In the 1990s, solar physicists, Penn and Livingston, called for a long decline in solar activity. This is the case and it is nice to see such work confirmed by events. Solar Cycles # 23 and 24 are the weakest since the early 1900s. The current run of consecutive Spotless Days is out to 33, or 75%, for the year.
The following table shows the record back to the minimum of Solar Cycle # 23 when the count was at 268 days, or 73%, for 2008.
So far this year, the count is out to 33 consecutive days, which is exceptional. So much so, that SILSO keeps a table of such long runs.
Solar Cycle # 24 is expected to reach its minimum by late in this year.
For hundreds of millions of years such changes in solar activity have been associated with changes from warming to cooling. And back again. The long run to the recent peak in activity was the strongest in thousands of years. Despite this, temperatures were not as warm for as long as set during the Medieval Warm Period. The end to that long trend and turn to cooling in the early 1300s was drastic, causing widespread crop failures and famine in Northern Europe and England. A book by William Rosen, “The Third Horseman” covers it thoroughly. The die-off from 1315 to 1320 is estimated at some 10 percent of the population. Deaths of cattle, sheep and horses were severe as well. All due to the turn to cold and unusually wet weather.
The change to what some are calling the Modern Minimum is significant. In geological perspective, it is now a built-in cooling force.
The next chart shows that the satellite record is again approaching the flat-lying trend, which is out to some 20 years. The El Ninos of 1998 and 2016 were distinctive weather- warming events.
NOAA’s Winter Forecast made on October 18th has been wrong on temperature and precipitation. North America has suffered a cold, snowy and lengthy winter, beyond what could be blamed upon the demon “Polar Vortex”.
Over time, diminishing solar activity has been likely to be accompanied by more cosmic rays and more cloud cover. Which would be associated with cooler and snowier winters. And possibly cooler summers, which the Danish Met Institute reported for 2018 and 2017.