Friday, March 6, 2009

The Sun Has Gone Quiet

(I would like to thank Jim for sending this to me and allowing be to publish it. I would also like to thank him for keeping me straight on the science. For more information regarding James Maursek and his web site IPMACT, please read my article, Web Site Worth Exploring. RK)

By James Marusek,
Nuclear Physicist & Engineer
U.S. Department of the Navy, retired

The sun has gone very quite as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. As of the end of February, the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) is now at 558 days. The greatest number of cumulative spotless days during the solar minimums preceding solar cycles 16-23 was 568 days. This record will likely be broken during March. This is further evidence that the Grand Maximum state that has persisted during most of the 20th century is coming to an end.

The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity. The Ap index for February is "5" a slight uptick from the three consecutive months of "4's" (November 2008 - January 2009). An Ap index of "4" is the lowest recorded number since measurements began in January 1932.

Satellites provide generally the most accurate atmospheric temperature measurements covering the entire globe. Average yearly lower Troposphere temperatures (relative to the 1979-1998 average) were as follows: 1998 (0.512 degrees C.), 1999 (0.040), 2000 (0.035), 2001 (0.198), 2002 (0.311), 2003 (0.275), 2004 (0.195), 2005 (0.338), 2006 (0.260), 2007 (0.282) and 2008 (0.048) according to the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) LT5.2 satellite data. Comparing the peak year 1998 to the present, the lower Troposphere temperature has fallen approximately 1/2 degree Celsius. During that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide (at Mauna Loa) has risen 5% from 367 ppm to 386 ppm.

There will be some that might argue that the year 1998 was a temperature anomaly. Indeed, they would be correct. But the elevated temperatures observed that year were used to drive fear into the hearts of many people that the earth had finally reached a tipping point and this was proof-positive that man-made global warming was a hard fact instead of just a hypothesis based on untested computer models.

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