The solar maximum lingers on

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On Monday NOAA posted its monthly update of the solar cycle, showing the sunspot activity for the Sun in August. As I do every month, I am posting it here, below the fold, with annotations to give it context.

The sunspot activity of the Sun in August hovered at the same levels seen in July. Though the month had seen periods of little activity, these were interspersed with many violent flaring sunspots, including one that only yesterday unleashed a powerful X-class flare that is expected to send a coronal mass ejection directly at the Earth and should impact the Earth’s magnetic field on September 12. Expect spectacular auroras!

August 2014 Solar Cycle graph

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 sun’s slow ramp down to solar minimum is doing the solar science community a favor in that it is making this solar maximum resemble more and more their May 2009 prediction, indicated in red. All their prediction appears to have missed was the double-peaked nature of this maximum. Otherwise, it increasingly looks to be right on the money.



  • Interesting. Today it was reported that it snowed in South Dakota, the earliest recorded since records kept back to 1888. I also understand the Arctic Ice Cap has grown remarkably fast this year. Though we’ve had a warm summer here in western Washington, it should be very interesting to see if snow returns this winter. I noticed the leaves on trees started changing color and falling here about 2 weeks ago. Seems a bit early for Autumn.

    Thank you for keeping us informed on this important matter.

    Robert, have you noticed how many volcanoes have recently been reported as erupting? I can’t help but wonder what influence these eruptions have on the global climate.

    Recently, it was announced the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is nearing 400 ppm, with a similar increase for methane. Yet, aren’t we experiencing nearly 16 or 19 years of cooling, when one considers the unmanipulated temperature data from satellites and ground stations?

  • Rene,

    Your first paragraph: The colder temperatures and cold events you note here are merely anecdotal. They prove nothing. Even the increase of ice in the Arctic this year proves nothing, as the overall quantity of ice still remains relatively low compared to past years. It is similar kinds of anecdotal warm events that global warming activists have used for decades to try to convince Americans that we are all gonna die. I prefer not to play their game.

    Your second paragraph: You are welcome. I appreciate deeply your support.

    Your third paragraph: As we do not have a good record of volcanic activity globally and year-by-year, it is very difficult to figure out how much an influence these smaller eruptions have on climate. The recent eruptions you are aware of are only noticeable because they happened to occur in areas where they can be seen. There are a lot of areas of the Earth where volcanoes go bang and no one is there to record it. Even the satellite record is incomplete on this subject. What we do know is that the really big but rare events, like Mount Pinatubo, do have a significant but temporary influence on the climate, cooling the global temperature for several years. These events however are, as I said, rare. None have happened since Pinatubo.

    Your final paragraph: See my post here. The extended lack of warming for the last 18 years, now comprising more than half the entire satellite climate record going back for the past 36 years, is forcing even journals like Nature to recognize it.

  • wodun

    “Though we’ve had a warm summer here in western Washington, it should be very interesting to see if snow returns this winter. ”

    Nothing out of the ordinary for Seattle getting a little snow :)

    It wouldn’t be out of bounds if I had to shovel my roof this winter on the East side either. I always enjoy those winters.

  • wodun

    “Otherwise, it increasingly looks to be right on the money.”

    Are we looking at the same chart? The peaks are off by a significant number of sunspots and the time prediction was off too. The differences are more glaring when you look at the smoothed line in comparison to the prediction rather than the spike from the actual number of sunspots.

    Crazy cycle, I hope they learned a lot from it.

  • You have a point. I was looking at the jagged line showing sunspot counts, not the smoothed blue line. In comparing this with the red curve it looks like the prediction was early and far too high.

    Nonetheless, the recent activity is making the blue line look more like the red prediction. We shall have to wait until the end of the maximum to really see if how far off the prediction was.

  • I appreciate your responses, though it is not a given that western Washington gets snow each winter, especially near sea level.

    I also appreciate that arguing with the points of an extraordinary claim is playing into the hands of the climate priests.

    Mention of volcanic activity may in fact have a temporary influence on global climate. I did mention only the observed volcanoes, as you point out. Iceland and Papua New Guinea recently have seen eruptions. I’m sure there’s some I haven’t seen in the news. How much is volcanic activity temporary affecting cooling, if at all? No one knows.

    The human lifespan is certainly not long enough to draw conclusions about climate unless European and North American rivers start to freeze over a few years. And crops like grapes begin to fail in England and Washington, due to cold weather. Or oranges in Florida every season.

    Certainly the high priests of climate change and their models aren’t trustworthy. There’s too much money at keeping the ruse going.


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