Some are trying to make us believe SC24 is just another ordinary solar cycle, but the data is telling us otherwise. SC24 is a grand minimum type cycle that for the first time is measured by modern scientific equipment, and the results speak for themselves.
The underlying reality is that SC24 is remarkably similar to SC5 even though some of the detail of SC5 is a bit sketchy. The Sun at present I think is in a totally different phase to "business as usual" and is in a state that has repeated itself to different levels throughout the Holocene and beyond. The grand minimum cycle shows physical differences that are being measured right now, these measurements tie back to a solar dynamo in disarray.
It is still early days but at present the magnetic strength of the solar poles is the lowest since measurements started, and there is a very real possibility of one or more of the poles staying very close to neutral as we look squarely at the coming downslope of SC24. The solar polar field strength also looks to be tied in with another data set.
Back in Feb 2009 I wrote an article re the torsional oscillation zonal flows that already looked different to the previous cycle, these flows are created by the differing equatorial and polar rotation speeds and a non solid outer layer of the Sun . The length of the flows for SC24 appeared to be longer suggesting a longer cycle time, but another factor loomed in the background. Normally each V shaped flow that migrates to the equator starts from a strong pool that begins at the poles, this pool appears to be the "fuel tank" for the next cycle. Sunspots are created on the V shaped zonal flows that are observed to originate at the Tachocline, a sheer layer boundary that exists at about 75% from the solar centre which separates the radiative and convective zones. Observations also tell us the radiative zone is rotating as a solid while the convective zone is viscous. My thoughts are the Sun during its 10 year disordered orbit around the SSB (right now) is having an impact on the Tachocline.
Fig.2 Notations added. Figures 1&2 appear to be using SC23 rotation values which may filter out weak SC25 zonal flows.
Fig. 1 (Antia 2014) showing that so far the solar poles are completely devoid of any polar flows likely to generate the lower latitude V shaped flows required for SC25. They may still appear but obviously they will be a lot later than previous cycles measured, and SC25 will have the Sun back to its normal orbit path but the damage could already be done. This could be the mechanism that results in two cycle cycles affected (at least) during solar grand minima, the solar pole strength could just be a passenger. We are measuring this cause for 2 cycles affected for the first time.
Another metric derived from the solar Doppler measurements is the solar equatorial rotation speed (Antia, Basu 2013) which clearly shows a slower rotation than SC23. This is tied to the slower zonal flow but suggests there is a physical change being experienced at a solar level right now.
The next data set shows a marked move away from the norm, TSI (total solar irradiance) the total energy output measured by satellites. In the past 40 years or so the TSI values have correlated closely with the smoothed sunspot number (SSN) but now this coupling has been convincingly broken with even Svalgaard making reference. During this cycle other indicators are also moving away from the SSN coupling of the past, F10.7 flux and EUV are other examples.
The L&P Effect is also effectively dead with the linear trend now clearly deviating, the method was always compromised from the start with many now moving away from this flawed assessment. Basically there is no point measuring the increasing lower valued small spots of SC24.
There is no doubt the Sun is in a different place compared to our recent data, I think the fun is just beginning. Some say there is a need for a physical mechanism for the correlation between the 10 year disordered solar orbit and solar slowdown, but solid physical changes measured on the Sun are a clear examples of a planetary force in action. These changes can only occur when there is one planetary configuration, a very falsifiable argument?
Antia, Basu 2013