More Signs Of The Sun Slowing Down

In my post from yesterday, I highlighted a paragraph from a NASA press release which touched on one of the final findings of the soon to be ended Ulysses spacecraft mission to study the sun:

“Ulysses ends its career after revealing that the magnetic field emanating from the sun’s poles is much weaker than previously observed. This could mean the upcoming solar maximum period will be less intense than in recent history. “

A few months ago, I had plotted the Average Geomagnetic Planetary Index (Ap) which is a measure of the solar magnetic field strength but also daily index determined from running averages of eight Ap index values. Call it a common yardstick (or meterstick) for solar magnetic activity.

solar-geomagnetic-Ap Index
Click for a larger image

I had noted that there was a curious step function in 2005, almost as if something had “switched off”.

Today, since it is fathers day, and I get to do whatever I want, I chose to revisit this graph. Later I plan to take my children to launch model rockets, but for now, here are some interesting new things I’ve found.

First, I’ve updated the original Ap graph to June 2008 as you can see below.


Click for a larger image

Source data, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/RecentIndices.txt

As you can see, the Ap Index has continued along at the low level (slightly above zero) that was established during the drop in October 2005. As of June 2008, we now have 32 months of the Ap hovering around a value just slightly above zero, with occasional blips of noise.

Since it is provided in the same dataset, I decided to also plot the smoothed Ap Index. I had noted to myself back in February that the smoothed Ap Index had dropped to minus 1.0. I figured it was just an artifact of the smoothing algorithm, but today that number remains there, and there doesn’t appear to be any change even though we’ve had a bit of noise in March that put the Ap Index back up to 10 for that month.

I also plotted my own 24 month smoothing window plot, shown in magenta.


Click for a larger image

I find it curious that the smoothed value provided by SWPC remains at -1. I figure if it is a software error, they would have noted and fixed it by now, and if they haven’t then perhaps they are standing by the number. Odd. One possibility may be that they are using a 12 month fixed window, instead of a moving window month to month. If so, then why show the -1.0 data values? Put nulls — in the dataset.

UPDATE: Astute reader Jorma Kaskiseiväs points out something I missed. The explanation is in the header for the dataset file, a short note: # Missing data: -1″. I was looking in the companion readme file for an explanation. Thanks for pointing this out. Surprising though that SWPC does not use a running average. Easy to do as I’ve shown.

While I was searching for something that could explain this, I came across this plot from NOAA’s NGDC which was used to illustrate solar storm frequency related to sunspots:


Click for original source image, a larger plot is here via FTP link.

But what I found was most interesting was the data file they provided, which had the number of days in a year where the Ap Index exceeded 40. You can view that data file yourself here via FTP link. The accompanying readme file for the data is also available here.

What is most striking is that since 1932, there have not been ANY years prior to 2007 that have zero data. The closest was 1996:

1996 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

———————————————————–
YEAR JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC TOTAL
———————————————————–
2005 3 0 2 1 3 2 2 2 3 0 0 0 18
2006 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5
2007 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 0 0 0 0 0 0

Now we have almost two years.

Here is my plot of the above dataset:


Click for a larger image

I also decided to plot the 10.7 centimeter band solar radio flux, also a metric of solar activity. It is in the same SWPC dataset file as the Ap Index, in columns 8 and 9. Oddly the smoothed 10.7 CM flux value provided by SWPC also has dropped precipitously and stayed there. I also provided my own 24 month wind smoothed value which is plotted in magenta.


Click for a larger image

Like the smoothed Ap Index, it has also stayed that way a few months. NOTE: The data past Dec 2007 on the blue line from SWPC is not valid. The smoothed 24 month window is.

Either way it appears we continue to slide into a deeper than normal solar minima, one not seen in decades. Given the signs, I think we are about to embark upon a grand experiment, over which we have no control.

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135 Responses to More Signs Of The Sun Slowing Down

  1. Clark says:

    Are those drops in the blue smoothing lines due to the fact that the smoothing window gets beyond the available data?

    REPLY: That’s a possibility, but why would they advanc ethe window? One possibility may be that they are using a 12 month window, but instead of beign a moving window month to month, they step it by year?

    It’s just plain odd that SWPC would do this. Maybe Leif Svaalgard will chime in and offer an explanation.

  2. James says:

    I think it was Einstein that said \”The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.\”

  3. Raven says:

    Hi Anthony,

    A suggestion for a blog post (and an invitation to any readers that would know where to look for the info).

    California has been a long proponent of the ‘if you legislate it the market will build’ school of thought. I am not that familiar with the different initiatives but I do seem to recall that California is frequently forced to back pedal because, in the end, the required technology did not magically appear (e.g. practical electric cars).

    California’s experience probably has a lot of lessons for those people pushing cap and trade and carbon taxes. I would not assume that it is all bad – the successes would be interesting as well but I am willing to bet that the successes occurred only when a viable technology existed but just needed time to be deployed. Does anyone know of a successful previously unknown technology that was developed in response to these kinds of mandates?

  4. Daryl Ritchison says:

    I found it interesting that you mentioned that here have not been ANY years prior to 2007 that have zero data. The closest was 1996, because at my location 1996 was the last year we’ve had temperatures this cold and actually 2008 has been slightly colder.

    Plus 1996 was also the last year that Fargo, ND had a top 10 coldest year on record (including the 1880s data set with questionable measuring techniques) and this year so far is easily within reach of that unless we have a huge turnaround this later this summer into the autumn season.

    Anyway, good read. I may try to incorporate this into the daily column we do for our local paper.

  5. Curt says:

    Raven:

    The prototype for the “if you legislate it they will build it” school of lawmaking was the original US Clean Air Act. No one knew how cars could meet those emissions standards, but then Ford scientists developed the catalytic converter, and Ford did not enforce its patent rights.

    Unfortunately, this lucky success led legislators to believe this was an easily repeatable event.

  6. Richard deSousa says:

    This is indeed getting curiouser and curiouser….

  7. David Walton says:

    While I prefer science to politics (I’ll take the scientific method over any other, thank you) humans have always been political as well as and curious and inquisitive beings.

    That said I can be as political as the next guy and, to be honest, I hope that these indicators of a possible downturn in the energy output of the sun are true. AGW, in my humble opinion, has too long been little more than inflated hysterics and hype. Frankly, I am fed up with this nonsense. A good cool spell would be a welcome event and demonstrate what I suspect to be the single most important parameter in long term global temperature trends — the sun.

    If only another mini ice-age would —

    1) Cool off the IPCC.
    2) Give some pause to the the AGW scientists, bureaucrats, and politicians who suck up all the funding and stifle, defund, intimidate, and marginalize scientists who do not tow the AGW line.
    3) Shut up the insufferable Al Gore for a decade or two.

  8. DAV says:

    Anthony:

    That’s a possibility, but why would they advance the window? One possibility may be that they are using a 12 month window, but instead of being a moving window month to month, they step it by year?

    I come close by calculating an average of the preceding and following 6 month (including the center month) but can’t quite get the same value. Maybe its weighted by the number of days. OTOH, could be a different algorithm, like a Gaussian kernel. But it’s quite likely the Smoothed Ap value is in the center of whatever is used for smoothing.

    In any case, -1 means NA so if you’re using R (or S), you can say data$Ap[data$Ap==-1] = NA. When plotted the NA’s are dropped.

  9. Bill says:

    A tad off topic, but the NCDC temp data for May has been released. NCDC says the Mar/Apr/May time period is the seventh hottest on record. Isn’t the divergence between NCDC/GISS and satellite RSS/UAH becoming a tad ludicrous? NCDC needs to make that bold leap into the 21st century as far as temp measurements are concerned.

  10. Jorma Kaskiseiväs says:

    It says so in the RecentIndices.txt header:

    # Missing data: -1

    REPLY: Ah, my bad. Thanks for pointing it out. I missed that altogether, I looked in the readme file for an explanation and found none.

  11. McGrats says:

    Anthony wrote: “Today, since it is fathers day, and I get to do whatever I want, I chose to revisit this graph. Later I plan to take my children to launch model rockets, but for now, here are some interesting new things I’ve found.”

    They still allow you to do that out there in La La Land? Do you have to purchase carbon credits first?

    Jack Koenig, Editor
    The Mysterious Climate Project
    http://www.climateclinic.com

  12. Aaron C says:

    Bill: Are you certain about the NCDC “7th hottest spring” data? I just checked the NCDC “climate at a glance” page, and the plot for spring 2008 shows that most of the US was average or colder for the season, only 3-4 states warmer than avg (Texas and a couple of northeastern states).

  13. dennis ward says:

    It will be interesting to see , if , despite this lower solar activity, global temperatures rise, what will be the next sceptical theory that totally ignores 6.5 billion people (and rising) responsible for pumping 50 thousand tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every minute, every day and every year.

    Why do your Ap graphs not show any change in 1998 when global temperatures spiked? Is this an acceptance that earthly factors (i.e. El Nino) were far more influential?

    And why is the American media refusing to put two and two together over global warming and the increased levels of global flooding as predicted by climate change models?

