Have We Reached Solar Maximum?

Russ Steele

Solar scientist have been predicting Solar Max in 2013, and one of the weakest so far in the Space Age. However, it may turn out to be much weaker that they thought. Check out this graphic from SpaceWeather.com

SO THIS IS SOLAR MAXIMUM? — Forecasters have long expected the Solar Max of 2013 to be the weakest of the Space Age. It might be even weaker than they thought. As shown in this 20-year plot of sunspot counts vs. time, the sun is underperforming [above]

Sunspot numbers are notoriously variable, so the actual counts could rapidly rise to meet or exceed the predicted curve. For now, however, the face of the sun is devoid of large sunspots, and there have been no strong flares in more than a week. The threshold of Solar Max looks a lot like Solar Min.

Low solar activity on the sun has historically caused cooler weather here on planet earth. Given this history, I think we can expect colder winters and cooler summers as a general trend, with chaotic peaks and valleys that exceed the over all trend. Warmer than the average years and colder that the average yeas, yet with the overall average trend declining as it has during historical grand minimums like the Dalton and Maunder. An open questions this will this cooling turn out to be a short Dalton, or a much longer Maunder, we will have to wait and see.

Stay Tuned we are on the cusp of climate history.

4 thoughts on “Have We Reached Solar Maximum?

  1. Dena Wiltsie November 8, 2012 / 9:21 am

    I have been watching the sun spots for several years (I started when I first ask the question is Global Warming real) and the have been adjusting the predicted plot all that time. It start with the predicted plot indicating a more active cycle than the last one (peaking in about 2000). All this time it has been adjusted downward almost every month. I suspect in the end the real plot will be even lower and will look very much like the original two cycles 400 years ago. I strongly suspect that the interesting cycle is not this one but the next one which may be almost nonexistent. We should know the answer in about another 10 years.

    • Russ November 8, 2012 / 10:19 am


      According to David Archibald Solar Cycle 25 maximum will be about 7. That is consistent with what Penn and Livingston are saying that between 2015 and 2020 the spots will be very hard to see, it they can be seen at all. The next ten years are going to be most interesting.

  2. Terry December 28, 2012 / 2:59 pm

    Hi Russ. The one thing you’re missing is that if the cycle is weaker, it is almost certain that it will be longer as well, pushing the Cycle 24 peak to the right on the plot. It will most likely be in late 2014, or possibly even sometime in 2015. The length of the entire cycle should be quite a bit longer than the typical 11 years.

    I’m a bit surprised to see that plot showing the peak in 2014, as recently I’ve still seen references to a 2013 peak. In fact, the official NASA page on the Marshall Space Flight Center site still predicts a late 2013 peak as of 12/10.

    • Russ December 28, 2012 / 4:49 pm

      Yes, And according to David Archibald writing in The Past and Future of Climate the longer the sunspot cycle the colder it gets. See pages 69 through 74 for the charts.

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