Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

NASA predicts weak Solar Cycle 25

with 5 comments

Yes. The same organization and the same scientist that predicted a strong solar cycle 24 according to a prediction based on changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, predicts a weak solar cycle 25 based on observations of the Sun (for a change)

May 10, 2006: The Sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has slowed to a record-low crawl, according to research by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. “It’s off the bottom of the charts,” he says. “This has important repercussions for future solar activity.”

The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the Sun. It has two branches, north and south, each taking about 40 years to perform one complete circuit. Researchers believe the turning of the belt controls the sunspot cycle, and that’s why the slowdown is important.

“Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second—walking pace,” says Hathaway. “That’s how it has been since the late 19th century.” In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. “We’ve never seen speeds so low.”

According to theory and observation, the speed of the belt foretells the intensity of sunspot activity ~20 years in the future. A slow belt means lower solar activity; a fast belt means stronger activity.

So what does this mean for solar cycle 24? Nothing. The slowdown now doesn’t affect the next solar cycle (because that must follow the behavior of the Earth’s magnetic field somehow)

Here’s the prediction
What’s more disturbing to me is that NASA refuses to contemplate any changes to the Earth’s climate even though the last three times we had such a weak solar cycle, the Earth cooled (the Dalton minimum centered around 1790-1810, the Maunder Minimum from around 1645 to 1710, the Sporer Minimum centered around 1420 to 1570). Obviously these three events coinciding with global cooling are just coincidences.

But NASA does love a good catastrophic spin on its Earth science articles:

This is interesting news for astronauts. Solar Cycle 25 is when the Vision for Space Exploration should be in full flower, with men and women back on the Moon preparing to go to Mars. A weak solar cycle means they won’t have to worry so much about solar flares and radiation storms.

On the other hand, they will have to worry more about cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are high-energy particles from deep space; they penetrate metal, plastic, flesh and bone. Astronauts exposed to cosmic rays develop an increased risk of cancer, cataracts and other maladies. Ironically, solar explosions, which produce their own deadly radiation, sweep away the even deadlier cosmic rays. As flares subside, cosmic rays intensify—yin, yang.

Yin, Yang? What about the clear connection between cosmic rays and cloudiness? Nowhere to be seen.

The article does make mention of the prediction that I’ve previously cited:

Hathaway’s prediction should not be confused with another recent forecast: A team led by physicist Mausumi Dikpata of NCAR has predicted that Cycle 24, peaking in 2011 or 2012, will be intense. Hathaway agrees: “Cycle 24 will be strong. Cycle 25 will be weak. Both of these predictions are based on the observed behavior of the conveyor belt.”

Well we’ll see. There is a Russian report than claims that Solar Cycle 24 will also be weak, but I’ll have to source it.

By the way, Wikipedia’s report on the Dalton Minimum is pathetic, a clear result of the oppressive censorship of the Global Warmers on solar influence on Earth’s recent climate. The entire article reads:

The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, lasting from about 1790 to 1820. Like the Maunder Minimum and Sporer Minimum it coincided with a period of lower than average global temperatures. Low solar activity seems to be strongly correlated with global cooling, although the mechanism by which solar activity causes climate change is not well understood.

Yes. Really.


Written by John A

March 28, 2007 at 8:44 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Let me see if I have this straight. This means when planning my retirement 14 years from now, I should forget booking an Alaska cruise, because NASA just canceled the Northern Lights. Hello Bermuda! ;^)


    April 15, 2007 at 2:47 pm

  2. John A:
    This is great start to discussing the solar influence on the earths climate. I have been studying the possible return of the Dalton Minimum and its impact. Will you also discuss the solar modulation of cosmic rays and their influence on cloud formation? This seem more plausable than CO2 driven warming. Best, Russ


    April 16, 2007 at 3:22 am

  3. I’d like to do that next – but first I’ve got to buy the book from and read it. 😉

    John A

    May 20, 2007 at 12:41 pm

  4. Cycle 25 will help slow down global warming and buy us some time.


    January 10, 2009 at 6:39 am

  5. I know this is massively late in posting, but since this article is still up it might be interesting for those viewing to see how this situation has evolved. It is now October of 2009 and we’re STILL at minimum level activity. Cycle 24 is predicted to be weaker than normal, and now predictions are being made that cycle 25 might indeed be even weaker.

    But I get tired of people saying “slow down global warming.” Look, I am all on top of cleaning up our act, but really. If the bloody sun goes cold, it doesn’t “slow down” global warming; it STOPS it. Global cooling has occurred every time the sun has gone into these periods of low activity followed by stronger cycles of greater activity that then heat the oceans, the surface, and in turn the atmosphere. To ignore the very affect of a weaker sun and claim that it is buying us time. Its like candy dangling in front of a child’s face. They don’t ignore it. Why do we?

    If this pans out, and we go through a long cold period, then global warming isn’t just postponed. That kind of proves that CO2 isn’t as great of an insulator as we think. Attempting to say that temperatures would drop further without it is an unprovable hypothesis that has no business in real science.

    Cleaning up the environment is the right thing to do. However, ignoring the signs pointing to cooling rather than warming is bloody fool hardy at best.


    October 17, 2009 at 6:58 am

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