back to article The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

The Sun seems to have given itself a few days off. As noted by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, with reference to data from the Royal Observatory of Belgium's Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO) project, last Thursday July 17th saw the Sun produce no sunspots. That's the first sunspot-free day since 2011. …

  1. jake Silver badge

    It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

    The climate is about to get a LOT colder.

    Have fun, "global warming" alarmists.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Holmes

      Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

      Hey Everyone - Jake says it's ok and we don't need to worry!

      Isn't it great to have his expert opinion on this subject? (I wonder when he found time to do his PhD in Climatology along with all the other things he's an expert on...?)

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

        @GM: Ad hominem attack + Appeal to authority = major fail.

        Jake's *point* is valid. Unless, perhaps, you think that the Sun has no influence over the Earth's climate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

          I thin GM was merely mocking jake rather than trying to make any serious contribution to the climate discussion

        2. James Micallef Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

          "Jake's *point* is valid."

          No, Jake is conflating 2 different issues. Just because the sun temporarily reduces it's output does not mean that man-made global warming doesn't exist. It only means that warming will temporarily stop or even reverse... but the solar cycle is a relatively short one and will soon increase again from the minimum, which means at best it will just buy us a few more years of 'normal' temperatures before the heat is turned back up.

          1. bigtimehustler

            @James Micallef

            Buy us a few more years, the minimum period during the middle ages lasted a couple of hundred years. Sure relative to the life of the Universe its tiny, relative to my life and my families life, its enormous.

          2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

            "Just because the sun temporarily reduces it's output does not mean that man-made global warming doesn't exist."

            Depends. If the man-made global warming was swamped out and the Earth actually cooled because of the Sun, then it ain't 'warming'. You'd have to call it "man-made global less-cooling-than-expected'; but it wouldn't be "...warming" as such. Semantics. :-)

            Jake's point *is* valid. If the Sun is settling down then it *will* impact climate. Probably more than man. This might be perfect timing. Maybe we would have time to build windmills and solar panels in a way that doesn't involved burning lots of Mongolian dirty brown coal.

          3. Denarius Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

            Evidence for assertion of "will soon increase again from the minimum," James ? All knowledge is provisional, theories are not knowledge. Models are thinking aids at best, stumbling blocks once they become received truth. Cycle 24 has not followed most models and differed from all of them so far. We need at least 3500 years of data to be confident about the effects of the known solar cycles to be confident. Some evidence from isotopes exists, but is understandably disputed. As for the term climate science, just a media mumble. Meteorology is a recognized science, but climate science ? Which climate ? Desert, oceanic, coastal, tropic coastal ?

            As for current warm spell, still not as warm as Roman and cooler than Minoan. What I do not understand is the obsession of NGOs and bureaucrats with creating energy shortages and making CO2 emissions worse. eg Germany burning more brown coal, everyone creating more CO2 for concrete to be used in windmills that wont produce enough electricity to be worth the effort. Asbestos coat on figuratively.

        3. Joe Gurman

          Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

          No, Jake's point is entirely invalid. The change in sunspot number is a lot more dramatic than the solar cycle variability in total solar irradiance (TSI), that is, what the earth sees. That's more like ~ + or - 0.2%. Climate modelers and observers are still puzzling over whether that, or any other solar cycle effects (for example, the cyclic modulation of cosmic rays by the changing heliospheric magnetic field in turn modulating cloud nucleation in the upper atmosphere) have any measurable effect on climate.

          A Maunder minimum it ain't, though some research appears to show we're having fewer groups of sunspots with fewer large spots and thus less magnetic flux, though that, too, is disputed. Since the measurements only started about an activity cycle (~ 11 years) ago, we're stick with the small number problem: for true statistics, you need quite a few solar cycles, and we don't have measurements of many things other the so-called sunspot number over that kind of time period. (We do have measurements of radioisotopes in core samples, but it's not clear if solar modulation is the only effect seen in that record).

      2. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

        @Graham Marsden

        Give Jake a break. He’s learned a new term and now he’s all excited so he wants to use it. He doesn’t know what it means of course, or how to interpret the data, but hey - learning is a process? Right?

      3. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
        Unhappy

        PhD in Climatology - recycled dunny paper if there ever was

        Specialising in cherry picked stats de rigueur for this course.

