Dr. Sten Odenwald, a retired astronomer and educator formerly with the National Institute of Aerospace and NASA writing in the Huffington Post. He concludes his sunspot article, Waiting For The Next Sunspot Cycle 2019-2030, with this view forward:
Statistically speaking, the current Cycle 24 is scheduled to draw to a close about 11 years after the previous sunspot minimum in January 2008, which means sometime in 2019. We entered the Cycle 24 sunspot minimum period in 2016 because in February and June, we already had two spot-free days. As the number of spot-free days continues to increase in 2017-2018, we will start seeing the new sunspots of Cycle 25 appear sometime in late-2019. Sunspot maximum is likely to occur in 2024, with most forecasts predicting about half as many sunspots as in Cycle 24.
The bad news is that some studies show sunspot magnetic field strengths have been declining since 2000 and are already close to the minimum needed to sustain sunspots on the solar surface. This is also supported by independent work in 2015 published in the journal Nature. By Cycle 25 or 26, magnetic fields may be too weak to punch through the solar surface and form recognizable sunspots at all, spelling the end of the sunspot cycle phenomenon, and the start of another Maunder Minimum cooling period perhaps lasting until 2100.
But the good news seems to be that none of the current forecasts suggest Cycle 25 will be entirely absent. A few forecasts even hold out some hope that a sunspot maximum equal to or greater than Cycle 24 is possible.
Full article is HERE:
‘…some hope that a sunspot maximum equal to or greater than Cycle 24 is possible.’… Just a wishful thinking… It is time to be realistic and prepare for the cooling period. There are also other studies that sustain the Sun has reached a point of maturity leading to a stage where we won’t see sunspots no longer…
So why is everyone predicting a little ice age? Even if we are approaching a minimum in sunspot activity, which may cause reduced interference with cosmic radiation and hence increased cloud cover, the big difference between 1650-1700 or circa 1800-1840 and today is that the atmospheric CO2 concentration is now 50% higher than it was then. It could be the case that GHG radiative forcing will be sufficient to offset the cooling effect of increased cloud (or at least will significantly reduce it). It could be that those who accept the physics of GHG forcing (like me) are wrong to project rapid increases in temperature over the next few decades…but equally that those of you who reject it, will be grateful that the impending ice age will be frosty but not brutal.
In fact, if we (the human race) are lucky, and global cooling comes to pass due to a period of low solar activity, it could be the opportunity we need to address the entire issue of GHG emissions without suffering catastrophic global warming impacts in the immediate future. Just sayin’.
Hello Henry, You make some very good points and this is indeed the core of the debate.
We are at the moment at a very interesting point in the development of knowledge in this whole area. We like to think we know everything there is to know about everything – unfortunately we don’t. The phase we are entering may be something we have not experienced in human scientific history.
Studying the graphs; sunspot numbers, the Ap index, subtle changes in atmospheric profiles and so on, does give an overall impression that the increase in global surface temperatures since the late 1800’s has started to reverse. How sharply that reverse will happen, how deep it will go, can only be pure speculation at this point. The key problem is that political attitudes have hardened in one direction – due perhaps to lack of knowledge in the political community coupled with their need to control events – while a wiser person may well ‘hedge his bets’ and make preparations both ways.
Just sayin’ 😉
Russ, there is now fears on a abrupt end to SC24 3 years ahead of time according to some solar activity measurements. Please refer to http://www.landscheidt.info for more information.
biffo you said in your report at the top of this page that 2008 was a solar minimum well it wasent 2008 was a solar maximum it behaved like a solar minimum but actually solar cycle 24 that started in 2008 was a maximum solar cycle it was the weakest maximum solar cycle since the maunder minimum era little iceage earths atmosphere in 2013 was the lowest it had shrunk to in over 43 years because of the very low solar activity and few sunspots it caused the antartic and north arctic to have there coldest temps ever recorded on planet earth southpole was a bitterly 131 degrees below freezing point and the north arctic saw a record cold low temp of minus 96 degrees below freezing point and antarctica had record amounts of accumilating frozen seaice ocer the 2010 to 2013 years this had to be caused by the low solar activity and very few sun spots from 2007 8 2008 9 and 2009 10 years of very few sunspots and very low solar activity in the uk these 3 years seen our coldest winters since the 1980s so we can expect this new solar minimum cycle 25 to bring us some exciting times to prove that the suns sun spots and low solar activity do have a big say in what type of weather we get on earth all will be revealed
Russ, I guess you could ask Spaceweather.com to reproduce their post of Nov 16th, 2016 (pay attention to the information coming from NOAA): they are now admitting the possibility of a ‘deep Solar Minimum in 2019-2020’. Pics in the site.
‘SUNSPOT CYCLE AT LOWEST LEVEL IN 5 YEARS: The sun has looked remarkably blank lately, with few dark cores interrupting the featureless solar disk. This is a sign that Solar Minimum is coming. Indeed, sunspot counts have just reached their lowest level since 2011. With respect to the sunspot cycle, you are here:
The solar cycle is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between periods of high and low sunspot number every 11 years. These data from NOAA show that the pendulum is swinging toward low sunspot numbers even faster than expected. (The red line is the forecast; black dots are actual measurements.). Given the current progression, forecasters expect the cycle to bottom out with a deep Solar Minimum in 2019-2020.
Solar Minimum is widely misunderstood. Many people think it brings a period of dull quiet. In fact, space weather changes in interesting ways. For instance, as the extreme ultraviolet output of the sun decreases, the upper atmosphere of Earth cools and collapses. This allows space junk to accumulate around our planet. Also, the heliosphere shrinks, bringing interstellar space closer to Earth; galactic cosmic rays penetrate the inner solar system and our atmosphere with relative ease. (More on this below.) Meanwhile, geomagnetic storms continue–caused mainly by solar wind streams instead of CMEs. Solar Minimum is coming, and it won’t be dull.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
COSMIC RAYS CONTINUE TO INTENSIFY: As the sunspot cycle declines, we expect cosmic rays to increase. Is this actually happening? The answer is “yes.” Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring radiation levels in the stratosphere with frequent high-altitude balloon flights over California. Here are the latest results, current as of Nov. 11, 2016:
Data show that cosmic ray levels are intensifying with an 11% increase since March 2015.
Cosmic rays are high-energy photons and subatomic particles accelerated in our direction by distant supernovas and other violent events in the Milky Way. Usually, cosmic rays are held at bay by the sun’s magnetic field, which envelops and protects all the planets in the Solar System. But the sun’s magnetic shield is weakening as the solar cycle shifts from Solar Max to Solar Minimum. As the sunspot cycle goes down, cosmic rays go up.
The sensors we send to the stratosphere measure X-rays and gamma-rays which are produced by the crash of primary cosmic rays into Earth’s atmosphere. In this way we are able to track increasing levels of radiation. The increase is expected to continue for years to come as solar activity plunges toward a deep Solar Minimum in 2019-2020.
Recently, we have expanded the scope of our measurements beyond California with launch sites in three continents: North America, South America and soon above the Arctic Circle in Europe. This Intercontinental Space Weather Balloon Network will allow us to probe the variable protection we receive from Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere as a function of location around the globe.
Our work is completely crowd-funded. Everyone who sponsors a balloon flight or buys an item from the Earth to Sky store contributes to this important body of knowledge. Thanks!’
Thanks, that was great input. I am a subscriber to Space Weather and should be paying more attention to the results of Balloon Network and reporting in the results on this blog. I did send a link to my two grandsons who are interested in physics. Thanks for the jump start.