The Sun is almost completely blank, all but devoid of sunspots. This is odd considering we are meant to be at the solar maximum this summer. NASA has released a chart showing the downturn in activity.
The maximum could be double peaked which would see a further surge in activity over the next couple of months, but scientists are split on this. Scientific opinions vary not least because observations indicate that the Sun’s magnetic field is about to flip. This only happens at the solar maximum.
Todays sunspot number is 12. That figure is the Boulder number which is about 35% higher than the International sunspot number used by some other countries. The difference comes from the way the sunspots are counted.
There are worries that the very low activity during the current cycle, Cycle 24, could lead to decades of cold weather due to the knock on effect going into Cycle 25.
Sunspots need a minimum amount of magnetic energy in order to form in the first place. The Gauss laws of physics determine the levels at which sunspots form, and this is acknowledged to be 1500 Gauss. Each solar cycle is affected by the length and strength of the one before it. Cycle 24 has been long and weak, indicating from past records that Cycle 25 could be even longer and even weaker than this one.
The worry with that is that the historical record shows that long weak sunspot cycles lead to much colder weather heading towards the cycle minimum. In this case the next 11 years, and then for a decade or so after the end of the cycle. Data from Cycle 24 has indicated to scientists that Cycle 25 may be so weak that few, if any sunspots form. This could give us 30-40 years of colder weather. These were the conditions at the time of the Dalton minimum and the better known Maunder minimum when the weather changed giving cool summers and bitterly cold winters.
There were many other periods of cold weather that back up the work that was primarily carried out by Livingston and Penn. The Wolf and Sporer minimums both saw low sunspot activity followed by extremely cold weather.
Those scientists looking at long term weather trends are already saying that the climate is cooling. More and more people are ‘coming out’ and stating that AGW (anthropogenic global warming) has ceased. Some question if it even existed in the first place.
The trends show that there has been no warming since 1998 and that cooling has actually started. Thankfully it is gradual rather than the globe being plunged into a new ice age overnight. There is currently no evidence that we are closer to an ice age today than we were 15 years ago, but ice ages come and go, and we are ‘overdue’.
Ice ages are interspersed with interglacials, we are in an interglacial right now. There are periods where the ice retreats and a warmer more hospitable climate prevails. How long the current interglacial lasts is anybody’s guess, sadly, that’s something the Sun can’t tell us.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!