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Scientists predict solar maximum to arrive one year early

The scientists whose prediction of a more active upcoming solar maximum that has so far turned out more accurate than the consensus prediction have now updated their prediction, lowering it somewhat but also predicting the maximum will occur one year early, in 2024 instead of 2025.

The team’s finalized forecast for the current cycle expects it to peak in late 2024, one year earlier than NASA and NOAA had predicted. The cycle, the team thinks, will reach about 185 monthly sunspots during its maximum and thus be somewhat milder than what the team originally forecasted. This peak intensity will place this cycle at about the average compared to the historical record.

In other words, now that we are about halfway to maximum, they have concluded that while NOAA’s prediction was too low, their prediction was too high. They have now adjusted their expectations to be closer to what they now think will happen.

A short solar cycle however has historically corresponded to much higher sunspot activity. If this new prediction is correct (a short cycle with a mild maximum), it will mean that the Sun is still behaving in ways that the solar science community does not understand, or can predict.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Ray Van Dune

    Whatever the Sun does, it will both cause, and be caused by, Climate Change, which in turn was aggravated by my neighbor and I BOTH purchasing a new SUV last year!

  • Edward

    Somewhere in the late 1980s, I came across a graph from a scientific article that showed a correlation between the length of the solar cycle and the temperature of the Earth. The correlation was that the shorter the cycle, the warmer the Earth. This chart went back to the late 1800s or early 1900s. I kept it in my wallet for a decade, before it wore away altogether. Although correlation is not proof of causation, one of my friends could not help but conclude that the Earth’s temperature affected the Sun’s solar cycles.

    The reason why I kept this so long, and why I am skeptical of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is that when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade in Minneapolis Minnesota, as part of the lesson about the ice age, my teacher taught us that during the previous glacial period of the ice age, what she called the previous ice age, the polar ice cap was two miles thick and reached all the way down to Minneapolis. She then warned us that the Earth’s temperature had begun to decrease, and we may be entering the next ice age.

    My teacher had been quite convincing, showing charts and graphs that showed a pattern of short warm times (a few thousand years each, but dropping in temperature almost as soon as the temperature peaked) and protracted cold times covering tens of thousands of years. We were in a peak that had remained warm for about ten thousand years rather than dropping in temperature after a sudden peak. The next ice age is a couple of thousand years overdue.

    That afternoon, as I left the school building, I looked up and tried to imagine two miles of ice covering the school and city and wondering if Arizona would take us back as refugees, since we had lived there two or three years earlier.

    About five or six years later, Time magazine warned the rest of the world of the coming ice age. Hah! My teacher was smarter than Time magazine’s reporters’ teachers.

    A decade after that, climatologists started talking about global warming, I remembered that scary day from fifteen years earlier, and I wondered what happened to the coming ice age. Was my teacher not so smart after all? What about the intelligence of Time magazine? Suddenly, we had changed from scary cooling and an ice age covering the Earth with ice to scary warming and melting ice caps covering the Earth with water. In both cases, the government had said that we needed to follow their guidance in order to avoid disaster. Are we finally the masters of nature and the universe that we thought we were when we built the Titanic and sailed her speeding into an iceberg field? According to our governments and our climatologists, we are.

    So, if we know so much and have such amazing mastery over the universe, why can’t we figure out the Sun’s cycles?

    Skipping another decade, I found myself working for a solar astrophysics laboratory, building X-ray telescopes to put onto various satellites to look at the Sun. These telescopes could take enough pictures often enough to make moving pictures of what happens at and near the Sun. The solar astrophysicists were trying to figure out how the Sun worked and how to predict its sunspot cycles, among many other things (at that time, there was a popular hypothesis that magnetic field recoupling was responsible for the corona being so much hotter than the Sun’s surface — its photosphere — but that hypothesis didn’t hold up to scrutiny). A quarter century later, and the Sun is still a mystery. Part of the problem is the inability to see what is actually happening below the surface rather than modeling what we think is happening. The Parker Solar Probe is doing an excellent job of gathering data about the corona and other phenomena associated with the Sun, but it still cannot see below the surface.

