Does Chicago’s weather sync with the 11-year solar cycle?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
Does Chicago’s weather sync with the 11-year solar cycle?
Jim Schueler, Manhattan, Ill.

Dear Jim,
There is no apparent effect on the Earth’s, or Chicago’s, weather from the solar cycle. The 11-year solar cycle is the cycle that the sun’s magnetic field goes through every 11 years. The sun is a ball of electrically-charged hot gas that creates a magnetic field. Approximately every 11 years, the magnetic field completely flips: The north and south poles of the magnetic field switch places. The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the sun. Sunspots, which are caused by the sun’s magnetic field, are affected. A solar cycle begins with a solar minimum, when the number of sunspots is fewest. Gradually their number increases to a maximum, then decreases to the next minimum.

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