It appears Solar Cycle 25 has begun – Solar cycle 24 one of the shortest and weakest ever

Evidence of a Cycle 25 sunspot found

In our previous post: Solar activity crashes – the Sun looks like a cueball, 

Our resident solar physicist, Dr. Leif Svalgaard commented and provided a link to something reported by his colleagues, something that likely would not have been possible without the fantastic solar observations of NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observeratory (SDO). He said:

Cycle 25 has already begun

It looks to me that SC25 will be a bit stronger than SC24, so probably no Grand Minimum this time

(ignore the 2014 in the top line – it is just a place holder).

It seems a small sunspot has been observed, that has the opposite polarity of cycle 24 sunspots.

From the first link at Berkeley, Tomek Mrozek and Hugh Hudson write:

This brief Nugget simply announces that YES, we really have seen Cycle 25 [sunspot activity]. An earlier Nugget hinted at this, but it was not so clear a case as presented by today’s new tiny sunspot. Why is this interesting? It’s because spots appearing this early in a cycle – even before a minimum is well established – are quite rare. We could speculate that solar minimum may arrive early and/or may be brief, more evidence regarding the seemingly stochastic component of the development of the solar magnetic cycle.

The Cycle 25 Sunspot

At the time of writing, NOAA has not identified this new sunspot with an official active-region number, and so there could be some things to quibble about. But the magnetic polarity of the region unmistakeably identifies it as a piece of the new cycle, because it reverses the polarity expected for Cycle 24 regions.

Figure 1 here shows the new spot as of this date (10-April-2018). It is marginally detectable but definitely there in relatively crude 1024×1025 .gif versions of the beautiful data from the SDO space observatory.

Figure 1: File images from the HMI instrument on SDO: left, the continuum intensity; right, the telltale magnetic field. From the latter one can see black polarity to the right (“preceding”, as the Sun rotates). This is the opposite of that shown, for example, by the exceedingly tiny region at about -5 degrees.

It requires a bit of patience to see the spot; refer to the location of the magnetic features and perhaps dither the window on your browser screen. The icon for this Nugget on the parent page here has a slightly better view derived from a 4096×4096 image.


This sunspot has been tabulated in the excellent SOLEN page of Jan Alvestad. The Nugget-writers here thank him for his thorough monitoring of solar activity, and also thank Leif Svalgaard for paying close attention as well.

Robert Zimmerman, in our previous story, noted this:

If the solar minimum has actually arrived now, this would make this cycle only ten years long, one of the shortest solar cycles on record. More important, it is a weak cycle. In the past, all short cycles were active cycles. This is the first time we have seen a short and weak cycle since scientists began tracking the solar cycle in the 1700s, following the last grand minimum in the 1600s when there were almost no sunspots.

We’ll be watching for “official confirmation”, but if Dr. Svalgaard says Cycle25 has happened, it is almost certain to be true. Now comes the waiting to find out if Cycle 25 is going to be a strong or weak cycle.


357 thoughts on “It appears Solar Cycle 25 has begun – Solar cycle 24 one of the shortest and weakest ever

  1. Jean Meeus also submitted a good link:
    Jean Meeus April 11, 2018 at 11:12 pm
    On 9 and 10 April (UT dates) there were two small sunspots near the Sun’s central meridian, far south of the equator. But strangly enough, this group did not receive a NOAA number. Clearly it belongs to the new cycle 25.
    Worth reading.

      • I thought that there is an overlap between cycles. The old cycle doesn’t end abruptly with the new cycle suddenly taking over. For example, in Dr Svalgaard’s figures at, there is a multi-year overlap. And, there was a recent WUWT article showing polarity by latitude (I think) with apparently overlapping solar cycles.
        Though 25 may have started, 24 won’t be over ” ’til the fat lady sings,’ ” which may be a year or more from now. Or, am I completely not understanding the charts?

        • I completely not understanding the charts?
          No, you are spot on.
          Each sunspot ‘cycle’ [‘eruption’ is a better word] is 17 years long, but two such overlap for several years, so for some years you have spots from both ‘cycles’ on the sun. To get a number for the total spottedness you must add the two ‘cycles’. That gives you an 11-yr period for the expected effect of solar activity. To predict solar activity, you must, of course, deal with the real ‘eruption’ [the 17 years]. So cycle 25 spots are here already while cycle 24 spots are also here. The latter will peter out and the former will increase as we make the transition.

      • ‘If Svalgaard says it it certainly must be true’. Talk about a belief system. Hey, I saw the guy walking on water the other day! Only problem was….he fell in. 🙂

      • J Hope, Dr S. doesn’t attempt to walk on water (although he occasionally tries to displace a podium while lecturing). If you don’t want to take his word for things that he observes, check into them for verification and do your own research.
        He is often a bit brutal with the facts, but scientific dialog should be frank and emotionless. We only look to him as a magister, not a messiah.

    • I would urge that not too much be made of a single event which could simply be an anomaly. Two or three such events would be reliable. Also, if cycle 24 is both short & weak, that’s something new and means the old paradigm may need to be generalized — for example, maybe the cycles scrunch together just before ( & after) a grand minimum, which we’d know about only when it happens for the first time in the modern era.

      • And what is more, the irradation level of the Sun is almos at tjet all time high. It means that the sunspot number and the cycle lenght are no more measures of the Sun’s acitivity.

  2. From a historical perspective, about how many years ago would this tiny sunspot been unobservable by the technology available at the time?

  3. Forgive my ignorance, but this is a genuine question: How do you know when a Solar Cycle starts and ends?

    • The spots are magnets. A new cycle is born when the spots suddenly show the opposite magnetic polarities from the spots already there, and dies when no spots of the old cycle appears.

      • lsvalgaard: The spots are magnets.
        What are the contrasting polarities? e.g N~up and S~down versus S~up and N~down? East/West vs West/East?
        This answers a question I post the other day, namely, what besides the local minimum defines the change from one cycle to the next?

        • What are the contrasting polarities? e.g N~up and S~down versus S~up and N~down? East/West vs West/East?
          Typically [and idealized a bit] sunspots occur in groups that are extended in the East-West direction. The West-most spot may have polarity pointing up and the East-most spot will then have polarity pointing down. In the other hemisphere those polarities would be reversed, and they all reverse when the next cycle rolls around.

          V and R refers to the displacements of the spectral lines that show the polarity [towards the Red or towards the Violet].

      • In the old days of solar observing through a Razdow telescope, the east limb was on the right.

    • Monna, the cycles are demarcated by changes in magnetic polarity. Beyond that you’ll have to wait for Leif’s response for details.

      • Another way to possibly tell is location. As the solar cycle begins, spots occur in what could be referred to as the solar tropical regions, 30 degrees North or South of the Solar Equator and erupt closer to the equator as the cycle progresses. At the end of the cycle they erupt in the area near to or along the solar equator.

  4. Dr. Svalgaard, what is your preliminary prediction for SC25? I’ve read your comments where you say you believe SC25 will be slightly stronger than SC24. How confident are you with your prediction?

    • What are the chances of a reversal and this sunspot only an anomalous predecessor?
      About 5% of spots are ‘reversed’, so the changes are slim. The high latitude [31 deg] also shows that this is a new cycle spot.

      • I was trying to make an HMI Magnetograph movie on Helioviewer to show AR 2704 forming, but there seems to be a server glitch or something. It looks to be fairly significant for this moment in the cycle.

      • Finally, I get my movie. Check out AR 12704 coming over the E limb at the end. Its polarity matches the unnumbered brief spot Leif showed. Emerging flux activity seems to have picked up also.

    • The high latitudal position (~31 deg S) won’t suddenly shift. Neither will the magnetic field lines that form the spot.

      • What of its longitude directly Earth facing, wonder if it is above % anomalous for that?
        The Sun knew you were looking so winked 🙂

  5. Is this the reason the scary climate industry is in the process of repositioning global warming to climate change which then causes global cooling ? Can ECO – Porn movies of frozen NY be far behind ?

  6. Interesting as weak cycles like 24 tend to be longer. Isn’t it rather odd for a weak cycle to be a short cycle? I wasn’t expecting 25 for a couple of years. Could it be just a tease? Is the sun still showing a quadripole/

    • Interesting as weak cycles like 24 tend to be longer. Isn’t it rather odd for a weak cycle to be a short cycle?
      Just shows that the sun is a bit more random than many people think. The longest cycle [#4] was one of the largest.
      Is the sun still showing a quadrupole
      No, it is a firm and strong dipole.

        • Random? That’s a bit of a reach
          Actually not. The growth of the cycle seems to be a very deterministic [non-random] process depending on the strength of the polar fields. The decay of the cycle after maximum seems to have a large random component where even a single sunspot group late in the cycle can influence the development of the next cycle. We have found that both by observation and by theory. This is one of the things we have learned about the sun.

      • Surely not random? We may not understand the process, but even throwing a dice isn’t random. The face up number is determined by physical processes. If we could reliably replicate those I could throw a six every time.

        • Surely not random? We may not understand the process
          Yes, random. Random here means an unpredictable outcome. A sunspot cycle has some 500 sunspot groups. The polar fields is the result of only a handful of those migrating to and reaching the polar cap. It is predictable [with what we know today] exactly how many will this. It could be 3 or 5 or 2 or… With such small numbers it it like flipping a coin. You can easily get all heads even though on average you would only get heads half of the time.

      • Oh yes, the sun is quite the “exception proves the rule.” Had this spot been equatorial instead of mid-latitude, the opposite polarity would just be a random artifact that occasionally happen. Reverse polarities are not rare in mid cycle and the timing, location and whatever other factors make it “25” instead of “24” are intesting. Five years ago there were opposite polarity spots but that wasn’t a sign of 25. The next thing will be observing L&P strength and also which hemisphere they favor. If the sun is anything, it’s very “cool” :). One of the coolest bets was the end of 23 when very smart and eminent scientiests disagreed stronly on whether 24 would be strong or weak (Dr. Leif beat NASA – the “angry sun” revised NASA graphs that occured over years were priceless and stretched cycle 24 into a few years longer and about half it’s number) . If I recall, Leif predicted a cycle 14 repeat years before 24 began.

      • The longest cycle [ #4] beginning in late 1784, ran for 15 and a half years.
        There are now claims backed by a considerable amount of evidence including the butterfly diagram that solar cycle #4 was in fact two very short solar cycles of 9 and 7 years respectively with the seven year length cycle very weak and buried in the extended tail of what is today called solar cycle 4.
        Astrophysical Journal Letters [ 2009]

        • There are now claims backed by a considerable amount of evidence including the butterfly diagram that solar cycle #4 was in fact two very short solar cycles
          The general opinion of solar physicists is that those claims do not hold water and that this ‘mini-cycle’ did not happen.

      • “lsvalgaard April 12, 2018 at 10:43 pm
        Random? That’s a bit of a reach
        Actually not. The growth of the cycle seems to be a very deterministic [non-random] process depending on the strength of the polar fields. The decay of the cycle after maximum seems to have a large random component where even a single sunspot group late in the cycle can influence the development of the next cycle. We have found that both by observation and by theory. This is one of the things we have learned about the sun.”

        That is a much better description, to me.
        Where “random” is a description for how we perceive various process components of the sun’s nuclear plasma engine. e.g. a sun’s nuclear fusion is dependent upon inevitable yet random nuclei collision initiating each fusion event.

