More Cycle 23 Sunspecks

The sun is active with cycle 23 (near equator) cycle 23 sunspecks. I have decided againts calling them “Tiny Tims” as I think “sunspecks” is more true to the phenonmenon.

Click HERE for the full sized original image

The magnetogram shows a bit more than the MDI image:

The Cycle 24 engine still hasn’t gotten juiced up.

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Pierre Gosselin
May 16, 2008 12:31 am

So how much longer before we can expect Cycle 24 to REALLY begin?

Pierre Gosselin
May 16, 2008 12:42 am

Cycle 23 started in May 1996, according to the following website. That now makes it 12 years long.
“Cycle 23 started in May 1996 with the monthly SSN at 8.0 and peaked in April 2000 at 120.8. The current solar minimum will likely be in August-November 2007 with cycle 24 peaking in 2011 or 2012.”

Pierre Gosselin
May 16, 2008 2:18 am

HadCRUT number is out: +0.25°C
2008/April GISS/HadCRUT (average) = +0.33°C
2008/March = +0.55°C
Change: -0.22°C
2008/April UAH/RSS (average) = +0.05°C
2008/March: = +0.09°C
Change: -0.04°C
May 1 2008: -0.8 million sq. km.
April 1 2008: -0.6 million sq. km.
May 2007: -0.9 million sq. km.
May 1 2008: +1.0 million sq. km.
April 1 2008: +1.4 million sq. km.
May 2007: -0.2 million sq. km.

Jerker Andersson
May 16, 2008 4:52 am

NASA says, on their 3rd attempt to predict SC24 that it will begin NOW, i.e. May 2008.
Most likeley NASA will have to make a 4th revision when SC24 will start and that one, I guess, will say Jul 2008.
Currently there are not too much indications that SC24 will start in May. I think like 90-95% of all predictions of when SC24 should start have failed.
Currently there are only a few left that have a chance to succeed with their predictions and those say SC24 will start near the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009.
The truth is that nobody really knows because we have very little experience with long solar cycles. Most of the predictions of when SC24 will start seems to be different statistical methods rather than an excact physical calculation of the suns magentic fields.
In some way I hope this will be a strong solar minimum so we really can see what impact the sun has on earths climate. That could eventually(I hope) put an end to the majority of the AGW hysteria or confirm it incase the global temperature still continue to rise.
A strong solar minimum is not what humanity needs though. If it turns out that it is the sun that has caused the majority of the warming, a minimum similar to Maunder Minimum would be a global disaster with over 6 billon people on earth that needs something to eat every day.

May 16, 2008 5:16 am

Well, that’s hard to say. Predictions were 2006, 2007, Jan 08, mar 08, May 08, and now head out to Nov 08, early 09. If it makes it to 09 Cycle 23 will be one of the longest solar cycles in a while. Oh wait, I think it should be “the length of Cycle 23 will be ‘unprecedented'” in the recent record. I just love that phrasing it is so vague, imparting no useful information, yet it seems like a long time and conveys some kind of ‘large’ amount.
The longest Solar Cycles are around 13.6 years in length. The usual pattern is for the Cycle that follows a long Cycle to be relatively weak, which would allow us some direct observational measurements of the effects of a weak solar magnetic field on Cloud coverage.

Pamela Gray
May 16, 2008 6:09 am

The solar flux measure is still quiet at 71. The last time solar flux was in triple digit land was in 2006. These sunspecks do not appear to harbor anything that would appreciably increase measured activity such as the magnetic field that serves as our shield from potentially temperature changing cosmic ray forces. It continues to slumber away, taking no notice of its small blemishes.

May 16, 2008 6:38 am

Again, sunspots or busted LCD pixels?
Would they have seen these 300 years ago?

Bruce Cobb
May 16, 2008 6:41 am

So how much longer before we can expect Cycle 24 to REALLY begin? According to David Archibald, probably not for another year or more. It’s like watching a kettle come to a boil, only someone forgot to turn the heat on.

May 16, 2008 7:01 am

What interests me is how much TSI has fallen since the last two cycles (not much back history to go on, mind):
(normalised graphs)

May 16, 2008 7:11 am

If these are Cycle 23 spots, do they still count as spotless days, or are any spots that are of 23 and 24 both counted as a ‘spot day’?

