Here's an encouraging prediction about this winter from a blogger who posts weekly forecasts for eastern PA cycling conditions.
Fri, 17 Oct 2008
Winter Climate Prediction
With this coming weekend being a good reminder that colder weather is on the way, I thought I'd share my current thinking about the upcoming winter.
Let me first say that climate prediction and weather prediction are totally different fields, and that I usually stay away from climate prediction. However, I believe this coming winter will be influenced by a particular effect of the current extreme low in the sunspot cycle.
The sun undergoes periodic and relatively predictable increases and decreases in sunspot number. These cyles, lasting about 11 years had their last peak in the year 2000. This was the peak of cycle #23.
Cycle #24 was supposed to have started some time ago, but over the past year, there has been a paucity of sunspots, in fact, we have recently completed the longest stretch of time in many years with no sunpots at all. With few or no sunspots, the solar flux (energy coming from the sun) has been at a significant nadir for many months. I believe this accounted for the relatively cool summer we had.
With the solar flux still at an extremely low level, I expect this coming winter to be exceptionally cold, perhaps the coldest we have had in many years.
There are many online sites that discuss ramifications of this lull in the sunspot cycle. Search for Dalton Minimum and Solar Cycle 24 on Google for more information.
By the way, over the past few weeks, the first sunspots of the beginning of Cycle 24 have developed. So the sun is no longer spotless. The solar flux, though, remains at just 40% of the level we had in 2000. So we have a way to go to warm up this atmosphere.
posted: Oct 17 2008 at 9:04 pm