      • Dr Svalgaard, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I interpret your “random” statement as meaning “unpredictable given the limited knowledge, tools and data available”. Would that be accurate? I expect that any complex, non-linearly iterative system like a giant hydrogen fusion reaction is both A) beyond our ability to predict and B) potentially entirely unpredictable absent perfect real-time knowledge of an absurd range of variables and data (Extremely bored deities only need apply territory, in other words), thus essentially random for all useful meanings of the word? If the foregoing overstated and dramatized description (my speciality!) is accurate, what additional data and tools would you anticipate to be most useful or predictive in reducing the randomness inherent to current predictive models? Thanks, as always, for your willingness to help us better understand this.

      • I think this would complicate attempts to make predictions about such a chaotic system
        “Sunspot data for 1874-1992 exhibit a periodic long-term modulation of solar surface rotation with 100-year timescale. A novel index of the solar rotation M, which is defined by integrating the angular momentum density over the entire surface, reached a maximum at solar cycle 14, decreased to a minimum at solar cycle 17, and then increased to reach another maximum at solar cycle 21; increasing M indicates acceleration of the surface layer as a whole by transport of angular momentum from a deeper layer, and implies a decrease/increase of the radial gradient of the differential rotation if the basic radial gradient of the differential rotation increases/decreases inward.”….314….9Y&db_key=AST

  7. I remember when this current cycle started. Early on the start of the new cycle was announced and then cue ball sun for the next year. It should be interesting to see how this all pans out. The current cycle was supposed to be longer than normal… now it seems its shorter than normal 😀
    I suspect this next cycle will be an eye opener… lets just watch and see.

    • Bob Weber April 13, 2018 at 12:47 am
      “While the post-SC20 minimum lasted for a few years, the next one was short, a few months.”
      Bob, the minimums, since 1965 anyways, alternate between long and short. If the pattern holds, this should be a long minimum, though not quite as deep as the last one.

      • Even though cycle 25 has started, we could still have a long minimum, it all depends on how rapidly cycle 25 ramps up.

    • Is there a bit of a cycle , in your last chart – with longer low sunspot periods every nine cycles? (Short maximums and longer minimums…).
      Shame we only have 24 cycles to look at. If we had 240, we might know what the Sun is doing….

  8. This observation (the first sc 25 sunspot) does not mean that the minimum has actually arrived and that the sc 24 will be short (~10 years). Solar cycles overlap, as already mentioned, sometimes very much. I still expect the cycle 24 to be longer than average.
    Just for example, look at the overlap between cycles 21 and 22. The first sc 22 sunspot appeared in March 1985 and the last sc 21 sunspot in January 1989. Almost 4 years overlap.

  9. The impact of stratospheric ozone on the climate is poorly studied. Most ozone in the lower stratosphere accumulates at high latitudes and its distribution (circulation) strictly depends on changes in the solar wind. In the nearest days, North America will see how it affects the weather. Below, the distribution of ozone shows the range of the Arctic air.

      • ren, is outgoing radiation measured in these areas of low water vapour levels ? dry air and stratospheric intrusion must surely allow heat to escape to space more readily ?

      • Stratospheric Intrusions are when stratospheric air dynamically decends into the troposphere and may reach the surface, bringing with it high concentrations of ozone which may be harmful to some people. Stratospheric Intrusions are identified by very low tropopause heights, low heights of the 2 potential vorticity unit (PVU) surface, very low relative and specific humidity concentrations, and high concentrations of ozone. Stratospheric Intrusions commonly follow strong cold fronts and can extend across multiple states. In satellite imagery, Stratospheric Intrusions are identified by very low moisture levels in the water vapor channels (6.2, 6.5, and 6.9 micron). Along with the dry air, Stratospheric Intrusions bring high amounts of ozone into the tropospheric column and possibly near the surface. This may be harmful to some people with breathing impairments. Stratospheric Intrusions are more common in the winter/spring months and are more frequent during La Nina periods. Frequent or sustained occurances of Stratospheric Intrusions may decrease the air quality enough to exceed EPA guidelines.

      • In this study we show that correspondence of the main structures of geomagnetic field, near surface air temperature and surface pressure in the mid-latitudes, reported previously in the 1st part of the paper, has its physical foundation. The similar pattern, found in latitude-longitude distribution of the lower stratospheric ozone and specific humidity, allows us to close the chain of causal links, and to offer a mechanism through which geomagnetic field could influence on the Earth’s climate. It starts with a geomagnetic modulation of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and ozone production in the lower stratosphere through ion-molecular reactions initiated by GCR. The alteration of the near tropopause temperature (by O3 variations at these levels) changes the amount of water vapour in the driest part of the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS), influencing in such a way on the radiation balance of the planet. This forcing on the climatic parameters is non-uniformly distributed over the globe, due to the heterogeneous geomagnetic field controlling energetic particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

    • My guess is that the weather affects the stratospheric ozone levels, not the other way around.

    • Ren
      Stratospheric ozone is well studied, it is the conclusions that are poor.
      From my own observations, stratospheric ozone is predominantly influenced by tropospheric pressured circulation and the hemisphere bias of that circulation.
      There is also the mind numbing influence that CFC related gases destroy ozone.
      See the ozone hole over Antarctica during the past 30 days way outside the temperature requirements. We have low circulation in the NH polar region and ozone accumulating, and dilution in the SH polar region due to increased circulation.

  10. Is this a daft question? Can a sunspot ever “cross the equator”? Presumably if it did it would have to change polarity – or jump from one cycle to the next!

    • No. But late in the cycle spots appear ever closer to the solar equator. Spots of the new cycle appear at high lattitude. Also spots in the two hemispheres are of opposite polarity. So when the new-cycle spot appears high up, there may be old-cycle spots of the same polarity very near the equator, but in the other hemisphere. You can see that in joelobrian’s comment at 9:04.

  11. What instrumentation detects polarity in sunspots? Just interested.
    Off thread and not here, of course, but whenever I see ‘scientists say…’ or ‘a study has revealed….’ in my newspaper – I don’t believe it. What is wrong with me?

  12. The SDO HMI Instrument uses an “Iron I 6173.3 A” spectral line for magnetic strength and polarity, polarization and doppler measurement. SOHO MDI instrument used a “Nickel I 6767.8 A” line. Sunspot plasma looks a lot different than the ITER/fusion reactor plasma usually said to be “sun-like”.

  13. Solar Cycle 25 has not started yet. The way this is determined officially by SILSO is through the smoothed mean sunspot number:
    “The smoothed monthly number results from an averaging of monthly mean values over the 13 months, from 6 months before to 6 months after a base month. All months are weighted equal except for the extreme ones, which are weighted by 1/2. This is expressed by the formula:
    Rs= (0.5 Rm-6 + Rm-5 + Rm-4 + Rm-3 + Rm-2 + Rm-1 + Rm + Rm+1 + Rm+2 + Rm+3 + Rm+4 + Rm+5 + 0.5 Rm+6 ) / 12
    In signal processing jargon, this would be called a “tapered box-car” smoothing function.
    This smoothing formula was introduced in the early 20th century by the Zürich observatory, then in charge of the sunspot number production. It was probably chosen for its simplicity for manual calculations. Today, we know many other smoothing functions, often with better low-pass filtering charactristics. However, as it was used as a standard for so many decades, it remains the base reference allowing an easy comparison of various scientific analyses based on the sunspot number.
    Indeed, the smoothed series is meant for two main purposes:
    – generating a series that reflects only the overal evolution of each solar cycle, by filtering out the fast variations (random surges and 27-day rotational modulation)
    defining the times of maximum and minimum for each cycle, thus providing the consistent timebase on which other series can be linked to the solar semi-regular periodicity.”
    For all we know the end of SC24 could still be a year from now, and we won’t know until at least 7 months after the smoothed mean sunspot number reaches its lowest value. So don’t pop the champagne corks yet.
    I don’t think it is a particularly good way of defining the cycles start and end, but it is the official one.

    • There is a good way of defining when solar cycles begin and end and it is called the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet which looks like it could have another couple of years to go. This sounds like a pro-Trump chant – Two more years! Two more years!

      • Yes, it is good but is different from SILSO criterion, and doesn’t coincide. Based on HCS SC24 started in October 2009 versus December 2008 for SILSO.

    • Solar Cycle 25 has not started yet. The way this is determined officially by SILSO is through the smoothed mean sunspot number
      As usual, Javier does not know what he is talking about. Sunspot cycles overlap and a new cycle starts several years before the old cycle dies. For convenience, we humans assign an artificial starting date, but the sun does not know about this.

      • As usual you don’t know how to defend a position that is not officially endorsed. I have quoted and linked SILSO position.
        SC24 has not ended. The 11-year cycle is called the 11-year cycle because we place the start of a cycle at the end of the previous regardless of sunspot origin. Otherwise it would not be the 11-year cycle but the overlapped 17-year cycle. Doh!

        • As usual you don’t know how to defend a position that is not officially endorsed. I have quoted and linked SILSO position
          They don’t have a ‘position’ on this. And the Sun doesn’t either. Solar cycles last 17 years and overlap, so for several years we have spots from two cycles on the sun [like we just had].

          • Of course there is a position on this. I already cited and linked SILSO position on how they determine the start, end, maximum, and minimum of solar cycles.
            You only have to see the dates for solar cycles start at Wikipedia:
            Solar Cycle Start Duration (years)
            Solar cycle 1 1755 February 11.3
            Solar cycle 2 1766 June 9.0
            Solar cycle 3 1775 June 9.3
            Solar cycle 4 1784 September 13.6
            Solar cycle 5 1798 April 12.3
            Solar cycle 6 1810 August 12.8
            Solar cycle 7 1823 May 10.5
            Solar cycle 8 1833 November 9.7
            Solar cycle 9 1843 July 12.4
            Solar cycle 10 1855 December 11.3
            Solar cycle 11 1867 March 11.8
            Solar cycle 12 1878 December 11.3
            Solar cycle 13 1890 March 11.8
            Solar cycle 14 1902 January 11.5
            Solar cycle 15 1913 July 10.1
            Solar cycle 16 1923 August 10.1
            Solar cycle 17 1933 September 10.4
            Solar cycle 18 1944 February 10.2
            Solar cycle 19 1954 April 10.5
            Solar cycle 20 1964 October 11.4
            Solar cycle 21 1976 March 10.5
            Solar cycle 22 1986 September 9.9
            Solar cycle 23 1996 August 12.3
            Solar cycle 24 2008 December In progress
            So why do you think we talk about the 11-year solar cycle instead of the 17-year overlapped solar cycle. Doh!

          • The real cycle is 22 years. The 17-year cycle you talk about is just a subperiod of the 22-year cycle. Your figure just shows one 22-year cycle.
            Suddenly you are seeing imaginary cycles. This is most hilarious.

          • The real cycle is 22 years
            This misconception crops up again. That the polarity reverses does not make the two ’11-yr’ cycles into one physical 22-yr cycle. The two 11-yr ones are not connected [because of the random element in building the polar fields]. The real cycles are 17 years long and overlap.

          • The real cycles are 17 years long and overlap.

