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Like I've been saying for years, "It's the Sun, stupid".

Following are some snippets that should be posted here.

...There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), "The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate," lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet...

...Of particular importance is the sun's extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere...

...Several researchers discussed how changes in the upper atmosphere can trickle down to Earth's surface. There are many "top-down" pathways for the sun's influence. For instance, Charles Jackman of the Goddard Space Flight Center described how nitrogen oxides (NOx) created by solar energetic particles and cosmic rays in the stratosphere could reduce ozone levels by a few percent. Because ozone absorbs UV radiation, less ozone means that more UV rays from the sun would reach Earth's surface.

Isaac Held of NOAA took this one step further. He described how loss of ozone in the stratosphere could alter the dynamics of the atmosphere below it. "The cooling of the polar stratosphere associated with loss of ozone increases the horizontal temperature gradient near the tropopause,” he explains. “This alters the flux of angular momentum by mid-latitude eddies. [Angular momentum is important because] the angular momentum budget of the troposphere controls the surface westerlies." In other words, solar activity felt in the upper atmosphere can, through a complicated series of influences, push surface storm tracks off course...

...In fact, as Peter Foukal of Heliophysics, Inc., pointed out, the situation is more complex. The sun is not a featureless ball of uniform luminosity. Instead, the solar disk is dotted by the dark cores of sunspots and splashed with bright magnetic froth known as faculae. Radiometric imaging would, essentially, map the surface of the sun and reveal the contributions of each to the sun’s luminosity. Of particular interest are the faculae. While dark sunspots tend to vanish during solar minima, the bright faculae do not. This may be why paleoclimate records of sun-sensitive isotopes C-14 and Be-10 show a faint 11-year cycle at work even during the Maunder Minimum...

There is more in the article, well worth a read. Who knows (no one) what will bubble up to the surface of the sun next and be spewed forth through our solar system. It doesn't operate on a schedule, like lunch.
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