Astronomical Society of Australia publishes new paper warning of solar quieting and global cooling

http://www.astronomy.org.au/ngn/media/client/asa-large.gif A new paper published by the Astronomical Society of Australia titled:

Does a Spin–Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?

contains a warning about earthly climate change not immediately obvious from the abstract:

Based on our claim that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun’s orbital motion about the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun’s meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

According to an interview with Andrew Bolt, of the Australian Newspaper, Herald Sun, Ian Wilson, one of the authors explained:

It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 – 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World’s mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 – 2 C.

###

Hmmm, I’m not sold on this idea. This is a lot like what Dr. Theodor Landscheidt proposes. I have a little bit of trouble understanding how the “mass at a distance” gravitational effects of Jupiter and Saturn could have much effect on the solar dynamo.

I’m sure both my readers, and Dr. Leif Svalgaard, who regularly monitors this blog, will have something to add to provide additional insight. – Anthony

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178 Responses to Astronomical Society of Australia publishes new paper warning of solar quieting and global cooling

  1. Evan Jones says:

    Sun’s meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion

    Well that would cover both ends, wouldn’t it?

    Hmm. How well does this match up with the Oort minimum, going forward, I wonder? Shouldn’t be hard for a pro to figure.

  2. Deanster says:

    Ya know … It may seem far fetched … but .. their predictions have been comming true.

    Landschiedt predicted this last La Nina, as well as the quiet sun, as well as a near future major cooling. (While many folks have been talking Dalton Minimum style, Landschiedt predicts a Maunder Minimum style .. guess we’ll have to wait and see).

    IMO .. it’s not so far fetched that the mutual gravitational pulls of the giant planets and the Sun would have some type of an effect on the suns spin, which in turn would have some type of effect on plasma flows .. which according to all I’ve read lately, is a major driver of solar activity.

    At the very least .. thier predictions seem to be more accurate than the warming crowd’s. The Globe has cooled since 2002, the Sun is flat out dead, and now the PDO has shifted negative.

    Hmmmmmm.

  3. kim says:

    I feel like I’m about to step in it but I don’t see why a free-falling astronaut doesn’t feel forces when those forces acting on him change the direction from which they are felt?

    Also, if the mechanism ends up electrical, think of the large apparent change in Van de Graaf generators from minimal outside stimulus.
    ======================================

  4. John-X says:

    The late Dr. Landscheidt was not the only one. The late Rhodes Fairbridge also had a lot to say on the Solar Inertial Motion (SIM) hypothesis. See

    http://www.griffith.edu.au/conference/ics2007/pdf/ICS176.pdf

    for a summary of his life and work.

    Dr. Ivanka Charvátová has also worked on this problem. See for example, “Can origin of the 2400-year cycle of solar activity be caused. by solar inertial motion?” (I have the PDF of this paper, but not the URL at the moment – sorry).

    It was also intuitively obvious to Isaac Newton in 1687 that the sun had to be in continuous motion around the center of mass of the solar system (the “barycenter”) because of the mass and gravitational attraction of the planets, especially the big ones.

    The physics of the interaction has got to be very complicated, especially given that the sun is hot plasma and thermonuclear reactions, and the 4 “gas giant” planets are their own complex mixtures of matter.

    But at least within the estimates of the masses of the objects involved, there apparently is much agreement that yes, the sun does follow this oscillation around the “barycenter,” and because it is a “moving target” (the planets in motion), it’s not a simple oscillation, but includes recurrent periods of retrograde motion, in which the sun’s motion “loops back on itself.” During these periods it may be moving through its own previously generated magnetic fields.

    What effect does this have on earth’s climate?

    Once again, we have “cycles and correlations.” Landschiedt found ‘em, Fairbridge found ‘em, Charvatova found ‘em, and now these ASA blokes have found ‘em.

    I’d really like to see a complete solar dynamo model that incorporates these SIM effects, as I’m sure you would as well.

    These folks are quite honest in their abstract and say, “However, we are unable to suggest a plausible underlying physical cause for the coupling.”

    “Cycles and correlations” by themselves aren’t worth much. In this case I think it does help to illustrate how weak our understanding of the solar dynamo and the solar cycle really is.

    After all, given the mechanisms they do propose, solar equatorial rotation rate, meridional flow period resonance, with a complete and accurate solar dynamo model, this oughta be a piece of cake to confirm or deny.

    Instead, if indeed the world’s temperature drops by 1C to 2C over the next 20 to 30 years, what do we have? The next generation will have a slightly stronger correlation to consider.

    As in the case of the other solar-climate correlations, it is clearly an area worthy of much more study and more and better data.

    P.S. – Fairbridge also, apparently, asserts that global volcanism increases as a result of the same principle, presumably on the theory that magma also has some similar response to motion around the barycenter. This is mentioned in a single sentence in the above-cited work, but I have not yet found this idea elucidated anywhere else. If anyone has any information on this in Fairbridge’s or anyone else’s work, I’d be grateful for a pointer. Thanks.

  5. “I have a little bit of trouble understanding how the “mass at a distance” gravitational effects of Jupiter and Saturn could have much effect on the solar dynamo.” — Well… so what?

    The first step is to figure out whether something is going on, only then can you try to explain it. If the use of this theory produces correct predictions, it really doesn’t matter if anybody understands the mechanisms producing it yet. It may yet turn out that the theory produces correct predictions, but the supposed reasoning is completely wrong. It would not be the first time that (mostly-)correct theories were wrong about the mechanisms.

    (I have not examined the claim they are making correct predictions consistently.)

  6. ZT says:

    Meanwhile…

    I’m curious to see what actually ends up happening this year.

  7. twawki says:

    One thing is obvious with regards the sun, climate etc is we need to have rigorous public debate before any ‘green’ laws are enacted. Our governments also need to have contingency plans for cooling as well as warming

  8. anna v says:

    I think the importance of this paper does not so much lie on the content, rather that it is a peer reviewed paper that introduces new theories in the mix.

    The more the better to clarify for the public that the science is NOT settled and before humanity jumps into the economic chaos of CO2 witch chasing, it should be made aware of this.

    It is unfortunate that a great number of national societies of this and that have come out for the AGW theory, I am sure without polling their members and stating percentages. It is like declaring their faith, and it is good that dissenting voices become loud.

    As far as the content, as a physicist, and having seen elsewhere that the baricenter lies inside the fluid sun I do not exclude the possibility that these motions change the magnetic fields in tandem . Of course it needs a serious study by a magnetic dynamo solar theorist, and a fluid dynamics one for sure ( to see how the gravitational changes couple with the rotation) . In addition it needs proof that changes in the sun’s magnetic field create weather changes ( albedo and galactic cosmic rays? remains to be proven).

    As I said, the science is not settled.

  9. Jean Meeus says:

    I don’t believe a word of that. It’s not the first time that planetary “influences” have been invoked to explain sunspot activity. It remembers me of the infamous book “The Jupiter Effect” of Gribbin and Plageman which was published in 1974, and in which it was predicted that Los Angeles would be destroyed by a giant seism triggered by the so-called “superconjunction” of the planets in 1982.

  10. Erik says:

    I’m a physicist too, and the only mechanism I know of which would let planets effect the sun are gravitational-tidal effects. The tidal effects would just mean that one side of the sun is closer to Jupiter/Sat/Nept than the other side, so there is an asymmetric influence.

    Here are my rough calculations for the impact of Jupiter on the sun. (The other planets would matter to, but much less than Jupiter.)

    According to my calculations, (using the masses and distances from Wikipedia) the Gravitational acceleration which Jupiter imparts on the sun is about 2*10E-7 m/sec^2.

    This will move the Sun over time, but shouldn’t matter in the sun’s reference frame.

    But the sun is pretty big, so the tidal forces mean than the “close side” of the sun is accelerated about 7.5*10^-10 m/sec^2 faster than the “far side” of the sun.

    That’s a small difference, but Jupiter moves slowly (12 year period) so it has some time to distort the sun. After a quarter cycle, the distortion will be out of phase with itself, so–rough estimate– lets say the maximum distortion is equal to the acceleration time one-eighth of a period. That would distort the sun by about two or three hundred km.

    Is that enough change it? I dunno.

    The sun rotates (more or less) once a month, so the effect of Jupiter would be a small distortion on the shape of the sun as it spins. That would slow the sun down a little, but obviously not much since it’s been 4 Billion years and they are still far from phase-lock.

    For comparison, the tidal effect of our moon is about 2000 time stronger. Our moon had probably effected the vulcanism of the Earth. (Neither Venus or Mars have significant magentic fields)

    So…Maybe? I guess I can’t rule out an interaction between the Jovian planets and the convection patterns of the sun.

  11. Matt says:

    My question is… Can they extrapolate this back and explain Dalton and Maunder Minima and the Medieval Warm Period? Did the sun hit an orbital/rotational sweet spot for these times?

  12. Luboš Motl says:

    Dear Anthony, I share your intuition. Click my name to get to my article about these issues.

    A direct effect of a relative distance between the Sun’s center and the barycenter violates the equivalence principle – phenomena at free fall should be indistinguishable from those outside gravitational fields.

    However, it might actually be due to some tidal or gravimagnetic forces – some gradients of the acceleration resulting from Jupiter and Saturn – that help to change the phase of the solar dynamo.

  13. John-X (20:44:37) :

    “Dr. Ivanka Charvátová has also worked on this problem. See for example, “Can origin of the 2400-year cycle of solar activity be caused. by solar inertial motion?” (I have the PDF of this paper, but not the URL at the moment – sorry).”

    It is here
    http://www.ann-geophys.net/18/399/2000/angeo-18-399-2000.pdf

    I found the hypotheses presented there fascinating, so I made a simulator verifying that the diagrams presented in that paper are in fact correct
    http://arnholm.org/astro/sun/sc24/sim1/

    What a lot of people do not realise, is that the solar system barycenter can coincide with the sun’s own center of mass or be as much as 2.2 solar radii away from it. This value is really the sun’s own orbital radius, and it changes rapidly.

    A possible link between this effect and solar activity is due to conservation of the solar system’s angular momentum. When the sun’s orbital radius approaches zero, the sun’s orbital contribution to the solar system’s angular momentum appears to be very much reduced or vanish. So it could be that the sun’s own spin will have to change correspondingly. If the sun is not homogenious, then it seems plausible that internal relative inertial forces will be the result. Maybe these could explain the variation in solar activity.

  14. cynical joe says:

    The Science is not settled. We need more data, more research, more patience, more theories advanced whether ultimately fruitful or dead ends, more dedication to the hard work ahead and more humility about our power to even understand the forces we live amongst let alone manipulate them. Scientific disagreements shouldn’t be allowed to devolve into proxy policy wars, but welcomed as the essence of scientific advancement.

  15. Agwbs says:

    Mostly (historically) a scientist will recoil from this purely because it “smacks” of astrology – “the planets have an effect on the climate old chap – never!”.

    Kudos to Ian for his insight, his perseverance and his victory, for it is nothing less, in the face of the inertia inherent in monolithic establishments.

    The irony is that those with the biggest toys and therefore the biggest chance of pinning this down have only grudgingly, and recently, joined the fray.

    I know a lot of Anthony’s readers will have seen this paper but for those that have not:

    http://gltrs.grc.nasa.gov/Citations.aspx?id=330
    TITLE AND SUBTITLE:
    Apparent Relations Between Solar Activity and Solar Tides Caused by the Planets
    AUTHOR(S):
    Hung, Ching-Cheh
    “…..Twenty-five of the thirty-eight largest known solar flares were observed to start when one or more tide-producing planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Jupiter) were either nearly above the event positions (<10° longitude) or at the opposing side of the Sun. The probability for this to happen at random is 0.039 percent. This supports the hypothesis that the force or momentum balance (between the solar atmospheric pressure, the gravity field, and magnetic field) on plasma in the looping magnetic field lines in solar corona could be disturbed by tides, resulting in magnetic field reconnection, solar flares, and solar storms. ”

    This follows on from the work of John Nelson who, after moving to NASA (where he achieved an 85% success rate for long range prediction of favourable radio conditions) from his sponsors RCA where he realized that the @11 year sun-spot cycle of the Sun had an effect on signal transmissions.

    He was in good company as Aristotle, Theophrastus, Ptolemy, Brahe, Kepler, Newton, Howard, Saxby, Herschel, Fairbridge, Jose, Milankovitch, Charvátová, and Landscheidt (amongst others) all found relationships.

    Some more work (without links so as to avoid the spamfilter):

    Ren Zhenqiu1
    (1) Institute of Weather and Climate Research, Academy of Meteorological Science, SMA, Beijing
    Received: 12 November 1985
    Abstract This paper points out that (1) there were 5 abnormal periods of climate in China over the last 1000 years, in which the frequency, the severity and the influenced area of such calamities as low temperature, drought and flood increased greatly; (2) there were 3 or 4 worse periods of climate over the past 5000 years which were more severe than the above-mentioned climate; (3) the momental effect of the geocentric synods of nine planets is one of the important causes for the formation of the abnormal and worse periods of climate; and (4) from the 1960s to about 2000 A.D. China and the entire Northern Hemisphere would probably undergo another abnormal period of climate.

    Khabibullo Abdusamatov head of a space research lab at the Pulkovo observatory in St. Petersburg:
    “…..By 2041, solar activity will reach its minimum according to a 200-year cycle, and a deep cooling period will hit the Earth approximately in 2055-2060. It will last for about 45-65 years…. …..By the mid-21st century the planet will face another Little Ice Age, similar to the Maunder Minimum, because the amount of solar radiation hitting the Earth has been constantly decreasing since the 1990s and will reach its minimum approximately in 2041….”

    All of which won’t bother our pal Al as he has his (currently) $100 million and his energy gulping houses to shelter him from the coming cold.

  16. Mike Z says:

    There was an interesting article published back in 1964 by Paul Jose titled
    Sun’s Motion and Sunspots. It concerned itself with the barycenter of the soloar system and sunspots.

    I have seen somewhere (I can’t remember right off at this moment) that most of the time barycanter of the solar system is above the surface of the sun. The trouble happens when this barycenter enters the sun. This upsets the angular momentum of the sun somehow.

    I am not saying I understand or even believe all of it. Just throwing it out there for information.

  17. Dee Norris says:

    My understand of Landscheidt is that when the motion of the barycenter is opposite of the rotation of the solar core, the sunspot count goes up and when the barycenter is moving in the same direction as the core, the sunspot activity is down.

    Landscheidt maps this to observed warm and cool periods with great success.

    This is what convinced me that he was in the right direction. Simple models that match observed data.

    Accordingly, he predicted a low solar output for the next hundred years or so, starting right about now.

  18. Dee Norris says:

    Here is the Landscheidt paper that finally won me over.

    A New Ice Age instead of Global Warming
    http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/new-e.htm

  19. Dee Norris says:

    OK, I know I should have gotten this all in one post and feel free to combine them Anthony.

    As the denser solar core is whipped around the solar barycenter, there is a transfer of angular momentum from the outer planets to/from the angular momentum of the core. The direction of the transfer of momentum is determined by the movement of the barycenter relative to the core. Add momentum to the core and there is an increase in magnetic field strength: More Sunspots. Decrease momentum and less sunspots.

    Graph of position of the Barycenter: http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt
    /new/Fig8L.jpg

    Graph of Angular Momentum: http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/new/Fig11L.jpg

  20. Dee Norris says:

    Working Link

    Graph of position of the Barycenter: http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/new/Fig8L.jpg

  21. Dr_Mike says:

    I am a physicist, but not a solar physicist, so to an extent I’m blowing smoke here. This theory passes the smell test, i.e. nothing is obviously false about it. That does not make it true, and my smattering of astrophysics courses are over a decade back so don’t look to me for proof. I will simply try to explain how the Jovian planets _could_ influence the sun. No, this is not astrology.

    The idea is based on a fundamental principle: Angular momentum is conserved.

