Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Solar Minimum

Two nights ago we had a “killing frost.” I covered the potatoes and strawberries, but there is no way to cover the native chestnut oak trees that were hard hit by the frost.
The photo shows the chestnut oak by the house. The dark curled leaves are the youngest leaves. I don’t know if the frost can be directly attributed to the deep solar minimum we are in.

The last deep solar minimum happened in1911-13 and brought some chilly weather with it. The least number of sunspots counted in the last century happened in 1913. The next smallest number was 2008. The third smallest number was 1912. The seventh smallest number was 1911 and 2007 was the ninth smallest number. Check out the graph here

By chance I was just given a diary to read from that period from the same family as the diary of the two boys I transcribed in my book. The writers home was less than a mile from where I sit now in Northeast PA, about 75 miles as the crow flies from NYC.

The entry for January 13, 1912:
Clear and cold. 18 degrees below zero in the morning….

January 14, 1912 Partly cloudy and cold. 36 degrees below zero in the morning and did not get above eleven all day….

January 16, 1912 Clear and very cold. I drew logs all day. The thermometer stood 4 degrees above zero at noon.

The following month:
Feb 9, 1912 Clear and very cold. 20 degrees below zero when I started in the morning.

Feb 10, 1912 Clear and very cold. The thermometer stood at 4 degrees below zero at noon.

Another deep solar minimum happened in 1816 - The Year Without A Summer
While the 1816 chill is attributed to volcanic activity, it was also at the mid-point of the Dalton Solar Minimum


Blogger cyndy said...

Last year, my big white oak got hit with a late frost, and it killed off the entire crown. The tree looked like it was half dead...and I noticed many other white oaks in the area suffered the same fate.

It tried to make a come back with the secondary buds, but was defoliated by the gypsy moth. I thought I would loose the tree, but the terminal buds finally opened in mid July.

...humm...don't put your woolies away this summer...we might need um!

4:44 PM  
Blogger finnsheep said...

More from the diary:
June 8, 1912 Clear and cool with a frost in the morning

June 13, 1912 Clear and cold Frost at night.

Aug. 31, 1912 Partly cloudy with a little rain. There was a frost in the morning.

10:10 AM  

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