Deep Solar Minimum on the Verge of a Historic Milestone

Guest post by Paul Dorian

clip_image002Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. The recent low sunspot activity is clearly reflected in the recent low values for the total solar irradiance. Data source: WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels. Last day shown: 31 October 2019. Last diagram update: 1 November 2019. [Courtesy]

*Deep solar minimum on the verge of an historic milestone*


The sun is currently in the midst of a deep solar minimum and it is about to reach an historic milestone. So far this year the sun has been blank (i.e., no visible sunspots) for 266 days and, barring any major surprises, it’ll reach 269 days early next week which will be the quietest year in terms of sunspots since 1913 when the sun was spotless for 311 days. In fact, the current stretch of consecutive spotless days has reached 29 and for the year the sun has been blank 77% of the time. The current record-holder in the satellite era for spotless days in a given year is 2008 when the sun was blank for 268 days making the 2008-2009 solar minimum the deepest since 1913.

Solar minimum is a normal part of the 11-year sunspot cycle, but the last one and the current one have been far deeper than most. One of the consequences of a solar minimum is a reduction of solar storms and another is the intensification of cosmic rays. The just ended solar cycle 24 turned out to be one of the weakest in more than a century – continuing a weakening trend that began in the 1980’s – and, if the latest forecasts are correct, the next solar cycle will be the weakest in more than 200 years.

clip_image004The sun remains spotless today and has been so 77% of the time in 2019; image courtesy NASA SDO/HMI,

Solar minimum and the intensification of cosmic rays

One of the natural impacts of decreasing solar activity is the weakening of the ambient solar wind and its magnetic field which, in turn, allows more and more cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. Galactic cosmic rays are high-energy particles originating from outside the solar system that can impact the Earth’s atmosphere. Our first line of defense from cosmic rays comes from the sun as its magnetic field and the solar wind combine to create a ‘shield’ that fends off cosmic rays attempting to enter the solar system. The shielding action of the sun is strongest during solar maximum and weakest during solar minimum with the weakening magnetic field and solar wind.  The intensity of cosmic rays varies globally by about 15% over a solar cycle because of changes in the strength of the solar wind, which carries a weak magnetic field into the heliosphere, partially shielding Earth from low-energy galactic charged particles.

clip_image006Cosmic rays have been intensifying for more than 4 years. On Dec. 5th and 6th they surged within a percentage point of the Space Age record, according to data from neutron counters at the University of Oulu’s Cosmic Ray Station in Finland. Courtesy

High-altitude balloons have been launched on a periodic basis in recent years to monitor stratospheric radiation associated with the influx of cosmic rays and they have shown a steady increase since 2015 (campaign sponsored by In this set of measurements, cosmic rays have increased by about 13% during the past four years over the central part of California. At another location, the neutron monitor at the University of Oulu’s cosmic ray station in Finland recorded levels earlier this month that were within a percentage point of the satellite era record.

clip_image008Cosmic rays in the stratosphere are intensifying for the 4th year in a row. This finding comes from a campaign of almost weekly high-altitude balloon launches conducted by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus. Since March 2015, there has been a ~13% increase in X-rays and gamma-rays over central California, where the students have launched hundreds of balloons. The grey points in the graph are Earth to Sky balloon data. Overlaid on that time series is a record of neutron monitor data from the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatoryin Oulu, Finland. The correlation between the two data sets is impressive, especially considering their wide geographic separation and differing methodologies. Neutron monitors have long been considered a “gold standard” for monitoring cosmic rays on Earth. This shows that our student-built balloons are gathering data of similar quality.

