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Sunspot Minimum Moves to At Least December; June in Northeast like 2008 in UK July 2, 2009

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Sunspot Minimum Moves to At Least December; June in Northeast like 2008 in UK

By Joseph D’Aleo
ICECAP

Despite an active start to the month and a rather steady stream of cycle 24 microdots, the official sunspot number for June came in at 2.6 below the 3.5 needed to make November 2008 the solar minimum. This means it can’t be earlier than December, 2008. It seems unlikely unless the sun goes back into a deep slumber as it did last summer and July stays at or below 0.5 (the value of the month it will replace in the 13 month average), December 2008 won’t be the sunspot minimum with a 13 month mean of 1.7. Only three minima since 1750 had official minima below 1.7 (1913 1.5, 1810 0, 1823 0.1). Of course modern measurement technologies are better than older technologies so there is some uncertainty as to whether microdots back then would have been seen.

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This chart maintained daily by Jan Alverstad at Solar Terrestrial Activity Report shows the increased solar spikiness in sunspot numbers in May and June but surprisingly a very low solar flux and a still rather low planetary A index number (geomagnetic activity). The sun is farthest from the earth in June/July which means the flux is lower, but official values are adjusted to account for that.

The Total Solar Irradiance as measure by SORCE (Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment) was also interesting the last two months showing two spikes but then a recent return to minimum levels.

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JUNE 2008 IN THE UNITED STATES

The first half of the month was extremely cold and even snowy in south Central Canada and the northern United States. In snowed in North Dakota and in California in early June. It was also unusually cold in the southwest – well below the normal (often 10-20 degrees) in places like Palm Springs, CA. In general, the desert southwest was unusually mild. Phoenix had 15 straight days with highs below 100F, the first time in June since 1913.

June, especially the second half was very hot in the southern plains and the heat expanded north and east a bit after mid-month before being suppressed again by months end.

In the northeast, the month was unusually cold, cloudy and wet. In Boston it was 4.7F below normal in a tie for 6th coldest June (with 1982) in 138 years of record keeping, all the other years were before 1916. It was just short of two standard deviations colder then normal. The NWS spot checked the average maximum temp at Boston for the month and it appears this is the second coldest average high temp since 1872. 1903 is the record. A trace or more of rain fell on 22 days of the month. Measurable (0.01 inches or more) occurred on 16 days just short of the record of 18 set in 1942.

At Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA, just southwest of Boston, the month of June had between 26 and 27% of the possible bright sunshine. Normal for June is 55% and the gloomiest June in 1903 had just 25% of the possible sunshine. Second place had been June, 1998, with 36%. So, this month has taken over 2nd place, not an enviable distinction for vacationers.

New York City’s Central Park was also cool, cloudy and wet. The month averaged 3.7F below normal and tied with 1897 as the 8th coldest since 1869 (151 years). It rained in 23 days of the month and ended up as the second wettest June ever falling short of 1927. Recall Joe Romm of Climate Progress had blamed the rains at the US Open on global warming and chuckled the heat waves would make the climate debate in DC all that much more exciting.

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See larger image here.
See pdf
here.

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David Archibald on – The State of the Sun – 16th June, 2009 June 20, 2009

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David Archibald on – The State of the Sun – 16th June, 2009

June 16th, 2009 by Warwick Hughes

The Ap Index is heading down sharply.
Ap time series
The F10.7 flux is flatlining. Note that the volatility has gone out of it
F10.7 flux
The rate of decline of the heliospheric current sheet suggests that the month of solar minimum may be still a year off.
heliospheric current sheet  time series
Like the Ap Index, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field recently headed down sharply.
Interplanetary Magnetic Field
The Oulu neutron count is trending up steeply. If the month of solar minimum is still a year off, the neutron count can be expected to continue rising for another two years.
Oulu neutron count
Solar wind flow pressure is going to new lows.
Solar wind flow pressure
Summary
The Sun has gone very quiet and several indicators of activity are still heading down. Solar Cycle 23 may end up being 14 years long. Solar activity modelling that I have recently become aware of suggests that the Sun will have very low activity until 2016.

