Normally during each 11 year solar cycle, the sun’s north and south pole will shift magnetic polarity (from positive to negative and visa-verse) whereby each pole remains opposite each other (one of them is ‘positive’ while the other is ‘negative’). The sun’s pole flip typically occurs around the time of the solar maximum, and had been predicted to happen during the approximate time of May, 2013.
The thing is, For the first time in the world, an international research team consisting mainly of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and RIKEN (a large natural sciences research institute in Japan with approximately 3000 scientists) recently discovered the phenomenon of the polarity of the polar magnetic field in the solar polar region is reversing faster than expected…”
The “Hinode” satellite (a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Solar mission with United States and United Kingdom collaboration) has been conducting polar observations, and it was discovered during observations conducted in January 2012 that the north polar magnetic field was dwindling close to almost zero, one year earlier than expected.
Not only that, but,
According to a June, 2012 updated press release, results show that the solar dynamo, which is a process generating magnetic fields within the Sun, is bringing about changes seen for the first time since the start of modern-style solar observation. There are signs that the large solar magnetic field has changed to a quadrupole structure.
What is a quadrupole structure?
Instead of the north and south pole having opposite magnetic polarities (positive and negative), the two poles develop the SAME polarity (in this instance, ‘positive’)!
What does or could this mean to us?
This has never happened before during modern day measurements, and we don’t know for sure. It is believed that the Sun has previously experienced these circumstances during the Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minimum, which are said to have been periods when the Earth’s climate was colder (much colder).
The Maunder Minimum is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time. The Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle — and coldest part — of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters.
The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830. The Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.
From the standpoint of modern survival, what should we take away from this information?
The key takeaway is that there will always be the unexpected circumstance, a phenomenon entirely out of our control. Some potentially very big… others not so big. While we cannot change it, we can learn to be better prepared to deal with or expect the unexpected. We can learn to depend less upon external systems and we can learn that our ‘normal’ may not always be ‘normal’. We really don’t know if a quadrupole sun will affect us for the worse. Will it change our climate in the years ahead? Will it change the way the earth interacts with the streaming solar energy field? I suppose we shall find out…
Magnetic field polarity at the solar poles will reverse and become quadrupolar in May, meaning positive fields will emerge in the North and South poles and negative fields will emerge on the equator, according to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and other institutes.
When a similar phenomenon occurred about 300 years ago, the Earth’s average temperature fell slightly.
A research team led by Saku Tsuneta, a professor at the observatory, analyzed solar magnetic fields data using Hinode, an observational satellite, and confirmed that the polarity of the magnetic field at the North Pole began to reverse in July last year.
The researchers also found the magnetic field at the South Pole, which was expected to reverse along with the North Pole, maintained a positive polarity, ensuring the formation of a quadrupole magnetic field.
The cause behind the shifts in polar fields is not understood. However, it is known that the shifts coincide with the increase and decrease in the number of sunspots over an about 11-year cycle.
The current sunspot cycle has stretched for close to 13 years. A similar situation occurred in the 17th to 18th century, when the average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere decreased by 0.6 C. The research team believes the quadrupolar pattern also emerged at that time.