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 variability on all time scales, from minutes to 11-year cycles and longer, with myriad Earthly consequences that are especially pronounced in the outer atmosphere and space environment, but with clear signatures also in the middle and lower atmosphere, and at the Earth’s surface. How might the Sun affect navigation, communication and Earth-orbiting objects that can impact economic and security operations? How much of atmospheric ozone depletion and surface warming is solar -rather than human- induced? How well can we forecast future changes in Earth’s extended environment for societal, economic and security applications?
Judith Lean is Senior Scientist for Sun-Earth System Research in the Space Science Division of the Naval Research Laboratory.
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