How do sunspots impact our weather?

Dear Tom,
How do sunspots impact our weather? If there are many sunspots, is our weather warmer or colder?
— John, Evanston
Dear John,
There is no indication that sunspots have an effect on the Earth’s weather. The “sunspot cycle” consists of an 11-year period during which the number of sunspots, and the active regions of the sun that envelop them, peaks and then diminishes. Those active regions result in violent explosions that produce “space weather.”
Huge amounts of energetic particles are hurled into space and, when directed at the Earth, can cause geomagnetic storms that affect the Earth’s ionosphere (the atmospheric layer about 45 to 600 miles above the surface), interfering with radio communications. The Earth’s weather, however, occurs at much lower levels in the atmosphere, generally below 80,000 feet.
There is no indication that sunspots have an effect on the Earth’s weather.

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