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/6/12/102024/948/

  14. Robert Wood says:

    I am thinking of Voyager (I and II, not Star Trek II).

    Thee apparently are cominginto contact with the hekliosheath. If the Sun is so much weaker magnetically, then we have been lucky for the spacecraft to have been launched at such a time, otherwise tyhe heliosheath would still be far away.

  15. Pamela Gray says:

    There are lots of reasons for floods. Heavy snow melt, fronts colliding, jet stream sags into hotter areas of the US, 100 year floods not allowed to seep into flood plains so the rivers crest into towns instead, towns expanding since 100 years ago and now when it floods it floods basements instead of wet lands, etc. We also get daily coverage, minute by minute, 24 hours a day, news. Any time there is a flood, it makes it into our living rooms. 100 years ago, we just moved to higher ground till the flood ended. Now we look for signs from God that our mother caused it. The Missoula Floods were caused by ice jams breaking, then building, then breaking, again and again as the Earth cycled through warming and cooling. Now those were FLOODS!!!! Can you imagine what people would be saying today if we had a flood like that? There would likely be a laundry list of all the things that caused that ice to build up, damn up the water, then break free.

  16. JP says:

    Dennis,
    Anyone with a shred of meterological training knows that this year’s severe weather and attendent flooding in North America is caused by the La Nina event of the last year. Also, climate models do not project anything, but people infer things from them. The current run of global cooling was predicted by any climate models in the recent past.

  17. Evan Jones says:

    As I behold the dying sun, with brightened eyes.
    It’s light will then/soon dis/appear? from/in the land of death.
    The frozen land of death.
    Of death.
    The winter, the darkness, the kingdom of all the night.
    Of all the night.
    I can hear the sun’s breathing, the dying sun,
    Behold the last of him, it will faint to grey.
    To grey.
    To grey.
    The wings of winter, will rise as it dies.
    The crystal ground will ask the sun to die.
    Die!
    As the sun die
    Die!
    The winter, the darkness, the kingdom of all the night.
    Of all the night.
    Behold the dying sun.

  18. Jared says:

    Dennis,

    Ah, so now the flooding in the Midwest is due to global warming. But we must also remember that droughts, blizzards, hurricanes, tornados, ice melt, ice increase, and any other number of weather events are directly attributable to global warming.

    Here’s the simple 2+2 you are missing: global temperatures aren’t rising, and they haven’t for a decade. Why has this Nina dropped temperatures just as low as the La Nina in 1999, even though that one was just as strong? Shouldn’t the underlying global warming have made temperatures a bit warmer this time around?

  19. poetSam says:

    Dennis, ah honesty at last. It’s those pesky other humans. Which ones do you suggest should die.

    Evan,

    Your poetry is fine
    though it don’t seem to rhyme.
    If I thought you not a him
    I would guess
    Ursela K. LeGuin

  20. Philip_B says:

    I have a link, on my other computer unfortunately, showing global flood frequency over the last 30 years.

    It shows a slight increasing trend caused by more minor floods (probably a reporting frequency over that time.

    More importantly, it shows a clear downward trend in major floods over the period.

    Here it is,

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Efloods/archiveatlas/severitygraph.htm

  21. deadwood says:

    I think we are about to embark upon a grand experiment, over which we have no control.

    Its a well known Chinese Curse to live in interesting times. Well, here we are again.

  22. As some has pointed out, the various ‘-1’s simply mean ‘missing data’. For the smoothed values it simply means no smoothing was done because there was no data. Cycle 23 is low, but not anomalously so: Cycle 13 [some 107 years ago] was very similar. It simply means that we are returning to the quiet solar conditions we have observed about every 100 years, and cycle 24 will probably be lower than 23, just as 14 was lower than 13, although we don’t know why there should be such a ~100 year cycle. Because of the measured weaker polar fields, the prediction of a low cycle 24 is not simply an extrapolation, but a real prediction based on [albeit poorly understood] physical theory. Cycle 24 will be a test of that theory. Should cycle 24 turn out to be large [or even average], the theory is clearly wrong and we [Schatten and I] are back to square one. Luckily, there are other theories [e.g. Dikpati et al's] that can take over so we are not completely in the dark.

  23. jeeztheadmin says:

    Should cycle 24 turn out to be large [or even average], the theory is clearly wrong and we [Schatten and I] are back to square one. Luckily, there are other theories [e.g. Dikpati et al's] that can take over so we are not completely in the dark.

    Spoken like a true scientist. Others who shall not be named should hang their heads in shame.

  24. crosspatch says:

    Just for grins I went back and looked at the SOHO “movies” of solar activity from September and October to see if I could notice any visual changes about the time the data had that step-change. I didn’t see anything, though, except there seemed to be a lot more and larger CMEs in September than October.

  25. crosspatch says:

    SOHO movies from September and October of 2005, that is.

  26. Kim Mackey says:

    Dr. Svalgaard,

    Since we have not been able to measure the polar fields with much accuracy for very long, is it possible that your estimate for cycle 24 max is actually high?

    It will be quite exciting in an academic sense to see what happens with cycle 24.

    Kim Mackey

    ===================
    Because of the measured weaker polar fields, the prediction of a low cycle 24 is not simply an extrapolation, but a real prediction based on [albeit poorly understood] physical theory. Cycle 24 will be a test of that theory. Should cycle 24 turn out to be large [or even average], the theory is clearly wrong and we [Schatten and I] are back to square one. Luckily, there are other theories [e.g. Dikpati et al's] that can take over so we are not completely in the dark.

  27. Evan Jones says:

    Your poetry is fine
    though it don’t seem to rhyme.

    Ah, but it isn’t mine!
    All quoted, line by line.

    (If it isn’t my own ranting
    I make the letters slanting.)

  28. tester says:

    test

  29. poetSam says:

    I’ve learned to slant
    this is quite swell,
    now my rhymes
    look less like hell.

  30. Bill says:

    AronC,
    Well, I’m certainly not sure, but the NCDC report was for the world, not just the US. They state the US has been cooler but overall this was the 8th warmest spring on record (not seventh as I previously erroneously posted). http://global-warming.accuweather.com/

  31. Mackey: The polar field measurements go back indirectly two more cycles [to 1954] and there is little doubt we have enough of a baseline to be pretty sure. There is, however, another possibility, namely that if Livingston and Penn [as was discussed in an earlier post] are correct that sunspots [i.e. their magnetic fields] would still be there in the predicted amount, but that the actual spots would be less visible [smaller contrast] and thus undercounted leading to a ‘too low’ sunspot number. This is all very exiting and the Sun may have some surprise in store for us.

  32. KuhnKat says:

    Dennis Ward,

    thank you for the SKY IS FALLING view. Would you now please put it in context by presenting data on what percentage this HUGE amount of anthropogenic CO2 is compared to naturally occurring??

    In addition, please post any evidence you may have that directly shows increases of CO2 up to, say 1000 PPM will be bad for the earth??

    Thank you.

  33. Bill Marsh says:

    Dennis Ward,

    And if they continue to drop (as they have since 2002 or 1999 depending)? Then what? Seems to me a negative correlation, which now exists between temp and CO2 level for almost the last decade is enough to make people start wondering about the validity of the claimed ‘overwhelming’ CO2 effect on temp. I don;t see it. CO2 has an effect, certainly, but not nearly as egregious as the ‘global Warming Disaster’ advocates seem to think. Personally, I think our change in land use from forest/prairie to agriculture has more of an effect than CO2 – just a hypothesis, not even a theory atm. Logarithmic effects and that pesky water vapor sucking up all the energy from most of the bandwidth CO2 affects seem to be winning out.

    Actually the GCMs don’t ‘predict’ anything, they are sensitivity runs that test the sensitivity of various inputs. Seems if you look hard enough you can find someone who claims GCMs ‘predicted’ virtually any event you’d are to name from more hurricanes to less, higher temps to lower, more rain to less, more storms to less, etc. Makes things easy if any occurance is ‘predicted’

  34. Caleb says:

    JP,
    If the current cooling was predicted by modles, why did people like Hanson predict warming and the infamous “super El nino?”

    Dennis Ward,

    Regarding the 1998 El Nino. I read somewhere it may have been a delyed responce to the two big eruptions five years earlier. (Pinetubo and El-???) The suggestion was that at first the eruptions cooled the world, but after the ash settled another effect kicked in. Apparently the sulfur had destroyed a lot of ozone, which allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate and heat more effectively. So….there’s no avoiding the sun.

    This is only one of several theories I’ve chanced across which attempt to explain why major eruptions often seem to cause El Nino’s. The more I read the more I understand how complex the system is.

  35. swampie says:

    Dennis, you must be right! After all, roughly 15,000 years ago, Florida had an area twice what it does now.

    I blame the paleoindians and their SUVs.

