Here’s a great explanation about
sunspots from my friend Dan Hammer of
NASA sure knows how to get creative with numbers. I compared solar
minimums with global temperature changes. The period of extended
minimums from 1844 to 1934 matched a period where global temperatures
were below normal. Global temperatures hit "normal" around 1940 which
was a short minimum.
Temperatures dropped in the 1950's when we got a longer minimum. Then
of course we got the short minimums starting in the 1960's and global
temperatures went up.
Now we have the biggest minimum
since the mid 1950's and global temperatures have shifted course and
started cooling. There in my opinion is an obvious connection.
This is already the biggest minimum in 50 years
Is this minimum extreme? Compared
to the ones prior to the 1950's it isn't. But it is the biggest in 50
years. Are we going to return to the big minimums that dominated the
mid 1850's to the early 1900's?
I don't think sunspots cause the global changes. I think they happen to
coincide with the events that do. During low sunspot numbers you also
get reduced solar storm activity and that is where I believe the big
change comes. I guess that is like CO2 and temperature change. Some
thing CO2 causes the change. Some think it is the result of change.
Sunspots are like CO2. They happen with change but they aren't what
(If you go blind
when looking at numbers you may
want to skip the rest of this.)
NASA is using only a 13-month average. That doesn't tell the whole
story. I looked at the sunspot numbers from current all the way back to
the 1750's and there looks to be cycles within cycles. I looked at
period where sunspot numbers dipped below 10. To me anything below that
represents a solar minimum. I should say they represent a minimum when
you start grouping them together. You'll get the occasional sub 10
number before and after the actual minimum so I didn't include those.
This is what I was able to get from the numbers.
From the early 1750's until the late 1780's the solar minimums were
relatively small. With sub 10's in 9 of 18, 11 of 17, 7 of 8 and 14 of
24 months during the minimum. From the 1790's until the 1820's the sub
10 numbers were 37 of 47, 59 of 72 and 44 of 57. It dipped to a low of
9 of 20 from 1843-44. It spiked again from 1850's to 1930's where sub
10 months were frequently in the 20's (as much as 33 and 44). We hit a
period of weaker minimums that started in the 1940's where 8 of 14
months were sub 10. The solar minimum that hit in the mid 1950's was a
decent one with 16 of 21 months sub 10. The next two solar minimums
(1975-77 and 1985-87) were very short and not very significant. When we
missed out on a healthy solar minimum in mid 1970's global temperatures
started to climb. It was reinforced with another insignificant minimum
from 1985-87. Those two minimums gave us 9 of 24 and 7 of 18 months
respectively with sub 10 sunspot numbers. Sunspot numbers from 1995 to
1997 rebounded a little with 11 of 17 sub 10 and this minimum is even
more significant with so far 13 of 16 months sub 10 with July likely
making it 14 of 17.
Solar minimums since the 1940's remain short compared to those from 1855
to 1934 and 1796 to 1824.