Current solar cycle data seems to be past the peak

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has updated their monthly graph set and it appears as if the slow downside from what looks like the solar max for cycle 24. Though, it is still possible we could see a second small peak like is visible at the upper left in cycle 23.

Latest Sunspot number prediction

The 10.7cm radio flux continues downward:

Latest F10.7 cm flux number prediction

The Ap geomagnetic index remains low, being at the same value as it was in November 2006. We’ve had over 6 years now of a lower than expected (for solar max) Ap index.

Latest Planetary A-index number prediction

From the WUWT Solar reference page, Dr Leif Svalgaard has this plot comparing the current cycle 24 with recent solar cycles:

solar_region_count

Another indicator, Solar Polar Fields from Mt. Wilson and Wilcox Combined -1966 to Present show that the fields have flipped (crossed the zero line) indicating solar max has happened.

Image from Dr. Leif Svalgaard – Click the pic to view at source.

More at the WUWT Solar reference page.

In other news, Hathaway has updated his prediction page on 4/1/13. Perhaps he thinks a double peak might be in the cards:

ssn_predict.gif (2208 bytes)The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 66 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012) due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high and this late. We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.

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UPDATE: From: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80572

Given the tepid state of solar activity now, a maximum in May seems unlikely. “We may be seeing what happens when you predict a single amplitude and the Sun responds with a double peak,” says Pesnell. He notes a similarity between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 14, which had a double-peak during the first decade of the 20th century. If the two cycles are twins, “it would mean one peak in late 2013 and another in 2015.”

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A C Osborn

It is not looking good.

Bloke down the pub

Now the big experiment, in what forces global climate, begins.

van Loon

Don’t ignore its importance for the climate

But note the latest polar field data http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now2.png
The fields have flipped back again, or rather: it is not unusual to see such multiple flips. Cycle 14 cautions against hasty conclusions as to when ‘maximum’ is http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
‘Maximum’ is a very ill-defined thing; we’ll likely see several such peaks in cycle 24 as well.

Jeff L

It is interesting that both of the last 2 cycles have had somewhat of a double peak.
Reason to believe this cycle will too ?? Based on the last cycles as analogs, I would think a second peak would be similar in amplitude to the first.

To talk about a ‘double peak’ is somewhat nonsensical. There are many peaks. By choosing a progressively longer smoothing window you can get your choice of number of peaks: 10,…,6,5,4,3,2,1
REPLY: True, but I’m referring to what the current smoothing visual is. Plus NASA agrees about the double peak idea:

Given the tepid state of solar activity now, a maximum in May seems unlikely. “We may be seeing what happens when you predict a single amplitude and the Sun responds with a double peak,” says Pesnell. He notes a similarity between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 14, which had a double-peak during the first decade of the 20th century. If the two cycles are twins, “it would mean one peak in late 2013 and another in 2015.”

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80572
– Anthony

Jim Arndt

Actually it is looking very good if you are a Solar Physicist or an amateur watcher this is a great time. If a grand minimum is here the sun will let us see other thing that are happening and give a much more on how things work.
Jim Arndt

van Loon says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:14 am
Don’t ignore its importance for the climate
There is no good evidence of such influence over and above 0.1 degree C, so no need to worry.

Brad

Leif-
This is the first cycle ever with a Livingston and Penn effect, I coubt it will look like the multi-peaked 14. It will also be about 11 years in length, just really weak.
Maunder minimum coming? Buy parkas?

Brad

Sorry, first cycle WITH MODERN INSTRUMENTS studying it that has an L&P Effect *

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:19 am
REPLY: True, but I’m referring to what the current smoothing visual is. Plus NASA agrees about the double peak idea: Given the tepid state of solar activity now, a maximum in May seems unlikely. “We may be seeing what happens when you predict a single amplitude and the Sun responds with a double peak,” says Pesnell. He notes a similarity between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 14, which had a double-peak during the first decade of the 20th century. If the two cycles are twins, “it would mean one peak in late 2013 and another in 2015.”
cycle 14: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
Pesnell is dead wrong.
REPLY: Care to explain why? – Anthony

Brad says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:22 am
This is the first cycle ever with a Livingston and Penn effect, I doubt it will look like the multi-peaked 14.
I think there were several cycle with an L&P effect in the 17th century…
‘doubt’ has to based on something to be valid.

ville

Well, as a northern guy myself, at last we get the chance to see what white skin color is made for.
Winter, that is.