      4. Faux Science Slayer

        Climatology is Climate ALCHEMY

        It takes more training in Thermodynamics to get an undergraduate degree in Engineering than a PhD in Clima-clownology. See "Mommie, Can We Play Obombie Truth Origami"....

        at OMSJ.org/blogs/truth-origami

        There is NO Carbon warming based on Thermal Mass, Thermodynamics, Radiation Laws, Spectrum Analysis, Astronomy and Archeology. Carbon climate forcing has been an 'outcome based education' where the 'outcome' was always FORCED Carbon commodity markets, taxes, controls and useless mitigation schemes. We have been LIED to about everything.

        1. dncnvncd

          Re: Climatology is Climate ALCHEMY

          Hey, we're making money here. Let's not muck it up with scientific facts. The man made problem is directly correlated with the concentration of people and mega farms, power plants, factories and retail centers. The same amount of pollution dispersed over a wider area would not have the same effect on Earth but the same effect on the Sun. None.

    2. NomNomNom
      Trollface

      Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

      Some people are knee-jerk reactionaries looking for anything to believe in so they don't have to accept the dominant influence of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists understand that the Sun just doesn't vary enough to cause large changes in global temperature.

      In the real world sunspots have already dropped to what they were 100 years ago. Yet the planet continues to heat up.

      1. itzman

        Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

        Yet the planet continues to heat up?

        Its called 'summer'

        Of course in Antarctica the planet continues to cool, and on average its actually gone nowhere for the last 18 years.

      2. bigtimehustler

        Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

        Err, what? Its a globally accepted fact that during the middle ages the earth suddenly went a lot cooler, this is why the Thames used to freeze enough to set up a fair on it in London. The widely accepted reason is the suns activity dropping. So, please, unless you know what your talking about, probably better to not try and deride someone else's opinion with nothing but rubbish. It would have been different had you said you believe man warming will exceed the cooling, but to say variations in the sun are never enough to have any effect is pure nonsense.

        1. Richard 26

          Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

          "Its a globally accepted fact that during the middle ages the earth suddenly went a lot cooler, this is why the Thames used to freeze enough to set up a fair on it in London."

          Actually, no. It was certainly colder in some places, like London, in others not so much. I believe the best consensus is that it alters local weather patterns.

          "low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature."

          http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n11/full/ngeo1282.html

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

          "during the middle ages the earth suddenly went a lot cooler, this is why the Thames used to freeze" Yes that is well documented. I think using other reliable sources that we must conclude it happened some 2000 years ago in the Middle East too as walking on water was possible by the brave for a short time.

    3. Beachrider

      Re: It's the beginning of the next Maunder Minimum.

      So Jake, you are pretty sure that ALL the causes will fit on ONE bumpersticker?

  2. baseh

    Fortunately, human activities helped to counteract the lower solar output

    and we did not (yet) enter a new ice age.

    Just to remind you lower temperatures and ice are devastating for vegetation and consequently for all living things. A little taste of that we felt in 1400-1800.

    1. Bunbury

      Re: Fortunately, human activities helped to counteract the lower solar output

      I believe that we are unlikely to enter a new ice age because we are already in one. We're currently in the inter-glacial period. When (and whether) the next glacial period arrives is unknown because we don't know what causes it. Which also means that we don't know if the cause will be sufficient to overcome any current warming trends.

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Fortunately, human activities helped to counteract the lower solar output

        Note that the interaction of extra atmospheric CO2 and glacials has been looked at, e.g.

        http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.4728

        Damping of glacial-interglacial cycles from anthropogenic forcing

        Jacob Haqq-Misra

        Climate variability over the past million years shows a strong glacial-interglacial cycle of ~100,000 years as a combined result of Milankovitch orbital forcing and climatic resonance. It has been suggested that anthropogenic contributions to radiative forcing may extend the length of the present interglacial, but the effects of anthropogenic forcing on the periodicity of glacial-interglacial cycles has received little attention. Here I demonstrate that moderate anthropogenic forcing can act to damp this 100,000 year cycle and reduce climate variability from orbital forcing. Future changes in solar insolation alone will continue to drive a 100,000 year climate cycle over the next million years, but the presence of anthropogenic warming can force the climate into an ice-free state that only weakly responds to orbital forcing. Sufficiently strong anthropogenic forcing that eliminates the glacial-interglacial cycle may serve as an indication of an epoch transition from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene.

  3. Ilmarinen
    FAIL

    NOAA said...

    Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?

    Meanwhile, back at the data, it hasn't been very warmy for nearly two decades.

    Missing heat hiding in deep oceans? Or maybe down the back of the sofa?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Those who feel it is useful to correlate the data collected by the AMS and that from SILSO are of course free to do so."