Diatribical Idiot
May 16, 2008 7:15 am

I was just playing with sunspot numbers from this source:
If you total the monthly index for anywhere from 8 – 13 (or more, I stopped at 13) months the current period of activity is the lowest since 1954.
One wonders how many additional spots we are able to discern today than in 1954. In any case, we’re at the low point in at least 54 years, and possibly more if the data were able to be adjusted for missed “tiny tims” in the past observations. It’s an interesting time.

Wondering Aloud
May 16, 2008 8:03 am

I don’t think you can determine the minimum and hence the start of a cycle until after the fact. Isn’t that correct? Do we know when the min between 23 and 24 is, was, will be?

May 16, 2008 8:31 am

Even the solar cycle has been disturbed by global warming. It appears the entire solar system has reached the tipping point. Gaia has teleconnected with Sun Ra.

May 16, 2008 8:42 am

This feels like the spring ice guessing contest that is held annually. The main difference is that we are not guarenteed that solar cycle 24 will indeed start up this year. I am going to buck the trend and guess that current solar minimum for cycle 23, thus the startup of solar cycle 24, will be on September 28th, 2009. Of course, this prediction is not worth the electronic paper on which it is written. — John M Reynolds

Russ R.
May 16, 2008 9:27 am

It looks like we are still on track for the minimum to occur in the middle of next year. If you have not seen this, yet, it is worth a look. This is an updated version of the one that I saw last year, and it is still on track.
The whole concept hangs together so much better than the IPCC models. The next year or so, should tell us which way we are going. Then we will know whether to stock up on sunscreen, or get an extra pair of thermal underwear.

Alan S. Blue
May 16, 2008 9:38 am

A somewhat sinusoidic chart with 23’s as contributing in the positive direction and 24’s contributing in the negative direction would illustrate how close – and yet how far – we are from crossover.
Is there a reference with data sufficient for this sort of graph, where the cycle number of the individual points is included within the data itself?

Wondering Aloud
May 16, 2008 11:43 am

Sorry all I got a weird lag there, when I asked my question there were only 2 comments. Thanks for responding before I asked though Jerker.

Gary Gulrud
May 16, 2008 12:24 pm

Re: SC24 minimum: Jan Janssens commented at John A’s SolarScience blog that the ‘definitive’ date is the minimum in the 13 month smoothed sunspot count.
John A. took predictions a few months back but I’m sure Mr. Reynolds could add his to the (Jan. or Feb.) list, no one’s date has passed just yet.

May 16, 2008 12:39 pm

@ Pierre Gosselin
“Cycle 23 started in May 1996, according to the following website. That now makes it 12 years long.
According to this website
the minimum between cycles 22 and 23 was revised September 8, 1997 by the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel to become September 1996.
So we should probably use September 1996 instead of May 1996 as the 22/23 minimum ….? If so, the current cycle 23 has some time to go before it becomes 12 years old.

May 16, 2008 12:43 pm

Russ R. wrote: (09:27:00) :
It looks like we are still on track for the minimum to occur in the middle of next year. If you have not seen this, yet, it is worth a look. This is an updated version of the one that I saw last year, and it is still on track.
OMG. That is an incredible .pdf. Thanks so much for posting the link!

Pierre Gosselin
May 16, 2008 1:51 pm

Dave Archibald is projecting some awfully cold times ahead. High Roller Ramstorf and RC better start saving their pennies for that huge sum they bravely bet last week.
Though personally I doubt that it will cool to the extent Archibald projects.
REPLY: What makes you think anybody at RC would pay up anyway? They have no qualms about adjusting data, I doubt that welching on a bet is of any concern to them either.

Pierre Gosselin
May 16, 2008 1:57 pm

I just Googled Cycle 23 and took the first website. You’re probably right.
Many people seem to think the temperature depends on the number of sunspots. Many sources however claim this is wrong. It depends more on the duration of the solar cycle. The longer the cycle, the cooler its tends to get. So if cycle 23 drags out another 6 months or a year, then it will probably get pretty nippy outside. Oceans are cooling off.

May 16, 2008 2:40 pm

The Age of Great Troubles has begun.

Brian D
May 16, 2008 2:47 pm

Looks like that white area is developing spots now.