  36. deadwood says:

    From Tim Ball’s article in the Canada Free Press.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3482

    CO2 EMISSIONS : Range Gt C/year
    1. Respiration Humans, Animals, Phytoplankton 43.5 to 52.0
    2. Ocean Outgassing (Tropical Areas) 90.0 to 100.0
    3. Volcanoes, Soil degassing 0.5 to 2.0
    4. Soil Bacteria, Decomposition 50.0 to 60.0
    5. Forest cutting, Forest fires 0.6 to 2.6
    Total 184.6 to 216.6
    Anthropogenic emissions (2005) 7.5
    Anthropogenic Percentage of Total 4.1% to 3.5%

    The AGW hypothesis is based on accumulation of that 4% human component of CO2 emissions. It assumes positive feedback from water vapor and assumes the planet and its environment does not adapt to changing conditions. There are other assumptions as well, such as no significant natural warming or cooling mechanisms.

    The 4% is pretty tiny and the assumptions are contrary to observed phenomena, but aside from that the debate is settled.

  37. anna v says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:35:41) :

    ‘There is, however, another possibility, namely that if Livingston and Penn [as was discussed in an earlier post] are correct that sunspots [i.e. their magnetic fields] would still be there in the predicted amount, but that the actual spots would be less visible [smaller contrast] and thus undercounted leading to a ‘too low’ sunspot number.”

    Something completely funny in this statement.

    Certainly the hypothesis of invisible sunspots with smaller contrasts is permissible, but why would they not always exist and always be undercounted?

    Let me give an simple example:

    Let us watch a boiling pot of water and count the frequency of bubles. At some point our method of measurement will stop counting microbubbles, which of course are there always.

    Let us lower the heat that boils the water. Fewer bubbles and still uncounted invisible ones, but I think everybody would concede that a correct ballpark estimate of the heat boiling the water could be made by the bubble count.

    Is there a viable explanation of why “invisible” sunspots would be less important in the counting if there are many visible ones? Conservation law? A sort of quantum number conservation? I am not ironic, with electromagnetic fields involved topological countings might also play a role.

  38. Pingback: More Signs Of The Sun Slowing Down :Forest, Fire, and Wildlife News

  39. anna: go read the Livingston and Penn paper first. What they find is that the temperature within the sunspots have steadily increased the past 15 years due to a decrease of the magnetic field at the darkest point inside the spots. The contrast between the spot and the surrounding photosphere depends on the temperature: the cooler the spot, the less light does it emit and hence the bigger is the contrast and the easier it is to see the spot. So, what is so funny? That you didn’t do your homework :-)

  40. crosspatch says:

    I believe that it might indeed be possible for the contrast of the spots to be greatly reduced but the fact is, we aren’t seeing that happen. We have instruments now that will pick up the magnetic anomaly so we can tell if such a spot is there, but we aren’t seeing them. We still see spots, and it wasn’t all that long ago … couple of months, I believe, where we had three quite impressive sunspot groups on the Sun at the same time, though they didn’t last long.

    What I seem to be seeing is smaller magnetic anomalies, fewer of them, and they last a shorter period of time. While it is certainly possible to have “spots” with a high enough temperature that they don’t contrast with the surface, we aren’t seeing any evidence of any such spots that I know of.

  41. dennis ward says:

    So how come that temperatures ROSE from 1985 to 1998 when the sun ‘s activity DECLINED? How could anybody believe in a theory in which the correlation was totally the opposite of what was expected? And last year was the second warmest on record in the Northern Hemisphere, despite all this talk of global cooling. So there must be other factors involved besides the sun. Ones that are staring you in the face.

    And even IF the sun forecasters are right (note, THESE forecasters are of course to be believed) and there is going to be a contribution from declining solar activity in making the earth cooler, this is only a temporary reprieve. It will not stop the remorseless rise in CO2 levels.

    As for man-made warming, nobody with any credibility is arguing that man-made emissions ALONE affects the global temperature. But it is a major contributing factor as emissions of any greenhouse gases from ANY source into the atmosphere are. Why is this so difficult to accept or understand? I am sure that had there not been any political implication involved or there was nothing that could be done about it, this would not even be in dispute. Try to see all this from a detached point of view, if that is possible.

    My politics have always been right wing but I can see that 6.5 billion people constantly pumping so much Co2 into the air is bound to have an effect on the planet, so what is stopping other people?

    The left have been allowed to monopolise global warming and introduce stupid ideas like carbon-trading, which will not do anything to stop global warming. The only thing that will stop man-made global warming is a reduction in the number of humans. Any other action is bound to fail.
    And that reduction should be in the form of encouraging contraception in areas of a rapidly growing population.

    It is time the right got on the case instead of pretending the elephant in the room does not exist. Too much time is being wasted by the left with their half-baked ideas.

  42. anna v says:

    “Leif Svalgaard (22:01:26) :

    anna: go read the Livingston and Penn paper first. What they find is that the temperature within the sunspots have steadily increased the past 15 years due to a decrease of the magnetic field at the darkest point inside the spots. The contrast between the spot and the surrounding photosphere depends on the temperature: the cooler the spot, the less light does it emit and hence the bigger is the contrast and the easier it is to see the spot. So, what is so funny? That you didn’t do your homework :-) ”

    This statement is clear, and yes I did go and read the first post here. What is not clear is why this mechanism would be at work only when there are no sunspots to be counted as visible. There should be a continuum on the visible and invisible count, possibly in proportionality, to first order: the more sunspots the more invisible sunspots ( hence my bubbles analogy), unless there is some conserved quantity that forces visible into invisible and vice versa with the change in magnetic fields.

    So basically I am asking: is there some physics reason that the number of magnetic vortexes are fixed? If not the statement “that sunspots [i.e. their magnetic fields] would still be there in the predicted amount” still is strange for me.

  43. Dennis,
    this is exactly what is wrong in the AGW theory. We – the “civilized” people – destroyed natural habitats in Europe and North America. We use the vast majority of the resources of the planet. And now, when a lot of other human beings want to reach our wellness level we ask them (the rapidly growing population) to stop.
    Data show us that no global warming is in place in the last decade. No AGW is demonstrated in a scientific way. That’s all. We have to find a solution for the problems of mankind without this powerful para-religious tool.

  44. Steve says:

    Cycle 23 is low, but not anomalously so: Cycle 13 [some 107 years ago] was very similar. It simply means that we are returning to the quiet solar conditions we have observed about every 100 years, and cycle 24 will probably be lower than 23, just as 14 was lower than 13, although we don’t know why there should be such a ~100 year cycle. Because of the measured weaker polar fields, the prediction of a low cycle 24 is not simply an extrapolation, but a real prediction based on [albeit poorly understood] physical theory. Cycle 24 will be a test of that theory.

    Please could Dr svalgaard point us to a summary of the physical theory he mentions or praisee it for us here.
    What is the prediction for the R value of cycle 24 and how is it derived from the physical theory?

    Thanks

    Steve

  45. Pete says:

    I recall Anthony asking about the ‘aa’ index last time he reviewed this. I recall posting a link to the data, but I realise it takes time to assemble data. The following link holds values of ‘aa’ since 1868.

    http://isgi.cetp.ipsl.fr/source/indices/aa/

    I’ve been updating this anyway for a while now, so I’ve already assembled the data since 1900 into a Yearly Spreadsheet. I’ve zipped it up here if anyone is interested:

    http://weathersim.co.uk/pics/aa_1900_2008.zip

    If we look at the ‘aa’ since 1900 to May 2008, then we can see the current period equals that of the mid 1960’s or even mid 1930’s, from the POV of the low level and length of Low period based on the Smoothing (12 Month shown in White).

    http://weathersim.co.uk/pics/aa_1900_2008.gif

    If we now take the period Mid 1986 to Now. The reason for Mid 1986 is to get an equivalent period of Solar Min to Solar Min, we can see the Red trend line shown has on average dropped from around 26 in 1986 to around 20 now.

    http://weathersim.co.uk/pics/aa_1986_2008.gif

    (Sorry, can’t work out how to insert images on this Blog – maybe Anthony can do this for me!)

  46. anna: consider the simplified case of every sunspot cycle being the same. The number of active regions vary from 0 at minimum to 100 at maximum, then back to 0 and the whole thing repeats indefinitely. The real sun is almost like this except that the maximum number [100] is somewhat variable. Assume that the temperature of the active magnetic regions vary on a longer time scale. Then the contrast and hence the visibility of the regions vary on that longer time scale. When the contrast is zero, none of the regions of that cycle are visible, but they are still there. When the contrast is 1, all of the regions of that cycle are visible, so the maximum number of sunspots in each cycle will vary from 0 to 100 as the contrast varies from 0 to 1, while the maximum number of active regions in each cycle stays constant = 100. The constancy of this number is, of course, not needed. The argument works whatever the actual number of regions is. On top of this, you can easily image a distribution of region sizes such that with low contrast preferably the smaller spots become harder to see. So, when the temperature of the regions is higher, there will be an undercount of spots. If the temperature of the spots vary with, say a four hundred year period the spots will disappear every four hundred years [a 'Maunder Minimum']. The magnetic active regions will cycle as usual.

