How do sunspots affect us on earth?

Sunspots are areas on the surface of the sun with cooler temperatures and darker colors. These sunspots tend to accumulate in a region called the photosphere. The photosphere is 5,800 degrees kelvin, and sunspots have a temperature of about 3,800 degrees kelvin. When looking at an image of a sunspot it looks brighter than it actually is and that is because of the surrounding photosphere.

Sunspots can be extremely large. Most range from 30,000 to 50,000 kilometers in diameter. Sunspots are the result of interactions with the suns magnetic field. To this day scientists are not aware of what exactly happens during this interaction. We do however know that sunspots occur over regions of intense magnetic activity and when that energy is released , solar flares and big storms called coronal mass ejections erupt from sunspots. 

Solar wind is made up of magnetized plasma flames and is many times linked to sunspots. Scientists believe it emanates from the sun and influences galactic rays that may affect atmospheric phenomena on earth. However scientists will say that they still have a lot to learn about sunspots and solar winds. Some spots are visible to earth in the form of Aurora Borealis. 

Those who are skeptical of human induced climate will blame global warming on variations in the sun’s output due to sunspots and solar winds. Many say that there is no coincidence between an increase in sunspot activity and global temperatures on earth increasing. They view regulations of carbon emission as negative for our economy. 


But most climate scientists agree that sunspots and solar wind could be playing a part in climate change. Only some view it as minimal and attribute carbon emissions as the leading cause of climate change. Most peer studies back up the claim of the latter. Unfortunately the only way to find out if phenomena like sunspots and solar wind are playing a part in climate change, would be to lower carbon emissions.

-Sanaa Dalvi

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