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Sunspot update: The weak solar maximum continues

NOAA yesterday posted its updated monthly graph tracking the number of sunspots on the Sun’s Earth-facing hemisphere. As I do every month, I have posted this graph below, with several additional details to provide some larger context.

The sunspot activity in March dropped, continuing the pattern of the last five months, where the Sun appears to be in a stable plateau after reaching a high peak in the summer of 2023. It continues to appear that we are in the middle low saddle of a double-peaked relatively weak solar maximum, with the Sun doing what I predicted in February:

If we are now in maximum, sunspot activity throughout the rest of 2024 should fluctuate at the level it is right now, with it suddenly rising again near the end of the year for a period lasting through the first half of 2025. After that it should begin its ramp down to solar minimum.

March 2024 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.

No one with a right mind however should take my prediction seriously, even if I end up completely right. For example, the sunpost numbers in March actually came close to what NOAA’s panel of scientists had predicted for this month back in April 2020, the first time their prediction has been even close to reality since ramp up to solar maximum began in 2022. That prediction however had said that this activity would be the result of a steady and continuing rise in activity, not a drop.

The bottom line remains: No one understands the fundamentals within the Sun that cause this sunspot cycle. We know it occurs because of the flipping of polarity of the Sun’s magnetic field every eleven years, but why that field flips remains utterly unexplained.

Right now it appears the solar maximum will be a long one, with two peaks stretched apart over a period of as long as four years, with total sunspot activity higher than predicted, though still producing a weak solar maximum.

If this turns out to be what happens, the resulting weak maximum likely signals a continuing pause in any climate warming predicted wildly by global warming activists both in and out of the scientific community. Historically low activity has repeatedly been associated with lower temperatures, for reasons not yet completely understood. There is every reason to expect the same in the coming four years.

And then again, who knows? We really don’t know enough to make any educated predictions.

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

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