Cosmic rays are of interest to anyone who flies on airplanes. According to, the International Commission on Radiological Protection has classified pilots as occupational radiation workers because of cosmic ray doses they receive while flying. A recent study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health shows that flight attendants face an elevated risk of cancer compared to members of the general population. They listed cosmic rays as one of several risk factors. There are also some studies that suggest cosmic rays promote the formation of clouds in the atmosphere; if so, increasing cosmic rays could affect weather and climate.

clip_image010400 years of sunspot observations; courtesy Wikipedia

Solar cycle 25

The solar cycle is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between periods of high and low sunspot number every 11 years or so. Researchers have been tracking solar cycles since they were discovered in the 19th century. The just ended solar cycle, #24, was the weakest with the fewest sunspots since solar cycle 14 peaked in February 1906. Solar cycle 24 continued a recent trend of weakening solar cycles which began with solar cycle 21 that peaked around 1980. The very latest forecast for the next solar cycle (#25) says it will be weaker than the just ended SC24 and perhaps the weakest of the last 200 years. To be fair, some earlier forecasts had the next solar cycle being in similar magnitude to SC24.  However, research now underway has apparently found a more reliable method to predict space weather. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot numbers, could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one – solar cycle 24 according to the latest forecast. The results of this new forecasting technique show that the next solar cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.

The new forecast is the work of a team led by Irina Kitiashvili of the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. Using data collected since 1976 from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and the Solar Dynamics Observatory space missions, the researchers were able to come up with a prediction by directly observing the solar magnetic field rather than simply counting sunspots, which provides only a rough gauge of activity inside the Sun. Because this is a relatively new approach, there is only data from four complete cycles, but by combining three sources of solar observations with estimates of the Sun’s interior activity, the team was able to produce a prediction in 2008 that matched the activity that was observed over the past 11 years.

One challenge for researchers working to predict the Sun’s activities is that scientists do not yet completely understand the inner workings of our star. Some factors that play out deep inside the Sun cannot be measured directly. They have to be estimated from measurements of related phenomena on the solar surface like sunspots, coronal holes and filaments. Kitiashvili’s method differs from other prediction tools in terms of the raw material for its forecast. Previously, researchers used the number of sunspots to represent indirectly the activity of the solar magnetic field. The new approach takes advantage of direct observations of magnetic fields emerging on the surface of the Sun.

clip_image011Temperature recordings at the Greenland Ranch weather station in Death Valley, California during the intense heat wave of July 1913. This excerpt about the record-breaking heat wave comes from an article posted during January 1922 in the meteorological journal Monthly Weather Review which is still in publication today. Courtesy NOAA

Extreme weather of 1913

One final note of interest, the year 1913 cited earlier for its lack of sunspots on the order of 311 days was a year filled with wild weather extremes including the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth in Death Valley, CA. For more on the extreme weather of 1913 click here.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian
Perspecta, Inc.

CLIMATEGATE: Untangling Myth and Reality Ten Years Later

Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre have written up reflections on Climategate 10 years later, focusing on the myths promulgated by the climate academic community. It was McKitrick and McIntyre that exposed Michael Mann climate change “Hockey Stick” as bad science, if not outright fraud. You can take a look at those reflections HERE.

Steven McIntyre Tweets: Climategate contains important lessons on how institutions evade responsibility through sly and carefully restrictive terms of reference, unrepresentative inquiry teams, and wrongheaded findings – relevant caveats in the week before Horowitz


The Sun’s Role in Climate Change

Dr. Nir Shaviv spoke at a Friends of Science event on June 2, 2015, on Solar Forcing. Dr. Shaviv explained and demonstrated that the sun is an important climate driver but it is missing from the standard climate analyses. As a consequence, the standard (i.e. IPCC) models have a much higher climate sensitivity than the real Earth has, such that future climate response to anthropogenic forcing will be “much more benign” than what alarmists claim.

A video of his talk is here:

Dr. Nir Shaviv’s slides can be downloaded HERE.  Grand Minimums are mentioned on slide 27.


Everything That Happens on Earth Happens in Cycles

It’s a cycle, it’s a cycle, it’s a cycle says Peter Temple who warns we are entering a cooling phase. “[J]ust when we need more energy and warmth, we have politicians trying to tax it out of existence.”

“The sun and the planets are the main driver of climate change on our tiny little planet,” says Temple, and presents his analysis in this video:

Scientists: Climate Records ‘Correlate Well’ With Solar Modulation…A Grand Solar Minimum Expected By 2030

International and NASA solar scientists find their Total Solar Irradiance reconstruction extending to 1700 can “correlate well” with Earth’s global temperature records, including a positive net TSI trend during 1986-2008. A new Grand Solar Minimum is expected to commence during the 2030s.

