Sunspots 2014: March another record-breaking month

Posted: April 25, 2014 by oldbrew in climate, Cycles, Solar physics, Uncertainty

Where next for sunspots? These magnetic phenomena may be dancing to a tune, but we’re still not sure what it is.

Inform The Pundits!

NASA: April 16th, 2012 prominence

Another new solar sunspot record peak of 73.2 was set for Cycle 24 last month. It smashed the old 68.9 record peak set the previous month.

In a big surprise, it’s over six spots higher than the first sunspot peak set in early 2012 and will probably go up. A secondary peak that much above the first is almost unheard of.

The new sunspot peak is unusual for two conflicting reasons:

  1. The secondary peak is higher than the first
  2. Current physics suggests the solar cycle should be weakening

Conflicting signals coming from the sun muddles how it might affect earth’s future climate. A more active sun will have a warming effect. A less active sun, predicted by most solar physicists, will have a cooling effect.

The sun hasn’t decided what it wants to do yet.

The Royal Observatory of Belgium’s Solar Information Data Center (SIDC)…

View original post 548 more words

  1. ren says:

    Interesting things happen in the stratosphere over the southern polar circle. You can see the inhibition of polar vortex. Lows begin moving north.,-105.39,512
    Solar magnetic field is still weak.

  2. Edim says:

    I disagree. The multiple/double peaks subject is arbitrary, it depends on the smoothing of the monthly ssn. There are always small peaks before the actual cycle maximum, which is arbitrary itself. Secondly, I don’t know of any physics suggesting the cycle should be weakening. Au contraire, the cycle is very weak and that means very long. It would be unusual if it peaked in early 2012. I have been saying that we are NOT past the maximum of this cycle since 2012 and predicting earliest ~2014/15 for the maximum, simply because the cycle is weak (long). The next minimum will happen not before ~2021/22.

  3. ren says:

    Cosmic rays shows spikes of solar activity.
    Currently, the activity falls again:

    sunspots Class
    Magn. Class
    2038 7 β DAO
    2042 1 α HSX
    2044 7 β CRO
    2045 1 β CSO
    2046 5 β CAO

  4. Jaime Jessop says:

    SC24 is still fairly closely following the pattern of SC12 (1878-1890). Note that, according to this graph of monthly smoothed SSN vs. time, the difference in amplitude between the first and second peak for SC24 still has not equaled that observed between the two peaks in SC12, so there may be a way to go yet before we reach the max and certainly comments like ‘this is highly unusual’ or ‘very unexpected’ seem a little out of place.

    Predictions of a very low amplitude SC25 may be premature.

  5. ren says:

    Here we have a nice comparison.

  6. E Hughes says:

    Today’s solar flare loops are a vivid display of the mechanics of the solar system in action.

  7. AP index is near record low levels and is a better indicator of how much of an effect the sun is having upon the earth in contrast to sunspots which are counted differently by every one.

    Also solar flux is a much better indicator for activity on the sun itself then sunspots.

    Sunspot counts are so subjective.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Here’s a list of ‘Recent Solar Indices of Observed Monthly Mean Values’ which consists of Sunspot Numbers, Radio Flux and Geomagnetic data (1991 to date).

    Geomagnetic numbers have declined quite a lot since the 1990s.

    This blog post by ‘Sparks’ is worth a look IMO.

    ‘Using the orbital values of Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter as a coupled system, with the idea in mind that the Sun and Solar system would have an ‘integral relationship’ I have gathered orbital data which I have then used as a guide to produce a graph of solar cycle 24 and 25.’

  9. Exactly, geomagnetic numbers are way down.

  10. Jaime Jessop says:

    Fascinating subject. Historically, there does appear to be a temporal correlation between variations in SSN and Ap>=40, but not a very strong relationship between the actual magnitudes of these two variables.

    I think I am correct in saying that Ap would also depend upon the geomagnetic field strength which has decreased by about 10% in the last 150 years, so probably the amount of geomagnetic disturbance here on earth for any given solar variation is steadily increasing – ‘more geomagnetic bang for the solar buck’ so to speak! If the GMF weakens further, perhaps even as a precursor to a flip, we could be in for some severe disruption, even if solar activity does weaken considerably over the next century or so, more so if it only dips moderately for a few decades.

  11. oldbrew says:

    A quick check on Wikipedia shows NO sunspot cycles of duration between 10.6 and 11.2 years (records start at 1755) even though the mean is 11.1 years.

    If we say that divides into two broad categories, ‘shorter’ and ‘longer’, pre-1913 is strongly biased towards ‘longer’ while post-1913 is the reverse, mainly ‘shorter’.

    Maybe we’re due for a few ‘longer’ cycles, which may (or may not) be linked to cooler average temperatures.

  12. doug Proctor says:

    This is not Archibald’s pre-Dalton or pre-Maunder Cycle. At best, a pre-pre-Dalton. But a climatic disaster sells books and fits his view of the approaching End Times. Oh well, even skeptics are allowed to have agendas.

  13. kuhnkat says:


    here an I thought WUWT’s pet solar guy told us that the peak was around the time that both the north and south solar magnetic fields had flipped polarity. Hasn’t that happened?!?!

