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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:

 

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Sunspot update: The most sunspots since 2014

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.


December 2022 sunspot activity

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.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

27 comments

  • Andrew_W

    “the modern narrative that all climate change is caused by human activity.”
    That’s just fiction, models include both natural and anthropogenic inputs, though given the trend of declining solar activity over the last sixty years I not sure what natural inputs you think are contributing to the observed warming during that time.

  • LocalFluff

    The sunspot count curve will from now on trend down to 50 in Summer 2025. Then it’ll come back to 100 again in 2027-2028.

    How’s that for a forecast?

  • Willi

    At the bottom of the graph it reads “Updated January 2, 2022”. Shouldn’t it be 2023? As it happens, the start of my 83rd year of life.

  • Willi: Thank you. I will fix.

  • Chris

    So we once again see the uncertainty of science – and yet a part of “science” (the politically connected part) refuses to say “I don’t know”.

  • BLSinSC

    I’m no scientist nor have I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express lately, but I can tell just from MY experience with the SUN that it’s HOTTER when it’s NOT CLOUDY but then sometimes it seems like the Sun is MORE powerful than others! We ALL know what happens during the SUMMER – it gets HOT and some SUMMERS are hotter than others. I’d like to see a graph of SUNSPOT ACTIVITY vs Temp Readings! I would GUESS that there are correlations that most likely explain the “climate changes”! I’ve read many articles about “the hottest day in 500 years” or “the coldest day/week/month/year” in 500 years and most have as their BASE REASONING – you guessed it – MANMADE CLIMATE CHANGE!!! I find it amusing , but NOT particularly comforting, that NONE of the EXPERTS/WHINERS have been able to explain WHAT CAUSED IT BACK THEN!! I do enjoy this site – thanks for all your hard work!!

  • Andrew_W

    BLSinSC you have never read an article claiming “the hottest day in 500 years” or “the coldest day/week/month/year” in 500 years”.

  • Andrew_W

    BLSinSC if you’d said “the hottest year globally in 500 years” yes, that’s possibly something you could have read that’s based on the data available.

  • Andrew_W

    “The oldest continuous temperature record is the Central England Temperature Data Series, which began in 1659, and the Hadley Centre has some measurements beginning in 1850, but there are too few data before 1880 for scientists to estimate average temperatures for the entire planet.”
    Prior to 1880 temperature is derived from proxy data, which doesn’t have the resolution to make claim’s about daily weekly or monthly temperatures.

  • Alton

    The Hadley Center did have data showing that on the Nile River in Egypt, three times in the past 2,000 years the River froze over just like the Thames London back in the Little Ice Age period, very roughly 800 years apart.

    It can still be found in the old bound copies, three volume, of Dr Hadley’s Climate works Few and far between to find these days….

    Back around the turn of the Century, the three large rooms of paper Data compiled by Dr Hadley, that had been partly put on electronic form were Destroyed when researchers requested access so that they could add the details to the World Climate Databases.

    It made the current computer Climate Models look BAD!
    We Can Cannot have That FolkS !!!

  • Chris

    I suspect that the observations of the Hadley Center are vastly centered around data taken on land. That’s 29% of the face of the planet. The other 71% of the planet’s surface is ocean. The ocean has depth and current and has a different specific heat.
    We have no data.

  • Andrew_W

    “The Hadley Center did have data showing that on the Nile River in Egypt, three times in the past 2,000 years the River froze over just like the Thames London back in the Little Ice Age period, very roughly 800 years apart.”

    Come On! If you’re going with conspiracy theories do it properly: It wasn’t just the Nile that froze over it was the entire Mediterranean, and the British government didn’t just have to scrub Egyptian records of these memorable events they had to scrub the records of societies surrounding the Med.

    Chris; “We have no data”
    Speak for yourself, everyone else has the data and the divergence between the atmospheric temperature over ocean surfaces and over land is freely available (atmospheric temperature over land are rising faster than over oceans as a result of ocean heat uptake).

  • Chris

    You have no data – the vast majority of the planet is not and has not been monitored.
    Look up the specific heat of sea water and comparing it to air. You’re looking at the wrong thing if you want to measure earth climate energy.- temperature.
    The planet has 71 % of its surface as ocean which also has depth and currents,
    I doubt we could get “temperature of the planet today let alone through history.
    You have no data.

  • Andrew_W

    Saying “You have no data” several times doesn’t make it so, ships have been taking ocean temperature data for over a century, satellites have been doing sea surface temperature measurements for over 50 years and the Argo floats have been taking the global ocean temperature profile down to 2000 metres for about 20 years. There’s plenty of data.

