Friday, September 5, 2008

The First Month Without A Sunspot Since 1913

You may have missed this news announcement during the last few days. Certainly there were many other major stories that attracted more publicity and attention.

However, while the Olympics were a daily headline from Beijing and the United States political Conventions were being held in Colorado and Minnesota, as Hurricane Gustav was threatening the Gulf Coast with destruction and Russia was still a problem for Georgia, a lack of sunspot activity on the face of the sun had become an important story as well.

There were no recorded sunspots in the month of August 2008. In fact, this is the first full month since 1913 that the sun has not shown any evidence of Solar magnetic activity. So, August is the first month in over 1140 consecutive months to not have recorded a single sunspot. The truth is that sunspot activity had been minimal all year. (see Taking The Temperature Of Global Climate Change on In fact, there had been only an average of 3 sunspots each month for the first seven months of the year.

A lack of solar magnetic activity is important because there is increasing scientific evidence that the cooling and warming of this planet is primarily a function of the sun. In the past a significant decline in solar magnetic activity has led to a substantial decline in global temperatures. Higher activity has led to higher global temperatures.

During the last 1000 years, a weak or non existent sunspot cycle can be linked to three global temperature events called the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums. Each of these events led to a rapid cooling of the planet. One was large enough to be called a “mini ice age”.

The current lack of sunspot activity may mean much colder times are ahead for the planet over the next few decades. The politics of global warming may well be ready to turn into a scientific concern over global cooling. It is story that everyone should continue to monitor in the days and months ahead.

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