Monday, November 4, 2013

Spike in October Sunspots Raises Concerns for Warm Winter

New data concerning the monthly averages of sunspots has come in for October, and the results show a spike in sunspot values for that month. If we go by the acknowledgement that sunspot spikes precede a warm weather trend by 2-3 months, it's possible we see a solidly warm start to winter, possibly extending beyond December.

As the graph above shows, sunspot values jumped up for the month of October. While they are still below normal in the grand scheme of things, my concern now is that we see a decisively warm start to winter. For an example, see the fall of 2011 in the graph above. A very similar situation unfolded- a spike in sunspot numbers in October preceded the winter of 2011-2012, and we all know how that winter actually ended up. I'm not saying this winter will be like 2011-2012, but this sunspot spike does increase the potential for a warmer winter.

The chart above shows a composite of winters following a spike in sunspot numbers. This chart tells the story, with a clear trend for warmer weather over much of the United States as a result of these sunspot spikes. To fit the criteria, the winters of 2001-2002, 2005-2006 and 2011-2012 were picked solely as a result of the fall spike in sunspots, with other atmospheric patterns (i.e. ENSO, PDO, AMO etc.) not taken into account. That said, the aforementioned patterns, among many others, will alter the temperature pattern for this winter. But this composite does give us an idea of the potential consequences of a fall spike in sunspots.



Anonymous said...

Andrew, do you see this spike in sunspots completely changing your predictions in your winter forecast? I live in Iowa and am hoping for your forecast to verify. Thanks

Frank-o said...

Hmmmmmmm, Yet another nail in winters coffin....I said in a post a month or so ago, that for us here in NorthWest North Carolina, we would see a mostly dry warm winter for the most part, with nothing much as far any winter weather thru mid to late January and by then for us downhere in N.C, with the days getting longer by Feb, its over with for the most part....As I look at NOAA's data and the long range outlook from the NWS....It an't looking good for us winter lovers.

Anonymous said...

Yes I love Solar Flares! The sun is coming alive & will I do believe change the winter in Iowa!
Although with all!
the signs I saw regarding the insects/bugs, I'm not going to bet the farm on it!
You know around the 23rd of November is when the big Solar Flare is to hit, or so I've read
Have to wait & see!!

Anonymous said...

Sunspot numbers and the geomagnetic index are often correlated in their cycles. But the real driver of the warmth is the sun's radiation, the sunspots are less direct. The Saturday summary at Weather Bell this week explained this better than I can. A spike in the AP geomagnetic index would be a more reliable indicator of warmth.

Anonymous said...

Typically, sunspots are not included in weather forecasts, but it can be an important issue when sunspot activity is very high or low.

I appreciate Andrew continuing to discuss sunspots.

Let's see if 2 - 3 months if this sunspot spike corresponds with warmer US and World weather.

Shawn said...

Don't play the funeral dirge just yet. This winter could surprise us snowlovers!