Sunspot Update for July 2018: The Sun Flatlines!

From Behind the Black, by Robert Zimmerman

Yesterday NOAA posted its monthly update of the solar cycle, covering sunspot activity for July 2018. As I do every month, I am posting it below, annotated to give it some context.

This might be the most significant month of solar activity that has been observed since Galileo. Except for two very short-lived and very weak sunspots that observers hardly noted, the Sun was blank for entire month of July. This has not happened since 2009, during the height of the last solar minimum.

What makes this so significant and unique is that it almost certainly signals the return of the next solar minimum, a return that comes more than a year early. The solar cycle the Sun is now completing has only been ten years long. It is also one of the weakest in more than a hundred years. This combination is unprecedented. In the past such a weak cycle required a long cycle, not a short one.

Read the full post with graphics HERE.

Robert discusses the Next Grand Minimums:

For almost a decade some solar scientists have predicted, based on the Sun’s recent behavior, that we are about to enter an era of little sunspot activity, with the possibility that we could be facing the first Grand Minimum since the Maunder Minimum in the 1600s. During that last grand minimum, named for the man who identified it, the Sun’s solar cycle produced almost no visible sunspots for decades. Though scientists think the eleven-year solar cycle was occurring, sunspot activity was so weak that the solar astronomers at the time, equipped with the very first telescopes, could not see it.

My emphasis added. There is more discussion in the text.

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Atmospheric Radiation Update – 18% Cosmic Ray Increase!

As the sunspot cycle declines, we expect cosmic rays to increase. Is this actually happening? The answer is “yes.” Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic radiation in the atmosphere with frequent high-altitude balloon flights over California. Here are the latest results, current as of July 2018:

stratosphere_california_strip

The data show radiation levels intensifying with an approximately 18% increase in monthly averages since March 2015. This comes as sunspot counts have dipped to a ~10-year low in June and July 2018.
Cosmic rays are the subatomic debris of dying stars, accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions. They travel across the galaxy and approach Earth from all directions, peppering our planet 24/7. When cosmic rays crash into Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles and photons that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. This secondary spray is what we measure.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

More cosmic rays should be increasing cloud cover, cooling the oceans.  See Joe Bastardi’s daily summary at https://www.weatherbell.com   According to Joe the Pacific and Atlantic are cooler than normal for this time of the year.

 

Three Weeks Without Sunspots

As July 17th comes to a close, the sun has been blank for 21 straight days–a remarkable 3 weeks without sunspots. To find an equal stretch of spotless suns in the historical record, you have to go back to July-August 2009 when the sun was emerging from a century-class solar minimum. We are now entering a new solar minimum, possibly as deep as the last one.

bigblanksun_strip3

Solar minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle. Every 11 years or so, sunspot production sputters. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for long stretches of time. These quiet spells have been coming with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859.

However, not all solar minima are alike. The last one in 2008-2009 surprised observers with its depth and side-effects. Sunspot counts dropped to a 100-year low; the sun dimmed by 0.1%; Earth’s upper atmosphere collapsed, allowing space junk to accumulate; and the pressure of the solar wind flagged while cosmic rays (normally repelled by solar wind) surged to Space Age highs. These events upended the orthodox picture of solar minimum as “uneventful.”

Rest of the article at spaceweather.com

 

Our Planet Is Being Roasted By Cosmic Rays From This Binary Star System Only 10,000 Light-Years Away

For years, Earth has been bombarded by cosmic rays emanating from a mysterious source astronomers couldn’t identify. Now, new research conducted with the help of NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope has finally tracked down the source of these rays: Eta Carinae, a binary star system just 10,000 light-years away. In an event called the Great Eruption of 1838, the system created a stunning hourglass nebula in a tremendous burst of energy that temporarily made it the second-brightest object in the night sky.

According to Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of NuSTAR: “We’ve known for some time that the region around Eta Carinae is the source of energetic emission in high-energy X-rays and gamma rays. But until NuSTAR was able to pinpoint the radiation, show it comes from the binary and study its properties in detail, the origin was mysterious.”

