11:50 AM | Solar cycle 24 continues on a track that will make it the least active sunspot cycle in more than one hundred years
We are now a few years into the current solar cycle, 24, which began during 2008, and it is becoming increasingly clear as to where it stands in term of relative strength compared to other cycles. The current predicted and observed size of solar cycle 24 makes this the least active cycle since Cycle 14 which reached a maximum in February of 1906 – more than one hundred years ago. Despite the fact that we are heading towards an expected solar maximum during the mid-to-latter part of 2013, the sun has been relatively calm during the past several weeks. The increasingly likely outcome for a weak solar cycle continues the recent downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began with solar cycle 22 over twenty years ago. Additionally, there are some solar scientists who are already predicting that the next solar cycle, 25, will be even weaker than the current one sometime later this decade or in the 2020’s. While a weaker cycle does not rule out the threat for strong solar storms, it does suggest that they will occur less often than during the stronger and more active cycles. Meanwhile, at the same time the sun appears to be in a period of weakening sunspot cycles, the northern Pacific Ocean has appeared to have entered a long-term colder phase which can last up to a few decades. There is some belief that suggests that the combination of a cold northern Pacific Ocean along with the weakening solar sunspot cycles may ultimately have a negative impact on global temperatures and we'll continue to track it here at thesiweather.com.