    One technique of determining subsurface activity is to watch what happens when a coronal mass, following a magnetic field, crashes back into the Sun’s surface rather than being ejected to become an ion storm. The propagation of surface waves from that event gives hints. Scientists also look for waves that penetrate deep into the Sun and look for where they resurface, seeking additional hints about the interior of the Sun.

  • David

    As it stands today, anthropogenic forcing resulting from mankind’s production of GHG’s is the principal driver of the roughly 1°C increase the planet has experienced since pre-industrial time. The more we study, the more we learn, the more we experiment, the more we model, the more we observe our planet, the clearer it is.


    If people want to rest upon what some predicted 50 years ago as a reason to be so skeptical, so be it. That doesn’t change what mankind has learned since then about our planet’s physical and biological systems. And what mankind’s activities and impacts appear to be on our world. We have so much to still learn. That’s what drives so many of out there, doing just that, including constantly challenging what we think we have learned in the last 50 years about Earth’s climate.

    What is so truly sad to me personally is how certain segments on both ends of the climate debate have so terribly politicized the issue and discussions on how best to proceed for the purposes of power, money, and distrust of that which doesn’t fit their world view.

  • Edward

    David wrote: “As it stands today, anthropogenic forcing resulting from mankind’s production of GHG’s is the principal driver of the roughly 1°C increase the planet has experienced since pre-industrial time.

    Of course, in the before times, before global warming, CO2 contributed a total of 1° to the warming of the Earth,* but with the new The Science (which has been settled for a couple of decades, now) there are new conclusions that are based not upon experiment but upon assumptions and conjecture. Who needs to question The Science when we all know that it is settled.

    Then again, we have to wonder what caused the Earth’s temperature to increase between the end of the Little Ice Age and World War II, when man’s industrialization really took off,** and why the increase became a decline at that very same time.

    On the third hand — the gripping hand — CO2 is still food for plants, so how concerned should we be about the concentrations in the atmosphere?

    Another thing to ponder is just what temperature and climate do we want the Earth to have? Today’s? Al Gore’s 2005 climate? The Kyoto Accords’ 1992 temperature? David’s pre-industrial temperature? The temperature of the Little Ice Age? How about the temperature from before the Little Ice Age, and are we there yet? The Earth’s normal temperature is the one during the glacial periods of the Ice Age, so maybe that is the temperature we should be working toward. These interglacial periods are abnormalities, and maybe we shouldn’t allow them at all.


    If the predictions from 50 years ago were wrong, since we know very little more about climate and what drives Earth’s temperature, why would we think that today’s predictions are any better. The models that we continue to use failed to predict the “pause” in warming,*** so they are unskilled and wrong. That is just one reason to be so skeptical. We are making crucial world-changing decisions based upon bogus models and broken science.

    We have to put up with people lecturing us with drivel on a topic they have no familiarity with, claiming that mankind’s CO2 output has raised the Earth’s temperature by the amount that all the natural CO2 raises it. He doesn’t mind being wrong, basing his information not on science but on an assumption on top of another assumption. He feels that he is right, because how could his assumptions be wrong?

    Naturally, David has no idea that nature contributes 50 times more CO2 than all of human activity does. But, no, for people like him nature is not the problem, only man could possibly be the problem.

    And then he jumps into his powered transportation, goes to work where he uses more power, goes shopping where he buys things that were produced and delivered by power, then finally goes home where he uses even more power. He isn’t even the solution to his own made-up, pretend problem.
    * Water was another 22°, making it an even more powerful and important greenhouse gas, but no one seems concerned about the amount of evaporation that comes off the oceans.

    **During WWI, there wasn’t enough industrial output to keep the combatants in ammunition, but by WWII there was enough to not only supply enough ammunition but to replace and even to increase the amount of weaponry.

    *** Was it a “pause” in the warming, or did the Kyoto Accords do what they were supposed to do? We actually solved global warming (why do you think it had to change to “climate change,” when everyone knows that all climates are constantly undergoing change and have since the beginning of the Earth’s existence), but instead of celebrating, we declared it to only be a pause. We are still waiting for that pause to end and the temperature to resume its constant, dogged climb upward until all life on the planet is extinguished.

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