Some speculation that solar cycle 25 has already begun

Leif Svalgaard writes:

Some speculation that solar cycle 25 has already begun:

http://xrt.cfa.harvard.edu/resources/pubs/savc0707.pdf

see caption

From a 2006 NASA News article - In red, David Hathaway's predictions for the next two solar cycles and, in pink, Mausumi Dikpati's prediction for cycle 24, and the expected "low" cycle 25.

Graph source: NASA News

This would be stunning, because it suggests that the sun has skipped a solar cycle (#24) . Researchers, three from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the other from Marshall Space Flight Center-NASA, have published a paper that suggests this possibility.

Does a polar coronal hole’s flux emergence follow a Hale-like law?

A. Savcheva1, J.W. Cirtain2, E.E. DeLuca1, L. Golub1

ABSTRACT

Recent increases in spatial and temporal resolution for solar telescopes sensitive to EUV and X-ray radiation have revealed the prevalence of transient jet events in polar coronal holes. Using data collected by the X-Ray Telescope on Hinode, Savcheva et al. (2007) confirmed the observation, made first by the Soft X-ray Telescope on Yohkoh, that some jets exhibit a motion transverse to the jet outflow direction.

The velocity of this transverse motion is, on average, 20 kms−1. The direction of the transverse motion, in combination with the standard reconnection model for jet production (e.g. Shibata et al. 1992), reflects the magnetic polarity orientation of the ephemeral active region at the base of the jet. From this signature, we find that during the present minimum phase of the solar cycle the jet-base ephemeral active regions in the polar coronal holes had a preferred east-west direction, and that this direction reversed during the cycle’s progression through minimum.

In late 2006 and early 2007, the preferred direction was that of the active regions of the coming sunspot cycle (Cycle 24), but in late 2008 and early 2009 the preferred direction has been that of the active regions of sunspot cycle 25. These findings are consistent with the results of Wilson et al. (1988) that there is a high latitude expansion of the solar activity

cycle.

Full paper here:

http://xrt.cfa.harvard.edu/resources/pubs/savc0707.pdf

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222 thoughts on “Some speculation that solar cycle 25 has already begun

  1. There is also a paper that says solar cycle 5 (what would have been 5) in the middle of the Dalton Minimum was skipped.
    http://spaceweb.oulu.fi/~kalevi/publications/non-refereed2/ESA_SP477_lostcycle.pdf
    Total Solar Irradiance from SORCE almost looks like a very short cycle started and stopped (or there is just no start-up to Cycle 24 yet going on 16 months now).
    http://lasp.colorado.edu/cgi-bin/ion-p?ION__E1=PLOT%3Aplot_tsi_data.ion&ION__E2=PRINT%3Aprint_tsi_data.ion&ION__E3=BOTH%3Aplot_and_print_tsi_data.ion&START_DATE=1900&STOP_DATE=2500&TIME_SPAN=6&PLOT=Plot+Data

  2. Dr. Svaalgard, has it been possible to observe this kind of data before or is this a new kind of data collected with new techniques? Maybe it is possible that the signs of cycle 25 that they claim to be detecting are in fact normal processes for any cycle, but we simply have not been able to observe it… or perhaps didn’t think to look…?

  3. How can it “skip” a cycle? Is there some subtlety in how cycles are numbered that I don’t understand?

  4. So any apparent #23’s (like the tiny spot on 07/23 that didn’t make the grade) *could* be #25’s, speculatively?

  5. Saying that the sun may have skipped cycle 24 and gone to cycle 25, means, I guess, that you expect this cycle to now start.
    What if the sun has gone back to cycle 23, meaning more minimum. before it eventually starts cycle 24.
    And, what if the sun goes into a really long minimum, occasionally switching magnetic polarities? How was that in the Maunder minimum?
    I mean, the idea that when the sun switches magnetic polarities, it starts the new cycle, is now dead in the water.

  6. Ok, this paper is a bit out of my line, so I get lost pretty early on.
    If it’s correct, what can we expect to see from the sun in the next little while? And how will things differ if it’s wrong?

  7. Isn’t the most likely explanation not that conventional cycle 25 has arrived but that such reversal events occur without us having historic evidence?

  8. Adjacent cycles make sunspots with differing polarities. So you’re choosing between placing a given spot in Cycle 23 or 25 if it has that orientation.

  9. timetochooseagain (12:42:24) :
    “How can it “skip” a cycle? Is there some subtlety in how cycles are numbered that I don’t understand?”
    Dr. Svalgaard may conclude that my solar science is no better than my spelling, but I find myself waving my hand and shouting “Let me! Let me!”.
    Solar Cycles are distinguished from each other by a number of things, including the magnetic polarity of sun spots. If high-latitude sunspots were to start forming with polarity opposite to that of Cycle 24 sunspots, then they would have to be considered Cycle 25 spots. The authors of this paper seem to be detecting similar signals in other solar processes, indicating that Cycle 24 may be ending even before it has really begun.
    Am I too far off, Doc?

  10. Interesting observations. If, big “if” assumed herein, this is an indication that the next rise is Cycle 25 (not remnents of cycle 23 magnetic direction sunspotss) would that indicate that 25 would be far smaller, or about the same, or larger than “average”?

  11. The direction of the transverse motion, in combination with the standard reconnection model for jet production (e.g. Shibata et al. 1992), reflects the magnetic polarity orientation of the ephemeral active region at the base of the jet.
    Aaaaaa, What?

  12. Interesting from a couple of angles. 1. The pure scientific aspect of finding out something about the sun that we hadn’t known, and 2. What can we expect from the various media and the general public regarding the supposed skipped cycle? No doubt the Ice Age contingent will be out in force. 😉

  13. timetochooseagain (12:42:24) :
    How can it “skip” a cycle? Is there some subtlety in how cycles are numbered that I don’t understand?
    The Sun did not skip a cycle, but a cycle from a modeling prediction was missed. Nature is the reality; models are our suppositions on what the next step of nature could be. The Sun is behaving as always, but this cycle has been different from other observed cycles; to be precise, the Sun is working normally.
    The main difficulty is that astrophysicists and solar physicists do not count on reliable data for periods before the advent of satellite measurements. Perhaps the observation of other stars would help us to understand the mechanics of our own star because we are capturing cosmic events that happened in the past, as if the stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies were cosmic fossils; unfortunatelly, we have not yet the capability of registering such changes in stars because we only perceive them as dots, even with high resolution telescopes.

  14. As I understand things, solar cycles are marked by changes in the polarity of the magnetic field lines around the sunspots. This abstract states that the direction of travel of “transverse jets” (presumably, jets of plasma) follows the direction of sunspot magnetic polarity. The direction of travel of the jets in 2006-7 was that predicted for cycle 24, while the direction of travel for 2008-9 is the direction predicted for cycle 25 (or 23). Presumably this would not be considered a continuation of cycle 23, since the flow was briefly in the direction of cycle 24.

  15. I downloaded, printed and read the paper. To say it is rather technical is an understatement. I must admit that I don’t understand exactly why this paper suggests SC24 is skipped or “failed”, except it has to do with an unexpected switch in polarity of “emerging flux regions” (EFR) near the polar coronal holes, to be that expected of SC25 (why not SC23?).
    A short and popularized description of what new this paper is saying about what is currently happening with our sun would be very welcome I think. I am hoping you can make some informed comments aimed at lay people, Leif. Then I promise to read the paper again, possibly understanding more.
    In any case, this could not be more exciting.

  16. So far, this is only a speculation based on very little data and a model of the ‘jets’. It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things, and ‘what did I tell you’-stuff. All this is, is a suggestion that we observe this phenomenon [which we couldn’t have before] carefully. Perhaps the model is not quite right, perhaps the noise is too big. Just like with the Livingston-Penn finding. Like with L-P, I know some of the authors and can vouch for them [not that they need it].

  17. On how a cycle can be skipped… it seems intuitive that if the reason for solar cycles is gravitational forces in motion, a change in the direction of that motion could explain a reversal of the cycle’s natural progression.

  18. Tom (13:24:46) :
    The direction of travel of the jets in 2006-7 was that predicted for cycle 24, while the direction of travel for 2008-9 is the direction predicted for cycle 25 (or 23).
    One assumption that may be wrong is that the small bipolar regions have a preferred direction [polarity change]. When one plots the angle between the line connecting the two spots [or specks], one finds that for large regions that line is pretty much East-West [with a small tilt – Joy’s law], but with decreasing size of the region this tendency becomes smaller and the line is more and more randomly oriented. For the smallest one [like we see in the polar regions] the orientation may be random enough that we can see almost what we want. The only way out of this is to wait and build up more statistics. But interesting, nevertheless.

  19. Speaking of Livinston-Penn – How is that progressing? I haven’t heard anything in some time. I.e., does the (limited) data from current sunspots track?

  20. Leif Svalgaard (13:29:02) :
    …It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things, and ‘what did I tell you’…
    Well… That’s what I told you. Heh! Read my post at:
    Nasif Nahle (13:23:02)

  21. Dear Leif,
    “It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things”
    Simply curious, simply asking. Was my post re Jan Janssens’s pdf totally far off?
    If yes, it’s enough if you write “RTFM, KlausB”.
    Best Regards
    KlausB

  22. I construe this to be evidence that the current solar sunspot minimum is more similar to the Maunder Minimum of 1645 to 1715 than to the Dalton Minimum of 1790 to 1820 (see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ssn_yearly.jpg).
    Skipped cycles seem an obvious possibility for the Maunder Minimum, despite the Wolf numbering system adopted. In contrast, there were no apparent skipped cycles in the Dalton Minimum.

  23. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (13:26:18) :
    In any case, this could not be more exciting.
    Small emerging or ephemeral dipoles have been observed for decades, but our knowledge of their orientation has been limited to lower latitude areas because the magnetic field is very difficult to measure in the polar caps, so we don’t really know if the same distribution of orientations exist everywhere [as we usually assume when we don’t know any better]. The new result in this paper is that the jets might be used to measure the orientation, because they should start at the speck with an orientation opposite to that of the polar field and then with time move away from the reconnection site towards the other opposite polarity speck [see their Figure 3 cartoon]. This allows them to assess the orientation.