  • I’d like the cycle to be a strong one (it has interesting implications for ham radio), but from what I can see, it’s just too early in the cycle to make a confident prediction. Could be an usually weak cycle, which could lead to a horrible situation vis-a-vis agriculture and energy needs (particularly in Europe).

  • Chris

    Andrew
    Argo hopes to be 4000 sensors. It may be by now.
    Radius of the Earth 3950 miles (min) Surface area of a sphere 4 pi R2
    Earth surface area 196,066797 sq miles
    71 % ocean and average depth 3000 meters
    Argo coverage (surface area) = 34,801 sq each.
    Argo deployment early 2000s
    the worlds oceans are saltwater which have a far higher specific heat that air, where land temperature readings are taken.
    Not enough coverage only ~~ 20years of readings — No data.

    To say (your first comment)
    “the modern narrative that all climate change is caused by human activity.”
    That’s just fiction, models include both natural and anthropogenic inputs, though given the trend of declining solar activity over the last sixty years I not sure what natural inputs you think are contributing to the observed warming during that time.

    And to say
    “The oldest continuous temperature record is the Central England Temperature Data Series, which began in 1659, and the Hadley Centre has some measurements beginning in 1850, but there are too few data before 1880 for scientists to estimate average temperatures for the entire planet.”
    Prior to 1880 temperature is derived from proxy data, which doesn’t have the resolution to make claim’s about daily weekly or monthly temperatures.
    And
    have any inference that scientists can estimate with any reasonable accuracy “temperatures for the entire planet” after 1880 or even in modern times when the – by far largest heat reserve of the planet – is not adequately measured tells me you have no data.

  • Andrew_W

    “Earth surface area 196,066797 sq miles
    71 % ocean and average depth 3000 meters
    Argo coverage (surface area) = 34,801 sq each.”

    When you get a random sample in the thousands it doesn’t make a lot of difference to the accuracy whether or not the total population is in the hundreds of thousands or hundreds of millions.

  • Chris

    I think it matters if you do not have coverage of sample locations over the surface of the planet. It matters if the vast majority of your data is not of the vastly larger volume containing the vastly larger heat sink – the oceans; including at depth. It matters if you don’t know what the currents of those oceans the past (we are still discovering currents now).

    A random sample of a homogeneous blob *may* work. The earth is not a homogeneous blob. It is a very complex system made up of many different components and many heat sources – from a climate standpoint. It’s a massively chaotic system by inspection. How it works, we don’t know. Modern science has a hard time with those words – see dark matter, big bang … etc. These may be good ideas, but we don’t know.

    In the realm of predicting climate for this blue marble in space you have no data.

    Should we try to find out and learn more – absolutely yes!

    However, when we *start* with a pre-determined answer and look for only data that proves that Science dies.

  • Chris: Hear! Hear! Well put and underlines my main point, a point that I try to make in almost all my science posts.

    Note also that, despite Andrew_W’s claim that my statement (“the modern narrative that all climate change is caused by human activity”) is “fiction”, I have personal experience from a number of former climate scientists who left the field because they challenged that modern narrative, and found their jobs and income threatened.

    In academia today it is forbidden to challenge the hypothesis that global warming is caused by humans. It is even more forbidden to mention that, assuming the climate is warming, that warming might even be beneficial to the human race. In fact, it appears the climate field was the first field test of the blacklisting culture, and when it was found it could get away with it, the culture quickly spread.

  • Ian Andreasen

    Climate wars aside, the predictions of Dr Scott McIntosh and team at UCAR’s predicted a close to record solar cycle a couple of years ago, seams they got it right. This is their 2020 paper https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.15263.pdf

  • Ian Andreasen: I have linked to their paper several times in earlier sunspot updates, but forgot to do so this time. Thank you for providing the link.

  • Andrew_W

    “I have personal experience from a number of former climate scientists who left the field because they challenged that modern narrative,”

    Which isn’t a statement that supports your claim that “the modern narrative that all climate change is caused by human activity”

    Solar and volcanic activity are natural forcings that are always factored in to observation and included in projects.
    “In academia today it is forbidden to challenge the hypothesis that global warming is caused by humans.”

    But as the information you have provided demonstrates solar activity cannot explain the warming trend of the last sixty years because the trend in solar activity has been downward. So if not human activity, what natural factor do “skeptic” scientist offer? The explanation of an enhanced GH effect due to rising CO2 levels is a logical explanation, one that fits quite well with calculations done over the last century. The “skeptic” scientists offer no alternative explanations that fit observation.

  • Chris

    Andrew

    As I mentioned, to the question: “So if not human activity….?” -“I don’t know” is a valid answer. Instead we get a narrative that the climate is changing (this is NOT news, it’s always changing) and that man is the cause since we can’t explain it. —— That is not science.

