Posts Tagged ‘Solar Cycle 24’

The sun dances to its own tune with unexpectedly high activity in February

March 4, 2014

There is more we don’t know that we don’t know that we don’t know. (with apologies to Donald Rumsfeld).

While Solar Cycle 24 is still showing the lowest sunspot activity in 100 years, its activity during February was unexpectedly high.  And we don’t really know why.

SC24 Feb 2014 graphic NOAA data from informthpundits

SC24 Feb 2014 graphic NOAA data from informthepundits

The increased activity in February was certainly not expected but SC24 still remains at a very low activity level compared to recent Solar Cycles.

SC21 - SC24 from

SC21 – SC24 from

It is a little too early to see if the similarities with Solar Cycles 5 and 6 (during the time of the Dalton Minimum) will hold up and lead us into another Little Ice Age. Or whether this Landscheidt Minimum will just lead to a 30 year cooling period without quite producing a Little Ice Age.

Interesting times.

The Sun will continue to dance to its own tune and we will make believe that we know what it is doing.

But we ignore the Sun at our peril.


Solar Cycle 24’s double peak is not over yet

November 4, 2013

I thought we had reached solar maximum (albeit at a very low level) for this Solar Cycle 24 about a month ago with a double peak apparently having been evident in May. But the recent burst of solar activity during October suggests that the double peak may not be quite over yet.

SC24 sunspot activity October 2013

SC24 sunspot activity October 2013

Nasa’s prediction for SC24  (Wilson, Hathaway, and Reichmann) now looks like this:

SC24 prediction November 2013

SC24 prediction November 2013

Solar Maximum which was expected this fall may be somewhat delayed and might even be pushed back to the end of 2013.

The activity levels are still historically low and if SC 25 continues at very low levels then we will be getting close to the conditions of the Dalton and perhaps the Maunder Minimum. The sequence of solar cycles SC23,24 and 25 (Landscheidt Minimum) are then to be compared to the sequence of cycles SC4,5 and 6 for the Dalton Minimum whereas the Maunder Minimum corresponds to the period before solar cycle numbering started (prior to SC1).

Solar science is a long, long way from being a settled science and it always amazes me that “climate science”, which is overwhelmingly dependent upon the solar dynamo in its many various forms, can be considered to be settled. And not only settled, but so little dependent upon solar effects!

We ignore the Sun at our peril!

Solar Cycle 24 has passed its maximum – 25 years of cooling to be expected in this Landscheidt minimum

October 4, 2013

The September sunspot numbers are now out and it would seem that Solar Cycle 24 has passed its maximum. It looks very much like SC23, SC24 and the coming SC25 will be comparable to SC4, 5 and 6. Solar Cycles 5 and 6 were responsible for the Dalton Minimum. SC 24 and 25 will constitute the Landscheidt Minimum and we can now expect some 25 additional years of global cooling (which has of course already started – about 6 or 7 years ago).

LSC: This month was recorded as the lowest month since Jan 2011 which was the beginning of the rampup for SC24. Cycle max is close or passed with the northern hemisphere changing polarity and the south still somewhat floundering. The southern hemisphere just outweighing the northern hemisphere, showing the south is not meeting expectations by some that a second peak will occur. … SIDC 36.9, NOAA unadjusted at 55.0 (prov). 

NASA has made its latest prediction:

SC24 prediction October 2013

SC24 prediction October 2013

The transition from SC 23 to SC 24 looks very similar to that from SC4 to SC5.

SC4-6 and Dalton

SC4-6 and Dalton

Of course the IPCC makes little of any solar effects and while the variation of direct total irradiance is small, they are rather nonchalant about the very many profound ways in which solar effects manifest themselves in climate (via cloud formation and ocean cycles for example). But the global warmists and the IPCC have now so much invested in their increasingly dubious hypothesis that they are prepared to make the most convoluted contortions to deny the hiatus and that global cooling has started.

Judith Curry: 

Section 8.4.1 of the IPCC AR5 Report provides 2 pages of discussion on observations of solar irradiance.  But they conclude that all this doesn’t matter for the climate.  I agree that the TSI RF variations are much less than projected increased forcing due to the GHG.  But the solar-climate connection is probably a lot more complex than this statement implies. …..

…. Henrik Svensmark has an essay While the Sun Sleeps, …..

Solar activity has always varied. Around the year 1000, we had a period of very high solar activity, which coincided with the Medieval Warm Period. But after about 1300 solar activity declined and the world began to get colder. It was the beginning of the episode we now call the Little Ice Age.

