UPDATE: New graphs from David Archibald added. See below.
The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has released their latest charts on solar activity and the news is not encouraging for solar watchers. Today, the sun has but a couple of anemic “sunspecks”.
Last month I wrote about how May had not continued the advances seen in March and April. Now according the the latest SWPC graphs of the three major metrics of solar activity, June appears to have slipped even further.
I see NASA’s Hathaway making another adjustment to his forecast soon. He wrote on July 1st:
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 69 in June of 2013. We are currently over two and a half years into Cycle 24. Three consecutive months with average daily sunspot numbers above 40 has raised the predicted maximum above the 64.2 for the Cycle 14 maximum in 1907. The predicted size would make this the smallest sunspot cycle in over 100 years.
More near real-time information on the state of the sun is available on our WUWT solar reference page
UPDATE: My friend in Perth, David Archibald, sends along this information.
Solar Update July 2011
Now that the UK Met Office is half way to admitting that solar activity is the main driver in climate, it is appropriate to check up on how the Sun is going.
Two and a half years after solar minimum, the Ap Index remains below the minima of previous solar cycles.
Dr Svalgaard provides a useful daily update on the F 10.7 flux at http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png What the above graph shows is the ramp up of Solar Cycle 24 F 10.7 flux relative to the previous five solar cycles, aligned on the month of minimum. The current cycle has a very flat trajectory.
This chart compares the development of Solar Cycle 24 with the last de Vries cycle event – the Dalton Minimum. The Solar Cycle 24 ramp up in terms of sunspot number is tracking much the same as that of Solar Cycle 5 but about a year ahead of it. All solar activity indications are for a Dalton Minimum repeat. There has been no development that precludes that outcome.
This graph shows the sum of the north and south polar magnetic fields on the Sun. It has yet to get down to the levels of previous maxima, and solar maximum may be still two to three years off.