            Not according to McIntosh et al. 2014
            “To close on a similarly broad point, in the study of stellar activity cycles (e.g., Böhm-Vitense 2007), it is time to acknowledge that the 22 yr magnetic cycle is the Sun’s “fundamental” mode and not 11 yr as reflected in the pattern produced by the interaction of the activity bands.”
            McIntosh, S. W., Wang, X., Leamon, R. J., Davey, A. R., Howe, R., Krista, L. D., … & Pesnell, W. D. (2014). Deciphering solar magnetic activity. I. On the relationship between the sunspot cycle and the evolution of small magnetic features. The Astrophysical Journal, 792(1), 12.
            Note that you and them agree that the 11-year cycle is not real. Only you go after an imaginary 17-year cycle. Perhaps so much criticizing cycles and you don’t have clear what a cycle is. In a cycle, after a period you are at the same position. Not the case with your imaginary cycle.

          • You still don’t get it.
            McIntosh agrees that SC25 is here, and that each cycle is 17 years long [look at the red and blue wings of the butterfly]:
            His other speculations are just that.

          • You seem to have trouble reading. I will copy it for you once more:
            the 22 yr magnetic cycle is the Sun’s “fundamental” mode

          • the 22 yr magnetic cycle is the Sun’s “fundamental” mode
            That is their speculation. You should not uncritically believe everything you find on the internet.

          • And the 17-year cycle is your speculation, and a wrong one. Not much bibliographic support for a “17-year cycle,” I guess.

          • And the 17-year cycle is your speculation, and a wrong one. Not much bibliographic support for a “17-year cycle,” I guess.
            The extended cycle has been recognized for more than a century, c.f. the Cliver paper I cited:
            “To summarize, there is an extended cycle, as was known since the 19th century (Fig. 12) from sunspot data.”
            The extended solar activity cycle
            Wilson, P. R.; Altrocki, R. C.; Harvey, K. L.; Martin, S. F.; Snodgrass, H. B.
            Nature, Volume 333, Issue 6175, pp. 748-750 (1988). (Nature Homepage)
            “The solar cycle has been defined in terms of a sequential periodic variation in sunspot numbers, the period being the interval between successive minima, currently averaging 11.2 years. But a number of observations have indicated that the activity cycle may begin at higher latitudes before the emergence of the first sunspots of the new cycle. Here we report results from sunspot cycle 21 concerning the ephemeral active regions, the coronal green-line emission and the torsional oscillation signal, which confirm the earlier suggestions. In particular, we report the appearance of a high-latitude population of ephemeral active regions in the declin-ing phase of sunspot cycle 21, with orientations that tend to favour those for cycle 22 rather than 21. Taken together, these data indicate that sunspot activity is simply the main phase of a more extended cycle that begins at high latitudes before the maximum of a given sunspot cycle and progresses towards the equator during the next 18-22 yr, merging with the conventional ‘butterfly diagram’ (the plot of the latitudes of emerging sunspots against time) as it enters sunspot latitudes. We suggest that this extended cycle may be understood in the perspective of a model of giant convective rolls that generate dynamo waves propagating from pole to equator.”
            That the extended cycle can be so clearly seen in the solar interior is a good indicator of its physical reality.

          • I see, a 1988 article versus 11,600 hits for “11-year solar cycle” in Google Scholar. Of course not a single one for “17-year solar cycle.” In terms of inventing solar cycles you are hard to beat.

          • In terms of inventing solar cycles you are hard to beat.
            You still don’t get it, but continues to play dumb. If you want to investigated the influence of the sun on the Earth, you must add the two cycles together when they overlap. For that the ordinary minima are appropriate. If you want to see what the sun per se is doing [e.g. the predict the next cycle] you must deal with the real ‘cycle’ [i.e. the 17-yr one that McIntosh referred in your link to him]. So SC25 is already here, and SC24 still lives a bit.

          • You are the one playing dumb. In a cycle you must end up in the same situation you started. A cycle is “an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed.” When your 17 years of an active band producing sunspots end, the sequence is not completed. There is another band producing sunspots, but the one that is going to replace the one that just ended, with the same polarity will not start for 5 more years. At that point the sequence is complete and you are back to the initial point. But 22 years have passed, not 17. The cycle is 22 years with the waiting periods. During 17 of the 22 years an active band is producing sunspots. Each 11 years of the 22 you have a maximum and minimum coming from different active bands.
            That’s what McIntosh talks about. He says that the real cycle is the 22-year one, and he is correct. The 17-year is just a subperiod of the 22-year, and the 11-year is just a manifestation of the total amount of sunspots increasing and decreasing twice during a 22-year cycle.
            Not hard to understand. And then we have McIntosh articles, that are quite accessible. Start with the 2014 one that has all the evidence.

          • In a cycle you must end up in the same situation you started.
            The point is the solar ‘cycle’ is not a cycle. The later Director of the Zurich Observatory Max Waldmeier pointed that out as early as in 1935 [] and his work was confirmed by Gleissberg in 1942 [….65…24G] . Those two giants of solar research had it right already then, that solar activity is best described by an ‘eruption-type’ process where each ‘cycle’ or [better] ‘eruption’ stands on its own, rather than as a superposition of ‘cycles’.

          • Yet the eruptions occur in a cyclical manner. Otherwise their maxima would not take place regularly spaced in time, as every frequency analysis shows.
            The 11-year cycle is a manifestation of an underlying process that repeats itself over and over at more or less regular intervals. That’s a cycle. The underlying process appears to have a ~ 22-year period. This period appears to be set by the distance the bands have to migrate from the latitude they form to the equator, and the speed at which they move, which is somewhat affected by other variables. That’s what makes the cycle irregular.

          • You seem to have problems following the discussion. Everybody accepts that the new sunspots belong to SC25. It does not mean that SC24 has ended or that SC25 has started. We have to go through a minimum first. It is not that difficult to understand. Until we get to the minimum there is no cycle change.

          • It does not mean that SC24 has ended or that SC25 has started.
            Seems to be contradicted by the ‘solar cycle 25 is here’
            Until we get to the minimum there is no cycle change.
            The sun does not seem to care about that. It happily changes sunspot polarities well before the artificial minimum time.
            Now, I recognize where you opposition to reality comes from: cyclomania rears its head.

          • The sun does not seem to care about that.

            But it does. As you have showed us multiple times, most solar phenomena, like TSI, EUV, and so on follow the sunspot number, so they are going to continue decreasing until we reach the minimum that signal the change from a cycle to the next.
            I find you very capable of maintaining contradictory positions at the same time. You are just talking against everything you have been telling us for years.

          • most solar phenomena, like TSI, EUV, and so on follow the sunspot number
            No 22-yr cycles in those either
            until we reach the minimum that signal the change from a cycle to the next.
            The cycles overlap, e.g. [McIntosh again]
            maintaining contradictory positions at the same time
            many things you find on the internet [and even in the literature] are dumbed down to your level. You should rather try to up your level a bit and pay more attention to what is actually going on.

          • That’s exactly what I try, but through the scientific literature, not through you, because I don’t find you reliable enough. Too often you defend your opinions as if they were facts and you don’t tell, and too often you dismiss the work of others as if it was bad science. Long ago I was convinced by you, until I started reading the scientific literature to find that things are not as you tell them here at WUWT. It is too dangerous to have somebody that knows as much as you do, doing what you do here at WUWT. And then you aggressively and massively attack anybody that contradicts you. That should be an eye-opener to people.

          • I don’t care too much about what other people believe. Everybody is entitled to their beliefs. It is not me who responds to anybody that posts something I disagree.

          • I don’t care too much about what other people believe
            That is the difference between us. I do care about other people, and do my best to convey to them what I think is good science. Most people here seem to appreciate that [except a handful of nasties].

      • Javier is correct. There are actually two fundamentals at about 20 and 23.6 years, with harmonic mean at about 22 years. The SSN is a rectified measurement of these, producing harmonics clustered around 11 years. The components interfere constructively and destructively with one another, which manifests as the long term variation between 11 year cycles.

      • “The real cycles are 17 years long and overlap.”
        Thanks Dr. Svalgaard. So when we look at the real underlying physical phenomena ( spots changing polarity and increasing/decreasing in numbers) we see cycles lasting
        17 years, BUT they overlap creating an 11 year peak to peak from a phenomenological aspect.
        pretty clear, why would anyone object to the real description

      • lsvalgaard @ April 13, 2018 at 7:42 pm
        Nonsense. The separated peaks are readily observable in the PSD.

      • Steven Mosher @ April 13, 2018 at 8:43 pm
        “pretty clear, why would anyone object to the real description”
        Because it’s a useless complication. It’s like saying day and nighttime merge for maybe an hour when the Sun is below the horizon, but still lighting the clouds, so a day is 14 hours, but it overlaps with night to form a 12 hour peak-to-peak phenomenon.

      • “Because it’s a useless complication. It’s like saying day and nighttime merge for maybe an hour when the Sun is below the horizon, but still lighting the clouds, so a day is 14 hours, but it overlaps with night to form a 12 hour peak-to-peak phenomenon”
        But its not a useless complication. It’s actually what happens. You have spots of one polarity increasing and spots of another polarity descreasing and IF you want to understand the physics of the SUN
        then you need to take account of this.
        IF, on the other hand, you are only interested in the physics of the climate on earth, then you probably can consider TSI only, and for that the sun spot “cycle” is a good proxy. But you only ned that proxy for the PAST as today we have actual measurements of TSI.
        There is no point in ignoring the physical reality of the 17 year “cycle”, only an agnda driven one

      • The rotation of the Earth is not truly cyclic. The length of day varies somewhat erratically, with a bias towards increase due to tidal losses.

        • The rotation of the Earth is not truly cyclic
          And now you pretend to know something about that too. For the sake of your original argument it is cyclic enough. So you just brought in a thin straw man. Should be beneath you.

    • “If you want to investigated the influence of the sun on the Earth, you must add the two cycles together when they overlap”
      What you need is a good record of solar spectral variance.
      We don’t have that yet. But we have something almost as good. We have a permanent Internet record of when solar spectral variance entered the climate discussion, and just who tried to stamp the UV record flat. We know who did bad things –

      – and that record is permanent.

  14. We’ll be watching for “official confirmation”, but if Dr. Svalgaard says Cycle25 has happened, it is almost certain to be true.

    This is a good one. When we finally learn that April 2018 was not the start of SC25 he’ll just take refuge on the existence of a SC25 spot, even though he knows that is not the criteria to define the start of a cycle.
    By the way, the yellow bar in your last figure is not placed at the SILSO start of SC24, that took place in December 2008, as somebody reminded me yesterday.

    • Your comment is correct.
      The following is a summary of other reversed polarity sunspot groups which occurred previous to the most recent reversed sunspot group.
      Solar cycle 25 has not started.
      Interestingly we continue to see evidence that the mechanism that creates sunspots has changed as the lifetime of sunspot groups continues to declines. We now again and again have sunspot groups that have a lifetime of a couple of days. That is absolutely different from solar cycles 21, 22, and 23.
      Obviously, there must be a physical reason why the lifetime of sunspot groups is declining. That physical reason definitely could be a key factor in determining what will happen for solar cycle 25.
      A key technique to solving holistic problems is to look at all the observations and to try to come up with a theory that fits all of the observations.
      We are not robots. AI machines optimized to solve scientific problems. Almost all older specialists naturally become emotionally attached to one specific theory which they have contributed to or have pushed. In many cases the older specialist cannot come up with alternative theories. They literally can not imagine the possibility that the ‘standard’ theory is incorrect. Lord Kelvin is a good example of the phenomena.
      Their all in commitment to a specific ‘standard’ theory explains why they feel necessary to defend it and ignore observations that indicate it is incorrect.
      In astronomy this phenomena is called confirmation bias.

