Or so it has seemed since sunspots began returning back in December. Too late, apparently, to hinder the Arctic cold snap that put much of the northern hemisphere in the deep freeze until recently.
If, that is, you accept the cosmic ray theory of climate change. Many scientists don’t. Meanwhile the sunwatchers among them also aren’t ready to declare the end of the solar minimum just yet. In the last few years, the sun has amply proved how little we know about its behavior.
The sunspot drought hasn’t ended entirely yet, but these new Earth-size ones are the first in more than a year on the Earth-facing side of Sol. They’re a hopeful sign that we may not, afterall, be headed for more ice and cold than usual from the deepest solar minimum in almost a century.
This will give the global warmists something to chew on. The ones who are still scientists, at least, not anti-technology pilgrims to a holy environmentalist shrine. The latter will accuse the researchers at the link of trying to change the subject.
But the longer the face of the sun stays clear of magnetic sunspot blemishes, or no better than sunspecks, as it now has pretty much for more than two years, the more it looks like the return of the Maunder Minimum. That was a cooling time, from about the Seventeenth to the mid-Nineteenth centuries. For instance, New York harbor froze over in the winter of 1780.
Sunspots, or their lack, really do affect global weather, and probably the climate as well. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has for many years been basing its annual forecasts on a formula involving Sol’s outbreak cycle, though frequently pooh-poohed by meteorologists. Hah.
Scientists are getting so desperate for the return of sunspots that they are now counting sunspecks. The one on the left is fading away, the one in the middle is a "dead pixel," an artifact of the SOHO spacecraft, and the two on the right are the latest candidates for sunspots. I’m wondering if the lack of activity will mean a cooler-than-usual summer. Well, I can dream, anyhow, as our daytime temps at the rancho climb steadily into the 90s.
Via Watts Up With That.
So, according to Henrik Svensmark:
No sunspots = more clouds = lower temperatures.
The Central Texas winter, which began quite early last year, should be more or less over by March 1. Let’s just hope.
NASA says observers are seeing the birth of a true sunspot on the sun’s face, the first of its kind since the solar minimum began in January. That should alleviate any concerns about a new Ice Age coming in the years ahead. But some worriers say it’s really too soon to tell if this spot will grow and last or merely fade like others of its class have done.
UPDATE: The Seablogger prefers to call it a "sun-sputter," and, indeed, the day after the announcement, it’s almost gone. Meanwhile, NASA held a presser to announce the sun’s output of solar wind is at a fifty-year low. What that means for us, they didn’t say, except that more cosmic rays will get into the inner solar system. There is a theory about the rays, however, which calls global warming into question.