Naval Research Laboratory
Solar Cycles and the Sun-Earth System
A generator in space, 150 million km away, heats the Earth, structures its atmosphere and organizes the surrounding space environment. The Sun’s energy output exhibits pronounced 11-year cycles, with myriad Earthly consequences. How much of recent surface warming and atmospheric ozone depletion are solar- rather than human-induced? How might the Sun affect navigation, communication and Earth-orbiting objects? What does the recent extended activity minimum mean for our environment? Scientific curiosity and societal utility both call for a robust understanding of the Sun-Earth system - our home in space that extends well beyond the surface where we live.