  24. “…unfortunately, we have not yet the capability of registering such changes in stars because we only perceive them as dots, even with high resolution telescopes.”
    Here is some very interesting information about what it would take to image stars and how far advanced Nasa is with a stellar imaging project.
    http://hires.gsfc.nasa.gov/si/
    Regards
    Michael

  25. Leif Svalgaard-we live in interesting times indeed,just from my own vague understanding,what they say in the paper is a very short cycle24? if so, wasn’t the predictions for cycle 25-due to the slowing Solar conveyor to be some what of how to put it-a dud?
    Good thing I’ve go more material for expanding my greenhouse…

  26. Did not Daviid Aechibald mutter something about the the length of a solar cycle having a bit to do with have cold it could be, (the longer the colder as I undersatnd it) If cycle 24 was only a few months then we we should be geting very warm. The warm thing I have not noticed.

  27. Yes!!! This is what I was talking about on another thread, about 4 days ago a magnetic signature was stirring at high latitude and although it produced no spots, it was clearly visible on the magnetogram among the “background noise” as Cycle 23 but at such latitude could it have been cycle 25?

  28. “Zer0th (12:46:08) :
    So any apparent #23’s (like the tiny spot on 07/23 that didn’t make the grade) *could* be #25’s, speculatively?”
    That spot was likely 23 because it was on the equator.

  29. Come on Leif, I don’t see any health warning in the paper that this is all speculation based on very little data?

  30. If this paper is correct, would it mean that polarity would not reverse between cycle 23 and the next cycle? That’d be weird.

  31. We had a couple of Italian contributors a couple of months back who also suggested that cycle 24 might be skipped, based on something like “migration toward the equator” if memory serves (I sure didn’t understand and there wasn’t any detail). Does anyone know how to get back to their comments, and how to get their reactions to this paper?

  32. We know Hathaway’s 2006 prediction for the early start and high strength of sunspot cycle #24 were wrong – he himself subsequently delayed his predicted start by about two years and cut the expected strength in half. Why should we accept his 2006 predictions that #25 will be very weak if it is based on the same type of modeling assumptions as his wrong predictions for #24?
    Historic data indicates long solar cycles tend to be weaker than average short ones tend to be stronger. If #24 has come and gone within the past year or so, why wasn’t it really strong?
    Odd-numbered cycles have different polarity from even-numbered cycles, which is why some speculate the recent “almost” sunspot could either be a left-over from #23 or the start of #25. How long have scientists been able to measure the polarity of sunspots? Are we sure that the previously numbered sunspot cycles from over a hundred years ago actually do have alternating polarities?
    During previous minima, have sunspots from the old cycle intermixed with those from the new cycle or has there always been a clean transition (at least for those minima where scientists could measure polarity so they knew to which cycles the spots belonged) ?
    The possibility the Sun has skipped cycle #24 seems like an extraordinary speculation which would require some extraordinary proof. However, if it turns out to be true, it seems it would throw nearly all solar models into question. If, as many of us believe “It’s the Sun, stupid”, that would throw virtually all IPCC climate models into question and invalidate arguments for AGW-dominated climate change.

  33. *****************************
    Leif Svalgaard (13:29:02) :
    “Perhaps the model is not quite right”
    ********************
    Given the success of models of complex systems, this one gets my vote.

  34. Re: Bill Illis (12:37:57)
    Bill, there’s a very recent update on that story:
    Usoskin, I.G; Mursula, K.; Arlt, R.; & Kovaltsov, G.A. (2009). A solar cycle lost in 1793-1800: early sunspot observations resolve the old mystery. The Astrophysical Journal 700, L154-L157.
    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/apjl_700_2_154.pdf

    Also possibly of interest:
    Zolotova & Ponyavin (2007). Was the unusual solar cycle at the end of the XVIII century a result of phase asynchronization? Astronomy & Astrophysics 470, L17-L20.
    http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=article&access=standard&Itemid=129&url=/articles/aa/pdf/2007/30/aa7681-07.pdf

  35. A follow up to the paper Bill Illis refers to, a paper published today – Cycle 4 (1784–1799) was actually two shorter cycles of 9 and 7 years – a ‘normal’ one and a very weak one. “A SOLAR CYCLE LOST IN 1793–1800: EARLY SUNSPOT OBSERVATIONS RESOLVE THE OLD MYSTERY”
    http://climate.arm.ac.uk/publications/arlt2.pdf

  36. More evidence that something may have influenced the Sun from behaving like it has usually for the last two to four centuries. Very interesting indeed.
    Sky and Telescope has an article about the Sun this month. I’m sure the author will be lambasted by so-called experts. But the fact is, if there were experts who understood the Sun sufficiently, the article wouldn’t need to have been written.

  37. I’m guessing that it’s s leftover from 23, and we still have 24 to get going. Since the sun doesn’t affect the earth’s climate, I’m not worried.
    On the good side, at least it’s not anthropogenic.

  38. Curiousgeorge (13:22:39) : “…What can we expect from the various media and the general public regarding the supposed skipped cycle? No doubt the Ice Age contingent will be out in force. ;-)”
    From the media? “CO² Cause of Solar Inactivity, Scientists Say.”
    From the general public? “Solar cycles? Great! Can you ride ’em on the freeway at night?”
    From the Warmist Willies: “We don’t know what this means, but we’re sure it’s worse than we thought.”

  39. If you look back at the Maunder minimum, the solar cycles were not very distinct and confused. It’s quite possible that this erratic behavior is normal.
    Maybe — The sun just runs out of juice and rests for a 100 years or so.
    Why should it matter, the sun has no effect of the climate of the cooling earth.

  40. I keep saying – the Sun has shifted into reverse, we’re going back to Cycle 23. Of course, no one takes me seriously, which is a Good Thing.
    Given the short history of these measurements, let’s not rush too quickly to settled science, but it’s another thing worth watching.
    The fascinating times continue!

  41. possibly OT,
    but somehow I did remember the sound of “Silent Running” here.
    Okay, it was a pretty good theme for the nowadays “warmingistas”,
    nevertheless, the music was good. Do still like Joan Baez, even when
    there are worlds between her opinion and my opinion now.

  42. Re Paul Vaughn’s comment and link to a study about cycles just before the Dalton Minimum
    Going to the Usoskin et al (2009) paper Paul references (which may be the same paper Ellie in Belfast notes), there is this sentence in the conclusions section:
    “Note also that some physical dynamo models even predict the existence of cycles of small amplitude and short duration near a grand minimum.”
    Thus it appears possible that a VERY short cycle is possible without having the short cycle identified with high temperatures.
    It is also — speculation on my part, what do you think, Lief? — that a very short cycle might PRECEDE the cooler period, if I understand the Usoskin et al paper correctly?

  43. Isn’t this convenient! So let me try to understand if we continue to have blank sunspot days currently (21) with a total of 677 for SC24 than all future blank days will start at 1? What am I missing. Seems that all the geniuses who have continually pushed SC24 out 6 months every 3 months now can start from scratch. I don’t understand the logic and it seems to easy for all the people who have looked so bad on forecasting SC24.
    Someone, please answer this, are we in a minimum or does that conveniently go away too?.

  44. Well, obviously something rather bizzare(and not understood) is occuring.
    Funny how nature, not man, always “bats last”.
    Interesting times indeed!

  45. (1) Tuning fork or (2) ‘relaxation’ (Neon bulb fired Resistor-Capacitor) oscillator?
    Which oscillator mechansim better describes the sunspot (et al) perdocity action of the sun – (1) or (2) above?
    Background: (1) A Tuning fork’s freqeuncy is quite well defined by the material and predominantly the length in one particular dimension, and attempts to ‘pull’ it result in appearant lower Q (energy loss per cycle) without much real success. The tuning fork oscillator’s output is a fairly pure sinusoid.
    (2) A relaxation oscillator, on the other hand can be made to ‘fire’ prematurely quite easily; this is the type of ‘oscillator’ which results in a sawtooth output with the ‘firing’ being somewhat precisely undetermined ‘up the ramp’ (it is going to ‘fire’ as some point, as the gas in the Neon tube/bulb ionizes at some point and does so in an avalanche effect at those last nanoseconds).
    With that as the background, is there at the root of this, some aspect of a nuclear mechanism at work along the lines of a relaxation oscillator that determines the period of sun spot et al activity of old sol?
    If so – (2) above- this would explain a lot and allow for much shorter cycles
    (as opposed to longer cycles or rigidly-fixed cycles which is not so easy to obtain with a relaxation osc or a tuning fork osc) …
    .
    .
    .

  46. DocMartyn (15:48:49) :
    can we be sure that the sun isn’t pregnant?
    Nope, we cannot. I see that black spot on Jupiter’s surface very strange. I don’t think it was a comet colliding with the giant planet. The spot is so irregular that it portrays a collision with a solar ejection of very hot material at speeds close, equal or exceeding the speed of sound.

  47. I thought the paper was very badly written and the speculation was based on less than three years of observations! The data used was very sparse (see Figure 1 at the end of the document).
    Colour me unimpressed.

  48. Phillip Bratby (14:07:39) :
    I don’t see any health warning in the paper that this is all speculation based on very little data?
    The paper ends: “We expect to extend this result through long-term observations of the solar polar coronal holes to increase the statistical certainty of this result.”
    Admitting that it is now low. Also, note that they find some support for Wilson’s [and other’s] idea of an extended solar cycle [22 years long], so that there does not need to be a ‘missed’ cycle. Suppose that every cycle is 22 years long and that cycle 23 really began in 1987 and is now ending, and that cycle 24 really began in 1997, and cycle 25 has now begun, then there are no missed or skipped cycles. It is already accepted by most solar physicists that there is an extended solar cycle at least 17 years long, so the jump to 22 is not so large…
    But I don’t want to spoil the fun watching all the ‘I told you so’ experts come out of the woodwork 🙂

  49. If you did have jets running one way, then the jets started running the other way, it would seem to me that an area of great turbulence would be created. Eventually, the opposing residual motion would be consumed and things would go with the new flow.
    In the meantime, it’s like a big drag brake, a ship at sea going into emergency reverse (cavitating), or swimming upstream. Progress is painful.
    Opposing flows would be responsible for highly twisted spots, and spots that roll very fast over a days time.
    Now it’s time to go read the afternoon solar news posted above.
    The Sun is a fiip-flopper.

  50. This article that was published today in the Astrophysical Journal is seminal. The fact of detecting a super small cycle preceeding a grand minimun suggests where we are at this moment if cycle 24 fails to meet our expectations.
    But not to worry, as others have said, the sun plays no part in climate change on earth. The oceans just do their flips and drive climate here. It is just an illusion that temperatures were colder than today in the Maunder and Dalton minimums, and if they were colder it wasn’t because of the sun (This is sarcasm). If you start to feel colder in the years to come, Mr. Gore will just change his statistics to show that you are really warmer.

