Category Archives: Sunspots

Predicting Solar Cycle 25


Prior to the advent of SC 24, there were many predictions of  its level of activity.  Most of the predictions were for a replicate of SC 23. Leif  Svalgaard’s  predicted a major change in  its level of activity.     He was predicting about half as active as were most of the predictors and  we know now that he was right.     Svalgaard’s method  used  the Solar Polar Field Strength  to make the prediction. 

I know many of you know all about the solar polar fields, but for those that do not, let me review what the following chart tells us.

 

 

 

The X axis is time beginning on 7 Dec 1976.  It extends out to 2 Feb 2019 showing part or all of SCs 21,22,23 and 24.  Solar Cycle 24 began January 2008 and is forecast to end late 2019 or early 2020.  SC 24 was at maximum activity during April 2014 with  a smoothed sunspot number of 111..  The maximum typically occurs when the South magnetic field and the North magnetic field reverse positions. In the chart above, the red (South) moving line crosses the zero Field strength line noted on the Y axis  going south and the north (Blue) moving line crosses zero going north. These fields continue toward the poles where they begin producing sunspots in the high Sun latitudes.  The fields begin to move toward the zero line and the new SC 25 will begin.

To make the prediction one has to  use the black line, the north field strength minus the south field strength,  to make the prediction.  The time to make the prediction is when the black line is the furthest from the Y axis zero line.  This occurred in the spring of 2004 so they predicted SC24  to be small.  If you look at the black line, say in January 2018 it is about the same distance from the zero line so the gurus are saying SC25will be about the same size as SC24. 

If Leif Svalgaard reads this, he would probably say I have oversimplified the procedure and do not have it exactly right.  So be it. 

The National Weather Service posted the following   Solar experts predict the Sun’s activity in Solar Cycle 25 to be below average, similar to Solar Cycle 24

April 5, 2019 – Scientists charged with predicting the Sun’s activity for the next 11-year solar cycle say that it’s likely to be weak, much like the current one. The current solar cycle, Cycle 24, is declining and predicted to reach solar minimum – the period when the Sun is least active – late in 2019 or 2020.

Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel experts said Solar Cycle 25 may have a slow start, but is anticipated to peak with solar maximum occurring between 2023 and 2026, and a sunspot range of 95 to 130. This is well below the average number of sunspots, which typically ranges from 140 to 220 sunspots per solar cycle. The panel has high confidence that the coming cycle should break the trend of weakening solar activity seen over the past four cycles.

“We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak cycle, preceded by a long, deep minimum,” said panel co-chair Lisa Upton, Ph.D., solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp. “The expectation that Cycle 25 will be comparable in size to Cycle 24   means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

This is the Experts’ chart below and it shows the 24 SCs with the maximum sunspots ( see Y axis) and the time it occurred.. Also, the Experts have plotted SC25 on the chart::

 

The Experts are also predicting SC26 when they say “The expectation that SC 25 will be comparable in size to SC 24   means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

I wonder if that is wishful thinking?

cbdakota

Solar Cycle 24 is Nearing Completion.


Sometime ago, every month I blogged a brief report on the activity of the Sun.  I have the urge to do that again, so here goes.

Solar Cycle (SC) 24 has just about run its course. It is forecast to give over to SC 25 in late 2019/early 2020 and when it does, that’s call the 24SC minimum.

Sunspots are a proxy for Solar activity.  The chart below shows the average number of sunspots in each month.  The blue dashed line is a 13-month averaged sunspot count.  It is the official sunspot number.  (The formula for the count is shown at the end of this posting.)  The official number of sunspots peaked in April of 2014 thus the solar maximum happened then.

The chart below  illustrates how recent SCs compare to SC 24:

 

All three of the preceding SCs were much more active than SC24.

As side note,  the SCs on average last for 11 years, or saying another way, 132 months.  At one time, it was believed that if the SC was over before 11 years it was generally an active SC.  More than 11 years, less active.

 

The chart below shows the 24 SCs and the chart makers attempt at a SC25.  The X axis is in years from 1749 to an estimated 2040.  The Y axis is sunspots

One can see that SCs 23, 22, 21, 19, and 18 represent a very active sun.  The maker of the chart calls this the “modern warm period”.   Looking back the chart maker has noted the time of the “Dalton Minimum” and the “little ice age”.  These periods of low solar activity coincide with the periods of low global temperatures. Perhaps you can see why many scientists are forecasting that global temperatures will soon be dropping.  Also one can speculate that  the global warming  we have experienced may be a product of the past 60 years of a very active sun.    Ok, now one more reading of the chart might suggest that we are due for a period of low solar activity thus a drop in global temperatures.   The chart maker’s projection of SC 25 to  be lowest in recorded history is very likely to be wrong.  However the batting average of the predictors of future SCs is not too stellar  so who knows.

