[Just a short article today, as I’ve started the journey back to the UK (from Central Portugal) for family reasons. There will be another ‘updated’ post tomorrow (Sept 8) then I’ll be back to it proper Mon, Sept 11. Thank you for your understanding, Cap]
Their press releases surely won’t admit it, but NOAA’s PREDICTED SUNSPOT NUMBER AND RADIO FLUX dataset appears to show a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum running from the 2030s through at least 2040.
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), who’s solar forecasts generally come out higher than NASA’s, are sticking with their originally prediction that it won’t be until mid-2025 before we see the peak of Solar Cycle 25 (SC25) with a sunspot max of 114.6:
The agency then goes on to plot the descent into the minimum of SC25, which they say will run from mid-2025 to 2031 and be comparable to the historically weak cycle just gone, SC24.
Next is where things get interesting.
When sunspots numbers ought be increasing, in line with a ramping-up of Solar Cycle 26, the agency’s data (linked again here) shows that spots do the opposite, they actually continuing dropping:
NOAA is forecasting practically ZERO sunspots throughout the 2030s:
There is no ramp-up into Solar Cycle 26:
According to NOAA, there won’t be a Solar Cycle 26.
Nor are there any signs of Solar Cycle 27–with the data stopping at the end of 2040 (showing 0 sunspots):
NOAA, it would appear, are predicting a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum (GSM).
And while I hold the possibility that the agency’s dataset hasn’t correctly processed that far into the future, I consider this unlikely–namely because figures are issued, rather than ‘N/A’. But moreover, I’ve been checking in with this table for almost four years now, and it has consistently shown <1 sunspot per month from Oct 2035-onward.
I have reached out to the agency for further details, but as of yet haven’t received a reply.
Therefore, until I hear otherwise, I’m taking this to be NOAA’s official prediction.
Grand Solar Minimums
The deepest of GSMs can see the sunspot number hold at ZERO for multiple decades
The most famous example is the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), a period that brought about plummeting temperatures, extensive crop loss, famine to vast swathes of the planet, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people to vast swathes of the planet.
Modern civilization is potentially entering unprecedented times.