Currently solar activity is especially low. Solar sunspot number (SSN) in September was at 36.9, and thus was just 36% of the usual mean value 58 months into the cycle. The sun continues to remain in an unusually weak cycle 24, which was characterized by a 1-2 year delayed start in November 2008. The following graphic shows the mean value (blue) and the current cycle (red) and the very similar sunspot cycle SC5 (light gray) which occurred during the Dalton Minimum of the early 19th century:
Dark blue shows average sunspot cycle; red shows current cycle 24 and light gray shows SC5. Horizontal axis is the number of months after the start of cycle. \
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During the Dalton Minimum the world cooled and weather was often more violent, shortening growing season and impacting the world’s food supply. Current crops are reporting record yields, perhaps from increased CO2. The question is with a colder climate, will the world’s farmers be able to sustain those robust yields? Stay Tuned.