Monster Solar Minimum Approaching


Solar Acrivity in 100 Years

Guest essay by David Archibald at Watts Up With That

This recent post was on the fact that the Sun’s EUV emissions had fallen to solar minimum-like levels well ahead of solar minimum. The implication was that the Solar Cycle 24/25 minimum was either going to be very deep and prolonged, or that Solar Cycle 24 would be very short, which in turn would be strange for a weak cycle.

David provides extensive graphics to make his points at the link. He also included a model developed by a retired B52 Pilot Ed Fix that predicts minimum in 2017.

Historic sun spots record is in green, the model plot is in red.


Figure 6: Ed Fix’s solar activity model

The model has the Solar Cycle 24/25 minimum in 2017. Solar Cycle 25 is predicted to be weak and short also. If events of the next year or so prove Ed Fix’s model to be correct, then it will be as significant as the results of any of the expeditions to observe solar phenomena over the last three centuries, but we get to watch in real time.

2017 will be an interesting solar year, tracking the validity of Ed Fix’s model.   Are we going to reach minimum by the end of 2017?  Your thoughts?

Posted in Analysis, Solar | Leave a comment

Sunspots and Volcanos?[Updated]

Anthony Mengotto in a comment brought up and interesting point, the sun is growing quiet, while volcanism is increasing. I have always wondered it there was a connection. Does vulcanism fluctuate with the increase and decrease of sunspots? The Smithsonian/USGS Weekly reports go back to the winter of 2000, which covers the Solar Cycle 23 peak and Solar Cycle 24 peak. This data allowed me to take a median date for the peaks and compare with the number of active volcanos. I did the same for Solar Cycle 23 minimum and the most recent measurement as Solar Cycle 24 seeks the minimum. The results are in the chart below.


It looks like there could be a relationship, high spots lower vulcanism, fewer spots higher vulcanism.

I picked the mid-point of the high spot count and low spots just to test the idea. There was a lot of variation in the numbers, so a more valid analysis might be to pick four fixed points in each year and plot the results on a graph of the sunspots. Plus, minimum is not until 2019 -2020.  I will use this analysis as a Python learning project, so stay tuned.

Readers thoughts are most welcome.

Update: this is the chart that got me thinking about grand minimums and volcanos:

Volcanic activity

Posted in Analysis, Discovery, Solar, Volcanism | 2 Comments

Solar Minimum in 2019-2020

According to the NASA Video below the next solar minimum is on the way and should arrive by 2019

As the next solar minimum is exposed by time, I will be focusing more on this event and its potential impact on the climate and our daily lives.

One of the events associated with a quiet sun in the increased number of high-energy cosmic rays that can reach the earth and it’s atmosphere. These cosmic rays are mention in the video. and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus project have been tracking the increase in cosmic rays since 2015 When the number of sunspots started to decline. and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes.


See Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere at for more details.


Posted in Analysis, California, Cosmic Rays, Weather | Leave a comment

New Atmospheric Radiation Results

For the past two+ years, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic rays in the atmosphere above California using high-altitude space weather balloons. After more than 100 flights, they find that dose rates have increased over the Golden State by 13% since March 2015.

Now we know the same thing is happening over New England–only more so.


More on the Earth to Sky Calculus HERE.

Some scientist believe that there is a connection between the number of cosmic rays and cloud cover. The more cloud cover, the cooler the planet. It could be more cosmic rays, the cooler the planet. More on clouds and cosmic rays HERE.

CLOUD also finds that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere.

What do you think?  Will a quiet sun allow more cosmic rays reach the earth, creating more clouds cooling the planet? Your thoughts?   Why the difference between New England and California?  Could it be latitude?  Or measurement error?  Your thoughts?

Posted in Cosmic Rays, Solar | 2 Comments

Indirect Effects of the Sun on Earth’s Climate

Mike Jonas writing as Guest Blogger at Watt Up With That has written an very interesting essay on the potential impact of the sun on our climate and climate history. Recommend reading for Next Grand Minimum readers, as there is a mention of the Maunder Minimum.

I would also direct your attention to the comments, which contain some interesting discussion.

Posted in Cosmic Rays, History, Maunder, Solar | 3 Comments

Solar Update June 2017–the sun is slumping and headed even lower

Guest essay by David Archibald at Watts Up With That

Solar cycle 24 has seen very low solar activity thus far, likely the lowest in 100 years.


