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  • Writer's pictureAdam H. Cooke

How Does Solar Winter Effect Our World? I

Solar Winter

Solar winter is the codename given to the last three days when a certain hemisphere gets the lowest amount of solar radiation entering the earth's surface. During this time solar storms or flares are often felt across the globe. If the solar rays take the path of least resistance through the air, then very little solar radiation is absorbed or re-radiated back into the earth's surface.

The northern hemisphere has the longest days during the polar winter. Typically, spring and autumn have the longest days of this period. On average, the mean temperatures during spring, summer, and autumn are about 4 degrees lower than the mean temperatures of winter. In the northern hemisphere, the spring days are followed by cold showers before the arrival of mild weather in the fall. In the southern hemisphere, the days are warmer than the mean temperatures of winter. Generally, the southern hemisphere is affected by the Sun for the longest time during the winter.

Winter in the northern hemisphere can be triggered by any of the four main factors which cause the Earth to move poleward. First, the Moon's phase and movement around the earth's equator cause the planet to rotate more rapidly than it would otherwise. This tidewater move also tilt the poles more than would otherwise. Finally, the northern hemisphere has the least amount of a large number of days with either full or part Moon during its monthly cycle.

Except for February, the months of June, July, and August in the northern hemisphere experience the full solar maximum. The only exception to this is that the western hemisphere usually experiences the full moon only on the first day of march. Therefore, these months are the only months when there are fewer hours of daylight. Because the months of February to Monday are relatively short in duration, solar winter in the northern hemisphere may last for several weeks or even longer. There are three main factors which influence the length of a solar winter.

First, the full Moon causes the North Pole to stay tilted toward the sun. Because the tilt is not large enough to keep the temperature freezing, the months of January through march experience only a short solar winter. If, however, there is an extended period of cloud coverage over the skies above the Arctic Ocean, a long-term winter season can develop. For example, a cloud covered the winter on the Pacific Northwest and Central states could last a full eight months.

Secondly, the lack of a significant number of days with at least a share of daylight gives rise to less heating during the summer. When there are a large number of days with no sunlight, temperatures typically drop below freezing for a period of time. A solar winter solstice on the other hand can last a period of months with only a small portion of days with adequate sunlight. When there is a significant number of days with sunlight, temperatures usually remain above freezing throughout.

Lastly, the months of April and May experience the longest amount of sunshine over the Arctic Ocean. On these months, the tilt of the Earth makes it possible for the maximum amount of southern hemisphere sunlight to flood into the Arctic. When this happens, the warming effect of the solar winter is amplified. The months of June, July, and August experience the shortest amount of daylight. In the northern hemisphere, the minimum amount of solar winter is experienced during the months of September, October and November.

The solar cycle affects the earth's temperature on a daily basis. As such, it can have a profound effect on global temperatures. For example, a prolonged period of cold weather can lead to further shrinking of glaciers and increased rate of thawing of permafrost. Global warming has also been implicated as a factor behind the recent increase in temperatures. With this being said, it is evident that solar activity has a profound effect on global temperatures and can be forecasted in any period of time. Accordingly, it is essential that we take the necessary steps to minimize its impact on the earth and the current global climate.

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