101 thoughts on “Are Sunspots Disappearing?

  1. Cameron:

    I’d be hesitant to read articles like that. First of all, it was published back in June whereas the article I posted, from the highly credible spaceweather.com and NASA Headline News was published September 3rd—MUCH more recent.

    Also, the article you shared is blatantly biased and reads as an almost angry tone towards “Deniers” of man-made global warming. Anything that bleeds hatred and anger like that ought to be questioned.

    Even NASA can’t deny the sun has been awfully quiet and that it could indeed continue:

    “Personally, I’m betting that sunspots are coming back,” says researcher Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. But, he allows, “there is some evidence that they won’t.”

    “Sunspot magnetic fields are dropping by about 50 gauss per year,” says Penn. “If we extrapolate this trend into the future, sunspots could completely vanish around the year 2015.”

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. There was a funnel cloud in enumclaw lake tapps yesterday posiblly a tornado and a water spout it might have touched down on the lake and moved over land but i just wanted to say rare sight to see here in Western WA

  3. Matt, I agree that sunspots are at an extreme low. The point of my link (and it’s a very credible climate site, whatever you think of the tone) is that sunspots have been studied for quite a while, especially regarding the role with the current warming. What’s interesting is despite the fact that there would normally be a period of cooling during low sunspot activity we instead have had increased warming. This is especially true in the Arctic, which should be undergoing a cooling period but has been overwhelmed by the heating trend of the last 50 years (described in last Friday’s issue of the journal Science).

  4. Cameron,

    Sunspots have been studied, but the true, root mechanism for their formation is still not understood. The best papers that I have researched find very good correlation with barycentric solar motion.

    The warming from 1950 to 2000 is well correlated to increased sunspot activity overall, with a superimposed 11 year (average) cycle.

    The cooling of the last 10 years or so is also correlated to lower sunspot activity in the last cycle and the absence of sunspots in the current minimum.

    Notice that even the Arctic ice has a three year trend of increased ice coverage (from a minimum in 2007). (source: Cryosphere Today)

    The overall point here is that the earth has indeed been responding by cooling along with the lower solar activity of the last 10 years. The Arctic is lagging a bit, but now getting increased ice coverage. Despite continued increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, the planet is cooling.

    Maybe CO2 is not the driver after all. Maybe the extra CO2 is good for plants. This will help in the coming shorter growing seasons as we are entering another prolonged minimum in solar activity (like the Maunder).

  5. Kenneth, the problem with your argument is that it has not been cooling for the last 10 years. You could only make that argument if you use the year 1998 as the warmest year on record. However, 2005, according to NASA, is the warmest year on record, and they have the best temperature data in the world. This provides a nice explanation:


    I’m also skeptical of the artic ice comment. Everything I’ve read has shown record lows. Ice that has returned is thin and not at all typical of normal ice cover.

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