Washington, August 28 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have determined that subtle connections between the 11-year-solar cycle, the stratosphere and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, an understanding which would help in predicting the intensity of the Indian monsoon.
"It's been long known that weather patterns are well-correlated to very small variations in total solar energy reaching our planet during 11-year solar cycles," said Jay Fein, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Atmospheric Sciences, which funded the research.
"What's been an equally long mystery, however, is how they are physically connected. This remarkable study is beginning to unravel that mystery," he added.
An international team of authors led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, used more than a century of weather observations and three powerful computer models to tackle one of the more difficult questions in meteorology: if the total energy that reaches Earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the approximately 11-year solar cycle, how can it drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth?
The answer, according to the study, has to do with the Sun's impact on two seemingly unrelated regions.
Chemicals in the stratosphere and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean respond during solar maximum in a way that amplifies the Sun's influence on some aspects of air movement.
This can intensify winds and rainfall, change sea surface temperatures and cloud cover over certain tropical and subtropical regions, and ultimately influence global weather.
"The Sun, the stratosphere, and the oceans are connected in ways that can influence events such as winter rainfall in North America," said NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, the lead author of the paper.
"Understanding the role of the solar cycle can provide added insight as scientists work over the next decade or two toward predicting regional weather patterns," he added.
The Indian monsoon, Pacific precipitation and sea surface temperatures, and other regional climate patterns are largely driven by rising and sinking air in Earth's tropics and subtropics.
The new study could help scientists use solar-cycle predictions to estimate how that circulation, and the regional climate patterns related to it, might vary over the next decade or two. (ANI)