Changes in Solar Output
Changes in solar output affect the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's atmosphere and surface, and thus affect the planet's climate. Changes in solar output occur during events such as sunspots and solar flares.

  • Sunspots cause slow, temporary decreases in the amount of energy emitted from the Sun.
  • Solar flares cause sudden, temporary increases in the amount of energy emitted from the Sun.

Image of a small portion of the sun showing a sunspot group.

Photo: Sunspot group observed on June 14th, 1989. Image shows only a small portion of the sun. Photo courtesy of New Jersey Institute of Technology's Big Bear Solar Observatory.

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