  51. Models are intellectual constructs, not necessarily computer code, that enable us to comprehend external observations. When we have observations that don’t fit the nmodels, we must discard the model and observe more closely.
    In response to someone else, I think the 11 year cycles are defined by the direction of the solar magnetic dipole – direction of the magnetic poles; they do switch N-S every 11 years.
    I don’t think these ephemera will dictate the definition of solar cycles.
    They sure are interesting observations, though I suspect no one yet understands them. Let’s come back to this question in 500 years.

  52. Vinny, if you follow the daily styereo images, you will see that there are no sunspots “coming around the bend” for at least another three days.

  53. The cycle that comes after cycle 23 is obviously cycle 24.
    It now seems possible that 2 cycles can have the same magnetic polarity.
    That would mean that the accepted idea that the sun changes magnetic polarity once in a minimum is dead. It now seems the sun can change polarity 2 times, and who know how many more.
    A ‘lost cycle’ is a non-existing thing, it isn’t misplaced somewhere, it isn’t there. The term ‘lost cycle’ would just mean that solar scientists are hanging on to an old idea that has been disproved.
    However rare this may be, we don’t know about the magnetic polarity of many past cycles, so it may have happened before.
    However it works out. It is great fun.

  54. It must be true because we already have a SolarCycle25 web site up and running!
    http://solarcycle25.com/
    Actually could it be that there is more than we think we have figured out since so few cycles have actually been followed and watched. Cycles within cycles, long cycles, short cycles, missing cycles, cycles overlaping others, etc. Are things a little more complex than our self taught math and almost blind observation has accounted for. Hey, I’m not a scientist, I hope you get the idea what I’m trying to say.
    What do they say, just when you think you have it all figured out, they change the rules!,,,,, Something like that.

  55. Very hesitantly – as in the drowning man in water out of his depth – can’t we just have a violation of the odd-even cycle and leave the number sequence intact – a possibility which from imperfect memory and understanding might have been sugested by Duhau and de Jager recently. That would not seem to conflict with Dr. Svalgaard’s report of underlying extended cycles but be just one way of reporting the present observations.

  56. Robin Kool (16:51:20) :
    The cycle that comes after cycle 23 is obviously cycle 24.
    It now seems possible that 2 cycles can have the same magnetic polarity.

    that is not what they report. The report that there are magnetic regions in the polar caps with polarity different from cycle 24, i.e. what we would expect for SC25 and what we had for SC23. So, yes, in a sense, 2 cycles [23 and 25] can have the same polarity, although that was probably not what you meant.

  57. Leif Svalgaard (17:09:33):
    The report that there are magnetic regions in the polar caps with polarity different from cycle 24, i.e. what we would expect for SC25 and what we had for SC23.
    Leif… Is that possible in a ball made of pure incandescent gases? Definitely, there is something wrong in your model.

  58. Are they certain of exactly when the reversal occured?
    It’s somewhat close to the period between the double-hump maxima of SC22 & SC23 divided by two. A reversal of a temporal nature.
    Not saying it’s a fit, just looking for how this finding sits with the flow of things.
    Who knows, the thing may revert back to SC24 polarity and the clock is set to zero. Nice subject for a Saturday.

  59. Does this mean then that if the sun skips a bunch of cycles and we go into a kind of Maunder Minimum it will be sort of like the Sun is in Mauno-pause.?

  60. jorgekafkazar (15:08:49) :
    From the media? “CO² Cause of Solar Inactivity, Scientists Say.”
    From the general public? “Solar cycles? Great! Can you ride ‘em on the freeway at night?”
    From the Warmist Willies: “We don’t know what this means, but we’re sure it’s worse than we thought.”
    😀 You may just be right. If it even gets noticed at all, which isn’t likely IMHO. Some Hollywood starlet with big boobs would have to blog about it first. 😉

  61. If we consider that a solar cycle is a mechanism for producing certain behaviors including sun spots on the Sun. Is it possible to have three solar cycles active on the Sun at the same time?

  62. Ken S (17:00:24) :
    It must be true because we already have a SolarCycle25 web site up and running!
    http://solarcycle25.com/

    Actually that’s the kind of site that really grates with me because it’s basically a subject-based spam blog. There’s no original content – it just reproduces other people’s content elsewhere and adds Google Adsense.

  63. “John A (18:38:06) :
    Ken S (17:00:24) :
    It must be true because we already have a SolarCycle25 web site up and running!
    http://solarcycle25.com/
    Actually that’s the kind of site that really grates with me because it’s basically a subject-based spam blog. There’s no original content – it just reproduces other people’s content elsewhere and adds Google Adsense.”
    I should have been more carefull in how I worded that.
    When I said “we already have a SolarCycle25 web site up and running”,
    I wasn’t refering to myself in any way other than we all belong to a collective group
    of humans, thus the “we”. I am in no way associated with that web site nor any others.
    I agree in what you say, “There’s no original content – it just reproduces other people’s content elsewhere”. I’ll add that this seems to be the common practice of a number of like web sites.

  64. This just in, this unexpected skipping of a sun cycle could not be put into the climate models and the effects of too much CO2 are still warming the earth….but this has cooled it for a short period of time. LOL We still expect Florida to be underwater once the ice thaws in 2050

  65. Based upon my lurking here, my understanding is that, early on in the cycle, sun spots tend to originate in the polar regions. As the cycle progresses, the sunspots tend to be closer in latitude to the solar equator. This is why you can have sun spots from 2 solar cycles present at the same time. Old cycle spots near the equator, and spots from the new cycle starting in the polar regions. My understanding is that this is also the reason that the “official” end of one cycle and the start of the new cycle can normally only be determined months after the fact. That was a hot topic here for a while, but there are much more interesting questions at the moment. I’d guess, since Lief linked to some solar scientist humor, that he is enjoying all of this. Extended cycle indeed!
    Dan Murphy

  66. that is not what they report. The report that there are magnetic regions in the polar caps with polarity different from cycle 24, i.e. what we would expect for SC25 and what we had for SC23. So, yes, in a sense, 2 cycles [23 and 25] can have the same polarity, although that was probably not what you meant.
    Leif
    Would you mind speculating a bit what this might mean if this type of transition is happening on the sun? Is there any magnetic orientation data available for the solar cycles that happened during the Maunder minimum?
    It is my understanding from you as well as from other sources that during the MM the solar cycles were still extant due to the Be-10 and C-14 variability detected in various proxies. If this is the case, and if it is also the case that this magnetic switch has happened, is there any data in the proxy record that would support this type of switch in the past? I don’t see it myself but would like to get your opinion.
    Additionally, with the slow increase in the 10.7 numbers that you periodically post, it would seem that we are moving into CY24, no matter what the other indications are. This would be consistent with MM conditions as measured in other proxies, except…..The Cosmic ray numbers from Moscow are now showing much of a decrease.
    Interesting stuff indeed.

  67. 40 years of cooling? Better get out the Nuc Powered Desalination plans and start building. Colder climate means less precipitation which means less water for agriculture output. 40 years of cooling. Where have I read that before?

  68. Re: Solar cycle 25??
    This is a very interesting paper. It is a neat example of what we all have been calling for… , a fresh look at seemingly obscure data. Hats off to the authors!!
    The nice thing is that we won’t have to wait 100 years to see if their hypothesis holds together!!
    G.

  69. What a pity that Al Gore Himself doesn’t grace us with His presence on this humble blog. He could enlighten us greatly.

  70. “Leif Svalgaard (13:35:31) :
    Tom (13:24:46) :
    The direction of travel of the jets in 2006-7 was that predicted for cycle 24, while the direction of travel for 2008-9 is the direction predicted for cycle 25 (or 23).
    One assumption that may be wrong is that the small bipolar regions have a preferred direction [polarity change]. When one plots the angle between the line connecting the two spots [or specks], one finds that for large regions that line is pretty much East-West [with a small tilt – Joy’s law], but with decreasing size of the region this tendency becomes smaller and the line is more and more randomly oriented. For the smallest one [like we see in the polar regions] the orientation may be random enough that we can see almost what we want. The only way out of this is to wait and build up more statistics. But interesting, nevertheless.”
    OT and no disrespect to Lief however, your point about assumption being wrong prompted me to respond bacause I watched a movie last night called “Meteor”. It’s what I’d call a very low budget “B” movie but what made me laugh was one of the actors playing some kind of “expert scientist” while trying to work out some trajectory calculations said “They got the assumption wrong!”. Given the science of climate change is largely based on assumption, I thought it was rather funny.

  71. Dennis Wingo (19:51:49) :
    Cosmic ray numbers from Moscow are NOT now showing much of a decrease.
    Smoothed numbers or higher numbers of thermal neutrons? Dennis, it is very important for me to know all about the intensity of GCR. Would you be so kind as to inform me about this issue?
    BTW, I don’t think that Leif Svalgaard has thought in a Sun ruled by an external operator. Even so, speculations from this article are getting its authors closer to the belief that the Sun’s core is a dynamo, I mean, a neutron star or something of the kind. 🙂

  72. All I can say… as a father of four…
    It’s really bad when you skip a cycle.
    ’nuff said.

  73. It’s funny how every now and then you get some ‘specialists’ proclaiming they know what’s happening with the sun and every time the sun shakes a bit of dust they come up with new “discoveries”.
    Nobody know and nobody will known at least for the near future so just lay back and watch it happening live.
    Personally I think it’s just cycle 24 taking it slowly.
    Jimmy Haigh (20:14:16)
    LOL No, he’ll tax us for siting under the sun…

  74. This is the stuff real science is about – making observations & trying to figure out what it all means. Fascinating!!
    Leif / Anthony, please keep us up to date with any new developments on this story as they become available. Thanks!!

  75. Dennis Wingo (19:50:08) :
    Would you mind speculating a bit what this might mean if this type of transition is happening on the sun? Is there any magnetic orientation data available for the solar cycles that happened during the Maunder minimum?
    No, solar magnetism was suspected by Bigelow in the 1890s and first measured by Hale in 1908 [I think]. The orientation data in the polar caps really had to await modern spacecraft observations.
    It is my understanding from you as well as from other sources that during the MM the solar cycles were still extant due to the Be-10 and C-14 variability detected in various proxies. If this is the case, and if it is also the case that this magnetic switch has happened, is there any data in the proxy record that would support this type of switch in the past? I don’t see it myself but would like to get your opinion.
    The cosmic ray modulation was strong during the Maunder Minimum, but we can’t really tell yet what the polarity was. In principle that should be possible because the shape of the GCR solar cycle variation is subtlety different depending on the sign of the polar fields [the flat versus peaked variations]. Since this is a second order effect, the noise level has to be beaten down an order of magnitude before we could see this effect, but with many more ice cores that should be possible in future.
    Additionally, with the slow increase in the 10.7 numbers that you periodically post, it would seem that we are moving into CY24, no matter what the other indications are.
    Every day, in fact.
    This would be consistent with MM conditions as measured in other proxies, except…..The Cosmic ray numbers from Moscow are not showing much of a decrease.
    Since April, almost all stations show a decrease or at least no more increase, here are some: http://www.leif.org/research/Neutron-Monitors-Real-Time.htm

  76. WOW!!! Thanks a lot, Leif! I’d like to have the databases from the six monitors. Please, tell me where I can find them, if it doesn’t bother you.

