Up until recently NASA were predicting that solar maximum would be in the fall of this year. The June update on their Marsahall Solar Physics website now says maximum will be reached in the summer of this year. Well, it’s summer and the sunspot number has been very low for the last few days. If the maximum has already been reached, it will not be confirmed for some time, yet numbers have to be correlated before confirmation of the event can be given.
NASA is giving a smoothed sunspot number maximum of 67 making cycle 24 the smallest since cycle 14 in 1906. Cycle 24 has also been longer than average and long, low sunspot cycles tend to have a knock on effect making the next cycle, cycle 25, smaller than it would otherwise has been. Livingston and Penn have studied the phenomena. Their findings indicate there may be no sunspots, or very very few during cycle 25, leading to a state similar to the Maunder minimum. This time was often referred to as the Little Ice Age.
Recent studies suggest that sunspots are connected to the climate on Earth and that low cycles tend to be followed by much colder winters and cooler, wetter summers. This can continue for a considerable number of years.
There are several ways of counting sunspots, The Boulder method is some 35% higher than the International sunspot number but as long as one method is used throughout a cycle, the rise and fall of the cycles follows a similar curve.
Todays sunspot number is 14 and sunspot AR1765 does not have a predisposition for flares at this point. NOAA estimate a 0.5% chance of an M-Class flare and a 0.1% chance of an X-Class flare over the next 24 hours.
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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!