  47. Alex Cull says:

    If the lack of visible sunspots is indeed a sign that we’re shifting into a Dalton- or Maunder-type minimum, I think it possible that the GW debate will still persist. Did some reading up on the Little Ice Age, and although there were some brutally cold winters and cool summers, there appear to have also been some extremely hot summers in the northern hemisphere, e.g. in 1788. From Brian Fagan’s 1999 book “Floods, Famines, and Emperors”: “The Little Ice Age was not a monolithic deep freeze, but a period of constant, and sometimes remarkable, climatic shifts between torrid summers and subzero winters.” Perhaps there will still be enough freakishly hot summers in the years to come, to convince many that there is still an underlying warming signal?

  48. skepticsglobalwarming says:

    It’s become painfully clear that man-made carbon dioxide can’t, in the very least, be the sole contributor to global warming. It’s just unfortunate that those who push this anthropogenic global warming hoax on everyone can’t see the forest for the trees and admit to themselves that other natural processes are at work here.

  49. JP says:

    Dennis,
    The main question is one of degree. How come you cannot understand this? The Alarmists (who occupy most of the govermental and public research branches) argue that GHGs contribute to virtually ALL of the warming since 1900. Niether natural oceanic oscillations or solar irradiance, they argue, have much to do with climate. They attempted to explain thier theories through paleo-climate reconstructions (Think MBH9X), through climate modeling (GCMs), and tracking recent global temperature trends (NOAA, GISS, and HadCrut). In every case, sceptics have discovered serious flaws, mistakes, or mis-representations. The degree of warming (or for that fact cooling) that can be attributed to GHGs in fact cannot be supported by the facts. How much warming can be attributed to GHGs is still open for questioning (that is, the science is not settled). You seem to want to take the easy way out (can’t we all just get along).

  50. There is not one solution to the problems of mankind. First we improved our lot in a big way when we learned to cultivate drops and to use domestic animals for food, fiber and energy. The second big leap was when we learned to use metals. The third was when we learned to turn heat into movement and to use subterranean coal and hydrogen as fuel. Resources will run out only provided we have reached the end of technical innovations. If we continue innovating, we see that the universe is made of energy and that mineral raw materials can be recycled endlessly, so I don’t see the problem in practical terms. The AGW faith is just an economic suicide sect on a global scale, striving for the northkoreanization of the West under he sign of the hocstica.

  51. Leon Brozyna says:

    Speaking of the sun slowing down, the most recent images from SOHO show that the recent SC23 spot below the equator has faded. However, a new SC23 spot is just emerging over the sun’s horizon. It appears to be located on the equator.

  52. Bruce Cobb says:

    As for man-made warming, nobody with any credibility is arguing that man-made emissions ALONE affects the global temperature. But it is a major contributing factor…
    Yes indeed dennis, AGWers have been conveniently changing their tune as of late, and saying, yes, there are natural factors at work, including the sun (gasp), which can temporarily overwhelm man’s C02. They are simply grasping at straws now, desperately trying to hang on to a fatally flawed hypothesis.
    C02 simply does not and can not drive temperatures. The vast majority of the greenhouse effect (95%) comes from water vapor. C02’s role as a GH gas is small, and decreases as it’s levels increase. The first 20ppm has more warming effect than the next 400ppm does. Furthermore, man’s contribution of C02 is only about 3.2%, making his contribution via burning fossil fuels negligible. C02 does play a very important role however, as plant food. Not only do plants require it, but the higher C02 levels go the more they thrive, which is why commercial greenhouses typically have levels of C02 of 1000ppm.
    AGW is a nothing but a huge fraud, and is no longer about liberals vs conservatives. Many skeptics, myself included, used to believe AGW, and come from a liberal political background, but once we started looking at the actual science we could see how flawed it was.

  53. Ody says:

    So how come that temperatures ROSE from 1985 to 1998 when the sun ’s activity DECLINED?

    Are you trying to make the claim that the scientists don’t fully understand dynamics of our atmosphere? If so, then I support your conclusion.

    So there must be other factors involved besides the sun.

    True. It is the degree that is arguable. It appears to me that the sun is probably the “largest” factor at play. I just can’t imagine the world being that hospitable of a place without the sun, but I can imagine the world with double the amounts of CO2.

    Ones that are staring you in the face.

    Yeah, maybe that really really bright one. I’m pretty sure that we all support that conclusion. ; – )

    (note, THESE forecasters are of course to be believed

    Not so. I have been an AGW skeptic since college. In the early 90’s my professor was one of the people that helped implement the US temperature measurement system. If I recall correctly he worked on it during the 50’s and 60’s. He always claimed, “I have no idea if the planet is warming, but I do know that no one else can either based of the data we collect.” He was also an assistant to Clyde Tombaugh. He was quite the character.

    Maybe you missed this comment by Leif:

    Should cycle 24 turn out to be large [or even average], the theory is clearly wrong and we [Schatten and I] are back to square one. Luckily, there are other theories [e.g. Dikpati et al's] that can take over so we are not completely in the dark.

    He’s not asking anyone to take a leap of faith.

    As for man-made warming, nobody with any credibility is arguing that man-made emissions ALONE affects the global temperature.

    In the same way, no one that I know is arguing that man has zero impact on the global temperature. Just that it is probably neglible when compared to natural forces. Hence, not allowing poverty stricken countries to obtain the same standard of living as the western world is just

    But it is a major contributing factor as emissions of any greenhouse gases from ANY source into the atmosphere are. Why is this so difficult to accept or understand?

    ‘Cause the Sun is just so darned big. For me it’s really just that simple. CO2 levels rise and fall, the earth appears to know how to deal with it. But the earth appears to have zero impact on the cooling or warming the Sun.

    Try to see all this from a detached point of view, if that is possible.

    Good advice for everyone. Might I suggest one that isn’t quite so geocentric and a bit more detached… say heliocentric.

    My politics have always been right wing but I can see that 6.5 billion people constantly pumping so much Co2 into the air is bound to have an effect on the planet, so what is stopping other people?

    6.5 billion people? Just off the top of my head, I would estimate that there about 4 billion that wish they were constantly pumping more C02 into the air.

  54. bobw2 says:

    Sorry if I am duplicating someone else’s name. Each time I post – I realize someone has already used it.

    Intersting post regarding solar activity and climate:
    http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com/

  55. Ody says:

    “Hence, not allowing poverty stricken countries to obtain the same standard of living as the western world is just”

    I meant to say just… wrong.

  56. Newminster says:

    “The only thing that will stop man-made global warming is a reduction in the number of humans. Any other action is bound to fail.”

    OK, Dennis! You first.

  57. Pamela Gray says:

    Anyone pick up on the CME from the coronal hole yesterday? Bet it made some pretty lights up north. A quiet sun and a thin ozone makes me run for cover. At 52, I’ve already had 4 cancer spots removed from my face.

  58. Gary Gulrud says:

    A very intriguing post, Anthony!

    Clearly the AP index, Solar Sunspot count, and 10.7 cm flux share a common cause. The poloidal field? Why do the convective toroidal fields fascinate the savants so?

    “What is most striking is that since 1932, there have not been ANY years prior to 2007 that have zero data. The closest was 1996:”

    An unexpected result; revealing-or telegraphing-the coming change in regime (admittedly not enough for certainty without other clues)! The contrasts between 1996 and the current minimum are otherwise stark, e.g., daily sunsposts vis a vis 10.7 cm flux.

    The Russians, Badalyan, et. al., will get all the Heliophysic acclaim for auguring this ‘sea change':

    http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FIAU%2FIAU2004_IAUS223%2FS1743921304005125a.pdf&code=5c626a9c92a416f4d36eebf438633b36

    No praise will remain for others to apportion to their own paradigms.

  59. Mike Smith says:

    Dennis,

    #1. According to peer-reviewed papers, the sun was extremely active, by some measurements, during the period you cite.

    #2. There is a lag between solar radiation and temperature (because of the earth acting as a “black body”). That is why, in the Northern Hemisphere, the hottest period is usually July-August rather than June when solar radiation is at its greatest.

    Mike

  60. Rick Lambert (aka Rico) says:

    Raven, you asked if anyone knew anything about the history of CA initiatives in the energy sector. This article provides a pretty reasonable overview:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/16/AR2007021602274.html

    Note that historically, CA concentrated on policies that improved energy efficiency, not so much inventing new energy technologies. But it does bring up the question… what qualifies as a “new technology”? It seems to me that new technologies are most often reorganizations of old technologies, then figuring out how to design, manufacture and deploy them cheaply and efficiently. Said in another way, it’s usually the case that “new technologies” result from new ways to think about a problem, not new things to think about. There’s nothing fundamentally new about a wind turbine, or a solar thermal array, or even a solar PV panel — although in the last case a good argument could be made that materials and efficiency improvements in recent years are a result of new technologies, just not ones specifically directed at them.

  61. Basil says:

    Dennis Ward,

    “So how come that temperatures ROSE from 1985 to 1998 when the sun ’s activity DECLINED? How could anybody believe in a theory in which the correlation was totally the opposite of what was expected?”

