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New Solar Cycle 24 Prediction: Fewer Sunspots, But Not Necessarily Less Activity


Image of the sun from NASA's twin STEREO satellites.
Credit: NASA

27 May 09 - An international panel of experts predicts that Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots, and that we can expect at least another year of mostly quiet conditions before solar activity resumes in earnest.

 "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, Boulder, Colo.

       Considering the technological advances since 1928, I wonder if we
       are now detecting sunspots that we wouldn’t have seen in 1928, which
       could mean that we are now in the lowest cycle since even before then.

In the 17th century, the sun plunged into a 70-year period of spotless quiet known as the Maunder Minimum that still baffles scientists.
Right now, the solar cycle is in a valley--the deepest of the past century.

      Again, I suspect that it may be even deeper than we realize.

"In our professional careers, we’ve never seen anything quite like it,” says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Solar minimum has lasted far beyond what we predicted in 2007."

     Let's face it - they don’t even know!

In recent months, however, the sun has begun to show signs of life. Small sunspots and "proto-sunspots" are popping up more frequently. Enormous currents of plasma on the sun’s surface are gaining strength, and there has been a tiny but significant uptick in solar radio emissions - all of which are supposed precursors of an awakening Solar Cycle 24.

Low solar activity has a profound effect on Earth’s atmosphere, allowing it to cool and contract.

     I’m glad to see them admitting that low solar activity causes cooling.

"Go ahead and mark your calendar for May 2013," says Pesnell. "But use a pencil."

Read entire article to learn about the possible increase in other activity.
Thanks to Mike McEvoy for this link






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