Has our sun undergone a state change?
The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24.
(The sun) might (1) revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter into a “Dalton Minimum” or a Grand Minima such as the “Maunder Minimum”. It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing. Each of these two possibilities holds a great threat to our nation.
We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads “Danger”! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine.
…Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high speed charged particles that originate from exploding stars.
Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field wrapped in the solar winds that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing high energy cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system.
As I say in Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps, these same cosmic rays can lead to mutations and evolutionary leaps.
As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. An increase in Earth’s cloud cover produce a global drop in temperature.Since the old solar cycles produced fewer sunspots, one might draw the conclusion that we will be entering a period of reduced solar storms. But this is not true. It is quite the opposite. The old solar cycles produced very intense solar storms. The greatest solar storm in modern time known as the Carrington flare of 1-2 September 1859 occurred in Solar Cycle 10. In addition to the Carrington flare, several other massive solar storms occurred during the old solar cycles. These massive solar storms occurred on 12 October 1859, 4 February 1872, 17-18 November 1882, 30 March 1894, 31 October 1903, 25 September 1909 and 13-16 May 1921. How can this be? This is because the old solar cycles produced massive sunspots. It was like the magnetic field energy was still there and had to still be released but during a shorter time interval, so the sunspots exploded in size and power.
If a solar storm of the magnitude of the Carrington flare were to occur today, the effect on our modern technologically dependent society would be grave. Of these, the greatest threat would lie in the loss of stable electrical power. A massive solar storm could destroy many of the large custom Extra High Voltage (EHV) power transformer in the United States. These items are unique, costly (around $10 million each) and have manufacture lead time of a year or more for replacement… if a massive solar storm struck the United States today “it would result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people and would expose more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage”. Imagine the effect of a total power blackout for months/years on 100 million people in the U.S. along with many millions across the globe. The report then goes on to say “Historically large storms have a potential to cause power grid blackouts and transformer damage of unprecedented proportions, long-term blackouts, and lengthy restoration times, and chronic shortages for multiple years are possible.”