I’m a ham radio operator (license N0XMZ – for any fellow hams who want to know), so I pay close attention to a phenomenon called the solar cycle. Basically, it’s an 11-year cycle of what we call “sunspots”. Sunspots emit radiation that ionize the upper atmosphere to the point where our shortwave radio signals can travel around the world by bouncing off this ionized layer. We hams LOVE sunspots.
Thankfully, NOAA (parent agency of the National Weather Service) keeps track of sunspot activity and provides us hams with useful information that allows us to predict just where in the world we might be able to talk. As I was researching the current cycle (now at solar minimum – very few, if any, sunspots) I stumbled across an interesting paragraph…
“May 8, 2009 — The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”
[Bold added by your’s truly. Source: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle]
Notice how they make it clear that this opinion is only a “consensus” and not “unanimous”. The inference is that while I may use it as a rough guide, the opinion is not meant, in any way, to be scientific evidence. In other words, NOAA is telling us hams to take their prediction with a grain of salt.
Now isn’t THAT interesting? A scientific consensus is not to be taken as seriously as any kind of evidence. This, from the same agency that’s more than happy to go along with the global warming alarmists in their consensus.