Space Weather: No Spots, but NOT a Dull Sun



In total, 2016 has had 31 ‘spotless days’–a whole month’s worth. We haven’t had this many blank suns in a single year since 2010 (51 days). This is a sign that the sunspot cycle is crashing toward a new Solar Minimum.

There are many misconceptions about Solar Minimum. One holds that auroras vanish when sunspots disappear. Christmas Day 2016 was proof that the opposite is true. Without a hint of a sunspot on the solar disk, intense auroras raged around the Arctic Circle on Dec. 25th. What caused the luminous outburst? An enormous hole in the sun’s atmosphere directed a stream of solar wind toward Earth, sparking a week-long display that is still underway. Such atmospheric holes are common during Solar Minimum, which is a fine time to see Arctic auroras.

Many people think space weather becomes dull or stops altogether during Solar Minimum. 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 our atmosphere with relative ease. Yes, Solar Minimum is coming … but it won’t be dull.

More HERE.  Emphasis add.  Some scientists think increases in cosmic ray can result in more clouds, which cool the earth. This could be the mechanism that results in global cooling, producing a grand minimum of climate change.


4 thoughts on “Space Weather: No Spots, but NOT a Dull Sun

  1. Anthony j. Mengotto January 1, 2017 / 11:43 pm

    Russ, Happy New Year to you an your family. The next three years are going to be interesting as to when cycle 25 will begin. The longer it takes for cycle 25 to start, the colder it will get. I did read in the two posts ago, David Archibald forecast for a 62 smooth sun spot number. Remember and keep in mind this is a modern day sunspot number forecast and sunspot numbers were counted differently back in the 1800’s. I would think that it would have totaled to an equal count of 48 sunspot numbers back in the 1800’s as we are in modern times counting sunspot specks. However, when it comes to David Archibald, he is the best sunspot forecaster their is. Of course there is a margin of error, but he is pretty much right on target when it comes forecasting sunspot count.

    • Russ Steele January 16, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Check out my latest post, which includes some forecasts for Solar Cycle 25. I have been a follower of David Archibald’s solar analysis for years. He has dropped by this blog once in a while to provide encouragement. I also follow Leif Svalgaard who does not often agree with David Archibald’s analysis. Both have strong arguments, and it will be interesting to see which one Mother Nature proves correct. It will be an interesting 3-5 years.

  2. Gabriel January 13, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    David Archibald’s predictions are pretty much coherent with the analysis made by Geoff Sharp (see Both predicts SC24 and SC25 will show straight resemblance with SC05 and SC06 possibly leading Earth to a period similar to the Dalton Minimum. But SC24 must still show a bit stronger Sun’s activity to cope with their prediction according to Rog Tallbloke (he bets there will be a kind of a little resurgence of sunspots during 2017 and 2018). Nevertheless Zharkova’s study says there will be an even ‘colder’ SC26. If she is right (or if sunspots do not ‘react’ in the next 2 yrs.) than it might possibly means that Earth will be heading not to a Dalton minimum but to something in-between a Spörer’s or Maunder’s -like minima.

  3. Russ Steele January 16, 2017 / 9:10 am

    See my latest post on predictions for Solar Cycle 25.

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