  77. Solar Cycle 25? highly unlikely….the SC25 flows have not started yet. This is more like the situation in SC4 where the dying cycle gets a boost (Neptune/Uranus alignment) before finally giving up. The position of SC24 and SC23 is now identical including the very important planetary line up.
    Just another coincidence?

  78. Are these questions well-defined? If there will be a lot of solar activity, it is likely that we will be able to see the sign. But assuming that the magnetic fingerprint will agree with SC23, what is the general rule that decides whether we will see a continuing Cycle 23, that was just temporarily weakened, Cycle 25, or whether we have skipped Cycles 24-34 by small fluctuations around zero and we will see Cycle 35? 😉

  79. Leif Svalgaard (16:34:04) :
    The paper speculates that they find support for Wilson’s ‘extended cycle”. Here is what that critter looks like:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Extended-Cycle.png
    [From Wilson’s book: solar and Stellar Activity Cycles ISBN 0.521-54821-7]
    I see there is no warning/alarm bell on the extended cycle, anyone might think that Astrophysicist types like to sneak up on pedestrians.

  80. At this archived page of
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=general&thread=629&page=26
    my prophecy at the bottom,
    on Jun 18, 2009, 1:10am
    start prophecy/:
    We are seeing the maturing of solar cycle 24 which will be a very short and very low cycle barely reaching the 75 prediction of Leif, most in tiny tims, before decaying fast into 25.
    we will soon be seeing high latitude wrong signature tiny tims which will be 25 precursors.
    /end prophecy

    and on being questioned:
    A prophecy needs no justification 😛
    I am looking at the GONG magnetograms for inspiration, there is a nice reversed pair in high latitude there at the moment, and certainly the count has tiny tims in.
    How do you know that the sc25 has not started yet?
    It is one of those ” I can think of ten impossible things before breakfast” prophecies.

    I think this also belongs to the ten impossibe things before breakfast.

  81. Lubos Motl (21:35:46) :
    what is the general rule that decides whether we will see a continuing Cycle 23, that was just temporarily weakened, Cycle 25, or whether we have skipped Cycles 24-34 by small fluctuations around zero and we will see Cycle 35? 😉
    The usual sign is the latitude. A cycle start with high-latitude spots then continue with spots at lower and lower latitudes. Any new spots at very high latitudes will be from future cycle(s). But this is just as we know it from watching the past.

  82. anna v (21:47:08) :
    Nice one Anna V!
    So if we are now in Cycle 25, what does it all mean?… What’s happened to the sun? What will happen now?…
    I can see the headlines: “Man made global warming causes the sun to miss a cycle…”

  83. Jimmy Haigh (20:14:16) :
    What a pity that Al Gore Himself doesn’t grace us with His presence on this humble blog. He could enlighten us greatly.

    Jimmy. This is a science blog.
    Al and science live on two different planets

  84. The Sun is going to snap. Turn on so strong, it’ll have one big spot. The Sun will be black as sackcloth, and the Tribulation is under way folks. LOL!

  85. “Vinny (16:04:22) :
    Isn’t this convenient! So let me try to understand if we continue to have blank sunspot days currently (21) with a total of 677 for SC24 than all future blank days will start at 1? What am I missing. Seems that all the geniuses who have continually pushed SC24 out 6 months every 3 months now can start from scratch. I don’t understand the logic and it seems to easy for all the people who have looked so bad on forecasting SC24.
    Someone, please answer this, are we in a minimum or does that conveniently go away too?.”
    Vinny, it is my guess (could be wrong) that it is 677 days because we are still in SC 23 minimum!
    Normally when a cycle reaches maximum there are zero no sunspot days eg: SC 22 had its minimum in 96/97 and ended up with 309 spotless days, then in 1999/2000 there were no spotless days (nearing solar max) and the count ended, and so in 2004 when the first spotless day appeared they began a new count which continues to this day because SC 24 has not reached maximum, and given the current situation I wouldn’t be surprised that even during SC 24 maximum there will be spotless days.
    According to the folks on the SC24.com message board the spotless days count should be much higher than what is written in stone by the authorities.
    “jorgekafkazar (15:08:49) :
    From the media? “CO² Cause of Solar Inactivity, Scientists Say.””
    I actually LOL at this because it is so likely (yet so unbelievable) that such an article would be published in the media!
    23 Blank days as of today… Ooh maybe a spot will form tomorrow and end this spotless run at 23. O_o… haha
    In my serious opinion cycle 23 is still going along with cycle 24. Magnetograms were not available in 1800s (doh!~) and so we don’t know if such strange things occurred then.
    Even if they did occur, the scientists of the day saw nothing and knew nothing of it and counted cycles in a logical numerical order however weak and long they were.

  86. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327194.400-centuriesold-sketches-solve-sunspot-mystery.html
    “……………Sunspot numbers for this period were compiled by Swiss astronomer Rudolf Wolf in the 19th century, who based his tallies on drawings of the sun made by Austrian amateur astronomer Johann Staudecher. Wolf’s numbers suggested there was a 15.5-year-long solar cycle between 1784 and 1799, the longest on record. However, astronomers have long questioned the reliability of these numbers, since Staudecher’s observations from this period are sparse – he made just two drawings in the second half of 1793, for example. Even in the 19th century, some suspected that it might have actually been two short solar cycles.”

  87. * “then in 1999/2000 there were no spotless days (nearing solar max)”
    referring to new SC 23 max (therefore SC 22 min declared officially over)

  88. Hypothetically, the sun needs some kind of driver for the solar cycles and some kind of ‘memory’ to know which polarity the next cycle should be. If the memory gets lost during an extended quiet period then it could become a toss up which way the next cycle goes. If the next cycle ends up the with same polarity as SC23 then it’s just semantics whether it’s SC24 or SC25. It strikes me as unlikely that every cycle would alternate polarity. Just a thought.

  89. The sun is a variable star, in a Galaxy of stars and emptiness. if we understood the universe perhaps we could understand the behavior.
    But
    So we map the percentages in the behavior.
    I was looking for merminks and dropped in coz I need to understand tides in mysearch for merminks.
    Kindly disregard, unless someones got a map ref for a mermink.

  90. I tried to read paper twice and gave up. The third time I red only ‘Results and Discussion’ and looked at the graphics. It would not be exaggeration to say ‘I did not understand any of it’. It may be a ‘Nobel prize nomination paper’ but as far as I am concerned is a bit of hogwash. Even if it is significant for the current solar events, for time being I’ll go by saying of a certain well known scientist and pundit of this blog ‘sun is a messy place’.
    If sun is going to skip a cycle (on the account of magnetic polarity) than I suggest it might happen about 2022-25.
    http://www.geocities.com/vukcevicu/PolarField1Cr.gif

  91. Don’t forget Hathaway already supported the idea SC 25 would become a real weak one. So, finally and according these (his) new findings, HE might be right. What is the political background of his opinion?

  92. This might explain why we seemingly continue to have cycle 23 spots. They aren’t #23 spots, but #25.
    Wow….

  93. vukcevic (03:56:55) :
    as far as I am concerned is a bit of hogwash. […]
    If sun is going to skip a cycle (on the account of magnetic polarity) than I suggest it might happen about 2022-25.

    You seem to be a victim of Leif’s law: “if the paper supports my theory it is fine, otherwise it is hogwash”
    And [as many others on the thread] miss the point the authors make. They do not talk about skipping or missing a cycle, but only about extending Wilson’s extended cycle from 17 to 22 years.

  94. Easy, it’s stalled at Top Dead Center. We need a cosmic push me-pull you.
    =========================================

  95. Lief (13:35:31)
    one assumption that may be wrong is that the small ‘BIPOLAR’ regions have a preferred direction.
    Well, that explains it all….the sun is bipolar!

  96. Leif, you wrote:
    ” Leif Svalgaard (05:57:15) :
    … [You] [as many others on the thread] miss the point the authors make. They do not talk about skipping or missing a cycle, but only about extending Wilson’s extended cycle from 17 to 22 years.”
    Well, this posting on WUWT starts with:
    “Leif Svalgaard writes:
    Some speculation that solar cycle 25 has already begun:
    http://xrt.cfa.harvard.edu/resources/pubs/savc0707.pdf
    This would be stunning, because it suggests that the sun has skipped a solar cycle (#24) . ”
    Maybe the authors don’t talk about skipping or missing a cycle, but you surely did.

  97. Leif Svalgaard (21:53:35) :
    Lubos Motl (21:35:46) :
    what is the general rule that decides whether we will see a continuing Cycle 23, that was just temporarily weakened, Cycle 25, or whether we have skipped Cycles 24-34 by small fluctuations around zero and we will see Cycle 35? 😉
    The usual sign is the latitude. A cycle start with high-latitude spots then continue with spots at lower and lower latitudes. Any new spots at very high latitudes will be from future cycle(s). But this is just as we know it from watching the past.

    For non-specialists, this was fair question. I’d like to ask Leif the corrolative question: what happens at the end of of the cycle? Do we see a simple marching of sunspots from “top to bottom” , or do we see a degree of “erratic” sunspot behavior as the minimum moves along, with positional anomalies of weak spots and polarity anomalies as well, until some “stabilty of process” (for want of a better term) begins to take hold? This seemed to be the case for cycle 23.
    Presumably, the process of cycle changeover has been somewhat pedestrian over the years, but is it really? I found the paper not overly difficult to read, but the reliance on jargon made it a bit of a slog. Rightly or not, however, I took away the idea that the sample size and results were decidedly equivocal; that the onset of cycle 25 is only weakly supported by the results.

  98. “Dr. Svalgaard. Svalgaard. I hate it when the idiots get my name wrong, too.”
    I didn’t know that a misspelled name implied idiocy. Touchy, touchy there eh what?
    Why not do what countless immigrants used to do and change your name to something more recognizable to English language speakers. That will make us look less idiotic and you will be less frustrated and hateful of us when we spell your name correctly even though we may still be ‘the idiots’ in your view.
    To the topic … always cycle on the sunny side of the street regardless of polarity.