Brad says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:23 am
Sorry, first cycle WITH MODERN INSTRUMENTS studying it that has an L&P Effect *
Sunspots are even TODAY [deliberately] counted with small telescopes like were used centuries ago.

pokerguy

Professor S. writes: “There is no good evidence of such influence over and above 0.1 degree C, so no need to worry.”
And yet, even a quick look at the solar record seems to show a good correlation between deep solar minima (is “deep” the word I’m looking for?) and lower global temps.
Coincidental? Or perhaps the charts are wrong?

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:24 am
Pesnell is dead wrong.
REPLY: Care to explain why? – Anthony

“If the two cycles are twins” : means that SC24 wiul look like
cycle 14: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
How many peaks do you see?

Darn. There goes RF propagation on the upper HF bands!

Green Sand

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:16 am
But note the latest polar field data http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now2.png

————————————————–
Leif, is there any reason why the data appears to have less “noise” than the previous cycles?
Is it actually happening or have data gathering techniques changed/improved?
TIA

pokerguy says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:31 am
And yet, even a quick look at the solar record seems to show a good correlation
Look at Slide 19 of http://www.leif.org/research/On-Becoming-a-Scientist.pdf

van Loon

Leif, Apparently you are not familiar with the meteorological literature. There have been several papers in recent years demonstrating the solar influence. Laes dem.

lsvalgaard says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:24 am
Pesnell is dead wrong.
REPLY: Care to explain why? – Anthony

The correct statement he should have made is “solar cycles (especially low ones) often have several peaks”.

John Bonfield

If you squint at it, it almost looks like a hockey stick . . .

Bart van Deenen

Professor S. writes: “There is no good evidence of such influence over and above 0.1 degree C, so no need to worry.”
I really disagree. Looking at the work of Paleo-Ecologist Dr. Bas van Geel of the University of Amsterdam, we see a very strong correlation between earths climate and Be-10 isotope concentrations, that are an accurate proxy of solar magnetic activity.

Now we need a way to find out if and who is applying fro Goverment grants to study the sun and how it is the cause for “Huge New Global Warming Problems From Sun Activity”.
I would “grant” some are about this now to keep the money flowing.

Olavi

Leif, you don know how sun affects climate, nobody knows. You say: dont worry, like a priest, because you believe it like some priest’s believe in bible. While you dont really know, why you cant say so. There is lot of hypothesis how sun affects climate and test has begun.

The Sun still made a lot of nice Northern Lights the last few years.. Has been great for those hunting the lights and like to take pictures and time lapses… Learn how to in our new book that may fascinate many of you…

jlurtz

With no underlying understanding of how the Sun actually works [They say Solar Physics is settled], NOAA is using past statistical analysis to make future projections, i.e., the double peak.
After revising Cycle 24 [ it was to be the largest ‘ever’], downward 6 times, why should we give any credence to them. They have failed with a grade of “F”.
When we have ‘Zero Sun Spots’, lets call that the Sun’s base output. The Solar Cycles are then the variable increase over the base Solar output. It is this variable increase that has warmed the Earth since 1650 until now! Take the area under the Solar Cycle curves as the variable amount of Solar energy. Compare the other Solar Cycles to 24. The Sun is only delivering 1/10 of the energy of the average of the Cycles after 1900.
In 1650, the Global temperature was down 1.5C to 2.0C depending of what reconstruction you use. Make your own projections of Global temperature!!! Ignore “TSI”, it does not correlate to the energy absorbed by the Earth any translate into temperature.

Green Sand says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:35 am
Leif, is there any reason why the data appears to have less “noise” than the previous cycles?
Is it actually happening or have data gathering techniques changed/improved?

