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The Sun and solar physicists go quiet

Sometime around 2007 or 2008 the sun’s magnetic field should’ve become more active again as part of the cycle it had been roughly following for at least 80 years. Instead it fell. The current solar cycle is not like all the other ones…

David Archibald has drawn my attention to the Ap Index and just how remarkably different the current solar cycle is. He also points out that solar physicists were cranking out predictions about this cycle during the last cycle, but now hardly anyone wants to stake a claim on what the sun will do in the next cycle.

Ap Index 1932 – 2014 | Click to enlarge

From David Archibald

The Ap Index is a measure of geomagnetic activity from eight stations around the planet and reflects disturbances in the horizontal component of the Earth’s magnetic field. Activity for the current solar cycle has peaked at about the floor activity for the prior solar cycles back to early 1930s.

David Archibald writes that solar physicists have hit a quiet cycle too.

“The solar physics community has gone very quiet.  There are almost no predictions of Solar Cycle 25 maximum.

At this stage during 23, there were more than 50 predictions of cycle 24

Either people have given up on their models or there is too much reputational risk.

Back in 2011, NASA was going on about the Sun’s slow conveyor belt:


Now as silent as the grave.

 David Evans’ notch-delay solar model didn’t use the AP index, but predicts the super quiet sun will begin to make more impact on our climate about one cycle after the TSI started to fall (the fall occurred in about 2004, the current sunspot cycle is running about 13 years, so the fall will mostly likely start around 2017).

David Archibald, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., is the author of Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short (Regnery, 2014)


Point to ponder: Stephen Wilde has a theory that the sun’s effects on our climate come through the action of UV and charged particles acting on ozone which changes the temperature profile of the upper atmosphere. We wrote about it here on Jan 2: Is the Sun driving ozone and changing the climate? His response to the Ap index graph follows:

The changes in the Ap index are a viable proxy for the wavelength/particle changes in the composition of the energy arriving from the sun which then has an effect on the ozone creation/destruction balances above equator and poles as per my New Climate Model.

In so far as charged particles are involved, the magnetic field brings them in preferentially above the poles which causes some of the difference in the ozone response above equator and poles as described in my main article. I would expect the continuing low Ap index to result in continuing expanded polar vortices at the surface, more meridional jets, more global cloudiness and slowly falling amounts of solar energy entering the oceans.

Thus the fall in Ap noted by David Archibald could have been an indirect cause of the recent El Nino proving to be very weak as compared to alarmist expectations.

And the speculation about what drives our climate continues…

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