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Sunspot update: The deep minimum deepens

NOAA last week did its monthly update of its graph for tracking the monthly activity of sunspots on the Sun’s visible hemisphere. Below is that updated graph, annotated by me to show the past and new solar cycle predictions.

May 2020 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for both the previous and upcoming solar maximums. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

Since last month NOAA has done some further revisions to this graph, and improved it significantly since their first redesign, released in April. You can see the difference just by comparing it to my previous update last month. For scales covering longer periods, they have eliminated the diamonds, making the curve much more readable. They have also increased the size of the graph, which also serves to make it more readable as well. Kudos to the people at NOAA for these changes.

As you can see, sunspot activity in May plunged from the slight uptick in April. This is even more clearly shown by the SILSO graph below.

Sunspot activity in May 2020

In May there was practically no sunspot activity. As the month began, a sunspot faded away, and then, just as the month ended, a sunspot began to appear. Both sunspots had polarities that assign them to the coming solar maximum. Both (as have other new cycle sunspots over the past year) suggest that we will have a solar maximum in the coming five years, not a grand minimum with no sunspots for decades.

The lack of sunspots for the entire month, however, also suggests that the ongoing minimum will be the deepest in centuries. In fact, the number of days where the Sun’s visible hemisphere was blank both last year and this year remains the highest in two centuries. This lack of sunspots also strengthens the possibility that the next maximum will also be the weakest in two centuries.

In the past, a weak maximum and a deep minimum has signaled colder weather on Earth. The link is not yet understood, though there is one theory related to the increase in cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere and creating more cloud cover and thus cooling the climate. This remains unproven, as yet.

If true, however, the next few years will be colder, not warmer as predicted by global warming activists. Or at least, the climate will not warm, as we have seen in the past twenty years during the previous weak minimum and maximum.

If this happens, good science will demand that climate models be revised to increase the impact of the Sun’s variability. Considering that this change might defuse the panic global warming scientists and politicians have attempted to engender over the overblown dangers of a warming Earth, I wonder if it will be done. Based on the corruption and data tampering I have seen in recent years by climate scientists, I have my doubts. I hope my cynicism is proven wrong.

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  • Bob, I always appreciate your sunspot analysis. Thanks.

  • LocalFluff

    This spring (in the northern hemisphere) has been unusually cold in Europe. Also, it seems, in Australia and South Africa. The climate doomsday preacher teologist Al Gore’s Nobel peace prize and Oscar winning movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is getting even more humiliated year by year. Everyone who has preached climate doomsday must be publicly confronted and humiliated, so that the general public learns about who is to be trusted and not. The fraudsters always have to be exposed. so they better hide and shut up and get a real job.

    The red forecast curve is just a mathematical extrapolation of earlier cycles, not something that heliophysicists really expect to happen. It’s kind of a norm, something to compare anomalies with.

    Just from watching the curve of the sunspots, I would suspect that the widening double top of the peaks in the last cycles, have something to do with this long low. Looks like interfering waves.

    Since this inference, i.e. the different lengths of the curves added from some unknown processes in the Sun or its magnetic field, seems to widen by a couple of years per cycle, lately, I predict that this period of low solar spot activity will last for 11*11/2 years, that is, for half a century with the “big bottom” in the 2040s.

    The super noisy “climate models” will not beat my prognosis for the nest 30 years, no more than they have during the last 30 years. There is no “climate science”, that whole concept is a tax parasiting fraud. It is exactly like Roman priests trying to interpret omens out of the intestines of slaughtered goats. in fact it is as simple as just having a look at the obvious, and you know much more than anyone of them knows!

  • Ray Van Dune

    This bad news for Democrats: they need at least two more crises beyond Covid-19 and George Floyd to fill up the time between now and October, and they have to be capable of being blamed on Trump. I say now and “October” because of course “The October Surprise” will take us across the line to November! What could the two crises be?
    City / State Bankruptcies?
    Supreme Court vacancy / vacancies? Could be a twofer.
    NFL / MLB strike / boycott?

    Any others?

  • LocalFluff

    @Ray Van Dune
    Trying to predict the leftists’ next madness is a funny game!

    I predict that they will (try to) force everyone to jump around on one leg, with the excuse that it lessens the burden on Mother Earth. And prevents the gravity catastrophe that otherwise would kill all living things in ten years (it’s always ten years, because that’s long enough to scare the children and then they keep the trauma for the rest of their lives).

  • sippin_bourbon

    If tomorrow’s headline is “RGB dies”, all heck will break loose.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Imagine if Trump nominated Christine Maya-Yolanda Kunstler to replace her? How could anyone object?

  • Phill O

    The best areas to look for climate changes are those where farming is marginal. Alberta has such an area just a bit east of the Rocky Mountains in a belt which runs SE to NW some 30 miles (50km) to 70 miles east of the front ranges.

    This belt has seen progressively later harvests with the 2019 harvest being completed in My 2020. There are other members of the Madden Ag Society who can verify this hrvest completion time.

    Other areas could be identified for further data collection. However, LocalFluff has stated that Europe has seen the coldest spring for some time. I am sure that there are similar areas in Russia.

  • LocalFluff

    @Phill O
    Recycling CO2 from the dead underground to the life giving atmosphere is the best human kind has ever done to the wild nature! The whole planet is greening as it hasn’t in millions of years. Arctic and desert regions are shrinking and giving way to wild life. And a small part of what we give to the atmosphere we get back in the shape of skyrocketing crop yields. So that even though more people eat more and better than ever before, the amount of agricultured land is shrinking, we are giving it back to wild life. Thanks to the oil industry!

    Even if we could not get any energy out of fossil fuels, we should still drill, pump and dig up gas, oil and coal to recycle it to the atmosphere, because of the huge benefits of CO2 emissions to ourselves and all of the biosphere.

    Is anyone surprised that the mass murdering violent hating ape crazy leftists (and the uneducated idiots they manage to fool) are dedicated to total propaganda against the creation of life out of death?

  • Star Bird

    How much more do Sunspots effect our weather then to Backyard BBQ’s lets see that fool Bill Nye answer this $64000 Question

  • JDubya_MesaAZ

    My prof at U of A was a solar physicist. This was in 1992-1994. His comments were always that a molecule, important to the ecosystem has less effect than the incoming flux from the sun. Most people do not understand the amount of energy imparted onto the Earth’s atmosphere. The Earth receives almost 10,000 years of energy imparted onto the planet than all of mankind creates in one year. So a 1% change in solar influx has more effects than a 0.01% change in that molecular contribution to the atmosphere. So that 10,000 years of energy influx (2015 numbers), integrated over the course of all of mankind’s energy growth (wood, dung, wind, hydro, coal, oil, nuclear, solar) practically goes back to when we were learning fire.

    His ashes were buried in space on one of the shuttle missions.

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