    Are you insinuating that our weather might in some way be influenced by our nearest star? How very dare you??? Surely everybody knows that our weather is only influenced by human activity, particularly driving cars and using incandescent lightbulbs!!

  5. flearider

    lets warm it up... :P

    so is now the time to pump even more c02 into the air ? lol ..

    you can see the headlines now .. frozen wind farms 2 billion wasted ..

    it's getting cold by 2017 it will start for real shorter growing seasons more rain ..longer winters

    and the .gov have wasted billions but filled there pockets ..even tho I hate to say it we need shale gas on tap by 2018..

    but don't worry by 2065 it will start to warm again ..

  6. Anomalous Cowshed

    Ah incandescent lightbulbs!

    In response to the foregoing commentard's mention of incandescent bulbs:

    O lightbulb, incandescent !

    Thou shining beacon

    Lighting the many sleepless nights

    of my misspent youth!

    How I miss your brazen filament

    Your faithful brightness

    Your prompt response

    Whenever I invoked thee!

    No longer do men look

    Upon your shining light

    As a blessing in the dark

    But as a blight upon the world

  7. Richard 12 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Bad graphing though

    That "monthly smoothed" curve is bloody terrible, and tells you far more about their smoothing alogithm than the actual underlying data - at around 2012, you can clearly see the smoothing algorithm smashing the actual data into oblivion, moving the activity forward in time.

    When will people learn? Smoothing the graphs destroys the data and gives you false results.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Bad graphing though

      Could those who downvoted please explain why?

      A bad graph is a bad graph, no matter who makes it.

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Could those who downvoted please explain why?

        I didn't downvote, but since the authors seem to have plotted the daily data as well, they could hardly have said to have "destroyed" data - any level of "falsity" induced by their smoothing was evident to the interested reader, as indeed the artefact you mention was to you.

        More generally, smoothing may be an imperfect process but it can be very useful for extracting trends, if appropriate care is taken. Ideally, you would make sure to plot the original data along with the smoothed curve, for comparison :-)

  8. PlacidCasual

    I do find all of this stuff remarkably interesting and our knowledge of the solar sunspot cycles and the effect it may or may not have on the climate. I'm generally sceptic mostly because as an engineer I find it hard to believe the level of confidence we claim for such a fundementally complex system but it is great to be exposed to the elements of the story and gain even a glimmer of understanding.

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Is the sun growing up ?

    No longer a teenager - no more spots on it's face ?

    1. itzman
      Happy

      Re: Is the sun growing up ?

      ClearASol ???

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pack away my 10m radio for *another* 11 years....

    Bloody Sun. My least used $100 purchase ever.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did you know?

    The sun is really hot.

    Ouch, it's hotter than my oven. It would burn toast before you got close to it it's that hot. Ooph! Ooph! Try and blow it out but it won't get any cooler. It's, like really hot? If you don't wear any clothes and you go out on a hot day? You'll get burned? Even if it's cold? Because the sun is really hot? Even though it's like really far away?

  12. gary27
    Alert

    zero for solar maximum

    Zero sunspots in a solar MAXIMUM -that's the significant point !

    Mini or major ice age probable very soon.

    Extra co2 may help us a little also makes the world more fertile and helps reduce deserts, but unlikely to overcome reduction in solar energy.

    Cold far worse than warm by the way !

  13. Mark Jan

    Head I Win, Tails You Lose

    "Global warming" has been changed to "climate change" for a reason. Regardless of whether it gets warmer or colder, it's caused by humans. If everything stays the same, well it's only until it gets warmer or colder, then the change is caused by humans. Get the picture?

    Science is not driven by consensus.

    "Science isn't about authority or white coats; it's about following a method. That method is built on core principles: precision and transparency; being clear about your methods; being honest about your results; and drawing a clear line between the results, on the one hand, and your judgment calls about how those results support a hypothesis." Ben Goldacre

    How exactly do "climate scientists" fulfill those above criteria?

    "Precision, transparency, honesty" - anyone told The University of East Anglia that's how it should be done...?

  14. Herby Silver badge

    Precision, transparency, honesty

    Well put! Sadly lacking.

  15. Joe Gurman

    You do know, of course....

    ....that these "statistics" refer to only half of the Sun, right? The half that we can see from earth?

    Then again, things aren't looking that good for observations of the hidden side of the Sun for next year and a half or so:

    http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/stereo-entering-new-stage-of-operations/ .

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