Throughout the recent past, claims were made that the global temperature was going to drop because SC 24 was relatively inactive.  I do not think that the temperature did drop.  I believe I read  one article where the claim was that SC 24 was the reason that the increased CO2 in the atmosphere did not raise the temperature as much as it should  have.  I don’t believe that one.

Was SC 24 definitely an uniquely quiet SC?  I think so.

The sunspot activity of the cycles in comparison. The numbers in the diagram are obtained by summing the monthly differences between the observed SSN and the mean (blue in Fig.1) up to the current cycle month 125. ( I am not sure whom to attribute this chart but I got it from Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and Frank Bosse who write the diekaltesonne  blog.)

This shows that at just about 10-1/2 years,  SC 24  has had 4464 fewer sunspots than the average  SC.  It also shows that SCs 5 and 6, had the  fewest sunspot and those two SC are coincident with the Dalton Minimum.   SC 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 were way low on sunspots and they coincided with the little ice age.

It is clear that the sun was much less active as demonstrated by the sunspot record.  I expected a clear sign by the end of its cycle, which we have not yet seen,  of a cooling global temperature  trend. Some think we have that, but I do not see what I expected from the UAH satellite global temperature readings.  The temperature  has declined since the last El Nino but it has not been lowered to the temperature before that El Nino.

Next a look at Solar Cycle 25.

Cbdakota

Sunspot Counting–Woolf Number

The smoothed count is a 13-month averaged sunspot count using this Belgium’s formula:
Rs= (0.5 Rm-6 + Rm-5 + Rm-4 + Rm-3 + Rm-2 + Rm-1 + Rm + Rm+1 + Rm+2 + Rm+3 + Rm+4 + Rm+5 + 0.5 Rm+6 ) / 12
Rs = smoothed monthly sunspot count
Rm = One month’s actual sunspot count
The “-6” through “+6” appended to each Rm is the number of months before or after the month whose smoothed count is being calculated. The beginning and ending months in the formula are only given half the value of the others.*

 

Large Spike in Cycle 24 Sunspots and F10.7 Solar Flux


Solar Cycle 24 still has some surprises.   Both the NOAA  Sunspot count and F10.7 solar flux spiked.  The right hand side of the chart below, from Solen  shows the Sunspot count to have peaked at about 120 and the F10.7 solar flux above  130.  Sunspot count and Solar Flux usually act in unison. Dr Svalgaard says that F10,7 is a more reliable indicator of solar activity than Sunspots

Last major update issued on September 6, 2017 at 05:00 UT. Update posted at 13:50 UT

The generally accepted  way to portray  Sunspots is using a smoothed count from Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO). SILSO data is provided by the  Royal Observatory of Belgium, in Brussels. That number is charted below as Ri smoothed. ” Smoothed” is the process of averaging the daily numbers over some period of time. Silso number uses a formula* (see below) that incorporates some 13 months of monthly data.

In the chart  below, Ri is the total monthly Sunspots that were occasioned by the solar polar fields,  north (Rnorth ) and south (Rsouth).

Spikes in activity are not  uncommon as can be seen in the above chart which chronicles Solar Cycle 24 from its beginning to the current time.  I am still surprised at this late date.

cbdakota

*The Silso formula:

The smoothed count is a 13-month averaged sunspot count using this Belgium’s formula:
Rs= (0.5 Rm-6 + Rm-5 + Rm-4 + Rm-3 + Rm-2 + Rm-1 + Rm + Rm+1 + Rm+2 + Rm+3 + Rm+4 + Rm+5 + 0.5 Rm+6 ) / 12
Rs = smoothed monthly sunspot count
Rm = One month’s actual sunspot count
The “-6” through “+6” appended to each Rm is the number of months before or after the month whose smoothed count is being calculated. The beginning and ending months in the formula are only given half the value of the others.*

“Solar Minimum Is Coming” Video


Solar Cycle 24 is on its way to a “minimum” .  That Minimum will probably be in late 2019 or early 2020.  The video  illustrates several issues that are newsworthy.

  • Global Temperature measurements made by satellites are often consider the “gold standard”.  Two organizations make and report their interpretation of these measurements.  The UAH and RSS organizations have typically reported very nearly the same temperatures but separation of the values occurred with RSS now giving higher readings.  A major part of the separation is based how to  correct for the drag that these satellites encounter as the circle above the Earth.
  • And a small point. When the narrator says that Cycle 24 Sunspots were “relatively high”  he is comparing the Sunspot  level now.  However, it might cause some people to think that he means as opposed to other Solar Cycles–which by and large is not true.