Brian D
May 16, 2008 2:48 pm
Evan Jones
May 16, 2008 3:01 pm

The age of shadows has begun
Giant machines blot out the sun)

Evan Jones
May 16, 2008 3:06 pm

Slam down my Hammer
Black out the sun – as hell and earth collide

Evan Jones
May 16, 2008 3:09 pm

Burning in its savage fury
Our fates accept not judge or jury
Helpless we must watch it done
For I have seen the Death of the Sun

Pierre Gosselin
May 17, 2008 2:04 am

Interesting point…How far can one go “adjusting” data befotre ending up all alone way out in left field?
If it does indeed cool down significantly, with the Thames freezing over, Fla and Cal citrus getting wiped out a couple of winters in a row, sateliite data diverging by a 1°C or more from GISS, etc., then I think Hansen & Co. risk looking awfully odd, even in the mass public’s view. Politics is fickle. Politicians could easily (and hopefully) turn against them and make them into scapegoats if voters get really fed up.
I think they are unwittingly setting themselves up for government fraud. They’ve gone from being a supplier of data for governments to use constructively, to being a manipulator of data to pressure governments to act as they see politically correct. This is fraud. If we lie to the government, then we get nailed big time. The same has to apply to everyone.
I can see them getting away with their scam if the temperature hovers at the current cooler levels. But if it gets another half degree C cooler, I think it’s going to be awfully tough for them to convince the public it’s warming as usual. Enough ramble.
Another topic:
Looking at the last SST chart, the PDO seems to be truly going cool. La Nina seems to be fading.
What can we expect with a combination El Nino and cool PDO and cool AMO?
Has this combination ever occurred in recent history? 1960s maybe?
Perhaps some experts could shine some light on this?

Pierre Gosselin
May 17, 2008 2:07 am

And you’re right about them welching on a bet. I’ll bet they don’t pay should they lose the bet. 5 to 1!

May 17, 2008 7:30 am

Maybe I’m using it wrong since I’m a tool, but it looks to me like the Sunspot numbers account for mild variations and CO2 is making the trendline increase if you look at this graph:
Am I just not using it correctly?
REPLY: It appears you setup the graphing correctly. Finding correlations between the SSN and surface temperature record has been the whole reason for the creation and existence of that website. Serious kudos to Paul Clark for setting it up.

May 17, 2008 8:02 am

Back to reality, it looks like we have two cycle 24 spots forming along with two cycle 23 spots Is this the beginning of the end for Cycle 23?
REPLY: Thanks for the heads up, but these are small, Cycle 23 spots and numbered 994, 995, and 996. No evidence in the magnetogram of cycle 24 polarity and the latitudes are too close to the equator.

May 17, 2008 8:36 am

(Thanks, Anthony!)
Traciatim: Nice graph! It is indeed pretty clear there is a 11 year cycle in temperature which follows the sunspot number (and more directly, TSI) pretty closely, but as you say, it’s not large. Beware, however of thinking this is simple – the phase relationship changes over time:
I don’t know why that would be…
The relationship with CO2 is also complex. It’s pretty clear that CO2 has been increasing steadily (if you filter out the annual signal, anyway), and I have no reason to think it’s not mostly man-made. However, if you look at the fine grain, some of the off-trend CO2 variation seems to be causedby short-term temperature changes:
This is of course a positive feedback, albeit a fairly minor one.
The big question is whether the 1960-1998 upward temperature trend is caused by the gross CO2 trend, or just happened to be going up at the same time, and (to a small degree) fed back to it. The spike in 1998 was clearly a once-off, but even if you look at the last 8 years or so, there’s no longer any obvious connection:
Again, from what I can see at this rather simplistic numerical level there’s no reason to doubt there is some impact of CO2 on temperature; what interests me is what other cycles there are (e.g. PDO) that might explain a proportion of the 1960-1998 warming, and hence reduce the future projections, and, more importantly, whether there is really the water vapour feedback that triggers the more extreme forecasts – I just can’t see it from the data…
Enjoy playing!

Diatribical Idiot
May 17, 2008 1:33 pm

It looks like we are still on track for the minimum to occur in the middle of next year. If you have not seen this, yet, it is worth a look. This is an updated version of the one that I saw last year, and it is still on track.