    I leave off the prior points that you don’t know what the system is or whether it’s gaining energy or not; now or over time because in terms of this enormous claim – you have no data. (Sorry , I did)

  • Edward

    Chris wrote: “As I mentioned, to the question: “So if not human activity….?” -“I don’t know” is a valid answer. Instead we get a narrative that the climate is changing (this is NOT news, it’s always changing) and that man is the cause since we can’t explain it. —— That is not science.

    True. Science requires positive affirmation of a hypothesis, not a lack of alternative hypotheses, to explain our observations or prove our hypotheses.

    Too many people experience a heat wave in which the weather reporter tells us that it was the hottest July 5th on record, and then these people believe in global warming because the day was so hot. I have heard people say this. Strangely, when it is the coolest day on record, no one cares or reports it. Since the thermometer was only invented a century and a half ago, each day has a greater than a half percent chance of being the hottest of that day on record. That means that just by chance we should have at least one day each year that breaks the record for hottest day on record. Once again, this is not science proving that global warming exists.

    On the other hand, the globe has been warming for the past three hundred years, but we have not been putting CO2 into the air in much quantity until a century ago. If man is the cause of global warming, then how did we do it before the CO2?

    The climate scientists noted that there was a “pause” in global warming about the time that the U.S. met its assigned CO2 reduction quota, as directed by the Kyoto Accords, but rather than declare victory (the reason for the quota), the scientists declared that it was merely a pause and it would inevitably resume increasing again. However, the Kyoto Accords didn’t require China, India, and Brazil were exempt from any quotas, so they continue to dump huge amounts of CO2 into the air and to burn down rain forests. How serious are they about controlling the global temperature? Yet with all this, there was a “pause;” the temperature stopped increasing. Clearly something other than atmospheric CO2 content is the cause of global warming (just as half a century ago we were about to enter the next ice age, as evidenced by the then global cooling). So now they call it climate change in order to cover any and every condition, case, and observation.

    So, if my area gets less rain for a few decades but then starts getting the regular amount of rain again, did the climate change? Did it change back? Then again, which climate is the desirable climate? The one today? The one of Al Gore’s 2006 movie? The one of 1992, as specified in the Kyoto Accords? The one of the Little Ice Age or the ice age of 14,000 years ago?

    And how do we control the climate if mankind is not the cause of climate changes? In fact, if we cannot control the weather, why should we expect to control the climate?

  • Max

    Meanwhile, back in space, a active sunspot just coming over the horizon today did this;

    “Visible for less than 24 hours, the active sunspot has already produced an intense X1.2-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the eruption on Jan. 6th just before 0100 UT:” (credit spaceweather.com)

    They also had an interesting related news report on the solar cycle. The latest in sunspot theory? From December 12 -22 with the appropriate links on the page.

    “THE EXTENDED SOLAR CYCLE: So you thought you knew the solar cycle? Think again. A new paper published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences confirms that there is more to solar activity than the well-known 11-year sunspot cycle. Data from Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) reveal two solar cycles happening at the same time, and neither is 11 years long.

    “We call it ‘the Extended Solar Cycle,'” says lead author Scott McIntosh of NCAR. “There are two overlapping patterns of activity on the sun, each lasting about 17 years“

    https://spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=12&month=12&year=2022

  • Max

    We had over a foot of snow in the valley near Salt Lake City a few days ago. (Snowing again right now, we’re nearly 200% over average)
    When outside shoveling, while my grandson used the snowblower, A few of the neighbors we’re going house to house helping those who could not take care of themselves.

    One of them, I come to find out, is the science teacher at the high school with over 200 students (she said with a grimace) that immediately got my attention because I’m a science hobbyist and collect data to distinguish what is real and truthful and what is complete bunk. Science fiction made up to get free money, like snake oil salesman and rainmakers of old…
    (didn’t PT Barnum say there was a sucker born every minute?)

    So I asked when global warming was going to start, so we didn’t have to shovel so much snow. She said it was here and that the temperature is 2° warmer and that species were going to die because of it. (woke religious mantra)
    I told her that there was a 20° change in temperature overnight, how many species died last night? And that there was 100° change in temperature since this summer that occurs every year, are there any species left?

    She Musta knew I was picking a fight, because she blurted that if we don’t stop putting carbon dioxide into the air, that we were going to destroy our world.
    I responded by asking “are you a hypocrite?”
    I asked her to say that again without using carbon dioxide… That the very words she spoke was from the exhalation of CO2 from her body. I challenged her to tell her students that we must “eliminate carbon” without using any carbon to say it. She said that means I would be dead?

