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Author Topic: Solar Cycle 24 dissapointment?  (Read 3731 times)
WD8T
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« on: June 15, 2011, 11:32:16 AM »

This is a little dissapointing.  Hope I live to see another one.

Scientists predict rare 'hibernation' of sunspots t

AFP/File by Kerry Sheridan Kerry Sheridan – Tue Jun 14, 5:38 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – For years, scientists have been predicting the Sun would by around 2012 move into solar maximum, a period of intense flares and sunspot activity, but lately a curious calm has suggested quite the opposite.

According to three studies released in the United States on Tuesday, experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century.

The signs include a missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles, said experts from the National Solar Observatory and Air Force Research Laboratory.

"This is highly unusual and unexpected," said Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO's Solar Synoptic Network, as the findings of the three studies were presented at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Physics Division in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

"But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation."

Solar activity tends to rise and fall every 11 years or so. The solar maximum and solar minimum each mark about half the interval of the magnetic pole reversal on the Sun, which happens every 22 years.

Hill said the current cycle, number 24, "may be the last normal one for some time and the next one, cycle 25, may not happen for some time.

"This is important because the solar cycle causes space weather which affects modern technology and may contribute to climate change," he told reporters.

Experts are now probing whether this period of inactivity could be a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period when hardly any sunspots were observed between 1645-1715, a period known as the "Little Ice Age."

"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate," said Hill.

Solar flares and eruptions can send highly charged particles hurtling toward Earth and interfere with satellite communications, GPS systems and even airline controls.

Geomagnetic forces have been known to occasionally garble the world's modern gadgetry, and warnings were issued as recently as last week when a moderate solar flare sent a coronal mass ejection in the Earth's direction.

The temperature change associated with any reduction in sunspot activity would likely be minimal and may not be enough to offset the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming, according to scientists who have published recent papers on the topic.

"Recent solar 11-year cycles are associated empirically with changes in global surface temperature of 0.1 Celsius," said Judith Lean, a solar physicist with the US Naval Research Laboratory.

If the cycle were to stop or slow down, the small fluctuation in temperature would do the same, eliminating the slightly cooler effect of a solar minimum compared to the warmer solar maximum. The phenomenon was witnessed during the descending phase of the last solar cycle.

This "cancelled part of the greenhouse gas warming of the period 2000-2008, causing the net global surface temperature to remain approximately flat -- and leading to the big debate of why the Earth hadn't (been) warming in the past decade," Lean, who was not involved in the three studies presented, said in an email to AFP.

A study in the March 2010 issue of Geophysical Research Letters explored what effect an extended solar minimum might have, and found no more than a 0.3 Celsius dip by 2100 compared to normal solar fluctuations.

"A new Maunder-type solar activity minimum cannot offset the global warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions," wrote authors Georg Feulner and Stefan Rahmstorf, noting that forecasts by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have found a range of 3.7 Celsius to 4.5 Celsius rise by this century's end compared to the latter half of the 20th century.

"Moreover, any offset of global warming due to a grand minimum of solar activity would be merely a temporary effect, since the distinct solar minima during the last millennium typically lasted for only several decades
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 05:28:28 PM by WD8T » Logged
WA4LV
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 07:42:40 AM »

"If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades,"


Just great ....  Sad
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K8AXW
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 10:17:57 AM »

I read this article on Foxnews.com and it was a jaw dropper!  I've been looking forward to Cycle 24 for quite some time.  I figured it would be my last one.  I'm 75 years old.  I hope these people are wrong!
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N3OX
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 10:53:31 AM »

Keep in mind that this doesn't say we're not going to have some increased sunspots right now.  We're most certainly on the Cycle 24 upswing

Cycle 24 will proceed... we'll see if it's strong or weak... solar prediction is difficult. Maybe it won't be a barn-burner, but it's very unlikely that the flux is suddenly going to drop to 67 and stay there for fifty years even if we're going to head into a prolonged minimum.
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Dan
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Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 11:50:16 AM »

Just takes a little patience. Better days are coming and cycle is still a good bit away from peak. If you study past cycles you will find that usually the numbers climb to higher averages just before peak and then decay slower than the rise. 2012 and 2013 should be good years and 2014  should not be to bad either. 
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NO2A
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 01:49:55 PM »

I guess we`ll know in about 2 years. I think it just means that conditions will be good but not great. Unless the solar flux gets down to 67 like you said. It means you won`t be able to work the world on 6m or 10m with a mobile antenna. I`m sure we`ll still have openings,they just won`t be spectacular like they were in 1959.
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WE1X
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 05:33:07 AM »

Well, given it's something we cannot control I can't get terribly upset about it. If it happens "it is what it is". By the way, during the bottom of the previous cycle I worked a boatload of dx (including some relatively rare) via the various digital soundcard modes like PSK, MFSK, etc.