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    As the barycentric stirring of the pot is diminishing it will quiet, the solar wind diminish and we will cool as the “goldilocks” zone retreats. AS I look at this lovely picture I am reminded of Oliver Manuals’ “Iron” sun and see its’ “tropopause” like surface. The “sunspot” plasma/mater prominences look very much like the EMF prominences over thunderstorms. “weather” bands very much like our own, just a LOT more energy involved and an electrically conductive atmosphere rather then our insulative one.
    Maybe solar “experts” need to study meteorology! 😉 pg

  15. ren says:

    Because the sun runs intensively in the zone ozone (UV and cosmic rays) should observe what happens in the stratosphere. You can see that the temperature in the upper stratosphere is currently below normal. However, lately pressure over the South Pole has increased because of the weak vortex. I believe that this is due to jumps of cosmic radiation that affects the decomposition of ozone.

  16. Edim says:


    The solar magetic field reversal is still ‘ongoing’.

    Both N and S have been around zero since the late 2012, but seem like they haven’t decided what they want to do yet. Furthermore, the reversal doesn’t define the cycle maximum – it’s just that it happens around the maximum.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Theodor Landscheidt had a theory about sunspot cycles.

    ‘The 11-year sunspot cycle is not built symmetrically. The ascending part from minimum to maximum is shorter than the declining part from maximum to minimum. I have shown that the sunspot maximum divides the sunspot cycle according to the Golden section. It falls at the minor of this special irrational proportion. The Golden section divides a frame structure like a line segment, a surface, a cycle, or any other delimited feature so that the ratio of the smaller part (minor) to the larger part (major) equals the ratio of the larger part to the whole. When we set the whole equal to 1, we get 0.3819 … : 0.618 … = 0.618 … : 1. To find the major of the length of a cycle, it has to be multiplied by 0.618. Multiplication by 0.382 gives the minor.’

    I haven’t tested it with any data but it merits investigation.

    Sunspot cycle - golden ratio

  18. J Martin says:

    If the current solar cycle (24) could be considered to have now peaked, then the first part was about 5 years long, which based on Landscheidts view would mean that we can expect the second part to be about 8 years long, making a total of 13 years for this solar cycle. Question is, when did the solar cycle start, if it was 6 years ago instead of 5 years ago, then the total length will be nearer 15 years.

    [reply] The longest recorded solar cycle is 13.7 years according to Wikipedia (since 1755)

  19. J Martin says:

    This graph suggests that solar cycle lengths during the Maunder minimum went as long as 22 years.


  20. oldbrew says:

    JM: that’s a tree-ring analysis not a sunspot count as such. Try this one:

  21. E Hughes says:

    Video from NASA: ‘The Sun reverses it’s magnetic poles’

    I’d love to see that on a big screen in slower motion,quite ?

  22. oldbrew says:

    Interesting-looking solar theory paper here, technical stuff (free to download).

    ‘Solar Cycle Propagation, Memory, and Prediction: Insights from a Century of Magnetic Proxies’

    They say: ‘we find sunspot area to be uncorrelated to cycle amplitude unless multiplied by area-weighted average tilt.’

    Another paper by K.Georgieva says:
    ‘The cyclic transformation of the solar poloidal field into toroidal field and of this toroidal field into the poloidal field of the next sunspot cycle with the opposite magnetic polarity is the basis of solar activity.’

    Click to access ees9_6_092016.pdf

    That paper contains a graph (fig. 3) that looks very much like the one referred to by weathercycles on another thread:

  23. R J Salvador says:

    Oldbrew says: This is RJ Salvador’s forecast.

    @ Oldbrew: The graphic is the forecast using data up to 1950. The forecast using data up to 2013 is shown in this graphic.


    [reply] Thanks for the correction RJ

  24. Gail Combs says:

    Doug Proctor says: @ April 25, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    This is not Archibald’s pre-Dalton or pre-Maunder Cycle…. climatic disaster sells books and fits his view of the approaching End Times. Oh well, even skeptics are allowed to have agendas.
    Actually the book is more about the political situation concerning China and the middle east. It only takes one bad harvest and sky rocketing food prices to light a few fuses as we have already seen with the “Arab Spring” Interesting that Fabian booklets were spotted too.

    FABIAN SOCIETY PAMPHLET in EGYPT: The pamphlet From Dictator to Democracy was seen in Egypt

    …As journalists have sought to untangle the disparate threads that unite these uprisings, [b][i]one of the most interesting revelations has been a common reference to a dusty — but still relevant — book, “From Dictatorship to Democracy.”[/b][/i]

    Earlier this month, the New York Times proclaimed its author, Gene Sharp, a “shy intellectual” who had created “the playbook for revolution” — noting that his work was posted on the Muslim Brotherhood website during the Egyptian uprising, and was cited equally among Tunisians, Bosnians and Estonians in their quest for freedom. So far, it has been translated into 41 languages….

    That pamphlet is available as an e-book from the Fabian Society:
    Fabian Essays In Socialism:

    [mod note] can we return to the sunspots thread please

  25. c777 says:

    Less spots mean a cooler Sun.
    Yes later, but at first a big peak.
    Just a thought.