    What does that mean? Well, let’s take a simple example. You see an ice skater in a spin; she pulls her arms in and the spin becomes faster. Her angular momentum is the total sum of every bit of mass, times it’s distance from the axis of rotation, times the rotational speed. She started her spin with a total amount of angular momentum, and by pulling her arms in, they became closer to her axis of rotation. To keep angular momentum constant, rotational speed had to increase. Feel free to try this at home, kids!

    Now throw in the concept of center-of-mass: For example, the Moon does not orbit the Earth; the two bodies orbit a common center of mass. In this case it is (IIRC) about a thousand miles below the earth’s surface. That’s right kids, once a month the Earth swings around a point 3/4 of an Earth radius from its center. However, this is a simple stable condition, and we don’t even notice it. This is a two-body problem.

    Now let’s start looking at the whole solar system.

    The Center of Mass (CoM) of the Sun and Jupiter actually lies just above the surface of the sun, at about 1.07 solar radii from the center. The CoM of the Sun-Saturn pair lies at 0.58 solar radii from the Sun’s center. So, looking at this three body system, if Jupiter and Saturn are on the same side of the sun, then the CoM is 1.65 (1.07 + 0.58 ) solar radii from the center of the sun. When they are on opposite sides of the sun, the CoM is at a mere 0.49 (1.07 – 0.58 ) solar radii. The CoMs for the other outer planets are 0.18 radii for Uranus, and 0.32 for Neptune. Adding in the other planets, the CoM for the solar system ranges from about 0.1 to 2 solar radii from the center of the sun. Jupiter dominates, but Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are significant players.

    If Jupiter were the only player, this would be simple, and we’d have a nice, steady system like the Earth-Moon system. Big deal. But Jupiter is only about half the effect, AND it is also the fastest mover of the outer planets.

    From the sun’s point of view, it can move from 0.1 solar radii from the CoM, out to 2 radii, in a mere 5 years or so (and other times it can spend decades at 0.7-1.3 or so). The sun’s orbital angular momentum is changing drastically during these times, but I said angular momentum is conserved. So what happens? The sun has to _transfer_ angular momentum from its orbit to its own internal rotation. Since it is a giant ball of fluid, this is likely a very complex problem indeed.

    Everything up to here is freshman physics.

    Now I leave freshman physics and start talking out my nether orifice: The sunspot correlation to the solar system barycenter, or CoM:

    The ideas are twofold:

    First, if you take a free floating ball of fluid (Mr. Sun) and perturb it with an 11 year cycle (Jupiter’s orbit relative to the other major planets) for a few billion years, you may get a bit of a resonance. It doesn’t matter if it’s weak, it is reinforced over 4 billion years. You will get an effect. Could this be why the solar cycle is so similar to Jupiter’s orbital period? My gut reaction (unscientific!!) is maybe. It’s the most fundamental perturbation in the system.

    Second, you get these periodic large transients where the CoM moves from inside the Sun’s core to out in the corona in a few short years. Does this (a) mess up the sun for a short time? Probably. Does this (b) cause longer term periodicity in the solar cycle? It would not suprise me.

    So that’s the theory in a nutshell. The freshman physics is sound, but as far as modeling momentum transfers in a rotating star, well, my solar modeling topped out with a static model back in undergrad.

  22. DocMartyn says:

    I have heard the arguments that the suns interaction with the moving barycenter is too small to change anything, but may I off up a little something.
    Heat is generated in the suns core and then makes its way to the surface by a variety of mechanisms that include convection.
    What happens when you disturb laminar/smooth flow and make it turbulent?
    A small energy input can disturb the transition, and the heat carrying rate, between laminar and turbulent flow of currents within the sun.
    If the system is on a knifedge, like smoke rising from a cigarette, then many things affect the transition.

  23. Dr_Mike says:

    Sorry, I put a couple colons after close parentheses, there should not be smiley faces appearing in the above post.

  24. cohenite says:

    One wonders how many discerned solar cycles there are; Wilson/Carter/Waite postulate cycles at 22.3, 19.86 and 178.7 years; the latter is rounded off by Motl to 180; we have the Schwabe, Hale and multiple Hale; Blackwell had numerous papers on multiple cycles, but they are in the process of being absorbed by Wiley so I can’t check my references; Scafetta and West suggest a few, although they mainly look at Schwabe and Hale. At the risk of reopening the Tamino dispute maybe a compilation of the lot would be instructive (as if you haven’t enough on your plate!) and doing some sort of comparison with temp over a nominated period. In this respect Motl has also noted the Dalton minimum and its time correlation with the Wilson thesis; but this 180 year period doesn’t tally with the previous minimums; Oort, Wolf, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton, which don’t appear to have any pattern.

    One thing is for sure, if the sun does go quiet up to and into 2009, the explanations from the AGW crew will have to be as creative as any attempt to produce a combined periodicity from all the solar cycles.

  25. Jim Watson says:

    In an ancient fable, Chanticleer the Rooster takes credit for the sunrise.

    Perhaps Al Gore and company should take credit for the lack of sunspots and claim victory for the Global Warming crowd.

  26. Arthur says:

    Kim, “I feel like I’m about to step in it but I don’t see why a free-falling astronaut doesn’t feel forces when those forces acting on him change the direction from which they are felt?”

    Because he is so small.

    Free fall sensation occurs when a body does not resist an accelerative force that acts evenly over the entire body. Since the human body is so small, any gravitational force from a planetary (or larger) body will act equally over the entire human body (same for a distant compact gravitational source).

    The reason that we have tides is that the diameter of the earth is a significant percentage of the distance to the gravitational source. This is why the moon causes larger ocean tides than the sun does – the diameter of the earth is a much higher percentage of the distance to the moon than it is to the sun. This is also why the premise of “The Jupiter Effect” book was so laughable.

    Intuitively, it makes sense that a fluid body of solar dimension is going to be affected by the planets that are close enough or large enough to have measurable tidal effects.

  27. Daniel Rothenberg says:

    Just to be a bit nitpicky, the paper doesn’t say anything about global cooling. It’s simply a quantification of a mechanical flow process within the sun’s atmosphere. The comment about cooling seems to come from a personal interview that Andrew Bolt conducted with one of the paper’s authors, Ian Wilson. The comment is neither quantified nor qualified – although it comes from an expert, he presents no research or data to support this offhand cooling hypothesis.

    What is the latest on current research regarding the precise relationship between solar output and/or solar output patterns and Earth’s climate and/or climate patterns?

  28. anna v says:

    Carsten Arnholm, Norway (01:20:02) :

    Thanks for the simulator. Intriguing.

  29. J.Hansford. says:

    Well….. Astrophysicist find planets by looking for the wobble of their gravitational effect on their stars…… So there would be an effect from Jupiter on Sol….. small, but measurable I suppose…. therefor significant…? I don’t know. But it is possible.

    We’ll have to wait and see I ‘spose.

  30. Ric Werme says:

    Of course, we need a link to Timo Niroma’s http://personal.inet.fi/tiede/tilmari/sunspots.html too.

    Barycenter motion/tidal forces, I think it’s all the same. The barycenter track is derived from integrating the gravitational forces twice, the tidal force is just the difference of the gravitational force from one side of the Sun to the other. Minor forces all, but they are by far the largest externally applied forces on the Sun. However, given that blobs of plasma are moving about at miles per second speeds within the Sun, tidal forces are really, really minor. Understanding needed, skepticism warranted.

    Thoughts about the Sun’s angular velocity having to change with the distance to the barycenter seem bogus – the angular momentum that is conserved comes from all the bodies in the solar system and it seems to me that ought have all the momentum necessary.

    I wonder if Jupiter’s magnetic field has some effect on the Sun. I have no idea what the direct strength might be and even less what the indirect effects might be.

    kim (20:28:35) :

    “I feel like I’m about to step in it but I don’t see why a free-falling astronaut doesn’t feel forces when those forces acting on him change the direction from which they are felt?”

    The forces are there and computable, but they’re just too small to be observable.
    Well, supposedly. A fascinating experiment decades ago showed that crabs taken from salt water bays to someplace far away from the coast (Chicago?) shifted their behavior to match the tidal forces of the new location. I don’t believe a mechanism was identified.

    Even more fascinating, around 1976 I read about a blind student with frequent bouts of insomnia. He happened to be at a university with a sleep research department and ultimately they found his body was on a 24.9 hour cycle synchronized with tides. Not being able to see the sun or moon and not being near the seacoast, no mechanism was identified, but the paper conclude that some people do retain the ability to detect tides.

    I tried out that cycle for a month once when I want to get a lot of work done. (I’m a software engineer, computers don’t seem to mind late nights.) Worked pretty well. I suggested this to my sister who was working on her marine biology Phd at the time and she came across a few other larval scientists who had done the same thing when they were doing tidal-synced population sampling.

  31. Bill Illis says:

    Just noting it takes an average of 100,000 years for the energy produced in the center of the Sun to reach the surface and be expelled toward Earth. Some photons make the trip a little faster while others might never make it out.

    Combined with the barycentre notion, and the fact that the Sun is held in orbit by the gravity of the Milky Way and its dark matter, this kind of system must be extremely complicated.

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  33. I may be all wet here, but must this be strictly a gravitational/tidal matter? The Sun has a magnetic interchange with the planets, and wouldn`t this interchange (and the ionized plasma in the solar interior) be influenced by the position of some of the larger bodies in the solar system-especially Jupiter, with its strong magnetic field relative to the Barycenter and the Sun`s position.

    I`m not a physicist, and may be completely out on a limb here.

  34. Pierre Gosselin says:

    We know the moon through gravity greatly influences the oceans and tidal activity on the earth. So why wouldn’t gravitational forces effect the sun, which is fluid after all. Couldn’t distorting the sun’s fluid mass influence its magnetic field?

    And what about the gravitational influences of the Milky Way on our solar system?

    The spiral-shaped Milky Way is glued together by gravity, whose field is constantly varying as the bodies within it constantly change their relative position. The Milky Way’s varying magnetic field could also act to vary the sun’s position, shape and fields – couldn’t it?

    I’m also not sold on this idea. But it has to be checked out. Though unwelcome by those who believe good science can be advanced by populism, number-fudging, make believe consensus and blind faith in simplistic theories, good science has to withstand the test of tough scepticism and observation. Anything else is junk.

  35. Pierre Gosselin says:

    And concerning the Earth’s volcanic and tectonic activity, it could also be influenced by gravitational interaction with other celestial bodies. The Earth with its molten core and thin crust also warps and distorts. I wonder if variations in gravitational forces acting on the earth by other planets etc. could jar its tectonic plates, thus unleashing earthquakes or possibly volcanic eruptions.

  36. anna v says:

    This is from Wikipedia, not the ultimate truth, but I needed a quikc reference for the solar dynamo:

    “The solar dynamo is the physical process that generates the Sun’s magnetic field. The Sun is permeated by an overall dipole magnetic field, as are many other celestial bodies such as the Earth. The dipole field is produced by a circular electric current flowing deep within the star, following Ampère’s law. The current is produced by shear (stretching of material) between different parts of the Sun that rotate at different rates, and the fact that the Sun itself is a very good electrical conductor (and therefore governed by the laws of magnetohydrodynamics).

    Any electrically conducting fluid can form a dynamo simply by shear within the fluid itself, because of a consequence of Lenz’s law of induction: moving the fluid through a pre-existing magnetic field will induce electrical currents in the fluid that distort the pre-existing magnetic field. The direction of the distortion is such that the existing field lines tend to be dragged along with the fluid, like threads of dye embedded in taffy or syrup. If the flow has a strong shear component then the individual field lines are stretched by the flow, amplifying the existing magnetic field. Such systems are called MHD dynamos. Depending on the structure of the flow, the dynamo may be self-exciting and stable, self-exciting and chaotic, or decaying.

    The Sun’s dynamo is self-exciting and chaotic: the direction of the field reverses itself about every 11 years, causing the sunspot cycle as ropes of magnetic field lines rise to the surface of the Sun and manifest as sunspots on the surface.

    The detailed mechanism of the solar dynamo is not known and is the subject of current research.”

    It is obvious that what would be affected by gravitational tidal perturbations would be “shear within the fluid”, and that could change magnetic fields. A model is needed for this, and then, to have an effect on earth climate a mechanism of how magnetic fields operate on climate has to be found and proven.

    So it is a long shot, that needs a lot of research.

    Good.

  37. Leon Brozyna says:

    I’m viewing this — the SIM hypothesis as first proposed by Fairbridge and still being refined — as being at the stage the theory of continental drift was when Wegener first developed his hypothesis. Even if the next 2-3 solar cycles bear out Fairbridge’s hypothesis there still remains the small matter of understanding the why of such an effect happening. The idea seems to have merit but we need to remember that correlation does not prove causation.

  38. Stevo says:

    The point about the equivalence principle is right – the sun is not aware of its motion relative to the barycentre, it can only detect it through tides or other external effects. (It would be interesting for someone to plot tidal strength instead of barycentre motion to see if the correlation holds up. I’d guess it should.)

    Some further things to think about. The sun rotates differentially every 25 days at the equator, ranging up to about 35 days at the poles. So tides will occur roughly every 25-35 days. The sun’s axis of rotation is tilted only about 7 degrees to the ecliptic, so there isn’t a great deal of asymmetry there. Jupiter on its own will simply give a 25 day tide, wherever it is in its orbit. That’s why the Jupiter-Saturn synodic period was proposed, the effect being similar to that of spring/neap tides. Although it should be noted Saturn causes only one tenth the tidal force of Earth or Mercury, which are themselves about half that of Venus or Jupiter.

    The forces are undoubtedly small, so some sort of amplification process is needed. Since we’re talking about sunspots and the solar magnetic cycle, the logical place to look is the physics of the solar dynamo, which is currently not fully understood. The basic theory is that the differential rotation of the equator faster than the poles causes polar magnetic field lines to get wound up, which magnifies their strength. Loops bubble up and get twisted by Coriolis-induced cyclonic cells (sensitive to disturbances?), which introduces helicity, induces a current along the toroidal field lines, which restores a polar field to get twisted up again. The magnification is exponential, so this seems fertile ground for looking for small perturbations becoming large ones.

    The other area to figure out is why the sun has a differential rotation. It can because it is a fluid, but what drives it to spin faster than the underlying core at the equator? The cycle period is driven by the meridional current: which rises at the equator, moves quickly to the poles in about 7 years, where it sinks and returns slowly to the equator over about 20 years. It is a wave of activity in this underlying current that carries the sunspots towards the equator – sunspots being loops of magnetic field that bubble up and pierce the surface. And the motion is known to be affected by the changes in the magnetic field, although it’s not known if it can be affected by changes external to the sun. All the mechanisms are linked. Figure out what drives the flow, and you may be some way towards understanding how planets could affect it.

    You may find these documents relevant.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1927PASP…39..228L
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/0405/0405052v2.pdf

    The second (big) one has a discussion of all the things that are not understood or don’t fit about the solar dynamo. Hope that helps.

  39. Arthur Glass says:

    Theodore Landscheidt (what an unfortunate last name) seems to have been a bit of a New Ager, with an interest in astrology and alchemy. I had bookmarked an essay of his on the Jovian inluence on the rotation and orbit of the sun, but I seem to have lost it. As I remember, his argument for this influence did not depend on any horoscopy hocus-pocus but on the law of conservation of angular momentum in a multi-body system. Newton, another astrologer/alchemist of note, worked out the basics of this influence under the reign of Good King Charles II–in the middle of the Maunder Minimum, co-incidentally.

  40. anna v says:

    Pierre Gosselin (08:56:26)

    There are earth tides, i.e. the earth moving up and down with the moon’s drag. I think it is about 30 cms or so. I suppose enough to trigger earthquakes and volcanic activity if they are ripe from tectonic pressure, but I doubt they could cause them.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1022_041022_earthquakes_tides_2.html

    and

    http://www.jtbullitt.com/projects/small-sounds/solid-earth-tides

    to listen to some :) .