It’s important to realise that the Little Ice Age was a global event. It ended in the late 19th Century and was followed by increasing solar activity. Over the past 50 years solar activity has been at its highest since the medieval warmth of 1000 years ago. But now it appears that the Sun has changed again, and is returning towards what solar scientists call a “grand minimum” such as we saw in the Little Ice Age.

The match between solar activity and climate through the ages is sometimes explained away as coincidence. Yet it turns out that, almost no matter when you look and not just in the last 1000 years, there is a link. Solar activity has repeatedly fluctuated between high and low during the past 10,000 years. In fact the Sun spent about 17 per cent of those 10,000 years in a sleeping mode, with a cooling Earth the result.

You may wonder why the international climate panel IPCC does not believe that the Sun’s changing activity affects the climate. The reason is that it considers only changes in solar radiation. That would be the simplest way for the Sun to change the climate – a bit like turning up and down the brightness of a light bulb.

Satellite measurements have shown that the variations of solar radiation are too small to explain climate change. But the panel has closed its eyes to another, much more powerful way for the Sun to affect Earth’s climate. In 1996 we discovered a surprising influence of the Sun – its impact on Earth’s cloud cover. High-energy accelerated particles coming from exploded stars, the cosmic rays, help to form clouds.

[C]limate scientists try to ignore this possibility.  If the Sun provoked a significant part of warming in the 20th Century, then the contribution by CO2 must necessarily be smaller.

The outcome may be that the Sun itself will demonstrate its importance for climate and so challenge the theories of global warming. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. ….




Asymmetric reversal of the Sun’s magnetic field is under way – NASA

August 6, 2013

The sun’s magnetic field reverses roughly every 11 years at solar maximum. We are now approaching solar maximum of solar cycle 24 (SC 24) but this magnetic reversal is strongly assymetric according to NASA:

“The sun’s north pole has already changed sign, while the south pole is racing to catch up,” says Scherrer. Soon, however, both poles will be reversed, and the second half of Solar Max will be underway.”

The North pole of the sun switched polarity in mid-2012 which seemed early at the time since solar maximum was not expected till the fall of 2013. It is difficult to imagine that there will not be consequences for the Earth but what those consequences might be is not a “settled science”.

Certainly geomagnetic reversals on Earth have more to do with the flow patterns in the earth’s liquid core and have quite different time periods. The time span between geomagnetic reversals on the Earth vary between 0.1 and 1 million years with an average of 450,000 years.

The latest one, the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, occurred 780,000 years ago. However,a study published in 2012 by a group from the German Research Center for Geosciences suggests that a brief complete reversal occurred only 41,000 years ago during the last glacial period. The reversal lasted only about 440 years with the actual change of polarity lasting around 250 years.

From Dr. Leif Svalgaard’s research page:

Solar magnetic reversal cycle

The NASA press release says:

August 5, 2013:  Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip.

“It looks like we’re no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal,” says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. “This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”


Solar Cycle 24 prediction: On track to be smallest in 100 years

June 12, 2012

NASA has updated its forecast for Solar Cycle 24.

Maximum is expected to be reached in Spring 2013 with a sunspot number of 60 and this prediction is for the lowest sunspot number in  100 years. This only confirms that we are currently in a solar minimum – the Landscheidt Minimum – though it remains to be seen whether this will be a Grand Minimum in the style of the Maunder Minimum or the Dalton Minimum. In any event a period of several decades of global cooling is to be expected and is already probably upon us (starting some 10 years ago).


Solar Cycle 24 NASA forecast update

March 13, 2012

David Hathaway has a new forecast for solar cycle 24:

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 59 in early 2013. We are currently over three years into Cycle 24. The current predicted size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years.

SC24 forecast: updated 2nd March 2012

SC25 will likely be even smaller and it now remains to be seen if this Landscheidt Minimum is closer to a Dalton Minimum or a Maunder Minimum.


Norway: “25–56% of the temperature increase the last 150 years may be attributed to the Sun”

March 8, 2012

The evidence for the obvious mounts. The sun comes first and dominates and then come the oceans which provide the vehicle for distributing solar effects around the globe. The mythical effect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide on climate has yet to be supported by any direct evidence. Instead, the direct evidence observations of the last 12 years is that increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been accompanied by a decline of “global” temperature.

A new paper by Jan-Erik Solheim (Department of Physics and Technology, University of Tromsø), Kjell Stordahl (Telenor Norway, Fornebu), Ole Humlum (Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo; Department of Geology, University Centre in Svalbard).