    There are several things to consider in an answer this question. First, 1985 was near the minimum between solar cycles 21 and 22. Solar cycle 23 began in 1996, and solar cycles display a characteristic shape in which the ramp up to maximum is quicker than the decay back to minimum. So by 1998 the ramp up to the maximum of solar cycle 23 is in full swing. So it is hardly correct to say that this is a period during which solar activity declines. You’ve got one full cycle, with all of its ascending phase, and part of the ascending phase of the next, so you’ve got more of the upside of solar cycles going on than you do of the downside.

    Second, we do not really know what kind of the “sun’s activity” is the driving factor, and there are two 22 year cycles in play that are 180 degrees out of phase. During any period in which one might cherry pick to show declining sunspot activity, cosmic ray flux is on the increase. So even if you had picked a period for your argument which matched only a period of declining sunspot activity, anyone who thinks that cosmic ray flux is the climate driver would think you have made their case for them.

    Third, there may well be lags between changes in solar activity and climate to consider, but until we understand better the driving factor no one can say this for sure. But it cannot be ruled out.

    So, you really haven’t demonstrating anything convincing against a solar-climate connection.

    What has me persuaded that there is a solar-climate connection is all the evidence of bidecadal oscillations in terrestrial climate found in all kinds of climate records and metrics: rainfall and drought records, lake levels, tree rings, varves, and a variety of temperature records. The only reason why this isn’t uniformly recognized as establishing a solar-climate link is the lack of an accepted physical process to explain it. But it — the 20-22 year cycle in climate — is there. It is not the only cycle in climate — there are shorter ones like ENSO, and longer ones like NAO or PDO. But even these must ultimately have the sun as a first cause.

    As for the warming of 1985-1998, part of it was a longer term trend for which there is not yet a good understanding. I could say it is just the continuation of a trend that began with the earth came out of the LIA, but that doesn’t explain why the earth came out of the LIA and continues to warm. But 1985-1998 captures the better part of a 20-22 year solar cycle that was also unusually warm, and my current belief is that it will eventually be seen to have been just another case of “natural variation” in climate. We’re now seeing the other side of that — unusually warm cycles are often followed by cool ones, in a climactic expression of the tendency of data to revert to the mean.

    The sobering truth here is how little we really know about all of this. That’s what makes the certainty of the strongest AGW proponents come off as nothing more than hubris.

  62. WWS. says:

    poetsam and evan,

    you make me feel like Vizzini!

    “No More Rhyming now, I mean it!!!”

    (anybody want a peanut???)

  63. Johnnyb says:

    Dennis,

    I agree with you, at least in part. I do not believe that the Global Warmists have proved their case, but on a political level I believe that it is prudent to pursue a policy of no regrets. If excess CO2 does cause global warming then we would regret pumping so much of it into our atmosphere, at the same time we would regret investing in worthless technology like wind farms and limiting our industrial growth, financial well being and personal liberty whether this turns out to be a hoax or not.

    Creating a big mess like cap and trade is plain old Soviet Style Central Planning at its worst. A far simplier and perhaps more beneficial approach would be to create a tax on coal and oil which would get progressively larger as time goes on. I’m no fan of taxes, but I like Taxes much better than increasing consumer costs through legislation while forcing them to buy an inferior set of goods for more money, wind and solar are perfect examples of this. While a Tax could be used to balance the budget and slow the great fall of the dollar, and might someday even be used to pay down the debt that our politicians insist on saddling our future generations with.

    A cringe every time I hear John McCain try and sell Cap’n Trade as a free market approach to the “problem” of Global Warming. The only true freemarket approach is to tax carbon, but not artifically limit its use. If the government would use this money to become more financially solvent, we would not regret paying this tax and it would naturally allow the power companies to choose the most cost effective solution for themselves, and consumers to selectively reduce their energy use. Its simple, straight forward and does not serve any special interest group hoping to profit from Global Warming without providing a benefit to the people it serves.

  64. Philip_B says:

    dennis ward, the only fact you cite concerns the northern hemisphere. You then go on to talk about global warming.

    The southern hemisphere (half the globe) has had no warming for the entire satellite data era.

    Funny kind of global warming that only affects (less than) half the Earth.

  65. timprosser says:

    Dennis Ward – Population reduction to something less than today’s status is likely in the long term (30-100 years), but how much fossil fuel we use per person has much greater implications in the shorter term. Ecological impact grows more in response to a combination of energy use per capita and inefficient technologies than population alone, and governments of the developed countries would be better advised to assist developing countries build their new power plants with the most efficient technologies available (as well as with family planning and education/economic assistance).

    Population will continue to grow and birthrates will continue to be high in the 50 least developed countries until their standards of living and average education levels improve. I believe those are the two factors that correlate most closely with reduced birthrates. When birthrates decline it still takes a lifetime, 70 years or so, before the effects on total population become really evident, so we are in for a long, stretched-out bump in global population before it subsides to a more easily sustainable level. The challenge is to lay the groundwork for decreased birthrates while we help all developing countries adopt more efficient technologies the first time around.

    Short term focus and lack of long term planning will make the next few decades tougher on everyone, unfortunately, but smarter choices and the reasoning behind them can be taught and encouraged. That is something to tell our elected representatives (they won’t know what we want unless we tell them, but they hear from special interests every day …)
    http://www.timprosserfuturing.wordpress.com

  66. MattN says:

    Looks like a sunspeck is rotating into view today. On the equator, so #23 still going…..

  67. Gary Gulrud says:

    Remember negative PDO is with us for 3 decades and weep Boeotians:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CORNUS.jpg

  68. SteveSadlov says:

    Civilization itself will be challenged. We’ll have to be content with the simple survival of Humanity.

  69. Jason says:

    While not an expert on climate or the sun, I don’t see the 2005 “off switch”. The drop pointed to is very much in the charts natural variability. (std dev) What I do see after 2005 is a much smaller std dev, meaning to me that something is now constraining the variability. I’d call this an “on switch” because something is suppressing the standard variability.

    If we compare the sun as the earth it would seem to me that we could compare the sun spots to super cells here on earth. For supercells to form, there needs to be a “cap” layer that keeps the energy bottled up in the atmosphere. Eventually the cap will erode and if it erodes quickly enough, you’ll get one heck of a show. Similarly on the sun, the magnetic storms still have their genesis at lower layers, but can only cause problems when they break through the capping layer.

    To me, the chart does not indicate factors of sun spot production diminished, but rather sun spot propagation to the top layers is being suppressed. Is there a way to measure released energy of the sun spot? I would be curious to see if the remaining 23 cycle spots are releasing more or less energy for their size.

    “Never mind that AGW has be disproven, we’ll still need to limit carbon output to try to protect the world as we know it.” is what the AGW proponents will say.

  70. Pierre Gosselin says:

    Dennis the Menace,
    “It will be interesting to see , if , despite this lower solar activity, global temperatures rise, what will be the next sceptical theory that…”

    You’ve hit it square on the nail. That’s what we’re all watching now. Will temps go up, or down? And looking at the temperature data of the last several years, I’d say you alarmists have got a lot of explaining to do. Temps have been dropping.
    The question should be what will the alarmists’ theory be should global temps continue to drop? You guys hollered yourselves blue in the face warning everyone that the science was settled and that unless we return to the comforts of the stone age, temps will rise 2-6°C over the next century and that sea levels will rise dramatically.
    Now how stupid are these alarmists going to look should the opposite happen? (It’s already beginning to happen).

  71. BobW in NC says:

    Hey, Bobw2!

    Saw your post – no prob! I’m going with Bob W in NC, if that’s OK. So, keep BobW if you like, and I’ll go with BobW in NC.

    Now – a question. I am totally unfamiliar with many of the terms used in this blog, as well as their significance – sorry, y’all. Can someone describe the significance of the AP Index as it is related to sunspot number and 10.7 cm flux, so I can get a better understanding of what this is all about?

    Many thanks!

  72. Pierre Gosselin says:

    Manmade CO2’s role on the climate is about the same as a single hair in a wig factory.

  73. Austin says:

    In Wes Jackson’s “Altars of Unhewn Stone” he has an essay on whether ecosystems always trend to higher energy flows and diversity. He takes us to the Pacific Coast to look at the Coastal forests which have been uplifted over time and whose geology forms successive benches which can be compared. Some of the forests were intitally quite substantial but today many are almost bonsai. He points out that nutrients have been lost or locked up over time and the ecology is running down.

    What’s my point?

    Today’s biosphere is stunted compared to the Cretacious.

    Maybe human beings are the Earth’s way of saving itself from oblivion due to a CO2 trending to zero.

    What is the minimum CO2 required for Earth’s biosphere? What is the minimum for evolution to proceed and for diversity to increase? Is 450 ppm better than 350? Is 1000 better than 450? Why does that CO2 have to be locked away like the nutrients in the Pygmy forest?

  74. Pierre Gosselin says:

    Looking at the last 6 years, I see a big U-Turn in the works.
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/SeaLevel_TOPEX.jpg

  75. Pingback: The scariest thing I know « it’s in my head

  76. An Inquirer says:

    Johnnyb (07:45:26) :

    “. . . on a political level I believe that it is prudent to pursue a policy of no regrets. . . .”