I took some time to read this paper over, and I think it’s very well done. On the other hand, he also draws some pretty large conclusions based on one curretn data point. Part of me fears he’s right and most of me hopes he’s wrong. But his conclusions do correspond with Landscheidt’s prediction of a Grand Minimum around 2030. Yay…
Anyway, I have technical question on the chart where he shows the cycle 22 and cycle 23 sunspot overlap as we transitioned into cycle 23 at minimum. He clearly labels 5/1996 as the minimum, but I have heard hear that minimum occurs at the point where the new cycle sunspots > old cycle sunspots. According to his chart, this occurred in November 1996. It appears he is defining minimum as the point in which the total sunspost number, cycle 22 + cycle 23 combined reached its lowest point.
I’m not sure if this would change his analysis or not, since he may consistently define it this way for the purposes of his study. But it may impact it, and it seems to muddly the waters as to how long this cycle really is by half a year.
Can someone clarify this for me? It’s questions like this that keep me up at night…

Jeff Alberts
May 17, 2008 2:04 pm

Back to reality, it looks like we have two cycle 24 spots forming along with two cycle 23 spots Is this the beginning of the end for Cycle 23?
REPLY: Thanks for the heads up, but these are small, Cycle 23 spots and numbered 994, 995, and 996. No evidence in the magnetogram of cycle 24 polarity and the latitudes are too close to the equator.

Oops! So much for your reality Mikey! Might want to try the real thing next time.

Pamela Gray
May 20, 2008 5:59 pm

Maybe using something we know will help explain white/black and black/white. A battery has a positive end and a negative end. A magnet has a positive side and a negative side. The earth has a positive pole and a negative pole. Only one of these can magically switch its polarity. A battery can’t suddenly cause the nubby end to become negative and the flat end to become positive. A magnet cannot suddenly switch its ends or sides from positive to negative. But the earth can switch its polarity. So can the sun. It also has a positive pole and a negative pole that switches from one cycle to the next. That is why spots above the equator lead with black while below the equator they lead with white for cycle 23. But cycle 24 will be switched. The spots above the equator will lead with white while the spots below will lead with black.
The twisting and kinking up of the magnetic ropes that cause these sun spots to appear occur away from the equator first. That’s why the beginning of each cycle shows spots away from the equator. At its peak, the sun is all twisted up like a ball of yarn that has been attacked by a litter of kittens. Then as the twisting energy dies down (somehow the ropes untangle) in that area of the sun, the middle becomes the main territory for spots. This area eventually loses its tangles as well as everything stops twisting up. Meantime, the areas of the sun away from the equator start twisting up again but the polarity will be switched for the sun spots that occur.
Anybody else have a better way to explain polarity of sun spots?

May 21, 2008 5:17 am

Interesting article at the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, home to Kitt Peak and other observatories).
Sunspot cycle more dud than radiation flood
By Dan Sorenson
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.19.2008
Many solar scientists expected the new sunspot cycle to be a whopper, a prolonged solar tantrum that could fry satellites and raise hell with earthly communications, the power grid and modern electronics.
But there’s scant proof Sunspot Cycle 24 is even here, let alone the debut of big trouble.
So far there have been just a couple minor zits on the face of the sun to suggest the old cycle is over and the new one is coming.
The roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot activity should have bottomed out last year, the end of Cycle 23 and the beginning of Cycle 24. That would have put the peak in new sunspot activity around 2012.
But a dud sunspot cycle would not necessarily make it a boring period, especially for two solar scientists with the Tucson-based National Solar Observatory.
Two years ago, William Livingston and Matt Penn wrote a paper for the journal Science predicting that this could not only be a dud sunspot cycle, but the start of another extended down period in solar activity. It was based on their analysis of weakening sunspot intensity and said sunspots might vanish by 2015.
The paper, rejected in peer review, was never published by Science. Livingston said he’s OK with the rejection.
“I accept what the reviewers said,” Livingston said. “‘If you are going to make such statement, you had better have strong evidence.’ ”
Livingston said their projections were based on observations of a trend in decreasingly powerful sunspots but reviewers felt it was merely a statistical argument.

Evan Jones
May 21, 2008 7:04 am


June 5, 2008 6:11 am

Maybe there is somewhere in Europe in an antiquair an helioscope according Galileo’s design for sale. Using that old helioscope seems to be the only method to compare actual observations (especially sunspots) with earlier observations.

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