Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Greater Solar Activity May Bring United States More Gray Days

Date:
July 16, 2001
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office
Summary:
NASA-funded earth science researchers have discovered that during periods of increased solar activity much of the United States becomes cloudier, possibly because the jet stream in the troposphere moves northward causing changes to regional climate patterns.

NASA-funded earth science researchers have discovered that during periods of increased solar activity much of the United States becomes cloudier, possibly because the jet stream in the troposphere moves northward causing changes to regional climate patterns.

Related Articles


The new study supports earlier findings by suggesting there is a relationship between increased cloud cover over the United States and the solar maximum, the most intense stage of activity on the Sun.

Previous studies have shown that during the solar maximum, the jet stream in the Northern Hemisphere moves northward.

The jet stream guides storms and plays an important role in cloudiness, precipitation and storm formation in the United States.

Dr. Petra Udelhofen, a NASA-funded researcher at the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is the lead author of a paper that discusses this topic, appearing in the July 1 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

"Based on these results and because the location of the jet stream influences cloudiness," said Udelhofen, "we suggest that the jet stream plays an important role in linking solar variability and cloud cover."

The jet stream is a ribbon of fast-moving air in the upper troposphere that blows from west to east. Storms beneath the jet stream follow its path. A shift in the jet stream can alter the location of clouds and precipitation across the U.S.

The troposphere is the region of the atmosphere that extends from the Earth's surface out to about 50,000 feet and is the focus of local, regional and global weather research. The stratosphere extends above the troposphere to about 150,000 feet and is the region where the ozone layer is formed.

The Sun's energy output varies over an 11-year cycle, sending more ultraviolet radiation towards the Earth during times of increased activity. While the Sun's total energy output only varies by about one-tenth of one percent between periods of low and high solar activity, the ultraviolet radiation that affects ozone production in the stratosphere can change by more than 10 percent.

Ultraviolet radiation is absorbed in the Earth's stratosphere and creates the protective ozone layer. When the ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation, it warms the stratosphere, which may affect movement of air in the troposphere where clouds form.

Solar cycle effects of ultraviolet radiation absorption by ozone in the stratosphere, its impact on atmospheric circulation and the location of storm tracks have been the subject of recent Earth Science research.

"Our results show that cloudiness varies on average by about two percent between years of solar maximum and minimum. In most parts of the U.S., cloud cover is slightly greater in years of solar maximum," noted Udelhofen.

Though more investigation is needed to better understand just how changes in the Sun's ultraviolet energy output is linked to atmospheric winds, the study helps people identify potential large-scale mechanisms that affect local and regional climates.

Scientists continue to investigate mechanisms that may link solar variability with weather. These new results support the idea of a link between stratospheric chemistry and meteorology, and support other recent theoretical studies associated with the impact of stratospheric chemistry on climate change and weather.

"It is important for future studies to identify and explain in detail the link between solar variability, ozone, the atmospheric circulation and cloud cover," Udelhofen said.

This research is part of the NASA Earth Science Enterprise program, which is dedicated to understanding how Earth is changing and what consequences these changes have for life on Earth.

More information is available on the Internet at: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20010712cloudcover.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "Greater Solar Activity May Bring United States More Gray Days." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010716112433.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. (2001, July 16). Greater Solar Activity May Bring United States More Gray Days. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010716112433.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "Greater Solar Activity May Bring United States More Gray Days." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010716112433.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Pee-Power Toilet to Light Up Disaster Zones

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 20, 2015) Students and staff are being asked to use a prototype urinal to &apos;donate&apos; urine to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power lighting. The developers hope the pee-power technology will light toilet cubicles in refugee camps, where women are often at risk of assault in poorly lit sanitation areas. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Undersea Quake Shakes Taiwan

Raw: Undersea Quake Shakes Taiwan

AP (Apr. 20, 2015) A strong undersea earthquake struck between Taiwan and southern Japan on Monday, sparking a house fire that killed a person outside of Taiwan&apos;s capital. (April 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins