I’ve come across a very good site here. In it, there is some serious discussion regarding the calculation of the Sunspot Number, and it’s deviation from the original Wolf number. If you have the opportunity have a look, a fascinating site, well presented.
One very nicely organised piece is on the “Layman’s Sunspot Count”, trying to correct the two counts taken as being the official view, and correcting them by removing specks that, in previous times, would not have been seen even with telescopes
We may, if we are lucky see a rare thing in the next few days, it is just possible that a sunspot may appear as the sun rotates round, the SOHO Behind satellite seems to be recording activity at high latitude, which should indicate a cycle 24 spot. We are now at day 13 of the current spotless run, we had a brief 4 day spotted run before this current spell, but before that we had a full 52 days without any spots at all.
This year to date we have had 206 spotless days, that’s 80% of the days this year (not that the sun knows what one of our years is), with a total of 717 spotless days since 2004. The average number of spotless days since records began is 485 days, so we are climbing the listings for quiet cycles.
There have been various comments about the strength of this cycle with much criticism of Hathaway at NASA. What has happened is that his forecast is early, as he had forecasted a much quieter cycle 25 rather than 24. The last 3 cycles, 21, 22 and 23 were strong and short, although 23 was weaker than 22 and 22 was weaker than the big 21, but now the sun has switched off, at least as far as sunspots are concerned. There was a period earlier in the year where it looked as though this cycle was starting to take off, but that lasted just over 2 months and the slumber resumed.
What does this do to the climate? Records show that during the Dalton minimum and the earlier Maunder Minimum parts of Western Europe had shorter growing seasons and much colder winters. Parts of the Northern American Plains In the US and Canada were also substantially cooler. This year, many US Mid West States were substantially cooler than the norm. Parts of the UK have had a washout of a summer, with a jetstream that has been consistently further south than is normal for the time of year. Viewing the way the climate has behaved in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres this year, it seems that the warmer weather from sub tropical zones seems to be drawn closer to the equator, with the colder polar zones expanding, from the poles, giving a small net cooling of the whole planet, but with large regional variations.
Sunspots, nothing of great interest to most people on this small rock spinning around it’s nearest stellar object. But perhaps we should take more notice, especially as there seems to be proven evidence of multiple cycles happening within the sun.
As a radio amateur (Ham radio), I was looking forward to the start of the coming cycle, Cycle 24 as it gives people like me a chance to speak to people in distant lands without using kilowatts of power. Cycle 24 is, or will be when it gets going, part of the cycle that occurs event 11 years, well, 11years is an average, cycle 23, now on it’s last legs has lasted almost 13 years. Cycle 24, first predicted to be bigger than Cycle 23, has struggled just to get going. There have benn a few “proper” sunspots, many microspots that last just a couple of hours or days, but the sun has had more days when it has presented us with a face devoid of spots than 1933.
When will Cycle 24 take off? Well, don’t bet on it starting tomorrow. And in the past, a spot free sun has been linked to colder weather, are we about to see that Global warming was a scam?
Watch this space
So here we are at the start of 2009, OK already almost 25% through the year, but, Temperatures are down, worldwide. Forget the idea that ice is melting, this year, look at facts, not hearsay. So why do I think the “Global Warmers” have got it wrong?
1) we are at the end of a solar cycle, the “Little Ice Age” happened at the Maunder Minimum where there were very few sunspots for a period of over 60 years.
2) The other known time of temperature decreases was the Dalton Minimum, which although nowhere near as long or as strong as the Maunder minimum did produce an overall decrease in world temperature.
3) The sun appears too have “switched off”, see this graph from the excellent wattsupwiththat notice the drop in activity in 2005, given it seems that a 3 year gap translates to a cooling, we are well on our way.
4) An unprecedented, at least in the last 35 years, Stratospheric warming is indicative of further cooling to come for the Northern hemisphere during this winter
5) The PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) looks as though it will be negative for 2009, again leading to an overall decrease in temperature.
6) El Nino is the past, La Nina seems to be the dominant process for 2009 as it was for 2008.
7) Despite all the Global Warmers comments, the Antarctic, as a continent is gettingt colder, NOT warmer and ice is accumulating in greater quantities rather than not forming during the Antarctic winter. Western Antarctic needs to be looked at with a wider view, as the volcanoes under the ice COULD have a significant effect on surface temperature.
Add these facts together and what do you have? Global cooling to a point that will arrest, overall, the retreat of glaciers worldwide. Ther may still be some areas on the planet that get warmer, but overall, cooler is the trend and a miniscule change in global temepreature will be enough to stop the retreat