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WOW!AUG 30, 2010 - Puzzling Collapse of Earth's Upper Atmosphere is yet one more in a wonderful series of wake-up calls courtesy of the good folks at NASA, who are determined to emphasize the reality of (and flesh out the details to) the ancient Hermetic Maxim that underlies all of astrology since time immemorial: "As Above, So Below." For their latest trick, NASA has funded research that shows how Earth's troposphere - the interface between our atmosphere and space, from about 90 to 600+ kilometers altitude above us - is responding to changes 93 million miles away in the Sun. Sure, it makes sense that Earth's atmosphere would expand and contract in response to changes in solar activity. The atmosphere is mostly a blend of gases after all, and gases expand as they are energized and contract as they are deenergized - by solar radiation, among other things. As it turns out, records since the dawn of the Space Age demonstrate this correlation. But lately, "Something is going on that we do not understand," says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab. True, solar activity reached a normal cyclical low in 2008-2009. Well, it was a normal time in the cycle for activity to be low - but it was abnormally low, a century class solar minimum in fact. So you'd expect to see a larger than usual contraction in the troposphere. The thing is, the troposphere during the 2008-2009 solar minimum contracted 28% more than current atmospheric models predicted. What's going on? "The numbers don't quite add up," Emmert says. Is the atmosphere changing on us, becoming more responsive to solar cycles than we've seen before? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out the connections between solar cycle minima and financial downturns in the graph at Puzzling Collapse of Earth's Upper Atmosphere: the 1973-1975 stagflation recession, the 1987 stock market crash, the 1997-1998 Asian contagion recession, and of course the current "Great Recession" which began during the last solar minimum. As above, look out below . . . and as solar activity begins to increase, will the downturn take a turn for the better? The answer, all else being equal, is yes. The question is, is all else equal? Aye, there's the rub.

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