    • What is important is what the sun does, and it does not know about SILSO or Javier. Sunspot cycles overlap and for several years there are spots on the sun belonging to two cycles, meaning that when the new cycle starts the old cycle hasn’t died yet. Furthermore, the minimum value depends on the relative sizes of the two cycles. If the old cycle is large and the new cycle is small, the time of the assigned minimum will be shifted towards an earlier time. This is totally artificial.

      • Do a periodogram of sunspots and see if you can come up with your imaginary 17-year sunspot cycle. Better yet, you can ask your friend Willis to do it and see if he supports your hypothesis of a 17-year cycle.

          • Your own graph supports that from an equivalent position in 1997 to a similar position two cycles later in 2020, the distance is, surprise, surprise, 22 years.
            By the way, this is an imaginary figure, isn’t it? Last time I checked my calendar 2030 was still in the future.

          • Your own graph supports that from an equivalent position in 1997 to a similar position two cycles later in 2020
            Irrelevant, as cycles overlap, so each cycle is about 17 years and starts before the old one is gone.

          • You are looking at the Hale cycle and not recognizing it. The 17-year period with sunspots is part of the 22-year Hale period, that also includes the time without sunspots.

          • The 17-year period with sunspots is part of the 22-year Hale period
            The Hale period is not a real physical period. Each cycle is an independent unit with little or no memory of the previous cycle.

          • Not vague. It was discovered by Hale in the 1920’s by studying the Sun’s magnetic field polarity with instruments. So it has a clear physical basis.
            You know this, so you are trying to confound people.

          • So it has a clear physical basis.
            No, the Hale polarity laws have. But Hale did not know about how the dynamo works.
            so you are trying to confound people
            So much for appreciation of my educational effort!
            Obviously it was wasted on you. Sad, but predictable as such things go.

          • It is not called education when you try to impose your opinion on others. It is called indoctrination.

          • when you try to impose your opinion on others
            Not everyone is as gullible as you. Most people can make up their own opinion, especially if the education is made clearly and with sufficient detail and understanding, rather than just trolling the internet.

          • I am not particularly gullible. For example I don’t believe everything you say despite acknowledging your scientific status. And I don’t think reading the scientific literature on my own to reach my own conclusions can be characterized as “just trolling the internet.”
            You clearly don’t like people that disagrees with you. It is a character weakness.

          • You clearly don’t like people that disagrees with you
            Disagreements that are well-founded are always welcome. Science depends on that.
            Disagreements that are based on advocacy are noise.

          • You should know. You are one of the strongest advocates on the lack of a significant solar effect on climate I have ever seen. I wonder if that is the reason you are here.

      • Javier can smell you Dr. S.
        You smell like “prey”, just how Willis smells to me.
        Just as Willis knows CO2 doesn’t cause climate change, you know the Sun does. You reek of fear.

      • Wolf – how do you think the Sun caused the warming since early last century till now? I’m curious if there’s a complicated magnetic cause and effect with feedbacks.

      • Javier, it’s an exciting new solar cycle that nobody else knew about except Lief. If the guy were made of chocolate, he’d have eaten himself by now.

      • @meteorologist in research
        Simple. Solar UV increased by 3% since the end of the Little Ice Age.
        Of course you cannot determine the resulting effect on surface temperatures if you treat the oceans as a “near blackbody” as AGW believers do.
        When solar spectral variance entered the climate discussion, Dr. S did a bad, bad thing. He rushed out a “reconstruction” that stamped the solar UV record flat. That action is a matter of permanent record.
        This wolf may be evil. But this wolf says Dr. S is not a person of good character.
        But the good news is SOUCE, SDO and now TSIS-1. The record of solar spectral variability can no longer be stamped flat. No more than the record of who tried to stamp it flat can be erased from the Internet.

    • Javier
      Dr S isn’t say cycle 24 is gone he is simply stating that the first signal of cycle 25 has appeared, I don’t think what he is saying is all that complicated or controversial.

      • Bob,
        I know what Leif states. We all know that sunspots that belong to SC25 activity band have been appearing since late 2016. But the change of a solar cycle to the next takes place at the minimum in sunspots. We are at SC24 and will remain so for quite some time until the minimum is reached and passed. This is also simple and non-controversial, yet Leif appears to have problems with it.

  15. I am quite confident that no one knows what the sun is going to do going forward.
    Now a prediction which would be of value would be if someone could predict and if it should come true is when will the solar flux average go back to being over 90?
    I will make note of any of the predictions

  16. Sunspots are magnets. Doesn’t it take electricity to make magnets and magnetism?
    I’m not trying to be an electric universe advocate.

    • Doesn’t it take electricity to make magnets and magnetism?
      It usually takes magnetism to make electricity. A coil of wire rotating in a magnetic field produces a current.
      On the Sun, the solar matter is a plasma with high conductivity. The plasma moves around through an existing magnetic field and thus produces a current with its own magnetic field. In this way solar magnetism has been maintained over billions of years. The initial magnetic field came from the galaxy, where a similar process works. The galaxy got its initial magnetic field from the intergalactic medium, and so on. This begs the question where the very first magnetic field came from. This is a fascinating problem whose solution may lie in the different masses of the proton and the electron, so gravity plays a role.

      • The plasma is an electrically conductive medium comprised of electrically charged particles. The plasma moves under the power of local electric and magnetic fields, inducing changes in the environment, changing the local electric and magnetic fields, creating light and heat with its motion.
        As there is no magnetic field that can be separated from and independently measured outside the presence of electrically charged particles in motion that also add to the magnetic field, the fundamental question is not where the first magnetic field came from, but from where and how did the first electrically charged particles arise.
        I don’t pretend to know the answer to that, although many do, which is what is really fascinating.

        • but from where and how did the first electrically charged particles arise
          From the beginning of our universe, out of energy. If you shine enough radiation into an empty box, you will eventually create electrically charged particles.

      • .. and then was light!
        So, the universe started out in an empty box.
        That’s a new one. The things you learn at WUWT

      • The pop science view of it is that the universe bounced out of a type of Higgs field called the inflaton field which had momentarily reached a super-cooled state. Quantum fluctuations were the “first causes” and the negative gravity resulted in inflation. A key part of the logic is the source of these new baby universes, the eternally-inflating multiverse.
        I think it’s interesting whether or not that was the reality.

      • There’s no evidence for inflaton field and it can never be observed because it disappeared long ago, at least according to the inflaton field theory. So it is not a very convincing argument. Eternally inflating multiverse is an outcome of inflaton field so that is also not a convincing hypothesis.
        The Higgs field is real because they discovered the Higgs boson at CERN. Mass came from the Higgs field including electrons, leptons and quarks. Another mechanism for creating of particles is pair production. But it’s still an unsolved problem where’s all the anti-particles? My guess is before the Big Bang, there was already an older and bigger universe. I cannot further speculate on that “pre-universe” as it is unobservable and will amount to metaphysics and theology.

      • Yes Dr., much faster than biological evolution our concepts of our physical reality are changing. The hints about a more correct ‘sensing’ of things comes right out of what are now considered to be bad guesses of the past;
        Atoms were a good first guess. But atoms aren’t indivisible.
        Four dimensions obeying relativity was a good first guess. But ten (3 +6 +1 found by Witten) spatial dimensions have been shown to be required for the unification of all four known forces. A huge theoretical success on paper.
        A quantized universe was a good first guess, offering the mechanisms by which everything came from what was earlier considered nothingness. But down at the quantum scale there are no rigid particles conceivable, so our human conception of substantive reality was pushed aside. Every thing is merely a bump in the specific field which it can couple with, due a curiously favorable vibrational shape and vibrational state.
        With no rigid particles the next good guess was strings. But strings in first 9 spacial dimensions became the unruly Calabi Yau shapes – which might describe why more 20 percent of everything is vibrating wong or shaped wrong (Dark Matter) for us to describe scientifically with EM probings.
        Dark Energy and Dark Matter were good guesses for the missing mass (coming out of reliable, repeatable observations). But the peculiar per unit strength of the virtual particle activity’s expanding force within its theoretical range is so mind-boggling that we seem to have painted ourselves into a corner (our human animal views with our math), and we’re at the end of physics (not even mentioning the Higgs fiasco and the screwy numbers for the strength of the Higgs field).
        Yes, we’re ‘sensing’ reality somewhat more correctly now, but our natural brains are reeling from such conceptual leaps.

      • I like Leif’s comment about the “radiation shined….on an infinitely small empty box”. Begs the question of where that radiation came from, seems to me.

      • JimG1 – Long ago people speculated that the 4 forces and spacetime are all transformations of one originally unified field with all the energy bumps forming in a short time with the expansion. Dark Matter predominated and probably influenced how the quarks and leptons (energy bumps of normal matter) condensed out. So a big part of the puzzle is missing for theorists, since the DM is hidden.

      • There is no time before the universe as it encompasses space/time and all the “stuff” inside. Thinking outside the box, or even the “infinitely small box” to quote Leif, is not science as there is true nothingness outside, no space and before time. No radiation to shine on the box, no quantum fluctuations and no big bang. Since the acoustics of the big bang are thought by many to indicate an infinite and eternal universe, whatever happened 13.8 bya was probably a “local” event within an existing and eternal universe. For those of us who believe in God, this is not a problem as he is most probably outside of time in any event.

      • Biocentrism borrows from quantum physics the concept of wave form collapse into soliid particles upon observation. Ib id, things exist because we observe them or they would continue in their wave form nature. Something else to consider.

  17. Dr. Svaalgard, I for one am very grateful for your dedication and academic charity in engaging the conversation here and other science blogs. You have inspired me to study the sun and heliosphere in depth and given me free access to your knowledge. Thanks again, sir.

  18. I have redone the graphic to show the official lengths.
    Chances are that SC24 should not be an outlier. To avoid being an outlier SC24 has to last more than a year longer. At least until late 2019. It might end up being an outlier but I would not bet on it. The article is premature.

    • To avoid being an outlier SC24 has to last more than a year longer.
      You do not seem to understand that one cycle can start well before the old cycle dies and that two cycles can coexist. The ‘official length’ have little to do with how the sun actually works.

      • It is irrelevant for the analysis. The criterion is consistent for all the cycles analyzed. Picking the lowest activity point between two cycles gives you a length you can work with in a consistent manner. According to that criterion the lowest activity point between SC24 and SC25 is very likely to be a long time away.

      • Au contraire. It tells us what to expect with regard to solar activity. This one looks like a long minimum with low activity. By contrast, what does your imaginary 17-year cycle tell us about this solar minimum?

      • How do we know when cycle 25 is over? When there are no more cycle 24 sun spots?
        If so, then we will only know in retrospect?

        • How do we know when cycle 25 is over? When there are no more cycle 24 sun spots?
          Perhaps you meant cycle 24 is over. Yes, when there are no more cycle 24 spots, the cycle is effectively dead.

  19. OK. One little spot. Maybe we should wait to see if more appear soon before we declare SC25 started, given the observations that all previous weak cycle were strong cycles. This seems a bit premature. If we have a long length of time (12+ months or whatever) and no more SC25 spots, then we can probably count this as an anomaly, and file it in our observation bank for the future. If more appear, then this was actually the start.
    F10.7 cm emissions don’t seem to be coming up yet, but again it’s early. After this spot, If F10.7 starts up then it’s easy. But a little spot is not enough for me. I need the whole picture to come into focus.

