November 2013 Sunspots: Trends
Most newsworthy is that this is still the weakest solar max in over 100 years, well below NASA’s forecast.
Equally important for Earth’s future climate is an emerging pattern in overall sunspot magnetic field strength. Its decline is no longer linear!
Strangely, practically all the sunspot activity last month was in the sun’s southern hemisphere. It accounted for 61.2 of the total. That’s its highest activity level of Cycle 24.
On the other hand, the northern hemisphere only managed a paltry 16.4. That’s its lowest count since before solar max three years ago. Northern sunspot activity is pretty much done.
Sunspot activity in November backed off from October’s incredible burst to 85.6. Activity peaked mid-month with 5 strait active days where spot counts rose to over 100. By month’s end, though, it backed off to the mid-60s. Northern spots were down to just 8 by month’s end.
We may be witnessing the sun’s last dying gasps before entering into a long slumber. The impact of that slumber on Earth’s climate remains the subject of growing scientific speculation.
Its been known for years that sunspot umbral magnetic field strength has been declining while their intensity has been rising, thanks to researchers Matt Penn and Bill Livingston at the National Solar Observatory.
The changes are independent of the 11-year sunspot cycle.
A steady decline in umbral magnetic field strength is the most dramatic evidence that sunspots are fading away. Should their field strength drop below 1,500 gauss it becomes physically impossible for sunspots to form and they will disappear.
Less sunspot activity reduces the sun’s radiant energy output and cools Earth.
Shown in the latest measurements above, a transformation has appeared as more data has been gathered and refined.
When magnetic field strength weakening was first discovered it was a steep linear decline that appeared would dip below 1,500 gauss before 2025.
But now, the decline has flattened and become more concave. It looks as if it may level off close to, but above the magic 1,500 gauss level. At the same time it looks like umbral intensity is curving back the other way to.
Several trends in sunspot activity for this cycle are becoming clear.
First, northern sunspot activity is near its end while southern activity is at its zenith. The only drama left is when will southern spot polarity reversal occur. That is expected any time. The sun right now is a magnetic monopole. The sun will finish its inexorable journey to sunspot minimum after southern sunspot polarity reversal occurs.
The decline in sunspot magnetic field strength is continuing, but showing signs of leveling off along a shallow concave curve. Umbral intensity is showing a similar change in the reverse.
Sunspots may not disappear completely, but they will be so weak that a long term decrease in solar wind and a slight but prolonged decrease in the sun’s temperature will result.
The latest solar data from this month reinforces the belief that our sun is headed into a long-term period of low solar activity.
As time goes on a link between decreasing solar activity and the halt in global warming 17 years ago becomes harder and harder to deny.
The current cycle – Solar Cycle 24 – is the weakest in over 100 years; not 200 years as previously written.
According to SIDC records, the highest smoothed monthly peak in sunspots so far this cycle is 66.9. That is likely its highest. Cycle 14 peaked a little less than that at 63.4 in June of 1905.
Posted on Dec 14, 2013, in Business, Climate, climate change, economics, Energy, environment, nature, news, Politics, science, space, Sun, sunspot report, sunspots. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.