Today marks the Sun’s 24th consecutive spotless day — a somewhat surprising feat given that Solar Cycle 25 had recently been showing clear signs of life.
During periods of low solar activity –such as the historically-deep solar minimum we’re still in now– the Sun will often be devoid of sunspots: these spots can serve as a great barometer for the weather/climate here on Earth.
For 400 years an accurate sunspot record has been kept. This record has allowed us to draw tentative patterns between solar output and the weather/climatic conditions of the past. In turn, these patterns provide us with the ability to make forecasts moving forward, and this method appears to honing in on one forecast and one forecast alone: a cold and snowy future — one akin to the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), the previous prolonged spell of low solar output and the previous ‘full blown’ Grand Solar Minimum:
During the Maunder Minimum “temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere plunged,” say NASA.
“Europe and North America went into a deep freeze: alpine glaciers extended over valley farmland; sea ice crept south from the Arctic; and the famous canals in the Netherlands froze regularly—an event that is rare today.”
Today there seems to be no escaping it: our toes appear to be firmly submerged in the beginnings of another Grand Solar Minimum cycle. And even with the next Solar Cycle (25) firing into life, consecutive spotless days –as of Monday, September 14, 2020– have still managed to reach 24.
But how does that compare historically?
As visible in the above SIDC table –which ranks the longest spells of consecutive spotless days since 1849– recent years are increasingly making the mark.
The Solar Minimum of Cycle 23 (2008-09) was the deepest of the past 90 years. Referring to the table above, the minimum achieved a 32 spotless day run between July 31 and Aug 31, 2009 as well as a 31 day run between July 21 and Aug 20, 2008.
The Solar Minimum of Cycle 24 –which we’re still in today– has comfortably surpassed Cycle 23’s in both weakness and duration: the minimum achieved an impressive 40 spotless day run between Nov 14 and Dec 23, 2019 and then a 34 day run between Feb 2 and Mar 6, 2020.
This current stretch of 24 spotless days, even though it doesn’t make the list, is actually potentially even more impressive: as mentioned above, Solar Cycle 25 had recently been showing clear signs of life and the fact that we’re still able to experience a 3+week spell of ‘blank’ solar discs is quite remarkable. SC25 should be upon us, yet instead we’re suffering an extended and historically prolonged Solar Minimum of Cycle 24. This all further supports the forecast that the period we’re entering is indeed the next ‘full blown’ Grand Solar Minimum:
The above chart shows the 25 years with the highest number of spotless days since 1849: as you can see, recent years are beginning to dominate the list with 2007, 2008, and 2009 (solar min of cycle 23) making the mark, as well as 2018, 2019, and 2020 (solar min of cycle 24)–the year 2020 will comfortably make the list with 179 spotless days counted as of Sept 14.
With regards to the recent run of 24 spotless days, this may coming to an end: a proto-sunspot from Solar Cycle 25 is growing in the Sun’s northern hemisphere. This growing spot is not yet large enough to receive an official number, and could still dissipate before lifting the daily sunspot number above zero, but it could also spoil the fun — stay tuned for updates:
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Prepare for the COLD— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
The post 24 Spotless Days and Counting: How does that Compare Historically? And where is Cycle 25? appeared first on Electroverse.