  99. DocMartyn (15:48:49) :
    can we be sure that the sun isn’t pregnant?
    DocMartyn (15:48:49) :
    Nope, we cannot. I see that black spot on Jupiter’s surface very strange. I don’t think it was a comet colliding with the giant planet. The spot is so irregular that it portrays a collision with a solar ejection of very hot material at speeds close, equal or exceeding the speed of sound.
    Perhaps it is Jupiter that is pregnant. And Venus.

  100. Making the link: cosmos, sun, climate:
    View Article & Comments
    view the latest news articles
    HENRIK SVENSMARK
    Cosmic meddling with the clouds by seven-day magic
    Sunday, August 2nd 2009, 4:12 AM EDT
    Billions of tonnes of water droplets vanish from the atmosphere, as if by magic, in events that reveal in detail how the Sun and the stars control our everyday clouds. Researchers of the National Space Institute in the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have traced the consequences of eruptions on the Sun that screen the Earth from some of the cosmic rays – the energetic particles raining down on our planet from exploded stars. ‘The Sun makes fantastic natural experiments that allow us to test our ideas about its effects on the climate,’ says Prof. Henrik Svensmark, lead author of a report newly published in Geophysical Research Letters. When solar explosions interfere with the cosmic rays there is a temporary shortage of small aerosols, chemical specks in the air that normally grow until water vapour can condense on them, so seeding the liquid water droplets of low-level clouds. Because of the shortage, clouds over the ocean can lose as much as 7 per cent of their liquid water within seven or eight days of the cosmic-ray minimum.
    ‘A link between the Sun, cosmic rays, aerosols, and liquid-water clouds appears to exist on a global scale,’ the report concludes. This research, to which Torsten Bondo and Jacob Svensmark contributed, validates 13 years of discoveries that point to a key role for cosmic rays in climate change. In particular, it connects observable variations in the world’s cloudiness to laboratory experiments in Copenhagen showing how cosmic rays help to make the all-important aerosols.
    Other investigators have reported difficulty in finding significant effects of the solar eruptions on clouds, and Henrik Svensmark understands their problem. ‘It’s like trying to see tigers hidden in the jungle, because clouds change a lot from day to day whatever the cosmic rays are doing,’ he says. The first task for a successful hunt was to work out when ‘tigers’ were most likely to show themselves, by identifying the most promising instances of sudden drops in the count of cosmic rays, called Forbush decreases. Previous research in Copenhagen predicted that the effects should be most noticeable in the lowest 3000 metres of the atmosphere. The team identified 26 Forbush decreases since 1987 that caused the biggest reductions in cosmic rays at low altitudes, and set about looking for the consequences.
    The first global impact of the shortage of cosmic rays is a subtle change in the colour of sunlight, as seen by ground stations of the aerosol robotic network AERONET. By analysing its records during and after the reductions in cosmic rays, the DTU team found that violet light from the Sun looked brighter than usual. A shortage of small aerosols, which normally scatter violet light as it passes through the air, was the most likely reason. The colour change was greatest about five days after the minimum counts of cosmic rays.
    Why the delay? Henrik Svensmark and his team were not surprised by it, because the immediate action of cosmic rays, seen in laboratory experiments, creates micro-clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules that are too small to affect the AERONET observations. Only when they have spent a few days growing in size should they begin to show up, or else be noticeable by their absence. The evidence from the aftermath of the Forbush decreases, as scrutinised by the Danish team, gives aerosol experts valuable information about the formation and fate of small aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere.
    Although capable of affecting sunlight after five days, the growing aerosols would not yet be large enough to collect water droplets. The full impact on clouds only becomes evident two or three days later. It takes the form of a loss of low-altitude clouds, because of the earlier loss of small aerosols that would normally have grown into ‘cloud condensation nuclei’ capable of seeding the clouds. ‘Then it’s like noticing bare patches in a field, where a farmer forgot to sow the seeds,’ Svensmark explains. ‘Three independent sets of satellite observations all tell a similar story of clouds disappearing, about a week after the minimum of cosmic rays.’
    Averaging satellite data on the liquid-water content of clouds over the oceans, for the five strongest Forbush decreases from 2001 to 2005, the DTU team found a 7 per cent decrease, as mentioned earlier. That translates into 3 billion tonnes of liquid water vanishing from the sky. The water remains there in vapour form, but unlike cloud droplets it does not get in the way of sunlight trying to warm the ocean. After the same five Forbush decreases, satellites measuring the extent of liquid-water clouds revealed an average reduction of 4 per cent. Other satellites showed a similar 5 per cent reduction in clouds below 3200 metres over the ocean.
    ‘The effect of the solar explosions on the Earth’s cloudiness is huge,’ Henrik Svensmark comments. ‘A loss of clouds of 4 or 5 per cent may not sound very much, but it briefly increases the sunlight reaching the oceans by about 2 watt per square metre, and that’s equivalent to all the global warming during the 20th Century.’
    The Forbush decreases are too short-lived to have a lasting effect on the climate, but they dramatise the mechanism that works more patiently during the 11-year solar cycle. When the Sun becomes more active, the decline in low-altitude cosmic radiation is greater than that seen in most Forbush events, and the loss of low cloud cover persists for long enough to warm the world. That explains, according to the DTU team, the alternations of warming and cooling seen in the lower atmosphere and in the oceans during solar cycles.
    The director of the Danish National Space Institute, DTU, Eigil Friis-Christensen, was co-author with Svensmark of an early report on the effect of cosmic rays on cloud cover, back in 1996. Commenting on the latest paper he says, ‘The evidence has piled up, first for the link between cosmic rays and low-level clouds and then, by experiment and observation, for the mechanism involving aerosols. All these consistent scientific results illustrate that the current climate models used to predict future climate are lacking important parts of the physics.’
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3804

  101. My comment, yesterday:
    Nogw (13:01:52) :
    vukcevic (11:35:15) : Would that it mean that the peak of solar cycle 24 was back in october 2008?…If that is so, we are facing a “lost cycle” again!…let´s wait and see

  102. So, at the bottom of an extended and weak cycle the magnetic polarity might stutter and switch about a few times before settling into the polarity of the next cycle.
    All that means is that the polarity does not always neatly switch from one cycle to the next. Sometimes a new cycle can adopt the same polarity as the previous one if the attempt to change polarity fails.
    Any comment, Leif ?

  103. (2) – It’s number 2 – relaxation oscillatory behavior.
    Even the sunspot cycle plots has a ‘sawtooth’ look to it; it does *not* look like a half sinusoid.
    The rapid up-shot of sunspot activity after a lull would seem to indicate that something has ‘fired’ (much like when the Neon gas in a Neon bulb reaches the ionization point) and the activity picks up rapidly past the low point in the lull.
    That’s what stand out to the trained eye of this observer … wonder what ‘processes’ on the sun cause that perceived/observed rapid rise in activity?
    .
    .

  104. Timo Niroma: “Well, there was the 300-year Roman Optimum in 100 BC to AD 200, the 200-year oscillation 200-900 (200 cold, 300 warm, 400 cold, 600-900 cold), the 300-year Medieval Optimum 900-1200 (with some colder spells plus warm aftermaths), the 300-year Little Ice Age 1400-1700, the 300-year “Global Warming” 1700-2005 (with some drawbacks especially in the 1800’s). A NEW LIA WITH SPÖRER AND MAUNDER IN 2005-2300???”
    http://solarcycle25.com/index.php?id=44&linkbox=true

  105. “Maybe the authors don’t talk about skipping or missing a cycle, but you surely did.”
    Well, not really. It’s just that Cycle 24 may have missed its hot fiery maximum [or maybe not]. Old sol’s magnetic flip flops didn’t miss a thing. Didn’t Leif explain to us at one time that we track separate processes which may be controlled by different things. Sunspots and flux both vary but not necessarily for the same reasons.
    Hey, Anna! congrats!

  106. That “relaxation oscillator” shape is similar to the light curve shape of Mira-type variables. Not sure what that means, though. Mira-type variables typically have a shorter period, and I’m pretty sure that you could never count sunspots that far away.

  107. I didn’t realize before that when they speak of re-inventing the bicycle, they mean a two-seater. Learn something new every day.

  108. “Nogw (09:28:30) :
    Or….Cycle 23 it is one of the longest cycles ever”
    As of today, given July has not exceeded international sunspot number of 3.4, sunspot minimum is in December 2008 making this cycle 12.6 years long or the second longest cycle on record (tied with Solar Cycle 5).
    If August’s number does not exceed 0.5, the minimum will be january 2009, however this is unlikely.

  109. Although given that there is much debate and manipulation, the final number may be 3.5 and minimum will be declared November 2008 making the cycle 12.5 years long, just to spoil the fun 😉

  110. Mr. Alex (11:15:22) :
    If August’s number does not exceed 0.5, the minimum will be january 2009, however this is unlikely.

    What is the basis for calling that unlikely? I would say we don’t know. If the last 3 weeks is anything to go by…

  111. Dear Leif,
    high latitudes are fine – but what do the “future cycles” mean in your conclusions? Can’t you have much more distant future cycles such as SC27, too? 😉 Imagine that we enter a Maunder-like minimum. Such questions would become very real after a decade of no clear activity.
    Would you be able to count the “cycles” during the Maunder minimum? I guess that the answer is really “no”. If the activity was not truly “cyclic”, there couldn’t have been any genuine “cycles’. 😉 One can still invent many definitions that would imply clear answers, but the answers would differ and none of them would be “canonical”.
    On the other hand, I wouldn’t believe that this is where we’re going now. If someone offers me 1:1 odds, I am ready to bet that in 2015, most of the sunspots will carry the opposite magnetic signature than the SC23 that has probably ended.
    Best wishes
    Lubos

  112. “Carsten Arnholm, Norway (11:47:59) :
    What is the basis for calling that unlikely? I would say we don’t know. If the last 3 weeks is anything to go by…”
    I completely understand and agree it is in the realms of possibility (although Leif would perhaps tend to disagree given that his data indicates SC 24 activity is increasing).
    So yes, currently it even looks likely… I just did not wish to jinx it 😉

  113. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (11:47:59) :
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    All it takes to have a SSN for August <0.5 is for the Sun to continue doing what it is currently doing. And that, for the last 2 years, the Sun has excelled at. If the Sun was an athlete, it would be a Tiger Woods, Jerry Rice or Michael Phelps. Running up the score for blowing away the trendlines.