The powerful cosmic radiation is caused, in part, by two currents of stellar wind colliding as they swirl around the twin stars. These winds then create shockwaves that boost the strength of the X-rays and gamma rays also being emitted. According to Kenji Hamaguchi, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center: “We know the blast waves of exploded stars can accelerate cosmic ray particles to speeds comparable to that of light, an incredible energy boost. Similar processes must occur in other extreme environments. Our analysis indicates Eta Carinae is one of them.”

Discovering the source of these cosmic rays helps astronomers to understand a bit more about Eta Carinae, which is still something of a mystery: scientists have no idea what caused its famous “eruption” in 1838 which, by all rights, should have ended in a supernova.

Although Earth’s magnetosphere keeps us safe from (most) radiation, cosmic rays might actually be increasing around our planet. This makes space travel more deadly than it already is. And if the amount of radiation keeps increasing, we might find out the limits of our atmosphere the hard way.

Source article HERE.

Cosmic rays are increasing,

newhampshirevscalifornia_strip

According to space weather, Cosmic Rays are increasing and that may influence the amount of cloud cover.  n increase in cloud cover could cool the planet. More cosmic rays, more clouds, more cooling. Interesting that cooling maybe influenced by an external source, a binary star 10,000 light years away.

The question is how long will the increase continue? If the cosmic ray cloud connection is valid science, we could be in for some serious cold events.  The sun moderates the flow of cosmic rays, but the source is increasing, so how much can a quiet sun moderate? We live in interesting times.

David Archibald: June Solar Update

We have only 300 years-odd of detailed solar observations with telescopes, half that of magnetic records, half again in the radio spectrum and less than that for most modern instrument records (and 12 years of Watts Up With That to interpret it). So as the months pass our knowledge of solar activity is still growing appreciably. The evidence points to a major transition of activity in 2006 which has returned us to the solar conditions of the 19th century. 19th century-type climate is expected to follow.

Details HERE.

 

Sun Approaching 100 Days Without Spots*

[* Not continuous days, an accumulation  of blank sunspot days ]

2 July 2018 – “The Belgian department of solar physics research (SIDC) says we are about to touch 100; that is, a hundred days in which we do not see spots on our sun,” says Italian meteorologist Dr Carlo Testa.

During a time of few or no sunspots (a solar minimum) the Sun emits less energy than usual, says Dr Testa. “According to some scholars this situation could lead to climatic upheavals.”

Suffice it to recall, says Testa, that between 1645 and 1715 the most significant solar minimum of history, the Little Ice Age, occurred, bringing years and years marked by very strict winters that lasted until June.

Now several studies indicate that we’re headed into another Great Solar Minimum, says Testa. For some scholars this is only a hypothesis, but we are seeing small signals that support this idea: namely,the most powerful strat-warming ever recorded in mid-February, the very very unstable Spring, and finally this summer that continues to limp along.

In the immediate future Testa expects “a very limp and less hot summer than in past years,” and that the coming winter could also be affected by the solar minimum.

“What if the worst is to come?” asks Testa.

https://www.ilmeteo.it/notizie/clima-e-meteo-100-giorni-senza-le-macchie-sul-sole-cosa-sta-accadendo

Global Cooling and Volcanism

After viewing this chart the first time I always wondered what role vulcanism played in the Little Ice Age and other global cooling events.

Volcanic activity

I have noodled the idea for years that sun spots, or lack of spots, have influenced the climate of the planet and that there was some connection between solar activity and vulcanism on the earth. Not finding any highly evident connection, I just accepted the idea that volcanism was cyclical and influenced the global temperature.

That is until I say this graphic and read Willis Eschenbach Stacking Up the Volcanos post

berkeley-earth-global-land-temps-plus-eruptions

Willis’ Conclusion:

Well, I’d say that this is very strong evidence that the global temperature is not at the mercy of changes in forcing as is generally believed. Volcanic eruptions clearly and measurably reduce the incoming sunlight due to volcanic aerosols both reflecting and absorbing solar energy.

However, this does not cause a corresponding reduction in global average temperature. Instead, the climate system responds to reductions in forcing from eruptions by increasing the amount of energy entering the system, as well as by reducing the heat loss from the surface, in order to stabilize and maintain the surface temperature within a fairly narrow range (e.g. ± 0.3°C over the 20th century).

Willis’ full post is HERE.

Following Willis’s analysis of global temperatures on this page and here I have to rethink the whole issue of solar and volcano influenced climate change.   Your thoughts?