Past Solar Maximum Already Passed?

April 25th, 2013 at 2:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

solar cycle   This is a graph of the number of sunspots.  It looks like the solar cycle peaked last year.  Some are still predicting a spike up this fall, but don’t hold your breath.  The solar cycle was supposed to peak this March, but a current picture of sun shows it’s virtually empty of sunspots. Considering this is supposed to be the year of the maximum number of sunspots, the sun is remarkably quietThe observed number of sunspots (international number – peak of 67) makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.  The solar wind has weakened in the last decade as well.  Some scientists suggest a link between diminished solar activity and cold winters in N. AmericaIn the past, when sunspots diminished for decades, the Earth got colder.   Also, here’s where you can see a 3-year time lapse of the sun.   Several threads below this one are active, so read on…

27 Responses to “Past Solar Maximum Already Passed?”

  1. Skot says:

    Boy oh Boy. Let the Warming Nut pick this apart.

  2. Nathan says:

    How can you have .2 sunspots?

  3. Paul S says:

    I’ve been tracking the same thing. This cycle got off to a normal start, but then about 30 months in it just died off. This month started out strong, but died off again. Once #1726 goes over the rim the count will be low again, maybe a couple of new ones coming around, but still low.

    @Nathan… it is the average for the month of February, you are dividing the sum of the daily sunspot number by 28. That’s how you get the .2. This cycle peaked in Nov 2011 with a number of 133.1 via NOAA.

    1. Nathan says:

      Thanks Paul, very interesting! And im surprised that the solar maximum is so low, maybe something is wrong with the sun. Or its just coincidence… It has to happen sometime.

  4. Paul S says:

    You can find NOAA’s chart at (it just does not have the cool graphics Bill found ;-) :

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/index.html

    The raw data back to 1991 is at:

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/RecentIndices.txt

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Thanks, Paul – your first link was great! Because my first thought on reading the article Bill linked to, was that it was only studied for a few years (2008 to 2010, I think?) and neatly ignored the “warm” winter of 2012 – however, your chart shows increased sunspot activity for that time period, too.

      If that holds true – it’s time to stock up on longjohns while the winterwear is on sale…LOL!

  5. cbm says:

    After having no work in this awful economy for two years now seeing the sun is one of the last things that can make a tired man smile.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Forbes just said GR is a GREAT place to find employment – #4 in the nation.
      http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk45eielk/grand-rapids-mich/

    2. Clarence says:

      Cbm, I hear loud and clear what you are preaching. It also is a dangerous state with the violence and floods. I have little myself, but want the sun to dry my families tears and the tears of all those families drownding in the neighborhood. I still think the sun is beautiful and will be the only thing that is good these days. Dry up the flood so we don’t need another ark! Thanks for the weather update Bill!!

      1. michael g (SE GR) says:

        Weird that cbm and Clarence both showed up on the blog at the same time, and then congratulate each other on how brilliant their posts are……..

        1. Clarence says:

          I like Bills blog. Who are you? Weird that you are on the blog at the same time as me and Deb and cbm. Looks like I was on hours later. My son says you are a troll

        2. michael g (SE GR) says:

          It’s possible your son has me confused with his mother…..

        3. Ryan (Algoma) says:

          lololol…

  6. Mindy ( Mason MI ) says:

    OH NO !!!!! Politics and Weather……..HERE WE GO!!!!

  7. Barry in Zeeland says:

    Kind of a bummer now that we have all these satellites and cameras observing the sun non stop. Been waiting and waiting to see the Northern lights this cycle, but they’ve been pretty much non-existent except in the far North. Here we now have the ability to predict and monitor storms, and there’s nothing to watch. The past 2 cycles it would have been great to know when something was coming, instead of just happening to be outside and look up to see them.

    1. Cort S. says:

      Oh well, I guess it’s kind of like the first year of the VORTEX2 project, or really any field experiment. It seems as though holding a field experiment is most effective way to control the weather. Murphy’s Law is a powerful force. On the plus side, there is still a lot that we will learn about the sun even in its quiet cycle. We might even find some answers to the question of why the sun even has these decades-long sunspot recessions. And now our society has some more time to prepare our electrical grid for the doomsday geomagnetic storm.

  8. lori says:

    Are we done with snow?? I just want the weather to balance out a bit. I have an open house coming up and this rain mixed snow crap has to go!

  9. Jack says:

    CUE…… Hearts field….RACIN THE SUN : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dotJologwUo. ENJOY, Remember This Old Band BILL ?

  10. Paul (Barry State Game Area/eastern Yankee Springs Twp) says:

    Glad I put in all the work last month splitting twice the amount of wood that I usually do for the next winter…

  11. Mindy ( Mason MI ) says:

    Gamma Rays, Solar Flairs, Asteroids, Billion of unknown Planets racing through our Solar System pulling Earth off it’s rotation around the Sun!! So many things that could destroy our Planet!! The more we learn the more the odds are stacked against our Planet!! Hopefully not in our lifetime or our Kids lifetime!!! My son once asked me what can we do, i told him that there is NOTHING we can do about it!!!! called me DEBBIE DOWNER…. LOL!!!

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      “life could be short – eat dessert first!!” ;-)

      1. Jack says:

        Nice….G.L. DEB……. :-)

    2. Cort S. says:

      We’ve hopefully got a few tens of thousands of years to become a Type II Civilization. Hopefully we don’t destroy ourselves first, or have bad luck regarding a cosmological catastrophe before we’re ready.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_far_future

    3. cbm says:

      It is a rotten world when one has been out of work two years and now the flood destroyed most of what’s left.

  12. Mike M. says:

    It’s Solar Cycle 14 all over again. What was the weather like in Michigan pre-world War I, Bill?

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      If you take the 1900 – 1952 average, here are temperature deviations from average for G.R. by year: 1914 -1.1, 1915 -1.2, 1916 -1.4, 1917 -4.7 (over 12 months, that’s a cold year!), 1918 -1.2, 1919 +0.2, 1920 -1.4. It was very dry from 1913-1915…1916 was wet…the other years were closer to average. It was a cool period overall.

      1. Mike M. says:

        Hmmm. Spanish Flu rose up at that time. All we’re missing right now is a well placed stratospheric volcanic eruption for things to get nasty.

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