    You display much wisdom in your comments, but often it is difficult to find a policy of no regrets. In the past I favored a carbon tax if we could get rid of some inefficient taxes — like the double taxation on corporate income — or if it could help in the transition of social security to personal accounts. However, current oil prices have undermined my support for a carbon tax. We probably should be using coal rather than sending wealth (and future value-added activities) to foreign producers of oil. It is not a stretch to say that those oil producers tend not to be our friends, and we are enriching them to pursue anti-American agendas Therefore, it seems to be prudent at the present time to use our coal rather than their oil.

  77. anna v says:

    Leif Svalgaard (04:07:04) :

    I can accept your “model” as a hypothesis .

    It could work but has to agree with the data. If I were getting serious about this I would go and compare the magnetogram numbers with the sunspot numbers over the SOHO years. The correlation should be there, sunspot cycles with fewer visible sunspots should have more magnetic spots.

    I still do not see why the number of sunspots/magnetic-disturbances would be approximately constant, (or even the integral over a sunspot cycle) but I accept that the sun dynamics is not known well enough and this can be a working hypothesis.

  78. M. Jeff says:

    dennis ward (23:42:42) says: “The only thing that will stop man-made global warming is a reduction in the number of humans.”.

    However, in my opinion there may be more important issues. In the Dharavi slum of Mumbai the population density is something like one million people in a 2/3 square mile area. With densities like that surely the world can eventually maintain more than 15, 30, or 60 billion humans with a standard of living equivalent to the unnaturally elegant levels suggested by the fact that in the Dharavi slum the following is true.

    … Even in the smallest of rooms, there is usually a cooking gas stove and continuous electricity.

    … Many residents have a small colour television with a cable connection that ensures they can catch up with their favourite soaps. Some of them even have a video player.

    An excellent image that shows some of the benefits of high population density is show here:
    http://img2.travelblog.org/Photos/1449/48836/f/267564-Dharavi-Slum-Mumbai-0.jpg

  79. poetSam says:

    ‘“Never mind that AGW has be disproven, we’ll still need to limit carbon output to try to protect the world as we know it.” is what the AGW proponents will say.’ Jason

    “What will the world look like after a third war world after the economic devastation caused by stupid environmental laws?” is a good response

  80. poetSam says:

    make that “third world war” instead of “third war world” which has interesting semantic possibilities, none the less.

  81. Evan Jones says:

    So how come that temperatures ROSE from 1985 to 1998 when the sun ’s activity DECLINED?

    From earlier than that, actually. Several of the great oceanic-atmospheric cycles (AMO, PDO, NAO, AO, AAO) went from cool phase to warm phase during that time. (AO went “warm” in 1995.)

    This would seem to account for a good part of it.

    Not only that, but it appears, according to McKitrick, Michaels (2007), and LaDochy et al (Dec. 2007), and laterally supported by Yilmaz, et al. (2008), and LeRoy et al (1999), that the latest ride in temperatures has been exaggerated by about twofold. The reason postulated for this is surface station site violation, which accelerated greatly since 1980.

    Normal 22-year solar cycles appear to have a +/- 0.1ºC effect on global temperatures. A major solar minimum may have a more drastic effect. And baseline solar activity may create an underlying trend.

    There may be a combination of effect, including CO2, but the CO2 effect would be very slight in the absence of IPCC-assumed positive feedback loops from water vapor and decreased albedo.

    The Aqua satellite shows (so far) negative, not positive feedbacks: Little increase in ambient vapor, but an increase in low level clouds which has a double effect of washing the water out of the atmosphere and increasing albedo. This would explain the slight downward trend in ocean and atmospheric temperatures over the last decade.

    But there would appear to be a lot of wheels within wheels going on here.

  82. Evan Jones says:

    Why is this so difficult to accept or understand?

    For CO2 to have a major effect, one must rely on the IPCC feedback loop theory. But if there is no positive feedback from other source, triggered by CO2, then CO2 increase has very little effect.

  83. Peter says:

    johnnyb:
    “A far simplier and perhaps more beneficial approach would be to create a tax on coal and oil which would get progressively larger as time goes on. I’m no fan of taxes, but I like Taxes much better than increasing consumer costs through legislation while forcing them to buy an inferior set of goods for more money, wind and solar are perfect examples of this. While a Tax could be used to balance the budget and slow the great fall of the dollar, and might someday even be used to pay down the debt that our politicians insist on saddling our future generations with.”

    Doesn’t work that way.
    Here in Britain we experience first-hand the effects of extortionate ‘carbon’ taxes (aka fuel tax, VED etc) The more these taxes rise, the more the cost of goods and services increases. And does the govt use any of those taxes to reduce debt? Noooo, they use it as an excuse to borrow even more.

  84. Oldjim says:

    With all the discussion around the possibility of a new Dalton or even Maunder minimum I thought it would be useful to see what happened to temperatures in England at those times. I extracted the data from the Hadley site http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/ for the mean temperatures and plotted the values for the four seasons. The one thing which stood out was the very small change in the summer temperatures compared to the other seasons. If you want to see the picture this is the link http://www.holtlane.plus.com/images/cet_mean.jpg

  85. Jared says:

    I just heard on another site that the Ap actually just went up above 20 again. Is this true?

    REPLY: Hourly/daily Ap may very well change in spikes. The plot above was for monthly Ap which has such short term elements filtered.

  86. Pamela Gray says:

    Good observation Oldjim. Summer temps may not vary much but I’ll bet the growing season was MUCH shorter during Dalton. England depends on spring and fall temps, as does much of the world, to squeeze out produce. If those get cut short by hard and long winters, we will be in trouble.

  87. anna: you are completely missing the point. It does not matter what the sun is doing. As long as there is a change in contrast, there will be a change in visibility and an undercount [never an overcount: we can't count what is not there]. Nothing to do with my ‘model’ or ‘hypothesis’. These were just for illustration, but I realize now, that they did not make it easier for you. Let me construct a numeric case of three solar cycles where I give for each year a magnetic region count C , a visibility factor F, and the resulting sunspot number S = F * (10 C + 10 C) = F * (20 C). The second 10 is under the assumption that each region contains 10 magnetic poles.
    1 0 1 0
    2 1 1 20
    3 2 1 40
    4 4 1 80
    5 5 1 100
    6 4 1 80
    7 3 1 60
    8 2 1 40
    9 1 1 20
    10 0 1 0
    11 0 0.5 0
    12 1 0.5 10
    13 3 0.5 30
    14 4 0.5 40
    15 5 0.5 50
    16 4 0.5 40
    17 3 0.5 30
    18 2 0.5 20
    19 1 0.5 10
    20 0 0.5 0
    21 0 0.1 0
    22 1 0.1 2
    23 2 0.1 4
    24 4 0.1 8
    25 4 0.1 8
    26 3 0.1 6
    27 3 0.1 6
    28 2 0.1 4
    29 1 0.1 2
    30 0 0.1 0
    You may be able to see that although the cycles have the same approximate [not exact] variation of magnetic regions, the sunspot numbers [the 4th] column are vastly different, because the visibility is different because the contrast is different because the temperature is different. I’m not saying that the region count is constant. I’m saying that even if it were constant, the sunspot number would be different. Comparing sunspot count and magnetograms is less direct than the direct measurement of contrast by Livingston and Penn, but with a cycle or two more measurements that would be an interesting exercise [although hardly necessary - if the spots actually do disappear]. For the longer period we know from cosmic ray radionuclide measurements that the magnetic cycle was still operating during the Maunder minimum, yet the sunspot number was zero. I’m not advocating anything. I said: if L & P are correct, then …
    Lastly, if you at this point still don’t get it, then I would not know how to explain it any better. Maybe someone else could…

    Steve: you can find one theory here: http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf
    A different one [but with same result and same rationale] here: http://www.leif.org/research/jcc5.pdf

  88. Anthony: about your ‘drop’ in Ap in October 2005, there is nothing unusual about that change. Here http://www.leif.org/research/Ap%20Bartels%20Rotation%20Plot.pdf is a plot of the whole Ap-series.

  89. SteveSadlov says:

    Pierre Gosselin (10:50:56) :

    As it’s a lagging indicator of continental ice, and, has been on an ever flattening decaying exponential since the great melt, I am greatly concerned. We’ve been reading now for a while about increased volume / mass on Greenland and Antarctica. I hope it’s only a small downturn in MSL, and not the beginning of a steep decline. You know what that would certainly mean if it’s more than a short term inflection.

  90. SteveSadlov says:

    RE: Pamela Gray (13:04:10) :

    In many places there were certainly late starts. The key will be when climatic fall arrives. 2006 it arrived in many places in August. Last year in Western NOAM it hit at the end of July. Chances are, we’ll have another early Fall this year.

  91. Ken Westerman says:

    It appears that the Ap for today shot up into the 20’s…(solarcycle24.com).

    REPLY: Hourly/daily Ap may very well change in spikes. The plot above was for monthly Ap which has such short term elements filtered.

  92. CK says:

    The sun, no spots
    There should be lots!
    Alas! So few,
    We thought we knew
    So much, and now
    We don’t know how
    The CO2 just cannot do
    What it was once supposed to do.
    Let it RAIN! Oh,
    Failing that, a big volcano.

  93. Steve Stip says:

    CK, LOL!

    I like dramatic weather too. This boring sunshine in Tucson is KILLING me.

  94. Kevin B says:

    Austen

    What is the minimum CO2 required for Earth’s biosphere?

    I’ve seen the quote in relation to commercial greenhouses that by mid-morning the CO2 content of the air will drop to 150ppm and plant growth will cease. If CO2 content drops to 90ppm photosynthesis stops. To counteract this. commercial growers will install a CO2 generator which will keep the CO2 content up around 1000 or 1200ppm, so provided they can supply the energy, (through sunlight), and keep the plants fed with water and nutrients they will grow much more.

    Plants take energy, water, nutrients and CO2 and turn them into complex carbohydrates and oxygen. Animals will eat the plants and turn them into the complex proteins and carbohydrates they need to grow, and burn some of the carbon in oxygen to provide them with energy. This happens from the scale of phyto plankton and zoo plankton to giant redwoods and blue whales.

    The idea that the tiny amount of CO2 we generate by burning fossil fuels is pollution is totally ludicrous, yet people who should know better continue to trot it out. Crazy.

    (And don’t get me started on schemes to reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere to ‘save’ us from global warming. Talk about unintended consequences.)

  95. Pamela Gray says:

    Leif: Thanks for the graph! Reminds me always that sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees.

  96. Leon Brozyna says:

    Anthony,

    Last week {12 Jun} CO2Sceptic carried a post announcing a hurricane forecast issued by WeatherAction, based on Solar Weather technique, whatever that is, predicting a hurricane in the Caribbean/Gulf, 18-22 Jun:

    http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1434

    The most recent posting from NOAA, discusses a tropical wave in the forecasted area (83w, 21n):

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATWDAT+shtml/162346.shtml?

    WeatherStreet has a nice image at:

    http://www.weatherstreet.com/hurricane/2008/Hurricane-Atlantic-2008.htm

    Have to admire the daring of this group in putting itself way out there so far in advance. If the wave does turn into a storm {or even a hurricane}, it’ll be named Bertha. The next few days should be interesting to see how this develops ~ or fizzles.

    BTW – if you’re into tennis, they’re also calling for Wimbledon to be a rather soggy affair this year. Time will tell.

    Leon

  97. Andrew says:

    Gentelmen,

    I know this sounds a bit base, but I’m having a hard time understanding this. From what I can gather, the general hypothesis is that the world will warm and cool in accordance solar magnetic activity. So, what does this mean, potentially, if the sun is really slowing down? Also, could we be off in models of star life and the sun is entering another phase, i.e. has run out of hydrogen, earlier than expected?

    I apologize if the terminology isn’t correct. I am but a humble Engineering student and not a world class physicist.

  98. anna v says:

    Leif Svalgaard (13:04:45)

    “I’m not saying that the region count is constant. I’m saying that even if it were constant, the sunspot number would be different.”

    Fine.

    Sorry you had to go to the trouble of a numerical example.

    Lets leave it at that.

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  100. DaveK says:

    re: a carbon tax….

    So just how will we implement such a tax in a way that is “fair” and doesn’t destroy the world economy? Who will collect such a tax? Where will the proceeds go? Who will be exempt? If we actually succeed in significantly reducing carbon consumption, where will the huge amount of energy come from to support a vigorous global economy?

    There is the very devil in those details.

    Just my $.02
    DaveK

  101. anna v says:

    Sun’s variability and LIA: I was not aware of this model:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2001/200112065794.html

    “The paper, “Solar forcing of regional climate change during the Maunder Minimum,” by authors Drew Shindell, Gavin Schmidt, and David Rind, from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and co-authors Michael Mann and Anne Waple, from the Universities of Virginia and Massachusetts respectively, appears in the December 7 issue of Science.

    “The period of low solar activity in the middle ages led to atmospheric changes that seem to have brought on the Little Ice Age. However, we need to keep in mind that variations in solar output have had far less impact on the Earth’s recent climate than human actions,” Shindell said. “The biggest catalyst for climate change today are greenhouse gases,” he added. ”

    This must be Gavin of RC.

    Very compartmental view of science, since the model explains the LIA by:

    ” Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and other researchers have used a computer model to reconstruct climate and atmospheric conditions from the present back to the Little Ice Age.

    They determined that a dimmer Sun reduced the model’s westerly winds, cooling the continents during wintertime. Shindell’s model shows large regional climate changes, unlike other climate models that show relatively small temperature changes on an overall global scale. Other models did not assess regional changes.

    During the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, from 1645 to 1715, there is believed to have been a decrease in the total energy output from the Sun, as indicated by little or no sunspot activity………
    ……

    During those periods of low solar activity, levels of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation decrease, and can significantly impact ozone formation in the stratosphere. “The changes in ozone that we modeled were key in producing the enhanced response,” Shindell said. “The changes in the upper atmosphere then feed down to the surface climate.

    …..

    Shindell noted that the effects of this period of a dimmer Sun were concentrated more regionally than globally. “Global average temperature changes are small, approximately .5 to .7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.3-0.4C), but regional temperature changes are quite large.” Shindell said that his climate model simulation shows the temperature changes occurring mostly because of a change in the Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO).”

    But of course that was then, but now is now, and all that CO2 in the atmosphere will shield us for a second LIA, since the feedbacks are in the model I presume. I wonder what they think of the Keenlyside et all model that uses NAO to forsee a decadal cooling/stalling.

    The above was in Science in December it seems.

  102. anna v says:

    Sorry, I just checked and it is an old publication :

    Nasa News Stories Archive

    December 6, 2001

  103. MarkW says:

    Leif likes to harp on the 13 year period in which the sun’s activity “declined” but the earth warmed as absolutely disproving the sun’s role in global warming.

    On the other hand, the most recent 10 year period (and counting) in which the earth’s temperature declined, while CO2 continued to rise is just statistical noise that should be ignored.

  104. MarkW says:

    The world’s population growth has slowed dramatically in recent decades. Countries such as Mexico have seen their birth rates drop from 7+ live births per woman to around 3. Many countries in the developed world have seen birth rates drop below replacement levels (2.1). Italy and Spain for a time approached 1. Other countries, such as Japan and Russia have actually seen their populations start falling.

    The UN is now projecting that the world’s population will peak around 2050. I think it will happen much earlier, perhaps as early as 2020, 2030 at the latest.

  105. scmuth says:

    Enjoyed looking through the discussion in your blog. I have recently started one too – relating to questions on physics and astronomy. Love to have you take a look and comment. I am certainly no expert in any of these fields, especially the sun, but after many of my recent readings, I must say that many of the principles relating to astrophysics puzzle me. Check them out at http://myastonomyandphysics.wordpress.com and please… lend some insight if you have any. I will be posting new comments a couple of times a week.

  106. dscott says:

    Anthony, I don’t wish to be a fly in the ointment but… Given your 1st AP graphic starting in 1991 and then counting in months to 2005, the 2005 quantity drop in the AP is not unusal in and of itself compared to other drops in your time period. The time period starting point displayed corresponds to the last half of cycle 22 through the current cycle 23. It is interesting to note that 1998 which was the upswing year for cycle 23 doesn’t show any impressive rise in the AP graphic, in fact according your graphic, the AP index was at it’s lowest level of the period displayed. Jan 1998 would correspond to 84 months, if your zero month was Jan 1991. The last highest spike in the AP shown right after 150 months, approx. 2003/4 corresponds to the mid downswing of cycle 23.

    Given these observations I would conclude that the AP geomagnetic index is either a leading (predictive of what might be) or lagging (reflective of what already occured) indicator. The big question which is it? I think we need to see 3 or 4 cycles worth of AP index information before we can conclusively call it a leading or predictive indicator. IMO, I think the AP is a lagging indicator just based on the 1991 and 2004 spikes occuring after the solar max. If that is the case, then this low period is the final hurrah for cycle 23 and cycle 24 should start it’s upswing. Only time will tell.

  107. Russ R. says:

    DaveK,

    Why of course the money goes to the “enlightened few” who know what to do with your money, far better than you could know yourself. You would just waste it on shoes for your kids, and food for your family. They on the other hand will invest it on grand research projects like “How much computer power does it take to spin garbage into gold?”.
    Anyone with an ounce of understanding of History and human nature, know how this story ends.

  108. whforums says:

    So … if somebody could just tell me whether I should keep putting money into my retirement account, or if I should start getting all “carpe diem,” that would be helpful.

