Time for my monthly sunspot update, based on NOAA’s monthly graph that tracks the number of sunspots on the Sun’s Earth-facing hemisphere. The newest graph, with December’s numbers added to the timeline, is below. As always, I have added some additional details to provide context.
In December the half-year pause in the ramp up to solar maximum ceased, with the Sun seeing the most sunspots since September 2014. This high activity far exceeded the predicted sunspot count for December 2023, almost doubling it. In fact, December’s sunspot count almost equaled the predicted peak for the upcoming solar maximum, which is not supposed to happen until sometime in 2025.
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. 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.
The numbers in December now strongly suggest that the solar maximum will be a strong one, not weak as predicted by NOAA’s panel of solar scientists, as indicated by the red curve. The Sun has consistently outperformed that prediction since 2019. The Sun’s activity might still drop down to meet the weak prediction, but that would require it to do things that are extremely unusual.
The high activity is also indicated by the lack of blank days. In 2022, the Sun saw only one day in which the Earth-facing hemisphere was blank, and that one day is likely to be last time the Sun is blank for at least the next four years.
Since scientists do not have a fundamental understanding of the causes of the solar cycle, other than it is related to the Sun’s magnetic field, every prediction about what will happen next is generally guesswork. It might be based on what we know, but what we know is somewhat superficial.
We do know that there has been for centuries a correlation between high sunspot activity and warmer climates on Earth. If the next solar maximum is going to be a high one, this will give scientists an opportunity to find out what causes that correlation. Of course, to do so climate scientists need to study the Sun as it relates to climate, an area of study that flies in the face of the modern narrative that all climate change is caused by human activity. To find that the Sun caused any global warming over the next decade will be unacceptable to the global warming activists who now rule the climate community.
Thus, I doubt many climate scientists will study this problem, and if some do, they shall face enormous pressure and the risk of blacklisting.
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