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Link Established Between Solar Cycle And Earth Climate

NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center

9th Apr 1999

Researchers have found that the variations in the energy given off from the sun effect the Earth's wind patterns and thus the climate of the planet, according to results of a new study published in the April 9 issue of Science.

For decades, scientists have tried to understand the link between winds and temperature and the sun and its cycles. There were tell-tale signs of a connection. For instance, the Little Ice Age recorded in Europe between 1550 and 1700 happened during a time of very low solar activity. But how the sun and climate were linked continued to elude researchers.

According to Drew Shindell, a climate researcher from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, NY, and lead author of the new study, a key piece of the puzzle was missing. Previous studies neglected to take into account the effects of increased solar activity on the ozone layer or the complex chemistry of the upper atmosphere where most of the high-energy radiation, including ultra-violet radiation (the kind responsible for creating the ozone layer) gets absorbed.

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