Sun Reverses Magnetic Polarity; Life Goes On: MSM finally gets that the sun’s magnetic field has flipped
And NOAA made a video to illustrate it:
The entire sun’s magnetic polarity, flips approximately every 11 years — though sometimes it takes quite a bit longer — and defines what’s known as the solar cycle. The visualization shows how in 1997, the sun shows the positive polarity on the top, and the negative polarity on the bottom. Over the next 12 years, each set of lines is seen to creep toward the opposite pole eventually showing a complete flip. By the end of the movie, each set of lines are working their way back to show a positive polarity on the top to complete the full 22 year magnetic solar cycle.
At the height of each magnetic flip, the sun goes through periods of more solar activity, during which there are more sunspots, and more eruptive events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The point in time with the most sunspots is called solar maximum.
In all likelihood, this means that sunspot activity, still low by historical standards for activity at the height of a solar cycle, will now start to decline to the beginning of the next cycle.
What does this mean for the earth? We don't know, but historically, periods of low sunspot activity are periods of cool to cold climate.