns over several years.
     
  4. Change in Pacific El Nino Patterns - The El Nino refers to the climatic patterns which result in the warming of surface waters in the tropical pacific ocean. In some of the studies, it has been found out that when cloud-free areas of the ocean get exposed to the sun, it may result in higher evaporation due to which tropical rainfall can happen. This phenomenon can also get influenced due to the maximisation of cosmic rays.
  5. Scope of Risk for Increase in Temperature - There is a high risk of an increase in usual temperature in some of the areas impacted by the effects of the Solar Cycle. An increase in solar activity due to the solar cycle maximum may over a period of time increase the localised temperature of some regions. This similar impact can also be observed through global warming but scientists also suggest that it may also happen due to the solar cycle phenomenon.

  6. Influences Volcanic Activities on Earth - Solar Cycle is known to adversely impact areas with high volcanic activities as the cosmic rays during this time are usually high. This can be observed more during the time of solar maximum.

  7. Solar Cycle Impact Satellites Revolving Around the Earth - Since the Solar Cycle is known to expose off radiation, heat, and solar flares, it might also be destructive for satellites revolving around the earth.

Conclusion

The Solar Cycle being a natural solar phenomenon is a factor that has an influential impact on the atmosphere of the planet Earth and space. While this blog has already shed light on some of those impacts which are caused due to it on the earth, on the other hand, it also might influence activities on the outer sphere of earth. This in turn results in a change in the environment. 

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