Sunspot numbers for May 2009 June 5, 2009

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Sunspot numbers for May 2009

Source

Month 2008 2009
Jan 3.3 1.5
Feb 2.1 1.4
Mar 9.3 0.7
Apr 2.9 1.2
May 3.2 2.9
Jun 3.4
Jul 0.8
Aug 0.5
Sep 1.1
Oct 2.9
Nov 4.1
Dec 0.8

Our Current Minimum is More Maunder than Dalton May 9, 2009

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Our Current Minimum is More Maunder than Dalton

From Watts Up With That, May 8, 2009

Guest Post by David Archibald

This is a plot of three year windows on the Maunder and Dalton Minimum and the current minimum:

Maunder-Dalton1

What it is showing is how the start of the current minimum compares with the starts of the Maunder and Dalton Minima.  The solar cycle minimum at the start of the Dalton was a lot more active than the current one.  If you consider that very small spots are being counted now, the activities are very similar.  This is how they look without the Dalton:

Maunder-Dalton2

If you consider the [current sunspot] counting problem, they are actually a pretty good match.

David Archibald

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/08/more-maunder-than-dalton

Sunspot numbers for April 2009 May 5, 2009

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Sunspot numbers for April 2009

Source

Month 2008 2009
Jan 3.3 1.5
Feb 2.1 1.4
Mar 9.3 0.7
Apr 2.9 1.2
May 3.2
Jun 3.4
Jul 0.8
Aug 0.5
Sep 1.1
Oct 2.9
Nov 4.1
Dec 0.8

Update: Sun and Ice April 16, 2009

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Update: Sun and Ice

From ICECAP

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

The sun remains in a deep slumber.

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Today we are 15 days into April without a sunspot and with 603 sunspotless day this cycle minimum, 92 already this year.  2009 at this rate, is likely to enter the top 10 years the last century along with 2007 (9th) and 2008 (2nd) this summer.

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If it stays quiet the rest of this month, the minimum can be no earlier than November 2008, at least a 12.5 year cycle length. I believe January 2009 is a better shot to be the solar minimum as sunspot number would have to be below 0.5 in June 2008 to prevent the running mean (13 month) from blipping up then. April needs only to stay below 3.2 and May 3.4 to get us to January. This would be very like cycles 1 to 4 in the late 1700s and early 1800s, preceding the Dalton Minimum. That was a cold era, the age of Dickens and the children playing in the snow in London, much like this past winter.

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THE ARCTIC AND ANTARCTIC ICE STORY

As for the ice, we hear in the media the hype about the arctic and Antarctic ice. The arctic ice we are told is more first and second year ice and very vulnerable to a summer melt.

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Actually the arctic ice is very 3rd highest level since 2002, very close to 2003, in a virtual tie to last winter and the highest year according to IARC-JAXA. The anomaly is a relatively small 300,000 square km according to The Cryosphere Today.

There was much attention paid in the media to the crack in the Wilkins Ice sheet bridge. It was not even reflected as a blip on the Southern Hemisphere ice extent, which has grown rapidly as the southern hemisphere winter set in to 1,150,000 square kms above the normal for this date and rising rapidly.

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The net GLOBAL sea ice anomaly is also positive, 850,000 square km above the normal. See full PDF here.

Sunspot numbers for March 2009 April 11, 2009

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Sunspot numbers for March 2009


Month 2009 2008
Jan 1.5 3.3
Feb 1.4 2.1
Mar 0.7 9.3
Apr 2.9
May 3.2
Jun 3.4
Jul 0.8
Aug 0.5
Sep 1.1
Oct 2.9
Nov 4.1
Dec 0.8

Source

‘Curious’ Why The Sun Has Been So Dim Lately April 10, 2009

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‘Curious’ Why The Sun Has Been So Dim Lately

Via ICECAP

By Mish Michaels, WBZ Boston

“The Sun is the all encompassing energy giver to life on planet Earth,” said Dr. Willie Soon, an Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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And these days the sun is getting a lot of attention from scientists.

“The Sun is just slightly dimmer and has been for about the last 18 months,” said Dr. Soon. “And that is because there are very few sunspots.”

Sunspots are giant islands of magnetism on the Sun and the appearance of sunspots runs in 11 year cycles. When sunspots are abundant during the cycle, it is called the “solar maximum” and when there are few sunspots, it is considered to be the “solar minimum.”

Track changes in sunspots

“Right now we are in the deepest solar minimum of the entire Space Age,” stated Dr. Soon. “In fact, this is the quietest (fewest sunspots) Sun we have had in almost a century.”

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And those lack of sunspots have a link to our climate.

