There were sixteen days without a sunspot in the first nineteen days of December 2008.
This means that this years lack of sunspot activity has exceeded 1912 as the second quietest year in more than a century.
In fact, last year was also noted for the quiet of the sun. 2007 also finished in the list of top ten years without a sunspot. However, the number of days without solar activity has dramatically increased this year from one year ago.
Meanwhile, according to the National Climatic Data Center, this year will be America’s coldest year since 1997. Certainly, this has become apparent in the last few weeks, as the harsh reality of ice and snow has been seen in several unusual places in the country.
In Southern California a half-inch of snow covered Malibu’s hills while a half-foot of the white stuff barricaded highways and marooned commuters in desert towns east of Los Angeles. Three inches of snow closed Las Vegas’ McCarren Airport and dusted the Strip’s hotels and casinos. Recently, eight inches of snow struck New Orleans and blanketed Southern Louisiana.
The cold has also strengthened in places that are used to its intensity. The National Weather Service reports that last summer was Anchorage’s third-coldest on record. In addition, the National Snow and Ice Data Center found that Arctic sea ice expanded 13.2 percent this year, or 270,000 square miles. In Canada, every part of the country will have a White Christmas for the first time since 1971.
The fact is that from 1998 until January 2007, the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere near its surface decreased some 0.25 C (0.45 F) but from January 2007 until the spring of 2008, it has dropped a whopping 0.75 C (1.35 F).
So, a lack of solar activity in the last two years may well be driving this dramatic global cooling trend. In 2008, the days without a sunspot reached the top two. If this trend continues, dreams of a white Christmas may soon become a reality in Malibu.
For more on global cooling and sunspot activity see: To Predict Global Climate Change Look To The Sun on eworldvu