Sunspot Report from EOS Journal Now Available
The 11-year sunspot cycle is still in its doldrums, by that I mean that scientists still have not seen an uptick in volume or development in solar activity.
Scientists are left scratching their heads as they comb through historical records to understand this long pause in sunspots.
The most famous, or should I say notorious, slowdown in solar activity occurred during the Maunder Minimum, from 1645 to about 1715, when the Sun was in a prolonged phase of low activity and which coincided with the Little Ice Age in Europe.
According to the explanation on one of the cable channels (probably History Channel), the Maunder Minimum led to the melting of polar ice. The diluted oceans led to the breakdown of the ocean currents (Gulf Stream) which equalized temperatures between the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. Thus, weather was literally more polarized, with a huge buildup of ice south of the Nordic countries.
It sounds like everyone is beginning to get a bit nervous about the lack of sunspots. The article states that it has been more than 670 days without sunspots through June 2009, a stretch that was last experienced back in 1933.
C’mon, Sun. You can do it! Get those flares boiling up and send ’em over here!
You can read the full two-page report by going to http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009EO300001.pdf. As you can see, it is in PDF format so allow for a bit extra time to appear. It is in fairly easy to understand language, plus it has a couple charts to illustrate the decline in intensity and field strength.