“When you have a lot of sunspots, there is a lot more light energy coming from the Sun and that tends to warm the Earth,” added Dr. Soon.”When the Sun produces less sunspots, it essentially gives up less energy to the Earth’s climate system.”

And less energy means a cooler planet.

“There were very few sunspots in 2008 and by all measures, 2008 was a cold year,” said Dr. Soon. And that link between temperatures on Earth and sunspot activity can be picked out many times from past history.

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“For example, from 1645 to 1715 there were no sunspots and it was a very, very cold period for our planet. Most call it the “Little Ice Age,” said Dr. Soon. “Based on my research, I tend to be in support of a very, very strong role by the Sun’s energy input as a climate driver. If you were to ask me about the role of CO2, I would say its very, very small,” he added.

In fact, Dr. Soon sees this historic solar minimum as an opportunity to reframe our understanding of Earth’s climate system.

“If this deep solar minimum continues and our planet cools while CO2 levels continue to rise, thinking needs to change. This will be a very telling time and it’s very, very useful in terms of science and society in my opinion,” concluded Dr. Soon.

Get a video about the Sun’s connection to Earth’s Climate: The general public can purchase the original Unstoppable Solar Cycles DVD here And teachers only can receive/purchase the school version here.  See story here.

See video interviews of Dr. Soon on Why the Sun is Dimmer These Days and the possible effects here.

Small new sunspot developing – 26 March 2009 March 26, 2009

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Small new sunspot developing – 26 March 2009

From SolarCycle24.com

Update: The Solar X-Ray flux is starting to move somewhat. Nothing major, however the area on the eastern limb may just have a sunspot with it. A B2 flare took place followed by a B3 flare from this area (I believe).

Just as the region on the eastern limb looks promising, a small new sunspot has formed high in latitude with Cycle 24 magnetism. Picture is below.

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Small Sunspot in formation (March 26)

Sun Continues Hibernation March 14, 2009

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Sun Continues Hibernation

Posted on ICECAP

By Joseph D’Aleo on Intellicast

The sun continues in hibernation mode. NASA and others thought in late 2006 it had bottomed out but it has continued to slide. Since it can’t go negative, it has leveled off scraping the bottom of the chart. The NASA team projections for the next cycle continue to slip further into the future and periodically adjusted down. They present two scenarios one for a more active cycle (24) with a peak at the start of 2012 and the second a weaker one peaking around the end of 2012 or start of 2013.

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See larger here.

When will the minimum be? Since the most common method is the 13 month running mean. You don’t know for sure when a minimum takes place sometimes until 6 months after it occurs. The exception would be a month with a very big jump (Much higher than 13 months ago). That would indicate the mean 7 months ago will turn up, at least a relative minimum.  With the February sunspot number lower than 13 months ago, the minimum can’t be earlier than August 2008 and more likely October 2008. It could be later. That would make the cycle 23 length at least 12 years 5 months long. That would be the longest since the middle 1800s and perhaps the late 1700s or early 1800s.

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See larger here.

There are many scientists who believe cycle 24 will be far less active than either NASA projection. Some use cycle length and the behavior of certain types of activity like the geomagnetic activity at the minimum as indicators. Like the climate and ENSO forecast models, some models are statistical others dynamical. See some projections here.

They include Clilverd et al who believes based on regression analysis a very quiet cycle like the early 1800s. He states:

“We use a model for sunspot number using low-frequency solar oscillations, with periods 22, 53, 88, 106, 213, and 420 years modulating the 11-year Schwabe cycle, to predict the peak sunspot number of cycle 24 and for future cycles, including the period around 2100 A.D. We extend the earlier work of Damon and Jirikowic (1992) by adding a further long-period component of 420 years.

Typically, the standard deviation between the model and the peak sunspot number in each solar cycle from 1750 to 1970 is plus or minus 34. The peak sunspot prediction for cycles 21, 22, and 23 agree with the observed sunspot activity levels within the error estimate. Our peak sunspot prediction for cycle 24 is significantly smaller than cycle 23, with peak sunspot numbers predicted to be 42 plus or minus 34.”

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See larger here.

The Geomagnetic Index (Ap) also continues extraordinarily low. This has resulted in a very low level of aurora activity. As this Newsminer story noted:”The Interior’s normal wintertime light show has been noticeably absent this winter.”

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See much more here.