Thursday, February 20, 2014

Solar Cycle

In 2008-9 there arose a concern about solar dimming, when the normal sunspot cycle went through a two year aberration, producing far fewer sunspots (and less solar energy) than expected.  Various theories arose as to why, and whether this was the start of a long solar minimum that could rival either the Maunder or the Dalton Minima in the historical record, both of which were correlated with abnormal and prolonged cold.

Sunspot activity resumed in 2010, but at a lower than normal level.  Here is a visual record of the sunspot data series from 1950 through Feb 2014, indicating that we are in the smallest cycle of this period, though it is not clear whether the cycle has yet reached its peak.