Figure 1: F10.7 Flux 2014 – 2017

The F10.7 flux shows that over the last three and a half years the Sun has gone from solar maximum through a bounded decline to the current stage of the trail to the minimum. Solar minimum is likely to be still three years away.

The Full Post is HERE.  Stay tuned.  It was a record snow year in California and cosmic ray counts continue to increase. It is going to be an interesting climate year.


Posted in California, Cosmic Rays, Solar | Leave a comment

Dr.Stephanie Osborn, Interstellar Woman of Mystery, on Solar Climate Influence.

Dr Osborn has an interesting career in addition to being a Science Fiction writer.

A veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program, as well as various military space defense programs, she worked on numerous space shuttle flights and the International Space Station and counts the training of astronauts on her resum�. Her space experience also includes Spacelab and ISS operations, variable star astrophysics, Martian aeolian geophysics, radiation physics, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons effects.

She posted the following on Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor blog:

1) Yes indeed, I have been following sunspot numbers for many years now. And while sunspot numbers have been decreasing steadily for several cycles to date, the current dearth is very unusual — especially for this point in the cycle — and, to quote my favorite Vulcan, “Fascinating.” I am definitely continuing to keep an eye on the activity, or rather lack thereof.

2) There is a new model out (the “double-dynamo” model of the solar interior), only about 2 years old, which does a reasonable (though not perfect; it’s still not complex enough, IMHO) job of predicting extended solar minima, as well as the somewhat unusual “two-hump” shapes of recent solar cycles (when sunspot numbers vs. time are plotted). This model is predicting an extended minimum beginning in about 10-15 years, and this roughly matches my own considerations based on observation. (I think I referenced the model’s prediction in my original email, which you excerpted, though I may not have been clear enough; sometimes I forget not everyone is in the astronomical field, hence not familiar with the things I am. My bad.) If it is, indeed, not complex enough (as I strongly believe), then it may be that said extended minimum may begin sooner or later than predicted. The current rather precipitous decrease in sunspot numbers so soon after a solar max — which was itself somewhat paltry — may indicate an early start…or not. We will have to wait and see.

3) The “Little Ice Age” was actually a significantly extended cool period lasting several centuries, and no less than FOUR extended minima occurred during its “tenure.” These include, in order, the Wolf, the Spörer, the Maunder, and the Dalton minima. These extended minima were not all of the same “depth,” in that the minimum numbers of sunspots were not the same across all of them — the Maunder was far deeper than the rest — but as I mentioned previously, there are indications that we are hitting numbers in the range of the Dalton already. [Note that, during the Maunder Minimum, sunspots became so rare, that a grand total of only ~50 were observed over 28 years — this corresponds roughly to two and a half solar cycles. In a “normal” cycle, we would expect to see around 50,000 sunspots in that same timeframe, some three orders of magnitude more.]

4) The fact that, as sunspot numbers go down, the overall energies output by the Sun also go down is an indication that, in this instance, correlation may well equal causation, at least to some degree. Add in a few large volcanic eruptions to complicate matters — and there usually ARE some large volcanic eruptions in such timeframes, as a matter of course — and it may well prove interesting times ahead, as well as in the past.

5) The fact that cosmic ray fluxes are increasing is further indication that solar activity is decreasing, as the solar wind normally tends to provide a shield of some (relative) substance against cosmic rays, which originate outside our solar system, mostly from galactic sources (supernovae, active galactic nuclei, etc.). But as solar activity declines, the solar wind also declines, and so too would the cosmic ray flux increase, as the plasma which shields us from its entrance into the inner solar system decreases. (We still have the magnetosphere shielding us.)

I’m simplifying, of course; things are always more complex than meets the eye. But given the steady decrease in numbers for a good 3 or more cycles now (with considerable fluctuation for several cycles before that), I will be surprised if, at some time in the next few cycles, we do not enter an extended minimum, even if only of moderate depth. And it really isn’t a matter of “if,” but of when. Many variable star astronomers (and that’s what I studied in school — spotted variables, no less) consider that the Sun is at the very least borderline variable; some consider it outrightly so. I tend to fall in the latter camp; it all depends on the percentage of variability, and we are only now obtaining the kind of data we need to determine that. But it doesn’t actually take much.

Of course, only time will be the true validation if we are going to have another Grand Minimum.  Readers thoughts?

Posted in Analysis, Cosmic Rays, Maunder, Solar | 2 Comments