Where have all the sunspots gone? 

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Where have all the sunspots gone?
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.14 Feb 08 - "The sun has gone quiet. Really quiet. With the exception of the briefly increased solar wind from a coronal hole, there is almost no significant solar activity.
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"It is normal for our sun to have quiet periods between solar cycles, but we’ve seen months and months of next to nothing, and the start of Solar cycle 24 seems to have materialized (as first reported here) then abruptly disappeared. The reverse polarity sunspot that signaled the start of cycle 24 on January 4th, dissolved within two days after that.

"But the real news is just how quiet the suns magnetic field has been in the past couple of years. From the data provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) you can see just how little magnetic field activity there has been

"We saw a single reversed polarity high latitude sunspot on January 4th, 2008, which would signal the start of a new cycle 24, which was originally predicted to have started last March and expected to peak in 2012. So far the sun doesn’t seem to have restarted its normal upwards climb.

"Given the current quietness of the sun and it’s magnetic field, combined with the late start to cycle 24 with even possibly a false start, it appears that the sun has slowed it’s internal dynamo to a similar level such as was seen during the Dalton Minimum. One of the things about the Dalton Minimum was that it started with a skipped solar cycle, which also coincided with a very long solar cycle 4 from 1784-1799. The longer our current cycle 23 lasts before we see a true ramp up of cycle 24, the greater chance it seems then that cycle 24 will be a low one.

"No wonder there is so much talk recently about global cooling. I certainly hope that’s wrong, because a Dalton type solar minimum would be very bad for our world economy and agriculture. 

               ("Very bad"? Try millions - if not billions - of people 
               dying of starvation.) 

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NASA GISS published a release back in 2003 that agrees with the commonly accepted idea that long period trends in solar activity do affect our climate by changing the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).

"Some say it is no coincidence that 2008 has seen a drop in global temperature as indicated by several respected temperature indexes compared to 2007, and that our sun is also quiet and still not kick starting its internal magentic dynamo."

See entire article, along with graphs and important links:
http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/where-have-all-the-sunspots-gone/

Thanks to Mike Bryant for this link

See also: The sun is blank - no sunspots  - 26 Dec 07 




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