  41. Richard deSousa says:

    If Landscheidt is correct then heaven help us.

  42. Arthur Glass says:

    Interesting, too, to read speculation about global warming on Mars and Jupiter. Apparently the evil oil industry CEO’s have a baleful influence far beyond the Third Rock.

  43. Peter Taylor says:

    I came across Landscheidt’s work several years ago – he had a remarkable capacity to predict both sunspot activity and El Nino – and this led me to review much of the oceanographic data indicating links to solar cycles – I am now convinced the solar wind affects cloud cover in pulses that somehow time the varying ocean cycles – ‘global warming’ (1980-2005) coincides with a triple peaking (harmonic) of the Atlantic 20yr cyle, Arctic 70 yr cycle and Pacific 30yr with the 1998 El Nino providing the record high – now all three cycles are entering negative phases and I expect the Arctic to begin refreezing this year or next – you can track all this my following ‘depth-average temperature’ data rather than surface data for the oceans. So the recent oceanic shifts would indicate a solar shift – with a time lag period (Landscheidt had also worked out the lime-lags) – and reflective-type cloud data points to 2001 as the crucial year (global thinning from 1983-2001, thicker since).

    I could not, with my limited physics, understand how Landscheidt derived cycles of amplitude (which he equated with Gleissberg cycles of 70 years) from the spirograph patterns of the COM around the sun. But whatever the correlative method, which was obviously accurate, we need to have a more open mind about the mechanism – the movements of the COM may be correlated with more than gravitational tides or transfer of angular momentum – the solar system is a complex almost neuronal web of magnetic fields and channels along which plasma flows, is accelerated and constrained – and this plasma is electrical current, which in turn generates magnetic field . If I recall correctly, there is still no physics explanation for the accelerating solar wind – other than it being pinched by magnetic field lines – and it snakes around the solar equatorial belt and ecliptic in four massive spirals within the current sheet that occasionally align with the earth – solar storms move very quickly through these arms. What happens to the reverse current?
    Or do we still have a model of a unipolar electric current that ends at the Heliopause and simply disappears? Hannes Alfven proposed that the photosphere could not reach its 3m degrees without the backcurrent. Did anyone ever answer that question satisfactorily? If he is right, then we may be looking in the wrong place for mechanisms – could not solar visible light variability, flares and sunspots be induced by electrical phenomena caused by the back-current (and this would be influenced by Jupiter’s field)?

    And let’s not forget – there may also be galactic cycles influencing the sun – there are 5000 year peaks of varying amplitude in the berrylium-10 profiles.

    Shouldn’t there be a major effort to integrate all this breaking science?

  44. Tony Edwards says:

    Dr Mike

    “Now throw in the concept of center-of-mass: For example, the Moon does not orbit the Earth; the two bodies orbit a common center of mass. In this case it is (IIRC) about a thousand miles below the earth’s surface. That’s right kids, once a month the Earth swings around a point 3/4 of an Earth radius from its center.”

    Somewhat off topic, but this comment brings me to something that Isaac Asimov put into an article many years ago.
    All of the satellites of planets in the Solar System, with one exception, orbit their planets in a way which produces an orbit round the Sun which has a negative radius or orbit to the Sun for part of the track. Put another way their orbit wiggles in and out. They are also more strongly attracted by their planet than by the Sun, the advantage varying from about 4:1 up to around 100:1. However, the exception, our Moon, has an orbit around the Sub, which, while varying in magnitude, is always positive. During the portion of the orbit when it is between the Earth and the Sun, it never crosses the chord which can be drawn between first and third quarter points. Also, the Sun attracts the Moon more strongly than the Earth a factor of about 4:1.
    So, the great man’s argument went that we don’t have a satellite, but a sister planet. Interesting viewpoint, if unimportant. In fact, in view of the recent downgrading of Pluto from planet to planetoid, isn’t the Moon due for upgrading from satellite to minor planet?

    As to the paper, it would seem to make sense that constantly stirring the fluid of the Solar body will produce variations in the magnetic and electrostatic fields of the Sun. And since that beast is the only major player in the Earth’s weather system, well, why shouldn’t such variations have an effect on us?

  45. DAV says:

    anna v

    to listen to some

    The first sounds like my UFO coming in for a landing while the second sounds like the camp fire I build on winter nights while waiting for a ride into town. (I have to land in the desert because they won’t give me a clearance to land at LAX — something about an uncertificated craft or some such — and I can’t land at Edwards because I’m not military).

  46. John-X says:

    Many thanks to Mike Z. for the link to the CLASSIC paper by Paul Jose.

    Those interested in a quick contrast between the CO2/AGW “argument,” and the solar cycle/climate case, which come to diametrically opposed conclusions, should have a look at Archibald’s paper here

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/ArchibaldMarch2008.pdf

    Archibald includes his specific predictions that the slight cooling since the ’97-’98 El Nino peak will quickly accelerate to an average decline of 0.2C _per_year_ and will reach a minimum during the predicted very weak Solar Cycle 25 in the mid-2020s.

  47. I find the link with periods of irregular motion at the Barycenter and the following solar minimum’s effect on climate as credible.
    For one, the correlation is very good. Always when the Sun enters a period with irregular motion and the Sun enter a retrograde motion, the Earth goes through a period with lower global temperatures of 1.5 to 2.5 degree C.
    Although the exact mechanism is not known between the gravitational effect and the Sun’s magnetism, we know this, the plasma rotation time near the equator is shorter than near the poles. The rotation time is shorter near the surface than deeper down in the interior.
    The gravitational effect is largest near the equator and near the surface.
    It seems to me that the Sun needs continuous build up of frictional energy to create magnetic and eruptional activity. But when the Sun is near the Barycenter this buildup of energy stops and this somehow affects the Sun’s magnetic dynamo.

    Compare this correlation and the AGW theory which is based on CO2’s greenhouse effect which in itself is logarithmic and is based in computer models. These models don’t take into account variations in the Earth’s Albedo, can’t simulate correctly the relations between increase of the CO2’s effect in clouds, its effct on the amount of water vapor and its effect on convections in the clouds.

  48. Ian Wilson (no relation) says:

    I find it somewhat unsettling that hypotheses for correlation/causality have to be discarded just because the precise mechanism for the correlation is not known. If a long term correlation is shown with a very good statistical strength – that correlation exists. By all means request that research is done to assess causality and why there is a correlation, but claiming that there cannot be a correlation as the mechanism is unknown seems to be less than scientific. So why does weather on earth appear to be in synchronization with solar events that do not seem to alter the TSI significantly?

    From Dr Mike above:
    From the sun’s point of view, [the barycenter] can move from 0.1 solar radii from the CoM, out to 2 radii, in a mere 5 years or so (and other times it can spend decades at 0.7-1.3 or so). The sun’s orbital angular momentum is changing drastically during these times, but I said angular momentum is conserved. So what happens? The sun has to _transfer_ angular momentum from its orbit to its own internal rotation. Since it is a giant ball of fluid, this is likely a very complex problem indeed.

    Well the Earth is made up of a liquid core, a mantle (crust) with some breaks in it where magma can escape, liquid oceans and less dense fluid atmosphere. When the barycenter of the solar system alters rapidly the Earth’s orbital velocity will change slightly and it will be accelerated or decelerated into a slightly different orbit. If the conservation of angular momentum applies to the earth we could expect the atmosphere to show a rapid effect followed by the ocean currents and the stress on the Earth’s crust will change – it is possible that circulation of the magma may be altered. What will occur will be a differential rotation of these constituent parts of the Earth.

    In earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2001/200112065794.html it states:
    “A new NASA computer climate model reinforces the long-standing theory that low solar activity could have changed the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere from the 1400s to the 1700s and triggered a “Little Ice Age” in several regions including North America and Europe. Changes in the sun’s energy was one of the biggest factors influencing climate change during this period, but have since been superceded by greenhouse gases due to the industrial revolution.

    So perhaps the effect of the motion of the barycenter which shows effects on the Sun, also has a direct effect on Earth due to differential rotation changes as the Earth chases the barycenter. We would see this most obviously in changes in the gravity and Kelvin waves driving the jet stream into non-standard patterns – as the U.S. Mid-West has seen this year.
    In the oceans we could expect changes in currents – much as we have had a La Nina and a PDO phase reversal into the cool phase.
    We might expect stress increases in the Earth’s crust – triggering vulcanism and earthquakes that were already likely – but are triggered in clusters with the stress. This has also been shown to be true and statistically significant.
    If the Sun also enters a quiet period then the effects on the Earth and the Sun from barycenter movement could reinforce each other. The changing of the Earth’s orbit due to the barycenter alterations would be chaotic as they are driven by the continually changing positions of the larger planets as well as that of the Earth in its orbit. Therefore, there may not be a regular ‘beat’ frequency that is easy to spot and the climate minima could occur at slightly different periodocities which appears to be the case.

    Just some random thoughts.

  49. Dr_Mike says:

    Ian Wilson –

    I’m not sure I can agree with that. For a few reasons.

    First, the Earth does not orbit the sun. The Earth orbits the solar system barycenter.

    Second, the order of magnitude: If the solar barycenter moves from 0.1 to 2 solar radii in 5 years, then the sun goes from orbiting a point inside its core, to well outside it, in 5 years. This is very dramatic, from the sun’s perspective. To us, however, in the time it takes to spin around the sun (really, the barycenter) five times, it moves 0.01 AU relative to the Sun. Call it 0.002 AU per year. I don’t see that as being nearly as great an effect. But again, it’s the sun moving relative to the point we’re orbiting, not a change in our orbit.

    Third, the earth’s orbit is an ellipse, ranging from 0.983 to 1.017 AU. So we already adjust our distance to the sun and the barycenter by 0.034 AU every year.

    From our point of view the whole thing is a non-issue; we orbit the barycenter, plowing happily along. The Sun, however, sees a dramatic shift and this could ( could, I said ) have an effect. Even if it’s minor, the solar system is 4.5 billion years old; an 11 year effect from Jupiter would have had 100,000,000 cycles to make an impression. I see it like sloshing your hand in a bathtub; if you hit a resonance you can make some big waves quickly, but even if you hit an off frequency you still have some effect. Now slosh your hand back and forth a few million times…

  50. There are two issues here:
    1) barycentric motion
    2) planetary tides
    The standard [and correct I think] objection to the barycentric motion having any effect is that the Sun is in free fall around the barycenter and therefore does not feel any forces from that [Equivalence postulate of General Relativity or some such, or in simpler terms: the gravitational and centrifugal forces balance completely].
    The standard [and correct I think] objection to the planetary tides is that they are too small. Over at Climate Audit [Svalgaard #6, post #569] there has been extensive discussion on this. I quote here one of my comments:
    “instead of me going through a long explanation, I’ll just refer to a good one at http://mb-soft.com/public/tides.html
    Working through the math one gets that the tides by the Moon on the Earth is 367 mm high [mm = millimeter = 1/25.4th of an inch]. Inserting values for the Sun and Jupiter one gets a tide 0.47 mm high [if I have done the math correctly - you might want to check this !]. Put all the other planets where you want, their individual tides will be less that this. Venus’ is almost as high as Jupiter’s. All together, the tidal effects are of the order of 1 mm. Compare this to the convective overturning of the photosphere in Texas-sized granules moving at 1-2 km/sec [that is 1000000-2000000 mm/sec] and you might be able to see that planetary tidal effects can be ignored. Of course, there are always people that have problems with numbers. You might be one of them; if so, think of a large truck running over an ant at 100 miles/hour. The effect of the ant on the trajectory of the truck is relatively much larger than the tidal influence of the planets on the matter of the Sun. This much was known to Isaac Newton in the 1700th Century. Have we not progressed since then? Can we not stand on the shoulders of that giant? And can we not get off this topic, once and for all? BTW, the tides by Jupiter on the Earth is 1/500 of a millimeter [at closest approach].”
    An objection to both theories is that they do not explain the reversal of all the magnetic polarities [of spot pairs, hemispheres, polar regions]. The standard way of ‘rescuing’ the planetary theory is to say that the planets do not ’cause’ the solar cycle, but only ‘modulates’ it slightly, letting the ‘real’ dynamo mechanism take care of the polarity reversals. The minuteness of the tidal effects leaves one grasping for how that modulation is achieved.
    I have not read the Australian article. Seems they want money for it, and its author is ‘not at liberty to share it with us’. So, until he does, I’ll just let it rest there. I have found in discussion with many, many faithful that none of my above arguments carry any weight whatsoever with them. I’m at a loss why not [although this does not disturb me in any way].

  51. Suzanne Morstad says:

    Suzanne
    It is really exciting to see the papers and theories of Landscheidt and Fairbridge discussed by people who have read them and understand what they are talking about. Has anyone read the Mikul Sharma’s (Dartmoth) study of Be10 levels in oceanic cores that found a 100,000 year periodicity in solar magnitism, i.e when the sun’s orbit was more oval, solar activity was lower (and the Earth was in an ice age)? This may explain the mechanism behind the eccentricity part of the Milankovich cycle being the “pacemaker of the Ice Ages”. There have been several recent papers that show warming before the insolation change from orbital changes is strong enough to cause warming-a “causality problem. The search for the real drivers of our climate is much more exciting than than the litany of woes caused by CO2.

  52. Pingback: Global Cooling « Written on the Wind

  53. bellaliberty says:

    Please visit this link and see how Astronomy is useful to us.

    http://bellaliberty.wordpress.com/2008/06/22/

  54. Pingback: Timothy Birdnow » Do the Planets Influence Solar Activity?

  55. Ian Wilson (no relation) says:

    Leif,
    I have no problem with your maths. I am certain you are correct. But you state that “Working through the math one gets that the tides by the Moon on the Earth is 367 mm high [mm = millimeter = 1/25.4th of an inch].” So the moon’s tides on the Earth cause only a 3.67CM rise in sea level?

    Whilst your maths may be correct – this does not match with the empirical reality of ocean tides. It may be the case somewhere on Earth but certainly not in the temperate latitudes. So assuming that your maths is correct, something else must be causing the 2 – 3 metre rise in water level between low tide and high tide. Even the Earth’s crust rises by centimeters – perhaps your maths is talking of the rise in the mantle rather than the oceans and the atmosphere?

    There are many references for this but see
    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0861552.html as one that puts them together in simple conceptual terms.

  56. Dr. Manuel Oliver, astrophysics professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, has some different ideas on the core of the Sun.
    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2005/The_Suns_Origin.pdf
    Essentially, he argues that the Sun is not powered by nuclear fusion and that it is what he calls a “clothed neutron star“.

    I can`t say I agree with this rather exotic view, but he believes that this neutronium core moves about as a result of tidal forces from Jupiter and Saturn.
    tbirdnow.mee.nu/planetsolar_interactions_and_the_earths_climate

    This paper definitely buttresses his case.

    Thought everyone would find this interesting.

  57. John-X says:

    Leif Svalgaard (13:21:32) :

    “And can we not get off this topic, once and for all?”

    QUIET EVERYONE!

    The science is now settled. The SIM hypothesis has been debunked just this morning by the consensus of Dr. Svalgaard.

    If I catch any one of you deniers discussing the discredited SIM hypothesis anywhere, I’ll cancel your research grant, refuse to publish your paper, and take away your AMS TV weatherman seal.

  58. Jeff Alberts says:

    Dr. Svalgaard, I’m with you on the extremely small tidal forces.

    But how do astronomers find planets around other stars based on the “wobble” of the star? What’s causing it to wobble?

    REPLY: as I understand it, these are usually much more massive planets with smaller orbits than Jupiter and Saturn. To get an idea of how this works at the relative body sizes involved, see this animation of Pluto and it’s moon Charon:

    http://orbitsimulator.com/gravity/PlutoCharon.GIF

    Leif may have a different explanation, but I thought this would help visualize it – Anthony

  59. Ian: from the very article you cited: The typical tidal range in the open ocean is 2 feet. The actual tides vary greatly depending on how far you are from the coast. In Fundy Bay it can be 10-15 meters. BTW, 1 CM is 10 MM, so the tides I calculated is 36.7 CM [more than a foot, then add 20 CM from the Sun... and it fits quite well].