    I think she understood. You cannot have a zero carbon economy, (no hydrocarbons or carbohydrates) without having eliminated all of the carbon consumers.
    Remember, all life is carbon-based… And calcium carbonate is 1/10 of the earth surface! Will she quit breathing to save air?

    The ocean is water, water is a cooling medium. That’s why you sweat. Evaporation of water always cools, (always) and the clouds that come between you and the sun, blocks the transfer of heat very efficiently.
    The ocean is not a heat sink, it is a heat annihilator. The feedback from too much heat is more clouds reflecting that heat, a bio feedback mechanism for the entire planet. Even a few degrees increase in surface temperature is quickly destroyed by a small wind which increases evaporation dropping the temperature down quickly.
    A coworker, who spent a few years on a nuclear submarine in the Navy, once told me that when you go down a few hundred feet, the ocean is cold “everywhere” no matter where you’re at. Just a degree above or below freezing. The oceans are huge, the surface temperature is a very small fraction of the vast volume.

    Does carbon dioxide reflect Heat? Climb into a container of dry ice, pure CO2, and you’ll get your answer.
    On the NASA website under “second law of thermodynamics” they state that “there is no violation of the second law of the dynamics in nature”
    That’s a admission that there is no greenhouse effect… 40 years of earth observation satellites has not found one single case where the atmosphere was warmer than the ground, the greenhouse theory has absolutely no evidence or science to show that it exists. (ever tried to warm up your hands by shoving them in the snow? That’s what they want you to believe carbon dioxide does in our atmosphere).
    Before the sun comes up in the morning, go out and look for the red clouds on the horizon. This is infrared, long wave radiation of heat and light, reflecting off the underside of clouds at 700 nm.(same size CO2 molecules absorb near the same wavelength of energy) Can you feel that blast of heat before the sun comes up? It is there, but it’s measured in thousands of a degree. Is carbon dioxide involved with this heat reflection? Yes… Carbon dioxide makes up less than 1/2 of 1/10 of 1% of the atmosphere. That means it’s responsible for the same amount of reflected heat/ red light proportional to the amount of its availability. One molecule out of 2,500 air molecules. At 400 ppm, the equivalent of $400 from a millionaire.
    For carbon dioxide to heat the air around it, it would need a huge amount of energy to impart even 1° of temperature. Approximately 2,500°.(but only for a fraction of a second before having to be “reheated” to pass the heat along due to convection and radiation equations).
    How fast would CO2 lose its energy? Easy to find out old school… Put a tea kettle of water on the stove, when the boiling steam comes out, feel how hot it is… over 200°. Now put your hand A foot away, the steam is just warm. 2 feet away? the water vapor is cold… All within one second from exiting the teapot. Heating must be continuous or the temperature drops to ambient.

    The question was asked how much hotter is the sun during the height of the solar cycle?
    The suns temperature has never varied more than 1% of its output.
    So the suns Insolence influence on earth is constant without much variation and is not responsible for any climate disruption during modern times. None. Only the tilting of the earth can be blamed for our seasons.
    But there are changes to our atmosphere and to earths temperature based on other factors related to the sunspot cycle. The increase of solar wind, for example, blocks cosmic radiation which has been linked to cloud formation and controls, to some degree, our dry and wet seasons.
    Also the reversal of magnetic field either complements or compresses, earths magnetic field leading to more or less cosmic and solar radiation.

    Earth is 100° warmer then the equator of the moon (on average). Even though it is in the same “green zone” and yet, 150° of temperature never makes it through our atmosphere. Earth, like other planets with an atmosphere, is self heating. (Jupiter is nearly 4 times hotter than the surface of the sun)
    Sunlight does have an influence, easily measured by subtracting the low the night from the high of the day.

    If you wish to learn what drives the earths climate, look up the Guinness book of world records for the highest change of temperature in the shortest period. A well known atmospheric heating mechanism that’s not in any of the climate models. (Don’t look behind the curtain… you can’t handle the truth!)
    Time to go to bed.

  • Edward

    Max got a reply from someone: “she blurted that if we don’t stop putting carbon dioxide into the air, that we were going to destroy our world.

    Except that the leaders who told her to stop putting CO2 into the air are the same ones who allow China, India, Brazil, and other countries to dramatically increase their CO2 emissions. They did this twice, once at Kyoto and another time in Paris. The U.S. has reduced its emissions, but that reduction has been greatly overwhelmed by countries that continue to increase their emissions.

    I have yet to hear a justification that allows these countries to increase their emissions while at the same time we control of climate change/ global warming/ the coming ice age/ climate weirding/ whatever the term du jour.

    (didn’t PT Barnum say there was a sucker born every minute?)

    Max was talking to one.

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