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Sunspot update: Activity declines in August to just above prediction

On September 1st NOAA released its update of its monthly sunspot cycle graph, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity for the past month. That graph is below, annotated to show the previous solar cycle predictions and thus provide context.

In August sunspot activity dropped from July so that it was only slightly above the prediction of NOAA’s panel of solar scientists, as indicated by the red curve. The blank streak at the very end of July ended on August 2nd (a streak of seven days and the longest in years), but was followed during the month by an additional five blank days.

August 2021 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.

Last month I had noted that the higher than expected activity was also steepening with time, suggesting the Sun was going to reach its maximum much sooner then predicted. This month’s drop in activity changes that. While the slope upward is happening sooner than predicted, the ramp up to solar maximum at this moment seems to be following the same slope as the prediction.

Will the maximum thus peak at the level predicted, though sooner? No one really knows. So far in September the sunspot activity has been very high, well exceeding the prediction, and suggesting that the steepening of the upward slope has resumed and its activity could continue to ramp up well above that red curve, as some scientists have predicted.

Or it could falter and end up at or below the prediction of NOAA’s scientists. We can only wait and see.


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.


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  • Phill O

    Here is a link to the BBC where things are argued both ways for the global warmists, showing how people are bamboozled by the “experts)..

  • Andrew_W

    Phill O. What the study shows is very straightforward, it doesn’t “argue both ways” so the bamboozlement appears to be yours.

  • Andrew_W

    Interesting link though, thanks.

  • Greg the Geologist

    Mr. Z, this phrase caught my attention: “. . . steepening with time, suggesting the Sun was going to reach its maximum much sooner then predicted.” Have not researched this, but curious as to how much the ~11-year solar cycle varies. Can it be 10 years or shorter, or 12 years or longer on occasion, or is it predictably 11-point-something years, with only the amplitude of the sunspot population varying?

  • Greg the Geologist: The cycle varies in length from 10 to 12 years, with most being 11 years long. Shorter cycles generally correspond to more activity, while longer cycles less so.

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