Kennith Richard has the details at the NoTricksZone

Cold October (and now November) in perspective

Reblogged from

See references to Maunder and Dalton Minimums.

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Starting in January 2019, unusual and at times record cold has been locked in over the north central states.


Though there was heat in late summer in the southeast and eastern Gulf to the Mid-Atlantic, the cold held in the north central. After a very cold spring with late snows, which significantly delayed or prevented grain planting, a cool summer followed and gave way to a very early cold shot in late September that brought early deep freezes and even record snows in the north central leading to significant crop losses.

There have been 90 all-time record lows versus just 44 all-time record highs this year. That included the all time state record low of -38F in Mount Carroll in Illinois on January 31st.

The cold central deepened in October and pushed to the east bringing very early snow into the Midwest. October saw 3680 record daily lows, 32 all time record lows for the month and no all time record monthly highs (NOAA NCEI).


After bringing heavy snows to the Rockies and high plains the cold rolled south with temperatures 30 to 50 degrees below normal.


Temperatures dropped to a record of -35F at Logan County Sink in Utah and -46F in Peter’s sink, record coldest for the U.S. for the month of October.

The temperatures the first 9 months have tracked the last 120 years well with multidecadal cycles in the ocean.


The cold also follows the solar activity. We are currently in a century or more quiet sun.  In the period in and following the last 11 year cycle low (2007-2011), we had brutal cold and snow here in the U.S. and Europe.

December in 2010, the Central England Temperature (longest continuous record going back to 1659), was the second coldest December.  Snow, which was forecast to be a thing of the past, instead buried the UK for long periods reminiscent of the Dalton solar Minimum of the early 1800s as evidenced by Dicken’s novels.


In the US, record cold and snow in the Snowmageddon Mid-Atlantic winter of 2009/10, was eclipsed with the record winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Which brought the coldest and snowiest winter and modern day peaks of Great Lake ice.




The snow in the hemisphere is increasing very rapidly and is above normal, which should expand and enhance the cold. Note how the fall record for snow extent was at record levels last fall.



Given the projection by Russian scientists and many in the west including some at NASA, we could be heading into a deep and long solar minimum like the Maunder Minimum with a major cooling. Whether it is a several decade Dalton like period or a Maunder, this is no time to abandon cheap, available energy.



Even in the warmer interlude we have enjoyed, cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries.


Next Maunder Minimum Predicted

Reposted from Watt’s Up With That

25 for 25

Guest post by David Archibald

Back on March 7, 2006, the National Science Foundation issued a press release predicting that the amplitude of Solar Cycle 24 would be “30 to 50 percent stronger” than Solar Cycle 23. Solar Cycle 23 had a smoothed maximum amplitude of 180.3. The press release described the forecast as “unprecedented”. Perhaps it was as in unprecedentedly wrong. Solar Cycle 24 had a smoothed maximum amplitude of 116.4 in April 2104, which made it 35% weaker than Solar Cycle 23.

NASA has recycled some of the language from that 2006 press release in this release on NASA researcher Irina Kitiashvili’s forecast of Solar Cycle 25 amplitude which includes this line:

The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one.

This time it is 30 to 50% lower rather than higher which would put maximum smoothed amplitude in the range of 80 to 60. The graphics in Kitiashvili’s presentation differ from that. This graphic from slide nine has a peak amplitude of 50 with a range of 65 down to 40:


Figure 1: Solar Cycle 25 forecast in the context of 320 years of solar cycle data

But the graphic on the previous slide has a peak amplitude of 25:


Figure 2: Solar Cycle 25 amplitude forecast from slide 8

Let’s assume that the latter forecast of 25 is the author’s intent and apply it to the figure on slide 3 of 420 years of sunspot data:


Figure 3: Forecast from Figure 2 imposed on the 420 years of solar cycle data on slide 3.

