Again this week Sunspot activity has been next to (if not at) zero. This quiet has persisted for the entire month and according to reports, it may continue for some time to come.
The NOAA 'low view' is projecting Sunspot activity to be at zero for the rest of the year!
I am really beginning to wonder about what is happening. NASA heralded the arrival of Cycle 24 in January. Yet all of the sunspots that have occurred since the January announcement have been from Cycle 23. Nothing has been seen of Cycle 24 since the sunspot in January.
The NOAA report and projections are indicating the possibility of a minimum last through December 2008 with activity not starting until January of 2009. Others at NOAA (in the same report) are saying that the minimum has passed and that we should start seeing activity in April.
With global temperature and solar activity linked, I am wondering what does this minimum mean for temperature for the balance of the year? NOAA reported that this winter was the 54th coldest since they began keeping records in 1895. Is this a sign of things to come?
Are we in fact now heading for another Maunder or Dalton Minimum?
(This Post has a "near real time" picture of the Sun and Sunspot Activity from the SOHO Satellite)