 

cbdakota

CYCLE 24 Status– June 2017


Solar Cycle 24 continues to become less active. The June 2017  International Sunspot 30 day average number was 19.4. The maximum for Solar Cycle 24 occurred April 2014 at 116.4. The following chart illustrates how the solar cycle activity has dropped off. Solar Cycle 21 was larger than 22 which was larger than 23 which was larger than the current Solar Cycle 24.

The three charts above were posted on WUWT website titled “Trends in the Revised Sunspot Number Dataset“.  From that posting comes the following analysis:

Continue reading

Sun And Global Temperature Change


In an earlier posting, the case for CO2 controlling global temperature change was discussed. Several cases were examined that suggest that CO2 probably is a minor factor.  Yes, I do have a bias that the Sun is most likely the main driver of global climate. But I believe that bias is well founded.

As I began to prepare a posting on this topic, on 10 June a new posting on WattsUpWithThat by Mike Jonas appeared.   It covers, most of what I had planned to say.  He says it very well, albeit in a lot of words.  His Figure 7, “Correlation of sunspot cycle length with temperature” is thought by some to have been disproven, so you may want to tread lightly on that. I also think that he should have used an article from December 2016 CERN publication that strengthened his case for the Svensmark theory of galactic cosmic rays/cloud formation/cooling.  See my comment on that by clicking here.

My thoughts on this topic would be less informative than those by Mike Jonas.  Thus I am reblogging his posting:

WattsUpWithThat

Indirect Effects of the Sun on Earth’s Climate

By Mike Jonas  10 June 2017

For a long time, I have been bitterly disappointed at the blinkered lopsided attitude of the IPCC and of many climate scientists, by which they readily accepted spurious indirect effects from CO2-driven global warming (the “feedbacks”), yet found a range of excuses for ignoring the possibility that there might be any indirect effects from the sun. For example, in AR4 2.7.1 they say “empirical results since the TAR have strengthened the evidence for solar forcing of climate change” but there is nothing in the models for this, because there is “ongoing debate“, or it “remains ambiguous“, etc, etc.

In this article, I explore the scientific literature on possible solar indirect effects on climate, and suggest a reasonable way of looking at them. This should also answer Leif Svalgaard’s question, though it seems rather unlikely that he would be unaware of any of the material cited here. Certainly just about everything in this article has already appeared on WUWT; the aim here is to present it in a single article (sorry it’s so long). I provide some links to the works of people like Jasper Kirkby, Nir Shaviv and Nigel Calder. For those who have time, those works are worth reading in their entirety.


Table of Contents:

1. Henrik Svensmark

2. Correlation

3. Galactic Cosmic Rays

4. Ultra-Violet

5. The Non-Linear System

6. A Final Quirk

Abbreviations

References

 

To read the entire posting click here

 cbdakota

 

 

March Global Temperature Anomaly And Solar Cycle 24 Update


This posting combines the March global temperature anomaly and the Solar Cycle 24 stats.   Below are the UAH satellite global temperature anomalies from Dr Roy Spencer’s website. The stats below the graph show the summary since 2016 through March 2017 for the regions.

 

 

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPICS
2016 01 +0.54 +0.69 +0.39 +0.84
2016 02 +0.83 +1.16 +0.50 +0.98
2016 03 +0.73 +0.94 +0.52 +1.08
2016 04 +0.71 +0.85 +0.58 +0.93
2016 05 +0.54 +0.64 +0.44 +0.71
2016 06 +0.33 +0.50 +0.17 +0.37
2016 07 +0.39 +0.48 +0.29 +0.47
2016 08 +0.43 +0.55 +0.31 +0.49
2016 09 +0.44 +0.49 +0.38 +0.37
2016 10 +0.40 +0.42 +0.39 +0.46
2016 11 +0.45 +0.40 +0.50 +0.37
2016 12 +0.24 +0.18 +0.30 +0.21
2017 01 +0.30 +0.26 +0.33 +0.07
2017 02 +0.35 +0.54 +0.15 +0.05
2017 03 +0.19 +0.30 +0.07 +0.03
 

The anomaly drop of 0.16C was a substantial change.  This has been happening without a La Nina following the El Nino. 

 

Solar Cycle 24’s to-date April International Sunspot number is 26.6 versus March’s number of 17.7.  So, this month is a little more active but still things are quiet. Cycle 24 began in January 2008.  The mean Cycle length is 11.1 years so it should be over around January of 2019.  

 

 

As noted in previous postings the solar polar field strength following a maximum is currently a popular way to predict the following Cycle strength.  The Black line in the chart below is the line to watch. That line is the combined North and South solar polar field strength. So far it is slightly smaller than the size of Solar Cycle 23—thus using this theory, it    Cycle 25 should be about the same size as 24 or maybe just a bit smaller.  Amended for clarity on 4/20  cbdakota

 

 

 

 

cbdakota