NASA Declares Arrival of Solar Cycle 25 But Will It Present A Colder Winter For 2020-21?

This past week, NASA revealed that solar cycle 25 has officially begun and that cycle 24 ended back in December 2019 when it reached a minimum. Solar cycle 24 reached it’s maximum back in April 2014.

Solar cycle 23 ended and cycle 24 commenced back in late 2008 with Britain’s coldest winter since 1978-79 occurring about 12 months AFTER the minimum. Coincidence or not, there is a lag in ocean and atmosphere, so why not the sun right?

I have always believed that, perhaps not solely but a large influence of the 2009-10 winter occurred due to the solar minimum and that sunspot activity was lowest in about 200 years.

So, could this new solar minimum present a repeat of 2009-10 in winter 2020-21? Unfortunately it’s not that simple. The global players autumn 2009 aren’t in place now. Even it they we’re, it’s no guarantee that the atmosphere would respond in the same way. The variables aren’t the same then as they are 11 years on.

Global SST anomaly during the solar minimum of 2008.

Global SST’s around the solar minimum of 2019.

Between the last two solar minimums, global oceans have warmed significantly and so too have the land masses.

The warmer world, the lesser ocean and atmospheric cooling in response to the Super El Nino of 2017-18, compared to 1997-98 brings up some fundamental questions. If there’s a lag between what occurs on the sun and effects of earth’s atmosphere/ocean, how long is the lag? IF the sun had anything to do with winter 2009-10 then surely your talking 1-year, possibly 18 months if you include December 2010 which was the UK’s coldest December in 100 years.

Some of the warmest/stormiest winters occurred between the 2006 maximum and 2008 minimum. We have seen the same occur between the 2014 maximum and 2019 minimum.

Our oceans ‘appear’ to be at boiling point and each year seems to be ‘warmest ever’ if you believe the media and even NOAA/NASA figures. The planet has undoubtedly remained ‘record warm’ AFTER the last Super El Nino of 17-18, lag or no lag, based on previous super ninos of 88-89, 97-98 and 2017-18, I would typically see global cooling with counter balancing La Nina from 2018 to now and that’s not happened.

In my opinion and basic understanding of earth’s climate system, the big test comes this winter and probably next. We currently have a La Nina developing in the Pacific and this could become strong but this ‘cold area’ seems overshadowed by warmer surrounding oceans. Let’s see how much global cooling can occur in response to the La Nina AND the solar minimum.

Another question. Is there a true ‘short term’ sun to earth’s atmosphere response? If there is a response between solar minimum and cooling global temperatures, does the response take longer with warmer oceans and land masses and less arctic sea ice?

There are scientists which claim that the sun is the primary driver of earth’s climate system yet others state there is very little evidence to suggest that. Some say that the maunder minimum actually didn’t occur at the time of the little ice age but some 50 years later.

Let’s see what happens in the coming months…

Credit: NASA/Hathaway

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