In this figure the forecast from Figure 2 is scaled to fit on the graphic on slide 3 from Kitiashvili’s presentation. It shows that Solar Cycle 25 will be the smallest for some 300 years. The activity pattern predicted by Kitiashvili looks like the setup for the Maunder Minimum. A Maunder-like event was predicted by Schatten and Tobiska in their paper to the 34th meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, June 2003:

The surprising result of these long range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a “Maunder” type of solar activity minimum – an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity.”

NASA’s press release is headed “Solar Activity Forecast for Next Decade Favorable for Exploration”. So spacecraft electronics and spacemen will have a lower chance of being fried by solar storms, the Earth’s thermosphere will shrink, satellites will have lower drag and stay in orbit longer. But what about life on Earth? In her 2011 paper Haigh showed an unequivocal relationship between solar activity and climate as recorded in North Atlantic ocean sediments:


Figure 4: Records extracted from ocean sediments in the North Atlantic

In Figure 4 solar activity is measured by Be10 (purple) and climate variation is shown by deposits of ice-rafted minerals (orange). Lower solar activity means that it will become colder and colder is drier. Prepare accordingly.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.

[Emphasis added]

NASA – Next Solar Cycle will be Weakest in 200 Years

September 5, 2019 by Robert at Ice Age Now

NASA dropped this bombshell announcement in a little-heralded news release coyly entitled “Solar Activity Forecast for Next Decade Favorable for Exploration.” In other words, NASA tried to make it sound like good news.

In the release, dated 12 June 2019, NASA described the upcoming decline in solar activity as a window of opportunity for space exploration instead of acknowledging the disastrous consequences such a decline could wreak on civilization.

Here are some direct quotes from the news release:

The Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. (Emphasis added) The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.

Sunspots are regions on the Sun with magnetic fields thousands of times stronger than the Earth’s. Fewer of them at the point of maximum solar activity means fewer dangerous blasts of radiation.

The new research was led by Irina Kitiashvili, a researcher with the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley. It combined observations from two NASA space missions – the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and the Solar Dynamics Observatory – with data collected since 1976 from the ground-based National Solar Observatory.

In admitting that solar activity during sunspot-cycle 25 could be the weakest in 200 years, NASA was effectively forecasting a return to Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) conditions. But the release gives no mention of the ferocious cold, no mention of the disastrous crop losses, no mention of the ensuing starvation and famine, no mention of the wars over food, no mention of the powerful earthquakes, no mention of the catastrophic volcanic eruptions during the Dalton Minimum.

NASA Paper is HERE

Some people consider the low solar activity a trigger for other catastrophic events such as the 1811-1812 New Madrid Fault Earth Quakes and 1815 eruption of Mount Tamboura.  As you can see from this chart global cooling produced some strong eruption.

Volcanic activity

I have done some investigation of the cooling triggering earthquakes and significant eruptions but could not find any smoking-gun evidence.  [Your thoughts?]

The said the real issue is global cooling, as  1-2 degrees C of cooling shortens the growing seasons and disrupts the food supply. This is a problem for a planet with more mouths to feed with every passing year.  Modern transportation can mitigate the distribution issues that plagued other grand minimum populations, but you first have to have agricultural output to distribute.  This year the growing season is going to be much shorter than last year. Your thoughts?

The Next Great Extinction Event Will Not Be Global Warming – It Will Be Global Cooling

By Allan M. R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., August 2019


Forget all those falsehoods about scary global warming, deceptions contrived by wolves to stampede the sheep. The next great extinction event will not be global warming, it will be global cooling. Future extinction events are preponderantly cold: a glacial period, medium-size asteroid strike or supervolcano. Humanity barely survived the last glacial period that ended only 11,500 years ago, the blink-of–an-eye in geologic time.

Cold, not heat, is by far the greater killer of humanity. Today, cool and cold weather kills about 20 times as many people as warm and hot weather. Excess Winter Deaths, defined as more deaths in the four winter months than equivalent non-winter months, total over two million souls per year, in both cold and warm climates. Earth is colder-than-optimum for humanity, and currently-observed moderate global warming increases life spans.

I am not in agreement with all the author’s points, but it is an interesting read. Grand minimums are referenced. Some of the comments give some perspective to the author’s claims of rapid cooling.

The full post is HERE.