The blue curve is data from Mount Wilson Observatory http://obs.astro.ucla.edu/intro.html and they actually did upgrade and improve the instrument in 1982, which explains the decrease of the noise. The Wilcox Solar Observatory http://wso.stanford.edu/ [red curve] uses the same instrument and procedures throughout.
van Loon says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:38 am
Leif, Apparently you are not familiar with the meteorological literature. There have been several papers in recent years demonstrating the solar influence.
I have read about 1000 such papers going back to 1651. The latest one is http://www.leif.org/EOS/swsc120049-GCR-Climate.pdf
“it is clear that there is no robust evidence of a widespread link between the cosmic ray flux and clouds” Since the cosmic ray flux is strongly correlated with solar activity you may draw your own conclusions.

Brad

Leif said “I think there were several cycle with an L&P effect in the 17th century…
‘doubt’ has to based on something to be valid.”
As I stated, this is the first to be studied with modern instruments. Although sunspots themselves were viewed with small telescopes, they did not analyze the umbral field as you post on your own website: http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png
What does this mean? We are both speculating on the L&P effect in the 17th Century. We are not speculating now.
I would add that your 0.1C “proof” that sun does not cause cooling/warming has the same uncertainty effects scores around it that we complain so much about in IPCC and Marcott papers…just sayin’ It is based on the solar output, it is not based on add on effects possible from that output and changes in wavelength from the sun which could significantly increase the effect via clouds, water vapor, rain etc.
In the words of the not very sagely or appropriate Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming” if the minimum arrives, methinks.
My guess is only slightly less informed than yours as we no so little about the sun.

Brad

know*

Professor S. writes: “There is no good evidence of such influence over and above 0.1 degree C, so no need to worry.”
The good professor is a couple of decades behind on this.
Svensmark’s theory is still well on track. This blog from a couple of years back still remains true.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100102296/sun-causes-climate-change-shock/

Mac the Knife

May you live in interesting times! … A Chinese Curse
Interesting, Indeed!
MtK

Olavi says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:48 am
While you dont really know, why you cant say so.
There is data [some good, most not so good] showing us how climate and the Sun has varied and they don’r agree very well, so that is why. [see below for a Fihure]
Bart van Deenen says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:44 am
we see a very strong correlation between earths climate and Be-10 isotope concentrations
Slide 20 of http://www.leif.org/research/Does%20The%20Sun%20Vary%20Enough.pdf shows the correlation. It doesn’t look too hot to me.

Doug Proctor

Another peak mid December 2013 W@ smoothed 55, dropping off March 2014, minimal @ 10 mid 2016. Very quiet.

Philip Foster (Revd) says:
April 9, 2013 at 11:03 am
The good professor is a couple of decades behind on this. Svensmark’s theory is still well on track.
This paper is 6 month old:
http://www.leif.org/EOS/swsc120049-GCR-Climate.pdf
“it is clear that there is no robust evidence of a widespread link between the cosmic ray flux and clouds”

This has been a solar minimum from the “Get-Go.” Joseph D’Aleo predicted it a long time ago. If one studies the NASA predictions for this cycle, they have had to constantly change and adjust.
Solar minimums come with a twin. As of now, all minimum cycles have one peak.
Our governments, science Pros and such have been less in tuned to sunspot activity for about 130 years. At one time, scientists once considered it natural law that sunspot activity affected our hurricane activity, temperatures and precipitation.
This is now left to amateurs and Easterbrook types. How we have fallen down the ladder of science. 2+2 now =5.
We are in a solar minimum that will have lasting effects through 2035 with climate lag. We will continue to have our drought due to the lost of upper level atmosphere. We will have smaller and shorter hurricane seasons and maybe a zero hurricane season now and then. We will have longer winters and winters without summers. We already have crop loses that are affecting our food exports.
Have you notice a climb in the use of horse meat. Why waste our highly bred beef stock on buffets?
Have you noted the closing of Nuclear Energy Plants and the postpone closure of those that are open. We have shut down northern damn energy plants and breached the dams so kayaks have a better run. Now, the present administration is making it impossible to open a coal burning plant.
A nice formula for disaster.
You might want to look up the number of winter deaths that the British elderly have suffered for they couldn’t afford a warm room in their flat.
The minimum is here. The thinning of the herd has begun.
Paul Pierett

