From The Reference Frame:
◼ A giant breach in Earth's magnetic field
Read: ◼ NASA/Themis
Dec. 16, 2008: NASA's five THEMIS spacecraft have discovered a breach in Earth's magnetic field ten times larger than anything previously thought to exist. Solar wind can flow in through the opening to "load up" the magnetosphere for powerful geomagnetic storms. But the breach itself is not the biggest surprise. Researchers are even more amazed at the strange and unexpected way it forms, overturning long-held ideas of space physics....
...The years ahead could be especially lively. Raeder explains: "We're entering Solar Cycle 24. For reasons not fully understood, CMEs in even-numbered solar cycles (like 24) tend to hit Earth with a leading edge that is magnetized north. Such a CME should open a breach and load the magnetosphere with plasma just before the storm gets underway. It's the perfect sequence for a really big event."
Sibeck agrees. "This could result in stronger geomagnetic storms than we have seen in many years."...
Watch: ◼ NASA video
Read: ◼ Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Massive Breach - scientists baffled
He notes: However, already in 2007, we mentioned a paper about a possible role of interstellar dust as a climate driver: this dust was proposed to realize the 22-year cycles. Something of this sort is probably happening. It is not exactly clear which of the effects related to the magnetic fields and magnetic storms and auroras etc. are going to be crucial for the temperature.
At any rate, I find it likely that a proper understanding of the flow of charged particles - not only cosmic rays - and their interactions with the magnetic fields is going to be important for a proper understanding of climate variability. And be sure that the periodic effects with the 22-year period are not the only ones that will exist and matter.
In closely related news, the Earth's ionosphere dropped to a new, unexpected low.
◼ Papers challenging geocentrism