The root helio implies sun. The root meteorology implies weather forecasting. Heliometeorology is the study of the relationship between long-term solar activity and long-term weather forecasting. I believe there are additional short-term weather affects (such as increasing hurricane strength) due to short-term solar activity (such as x-ray flares).
The sun has solar cycles that repeat approximately every 11 years. The discovery of the sun's cycles started with the discovery of sunspots. Early observers of the sun noted dark spots on the surface of the sun -- especially at sunrise or sunset. Some people started counting and record their numbers. Good historical data dates back to about 1749. If you plot the number of sunspots since then, you get a chart like the one below.
Counting the full cycles since 1749, you find we are currently in solar cycle 23.
It turns out that the sun's magnetic polarity flips every other sunspot cycle. Thus, it turns out that the solar cycle is approximately 22 years long.
When sunspots increase, the amount of radiation from the sun increases. Thus, earth receives more energy from the sun. When the sun receives more energy from the sun -- the theory goes -- this affects the weather. This may seem counterintuitive. If the sun has black spots on it, you might think that there is less of an area giving off heat. Not so. When there are more sunspots, the sun is decaying more quickly and is giving off more heat.
Long-term temperatures on earth have been increasing. "The Earth's climate has warmed about 1°C (1.8°F) during the last 100 years." This leads some scientist to predict that the earth is experiencing "global warming". A common line of reasoning goes:]
The long-term trend for solar activity is shown in the chart below.
I believe the premises in the Global Warming argument are true. The population has grown. Pollution levels have grown. Pollution is bad, and if the level of pollution gets bad enough, we could kill ourselves off. I do not doubt that greenhouse gases can lead to an increasing average temperature on earth. However, long-term solar activity has increased, and could easily be a much greater cause of any recent global warming.
The trend-line above shows that since about the early 1800's solar activity has been increasing. Most of the increase in the world's population and the production of the greenhouse gases has also occurred since then. A more sensitive moving average is shown in the graph below.
Again, the long-term trend is up.
What causes Ice Ages? There are some who believe we are about to enter a new ice-age at any time. According to this external website, the world has recently started getting colder and the oceans are getting warmer. Instead of sea levels rising, in the last decade, they have fallen 2.5 inches. I heard an interview with Robert W. Felix who stated -- I don't know if it is true -- that the earth's temperature right now is cold enough for a new ice age to start. He said what is need is more moisture in the atmosphere, not colder temperatures. Here in Minnesota, most people remember when we had a blizzard on Holloween October 31, 1991 where we had 28.4 inches of snow. If more moisture kept flowing into that storm it would have just kept snowing.
Between 1640 (1645?) and 1710 (1715?) sunspots practically stopped forming. The sun was very "stable" and gave off less heat. During this period, Europe experience such a cold snap it was referred to as the "Little Ice Age." (The Maunder Minimum was named after E Walter Maunder, 16201720, who extensively studied this period.)
A Woolly Mammoth that died about 20,000 years ago, was found in the northern Siberia region of Russia. Some scientists hope to clone the mammoths using dna cells and implanting a fertilized egg into an elephant. Some mammoths have been found standing frozen in ice, with green grass in their toes and stomachs. This leads to the idea that the onset of an ice age can happen very quickly. In other words, on a sunny day, with green grass and flowers, the snow started falling so fast that it buried a Woolly Mammoth where it stood -- and the snow didn't let up enough for the body of the mammoth to rot. It went directly from warm to ice age! If I remember his quote correctly, Robert W. Felix said, it snowed about 3 feet a day for 30 days in a row.
In the Siberia area of Russia, about 250 million years ago, there was massive volcanic activity. A new study of the Traps suggests that the lava flow covered an area, "around 3.9 million square kilometres. This is equivalent to an area just over half the size of Australia." Scientists believe that this massive volcanic activity coincided with one of the biggest mass extinctions ever known to occur on earth. It may have "caused" the extinction, or was the volcanic activity might have resulted from some other event that triggered the massive volcanic activity such as a meteor or comet collision. This Permian-Triassic extinction led to the disappearance of 90% of all marine species and 70% of land vertebrates and may have allowed the Dinosaurs to flourish later on. No matter how you look at though, the amount of "pollution" created by this volcanic activity was vastly greater than all of the pollution humans have ever made.
Volcanoes cause tremendous amounts of destruction through many mechanisms:
I would like to address the ash and gases given off by volcanoes. This ash and gas is "pollution" if you add up the pollution from just a few volcanic eruptions like Mount Saint Helens, it is quite a bit more pollution than humans have created.
In High School Biology, we did an experiment -- growing mold in a petri dish. At first the mold flourished. Then it died off. It was killed by its own poisons. The earth is like that petri dish. Humans are like the mold. There is no doubt, pollution is bad. We will kill ourselves off if we over-pollute our planet. However, have humans started this process with creating too much greenhouse gases that have started global warming? It is my opinion, no. I believe the earth is far more resilient than that. I believe any recent "global warming" has been caused by an increase in solar activity where the sun is far more powerful than humans. But it should be noted: a dramatic increase in global temperature -- from whatever cause -- must be battled. We do not need the argument of global warming to reduce pollution. Reducing pollution should not be tided to global warming theories but should stand on its own merit.
On September 20, 1998 hurricane Georges suddenly becomes a powerful hurricane. On September 20, 1998 there was a sudden increase in solar activity due to an M-Class solar flare. Coincidence? On August 26, 1999 hurricane Dennis strengthens. On August 26, 1999 there are a couple of spikes in solar activity and solar activity is high. Coincidence? On August 21, 1999 hurricane Brett strengthens. On August 21, 1999 there are a many of spikes in solar activity and solar activity is high. Coincidence? I did not notice the correlation at first, but I have seen it happen many times. Go back and look at the records for yourself. Hurricanes can be strengthened during the day -- suddenly -- if solar activity is high or if flares occur. Whenever a hurricane is building, you see the hurricane forecasters on TV noting that the hurricanes receive their energy from the warm waters beneath them. How then does a massive hurricane, spanning hundreds of miles across, moving tens of miles an hour, strengthen dramatically in just a couple of hours? It can not suddenly move over a warmer patch of water that strengthens it so quickly. I had just thought the stories I heard of hurricanes strengthening suddenly were an oddity of nature. I never really gave it much thought. Then, I start monitoring solar activity. I noticed these strengthening stories in the news on days and times coincident with flaring and major solar activity. For me, it seems obvious, hurricanes can be heated from above, as well as from below.
This is an example that shows heliometeorology is not just a long-term weather prediction technique.
Go to this page and see the graphic on how sea levels have changed through history. Then come back and look at the solar cycle graphics above. One of my goals is to get a good astronomical program that can predict the wobble of the sun for thousands of years. I believe that it will create a graph that will mirror this graphic quite closely.
What do all of the above topics have in common? They can either kill thousands, millions, or all humans. We must study them. We must prevent the cause or reduce the impact. But it must be based on science. The study of the sun's periodic solar activity can be predicted. I believe the causes of mass extinctions can be predicted. I believe understanding how solar activity is linked is a key to understanding many of the worst causes of mass extinctions.