    Stupid lungs trapping me on this stupid planet …

  109. Mark Nodine says:

    Leon:

    Last week {12 Jun} CO2Sceptic carried a post announcing a hurricane forecast issued by WeatherAction, based on Solar Weather technique, whatever that is, predicting a hurricane in the Caribbean/Gulf, 18-22 Jun

    It’s looking unlikely, at least, that anything will reach tropical storm strength by tomorrow:
    According to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ftp/pub/forecasts/discussion/MIATWOAT:


    000
    ABNT20 KNHC 171130
    TWOAT
    TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
    800 AM EDT TUE JUN 17 2008

    FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…

    TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

    $$
    FORECASTER LANDSEA/PASCH

  110. Austin says:

    What is the NPP of plants vs CO2 and vs Temp and Water?

    Does it vary by plant type?

    Are grasses more efficient wrt to CO2 usage vs Trees or Legumes? What about evergreens vs deciduous?

    Could desertification be more a result of lowered NPP due to lowered CO2?

  111. Austin says:

    Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential maps.

    Pretty neat. You can go back in time as well.

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/

    Here is the Carib.

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/cyclone/data/ca.html

    Its still pretty cold historically.

    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/dataphod1/work/HHP/NEW/2008168ca.jpg

    Just change the year in the URL and you can make your own movie.

  112. Evan Jones says:

    dscott:

    Sure. But every other “bigger drop” has an immediate bounceback. But in 2005 it went down and went flat. I think that is the cause for concern.

  113. Tony Edwards says:

    Kevin B, Dennis and others, I came across, some time ago, a description of how relatively minor mankind is in the grand scheme of things.

    Imagine, if you will a square mile. Then add to that one mile high sides. Big, isn’t it?

    Well, actually, not really, the one cubic mile box would disappear if pushed into the Grand Canyon, for instance. Yet, albeit not comfortably, into this box could be fitted everyone alive today. Don’t believe me?

    Allow 6ft x 2ft x 1.5ft per person. Yes, I know there are bigger, but there are a lot smaller, so go with it. This is 18 cubic feet. Multiplying by 6.5 billion gives us 117 billion cubic feet of humanity. Wow!

    Now take the cubic mile or 5280 cubed. This is 5.28 x 5.28 x 5.28 billion cubic feet or 147.2 billion cubic feet. Why, there might even be room for floors and walls. So there you have it. Humanity occupies less than one cubic mile. Ants and termites are estimated to occupy around ten cubic miles. Yes we manage to make quite a mess with our cubic mile, but we aren’t really very important.
    Another observation to have fun with is at

    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/03/11/all-the-water-and-ai.html

    I won’t tell you what it is, but it’s worth going there.

  114. poetSam says:

    whforums

    If I may be so bold,
    buy some silver, buy some gold.
    The central caper of central bankers
    is to print more paper.

    And now I’ll scamper
    lest my rhymes be hampered

  115. SteveSadlov says:

    RE: MarkW (04:56:43) :

    If we have more negative events, such as a major volcanic explosion, further global food shortage, economic disaster, pandemic, and / or war, we may find in retrospect that peak population was in 2008. Consider the increase in die off rate over the past 90 days alone.

  116. Kevin B says:

    Tony Edwards:

    They should do a couple more spheres for that picture: All the topsoil and vegetation would be tiny, all the life would be miniscule, even all the mantle down to the magma would not be much bigger than the atmosphere globe.

    Yes, when viewed in certain ways, the biosphere of earth is small and fragile. So small and fragile that it has lasted over 4 billion years and looks set to last at least that long again. It would take an awful lot more than we can manage to extinguish life on this planet.

  117. Austin says:

    Just from my own digging in the dirt, I know the volume of Earthworms is much greater than that of ants and termites.

    And I’ll bet the volume of living critters invisible to the eye in the Soil column of life dwarfs Earthworms.

    I’ve been to lectures by Dr Ingham and what she has to say just boggles the mind.

    http://www.soilfoodweb.com/

  118. dscott: Had you looked a little bit before your post, you would have found a link to a plot of Ap back to 1932 for a total of 8 cycles.

  119. MarkW: I have said absolutely nothing about the 13 years of cooling sun and temperature changes. Amazing that you still are capable of dreaming things like this up. Maybe you would care to produce a cite, quote, or link to my purported utterance.

  120. Joe Bastardi says:

    Anthony, Bastardi here.

    Ever feel like the debate is over, but not the way Al Gore feels it is , BUT THE OPPOSITE WAY.
    I respect the work at Scripps and see their points, but to me its ice, not fire, that
    will be the big problem within 50 years

    There is something I call the triple crown of cooling that I fear more than
    than the increasinly obvious trumped up spectre of global warming. I suspect the first part,(1) the natural snapback of the earth has already started ( absent any increase in
    non earthly variables, ie things not produced by the earth directly or indirectly, the set temp of the earth
    is always strived for by the earth….the warmer it gets, the more likely it is to turn colder and vice versa given all outside influences remain at a steady state)
    However combine this with (2) what appears to be steady evidence that we are heading into a long term overall minimum of sunspot activity in these 11 year cycles similar to previous cooling period mins and (3) the wild card of increased volcanism, it would appears that there is as much or more of a threat from the exact
    oppsite of what is beting touted in the media.

    What is the over and under on time it takes for them to realize this and tell us we are going to perish for the reasons they were screaming in the 70s. You are out west, perhaps you can get Las Vegas to set odds (lol…though its not that funny)

    From a forecasting point of view, the canvas may already be changing as to why
    bying the “warm card” on any seasonal forecast is no longer the way to go.

    ciao
    JB

    Keep up the outstanding work
    JB

    REPLY: Hi Joe,

    I appreciate the kind words, and yes, I agree with your views.

    Agriculture will crash before they have time to develop colder weather crops. California in particular will suffer due to the warm wave that ag here has been riding since the last PDO flip. All those vineyards in palces you couldn’t grow grapes before – gone. France may return as king wine.

    – Anthony

  121. Benjamin Winters says:

    I’d like to get on record that I think you’re exactly right. IMO, one of the biggest results of the impending cooling will be the realization by the general public that scientific consensus, indeed expert consensus of any kind, can be and often (usually?) is wrong.

  122. Evan Jones says:

    Consider the increase in die off rate over the past 90 days alone.

    I’d be interested in seeing that, actually, if you have a handy link.

    I think you are too pessimistic and that human population will be a standard S-curve, but I am interested in the effects of last winter+ ethanol.

  123. SteveSadlov says:

    The die off increase:
    – Myanmar
    – China
    – General increase in starvation related deaths
    – Seeming slow but certain flare up in global conflict hot spots
    – Poor economy in US leading to rising violent crime rate
    – TBD impacts of US midwest floods
    – Toll of massive tornado outbreaks (due to negative PDO / La Nina / low solar activity)
    – Seeming increase in tainted food related deaths
    – Inevitable increase in alcoholism and drug abuse due to many of the above factors

  124. Richard deSousa says:

    SteveS: And I thought my 10% (600 million) die off rate was horrific… if your predictions hold, the die off rate could climb as high as 25% (1.5 billion)… :(

  125. Evan Jones says:

    I still don’t buy it.

    The only thing that racks up real numbers is the impact of ethanol and bad harvests. The other stuff doesn’t add up to a hill of beans, and some of it I just outright dispute (if you want tainted food, just go back before refrigeration and germ theory).

    I’d be interested in actual numbers on the grain issue though.

  126. Pamela Gray says:

    Higher elevation farming microcosms allow an interesting review of produce changes that manage to stay on top of temperature changes. Instead of domestic cows, sheep rise to the top when it gets cold. Instead of row crops, winter wheat becomes King. Instead of slow growing crops (melons), cool season crops (peas) get planted. Instead of crops that produce above ground food (tomatoes), crops that produce below ground food (potatoes) are planted. There will be pockets of producers that will once again be able to ship out of the area. These small communities will likely be hit less severely than areas that have grown rapidly as a result of a warmer, sunnier climate while still being surrounded by lush vegetation.

  127. David says:

    I’m trying to find some relationship between the sun and temperature on earth. I can see that the sun activity is going down, and so is the recent temperature data. But solar activity seems to move in a sine function, so it’s hard to see the link between long term solar activity (sine function) and temperature (with an up trend). I’d like someone to show me this link, otherwise the information on the sun that keeps being posted will seem a little useless. Thanks.

  128. mddwave says:

    I have a geological question.

    If the earth either warms or cools signicantly (>1 degrees C or so) very rapidly (in geologic time), would earthquakes happen more frequently as the earth’s crust warms up and expands or as the earth cools down and contracts?

    REPLY: Ah, the bait question, soon to be answered.

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  130. Pamela Gray says:

    Leif:

    Could you provide input on the rotation differences along sun latitudes? When magnetic ropes get all coiled up and burst to the surface is it because the different rotation speeds cause these magnetic ropes to coil up, especially if the magnetic ropes cross latitudes that are rotating as different speeds? Or do they coil up on their own even if the sun rotated at the same relative speed at each latitude? And if the coils are the result of different rotation speeds, what were to happen if the different speeds occasionally and predictably were in synch with each other (like windshield wipers on a school bus)? Is there data on rotation speeds, or more to the point, differentials, over time?

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