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NOAA’s monthly update of the solar cycle, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity in December, was posted earlier this week, and I am posting it here, as I do every month, with annotations to give it context.
The decline in sunspots continues, tracking closely the rate of decline predicted by the 2007 and 2009 predictions (the lower green curve and the red curve) but the overall solar maximum has been far shorter and less powerful than predicted.
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction.
At this stage in the solar cycle there really isn’t much else to say. We will have to watch the cycle ramp down over the next few years to get a full sense of this solar maximum’s length and overall strength. Should the next solar minimum get extended beyond 2019, however, it will be a strong sign that the next solar maximum will also be delayed and very weak, or not happen at all as we move into a decades-long Grand Minimum.
Past data suggests a link between an inactive Sun, with low sunspot counts, and colder weather on Earth. If this is true and the Sun continues to be inactive in the coming decade, we should continue to see a lack of any warming in the climate. We might even see the global temperatures drop (assuming the corrupt climate scientists at NASA and NOAA don’t tamper with the data to hide this fact).
Only time will tell.