Harry WE1X
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 07:08:19 AM »

Yes it is out of our control but also while upper bands (20m and above) suffer most from low solar flux numbers, 40 and 80 and even 160 can do very well at sunspot minimums.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 10:42:31 PM »

Well, given it's something we cannot control I can't get terribly upset about it. If it happens "it is what it is". By the way, during the bottom of the previous cycle I worked a boatload of dx (including some relatively rare) via the various digital soundcard modes like PSK, MFSK, etc.

Harry WE1X

While you are very correct with the "we cannot control" part, I WILL get terribly upset if Cycle 24 doesn't become a "barn burner" as one posted.

The reason is that I started ham radio in 1956 and at that time the sun spot cycle was at an all time recorded high.  Ham radio was an incredible experience during those years.

Now after going through the very long "low" during the past cycle and being able to work just a little DX and then with the recent sizable increase in activity, I guess I'm getting excited. 

Recent contacts which have been very enjoyable...1/2 hour ragchews with guys in EU....the Middle East and even east Africa coming in with S9 and S9+ signals is what makes ham radio enjoyable to me.  And, as I mentioned, I'm 75 and I figure this is my last sun spot high.

This news item is a total downer!!
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W8JX
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2011, 08:07:06 AM »


While you are very correct with the "we cannot control" part, I WILL get terribly upset if Cycle 24 doesn't become a "barn burner" as one posted.


Nothing gained by getting upset over it.  Kinda wasted energy. Lower bands will still work fine even when a tribander does not.
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AD4U
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 08:54:37 AM »

As somebody who cut his teeth during the 1959 (maximum on record - by far) and the 1970 solar cycles..........I just hope to live long enough to enjoy another cycle even remotely like those.

Dick  AD4U
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N3OX
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 09:25:42 AM »

Lower bands will still work fine even when a tribander does not.

You have to have a pretty big tower before you can ragchew with Singapore for a half hour during the sunspot minimum.
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Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 09:52:45 AM »

Lower bands will still work fine even when a tribander does not.

You have to have a pretty big tower before you can ragchew with Singapore for a half hour during the sunspot minimum.

I have spent the majority of the last 42 years as a ham on 40m with some time on 20 and 15 too. I know 40 really well.  I have spent a lot of time on 80 too many years ago. Granted you cannot more than 1000 miles or soon 40 during peak of day time but, with grey line and night time it is possible to work around world on 40 even at sunspot lows. Same on 80 and without a tower too. There is "life" without 20 if need be. BTW I have rag chewed down under many times on 40 over many years and a few times nearly 2 hours and all without a beam or tower too. You just need to know how to "play" the band.
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N3OX
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 10:45:31 AM »

BTW I have rag chewed down under many times on 40 over many years and a few times nearly 2 hours and all without a beam or tower too.

Me too.  I've yakked with VK7 for a long time on 40m using just 100W and a vertical.  1kW and a four square would make that even easier and more pleasant.

But it might not be enough for a tougher propagation path like XU or XV or BV or HS, especially depending on terrain and soil.

I had plenty of fun on 160, 80, 40, 30, 20 and 17m in the doldrums, but my experience with the toughest paths to SE Asia was that the handful of times I heard them, they were in massive demand and hard to work.  This spring on 15m I worked 9N, XV, BY, etc without ANY waiting.  I didn't ragchew with them so much but such a thing might have been an option.  When 10m and 12m open up over the pole, it becomes even easier.

Ultimately, there's nothing we can do.   I guarantee you I will stay on the bands even if sunspots go away for the rest of my life.  But let's not swing too wide the other way and pretend we're not losing ANYTHING.   I have beams at about 30 feet for 20m and up and a vertical for 30m and down, and there's a big part of Asia that becomes incredibly rare if not nearly impossible for me during the sunspot lows... and that's with BIG stations on the other end.

I think it's okay to be bummed out about that even if there's nothing we can do about it.  

That said, even with the new predictions,  Cycle 24 is still going to proceed upward... might not be super strong but that was always possible even if the sun weren't gearing up to do something weird.  I don't think the predictions for a "weak cycle" are necessarily predictions for an especially ABNORMALLY weak one.  Maybe weaker than Cycle 23.  Cycle 25 and beyond are what are in question.

Actually, some of the new data suggests that the entire progression of Cycle 24 appears to be going slowly and I can imagine that being a GOOD thing now that we're getting some activity, especially for those on their last cycle.   The drop into  the doldrums on the far side of this cycle will be delayed just like the start of activity has been delayed.  Perhaps that will extend the period of good (ok, maybe "just okay") conditions on the higher bands considerably!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 11:01:24 AM by N3OX » Logged

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Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
G3RZP
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 12:03:36 AM »

So they don't think there's a connection between the Maunder Minimum and the intense world wide cold wx of that period? They still haven't explained why temperatures on average were higher in the early 1500s, either.
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