  114. Leif
    Thanks for that. Didn’t think that anything fundamental had changed in the science. If there is a bit of chaotic activity in the magnetic fields it is interesting but does not seem to be anything other than academic note. I do think that if there are cycles that add to and subtract from each others, some that we don’t understand yet, this could be good for studying to figure out in order that predictions of future deep minimums or MM conditions could be forecast.

  115. Slartibartfast (11:03:46) :
    That “relaxation oscillator” shape is similar to the light curve shape of Mira-type variables.

    Indeed!
    Page 8 (Figure 2) of this doc has a nice plot of the ‘Light curve’ you spoke of (in case anyone else is interested):
    Spectropolarimetric study of Mira-type variable stars
    Interesting discussion in that paper on the effects that figure in to creating that effect too.
    .
    .

  116. So much to learn… So little time.
    Fascinating stuff. Thanks Dr. Svalgaard, and all the link contributors as well.

  117. When seen from the point of view of Earth/Venus/Jupiter syzygies, sunspot cycle maximums wander a few years either side of the tightest syzygies depending on the amplitude of each cycle, but have not lost step with them for the last 350yrs. As the last few cycles have been high, their maximums have been up to 2 years before the astronomical centers. The astronomical center for C24 is January 2014, for C25, January 2026. A missing cycle seems very unlikely.

  118. ISTR, Jim, that the peak luminosity and peak size were not in phase with each other. I’m talking Mira, here; I was attempting to generalize that behavior on to other Mira-type variables without actually having a physical model. This was about fifteen years ago, mind, and I am not an astrophysicist (IANAA).
    Somebody wanted a relatively short answer regarding how many stars would be detectable by a particular IR detector in the 3-5 micron range. I was feeling around the dark, wearing a freezer suit and gloves. It turned out that Mira-variables tended to be more variable than one might like.
    Now, if you’re used to doing a visual inspection of the stars, you’d think that maybe the brightest visible stars might also still be among the brightest in the midwave IR. That would be an incorrect thought. Sirius wasn’t even close to Betelgeuse, Antares or Omicron Ceti (Mira). I can’t recall which others right offhand, but even the Class K-stars weren’t (for the most part) suitable, although it seems I recall that Arcturus and Antares were close, possibly because they are relatively close, distance-wise.
    But again, IANAA. Still, interesting that our sun appears to be variable in the sunspot sense, and that the sunspot number seems to have the same general shape as the light curve from Mira. Could be coincidence, or it could be that the curves only LOOK a little alike, but actually aren’t.

  119. On June 17 Anthony posted an article:
    Solar Cycle 24 lack of sunspots caused by “sluggish solar jet stream” – returning soon?
    It makes the suggestion that cycle 24 sunspots will soon be abundant (quickly becoming doubtful). It also seems at odds with the idea of a skipped cycle 24 – which I don’t buy for a moment anyway.
    For a review you may go to:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/17/solar-cycle-24-lack-of-sunspots-caused-by-sluggish-solar-jet-stream-returning-soon/#more-8598

  120. I really wish I understood this cycle thing………. surely a cycle can include a ‘blip’ as part of a numerical or statistical cycle. Or is a sun cycle similar to the moon cycle?
    Maybe every 25 cycles an event occurs that is part of the cycle……….
    Im bemused…..
    Mike

  121. Paul Coppin (08:31:05) :
    I’d like to ask Leif the corrolative question: what happens at the end of of the cycle?
    The old cycle just ‘peters out’. There can be occasional flare ups [last gasps]. On page 4 of http://www.leif.org/research/Most%20Recent%20IMF,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf you can see how the last few cycles have fared.
    I took away the idea that the sample size and results were decidedly equivocal; that the onset of cycle 25 is only weakly supported by the results.
    This is fair, and the authors also expressed the need for more data. Something to watch for.
    Ron de Haan (09:04:16) :
    ‘A link between the Sun, cosmic rays, aerosols, and liquid-water clouds appears to exist on a global scale,’ the report concludes.
    I thought the mantra was that cosmic ray secondaries were the condensation nuclei, ah, well, now that one didn’t pan out, so it’s gotta be something else, clearly.
    Stephen Wilde (09:38:31) :
    So, at the bottom of an extended and weak cycle the magnetic polarity might stutter and switch about a few times before settling into the polarity of the next cycle.
    Any comment, Leif ?

    The Sun is messy, nothing is ever clean. There is no grand switch of ‘the magnetic polarity’, Each little speck has its own local field and is buffered by the roiling plasma and can easily be ‘bent out of shape’. Even big spots can. 3% of all spots are reversed.
    _Jim (09:54:47) :
    (2) – It’s number 2 – relaxation oscillatory behavior.
    Even the sunspot cycle plots has a ’sawtooth’ look to it; it does *not* look like a half sinusoid.
    The rapid up-shot of sunspot activity after a lull

    Small cycle start out slowly. There is no rapid up-shoot for those. Here is a good example [and actually think that SC24 might look something like this]:
    http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
    Lubos Motl (12:01:46) :
    Would you be able to count the “cycles” during the Maunder minimum? I guess that the answer is really “no”.
    Cosmic ray proxies show that there were cycles even through the Maunder Minimum.
    If someone offers me 1:1 odds, I am ready to bet that in 2015, most of the sunspots will carry the opposite magnetic signature than the SC23 that has probably ended.
    No need to wait that long. This is already the case:
    http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
    Look at the sunspot number count at the bottom [green]. If topped by a blue circle, the spot was SC23. If topped by a red circle it was SC24. The latter are clearly dominant now.
    maksimovich (12:27:39) :
    If the sun has been relatively “constant” in its cyclical Beauvoir and attenuation,since the MM why have we a negative trend in GCR both in proxies,in balloon data,and in satellite data ?
    Possibly because the interstellar flux has been slowly decreasing: e.g. http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu/reprints/2007bieber.pdf

  122. Stephen Wilde (09:38:31) :
    “So, at the bottom of an extended and weak cycle the magnetic polarity might stutter and switch about a few times before settling into the polarity of the next cycle.
    Any comment, Leif ?
    The Sun is messy, nothing is ever clean. There is no grand switch of ‘the magnetic polarity’, Each little speck has its own local field and is buffered by the roiling plasma and can easily be ‘bent out of shape’. Even big spots can. 3% of all spots are reversed.”
    I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ then.

  123. Stephen Wilde (13:47:27) :
    I’ll take that as a ‘yes’ then.
    It was meant as a ‘no’. The problem being that there is not ‘one’ thing as ‘the magnetic field’. There are a whole bunch of disconnected little ones that live and die almost independently. It is not ‘the same one’ that ‘stutters’.

  124. It seems that equation of our friend Vukcevic, though it could bother some, it may reflect what is happening and will happen in our very interesting future (in fact more interesting for gwrs.:-), as they will be changing “polarity” also )
    http://www.geocities.com/vukcevicu/PolarField1Cr.gif
    For those who think the sun is pregnant, I would say that perhaps it´s in love: it has not decided yet between cycle 23, 24 or, a new comer, the 25th.

  125. Leif Svalgaard (13:34:38) :
    Lubos Motl (12:01:46) :
    Would you be able to count the “cycles” during the Maunder minimum? I guess that the answer is really “no”.
    Cosmic ray proxies show that there were cycles even through the Maunder Minimum

    We know you said there was not such a lost cycle (4/5) during the Dalton, as for the same proxies, being CR at maximum level, would it mean we are still at cycle 23 minimum?

  126. Is it possible the polarity shifted to indicate cycle 25 and may shift back again to indicant we are still in cycle 24? Perhaps this is a precurser of a Maunder Minimum type of event. The Global Warming cabal would not be pleased.

  127. Leif Svalgaard (13:06:54)
    I didn’t mean to mention the magnetic field as a whole although my words could be read that way. I was referring to the observed magnetic polarity described in the initial article and you confirmed that it is variable from spot to spot and place to place on the sun.
    Thus I am perfectly correct in pointing out that it ‘stutters’ (albeit locally).
    Could the change in polarity fail so that two cycles of the same polarity could follow one another ?

  128. “There is always something new out of Africa.”
    Pliny The Elder
    “There is always something new out of Sol”
    Fox The Younger
    As noted earlier … we do live in interesting times.
    Mark your calendar two or three (five, ten?) years from now to see if this is a blip or a Nobel Prize entry.

  129. Somewhat related. The human 24 hour rhythm internally is a 25 or so hour cycle. It is synchronized by the sun. If the human cycle was 23 hours our rhythm would be chaotic. Long cycles can be shortened. Short cycles get out of phase.
    Speculation: suppose the sun’s rhythm was shorter than the things that trigger its 11 year cycle. You would expect periodic “chaotic” behavior. i.e. a resetting of the cycle clock in “anomalous” places in the cycle.
    Now all we have to do is figure out what is causing the anomalous retriggering of the solar cycle. We know the base cycle is on the order of eleven years (plus or minus).
    Of course the above is just a flight of fancy (except for the part about humans).

  130. Nogw (14:53:36) :
    being CR at maximum level, would it mean we are still at cycle 23 minimum?
    We are still at the minimum between SC23 and SC24.
    Michael (15:04:12) :
    Is it possible the polarity shifted to indicate cycle 25 and may shift back again to indicant we are still in cycle 24? Perhaps this is a precurser of a Maunder Minimum type of event. The Global Warming cabal would not be pleased.
    Solar cycles do not change ‘on a dime’. The Sun is BIG.
    Stephen Wilde (15:06:31) :
    Could the change in polarity fail so that two cycles of the same polarity could follow one another ?
    The reason that two cycles have different polarities is that the line connecting the two spots in an active region is tilted such that one spot is closer to the pole [in the hemisphere] than the other one, giving one polarity a better chance of reaching the pole than the other [being closer]. If this tilt [Joy’s law] was reversed the polar fields would not cancel and reverse and would grow stronger, so a very strong cycle would follow. There is no sign of this happening, so I would say there really is no chance of this. But remember that the paper did not talk about lost/missing/skipped cycles, but simply that the extended cycle may be 22 years long rather than 17 as believed until now. This does not seem to be such a big and qualitative change, should it turn out to hold up.

  131. OK, whoever has been fooling around with the sun switches can just put them back in the default position, and we can get going on a sunspot cycle, whatever its number.
    I am an amateur radio operator, and I just love to operate the 10 Meter band. However, without some sunspots it is a dead duck. So you have had your fun bloviating about what is going on, now let’s get the sunspot show on the road. I am 77 years old and can’t wait 70 years for another Maunder Minimum to pass.
    {;~)

  132. Just a little OT

    Mambo Banana Patch (08:52:15) :
    “Dr. Svalgaard. Svalgaard. I hate it when the idiots get my name wrong, too.”
    I didn’t know that a misspelled name implied idiocy. Touchy, touchy there eh what?
    Why not do what countless immigrants used to do and change your name to something more recognizable to English language speakers. That will make us look less idiotic and you will be less frustrated and hateful of us when we spell your name correctly even though we may still be ‘the idiots’ in your view.

