Who stole the sunspots?! Where have they gone?!
As you note in your recent article, "As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%)." (see http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm?list5796 ) and this a continuation of 2008 where 266 days were characterized without any sunspot activity (same reference).
Please find attached a collage of two images spaced precisely four years apart and which is a perfect representation of what is happening (actually NOT happening) with Sol at this moment. More specifically, one of the two component images in the collage is from July 5th, 2005 and which documents the sample rich activity which is characteristic of the sun during non-minimum periods. The second component image in the collage is from July 5th, 2009 and is most characteristic of the blank sun which has become the norm and status quo. The second attachment is a higher analysis version of the same collage and which really brings the message forth.
Some research suggests this lack of sunspot activity impacts the levels of UV in our atmosphere and which in turn impact the development of clouds. Certainly winters have been unusually severe and it seems each and every winter manages to find a way to be worse than the previous one.
Some links of potential interest include:
(1) http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Sunspots-2005-07-05.htm (part 1 of collage)
(2) http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Sunspots-2009-07-05.htm (part 2 of collage)
(3) http://www.perseus.gr/Astro-Solar-Scenes-Deep-Minimum-2005-2009.htm (details about attached collage)
(4) http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm?list5796 (your recent excellent article)
(5) http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29may_noaaprediction.htm?list5796 (latest predictions for new cycle)
Thank you for your consideration and best wishes from Greece!