The sun’s magnetic field flips every 11 years, and it’s about to do it again. As reported on Unknowncountry.com it last flipped on February 15, 2001, as the previous solar max reached its height. The complete field reversal is 3 to 4 months away. The shift will mark the midpoint of Solar Max 24, which has been one of the quietest on record. However, quiet solar maximums tend to produce fewer but more intense solar storms, as happened a few weeks ago when a huge coronal mass ejection was sent into space.
Back in 2011, the sun was so quiet that researchers were speculating that it might be entering a long term period of lowered output. Now that the current solar max has reached its climactic months and is proving to be the quietest in a century, that speculation is being renewed. If this is happening, global warming models could be derailed as Earth ends up facing another mini ice age similar to the one that began in the 1350s and did not end until the 1890s. This would have a profound effect on Earth’s weather and could indeed save us from runaway global warming.
A direct hit from an ejection of charged particles from the sun could be among the most serious of natural disasters, NASA head Charles Bolden warned Tuesday. Bolden spoke before scientists and industry members at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum, which was held at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Auditorium and Science Center in Silver Spring, Md. A few days later, a huge hole opened up in the sun’s corona, raising the possibility that major solar storms could take place in the next few days.
The sun’s magnetic field shifted today, indicating that the solar maximum will be at its most intense over the next few months. A shift in the sun’s polarity is not an unexpected event during a solar maximum, which has occurred every eleven years since the sunspot cycle was discovered.
The sun’s magnetic north pole is now in its southern hemisphere. It was in the northern hemisphere just a few weeks ago.
The poles will remain in their current position until 2012, when they will reverse again.