    Mambo Banana Patch — A mild correction if you will allow:
    I think you may have misinterpreted rephelan’s post at 12:39:17: Maybe you realize this already, but Dr. Svalgaard was not complaining about the misspelling of his name, but rather rephelan (12:39:17) : was self correcting HIS [rephelan’s] mistake in his previous post [rephelan (12:38:02) :] in which he, rephelan, misspelled Dr. Svalgaard’s name.
    Sorry if this is hard to follow, but that’s the English language for you.
    On a personal level, I actually like the potpourri of names and their various spellings that gives spice to our ethnic and linguistic heritage.
    And if I axidently mispelted any1’s name, u have mi advance appologies.

  133. If someone offers me 1:1 odds, I am ready to bet that in 2015, most of the sunspots will carry the opposite magnetic signature than the SC23 that has probably ended.
    No need to wait that long. This is already the case:
    http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
    Look at the sunspot number count at the bottom [green]. If topped by a blue circle, the spot was SC23. If topped by a red circle it was SC24. The latter are clearly dominant now.
    ===
    Ffrom that plot, the “purple plot” oscillations are ever decreasing in magnitude, though still recognizable now. (Is there a relationship, or a term I’m not familair with, that describes this decreasing magnitude (towards a minimum perhaps?) or, is that plot – because the oscillations are decreasing but not quite yet demonstrably becoming more distinct with a larger magnitudes each cycle – mean we not yet at a solar minimum between cycles?

  134. KC5ZSR (17:42:05) :
    I am an amateur radio operator, and I just love to operate the 10 Meter band.

    Did you work any 10 today? Ohio was consistantly S7 – S9 down into 5-land today just in time for the “10-10” contest …
    (Ham here too BTW)
    .
    .

  135. Jim,
    Didn’t have the set turned on today. QTH is Cheyenne, WY. Solar flux index is 68, so not much motivation to try.

  136. What’s wrong with the MDI Continuum and MDI Magnetogram? That huge magnetic fuzzy thing don’t match with the other images of the sun back on the SOHO images. Are they trying to hide a bif SC23 sunspot?

  137. Leif Svalgaard (13:34:38) :
    > Cosmic ray proxies show that there were cycles even
    > through the Maunder Minimum.
    plus http://www.leif.org/research/Extended-Cycle.png
    plus Livingston & Penn
    I’ve said this before, and it may seem repetitive, but here goes again…
    Sunspots do *NOT* cause anything. They are, at best, half-decent proxies that allow us to infer what’s currently going on with the sun. Sunspots are currently either very small or non-existant, and appear to be dying out altogether (for the next several decades). In plain English, the correlation is breaking down (at least temporarily). I.e. sunspot cycle != solar activity cycle.
    What we need is for someone of Dr. Svalgaard’s stature to do their cycle 24 forecasts in terms of 10.7 cm flux, and forget about spots altogether.
    Having said that, the connection, or lack thereof, between lack of sunspots (Maunder Minimum) and climate (Little Ice Age) is a totally separate topic that is sure to be interesting.

  138. Walter Dnes (21:30:56) :
    What we need is for someone of Dr. Svalgaard’s stature to do their cycle 24 forecasts in terms of 10.7 cm flux, and forget about spots altogether.
    Ken Schatten has always preferred predicting F10.7, and my own prediction can also be expressed in terms of F10.7, namely 120 sfu.

  139. RACookPE1978 (19:31:17) :
    From that plot, the “purple plot” oscillations are ever decreasing in magnitude, though still recognizable now.
    the “purple plot” is the solar ‘mean field’, that is: the average field over the disk. It has been decreasing towards the minimum, but has now started it climb back up. One thing to understand is that different solar indices or measures show minimum at slightly different times.

  140. Interesting article. It will be fun to see if the conclusions hold up with further development.
    One thing that’s been largely unaddressed in this thread is the significant asymmetry between solar N-S hemispheres. Messy, indeed. This asymmetry also fluctuates over a long period (~12 solar cycles)–the N:S ratio of solar cycle activity is not a constant and can contribute to the apparent length of the cycle, if I understand correctly (which isn’t always the case.)
    Speaking of which, thanks once again to Dr. Svalgaard for his patience and input. The cringe factor in this thread has been particularly high. Thanks also to all those who actually read the posts before replying.
    See: http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1538-4357/554/1/L115/015115.text.html#tb1

  141. well, this may prove the theory of a 4a and 4b cycles from 220 years ago,
    Can I say ( or should I wait) to say I TOLD U SO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    any how, is interesting. is this a sign?
    The honey bees are pissed off from this shift ( they were mad as h— this spring)
    well , good post Leif !!!!!

  142. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) (23:43:09) :
    what is your prediction for cycle #25 ?
    We cannot predict two cycles ahead with any confidence. We can give a ‘statistical’ guess that the next couple of cycles will be low because low [and high] cycles come in groups, but there is a significant difference between ‘prediction’ and ‘guess’. My guess for #25 would be SSN of 50 and F10.7 of 100.

  143. Leif Svalgaard (22:21:36) :
    Walter Dnes (21:30:56) :
    What we need is for someone of Dr. Svalgaard’s stature to do their cycle 24 forecasts in terms of 10.7 cm flux, and forget about spots altogether.
    Ken Schatten has always preferred predicting F10.7, and my own prediction can also be expressed in terms of F10.7, namely 120 sfu.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Leif,
    Is the correct interpretation of your statement above that your own prediction is that the cycle 24 F10.7 peak will be ~120 sfu? What is your best estimate of the date associated with this peak?
    -Gerry

  144. This subject is being covered on Sky News today, ‘Hot Sun To Make Temperatures Soar’ http://news.sky.com/skynews/video
    Interestingly a scientist that was intervied earlier by a presenter stated that the vid was missleading and a cooling effect will continue for the next 50 to 100 years and continued to state that the CO2 warmists were completely wrong with their models. But I forgot to record it and note his name. 🙁

  145. Patrick Davis (20:25:48) : … some kind of “expert scientist” while trying to work out some trajectory calculations said “They got the assumption wrong!”. Given the science of climate change is largely based on assumption, I thought it was rather funny.
    Frequently said in the Econ department:
    “Given this conclusion, what assumptions can we draw?” 😎

  146. Gerry (00:33:09) :
    Is the correct interpretation of your statement above that your own prediction is that the cycle 24 F10.7 peak will be ~120 sfu? What is your best estimate of the date associated with this peak?
    Yes, 120 sfu, peaking in 2014. Since small cycles have very broad ‘peaks’, the time of maximum is not well determined. I think that cycle 24 will look much like cycle 14: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
    As you can see it is hard to pinpoint when the peak was in SC14.

  147. JustPassing (01:52:50) :
    I too saw the full item.
    It said the sun was to blame for the ‘recent’ climate cooling.
    Well that’s news,,,the AGWers have been telling us for 20 years that the sun has nothing to do with climate !!!
    And that in about 5 years when the cooling is over we will get unprecedented warming again.
    Got it completely backwards didn’t they……. of course they will distort anything to ram the AGW message home.

  148. An old mystery resolved? See http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1538-4357/700/2/L154
    It seems that newly recovered drawings “unambiguously shows that a new cycle started in 1793, which was lost in the traditional Wolf sunspot series. This finally confirms the existence of the lost cycle that has been proposed earlier, thus resolving an old mystery. This Letter brings the attention of the scientific community to the need of revising the sunspot series in the 18th century.The presence of a new short, asymmetric cycle implies changes and constraints to sunspot cycle statistics, solar activity predictions, and solar dynamo theories, as well as for solar-terrestrial relations. ” !!!!!!

  149. “Walter Dnes (21:30:56) :
    What we need is for someone of Dr. Svalgaard’s stature to do their cycle 24 forecasts in terms of 10.7 cm flux, and forget about spots altogether.
    Sunspots do *NOT* cause anything. They are, at best, half-decent proxies that allow us to infer what’s currently going on with the sun. Sunspots are currently either very small or non-existant, and appear to be dying out altogether (for the next several decades). In plain English, the correlation is breaking down (at least temporarily). I.e. sunspot cycle != solar activity cycle.”
    Where is the evidence that they are dying out all together? The current cycle is only 12.6 years long, this is not something new!
    How far back do flux measurements go? Proper measurements via instrumental recording, not reconstrction.
    There is something strange going on with sunspots which nobody can explain, but it doesn’t mean we should scrap the whole counting procedure altogether just because they ‘appear’ mildly useless in indicating solar activity.
    Sunspots have been counted for 400 years and should continue to be counted. In order to be fair, solar minimum needs to computed by using sunspot minimum NOT flux. Although perhaps a new system (based on flux) which could go along with spot counts, should be introduced.

  150. Flux measurements go back not as far as Sunspot measurements which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Wolf counts which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Group Counts which don’t go back as far as Naked Eye sunspot occurances which might all have been different has not sunspot observing not been so heavily frowned upon in Ancient Greece.

  151. “rbateman (09:21:16) :
    Flux measurements go back not as far as Sunspot measurements which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Wolf counts which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Group Counts which don’t go back as far as Naked Eye sunspot occurances which might all have been different has not sunspot observing not been so heavily frowned upon in Ancient Greece.”
    You could actually add to that : ‘Tiny Tim/pore/dirty mark/dust/burnt out pixel/ “spots” (which have recently been counted meticulously), which don’t go back as far as Flux measurements.
    “Leif Svalgaard (09:14:44) :
    Mr. Alex (08:49:25) :
    How far back do flux measurements go?
    To 1947. See: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/14/the-solar-radio-microwave-flux/
    Thanks, good link I have some reading to do.

  152. rbateman (09:21:16) :
    Flux measurements go back not as far as Sunspot measurements which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Wolf counts which don’t go back as far as Sunspot Group Counts which don’t go back as far as Naked Eye sunspot occurances which might all have been different has not sunspot observing not been so heavily frowned upon in Ancient Greece.
    However, cosmic ray proxies [10Be, 14C] go back tens of thousands of years and we’ll eventually learn how to interpret them correctly and also have enough different ice cores [perhaps even extraterrestrial ones] to even out regional differences. So, this will all become clear in due time.
    Already [on another note] we have learned how to interpret the old geomagnetic record and to derive real physical quantities of the solar wind and the Sun in the past.

