Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The monthly update by NOAA of the solar cycle, showing the sunspot activity for the Sun in December, was released this past weekend. As I do every month, I am posting it here, below the fold, with annotations to give it context.
Even though sunspot activity in December increased, the slow ramp down to solar minimum continues to track the 2009 prediction of the solar scientist community. The overall intensity of the solar maximum prior to 2014 was considerable less than this prediction, but the numbers throughout 2014 matched that prediction remarkably well.
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.
The press releases outlining the 2007 and 2009 predictions have disappeared into the memory hole since NOAA revamped its website in December. Nor have they responded to my request for an explanation for their removal. Why they should want to prevent access to these predictions puzzles me, as the numbers during the past year have matched the 2009 prediction so well. Nonetheless, I have the curves, as indicated by the red and green lines, and will continue to show them in order to give this data some context.