    John-X: no need to be so sarcastic. I was quoting from another blog, where there already is a prohibition [not mine] on barycenter theories, so get off your indignation and try to make a contribution to the subject instead. Maybe I should have excised that comment that triggered such a reaction in you, but, hey, if one has to cater for everyone’s sensibilities there would be little to say.

  60. Here is a thought experiment: Add a pea to the solar system orbiting at some distance. The addition of the pea will alter the position of the barycenter. Not by much, though. Now, slowly move the pea away from the solar system. This will move the barycenter a bit further out. Still not by much. Since there is no [in my Newtonian thought experiment] limit to how far away we can move the pea, there is no limit to how far away we can move the barycenter, then watch the sunspots grow and GROW and GGRROOWW as we continue to move the pea away.

  61. jeeztheadmin says:

    You have just defined a convergent series with an absolute limit Dr. Svalgaard, i.e. distance of pea = infinity, or to put it differently, the same barycenter as if there is no pea in the first place. What is the point of the thought experiment?

  62. Jeff: the wobble is not tidal forces, but the regular gravitational interaction between the bodies as you can see here

  63. Ric Werme says:

    Dr_Mike (05:05:11) :

    “From the sun’s point of view, it can move from 0.1 solar radii from the CoM, out to 2 radii, in a mere 5 years or so (and other times it can spend decades at 0.7-1.3 or so). The sun’s orbital angular momentum is changing drastically during these times, but I said angular momentum is conserved. So what happens? The sun has to _transfer_ angular momentum from its orbit to its own internal rotation.

    No – angular momentum within the solar system has to be conserved, and most of it is held in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun. I haven’t worked though the math, but I bet that when the Sun moves from or to the barycenter the distance between the barycenter and Jupiter/Saturn/Venus changes in the appropriate amounts to keep the solar system angular momentum constant. Don’t get too excited about barycenters, they’re mainly mathematical constructs to solve N-body problems where one object’s mass is not much, much greater than others. They are not physical entities that have force, mass, and other attributes of a real object.

    For the Sun to speed up its rotational period it needs some torque, and the only source of that is from tides, and those are so weak that internal thermal processes must overwhelm it.

    One place where tides are affecting rotational speed is the Earth-Moon system. The Earth’s rotation pushes the Moon-facing tidal bulge ahead and that makes the Moon speed up and the Earth slow down. The other tidal bulge has a opposite but smaller effect since it’s farther away. Eventually Moon and Earth will become tidally locked.

    That’s a long ways off, for now the Earth is slowing down 2.3 msec per century and the Moon’s orbit is increasing 3.8 cm per year. See http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/rotation.html for more and a lot of typos.

  64. Niels A Nielsen says:

    Leif Svalgaards last sentence somehow makes me wonder: “I’m at a loss why not [although this does not disturb me in any way].”

  65. Stevo says:

    If the hypothesis is to be taken seriously, someone has to come up with a plausible mechanism. In the same way that they said for years that the change in solar activity was far too small to affect Earth’s climate, until Svensmark offered a mechanism that linked them via a route nobody had thought of, you have to give up on either the direct ‘shaking’ effect of wobbling around the barycentre or (very likely) the direct tidal effect. (Although if on Earth they can get amplified from that 36 cm up to 8 m tides or 17 knot tidal races by the existence of land, I wouldn’t like to make any firm assertions of impossibility regarding the sun just yet.) Correlation does not imply causation, and it is very easy to play numerology with sufficient free variables to find something that looks significant, but isn’t. The negative calculations referenced here so far don’t mean there cannot be any relationship, but there’s still a lot of work needed before it can even be considered to be shown possible, let alone a contender. Personally, I don’t think there’s much hope for it.

  66. jeez: the point was to show that having the Sun orbit the barycenter with the added pea moving away from the sun would create ever growing sunspot activity if you believe that the Sun’s movement around the barycenter is the cause of the sunspot cycle. If you don’t believe so, there is no need to ponder the experiment any further.

  67. Niels: Wonder is the first step towards Enlightenment.

  68. jeeztheadmin says:

    Dr. Svalgaard–first of all, thank thank you. You are one of the few posters in my 7 year history online to have noticed I try and stick to lowercase in the use of my nom de plume.

    I am not sure your thought experiment is valid. As the pea is moved away from the sun wouldn’t the barycenter move toward the original pea-free location, thus reducing the effect? This is your field and not mine, but I would assume that a fixed mass would have a decreasing effect with increasing distance.

  69. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    I think the problem with the pea example is that the period tends to infinity too, so you might think of it as infinite effect but taking place infinitely slowly – i.e. not at all.

  70. Ric Werme says:

    Archimedes observed “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

    Leif Svalgaard observes [paraphrased] “Give me a pea and a really big orbit and I will relocate the solar system’s barycenter.”

    It always bothered me that Archimedes neglected the need for bracing the fulcrum and how he was going to push on that lever. All Leif has to do is get a pea a _long_ way away and have it orbit the solar system. At least the tidal effect will be minimal, albeit computable. :-)

    Of course, this may add yet another periodic cycle to solar activity, so please keep the pea within the Earth’s carbon cycle but away from those wing flapping tropical butterflies. The USA has had enough tornadoes this year.

    jeeztheadmin (14:24:4x) :

    “What is the point of the thought experiment?”

    To get people to think less of barycenters and more of dinner. 5:45 PM here, time to think about dinner.

  71. jeez: Precision in thought and execution is a hallmark of mine, so, of course, I get the lower case correct. The center of mass [or barycenter] of a system of particles is a resulting vector that is the average of their position vectors weighted by their masses: R = sum(m[i]*r[i])/sum(m[i]), which grows without bounds if one of the r[i]s [that for the pea] increases without bounds. I didn’t want to cause you any further embarrassment by dissecting your comment too much, but since you asked… :-)
    Stevo: I can add a little demon that moves the pea around in my Newtonian Universe with any period I want and create effects [ever-growing sunspot cycles] progressing at any speed I want.

  72. Luke says:

    Leif,

    Since there is no [in my Newtonian thought experiment] limit to how far away we can move the pea, there is no limit to how far away we can move the barycenter, then watch the sunspots grow and GROW and GGRROOWW as we continue to move the pea away.

    If there is no limit to how far away we can move the pea, wouldn’t we then have to consider every other object in the known universe having an affect on the barycenter?

    the point was to show that having the Sun orbit the barycenter with the added pea moving away from the sun would create ever growing sunspot activity if you believe that the Sun’s movement around the barycenter is the cause of the sunspot cycle.

    At certain point (most likely while still quite close to the barycenter) wouldn’t the gravitational affect of the pea on the barycenter become inconsequential?

  73. jeeztheadmin says:

    I’m not embarrassed at all, it’s been over 30 years since I dabbled in physics and proper definitions are no longer accessible from memory in my aged gray matter.

    I presumed there was a physical mechanism postulated (I admit to have read nothing of these threads or the underlying theory). It seemed counter intuitive, indeed nonsensical that a physical mechanism postulated which obeyed any laws of physics would have an increasing effect with a decreasing physical influence (gravitational forces). That may have been the point of your thought experiment in the first place, and if so, thank you for correcting me.

    This is the problem when I jump in late to a conversation.

  74. Mike C says:

    Leif’s objection ot barycentric motion is, IMO, ridiculous. The sun is in freefall around the barycenter? As a reader pointed out in a later post, other stars have wobbles. That’s how we know that there are planets around other stars. The gravitational pull of planets makes the star wobble as it spins. In other words, the planet’s gravity pulls the star t’wards it a little. If there were no planet, there would be no wobble. Now take our solar system, there are many planets, several of them large. The planets take different lengths of time to orbit the sun, yet each pulls on it a little. That means the sun will have a different position in the solar system depending on the location of the planets. As the planets orbit over hundreds or thousands of years, there will be cycles where they are in certain allignment. When alligned, they will pull the sun that much farther away from the center of the solar system. This will cause changes in the movement of the sun’s inner core (be it liquid or solid) and it’s surface (liquid or plasma) which spin at different rates (the different rate of spin between the center and surface of the sun is what stretches and twists the sun’s magnetic field which causes sunspots). With increased sunspots there is increased luminosity, flares, solar wind, and etc, not to mention the whole cosmic ray and cloud theory which is still being debated. None of these things will individually change the climate much, but added together, as well as their effect on other phenomenon that affect climate (ENSO, PDO etc), then you can understand how the sun impacts climate. If you wanna get really fiesty, throw the following into the mix: a few barbecues and air conditioners at the local temperature station along with a few politically and/or financially motivated goof-bags, well, a lot of goof-bags.

  75. Leif Svalgaard (14:21:40) :

    “Here is a thought experiment: Add a pea to the solar system orbiting at some distance. The addition of the pea will alter the position of the barycenter. Not by much, though. Now, slowly move the pea away from the solar system. This will move the barycenter a bit further out. Still not by much. Since there is no [in my Newtonian thought experiment] limit to how far away we can move the pea, there is no limit to how far away we can move the barycenter, then watch the sunspots grow and GROW and GGRROOWW as we continue to move the pea away.”

    The pea is obviously very small compared to the Sun and the planets. It will not change the location of the barycenter more than a nanometer or less. If you move it outwards you need to reduce the pea’s orbital speed in order to maintain a constant solar system angular momentum. At some point you approach zero orbital speed for the pea, and you can’t go further without changing the solar system angular momentum. Then you just have a tiny static offset of the barycenter. I think. The rest of the argument is the same.

    Btw. in the simulator at http://arnholm.org/astro/sun/sc24/sim1/
    I include all the planets from Mercury to Neptune, including also the now demoted Pluto. I could include your pea if you provide its mass and orbital location as a function of time, but I don’t think it would change anything.

  76. Luke: I was setting up a simple thought experiment to show the principle. By putting more stuff we just make it harder to get the idea across, so let’s keep it simple. This is the power of a gedankeneksperiment as Einstein taught us.
    To repeat myself:
    The center of mass [or barycenter] of a system of particles is a resulting vector that is the average of their position vectors weighted by their masses: R = sum(m[i]*r[i])/sum(m[i]), which grows without bounds if one of the r[i]s [that for the pea] increases without bounds, so the answer to your question is “no”.

  77. The closing remark of my starting comment in this series was: “I have found in discussions with many, many faithful that none of my above arguments carry any weight whatsoever with them”. MikeC’s comment is a good illustration of that.

  78. Carsten: in my Gedankeneksperiment I’m allowed to alter the angular momentum. I already did that by adding the pea, so there is no requirement for keeping the angular momentum constant. I can now add you to the list which started with MikeC. It will be interesting to see how long it will get :-)

  79. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    Ah! But if your demon starts moving the pea from cup to cup, the sun and pea will no longer orbit the barycentre!

    The reasoning is that if the pea is a long way off, it must orbit very slowly, so it is pulling in one direction for a very long time. This can yield a very large change in velocity, albeit with a tiny acceleration. So the sun has to be moving quite slowly but in a very large circle to compensate.

    The thought experiment doesn’t really help in this case, although I enjoyed the few moments it took me to work it out. You need to get across the idea that in free fall you can be moving about as violently as you like and you’ll never feel it, because the gravity cancels the inertial ‘forces’ you expect almost perfectly. The effects Jupiter has on the sun is quite big, but because the overall result is the difference between two large numbers – the gravitational tug and being thrown about the barycentre – nothing is felt. The problem is people are only seeing one and not the other.

    The problem is getting across this idea of large effects almost exactly cancelling out, and the pea doesn’t help because (considered over any reasonable interval of time) it isn’t a large effect.

  80. Mike C says:

    He was thinking of Jolly Green Giant peas, yanno, the one’s the size of Jupiter

  81. Mike C says:

    Leif, you have it the wrong wayn around, I’m usually on the side of the money, the other side is the faithful. However, your behavior does correlate with the faithful of the church of Al Gore in that you distract with anything possible (well, based on this one discussion). Do you care to get into any specifics? My discussion was purposefully simple, I’m sure ya understood it. Perhaps using 9 peas?

  82. Leif Svalgaard (15:14:29) :

    “Carsten: in my Gedankeneksperiment I’m allowed to alter the angular momentum. ”

    But somehow you will have to follow at least some of the laws of physics and put the pea in a stable orbit, or else it will fall into the sun or leave the solar system alltogether (i.e. not be gravitationally bound). In any case the result will be the same as before after a short time. As you move outwards, the pea’s orbital velocity will have to approach zero anyway.

  83. Robert Wood says:

    Given the Australian subject, perhaps others have already pointed to

    http://www.griffith.edu.au/conference/ics2007/pdf/ICS176.pdf

    wherein the shift of the solar system baricenter changes the Sun’s orbital motion, sometimes quite violently.

    Is it not conceivable that this would have an impact upon internal solar dynamics?

  84. Robert Wood says:

    OK sorry for the last post. I see now the third post in this thread mentioned the same.

    The important thing is that, unlike the “real”climate boys, the deniers have a potential mechanism to explain WHAT.IS.ACTUALLY.HAPPENING.

    O/T:

    Ooohhhhh, I am so frustrated by the buillshit I get daily from the mass media. Listening to a Czek radio program last night, I hear: “The planet is dying”. For crying out loud!@ Sheesh!

  85. Robert Wood says:

    John-X @ 20:44,

    The current theories of the stellar interior are untested. Perhaps these facts, and baricentric orbital motion is a fact, can help us analyzse the solar interioir and mechanisms a bit more.

  86. Stevo says:

    Robert Wood,

    Yes, the effect can alter the sun’s orbital motion quite violently, but no, it has no effect, because the force causing the violent shifts exactly cancels the inertial effects you would expect from such violent shifts.

    It’s the same reason astronauts are ‘weightless’, despite remaining in what is essentially full Earth gravity. It’s properly called free fall, and the principle is one of the foundations of relativity theory.

  87. Robert Wood says:

    Carston Arnholm, Norway @ 1:20

    You took the words from my mouth; expressed my half-developed thoughts precisely. Is it correct? I don’t know; it certainly is plausible.

  88. Dr_Mike says:

    Lief –

    You may well be right; I haven’t given the multi-body problem much thought. I started off explaining what the theory was, and by the end I’d convinced myself. But I haven’t sat down and done any real math, and until then I’m just blowing smoke. I agree that the tidal forces are minimal, I’ll have to sit and think awhile about the barycentric motion.

    I’ll have to give this one much more thought. And a lot more math, but more than almost none really isn’t that much…

    But my gut instinct is still telling me that: The barycenter orbits the Milky Way, and the solar system can be assumed to orbit the barycenter. Yes, the sun moves relative to the barycenter, yes it has to transfer angular momentum, does it automatically transfer to the other planets? Hence the need to sit and do math… A million opinions are not equal to one case of finding out, as Heinlein said. But I’ll settle for integrating a 3-body problem, going to 5 or more seems pointless…

  89. Robert Wood says:

    Anna V @21:33 Imagine the baricentre being a great christmass pudding stirring paddle, mixing up the convection cells and deep internal currents that produce the solar magnetic field.

  90. John Bunt says:

    “I’m sure both my readers, and Dr. Leif Svalgaard, who regularly monitors this blog, will have something to add”

    You have more than two readers1 (LOL)

  91. Robert Wood says:

    Leif Svalgaard (14:31:15) :

    jeez: the point was to show that having the Sun orbit the barycenter with the added pea moving away from the sun would create ever growing sunspot activity if you believe that the Sun’s movement around the barycenter is the cause of the sunspot cycle. If you don’t believe so, there is no need to ponder the experiment any further.