  153. Every four years we adjust our calendars by inserting a Leap Year. I would say that every four centuries the Sun adjusts itself by inserting a Leap Cycle.
    Solar Cycle 24 is a ‘Leap Cycle’ for the Sun; now let us just move on to SC25.

  154. Can someone tell me whose count is the most widely accepted? I refer to NOAA’s Daily Solar Data and the monthly report by SIDC and compare it to the information on Solaemon’s Spotless Days Page. I’m a bit confused. I have seen some post referring to the current string of spotless day into the 20’s, but on SDIC July statement July 23rd and July 30th are listed as days with spots. Any clarification on this would be appreciated.

  155. Leif Svalgaard (10:30:53) :
    An optimistically determined outlook: your “We can do this” attitude reminds me of the old NASA.

  156. HI-Z (11:04:43) :
    That would be the Zurich count, for the present. SIDC maintains it.
    The problem arises when increasing resolution of detection, coupled with a 24 hour coverage, runs headlong into the background noise of spots/pores on the hairy edge of definition.
    Roughly, the scale of spots to pores, or faculae to network is like a few shooters in a bag of marbles.
    The way out is through measurement, not of the number of spots, but through the area and lifespan of spots per day.
    Our technological revolution is relentlessly pounding the counting system.
    There needs to be a measuing step prior to the count, then sanity can be preserved through binning.
    I don’t advocate dumping the count, only winnowing it to prevent it from decaying into a lower state.
    23 spotless days.
    The spots you refer to on those days were too faint, too brief, too small.

  157. To be more specific:
    Newly recovered drawings show that a new cycle started in 1793. This unambiguously shows that the solar cycle 04 (1784-1799) should have to be divided in two short cycles:
    – 4a: from 1784 to 1793 (9 years)
    – 4b: from 1793 to 1799 (7 years)
    This new short cycle implies changes “to sunspot cycle statistics, solar activity predictions, and solar dynamo theories, as well as for solar-terrestrial relations”.
    See more: See http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1538-4357/700/2/L154

  158. HI-Z (11:04:43) :
    Can someone tell me whose count is the most widely accepted?
    People accept the count that fits their agenda the best, so with different agendas out there, different counts are hotly supported as needed.

  159. How far back did sun speck or the six hour sneeze speck, counting go. We seem to have had a load of those in the SC24 count.

  160. Now that the plague is turning out of view and probably running out of energy how low do you think the Flux will go?
    So far lies at 67 …
    (the unadjusted, just in case Leif starts chimping out)
    Leif, as a solar physicist didn’t you told us we’d see cycle 24 sunspots going up this summer?
    I’ve noticed you’ve gone a bit quite about that and recently coming up with ‘new’ predictions…oops I mean ‘guesses’ since those two are 2 different things. It would be better to say that you don’t know what the sun is going to show us tomorrow than predicting sunspot numbers otherwise anybody can do your job.

  161. “It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things,” – Leif Svalgaard
    Not like certain politicians who take incomplete and inaccurate models and impose trillions in taxes based on little more than speculation. Oh no, not like them at all.

  162. the Butcher, I mean this as constructive criticism, your posts appear to lack good debate technique. There are several good texts on the subject. I think you will find any one of them useful.

  163. Mr. Alex (08:49:25) :
    > Where is the evidence that they are dying out all
    > together? The current cycle is only 12.6 years long, this
    > is not something new!
    See articles http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/02/livingston-and-penn-paper-sunspots-may-vanish-by-2015/ and http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/239625 and the unpublished paper at http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/livingston-penn_sunspots2.pdf
    > How far back do flux measurements go? Proper
    > measurements via instrumental recording, not
    > reconstrction.
    1947
    > Sunspots have been counted for 400 years and should
    > continue to be counted. In order to be fair, solar minimum
    > needs to computed by using sunspot minimum NOT flux.
    > Although perhaps a new system (based on flux) which could
    > go along with spot counts, should be introduced.
    Like I said, sunspots are a half-decent proxy. Bristlecone pines go back a lot further than thermometers, and some people claim that bristlecone pines are a good proxy for thermometers. However, no-one seriously suggests sticking with bristlecone pines as the golden standard for current temperatures.

  164. We make no secret as to the purpose of our Layman’s Spot Count:
    To use technology in an appropriate manner to get out in front of the microdot counting problem. Why? Geoff said it above.
    The good news is that for 102 years Greenwich measured spots. Others are busy measuing where they left off.
    So are we.

  165. “Walter Dnes (20:14:59) :
    Like I said, sunspots are a half-decent proxy. Bristlecone pines go back a lot further than thermometers, and some people claim that bristlecone pines are a good proxy for thermometers. However, no-one seriously suggests sticking with bristlecone pines as the golden standard for current temperatures.”
    True, Bristle cone pines are not the best proxy eventhough Michael Mann clearly finds tree ring proxy highly appropriate (not surprisingly).
    However, you cannot really compare pines with the sun. Bristle cone pines are a relatively small part of the Biosphere and currently our knowledge of these trees and their growth habits and functions within the system are in (comparison to the sun’s inner workings) well understood.
    The sun is still a mystery, much is not know about spots. This minimum is a very good reason why sunspots need to be analysed more. Sunspots may only be half-decent if we rely on current theory but there is a link between sunspots and certain aspects of solar activity. The true effect on the climate is unknown.
    Interesting that you linked that L&P paper which although seemingly convincing has been met with quite a bit of skepticism due to the fact that it uses a short period of data and some have called it a mere statistical analysis. The paper has not yet been updated to 2009 to my knowledge… Any ideas as to when L&P will do so?

  166. “Geoff Sharp (19:22:21) :
    A few of us over at solarcycle24.com are maintaining a Layman’s Spot Count. Its purpose is to set some kind of standard to measure spots as well as calibrate the current counting to more reflect how it was done during the last grand minimum.
    There has been quite a lot of weeding going on.
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=704
    An excellent project which has been requested for a long time by many interested people.
    I have read some of the results and they tell quite an interesting story.
    Thanks for the effort!

  167. Mr. Alex (08:08:15) :
    Interesting that you linked that L&P paper which although seemingly convincing has been met with quite a bit of skepticism due to the fact that it uses a short period of data and some have called it a mere statistical analysis. The paper has not yet been updated to 2009 to my knowledge… Any ideas as to when L&P will do so?
    I’m in contact with L&P and get their data in real-time. The data has been updated through the latest spots observed and the trend is holding up; here is the latest data: http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png

  168. “It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things,” – Leif Svalgaard
    I think you meant “infer”, not “deduce”. ;·)

  169. TJA (14:37:00) :
    “It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things,” – Leif Svalgaard
    I think you meant “infer”, not “deduce”. ;·)

    I might ‘infer’, but they seemingly mean ‘deduce’ as they have little or no doubt.

  170. Has the 10.7 flux fallen off a cliff? The stereo behind image shows what looks to be an exremely quit disk for at least the next week or so. Could this be the 2nd or 3rd local minimum in this extended minimum?

  171. Lee (17:56:00) :
    Has the 10.7 flux fallen off a cliff? The stereo behind image shows what looks to be an exremely quit disk for at least the next week or so. Could this be the 2nd or 3rd local minimum in this extended minimum?
    At 67.8 [at noon] it’s low alright. At 2300UT it was 68.5, so perhaps just a small flutter. The accuracy of the measurement is really not quite as good as to one decimal place, perhaps more +/-0.5. Let’s see tomorrow.

  172. I’d give the vacationing Sun another half rotation or so.
    Nothing has been moving faster than a snail’s pace the last 2.75 years. Why ruin it?
    “Hi, you’ve reached the office of Sol Activity. I’m not in right now, but if you leave your name & number, I’ll get back to you in a rotation or two.”

  173. Leif Svalgaard (18:31:38) :
    At 67.8 [at noon] it’s low alright. At 2300UT it was 68.5, so perhaps just a small flutter. The accuracy of the measurement is really not quite as good as to one decimal place, perhaps more +/-0.5. Let’s see tomorrow.
    It went up slightly at noon to 68.1, and 68.4 at 2300UT.

  174. Leif, someone like me, an amateur at his sort of thing, would surmise that most of the 10.7 energy is being generated by that large former sunspot about to disappear in a couple of days. And there seems to be nothing at all coming around from the back to replace it. So to me it seems logical to expect even lower, and consistently lower measurements for the next week or so at least. And this big disturbance should be even weaker when it comes back around in about 17 days.
    This looks sort of like last August to me, what would a spotless August at this late date mean? particularly if accompanied by very low T10.7?

  175. Lee (00:01:59) :
    Leif, someone like me, an amateur at his sort of thing, would surmise that most of the 10.7 energy is being generated by that large former sunspot about to disappear in a couple of days.
    That area only accounts for about 3 flux units [out of 70].

  176. Is that 3 over the minimum base which we are actually fairly near? Or would the base for that area where the spot is be something like 2.8 so it is not significant?
    Once the spot disappears in a few days, do we lose all 3 flux units or some thing else like maybe .2 flux units? If it were to drop to 65 that would seem to be at least thought-provoking if cycle 24 is in upswing.

  177. Lee (07:03:08) :
    Is that 3 over the minimum base which we are actually fairly near?
    It is 3 over the current background which is near 68. I don’t think we’ll go down to 65 as there are already new small ‘ephemeral regions’ from SC24.

  178. Hi Leif, thanks for the informative answers. As I look at the STEREO behind picture, I have noticed that for a week or so the chromosphere (at any rate the glowing region arround the sun) is much closer to the sun on the trailing side and bulges out over active regions. That suggests to me that very calm conditions are coming centered perhaps a week to 10 days from now. Is that too simplistic?

  179. Lee (10:07:46) :
    Is that too simplistic?
    The images show the corona, and if nothing happens your forecast may be correct, but a new active region can pop up any time…

  180. “So far, this is only a speculation based on very little data and a model of the ‘jets’. It is fun to see how some people will go off on a tangent on this and deduce all kind of weird things, and ‘what did I tell you’-stuff.”
    It seems to me that many of the so-called ‘experts’ seem to be exposing themselves as empty suits as it becomes obvious that they know far less than they think that they do. NASA scientists have been calling for the beginning of a new cycle for more than a year and a half now (if my memory is accurate) but we have still to see their predictions validated by reality. Would it hurt if you guys admitted that you did not know all that much and need to learn a lot more?

  181. Looking to the data (Janssen) smoothed sunpotless days versus months beginning of cycle I have the impression that the weaker the cycle the steeper the slope at the inflection point. Concluding from this cycle 24 can go up to 1100 spotless days

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