The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24

Preprint: Accepted for publication in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics February 9, 2012

Abstract. Relations between the length of a sunspot cycle and the average temperature in the same and the next cycle are calculated for a number of meteorological stations in Norway and in the North Atlantic region. No significant trend is found between the length of a cycle and the average temperature in the same cycle, but a significant negative trend is found between the length of a cycle and the temperature in the next cycle. This provides a tool to predict an average temperature decrease of at least 1.0 “C from solar cycle 23 to 24 for the stations and areas analyzed. We find for the Norwegian local stations investigated that 25-56% of the temperature increase the last 150 years may be attributed to the Sun. For 3 North Atlantic stations we get 63-72% solar contribution. This points to the Atlantic currents as reinforcing a solar signal.

Solar Cycle 24: Still on track to be smallest sunspot number cycle in 100 years

August 25, 2011

The August solar cycle 24 forecast from NASA is unchanged from the previous month though the maximum has increased to 69 from the 64 forecast about 6 months ago.

The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 69 in June of 2013 (same as last month). We are currently over two and a half years into Cycle 24. Four out of the last five months with average daily sunspot numbers above 40 has raised the predicted maximum above the 64.2 for the Cycle 14 maximum in 1907. This predicted size still make this the smallest sunspot cycle in over 100 years.

NASA - Solar Cycle 24 forecast

Solar Cycle 24 continues to invite comparisons with Solar Cycle 5.

SC24 versus SC5 - from

Landscheidt Minimum could be a grand solar minimum lasting till 2100

June 20, 2011

It is noticeable that the upsurge of evidence that a solar minimum – and maybe a grand minimum – is upon is causing many of the global warming enthusiasts to try and rationalise the effects of the sun. Suddenly they begin to acknowledge that the sun may have some small effect on climate but rush to point out that the solar influence on climate is not yet understood (indeed!) and in any case it will be much too small to be significant compared to the effects of man.

The belated acknowledgement of the possible influence of the sun is welcome but  the belief that man made effects can overcome the power of the sun is just arrogant.


Dr. Cornelis de Jager is a renowned Netherlands solar physicist, past General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, and author of several peer-reviewed studies examining the solar influence upon climateIn response to the recent press release of three US studies indicating the Sun is entering a period of exceptionally low activity, Dr. de Jager references his publications of 2010 and prior indicating that this Grand Solar Minimum will be similar to the Maunder Minimum which caused the Little Ice Age, and prediction that this “deep minimum” will last until approximately the year 2100. 

“The new episode is a deep minimum. It will look similar to the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1620 to 1720…This new Grand Minimum will last until approximately 2100.”




  2. Solar activity and its influence on climate  
  3. Major Drop In Solar Activity Predicted: Landscheidt Minimum is upon us and a mini-ice age is imminent

A quiet sun flexes its muscles

February 17, 2011

Update: February 18th 0700 CET

A CME hit Earth’s magnetic field at approximately 0100 UT on Feb. 18th (8:00 pm EST on Feb. 17th). The impact was not as strong as expected considering the cloud’s X-class origin.

Solar Cycle 24 is generally exhibiting a very low level of activity but the sun occasionally does flex its muscles just to show what it is capable of.

Geomagnetic Storm Watch – From the Space Weather Prediction Center: February 16, 2011 — The calm before the storm. Three CMEs are enroute, all a part of the Radio Blackout events on February 13, 14, and 15 (UTC). The last of the three seems to be the fastest and may catch both of the forerunners about mid to late day tomorrow, February 17.

February 17, 2011 — The first interplanetary shock, driven by the CME from Sunday, is expected any time. Soon thereafter, the shock from Monday evening’s R3/CME is due. Look for G1-G2 (and maybe periods of G3 if the following shock compresses and enhances the CME magnetic field). Geomagnetic storming should persist 24- 48 hours. Back at the Sun, Region 1158 is still hot and fast-growing, Region 1161 is producing small flares.

image NOAA

3-day Solar-Geophysical Forecast issued Feb 16 22:00 UTC

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be moderate with a chance for an isolated major flare for the next three days (17-19 February). Region 1158 is expected to produce more M-class flares and still has the potential for producing an M5 or greater x-ray event. There is a chance for isolated M-class activity from Region 1161.

Geophysical Activity Forecast: The geomagnetic field is expected to be predominately quiet on day one (February 17). An increase to unsettled to active conditions, with a chance for minor storm periods is expected late on day one into day two (18 February). The increased activity is forecast due to the expected arrival of the CME associated with the X2 flare that occurred on 15/0156Z. Day three (19 February) is expected to be quiet to active as the disturbance subsides.

%d bloggers like this: