2012 Sun Prediction in Review
A year ago, on January 1st of 2012, a New Year’s Day prediction about the sun was made in this article titled, “2012 Prediction: Solar Surprises!“. Its time to review that prediction.
On the day it was written there had been 5 strait months of large solar activity increases. During that time the monthly sunspot number had nearly tripled from 37 to 97. It jumped above the 90 forecast solar max of Cycle 24; then expected for early in 2013.
A lot has changed since then. The surprises in solar physics just keep coming. Their meaning regarding global climate change are now only beginning to clarify.
Solar Activity in 2012
In just three months at the start of 2012 the sunspot number dropped further than it had risen in the previous 5 months. It has stayed down ever since. Today, its clear that the sun is as strange or stranger than it was a year ago.
Oddly, for this year, the sunspot number will be around 59.2, only slightly more than the 55.6 it was in 2011. For both years, as officially tracked world-wide by the Royal Observatory of Belgium, it still remains below the lowest peak in 200 years!
Today’s sunspot number is a lowly 37.
Learned this Year
Several big discoveries were made in 2012. One is the dramatic jump in solar activity late in 2011 was the last dying gasp of the sun’s northern hemisphere hitting its solar maximum earlier than expected. It became clear that the two hemispheres of the sun will have different solar maximums. The southern one might not be until 2014.
Cycle 24 is starting to look a lot like Cycle 14 which double peaked 105 years ago back in 1905-1907. Some solar physicists predict a double peak this time to.
Should Cycle 24’s peak remain below a sunspot number of 60 like it is now, it will be the first time that has happened since Cycle 6 in 1815 during the Dalton Minimum.
Solar physicists, like Leif Svalgaard, who went against prevailing thought and predicted very low sunspot activity back in 2005 were fully vindicated in 2012. Low sunspot activity this year also fits with the bombshell announcements that came out of a conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico in July 2011.
Now, solar physicists are saying it out loud … a Grand Minimum in solar activity is in the making and will affect the next and possibly more cycles.
Last year’s prediction of a paradigm shift in our understanding of the sun in 2012 didn’t quite materialize. But the reversal in solar activity this year dramatically reinforced the surprising Las Cruces discoveries announced in 2011.
Another surprising 2012 discovery found in the updated HadCRUT world air-sea temperature database is that Earth’s temperature has not risen over the last 15 years.
During both the Dalton and Maunder Minimums there were colder Earth temperatures. The question is will the coming Grand Minimum be colder, too?
Virtually all solar physicists believe the current Cycle 24 solar maximum will be exceptionally quiet and that Cycle 25 will be even less active or totally nonexistent. The last time anything like that happened was during the Dalton Minimum 200 years ago and the Maunder Minimum 400 years ago.
The IPCC does not believe it will get colder, but the fact remains that the measured Earth temperatures the IPCC uses are below their forecast projections.
What happens next could be very interesting for Earth’s immediate climate future.