    But isn’t that the whole point. We can do a test of hypotheses. So, let’s do the observations of stellar behaviour. Let’s get to thiniking how tidal movements will impact the stellar internals.

    And, while we are at it: let’s win the loterry so I can go diving in the Coral Sea for two weeks.

  92. Carsten and others: I do not have to follow the laws of physics. I can put the pea where I want when I want. What I tried to show was the absurdity of the barycenter theory of sunspots. I realise that I have failed, as so often before, as I have already remarked. The predicable next step is accusations of ulterior motives, hidden agendas, holocaust denials, AGW, Al Gore church fellowships, unsavory oil industry money, etc, etc. We don’t need any more of that, so, maybe, this is enough for now.

  93. Robert Wood says:

    The Sun has no influence on the Earth’s climate.

    Discuss!

    How rediculous the global warmers are in front of these intellectual headlights.

  94. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  95. Deanster says:

    Hey Lief … I was waiting for you post!!

    Me being more of a chemistry guy .. on your post regarding effects of the moon on earth tides, vs that of the planets on the sun … I’m just curious if there is a flaw in using an equation that calculates a force on water, vs calculating a force on what ever the elements are on the sun?? I’m no solar expert, but as I recall, the sun is primarily hydrogen and helium .. which are orders of magnitude lighter and different chemically from water.

    What is the possibility that the equation you plugged into doesn’t apply??

  96. Deanster: gravity does not care what the chemical composition of the material is; a pound of feathers and a pound of lead exert the same gravitational force.

  97. Ric Werme says:

    Mike C (15:02:27) :

    “The sun is in freefall around the barycenter? As a reader pointed out in a later post, other stars have wobbles. That’s how we know that there are planets around other stars.”

    You know the stars wobble, astronomers know the stars wobble, Leif knows the stars wobble, but do the stars know they’re wobbling? The stars may know there are tides (miniscule to be sure, but if the whole star is in a constant gravitational field it has no way to know it’s accelerating.

    It sounds like Steveo is getting it.

    Imagine you’re an astronaut in the ISS. How do you know you’re in orbit around the Earth and hence accelerating toward the Earth at nearly 10 m/sec/sec? How do you know you’re not traveling in a straight line outside of the solar system? The easiest check is to look out a window toward Earth – stars don’t have eyes.

  98. Ric Werme says:

    Dr_Mike (16:14:42) :

    “But my gut instinct is still telling me that: The barycenter orbits the Milky Way, and the solar system can be assumed to orbit the barycenter.”

    I’m not certain what the definition of barycenter is, but I’m tempted to argue that when you start talking about the Milky Way’s barycenter, then that wobbles as a result of location of the planets. You might be able to get away with saying that the solar system’s barycenter orbits the Milky Way’s barycenter, but I’d be inclined to include all the stipulations to make things a 2 body problem – i.e. include the black hole at the center, the solar system with planets much, much closer to the Sun than the black hole, and disregard all the other stars, nebulae and other contaminating influences.

  99. statePoet1775 says:

    With the gravity gradient,
    as earth one did round,
    fat men would stand upright;
    fems upside down.

  100. Ric Werme says:

    Leif Svalgaard (14:21:40) :

    Here is a thought experiment: Add a pea to the solar system…”

    What good is an orbital mechanics thought experiment without numbers? (Don’t answer that.) Let’s assume a pea is 2 grams. I think it’s less, but 2 works is nice because the mass of the Sun is 2×10^33 g. To place the barycenter of the Sun-pea system on the Sun’s surface, the pea will need to be 10^33 solar radii away. The solar radius is 7×10^8 m, so the distance is 1.4 x 10^42 m. Astronomical Units (the distance from Sun to Earth) are easier to work with, 1 AU is 1.5×10^11 m, so the pea is about 10^31 AU away. The orbital period will be 10^62 years, just long enough for the 2 gram mass of the pea to pull on the sun with a force equivalent to a 1/2 x 10^62 grams in Earth orbit. Wow – that’s a lot less than the mass of a pea molecule! Or proton or electron.

    I’m a lot less impressed with barycenter arguments now. And a lot more impressed with the power of peas. Go in pease. Peace be with you.

  101. Fran Manns says:

    As I understand it the hypotheis of the Danish National Space Center goes as folows:

    ‘Active’ sun → enhanced magnetic and thermal flux = solar wind → geomagnetic shield response → less low-level clouds → less albedo (less heat reflected) → warmer climate

    Less active sun → reduced magnetic and thermal flux = reduced solar wind → geomagnetic shield drops → galactic cosmic ray flux → more low-level clouds and more snow → more albedo effect (more heat reflected) → colder climate

    That’s how the bulk of climate change might work, coupled with (modulated by) sunspot peak frequency there are cycles of global warming and cooling like waves in the ocean. When the waves are closely spaced, the planets warm; when the waves are spaced farther apart, the planets cool

  102. anna v says:

    ” Robert Wood (16:16:46) :

    Anna V @21:33 Imagine the baricentre being a great christmass pudding stirring paddle, mixing up the convection cells and deep internal currents that produce the solar magnetic field. ”

    Not really. I am with Leif in this. The barycenter is a virtual spot that “corrects” for all the wobbles in motion of a many body gravitational system. Everything revolves around the barycenter and makes visualizations simpler, that is all.

    Its ( barycenter’s) motion though is interesting as a “clock”, a “location indicator” of how the tides, small as they may be, change on the fluid mass that is the sun, and there seem to be changes that can make up beats.

    I do not know if they do, I do not know if (as if with the CO2 greenhouse effect hypothesis ;) ) there is a huge positive feedback that can kick changes in the plasma and the way the magnetic field is generated in the sun. From the little I have read there are exponential feedbacks needed to describe the sun’s magnetic field anyway, so maybe regular even if tiny beats in specific directions can trigger huge effects. May be.

    It is evident that a sun model has to be proposed for this hypothesis to have any real value and testable outputs.

    I am an interested observer on this one.

  103. anna and others: Just as we can do for the Earth, it is now possible to probe the interior of the Sun using helioseismology and neutrino detectors. These new tools have confirmed that our theories about the interior were correct to high precision. We can even measure the interior flows and rotation. The only real surprise is the discovery that the interior of the Sun [the inner two-thirds radius] rotates with nearly constant speed contrary to our expectations [of constant speed on cylinders]. Other than that, the sun is just as we thought it should be, even to the point that the unexpected low neutrino flux turned out not to be due to errors in our knowledge of the energy production or structure of the sun, but to the neutrinos having mass [albeit tiny] so that they can change ‘flavors’. There are no huge ‘sloshes’ of great masses inside the Sun. The core of the Sun is a quiet and stratified place, not even having any convective movements. Nothing at all that seems to respond to any outside influences.

  104. “Leif Svalgaard (16:45:56) :

    “Carsten and others: I do not have to follow the laws of physics. I can put the pea where I want when I want. What I tried to show was the absurdity of the barycenter theory of sunspots. I realise that I have failed, as so often before, as I have already remarked. The predicable next step is accusations of ulterior motives, hidden agendas, holocaust denials, AGW, Al Gore church fellowships, unsavory oil industry money, etc, etc. We don’t need any more of that, so, maybe, this is enough for now.”

    Leif: I was really trying to participate in a scientific debate, but when the argument is that the laws of physics do not apply, it gets complicated. I cannot see a valid reason why the laws of physics should not apply, it gets absurd. I could for example say that your formula for center of mass does not apply (I am not saying that).

    The question of motives, accusations etc. has no place in my opinion. I have no such views regarding your position. All I am interested in is discussing the science.

    It appears that your argument for rejecting solar inertial motion around the barycenter as a possible cause for modulating solar activity is that the sun is in “free fall”. It is in free fall, but I think we have to take into consideration the fact that the sun may not be 100% homogenious. I read somewhere that sunspots are areas of higher buoyancy (i.e. lesser density) for example, ther might be other effects too. It does not seems entirely incredible to me that if you take a quasi-spherical non-homogenious body like the sun and let it move along a variable radius orbit (where the radius keeps changing) that internal inertial forces may cause some stir-ups.

    Regarding tidal effects I think that is probably a non-issue. The tides caused by the planets on the Sun are extremely small (<1mm) and most likely neglible.

  105. anna v says:

    Here is a simpler barycenter:

    “Where is the barycenter of the Earth-Moon system located?

    The center of mass of the Earth-Moon system, is a point in space about which the Earth and Moon appear to orbit as they travel around the Sun. It is located exactly along the line that connects the center of the Earth with the center of the Moon. The average distance between the centers is 384,405 kilometers. The distance from the Earth’s center to the barycenter is

    D = M(moon)d(moon)/(M(earth) +M(moon)
    0.012 x 384405/(1.00 + 0.012
    4641 kilometers

    where the mass of the Earth is 1.0 and the mass of the Moon relative to the earth is 0.012. Now, the radius of the Earth is 6,378 kilometers, so that means that the barycenter is located INSIDE the Earth about 1707 kilometers below its surface. Does anything weird happen there? Not that anyone can tell. “http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q665.html

    A barycenter is a mathematical point, in this case of the earth and moon system.

    The only connection between earth and moon is with gravity, and that is tides. The barycenter will move synchronously with the tides since the latter are a result of the rotating moon and gravity pull. It does not cause the tides, it is just mathematically correlated.

  106. J.Hansford. says:

    A stars wobble, is it’s movement observed from an outside reference, around the common barycenter of that star’s solar system. …. yar? …. Not the Planet’s gravitational “pull” on the star…. Where that misconception arises is when a planet is close and massive so that the wobble is fast and easily observed?

    Have I got that correct Lief Svalgaard?

  107. Stevo says:

    Carsten,

    “It does not seems entirely incredible to me that if you take a quasi-spherical non-homogenious body like the sun and let it move along a variable radius orbit (where the radius keeps changing) that internal inertial forces may cause some stir-ups.”

    Shape or consistency don’t make any difference. All masses react the same way to both gravity and inertial forces. And in this case, the two cancel almost exactly – the difference between them being the tides.

    Unlike Leif, I don’t necessarily think this makes an influence impossible. A force able to lift matter a fraction of a millimetre against the sun’s surface gravity, when sustained in roughly the same direction for 6-9 days (the period between high and low tide on the sun) could mount up to a noticeable velocity change. If then magnified by being forced through channels (along magnetic flux tubes, for example) it could get even faster. That’s why tides on Earth are more significant than their theoretical 36 cm height would suggest, and how tiny Coriolis forces can spin hurricanes, so I don’t see it as necessarily impossible there could be a tidal effect on the sun.

    Or there may be other mechanisms. The tides may have more of an effect on the corona – the magnetically energised atmosphere outside the sun. Or maybe the sun can detect its own motions through the kinks it puts in the magnetic field in the outer solar system, far beyond Jupiter’s gravitational influence. Jupiter has a significant radio presence, and I gather that the other planets with magnetic fields are connected by flux tubes to the sun. So suppose you get flares occurring preferentially in their direction, like lightning rods, and suppose flares are important for the mechanism of the sun’s magnetic dynamo. (The document I linked above mentioned a speculation that flares allowed the sun to dump a plasma flow property called helicity, which has a disproportionate effect on the dynamo because it is partially conserved.) This could then lead to systematic changes in the external field, which affects the internal field, which affects the energy transfer between convective kinetic energy and magnetic energy, which affects the large scale motion.

    All of the above is ill-informed guesswork, though. The situation is that the initial hypothesised mechanism of the barycentre-relative motions shaking the sun around has been falsified, and the next most obvious/plausible tidal influence shown to be smaller than expected. We have to see things clearly as they are, and pause to think again. But it is a classic ‘argument from ignorance’ fallacy to suppose that because one can’t think of another mechanism (or any mechanism), that therefore there isn’t one. That’s exactly what the AGWers did with CO2.

    The possibility has to be seriously entertained that the correlations seen are mere numerology, and there is no connection. Until someone can come up with a plausible, testable mechanism, that is still the most likely option. But that doesn’t mean the science is settled and the debate over, and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t allow such ideas to be published, or to be heard and discussed, or for people to try to follow them up. It certainly doesn’t affect any of the reasons to be sceptical of the AGW hypothesis.

    We Sceptics have to have higher standards than the AGW faithful, and not simply jump on every bandwagon that looks like it might be going in our direction. The point of being a Sceptic is to be sceptical of all arguments (whether published in peer-reviewed journals or not, in our favour or not), so we don’t wind up fooling ourselves like the AGWers have.

  108. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    “These new tools have confirmed that our theories about the interior were correct to high precision.”

    See the document I linked to above for some of the aspects of the solar dynamo that don’t in fact fit theory, and aren’t understood. There’s a section towards the end that goes through them.

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/0405/0405052v2.pdf

  109. Sam Vilain says:

    Mr Svalgaard,

    My, with all the questions put to you, you’d think this was your blog. I must thank you for your tireless answers despite the frequent “trolling” you get in return.

    Anyway, you’ve explained at least to me that this effect of the planets on the sun is only ~1mm or so. You’ve even linked me to the page that explains why the Sun, despite having 100 times the gravitational influence over us compared to the moon, has a smaller associated tide. That one got me for a bit. So, while the barycentre calculations may correctly identify an angle of action, the force of the vector is minimal. Ok.

    You also state that “the core of the Sun is a quiet and stratified place, not even having any convective movements.”

    Anyway, my question relates somewhat to the “100,000,000 cycles” effect – with such a quiet internal core, if something was to be perturbing it by only a millimetre – would the “bathtub start sloshing”? Such a quiet, calm interior seems to be what that hypothesis calls for – a serene body that has little else to perturb it. While the tides as we imagine them would be “lost in the noise” in the noisy outer parts of the sun, the quiet centre would still be being moved (to presumably a proportionately smaller extent). While on its own, the movements may not be significant, the “ripples” as they are amplified by cycle-on-cycle additions, and their traversal through the various strata of the Sun, could resonate, if the energy/inertia has no-where else to go.

    In that view, the observed quiet (presumably, with some margin of error sufficiently large so as to not be able to preclude this speculation) centre of the Sun would be like the open water, only moving by the half metre or so, whereas the outside of it would be like the coastal areas that see tides.

    Again, thanks for your continued follow-ups!

  110. Dee Norris says:

    There is a lot of discussion of how the models disprove this or that, but the ugly truth is that the Landscheidt’s Gleissberg minima and maxima quite closely match up to know climate events here on Earth (and presumable on Mars and Venus if we had the ability to peer down the halls of time on our sister planets).

    Computing less that 1mm effect does not mean that was indeed the effect in reality when in fact, it may have been less or greater if observed. This is exactly the same problem faced by GCMs and their predictions of runaway global warming which flies in the face of many ugly ground truths.

    Despite the assurances of Dr. Leif, I very much doubt we have the resolution to determine the effect of movement of the solar system barycenter on the substance of the sun. Do we choose to ignore the ground truth of the Gleissberg cycles and climate events because we don’t know how to model it?

    To blindly rely on models is falling into the same trap as the Global Warmers.

    Landscheidt managed to predict the ENSO phases using solar barycentric oscillations and had shown that these same oscillations correspond to the variable period of the Gleissberg cycle and finally that extremes of the angular momentum in the oscillations match historic climatic events.

    You can see the correlation here: http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/new/Fig11L.jpg

    It is always good to remember that a model does not represent reality and when confronted with a contradiction, check the your assumptions.

  111. Dr_Mike says:

    Now that I’ve had time to think about it, and crunch out a few back of the envelope calculations, I will agree that the angular momentum changes between the sun and the barycenter are made up for by angular momentum changes between the other planets and the barycenter. It’s another one of those situations where the equations balance out quite nicely.

    So no, the sun does not need some massive angular momentum transfer between its internal and orbital momentums.