  20. “omething that likely would not have been possible without the fantastic solar observations of NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observeratory”
    The opening paragraph implies that this sun spot would not have been observable as a cycle 25 spot prior to Solar Dynamic Observeratory.
    If so, how do we know that such sun spots are unusual?

  21. Now comes the waiting to find out if Cycle 25 is going to be a strong or weak cycle.

    The good doctor surely must have a prediction… no?

  22. Mr. Isvalgaard
    I’m very much a novice stargazer and moon watcher. Question? What makes SC25 important? And what solar minimum?
    Thank you very much! Pricella

  23. Dr. Svalgaard,
    Does a star’s mass, age, and/or rotation rate relate to it’s average sunspot cycle length? What stellar factors combine to give Proxima Centauri an ~ 7 year cycle and Sol an ~ 11 year cycle? Is this true for all classes of stars or just for main sequence stars?

  24. It is true that a signle C25 region appearing now does not necessarily signal the start of C25 right now.
    Cycle 25 spots have already been appearing sporadically for some months – probably a false alarm with a fairly high-lat reversed polarity region in Dec 2016 – but there were definitely a few in August-October last year. The one region this month was NOT the first.
    We had the spate of groups last Aug-Oct before things went quiet on the Cycle 25 front, now we have had a handful more groups between February and now.
    As already stated above, we won’t know for a while after the “official” minimum that it has actually occurred. Now that Cycle 25 spots have started to appear, I have a hunch that there could be an uptick in C25 activity later this year. If this happens (big if), then it could well be that Solar Minimum, statistically, could well turn out to be April 2018.
    There is talk, *if* this happens, that C24 will have been very short as well as a low one. However, Cycle 24 had such a slow start that (in my opinion) statistically the minimum was delayed making the start of the cycle appear later – I would have expected it around the end of 2007. In which case, C24 would be around 10.25-10.5 years long (if Min turns out to be April 2018). As of April, we will have lost the burst of higher activity around August/September last year (which came from the old cycle) from the 12-month smoothed mean, so any increased activity from the new cycle in the last quarter of this year could well be enough to cause a rise in the 12-month smoothed mean and signal properly the start of Cycle 25.
    All ifs and buts, of course, but the appearance of C25 sunspot regions as early as late last summer in my opinion, based on past cycles, makes an earlier minimum more likely.
    Time will tell!

    • If it begins to correspond differently from the SSN, then it could signal a problem with the data analysis. Otherwise, they are pretty much in lock-step from my years of observation. In fact, as an AR rounds the eastern limb, the F-10.7 flux rises before the sunspots are countable so what you said is very true in its own way.

      Here are the major solar indices of interest when looking at warming and cooling, aligned at the decadal warming line. SORCE TSI is higher now from instrument degradation by about 0.15 W compared to PMOD,
      but its still useful as long as degradation is recognized because it’s daily data, consistently every day.
      In early 2007 after a few days of F10 over 90 sfu, F10 was under 90 sfu until late 2009, early 2010, and then for only a few days. The 5 years in F10.7cm from 2006-2010 averaged 75 sfu. The 2009/10 El Nino ensued under these conditions,when F10.7cm flux was under 90 sfu. So, there’s more to everything than just 90 sfu, just as there’s more to it than 120 sfu.
      It’s this simple: the ocean is supersensitive to short-term TSI changes, overall TSI level, seasonal insolation changes, and insolation changes related to TSI-evaporated tropical cloud cover. Temperatures rise and fall as solar activity rises and falls, with short lags, one at the sun of 1-4 months, the other in the ocean due to upwelling time, then subsequent realtime obscuration by the TSI evaporated clouds over the tropics.
      All of these mechanisms were in play during the last solar minimum, and will recur again soon enough:

      • Bob,
        I have seen your poster at the 2018 SORCE meeting last month. Pretty interesting stuff. Are you aware of the presentation by Leamon & McIntosh at the Fall AGU meeting, regarding the relationship between Solar minima and La Niña?
        Predicting the La Niña of 2020-21: Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Variance in Solar and Atmospheric Variability
        I think they are up to the same stuff as you. Perhaps you should write something up and try to publish it this year so it doesn’t come after theirs. In my opinion it would be better to use simpler graphs with up to two variables per panel.
        I very much like your calculation of the threshold value. I had come to the conclusion from evidence that such solar threshold for the effect on climate must exist.

    • “F10 was under 90 sfu until late 2009, early 2010, and then for only a few days.”
      “…and then it was higher than 90 sfu for only a few days.”

  25. Clearly, the Curie point doesn’t apply. Obviously it is incorrect to say that magnetism per se is destroyed by heating. It is in ‘cold’ solid metal magnets due to thermal agitation of atoms that causes mixed reversals of magnetic polarity on an atomic scale. Teachers stop saying it destroys magnetism!

  26. Long time WUWT follower. Posts like this and subsequent comments are why I love this site so much. There are always new things to learn. Thank you to the authors and commenters.

    • Maybe if Gavin or Cookie thought to include actual science current events on their sites, they’d be approaching 350 million hits too.

  27. I have a question for Dr. S.
    I see from your studies that you are convinced that sunspots and flux have no effect on cloud formation and thus no effect on temperature. All of my studies on the subject have caused me to also question the effect.
    However, I am curious if there is an effect on TSI? Yes, I know TSI doesn’t change with the cycle but would a number of cycles of lower sunspots or flux cause a change in TSI?
    I guess what I am asking is this. What causes changes in TSI from the sun? It strikes me that the Little Ice Age and previous cold periods were caused by the sun. You make it plain that it is not sunspot minimum so that only leaves TSI. What would cause a significant enough change in TSI to cause fluctuations in temperature?

    • Actually, with a little more research I answered my own silly question. Found a paper which indicates that TSI does change on the cycle. Around 1361.5 Wm2 average during the max to 1360.6 Wm2 average during the minimum.

    • Andrew, I would normally refer you to but when I follow that link I get some new financial company. I believe someone has stolen his domain.
      Leif, are you aware of this glitch?

    • The very small changes on TSI are caused by the magnetic field of the sun. A 70 times larger change through the year is caused by the changing distance to the sun [closer = higher TSI]

      • “A 70 times larger change through the year”
        Any evidence of this 93W bi-annual swing July-January formula would absolutely stand out in any terrestrial data.
        Got some? It’s not like I haven’t looked, hard.
        If that were right, this solar minimum in 1 au TSI and the growing number of spotless days would have no meaning to this NH winter, as the formula “true TSI” variation during this NH winter would have been so many tens of times larger than any 1 au change that it would swamp the actual real solar output change at 1 au. That is the real implication.
        My work says the earth responds year-round to daily solar variation at 1 au, “seasonally”.
        Your formula says the magnitude of any daily 1 au TSI change is only within range of the less than or equal to the ‘up to 70X value’, twice a year for only a few days each time. Under that regime, the Sun’s actual change at 1au only averages to that formula value during the one year period registered Jan-Jan, rendering the daily 1 au TSI values or changes throughout the year virtually moot by comparison.
        Very clever, except it doesn’t work like that in real life, as there is no direct evidence for it in terrestrial data. Evidence for ~1409W in January at the Tropic of Capricorn, and for ~1316W in July at the Tropic of Cancer, is necessary please, in several climates indices for multiple confirmations, otherwise it’s just a “construct”.
        Please provide ample direct evidence of the claimed huge 93W difference in TSI every six months in several ocean and atmospheric indices. If it’s right, there should be no trouble providing all kinds of supportive evidence any time on the spot, as it should already be at your fingertips.
        I stand ready to be corrected by an overwhelming display of supporting evidence in ocean and atmospheric data, but won’t accept any restatement of that formula or it’s derivation as evidence, or any petulant demands that I adhere to it without direct terrestrial evidence for it.
        I can tell you right now there isn’t a case for a 93W bi-annual TSI swing at the earth. All there is is a formula, which isn’t evidence.
        Dredge up and display ample evidences of the impact of a 93W swing in TSI every six months on the earth system or there isn’t a case. No evidence = no case.
        Anytime. Anybody. Take your time. I’m not holding my breath.
        If it’s beyond anyone to do that then I don’t expect to hear about this again, ever, unless someone wants to talk about their failure to supply the requested evidence.

        • Please provide ample direct evidence of the claimed huge 93W difference in TSI every six months in several ocean and atmospheric indices.
          It is difficult to fish that out of the usual seasonal variation. The issue is usually sidestepped by calculating anomalies, i.e. the difference between what is usually seen over a long time span and any particular time. The 93W difference then neatly cancels out.

      • I’m sorry sir, but that reply doesn’t answer the question. It took me years to assemble the data in support of the 1 au daily variation. The 93W is so big the earth would fry in Jan and freeze in July. All I asked for was sufficient evidence to be convinced it does anything at all to temperatures. So far no evidence.

    • Solar cycle 24 has not ended so it’s length is not currently known
      The time from minimum to minimum is not the true length of the cycle [which is about 17 years] as two ‘cycles’ overlap by some years.

  28. Andrew, I would normally refer you to but when I follow that link I get some new financial company. I believe someone has stolen his domain.
    Leif, are you aware of this glitch?

  29. Solar physicist Dave Birch explained it thru his twitter account: ‘I have explained this many times, outgoing/incoming solar cycles cross over with existing cycle spots around the equator new cycle spots at higher latitude, we have not reached solar minimum yet.’. There were spots with reverse polarity observed back in August 2017 and December 2016 too.

  30. From, early Cycle 25 sunspot observations in SDO HMI imagery:
    “While smaller spots with the correct polarity alignment of cycle 25 regions have been observed at high latitude locations as early as 2016, this overview will only include spots large enough to have been visible at a 1K resolution. In the case of reversed polarity cycle 24 regions, those that are not at a sufficiently high latitude (ie. 30 degrees or more), are considered most likely to belong to cycle 24 and will not be included in this list until closer to the actual solar cycle minimum (likely to be sometime between April and December 2018).” !!! (my exclamation marks).
    We will know much more about SC25 when the actual time of the next minimum is established. Dr. Svalgaard’s “educated guess” for SC25 max, also guessed that the minimum at the start of SC25 wlll occur in 2021. (see his Figure 2 and Table 1):
    Caption for Figure 2;
    “Figure 2 The solar Dipole Moment DM inferred from the sunspot number, SN (red symbols), and from the group number, GN (blue symbols) for the cycles following the minima for which the DM is determined using the regression equations from Figure 1. The average DM for each cycle is shown with a heavy black line with light-blue circles. The observed DM values since Cycle 21 are shown with large circles. An educated guess for Cycle 25 (size between Cycles 20 and 24, based on extrapolated DM from WSO) completes the inferences.”
    Caption for Table 1:
    “Table 1 Time of minimum for the numbered solar cycles. Average Group Numbers GN and Sunspot Numbers SN for the two highest yearly values for each cycle. DM (μT) observed at WSO for the three years prior to minimum, and the DM inferred from GN and SN, and their average, and finally the inferred HMF strength B (nT) at each minimum. Estimated values are in italics.”
    “Table 1 also shows for Cycles 1 to 24 their DM at minima reconstructed from GN and SN of the following solar maxima, as well as the average of the two reconstructions. Figure 2 graphs the reconstructions and shows DM for each cycle as marked.”
    So, if the next minimum is in 2018 instead of Dr. Svalgaard’s prediction assumption of January 2021, that’s more than two years earlier than shown in his Figure 2 and Table 1!
    BTW, yesterday’s Recent Activity section reports this:
    “Minor update at 17:30 UT: While there are few and small sunspots this close to the solar minimum, cycle 25 spots could soon outnumber cycle 24 spots. The actual minimum is likely to occur earlier than previously expected, making cycle 24 both a short and small cycle. The most likely time of the minimum appears likely to occur sometime between April and December 2018. This cycle 25 region was observed at noon today at S31E09”
    Yet, we know that, in general, low cycles are longer than high cycles. SC24 started in late November of 2008, so it would only be a 10 year cycle if it officially ended this year. Cycles as low as SC24 are usually more than 11 years in length.

    • The theory says that cycles in earth’s temperatures closely match cycles in sun spot activity
      And observations says that they do not. So much for that theory.

      • Earth doesn’t have a temperature – it has weather.
        Quiet sun puts Europe on ice
        New Scientist, May 2010

    • Exactly. Observations support a match between climate and solar activity. We just went through a Modern Maximum formed by seven consecutive solar cycles with above average activity. The longest such period in over 300 years of solar records. This period (~ 75 years) coincides with 20th century global warming. We have now entered an interesting period of below average solar activity, characterized by the lack of warming known as the Pause.
      Global warming has stopped until solar activity becomes above average again.

  31. All historical climatic data without exception shows a clear solar/climate relationship.

    • How come Willis hasn’t managed to find it then – and if there is such a clear link how come none of your forecasts for cooling have been proven correct yet. You’ve been making the same cooling predictions year after year for the past decade on Roy Spencer’s blog.

      • While many others like myself see it .

        I’d be interested in knowing exactly what it is you “see”.

      • John Finn,
        If using Willis as your guide dog, try to keep in mind that he can’t even see the solar cycle in the 14C record.
        Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
        Independent, March 2000
        Scientists predict milder winters in Britain and an end to Europe’s ski industry
        Guardian, Jan 2001
        NASA Study Finds Increasing Solar Trend That Can Change Climate
        NASA/GISS, March 2003
        Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
        BBC, July 2004
        “A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.”
        Is Mild Winter a Sign of Climate Change?
        NPR, Jan 2007
        No more drought: it’s a ‘permanent dry’
        TheAge Sep 2007
        “Drought will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future”
        A First! Snow Falls in Baghdad
        AP, Jan 2008
        Climate change threat to alpine ski resorts
        Telegraph, May 2008
        Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age
        NASA, Sep 2008
        Arctic blast brings London earliest snow for 70 years
        Evening Standard, Oct 2008
        The Alps have best snow conditions ‘in a generation’
        Telegraph, Dec 2008
        ‘Quiet Sun’ baffling astronomers
        BBC, April 2009
        “If the Sun’s dimming were to have a cooling effect, we’d have seen it by now.”
        – Professor Mike Lockwood
        Children die in harsh Peru winter
        BBC, July 2009
        World’s climate could cool first, warm later
        NewScientist, Sep 2009
        Beijing’s Heaviest Snow in 54 Years Strands Thousand
        Bloomberg, Nov 2009
        Heavy snow continues as temperatures set to plunge minus 20C
        Herald (Scotland) Jan 2010
        Quiet sun puts Europe on ice
        New Scientist, May 2010
        Freeze Challenges Power Supply
        Xinhua (China), Jun 2010
        Scientists see climate change link to Australian floods
        Reuters, Jan 2011
        Scientists:Don’t make “extreme cold” centerpiece of global warming argument
        WaPo, Feb 2014
        ‘Polar vortex’ brings big freeze to North America
        Telegraph UK, Aug 2014
        Cold winters have been caused by global warming: new research
        Telegraph UK, Oct 2014
        Why global warming does not necessarily result in warmer winters
        Economist, Mar 2015
        Global warming will make winters in Britain even COLDER
        Sun UK, Oct 2016
        Climate change could make summers hotter and winters milder
        SanDiegoTribune, Jan 2017
        Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change?
        Atlantic, Feb 2017
        A warming Arctic can actually make our winters colder
        Poopular Mechanics, Sep 2017
        Climate change at work? Weather Service calls for third straight mild winter.
        WaPo, Oct 2017
        It’s cold outside. But that doesn’t mean climate change isn’t real.
        USA Today, Dec 2017
        Big snowfall, a cooler ocean and, yet, more signs of global warming
        NBC, Jan 2018
        Why climate change may be to blame for dangerous cold blanketing eastern U.S.
        NBC, Jan 2018
        Q&A: What does all this snow mean for climate change?
        Guardian, Feb 2018
        Why a Warming Arctic May Be Causing Colder U.S. Winters
        NatGeo, Mar 2018
        Did you not see the effect of solar activity on climate propaganda?
        Did you notice the polarity of global warming winters flip from mild to brutal and back again with the rise and fall of the cycle?
        If you did, you now know what to expect from “global warming” if the next solar cycle is low: more freezing heat.
        That’s a prediction I would bet on.

  32. Greetings from the Big Mango (BKK). This is a little bit off topic but maybe related to a quiet sun. The QBO has been alternating E W E W for many years, and the spring of 2016 should have been easterly but it’s repeated a Westerly flow instead. Any ideas?
    Sandy, Minister of Future

    • Barton, C. A., & McCormack, J. P. (2017). Origin of the 2016 QBO disruption and its relationship to extreme El Niño events. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(21).
      “The descent of the westerly phase of the quasi‐biennial oscillation (QBO) in equatorial stratospheric zonal wind was interrupted by the development of easterlies near 40 hPa (~23 km altitude) in early 2016. We use tropical meteorological analyses of wind and temperature to describe in detail the special circumstances by which equatorward‐propagating planetary waves produced this unprecedented disruption in the QBO. Our findings show that the subtropical easterly jet in the winter lower stratosphere during the 2015–2016 winter was anomalously weak owing to (1) the timing of the QBO relative to the annual cycle and (2) an extreme El Niño event. The weak jet allowed an unusually large flux of westward momentum to propagate from the extratropical Northern Hemisphere to the equator near the 40 hPa level. Consequently, the QBO westerlies at that level experienced sustained easterly acceleration from extratropical wave breaking, leading to the observed wind reversal.”
      Watanabe, S., Hamilton, K., Osprey, S., Kawatani, Y., & Nishimoto, E. (2018). First Successful Hindcasts of the 2016 Disruption of the Stratospheric Quasi‐biennial Oscillation. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(3), 1602-1610.
      “In early 2016 the quasi‐biennial oscillation in tropical stratospheric winds was disrupted by an anomalous easterly jet centered at ~40 hPa, a development that was completely missed by all operational extended range weather forecast systems. This event and its predictability are investigated through 40 day ensemble hindcasts using a global model notable for its sophisticated representation of the upper atmosphere. Integrations starting at different times throughout January 2016—just before and during the initial development of the easterly jet—were performed. All integrations simulated the unusual developments in the stratospheric mean wind, despite considerable differences in other aspects of the flow evolution among the ensemble members, notably in the evolution of the winter polar vortex and the day‐to‐day variations in extratropical Rossby waves. Key to prediction of this event is simulating the slowly evolving mean winds in the winter subtropics that provide a waveguide for Rossby waves propagating from the winter hemisphere.”
      It seems pretty clear it was a 60-year anomaly caused by the humongous 2015 “El Niño.” It altered the patterns of tropical winds so much that pushed upward the descending QBO phase causing a hiccup in the QBO. A great opportunity to learn how things work.

  33. I remember how the predictions for Solar Cycle 24 were so far off. It did not follow the previous cycles, was much weaker than expected and underperformed all revised projections. Think the old girl has some more surprises for us yet. The first robin does not Spring make. Time will tell.

  34. Sun spots numbers provide a rectified measure of solar activity. There are two major components at roughly P1 = 20 and P2 = 23.6 years. Rectification produces harmonics at about P1/2 = 10, P2*P1/(P2+P1) = 10.8, p2/2 = 11.8, and P2*P1/(P2-P1) = 131 years, the latter having the greatest uncertainty as it depends upon the small difference between the periods.
    The plot below shows the SSN, a hypothetical PSD of the underlying processes, and a match between the SSN^2 PSD and the autoconvolution of the hypothetical PSD of the underlying processes, which is what rectification would produce.
    I could perhaps get a better match if I futzed around with the amplitudes and widths of the peaks, but the PSD itself is merely an estimate, having its own error bars. In any case, further massaging of the representation is not necessary to recognize that the triple peaks near 1/11 yr^-1 align with the SSN^2 PSD and the autoconvolution of the HRP.
    The finite length of the record and the quantized fuzziness of sun spot numbers limits resolution, so the ~131 year peak does not show clearly. However, the width of the 11 year clustered peaks indicates that these are not coherent sinusoids, but instead randomly driven resonances. However, local projections of future activity can be produced by propagating the damped oscillations forward. I’ve never gotten around to trying this, because it’s not my job. But, an enterprising researcher could build a credible model for prognostication on this basis.

  35. Gor blimey, I’ve just browsed the whole of this thread for the first time, and I’ve never seen Svalgaard and Javier going hammer and tongs quite like this. What a waste of electrons! Can’t you moderators do summat abaht it?
    It’s quite simple: spots belonging to one cycle do last for a spasm of about 17 years, as Svalgaard says. But that doesn’t make them a cycle, which should have an approximate period and show up in spectral analysis (that’s statistics not radiation). The ~11 year cycle shows up when overlapping spasms are added together, which is what Javier (and SILSO etc) was saying. Except “spasm” is my natty term.
    Now, as to length of Cycle 24 measured from minimum to minimum, if 1 year is the standard between first spot of the new Cycle and minimum, then minimum is due in April 2019, which would be 10.3 years after the previous minimum, and shorter than average. But I think there is significant variation in that statistic (first spot of new spasm and minimum), and I expect Leif (I’ve now calmed enough to use his Christian name) will be able to enlighten us on that.
    Best solar wishes to all,

    • Perhaps the easiest way to see the difference between us is that Javier [and his ilk] is a ‘cyclist’ who believes that by finding or postulating and adding enough cycles, one can predict solar activity hundreds if not thousands of years forwards and backwards in time, while I am a ‘realist’ who believe [based on observations and theory] that this is not possible and that we can only predict with confidence one cycle ahead, and only when we have good measurements of the polar fields before the minimum, perhaps combined with the timing of appearance of new-cycle spots before the official minimum. Once we are about three years past the minimum, prediction becomes easy as the growth of a new ‘spasm’ [to use your nice word] is pretty deterministic [and the theory is well understood], in contrast to the build-up of the new polar fields which has a large random component and thus cannot be reliably predicted [we have to wait until it has run it course to see what the result is].
      None of this is controversial and is generally accepted by solar physicists. Of course, you can always find people who disagrees with the detail, but their opposition quietly fades away as the cycle develops as predicted.

    • See – owe to Rich April 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm
      The difference between Javier and me, is this:
      Javier is a ‘cyclist’. He believes than solar activity is controlled by strict cycles, that when added together can predict solar activity hundreds, even thousands, of year forwards and backwards in time. These long-term predictions are only possible if the cycles are strictly periodic, otherwise phase differences will quickly build up rendering the predictions useless.
      I am a ‘realist’ and think that solar activity can only be forecast with confidence one cycle ahead. This view derives from observations and theory [i.e. understanding of how the solar dynamo works]. Each ‘cycle’ is about 17 years long and is born from the polar fields that are advected [moved] into the interior and is build up from the debris of dead sunspots migration to the poles. Those movements are due to a ‘meridional’ circulation driven by a small temperature difference between the poles and the equator [like the Hadley cells in the Earth’s atmosphere]. The [weak] polar fields are amplified in the interior [by induction and ‘winding up by differential rotation] to become strong flux concentrations [‘ropes’] moving towards the equator [by the same meridional circulation that has to close somehow] and also, because they are buoyant, up towards the surface. On their way they are shredded into many ‘strands’ by the granulation cells. Once at the surface the shredding stops and the rope can reconstitute itself into [generally] two sunspots, that immediately begin to decay [eaten away at the edges by the granules]. The magnetic flux does not decay but spreads out into the area around the spots and are then caught up in the meridional circulation and moves towards the po
      area around the spots and are then caught up in the meridional circulation and moves towards the poles, completing the cycle. This takes place all the time and new spots are generated even if old spots from the previous cycle are still around, resulting in old and new cycles overlapping for some years. The result of adding both old and new cycle spots is, of course, a shortening of the 17-year individual cycles to the familiar 11-year sunspot cycle. The conversion of the polar fields into ‘toroidal’ fields that form the sunspots is rather deterministic, allowing a firm prediction of the cycle size only the polar fields are known [by direct measurement]. As only a very small amount of the flux actually makes it to the poles [something like a 1/100th] we are dealing with ‘small number statistics and large [random] fluctuations can occur [like it is possible to get all ‘heads’ when flipping a coin, say, four times]. This cannot easily be predicted and we have to wait for the polar fields to formed so we can measure them] and a large random component is thus an important part of the cycle, causing a large [unpredictable] variation in the size of the cycles. Of course, if we have a large cycle, the is more flux to work with, so the polar fields have a tendency to be large [and conversely for a small cycle] so, statistically, large cycles [and small one] will occur in ‘bunches’ giving rise to longer pseudo cycles.
      All this is not controversial but is generally accepted by solar physicists. Of course, as in all science, there are [small] disagreements about the details. And, from time to time, attempts are made to introduce novel ideas and contrary methods, but they usually become failures, but are welcome because that is how science [possibly] advances. On the other hand, scientists are usually very conservative and new theories are only accepted if the evidence is overwhelming and compelling, and even then, some people cling to the old ideas way past their ‘sell by’ date [Planck: “science progresses one funeral at a time”].

      • “He believes than solar activity is controlled by strict cycles, that when added together can predict solar activity hundreds, even thousands, of year forwards and backwards in time.”
        I cannot speak to what Javier believes, but what we have here is two dominant resonances being driven randomly. They cohere for some characteristic length of time over which predictions can be made with quantifiably increasing uncertainty. Beyond that characteristic time, the uncertainty grows rapidly so that assurance in the result basically falls off a cliff. Whether that characteristic time is a single cycle or ten, I could not say without doing significant analysis that I do not have time for. But, it is a straightforward application of Kalman Filtering theory using a model with restricted complexity.

        • what we have here is two dominant resonances being driven randomly
          Except that is not how the sun works. We know quite a lot about the dynamo creating and maintaining solar activity.

      • Yes, it is. The PSD does not lie. This is very typical behavior for systems governed by partial differential equations. A modal expansion provides the solution.

        • This is very typical behavior for systems governed by partial differential equations
          Except that the sun is not so governed. Its magnetism is controlled by bodily movements of plasma, i.e. the initial conditions are changing all the time.

      • ‘i.e. the initial conditions are changing all the time.’
        Yes, it is a stochastic system. Just the sort of thing for which the Kalman Filter formalism was devised.

        • a stochastic system
          No, it is not ‘a’ stochastic system, it is billions of such systems on top of each other, not governed by a single equation. You are out of your depth here. When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

        • I could lead you to significant progress.
          The world is waiting with bated breath for your revelations that surely will revolutionize modern physics. Perhaps you should already reserve a flight to Stockholm to pick up your Nobel Prize.

      • Well Leif, I’m glad I stirred you into that action, which was very informative.
        The nub of the problem is talking at cross purposes because of the overloading of the term “cycle”, which is why I introduced the term “spasm”, though I don’t expect that to catch on. “Cycle” certainly is sometimes used in the sense that you use for the 17-year evolution of sunspots, as for example in the human life cycle which isn’t properly periodic. But as far as solar cycles and numbers are concerned, the generally accepted usage for the purposes of naming is that a Cycle refers to the interval between two minima. So for that reason I wish the article title had said something like “Next Cycle 25 spots have now been seen”.
        Regarding cyclomania etc, the really interesting question is whether the Sun is truly chaotic beyond some timescale, which I think is your position, so we can have no idea of when the next grand Minimum will occur, or whether there are driving forces which alter the probability of one occurring in a particular timeframe. I think the jury will be out on that question for several centuries to come (I’m being optimistic regarding the survival of said jury).
        Thanks, Rich.

  36. Hi Leif, just a quick couple of questions. You say:
    “It looks to me that SC25 will be a bit stronger than SC24, so probably no Grand Minimum this time.”
    I take it this means you are ruling out the possibility of a Grand Solar Minimum beginning with SC25? Are you also ruling out the possibility that a GSM may manifest during SC26?
    Zharkova predicts that SC25 will be slightly weaker (whereas you are predicting it will be slightly stronger) than SC24 and SC26 will be a lot weaker still, forecasting a GSM to take place between 2020-2053. Any comments on her work?

    • take it this means you are ruling out the possibility of a Grand Solar Minimum beginning with SC25? Are you also ruling out the possibility that a GSM may manifest during SC26?
      We can only predict one cycle ahead, so SC26 is out of reach.
      Zharkova predicts that SC25 will be slightly weaker
      Her work has been thoroughly debunked, so I’ll not put much credence in it.

      • Thanks. Actually, the paper which you link to in support of your statement that ‘her work has been thoroughly debunked’ is not the study to which I was referring. It ‘thoroughly debunks’ a separate study on millennial scale prediction of solar activity, which no doubt relies heavily on her solar dynamo model, but the time scales involved are very different.

  37. I might be wrong, but I in an interview with David Hathaway some years ago I think he said that they were expecting and looking for signs (specks) of Cycle 25 already at the peak of cycle 24, which back then was expected to happen in May 2013. Again, I might remember wrong but in that sense the arrival of Cycle 25 cannot be considered early(?)

  38. P.S. to my 1:54am: the article title certainly should not have said that Cycle 24 is one of the shortest ever, as this is unknown at this time, but perhaps the title was chosen provocatively to stir some of the arguments seen above? If it turns out to be 10.3 years, as per a guess of mine above, then it will have been the equal 5th shortest of the last 15 cycles. Incidentally, it’s been a long time (Cycle 10 1856.0-1867.2 in fact) since we had a cycle more than 10.7 years but less than 11.6 years in length.

  39. Leif, per my question on another article in regard to climate versus weather, and the cycles of same, I’m posting this question because the weather seems to be getting stranger every year in the Upper Midwest. Where we seldom had floods, now they are happening almost every year.
    What we would normally have by mid-April is warming weather, some rain, and growing plants. In some areas to the south of me, planting season is well under way, and per the Farm Bureau report last week, just slightly ahead of the usual ‘seeds in the ground’, but hard winter wheat is behind because of the weather. Instead, we’re having a recall of winter.
    Right now, there is snow falling outside my house. I have photos as usual. I realize it is weather, not climate but are these events, including a blizzard rather distant to the north and west of me, indicative of possible long-term changes in the weather cycles?
    Your feedback is appreciated a lot .

    • indicative of possible long-term changes in the weather cycles?
      The weather/climate is likely changing. It does that all the time, and that differently in different regions. There is not much [if anything] we can do about this. The main thing we can do for ourselves is to be adaptable and not depend too much on specific crops tuned to narrow climate regimes. Shovel snow when you have to. Enjoy good weather when it happens [easy for me to say, living in California].

      • When the global circulation has a little bit more energy the planetary waves cause what we notice as somewhat more droughts and flooding, severe storms and seasonal delays, more blizzards in the shifted storm tracks. It’s an imbalance (according to human expectations). The planetary waves form and sustain regional climates and they shift and grow and shrink with the changing energy content.
        Where is the little bit of excess energy coming from? The Sun, intergalactic, extra-galactic, the big planets and resulting resonances, the oceans, human activity, vulcanism?

      • “Over the past decade, the rate is 8 x 10^21 Joules per year, or 2.5 x 10^14 Joules per second. The yield of the Hiroshima atomic bomb was 6.3 x 10^13 Joules, hence the rate of global heat accumulation is equivalent to about 4 Hiroshima bomb detonations per second. That’s nearly 2 billion atomic bomb detonations worth of heat accumulating in the Earth’s climate system since 1998.
        The data used in Nuccitelli et al. (2012) are now available for download so you can check it out for yourself.”
        What me worry? It won’t get really bad for about 100 years (by then we might be able to reverse the trends with technology).

  40. I wonder if this event even happened? There are many false positives found when scanning objects as candidates for the asteroid catalogue and to my eye the video of the object could easily be a spoof. The powers that be really do seem to enjoy scaring the bejesus out of us ordinary folk.

  41. I am a bit late in the discussion… However! I was the first to say to our friend Leif that cycle 25 has started! I put correspondence with him in my article that was published on April 2:
    Also Jan Alvestad can confirm that I was already convinced in early March that cycle 25 was imminent.
    Another proof: On March 21 I published on the Suggestions page of Talbloke:
    On March 21 I wrote this here on the suggestion page of Talbloke:
    Start sunspot cycle 25
    Almost all the researchers think cycle 25 will start late 2019… However, I checked the solar flux data in comparison with the start of sunspot cycles… Conclusion: Cycle 25 can start any moment… Can anyone check my findings? Greatly appreciated
    Lowest solar flux monthly mean strength at or in the 6 months preceding the start of each cycle
    Cycle Observed flux Adjusted flux Absolute flux Start Cycle
    Date Strength Date Strength Date Strength Date
    19 1954/ 05 65.4 1954/ 01 63.6 1954/ 01 57.2 1954/04
    20 1964/ 07 67.0 1964/ 07 69.2 1964/ 07 62.3 1964/10
    21 1976/ 07 67.6 1976/ 02 68.9 1976/ 02 62.0 1976/03
    22 1986/ 06 67.6 1986/ 09 69.5 1986/ 09 62.5 1986/09
    23 1996/10 69.2 1996/10 68.8 1996/10 61.9 1996/09
    24 2008/06 65.7 2008/12 66.9 2008/12 60.2 2018/12
    25 2018/ 01 67.8 2018/01 61.0
    Comparison between the lowest solar flux values at each cycle (Penticton data). Source: Monthly mean 10.7cm radio flux values (sfu): Penticton, B.C., Canada.
    My paper will be published shortly (I hope, just sended it) on GSJournal
    Start Sunspot Cycle 25:
    March 2018
    Almost all researchers think that cycle 25 will start late 2019. However, while analyzing the lowest 10.7cm solar flux values, we find an imminent start for cycle 25 around March-April 2018. This is also confirmed with an algorithm that calculates a negative strength from the Sun’s polar fields during November 2017–March 2018. This publication was delayed by 3 weeks because of bad measurements from the polar fields!
    Comparison between the lowest solar flux values at each cycle. As you can see, the values for the adjusted flux differ less than 4 months from the start of a new sunspot cycle. The adjusted flux for January 2018 is lower than cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24. In January 1954 the adjusted flux was lower than the observed fluxes from February, March and April, which had its minimum in May 1954, 1 month after the start of cycle 19. We have a similar situation in January 2018 with a lower adjusted flux (67.8) then the observed in February and March and only 1.2 percent above the adjusted from the start of the last cycle. In March 2018 the adjusted flux was even a bit lower than in January (67.6). Therefore cycle 25 should start March-April 2018. Source: Monthly mean 10.7cm radio flux values (sfu): Penticton, B.C., Canada.
    On March 31, 2018 Jan Alvestad wrote this on his website:
    New region 12703 [S09E61] rotated into view on March 29 and was numbered the next day by SWPC. The region decayed slowly but managed to produce a few flares.
    Spotted regions not numbered (or interpreted differently) by SWPC:
    New region S5930 [N09E48] emerged with a tiny spot.
    Both active regions are reversed polarity. Given the recent very weak cycle 24 activity, there is reason to speculate that we may already be entering cycle 25.

    • Both active regions are reversed polarity. Given the recent very weak cycle 24 activity, there is reason to speculate that we may already be entering cycle 25
      We need to get the semantics right. The first SC25 spots have been here since August of 2017 so SC25 started back then, but overlaps with SC24 which is still going on. As far as the effect of solar activity is concerned [and that is what is of interest to inhabitants of the 3rd rock from the sun] we must add the two cycles and see where the sum becomes minimum. That has still not happened, but may be earlier than the 2020-2021 time frame as as long cycle 24 would suggest. Time will tell [soon].

  42. I disagree with Leif. Please read my article with link on April 16 10 am. In it you will see that there is a very strong argument the low of sunspot cycle 24-25 will be in March-April 2018. NOT 2020!

    • As Leif stated we shall soon see. My best guess is towards the end of this year, and I formed that opinion back in early 2014 in my own odd manner. I also stated the same back around 5 months ago that October of this year was a likely prospect. That is based on my understanding (such as it is) of the Pacific Northwest theoretical cyclical flood pattern.
      With that as a base, I correctly predicted in early 2014 that the sunspot count would drop close to bottom in late 2016, and the ENSO regions would be in La NIna conditions. So I hit a trifecta when in the winter of 2016/17 relentless rains struck the PNW, and Northern California.. Not bad for an amateur.
      By the way, the next such exceptional winter should hit in in the winter of 2026/27. That will also be predictive of the state of the Sun and the ENSO regions ten years from now. I hope that I make it that far. I want to find out.

      • goldminor – “By the way, the next such exceptional winter should hit in in the winter of 2026/27.”
        Not exceptional until 2026… I think most every winter in the Eastern US will be interesting, with the wind barrier of pre-2011 seasons weakened so much. Warmer on average with even more cold records and snow depth records being broken?
        But you could be better at this than me, because El Nino interferes with the 300 mb height pattern.
        Since winters in Alaska, the Western US and the Eastern US are like mirrored opposites, if the Southwestern US has a cold and wet winter again like 2011, I’ll gladly be wrong. Those coincidental collisions in the steering flow, which killed most palm trees here in 2011, have become rarer with the elongated Rossby waves.

        • @ mir …unique would be more to the point versus better, from my perspective. I can only work off of the good works of you folks. Without that toe hold of knowing 3 fragments of the past (floods in Northern California) back in mid 2008 when I started following this story, I doubt that I would have ever had anything to add to this conversation. Interesting, no?
          Also, I moved up to Trinity County in April of 2011. A friend let me stay on a property of his. What amazed me was that for the entire month of May 2011 temps never rose above 50 F. I was camped in a north faced cold spot which had much to do with why temps stayed so low on the property, but the rest of that was just a cold year.

        • Also by exceptional, I mean another heavy heavy rain/snow winter such as the one which almost destroyed the Feather River Dam at Oroville. That is the cyclical part of my theory.

        • Also mir, consider what this would mean, if I am correct with my premise. This would be an additional method for forecasting solar phenomenon, and the ENSO regions. Think of what that would mean for the science.

          • Fun to observe though. Nothing like a good challenge to keep one’s interest high. More time as in the next several years will aid in bringing greater resolution to my thoughts, or perhaps in putting an end to my speculative thoughts. Certain things need to take place for my viewpoint to stay on track. If it works though, it will be great ammunition for scientists to build upon in the future.

          • @ Isvalgaard …the flood pattern does change its pattern. Maybe that is a clue which I should give greater weight to. Think about that. Solar cycles also change the length between the cycle so it would make complete sense that the flood pattern follows the change in the length of the solar cycle. Never quite looked at it that way before.

          • Here are some of the heavy rain/snow winters, 2016/17/big, 1996/97/very big, 1984/85/medium and not so wide spread, the mid 1970s/none, 1964/65/very big, 1955/56/big, 1946/47/moderate. I will look further back, and let you know what that shows. I don’t have that info at the tip of my fingers.

      • Since California and the Eastern US are about a wavelength apart, this allows unusual weather to attack California when the Eastern US is in the news – under active weather. The available energy is just in those two locations. But California is a smaller target.
        As the Rossby waves have been elongated longitudinally, this curious pattern has become more likely.

        • That would be California and the Pacific Northwest. These storms strike all or some large portion of the coast from around San Francisco into Southern Canada. For example, the very big 1964/65 winter included the entire coast as described above. In 1996/97, the storm hit from a bit south of SF up to central Oregon. The mid 1980s storm was similar in range, but not as strong. The 1955/56 big storm included the entire coast. These storms then move east across the nation bringing flooding to different parts of the nation along the way.

  43. sunspotlover, OK I did due diligence and looked at your article. It was kind of you to leave salient correspondence in the Appendix. Here is a comment, by Jan Alvestad, with which I most agree:
    “You can’t rely solely on the polar fields to predict the start of a new cycle. When we approach minimum there will be approximately as many new and old cycle spots. We are not close to that. The 90 day solar flux at 1 AU should drop to 67.0. We are currently at 68.8 slowly decreasing. So I would think we are still several months away from the minimum, but it could happen this year, which is earlier than most people expect.”
    So, I think you are going to turn out to be wrong, by quite some way, both because of the butterfly diagram and because of Alvestad’s comment. But I’m grateful to you for one thing, which is a confirmation in your tables that raw solar flux has to be corrected for solar distance, greatest in July.
    Personally, after a weak cycle like this I would love to see a looong vastly spotless progression to minimum. But I don’t always get what I want, and none of us can tell the Sun what to do!

  44. Dr. Svalgaard, what do you think of the controversial hypothesis that claims the Sun is not internally powered via hydrogen-helium fusion, but instead is externally driven via a plasma stream ?

    • what do you think of the controversial hypothesis that claims the Sun is not internally powered via hydrogen-helium fusion, but instead is externally driven via a plasma stream
      I think it is complete nonsense on several grounds:
      1) We can directly measure the neutrino flux from the solar core generated by the fusion and it matches what such fusion should produce.
      2) We can measure the temperature and pressure in the solar core [helioseismology] and they increase as we go down. Externally powered should heat the outer layers more.
      3) We can look at other stars, and we see that their structure and evolution [e.g. as supernovae that produce the very elements the EU proponents consist of] match what we compute from the fusion processes.
      4) The Earth is presumable also embedded in such a plasma stream so we should be heated too [and we are not] and comets should instantly vaporize.
      5) There is no mechanism known to produce such plasma streams
      6) and more and more, but the EU idea is absurd on its face, so why bother?

      • Leif is again wrong… He forgot to tell that he read my theory and couldn’t find a fault, like all the big journals… In short: The Sun is powered by the Interplanetary Magnetic Field = same as polar fields.
        That is the reason why I was able to say that the polar fields were doing strange things in February-March… a precursor for the start of cycle 25… So once this is confirmed, Leif will have to admit my theory makes sence…

      • sunspotlover – Is the IMF producing the eruptions of each polarity (sunspots)? How much energy is required from so far away? Is it coming from the orbiting planets as they pass eachother?

    • My theory was on GSJOURNAL untill a few weeks ago. However, it is now under decision at a well known mathematical-physics journal. They are not on the official international astronomy circuit… But everybody knows they only accept manuscripts that are right…
      To go further… I can calculate every relevant sunspot (but not yet where they will appear, still to be solved). So I already know May will become busy…

    • Hmmm, Leif, that is indeed what their abstract says. But if you eyeball their Figure 2.c, which graphs a6, it is easy to imagine that 2017.5 lines up, comparatively with Cycle 23, with about 2005.0, which is nearly 4 years before minimum. Now, I’m sure that eyeballing isn’t the best thing to do, but it is generally a good first test. I don’t think there can be much confidence that the centre of the minimum for a6 occurred at 2017.5. It is also hard to believe that they place the turning point for a6 at 2007.3 (=2008.9-1.6) in Cycle 23 when you look at that graph, and therefore their -1.6 year lag has some doubt (unless I’m missing some subtlety).
      We are now at 2018.3 – do you have any access to the latest a6 values which might help to settle this point?

      • We are now at 2018.3 – do you have any access to the latest a6 values which might help to settle this point
        No, we’ll just have to wait a bit. Their method is OK, but with enough uncertainty to not be compelling. But the Sun will soon tell us anyway.

      • Or not so soon…
        Leif, I confess I didn’t see how they derived their -1.6 year lag for a6. Did you? With only 2 past cycles to look at it must be hard to get a good central estimate for that lag, let alone what the standard deviation of the lag would be. I don’t think that -3.0 can be ruled out for the mean, by my eyeballing, and for those lucky enough to be alive in 2050 it should have been pinned down better by then. Could be me – I’d still be less than 100. It’s fascinating to see how subtleties in the pulsating Sun can be brought to bear on this.

        • It’s fascinating to see how subtleties in the pulsating Sun can be brought to bear on this
          I think this is the true message of the article, regardless of any difference between eye-balling and analysis.

    • lsvalgaard
      I’d like to thank you for your huge contribution
      to this article, with your comments, I assume
      from your left brain, while simultaneously
      battling with that pesky Javier, I assume
      using your right brain.
      That was an amazing display of brainpower
      for someone from California, where
      it is well known that each year living
      in California causes the loss of one IQ point.***
      *** Source: the internet

      • it is well known that each year living in California causes the loss of one IQ point.
        Two things:
        1) if IQ is high enough to begin with, perhaps the loss is bearable 🙂
        2) in any event, it is worth it…

  45. Whether SC25 has started or not, (and there are justifiable questions regarding the position and polarity of the observed “SC25 spots”, the de Vries/Suess cycle points to a GSMinimum within the next 2-3 cycles. If length of the solar cycle is not important for determining the strength of SC25 spots (cycle 4 oddity) then length may be of no real consequence for predictions.
    Sunspot magnetism has been weakening since mid 20thCentury observations. SC24 has been one of the weakest during this time. Even if SC25 does evolve sooner – sunspot magnetism may be insufficient to form strong active regions, resulting in another weak/weaker cycle with a low maximum. The outlook going forward is not for another GSMaximum – we’ve been lucky enough to live through the 20thCentury, we are not getting another.

  46. According to Jan Alvestad, several reversed sunspots appeared the last days…
    So it is highly likely that my theory about the start of cycle 25 is right!
    From report April 24
    New region S5954 [N19W16] emerged as a reversed polarities region.
    Link to my theory published on April 2… BUT correspondence with leif from March 11 in which I stated cycle 25 is imminent
    Leif: You need to admit that i was the only one who got it right FAR before anyone else!
    + you need to get my theory approved…

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