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Name: Jason D.
Status: student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 
Sunday, December 01, 2002



Question:
Does solar weather have any effect on earth whether, and if so what?


Replies:
Jason,

The activity of the Sun does have an effect on the Earth's weather, although it is normally imperceptible. The Sun's energy is what drives our climate. Greater than normal solar activity can increase the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth. Therefore, a prolonged period of change of the energy reaching the Earth would result in a change in climate. Because of the immensity of the atmosphere and the huge mass of the Earth itself, short term changes in the energy from the Sun are rarely perceptible in the climate.

However, scientists believe that they see the effects of long term solar energy changes in the climatic record over thousands of years. This is complicated by the variation in the Earth's orbit around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis over time (see my answers to Earth tilt questions), which also result in climate change through alteration of the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory


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