    I’d look a lot less stupid if I’d done the math before my first post…

  112. Carsten: Perhaps I didn’t express my self clearly enough regarding the laws of physics. I was referring to how I move the pea around. I can place the pea where I want and then place it elsewhere without worrying about how I get the pea from point A to point B as this is a thought experiment. That a real pea according to the laws of physics could not survive the accelerations associated with my moving it in my thoughts is what I’m allowed to disregard. A pea at a certain distance moves with a period given by Kepler’s third law, by I’m allowed to move it anywhere else as I please in my thoughts not bound to Kepler’s third law. It is like when Einstein once said that he got insight into the theory of relativity by asking what a light wave would look like if he could move along side it at the speed of light, regardless of the possibility of actually doing so.
    That the Sun is not homogeneous does not matter. An Astronaut in free fall around the Earth is not homogeneous either [nor is the Earth], yet he fells no forces.
    Now we have an interesting situation: We have two issues A and B. Several readers agree with me on issue A, but maybe not on B. Several readers agree with me on issue B, but maybe not on A. I suggest that I should not be the sole carrier of the burden of resolving the differences between these two groups.

  113. Ric Werme says:

    Carsten Arnholm, Norway (00:24:45)

    “Leif: I was really trying to participate in a scientific debate, but when the argument is that the laws of physics do not apply, it gets complicated.”

    Leif was trying to simplify things. The only laws I noticed broken in his “Newtonian” universe were things like mass as a function of velocity (a pea weighs a pea no matter how fast), gravity not limited by the speed of light, the size of the universe, the age of the universe, and pretty much all the mass, energy, dark matter, and dark energy except the Sun and pea.

    [The Sun] “It is in free fall” hey, you’re getting it! “It does not seems entirely incredible to me that if you take a quasi-spherical non-homogenious body like the sun and let it move along a variable radius orbit (where the radius keeps changing) that internal inertial forces may cause some stir-ups.” Well, not yet.

    That the Sun is in orbit around some point in a Newtonian plane means that the Sun is being accelerated. So are astronauts in the ISS’s circular orbit, so would they if they were in an elliptical orbit. Without observation or some other connection with the outside world, neither astronaut nor Sun can detect the forces because they are both in free fall.

    If there is some effect, it has some other sort of connection – tidal, magnetic, atmospheric (not in this solar system), or General Relativity (something no one has brought up yet).

  114. MarkW says:

    It seems to me that once the laws of physics are violated in a thought experiment, then any conclusion drawn from that thought experiment are useless.

    I remember a thought experiment whereby it could be proved that 1 equals 2. The trick was, half way through, there was a hidden divide by zero.

  115. Marcelo Max says:

    How to preserve the barycenter and angular momentum, if the mass of the system varies with time?

  116. leebert says:

    Lief:

    I’ve been working a massive reconstruction of Jupiter’s atmosphere (a hobby) as I find the various meridional band depths quite illustrative.

    So not knowing the science, but if I understand you, that without an equatorward conveyor then would it be that the sunspot fields aren’t getting – erm – “recycled” back to the equator.

    Instead I might surmise the variable speed of the bands on the sun might go in and out of sync over time, yielding differential field elongation … some slower band periods less field stretching, other periods more, with respective sunspot levels. If I try to visualize what happens when the bands are furthest from unison, the more intense the stretching of the magnetic field might cause internal forces that increase the intensity of the system, and with that, observed magnetic strength.

    Relative to the sun’s total output these are small variations that lead to changes in sunspot activity, solar wind, prominences and cosmic rays. As they are experienced on Earth by living creatures, it tends to matter.

    If your reconstructed historical TSI values turn are higher I see a series of dilemmas: How the reconstruction impacts analysis of past temperatures, the temperature trend since the 1980’s particularly.

    Speculating wildly here, but I also have to wonder if magnetic field flux might differentially warm the seas through metals in solution, akin to studies showing iron oxides helping align materials in solution rendering them more heat conductive. Or perhaps magnetized iron seeds algae with similar effects.

    Granted the sun is in freefall and in its massiveness imparts its own intertial frame of reference, but then what imparts the sun’s wobble around the barycenter then? Or is it a perceived barycenter only from the POV from the planets?

    Thanks for reading & sorry for the bad science. ;-)

  117. Steveo: you are conflating our knowledge about the conditions within the sun with our ideas about how the dynamo works. It is like this: we know a lot about the conditions of our atmosphere, we have thousands of stations, many satellites, observations galore, but we still can’t predict the weather or the climate with much accuracy.
    MarkW: hasn’t grasped the idea.
    Sam: Tidal effects depends on the distance between the center and the point where you measure the tides. As you approach the center of the Sun the tides get smaller and smaller to finally disappear at the center.
    leebert: some of your questions may be answered here: http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf

  118. Mike C says:

    Leif, if the gravitational pull from the other planet s is enough to pull the sun as far from the barycenter as they do, then they should be able to affect the solar cycle which is caused by a difference of spin rate between the center and surface of the sun. I’d be surprised that the gravitational effects on a dense core and plasma surface would be the same. We’re talking about cycles ranging from 11 to 100’s of years.

  119. leebert says:

    Lief,

    Yer a scholar & a gentleman.

    If I understand the gist of the paper, the percolation (superadiabatic) flow between the sunspots has opposite polarity, drawing the sunspots together, etc. Counterintuitive, but neat.

    I’m still reading, but seems like all that’s required is simple local convection and equatorward belt convective magnetic recycling isn’t necessary.

  120. MikeC: the gravitational effects on a pound of feathers is the same as on a pound of lead. And the planets are not pulling the Sun away from the barycenter. The barycenter [or center of mass] is a fictitious point calculated from masses and distances.

  121. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    Conflating? How so? One is a subset of the other. And I don’t get your comparison – I agree we don’t understand how the Earth’s atmosphere really works either, and not simply for lack of measurement resolution, but it’s a billion times simpler and better known than the sun.

    The tides at the centre of the sun don’t matter. The solar cycles and magnetic weather we’re interested in originate in the tachocline or the outer convective layer, or perhaps the surface layer, depending on which theory you read. (I’ve seen both of the first two stated as ‘the way it is’ with absolute confidence.) That’s at most 30% of the way in. And the way I understand it, there’s plenty of ‘sloshing’ going on in the convective layer.

    By the way, you may be able to answer a question for me. I found a fair amount of information on the magnetic dynamo – several inconsistent theories each stated as fact, as I said – but was unable to find anything much on the mechanism for the differential rotation and meridional overturn. It’s obviously not like Hadley cells on Earth, which are driven by differential heating, but presumably is due to the combination of convection and centrifugal forces somehow. But the few papers that even mentioned it I couldn’t make sense of, some even reporting the meridional current turning in the opposite direction to others. Do you know of a simple qualitative explanation of the basic mechanism?

    Considering the unintuitive way the velocity increases the further you get from the axis of rotation (and if the angular rate is faster at the equator, the velocity must be even more so), this must be a problem fluid dynamicists have paid some attention to. So what’s the answer?

    Thanks in advance.

  122. leebert: the percolation theory may not be the right one either [I like it, but we don't know], but at least it shows that the deep conveyor belt is not something that HAS to be there to explain the solar dynamo.

  123. MarkW says:

    Leif writes:

    MarkW: hasn’t grasped the idea.

    ———–

    From you, that is a high compliment.

    Back it down please, civil discussions only~jeez

  124. Steveo: Conflating in the sense that we can have good knowledge about the conditions [composition, temperature, pressure, flows, etc] without being able to put that knowledge to work in a good theory. Do we really have to go over this? I was pointing out that helioseimology has shown us that our theories about the constitution of the Sun were pretty good. You were citing a paper that pointed out that our dynamo theories were not very good. The only conclusion I could draw was that your citing of that paper was a rebuttal of my statement that our ideas about the physical conditions were vindicated. In re-reading your exact wording: “some of the aspects of the solar dynamo that don’t in fact fit theory, and aren’t understood” I must admit that I possibly have imbued them with more sense than was actually present. I thought ‘the solar dynamo’ was the theory. But I may be wrong on this interpretation of your intended meaning and maybe you were not objecting to my statement that helioseismology has largely confirmed what we thought we knew about the physical conditions. Perhaps I simply couldn’t follow your argument. in which case my incapability to do so cannot be ascribed to your conflation of anything.

    The current ideas about the differential rotation is that it is a result of the Coriolis force acting on the convection. This does not mean that we have a satisfactory theory of the Sun’s differential rotation. There are fine structure that is not understood. There may be a ‘back-reaction’ of the magnetic field on the rotation, we don’t know. You can find some references and speculation in a recent paper of ours http://www.leif.org/research/ast10867.pdf
    Our understanding of the flows is poor but steadily improving. Few believe that millimeter displacements even over years have any effect against the general roiling and chaotic movements in the convective zone. The tidal people try to explain flares on a time scale of minutes by planetary alignments and to predict the appearance of sunspots on certain days, or weeks, etc.
    A general problem that I see is the eternal cries: “is it not concievable, that…”, “how can you say it is impossible, that…”, “might it not be some mechanism, that you don’t know about…”, “my gut tells me, that…”, “I just can’t [or worse: won't] believe that…”, etc. None of these are very helpful.

  125. Mike C says:

    Leif,

    Without the planets the sun would sit at the barycenter, let’s not mince words.

    As for your example of feathers and lead, now make the feathers into a plasma and distribute them around the lead in space. The effects of gravity from the planets will not affect them the same, especially considering that the gravitational forces from the planets are ever changing.

  126. Mike C says:

    … you need to calculate the difference in density between the center and surface since they are essentially two different bodies.

  127. Ric Werme says:

    MarkW (05:47:01) :

    “It seems to me that once the laws of physics are violated in a thought experiment, then any conclusion drawn from that thought experiment are useless.”

    Thought experiments are good to discard high-order effects to demonstrate a point. Physicist use lots of tools in thought experiments like the massless ropes, inertia-less pulleys, and friction-free surfaces.

    “I remember a thought experiment whereby it could be proved that 1 equals 2. The trick was, half way through, there was a hidden divide by zero.”

    Mathematicians generally don’t need thought experiments, but in this case the correct term is “fallacy,” something that appears true but isn’t. As opposed to paradox, where one definition refers to something that appears false but is true, e.g. the birthday paradox.

  128. Stevo says:

    Thanks for the explanation. The impression I had received from your earlier comments was that you were trying to give the impression that the sun was sufficiently well understood, and fitted the theory accurately enough, that any potential alternative mechanisms by which small influences might be magnified could be safely dismissed. Yes I agree we probably have a broad understanding of the overall conditions, but I didn’t think we understood either the physical mechanisms that brought them about, or the fine details that might provide exceptions well enough to be able to make such definitive statements. If this wasn’t your intention, my apologies.

    I agree that it is hard to imagine any tidal force having an effect over the general roiling chaos (and the force itself would only be consistently applied for 6-9 days before being reversed, rather than years) but then I could sometimes say the same thing on Earth, where storm-driven wave heights are far larger than the 36 cm tide force that is sustained over a mere 6 hours. The chaos cancels out. On the whole, I’m not inclined to pay much attention to this theory pending proposal of a testable mechanism, but it seems unduly negative to spoil people’s fun by saying there’s no point in even thinking about it because even Newton knew it was impossible. By the way, I assume that ‘millimetres displacement’ is against the sun’s more intense surface gravity? What delta-v does that add up to if applied horizontally for 6 days?

    I don’t understand how the differential rotation can result from the Coriolis effect acting on convection. This was my own initial thought on what ought to happen in a rotating convecting fluid, but the Coriolis force seems to point in the wrong direction. As fluid rises, it ought to be deflected in the counter-rotation direction, as it moves away from the rotation axis and angular momentum is conserved. As it moves North/South away from the equator, it ought to get deflected in the direction of the sun’s rotation, resulting in a faster spin as one approaches the poles. Precisely the opposite is observed. It is as if the ice skater spread out her arms to spin faster.

    One thought I had to try to resolve this is that being less dense fluid convecting, that its buoyancy gives it an effective negative mass, like bubbles in a water bottle being accelerated. But if the average mass flow is upwards at the equator, angular momentum conservation should still deflect the general mass backwards relative to the rotation, even if there are bubbles of lighter plasma moving forwards through it. So I still don’t understand.

    It’s not important to the argument, but now that I’ve thought of the question, it’ll bother me until I’ve got it resolved.

  129. MikeC: The barycenter is not something physical, but exists only in our mind. I thought my pea-experiment made that clear. Every time we discover a new planet, that discovery moves the barycenter. It has been suggested that an apparent 26-million year cycle of cometary impacts is triggered by a solar companion [called "Nemesis"]. Should Nemesis ever be discovered, that discovery would move the solar system barycenter way out on the other side of Jupiter.

    Stevo: The tidal ‘wave’ is not a wave in the same sense as your ‘storm-driven waves’. The tide is a ‘bore’. The difference is that in a wave there is no net lateral movement [a cork thrown into the wave just bobs up and down]. The ‘tide’ and BTW a tsunami are ‘bores’ where the material actually moves laterally. Let that be as it is. Here is a good explanation of the differential rotation: lasp.colorado.edu/~reu/summer-2007/presentations/Solar_Dynamo_Rempel.ppt

  130. Ric Werme says:

    Mike C (11:19:49) :

    “Without the planets the sun would sit at the barycenter, let’s not mince words.”

    One of the definitions from dictionary.com:

    barycenter

    noun
    (astronomy) the common center of mass around which two or more bodies revolve

    “As for your example of feathers and lead, now make the feathers into a plasma and distribute them around the lead in space. The effects of gravity from the planets will not affect them the same, especially considering that the gravitational forces from the planets are ever changing.”

    As long as the plasma doesn’t expand into a huge object, I don’t see how the effects of gravity will change. The force is still (G x m1 x m2)/r^2 between each planet and either the plasma or lead. Sum each vector (the force between lead or plasma and each planet) and you’d have the same math as before.

    Perhaps you can describe (with some math!) how you believe the effects of gravity will change.

  131. Jason Salit says:

    Fascinating discussion! If but I were qualified to contribute….
    IDIOT TAKE-AWAYS:

    1) Don’t mess with Leif =)

    2) Just because our Sun is variably wobbling about in the gravitational grasp of its planets… that does not mean that it is being in any meaningful (or understood) way affected that could impart periods higher or lower solar activity… (this one hurts my brain/pea… why not?… it seems its being demanded to change its position at the whims of its wayward children… in my household this activity has a very upsetting affect on my moods/flares… Ok, I’ll just go with it…)

    3) Empirically, the model seems to fit and the predictions seem to be very accurate to-date, but we don’t reasonably know the mechanism that would make it causal… (just like Landscheidt states).

    IDIOT NOTE: If this were a stock picking program that modeled all significant past market crashes and bubbles… AND made some pretty accurate short term future predictions I think I might continue the research and maybe invest more than just wedge of my discretionary cash.

    4) So we must wait until the nadir of the next Gleissberg minimum at or about 2030 to really know if we’ve got a winner (actually a Maunder Minimum type loser). Unless some big thinker can theorize a reason why…

    5) Immediately intern all peas that may be capable of physics-be-damned space flight (for future use in “seeding” solar activity and thwarting said predicted ice-ages).

    FINAL IDIOT NOTE: Attempts at humor aside… thank you Anthony and all contributors for doing this here where we mere mortals can lurk and learn… truly fascinating! Now, back to lurking….

  132. Ken says:

    Mr Svalgaard, you state that “The barycenter [or center of mass] is a fictitious point calculated from masses and distances.”

    If we accept this and further acknowledge that the sun does not actually move to the barycenter, is something effecting the sun at the next level up (Galaxy Level).

    Would the end result of the planets moving further away or closer to the sun move our solar system’s barycenter further away or closer to the Milky Way’s Center?
    If this occurs, since the solar system’s barycenter is in free fall with the Milky Way’s center, would the result be a speeding up or slowing down of our solar systems movement around the Milky Way? Mass of orbiting objects determine
    distance and speed of orbital paths?

    Since the sun rotates on it’s axis, the change in our solar system’s orbital
    period would cause forces inside the sun opposite in direction depending
    upon a move higher up or lower, resulting in a reversal of polarity of the sun spots.