G. E. Pease

This plot is good for showing smoothed results to Sept, 2012 and projected smoothing to Feb, 2013:
http://www.solen.info/solar/images/cycles23_24.png
Beyond Feb,2013 it could remain fairly flat for another year instead of continuing to decline:
http://sidc.oma.be/KalmanOutputs/ML/Current/figKFML.jpg
See also:
http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrsp-2010-1&page=articlesu31.html

Brad says:
April 9, 2013 at 10:59 am
It is based on the solar output, it is not based on add on effects possible from that output and changes in wavelength from the sun which could significantly increase the effect via clouds, water vapor, rain etc.
Lots of speculation there. To first order the solar output would be expected to be the dominant driver. There does not seem to be good evidence for solar influence on clouds: http://www.leif.org/EOS/swsc120049-GCR-Climate.pdf
“it is clear that there is no robust evidence of a widespread link between the cosmic ray flux and clouds”

Paul Westhaver

Lets start a pool on the solar minimum. I say it is going to be earlier than expected.
04-2020
I am double insulating my home, looking for farmland in Georgia

“If the two cycles are twins” : means that SC24 wiul look like
cycle 14: http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl14.html
How many peaks do you see?
############
3 no 4, wait 5 ya 5, no wait 3…. arrg how about “multiple”

van Loon

Thank you, I expected an answer like that.

AJB

Leif,
But isn’t plotting [North – South] misleading while both poles are the same polarity? Perhaps this is a better way of looking at it: http://postimg.org/image/5pryalocn/full
If not, please explain where I’m going astray. On this basis it looks like it’ll be some time before South finally flips and that we have a slow drawn out process in progress. David Hathaway’s magfly diagram seems to suggest the same thing: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/magbfly.jpg
I don’t see any grounds for claiming there will or won’t be a second peak or for assuming the current cycle will behave like others in the past. Just seems like speculation to me.

TomT

Is the “double peak” a real thing or a post hoc justification for a completely erroneous forecast?

tckev
pokerguy

Professor Svalgaard, Really appreciate your contribution to these solar threads. Of course I hope you’re right about solar minima and climate, otherwise it will likely be a very different world if damaging cooling sets in. How many years would you say, before we know if you’re correct or not (assuming we do find ourselves in a Maunder or Dalton type minimum)?

Goode 'nuff

Every time I look at those charts it reminds me of something else given up for dead. First Solar stock chart progression looks so similar to me. So FSLR has popped 43% today. The solar activity is due to pop now… Or bust my bubble…if it won’t. 🙂

van Loon says:
April 9, 2013 at 11:25 am
Thank you, I expected an answer like that.
The important thing is if you took the answer to heart and learned something from it?

Brad

Here is a totally politically incorrect analogy, which under no circumstances you should experiment with:
Assume you are the sun.
Assume teenage vandal scratching your car is the earth.
You are much bigger and stronger and slap the kid across the face; temperature of his cheek goes up, due to enhanced blood circulation.
If you hit a tailor’s dummy nothing would happen, but a living being responds.
Sun continuously hits the earth with solar storms, ocean currents (the earth’s surface blood stream) react ( indirectly ) and combination of two results in the natural temperature oscillations.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/EarthNV.htm

AJB says:
April 9, 2013 at 11:42 am
But isn’t plotting [North – South] misleading while both poles are the same polarity? Perhaps this is a better way of looking at it: http://postimg.org/image/5pryalocn/full
Yes, it is a bit ‘misleading’ [depending on the purpose]. Another one of my plots [resembling yours] is http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-Polar-Fields-since-2003.png
The two hemispheres are often out of step, e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202012%20SH12A-07.pdf
The difference N-S is often used as a simple indicator of the solar ‘dipole moment’ which seems to be important for the solar cycle, hence the purpose of plotting that in this connection.