SOLAR CYCLE 24 is Odd, Very Odd

Commentary on the sun's 24th sunspot cycle continues to consider the unusual ingredients in this cycle, pointing towards a significant low sunspot period unfolding.
This NOAA space weather graphic prediction shows the low level tracking of the sunspot totals since Cycle 24 started in December 2008. The totals are expected by normal calculations, to track along the red trace.
Scroll to end for 2014 updates
click to enlarge all graphics
 Jan Alvestad's site Solen provides a lot of cycle graphs for historic comparisons and he freely shares his work. His analysis suggests Cycle 24 may mimic Cycle 10 to some extent.
Cycle 10 began in December 1855, ended March 1867 [ 11years, 3 mo]
Cycle 10 peaked after 50 months in Feb 1860 with a peak around 95 on the number axis.

So here's an interesting proposition: if Cycle 24 has a similar beginning trajectory
Beginning December 2008
Peaking February 2013 ( 50 months in)
Does Cycle 24 unfold as expected, ending around 2020?
Or could this cycle effectively end much sooner than expected  - i.e. decline unusually quickly, with subsequent Deep or Grand Minimum of sunspot activity.

A significant consensus says a minimum event is on the horizon but there are lots of different theories suggesting why.
One indicator I will be watching re the question whether Cycle 24 has any connection to Cycle 10 is the position of Saturn. In November 2014 Saturn will reach the same position as in March 1867 which marked the end of Cycle 10. From this point a clear and dramatic decline in the sunspot levels of Cycle 24 may be underway.

This this is a rather random intuitive leap, updates will be added which reflect of the status of Cycle 24.
The theories of Landscheidt et al. referenced by Geoff Sharp pursue a wholistic solar systemic perspective compared to standard NASA research.

update April 20 2012
Piers Corbyn, UK forecaster expects Coldest May in 100 years for Britain in 2012 - report 
Update May 17 UT
Unusually large sunspot 1476  basically failed to deliver much of note as it crossed the solar disc in the past week - though on exit stage right -an M5.1 starting between 0:00 to 01:00 hrs UT,  plus CME seems to have knocked out spaceweather satellites, with ACE & GOES amongst others, blinking off for up to 3 hrs. Piers Corbyn supports the view of Japanese researchers who feel the north & south  solar polar fields have become out of synch, creating what Corbyn calls a 'magnetic muddle'. Is this responsible for the current underwhelming solar output?

update March 2 2013
NASA acknowledges 'something unexpected is happening on the sun & so a new prediction for the current solar cycle:

update March 13 2013
Going back in time when excitement was high over solar activity:
Solarham notes:
Between March 6th and March 19th, 1989 during Solar Cycle 22, a very large Sunspot numbered 5395 was making it's second trip across the Earth facing side of the Sun. The spot was so large, measuring over 3500 millionth's the Sun's visible Earth facing hemisphere, it could have swallowed up approx. 22 planet Earths. The behemoth was responsible for 48 M-Class flares and 11 X-Class flares during the transit, including a massive X15 event on March 6th, 1989. One of these large X-Class events on March 10th hurled a massive CME towards Earth and was responsible for a now legendary geomagnetic storm between March 13 and March 15, 1989. This particular storm was so intense, it knocked out the Hydro Quebec power grid for several hours and visible Aurora could be seen as far south as Florida and Cuba.


update April 25 2014
The sun is doing something odd.
The double peak of sunspots is now projecting much higher than the initial peak in this cycle
Standard solar physics says the cycle should now be weakening -not growing in strength.
This has implications for climate effects: more solar activity =more warming; less activity =more cooling
report



Resources, References, Further Reading
More Mini-Ice Age predictions

SOLEN
Are Uranus & Neptune responsible for Solar Grand Minima and Solar Cycle Modulation?
Astronomy Now on unusual aspects of Cycle 24
Outlook for Cycle 25
Is the sun about to shift from Bipilar to Quadrupolar?  - 2012 press release
Official view: Cycle 24 the smallest in 100 years

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