  133. This is a very interesting forum, because of the fact that there the Sun forcing over climate is discussed.
    I am working in field of solar-terrestrial /including solar-climatical/ relationships since the beginning of 1980’s . (between 1981-1995 solar-climate relationships in Bulgaria, on the base of instrumental data for the last ~100 years; after 1995- large time scale solar activity variations /Schove’s series . 14C and later also 10Be, middle latitide auroras, giant sunspots data series etc + corresponding relations to the climate , including dendrochronology studies). I conclude about forcomming supercenturial Dalton-type solar minimum since 1996 on the base of predicted Gnevishev-Ohl’ s rule violation for the pair cycles No 22-23 /which is already a fact/.
    (Komitov,1997; Komitov and Bonev 2001). After that the same result for Dalton-type minimum in 21st by using of two different types of time series analysis by Dr. Vladimir Kaftan and me (Komitov and Kaftan, 2003) over different indirect solar activity indexes. The full versions of these /and other/ papers or extended abstracts it could be found at http://www.astro.bas.bg/~komitov/abstract.htm
    *****
    The “official” climate changes theories are underestimating the Sun role mainly because they are taken into account only the TSI -variations. For a more correct estimations it need to add at least two additional solar or solar-modulated sources:

    1. The galactic cosmic rays (GCR) variations -> more GCR flux during the solar minimums epochs in trophosphere , more aerosols and clouds, inccreasing of Earth albedo, more intensive cyclogenesis (Wilcox-effect),shifting in equatorial side of cyclon trajectories (Brown -effect), and as a final result- climate cooling(Friz-Christiensen 1997,Yu 2002,Tinsley 1998-2000)

    2. The high energetic solar proton events /mainly by solar erruptions and coronal mass ejections(CME)/ . There is an evidience that there /most probably/ a strong ~60-65 year cycle on the Sun exist. , because in middle latitude auroras (MLA) data a strong cycle with the same duratiom exist, while the 11-yr cycle in this series is very weak (Komitov,2007,2008). The ~65yr cycle is relative weak in overall sunspot activity indexes such as Wolf’s number or Group sunspot number, but it is possible that the last one is typical for a separate type of active regions (a sources of powerful erruptive events, which are causing the MLA ‘s in Earth atmosphere). A precise analysis show that about 60% of the total temeperature change amplitude during last ~150 years are quasi-63 year cyclic oscilations with minimums at ~1911 and 1974/5 and maximums near to 1880, 1940/2 and 2005/7 (extrapolated) . On other hand the MLA-data maximums during 17th to 19th centuries correspond to the maximal negative deviations of relationship TSI-Nothern hemisphere temperature or Rh-Northern hemisphere temperature (Rh- Group Sunspot Number). The last ones are approximately the moments of 65yr cycle maximums in MLA-series. The MLA data series on the base of Krivsky(1988) studies is published in NGDC data base.
    By this fact it could conclude that the effect of high energetic solar protons (E=>10MeV) penetration in Earth atmosphere is very similar to the same effect caused by GCR(see 1), however during epochs of high erruptive solar activity. This make the real total Sun-climate relationship more complicated as only on the base of TSI, but it could explain at least of 88% of total climate changes during the last~400 years as caused by the Sun (TSI+GCR modulation+solar erruptive activity) (Komitov,2008). The first nummerical models for solar proton erruptions effects over troposphere are given in USSR by E.Mustel at the beginning of 1970st (Vitinskii et al, 1976) as well as there is a study of Shourmans et al (1969) and I am not understanding why almost all “forget” for solar erruptive activity as an important climate forcing factor to the present day.
    About the last ~30 years: The erruptive activity index is falling down from cycles No21 to 23 . and so the “global warming” after 1980 is a result by high TSI levels+ the lack of high energetic solar protons /compared to the period of 1940-1975) and
    no additional source of warming is necessary there . The extrapolated minimum of ~65 yr MLA cycle is near to 2005/06, i.e by starting of cycle No24 it should to expext a cooling tenedency caused by the increasing of solar erruptive events. By my opinion we should to expect for cycles No 24 and 25 low sunspot activity and relative low level of TSI + strong proton erruptive activty, i.e. an situation like during the Halloween storms in 2003 (no so high sunspot activity Rz ~60-70, but concentrated in powerful groups and by this one intebsive erruptive activity) and climate cooling as result)

  134. Gary Gulrud says:

    Thank you, Boris, for introducing some truly original research to our discussion. And for those of us who were suspect of the traditional analysis of TSI and its dominace in expert presentations of solar induced warming, especially welcome research, indeed.

  135. With my french association we oberve since 1950 that solar events induce terrestrial weather. We continue the observations made by Albert Nodon near Bordeaux at the begining of the last century.
    http://albert-nodon.e-monsite.com/rubrique,la-radioactivite,35185.html
    http://albert-nodon.e-monsite.com/forum-lire-116257.html
    http://protons.20six.fr/
    we prepare an english paper to explain what we observed
    Patricia Régnier for ARFA
    If you want joint us you could come on the yahoo group
    http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/Phebus/?yguid=261237251

  136. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    You said “Here is a good explanation of the differential rotation.” Are there some notes with the slides I can’t see? Because the only explanation I can find is one slide with an arrow pointing to some spirals representing convection rolls saying “global convection which drives the differential rotation.” I’m sure it’s a great slide when the lecturer is available to point things out and explain what it all means, but on it’s own it explains nothing.

    I don’t particularly want to pursue this off-topic discussion too far and annoy people, but do you have one with an actual explanation? Thanks.

  137. Mike C says:

    Leif Svalgaard (16:58:46) :

    “MikeC: The barycenter is not something physical, but exists only in our mind.”
    As Ric pointed out in a later post, it’s the center of gravity between two objects. I am sure you understand the point. Let’s cut the rhetoric.

    Ric Werme (17:16:26) :

    “As long as the plasma doesn’t expand into a huge object, I don’t see how the effects of gravity will change. ”

    Ric, it’s so simple, I can’t believe we are having this discussion. There are two different objects at different distances from the planets. One object (the sun’s surface) is a plasma, the other (the suns center) acts like a solid heavy object. The plasma at the equator of the sun is also likely to be thicker than at its poles due to centrifical force. The gravity of the planets pulls at the equator of the suns surface, slowly dragging it faster than the suns surface at the poles due to distance and density. (follow so far? Now take your equasion and apply the differece in distance of the suns surface and poles from the planet but first you have to change the flaw in your equasion because it assumes the surface is a solid mass, you need to change ito a fluid and apply the proper formula). There is a difference in the rate of spin between the suns center and surface. The 11 year sunspot cycles are caused by that difference. Because the planets do not have equal orbits around the sun, the gravitational pull by the planets on the sun will change. However, since the planets individual orbits are at different speeds, they will allign to simillar gravitational pull from time to time. That is what causes the changes in strength of the solar cycle on longer time scales such as in hundreds of years.

  138. Stevo: Well, these things are complicated and no simple handwaving explanation can be given. Here is my next try: http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrsp-2005-1&page=articlesu23.html see especially section 6.3.

  139. Mike C says:

    I’m going to make a correction here, it’s not the difference in rotation between the surface and center of the sun that causes the solar cycles, it is the difference between the rotation of the suns surface at the equator and poles that cause the solar cycles.

  140. Mike C says:

    Leif, that’s a good read but the internal dynamics of the sun do not negate the gravitational forces of the planets on the sun’s surface. The planets have a strong gravitational pull on the sun as is evidenced by how far they pull it from the center mass of the solar system.

  141. Evan Jones says:

    Doc Leif:

    So, in a nutshell, it’s the variation of the gravitational pull of planets on the sun’s non-solid surface as they come into and out of alignment that affects the rate of solar equatorial spin and creates the variation in intensity of solar cycles.

    That makes perfect sense to me.

  142. Gary,

    I will mark there some additional aspects, concerning the 60-65 yr cycle

    1. It seems that it was detected first by D.Schove still in middle of 20th century on the base of visual /morphological/ analysis of aurora data (Schove,1955)

    2. There is also an amplitude and frequency evolution in the range of subcenturial solar oscilations (most probably modulated by the 2200-2400 yrs Halstadtzeit cycle) and correponding to changes of oscilation regime in convective zone of the Sun.

    3.Before the Maunder minimum (MM) there was a single cycle by duration of ~ 77-78 years (in Schove’s series. At the beginning of 18th century (the end of MM) the last one has been splited on two components by durations of 90-100 and 60-65 yrs respectively. There was also a well expressed 60-65 yr cycle before AD 700.
    I.e. the present /aurora activity modulated/ 60-65 year cycle is relatively new, only from ~ 300 years as well as the present quasi-centurial solar cycle.

    4. A strong ~65 year cycle exist also in 10Be Greenland series (Komitov et al., 2003)
    Directly saying it was the start point for me to search for cycle with the same duration
    in other solar- geophysic data series. It exist also in 10Be Antarctc series, but essentially weaker.

    5. .There is also a relative weak , but stable during the last~2000 years 52-55 year cycle in Schove;s series and 10 Be (Greenland) series (NOTE: Ocasionally or not but it is very close to the “sacral” Mayan solar cycle)

    It is is very interesting that the meteorologists are commenting the 60-65 yr cycle in climate as a result of self-modulated oscilations (auto-oscilations)(Schleissinger, 1994)(?!!!). This is totally incorrect. This cycle is caused by the Sun.

  143. MikeC: Indeed the planets do have a strong gravitational pull on the Sun.

  144. Basil says:

    Boris Komitov,

    In your work with the 10Be data, is this data of sufficient resolution that we can determine the presence of 11 or 22 year variations in cosmic ray flux during the Maunder Minimum?

    Basil

    REPLY: Great question! – Anthony

  145. Pamela Gray says:

    We had cloudless rain again here in Pendleton in NE Oregon. There has been a lot of dust in the air from wind. Could it be that we have water vapor that is being acted upon by an abundance of a steady stream of cosmic rays to the point that the water vapor becomes droplets aided by dust in the air? Whatever it was, the drops were quite large and lasted for about an hour. There were misty-like white translucent clouds low in the air but you could see blue sky through the clouds. Cooled us right down too.

  146. Pamela Gray says:

    Also, after three days of hotter than last year temps, we are back to being 11 degrees cooler than last year, following the consistent cooler pattern seen in June.

  147. statePoet1775 says:

    I notice in the cooler parts of the world, that people are more skeptical about AGW or would not be sorry to see it get warmer.

    Maybe as our population ages and gets more cold blooded we will care less too.

    Also, as we lose weight from the financial crisis caused by the banksters, perhaps we won’t worry so much either since we will have less blubber to insulate us.

  148. Pamela Gray says:

    Just taking a gander at sea ice from seasonal minimums to maximums. The Southern Hemisphere continues to move upwards in terms of minimum amounts as well as maximum amounts but nothing that makes you go “woooheee, now that’s a comeback”. The Northern Hemisphere appears to have roared back big time in terms of a one season comeback. From the last minimum to maximum, it recovered 11 million sq km. Going back to 1978, NH sea ice recovered by no more than 10 million sq km. Now that calls for a “whhhoooheee”!

  149. Pamela Gray says:

    In other words, it was cold enough to cause (if that was the cause) a 10% increase in ice recovery compared to previous seasons going back to 1978.

  150. RE: To Basil

    Yes! The natural time step of these data is 1- 1.5 year. But we use an interpolation procedure to use an equdistan step of 1year. And so we investigate this series for cycles in range 2 to 500 years. The “Greenland” 10Be series is very well known (Bier et al, 1991(or 1990?),1999, Damon et al., 1997). It is 563 years long -from AD 1423 to 1985. There are many studies concerning the 11 and 22 yr cycles in this series (for example Damon et al., 1997; Usoskin et al.,1999 etc).

    I forget also to note that 60-65 year cycke is well shown in many
    dendrochronological series in the all world (better in Northern hemisphere) .

  151. RE: To Basil

    According especially the Maunder minimum: There is very well expressed 22 yr,
    BUT ABSENT 11 year cycle! (Komitov et al., 2003; Komitov and Kaftan 2004). And this is caused mainly by the epoch 1670-1690/5. During this time the 11 yr cycle in 10Be (but obviously no in sunspots) data is deep destroyed. It could say that the 1680st are the “center” of Maunder minimum. Before AD 1670 and after AD 1690 a some relative weak quasi-11yr cyclic tendency is already shown.

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  153. bellaliberty says:

    [snipped] I’m sorry but this is a science blog, I won’t allow astrology discussions and it’s “predictions” or world events on this forum.

    Astrology is crap, period. – Anthony

  154. Bob Cormack says:

    “I have a little bit of trouble understanding how the “mass at a distance” gravitational effects of Jupiter and Saturn could have much effect on the solar dynamo.”

    “Mass at a distance” is not the point. The alignment of the planets determines where the barycenter (center of mass) of the Solar system is, and how far it is from the center of the Sun (it can vary by millions of miles). The distance from the barycenter to the Sun center determines the gravitational tidal forces on the Sun, and those presumably are what couple with the solar dynamo.

  155. Stevo says:

    Leif,

    Thanks for the link. That one’s a lot better.

    I’ll have to have a think about it before I decide whether I’m convinced, though. :-)

  156. Michael Ronayne says:

    Anthony,

    I believe your concerns about this paper are valid. The primary author of this paper this Ian Wilson. When I looked at the following abstract things did not look quite on the up-and-up.

    Does a Spin–Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?
    http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/AS06018.htm

    [comments questioning credentials removed - See Dr. Wilson's subsequent post clearing up the issue raised - Anthony]

    I believe that too much time has been wasted on this paper.

    Mike

  157. Stephen Garland says:

    Dear Michael Ronayne,
    I have worked for the Queensland Government. The address that Ian Wilson used was more than likely determined by the department (Education Queensland).

  158. Mike C says:

    Michael Ronayne (14:01:07) :

    Your conspiratorial paranoia got the best of you. All of these individuals are well known in their field as is their employment status. Particularly Ian Wilson. I’ve been in email groups with him and he is upstanding. Regardless of how many google searches you do, there are still changes in staffing and employment that will not make it’s way to the internet.

  159. Bob: The distance from the barycenter to the Sun center determines the gravitational tidal forces on the Sun, and those presumably are what couple with the solar dynamo
    This is incorrect, the tidal effects are determined by the distance between the sun’s actual surface [or where the tides are supposed to occur] and the body causing the tides, plus the Sun’s radius. The largest tide raised by any planet is less than one thousandth of a yard [0.04 inches]. The barycenter idea is just junk, but has amazing appeal, it seems.

  160. Stevo: I’ll have to have a think about it before I decide whether I’m convinced, though
    many solar physicists have pondered this deeply and carefully… The matter is not completely understood [still some adjustments to be made for a better fit], but the outline is clear enough.

  161. David Archibald says:

    I had been corresponding with Ian Wilson for over a year before he published this paper. I am honoured to have lead mention in the acknowledgements on page 14. The paper has a lot of original insight that explains most attributes of solar cycle activity.

  162. jblethen says:

    The title of the paper (I haven’t read it – it’s not available without purchase) asks whether spin-orbit coupling of the Sun’s spin and orbital angular momentum governs the solar cycle. The abstract states that spin-orbit coupling is empirically observed (“changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun’s orbital motion about the barycentre”), that the coupling is caused by resonance in the motion of the Jovian planets, and that it determines the Sun’s meridional flow period and the Hale (double sunspot) Cycle.

    Dr. Mike wrote, “From the sun’s point of view, it can move from 0.1 solar radii from the CoM, out to 2 radii, in a mere 5 years or so (and other times it can spend decades at 0.7-1.3 or so). The sun’s orbital angular momentum is changing drastically during these times, but I said angular momentum is conserved. So what happens? The sun has to _transfer_ angular momentum from its orbit to its own internal rotation. Since it is a giant ball of fluid, this is likely a very complex problem indeed.”

    Ric Werme then wrote, “No – angular momentum within the solar system has to be conserved, and most of it is held in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun. I haven’t worked though the math, but I bet that when the Sun moves from or to the barycenter the distance between the barycenter and Jupiter/Saturn/Venus changes in the appropriate amounts to keep the solar system angular momentum constant. … For the Sun to speed up its rotational period it needs some torque, and the only source of that is from tides, and those are so weak that internal thermal processes must overwhelm it.”

    Dr. Mike then wrote, “Yes, the sun moves relative to the barycenter, yes it has to transfer angular momentum, does it automatically transfer to the other planets?” and answered his own question later saying, “Now that I’ve had time to think about it, and crunch out a few back of the envelope calculations, I will agree that the angular momentum changes between the sun and the barycenter are made up for by angular momentum changes between the other planets and the barycenter. … So no, the sun does not need some massive angular momentum transfer between its internal and orbital momentums.”

    So the question becomes, is there or is there not spin-orbit coupling? The Australian authors believe so. If there is it seems a very plausible explanation for the Hale Cycle.

    Landsheidt (“New Little Ice Age instead of global warming”, section 7) states, “The dynamics of the sun’s motion about the centre of mass can be defined quantitatively by the change in its orbital angular momentum L. The time rate of change in L is measured by its first derivative dL/dt. It defines the rotary force, the torque T driving the sun’s motion about the CM. Variations in the rotary force defined by the derivative dT/dt are a key quantity in this connection as they make it possible to forecast Gleissberg extrema for hundreds of years and even millennia. A cycle of 166 years and its second harmonic of 83 years emerge when the time rate of change in the torque dT/dt is subjected to frequency analysis” His paper contains a graph (figure 9) showing the time rate of change of the torque and it’s correlation with the Gleissberg Cycle.

  163. Ian Wilson says:

    A pdf copy of Ian Wilson’s talk to the Lavoisier Group AGM (11th July 2008)

    in Melbourne, Australia, is posted at:

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/IanwilsonForum2008.pdf

    This talk proposes an alternative model for natural climate change

  164. Ian Wilson says:

    Michael Ronayne,

    You have accused me and Ian Waite of trying to hide our academic afiliatiations.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Ian Waite has been an associate member of staff at the University Of Southern Queensland for many years and he is currently doing Ph.D. in Astronomy at that University. Being an assocaite member of staff does not disqualify you from doing academic research at a University as far as I know.

    When I wrote and submitted my paper, I was an employee of the Education
    Queensland. This was the name of the state organization that ran the State School system here in Queensland. If you had cared to look more carefuly you would have found Education Queensland became the Department of Education, Training and the Arts at around about the time my paper was published. I simply did not have time to update this information prior to publication.

    If you had bothered to request a bio from me (you have appeared to have
    happliy plastered my home and work emails on the web without my permission – which I regard as an invasion of privacy) you could have got the following.

    Dr. Ian Wilson

    Ian Wilson was born in Ipswich, QLD, in 1955. He graduated in physics from the UNE in 1977 and obtained his PhD in astronomy in 1982 from the ANU, having worked at the Mt. Stromlo & Siding Spring Observatories.

    He was subsequently a Junior Research Fellow at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, a Research Fellow at Harvard, Ass. Professor at the Universities of Toledo and Oklahoma, and Operations Astronomer at the Hubble Space Institute in Baltimore MD.

    Since 1995 he has taught science and mathematics in Queensland and is now teaching in Toowoomba.

    I am simply amazed at how nasty people can be sometimes.

    Reply: I’m going to embargo Michael Ronayne’s post until Anthony sees both sides~charles the moderator.

  165. Eric Adler says:

    Can anyone figure out why he might be publishing his paper in Russian?
    That is what it says in his Lavosier presentation.

  166. wattsupwiththat says:

    Dear Dr. Wilson,

    First, thank you for responding here and for clearing up the issues mentioned.

    What you witnessed was the problem of doing analysis at a distance. Mr. Ronayne’s skeptical nature has produced some interesting finds in the past, and he was following his normal MO on that.

    My view was that I had trouble reconciling the science presented in the paper, but not the authorship. You are more than welcome to expound on some of those issues.

    Since you have cleared up the matter, there is no reason for the content questioning your credentials in post to remain, and you have my apology for the manner in which the questions were presented. That could have been done differently.

    Because I believe in giving a fair shake, if you wish, I’ll offer you a guest post on the front page to highlight your paper and the science behind it. As I wrote initially, I’m “still on the fence” with it, but I and the thousands of readers this blog represent would surely be interested in hearing your views.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Best regards,
    Anthony Watts

  167. Ian Wilson says:

    Dear Anthony Watts,

    I appreciate your prompt actions on this issue.

    I would just like to say that I bear no malice towards
    Michael Ronayne as believe that he was just trying to confirm that I was a bona-fide researcher in this field. I would just ask that he be more careful about what he posts about individuals on the blog in future.

    I must admit that I am was not aware of this blog posting until late July. I realize to that I am essentially an unknown in this field, so it natural to expect that people would be suspicious of my credentials. Michael Ronayne would make a good investigative scientist if he is not already one.

    Thank you for your kind offer to highlight the science behind this important issue. I would be willing to pass on a full copy of may paper to you if you could forward an email contact. The publishing journal PASA has strict restrictions on who I can send pre-print copies but I think I can justify sending a copy to you.

    I am currently working on two related areas. One dealing with the nature of the spin-orbit coupling mechanism that could be responsible for moderating the solar dynamo, the other deals with an alternative theory for climate change here on the Earth. I would be willing to present something on either topic, as I believe the topics are related.

    One (easy) way to kick off the debate could be to
    highlight the talk that I gave the Lavoisier Group AGM (11th July 2008)
    in Melbourne, Australia, by linking to:

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/IanwilsonForum2008

    I am not asking you or your fellow bloggers to beleive
    every word I post, all I ask is for good-hearted debate from people with a skeptical eye. There appears to be no shortage of people like that here on your blog.

  168. Daryl M says:

    Dr. Wilson,

    While the mainstream climate science and solar physics communities don’t seem to give much credence to spin-orbit coupling theories, I commend you for having the courage to take a fresh look at this. Correlation does not imply causality, but the correlation of planetary orbits, solar cycles and climate change seems too significant to be merely a coincidence. Since many solar physicists seem to be downplaying the influence of solar irradiance on earth’s climate, the inertial mechanism that you are proposing is very interesting. The idea that sun spots (solar climate?) and earth’s climate are both manifestations of spin-orbit coupling is unlike anything I’ve read to-date. I hope your paper will be made widely available so it will receive the widest possible discussion. I look forward to the debate and I hope you will keep us informed as to its progress.

    Best Regards.

  169. Ian Wilson says:

    Daryl M,

    Thanks for the positive words Daryl – it would be good if we could open this topic up to vigorous debate.

  170. RodD says:

    Director of the Space and Science Center just sent a dire warning of impending colder climate to all the leaders of the US. See it at. http://www.spaceandscience.net/id16.html

  171. E.M.Smith says:

    Um, maybe I’m being a little simplistic here, but I remember this experiment done in high school physics class…

    We stood (one student at a time) on a platform on bearings. We were spun with arms outstretched, then let go. When we put our arms closer to the center of rotation our rotation rate went up due to conservation of momentum. When we dropped only one arm the asymmetrical forces felt very odd and we would wobble.

    So…

    Why would this not work the same with the sun? Barycenter outside sun, rotation slower, barycenter “moves” inside sun, rotation faster as more mass nearer the center of rotation. Further, as the barycenter moves from outside toward more central would not the differential forces on parts of the sun cause some turbulence? I would expect some significant torque forces out of this that ought to stir things up in a fluid ball…

    Or am I attempting to over generalize a too simple high school demonstration?

  172. Old Coach says:

    E.M.Smith

    There is a big misconception about Barycenters. Objects don’t notice them at all. They do not apply any kind of force on an object. Because of the way physics is taught, it is hard for us to let go of gravity tugging on the sun like a force. The sun (and every other object) does not actually “feel” gravity. It is not a force like electromagnetism, strong or weak nuclear. The only way that an object notices another gravitationally is by the tidal effect. If a massive object were close to the sun (as the moon to earth), then one hemisphere of the sun would “feel” a stronger “tug” than the opposite side of the sun.

    But, I think you might be onto something in an indirect way. When a fluid ball is rotating in free fall, it naturally bulges from spherical into a pancake (the centrifugal force, if you will). Mass accumulates at the equator, which bulges. The earth does this to a much lesser extent. However, when mass starts accumulating at the equator, this increases the angular inertia of the sun, which would then slow its rotation (conservation of momentum). When the sun slows its rotation, then mass would no longer be able to pile up at the equator and would flow back to a more spherical shape. This would then decrease the angular inertia of the sun, which would then increase the rotation rate. We have an oscillating system. This phenomenon diminishes over time with objects that are only semi-fluid like the Earth, as the effect gets dissipated as heat. However, I would guess the sun is nearly superfluid. I wonder if a cycle of rotation speeds is noticeable, or has been documented? Also, there is a lot of convection and turbulence complicating the sun.
    Now, I wonder what the oscillating frequency of the sun is? 11 years? 30 years? 5 days? I should ask Leif. He probably has already researched this phenomenon.

  173. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…

    So, Old Coach, If I read you right you are saying that the angular momentum of the sun vs the barycenter isn’t so important since it’s going to be insensitive to the barycenter (the actual effect being from the far off Jupiter so the spin axis of the sun doesn’t care about the common center of rotation of the planets) but that there might be some odd harmonic coupling of the Jovian apogee / perigee cycle tidal forces with the inherent frequency of the sun such that, over billions and billions of year (shades of Sagan!) the two might become locked in a slight flow of mass to/from the perimeter and thus have some oscillation of mass flow and rotation rate?

    Hmm. Damn, I think I get it. Thanks.

    BTW, your theory is far more interesting and gets bonus points for subtlety!

    I suspect that the coincidence, correlation, causality manta is fairly well into the correlation camp for some kind of Jovian planet / sunspot connection. It’s just too tight to make it coincidence. The paper from I.R.G. Wilson at the Austraian Institute of Physics 17th national conference 2006 dispelled the numerology aspect for me. He showed that the misc. odd solar cycles were in fact sidebands of a carrier suppressed modulation via the Jovian periods. Suddenly the many odd unrelated cycles made sense; a direct formulaic connection to the clear planetary cycles. Unfortunately, it still left causality as an open unclear issue.

  174. E.M.Smith says:

    From the wiki:

    In orbits, the angular momentum is distributed between the spin of the planet itself and the angular momentum of its orbit:

    Ltotal = Lspin + Lorbit;

    If a planet is found to rotate slower than expected, then astronomers suspect that the planet is accompanied by a satellite, because the total angular momentum is shared between the planet and its satellite in order to be conserved.

    end wiki.

    So as the Lorbit decreases (both sun and Jupiter approach barycenter) the Lspin goes up? Looks like a mechanism to cause variable spin in the sun… with the variable spin causing the kind of flow oscillations you posited.

    More wiki:

    The conservation of angular momentum in Earth-Moon system results in the transfer of angular momentum from Earth to Moon (due to tidal torque the Moon exerts on the Earth). This in turn results in the slowing down of the rotation rate of Earth (at about 42 nsec/day), and in gradual increase of the radius of Moon’s orbit (at ~4.5 cm/year rate).

    end wiki.

    I would expect the sun / jovian planet system to behave similarly, so that would imply a variation of the sun rotation rate proportional to the variation in the orbital distances of the jovian planets. OK. Now the leap…

    If we have the suns spin variable with jovian apogee / perigee, what then happens to the physics of the sun as it has this spin oscillation?

    Will the spin oscillation be poorly distributed over the mass of the sun (i.e. will some spin get distributed to the perimeter more than the poles due to fluid mass flow et.al.)?

    Does the period of this spin oscillation bear any resonance with the mass flow oscillation period of the sun (posited above)? (And is there any physical evidence for such mass flow or spin oscilation and / or variations in the spin rate at poles vs equator over a jovian cycle?)

    And finally, what happens to all those mag field lines that are winding up during the sunspot cycle when the spin starts changing (in particular during the retrograde part of the solar / barycenter orbit where the sun may be passing back through the mag field from it’s prior location and / or the spin that was winding up suffers a reverse force from winding down the spin?

    I don’t know what’s going on in the sun, but it does look like there is a potential mechanism for a lot to go on, in sync with the jovian apogee / perigee cycle.

    The thesis that “the sun is in free fall so no force is felt and nothing will happen” seems weak.

    And finally, a pseudorandom google search “solar equatorial rotation rate sunspot” leads to (among others):

    Long-term variations in solar differential rotation and sunspot activity
    J Javaraiah
    L Bertello
    R K. Ulrich

    ABSTRACT:

    The solar equatorial rotation rate, determined from sunspot group data during the period 1879-2004, decreased over the last century, whereas the level of activity has increased considerably. The latitude gradient term of the solar rotation shows a significant modulation of about 79 year, which is consistent with what is expected for the existence of the Gleissberg cycle. Our analysis indicates that the level of activity will remain almost the same as the present cycle during the next few solar cycles (i.e., during the current double Hale cycle), while the length of the next double Hale cycle in Sunspot activity is predicted to be longer than the Current one. We find evidence for the existence of a weak linear relationship between the equatorial rotation rate and the length of sunspot cycle. Finally, we find that the length of the current cycle will be as short as that of cycle 22, indicating that the present Hale cycle may be a combination of two shorter cycles.

    SUGGESTED CITATION:
    J Javaraiah, L Bertello, and R K. Ulrich, “Long-term variations in solar differential rotation and sunspot activity” (2005). Solar Physics. 232 (1-2), pp. 25-40. Postprint available free at: http://repositories.cdlib.org/postprints/1536

    REQUIRED PUBLISHER STATEMENT:
    The original publication is available at http://www.springerlink.com in Solar Physics.

    end citation.

    So it looks like there is some physical observational evidence for a coupling of spin variations with jovian planet modulations.

  175. E.M.Smith says:

    Please forgive 3 posts in a row… but I found this rather interesting citation showing an odd change in sunspot behaviour during the retrograde part of the solar orbit:

    Titre du document / Document title
    Sun’s retrograde motion and violation of even-odd cycle rule in sunspot activity
    Auteur(s) / Author(s)
    JAVARAIAH J. (1) ;
    Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)
    (1) Department of Physics and Astronomy, 430 Portola Plaza, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, ETATS-UNIS
    Résumé / Abstract
    The sum of sunspot numbers over an odd-numbered 11-yr sunspot cycle exceeds that of its preceding even-numbered cycle, and it is well known as Gnevyshev and Oh1 rule (or G-O rule) after the names of the authors who discovered it in 1948. The G-O rule can be used to predict the sum of sunspot numbers of a forthcoming odd cycle from that of its preceding even cycle. However, this is not always possible because occasionally the G-O rule is violated. So far, no plausible reason is known either for the G-O rule or for the violation of this rule. Here, we show the epochs of the violation of the G-O rule are close to the epochs of the Sun’s retrograde orbital motion about the centre of mass of the Solar system (i.e. the epochs at which the orbital angular momentum of the Sun is weakly negative). Using this result, it is easy to predict the epochs of violation of the G-O rule well in advance. We also show that the solar equatorial rotation rate determined from sunspot group data during the period 1879-2004 is con-elated/anticorrelated to the Sun’s orbital torque before/after 1945. We have found the existence of a statistically significant ∼ 17-yr periodicity in the solar equatorial rotation rate. The implications of these findings for understanding the mechanism behind the solar cycle and the solar-terrestrial relationship are discussed.
    Revue / Journal Title
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ISSN 0035-8711 CODEN MNRAA4
    Source / Source
    2005, vol. 362, no4, pp. 1311-1318 [8 page(s) (article)] (67 ref.)

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