The NOAA Space Weather Prediction center updated their plots of solar indices earlier today, on January 3rd. With the exception of a slight increase in the 107 centimeter radio flux, there appears to be even less signs of solar activity. Sunspots are still not following either of the two predictive curves, and it appears that the solar dynamo continues to slumber, perhaps even winding down further. Of particular note, the last graph below (click the read more link to see it) showing the Average Planetary Index (Ap) is troubling. I thought there would be an uptick by now, due to expectations of some sign of cycle 24 starting up, but instead it continues to drop.
Meanwhile, the Oulu Neutron Monitor shows a significant up trend, reaching levels not seen in over 30 years. According to an email I received from Dr. David Archibald, GCR flux has indeed increased:
Oulu Neutron Monitor Data, plotted by David Archibald with prediction point added. Data source: University of Oulu, Finland
Svensmark is watching this closely I’m sure.
Looking at the SWPC graph below, it appears that we are in uncharted territory now, since the both the high and low cycle 24 predictions (in red) appear to be falsified for the current time frame. No new cycle 24 predictions have been issued by any solar group (that I am aware of ) in the last couple of months. The last time NASA made a change was in October 08. The question now seems to be, are we seeing the beginning of a cycle skip, or a grand minima? Or is this just an extraordinary delay for cycle 24 ?
Solar cycle 24: where are you?
h/t to Russ Steele