Sun: Still quiet, over two months since a cycle 24 spot seen

Its all quiet on the solar front. Too quiet. It has now been almost 2 and a half months since the last counted cycle 24 sunspot has been seen on April 13th, 2008. There was a tiny cycle 24 “sunspeck” that appeared briefly on May 13th, but according to solar physicist Leif Svalgaard, that one never was assigned a number and did not “count”. It is just barely discernable on this large image from that day.


The sun today: spotless

NASA’s David Hathaway updated his solar cycle prediction page on June 4th. The start of cycle 24 keeps getting pushed forward while the ramp up line starts to look steeper into 2009.


Click for full sized image

The most recent forecast ( June 27th, 2008 ) from the Space Weather Prediction Center says little that would suggest our spotless streak would end any time soon:

Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be very
low.

Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 26/2100Z
to 27/2100Z: Solar activity was very low. No flares occurred during
the past 24 hours and the solar disk remains spotless.

 So when will solar cycle 24 really get going? It seems even the best minds of science don’t know for certain. A NOAA press release issued last year in April 2007 calls for Cycle 24 to be up to a year late, but they can’t decide on the intensity of SC24. That argument is ongoing.

Meanwhile the NOAA SEC Solar Cycle Progression Page looks pretty flat in all metrics charted.

 

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147 thoughts on “Sun: Still quiet, over two months since a cycle 24 spot seen

  1. I’ve been looking at daily solar images since 1998, watching sunspots come and go. I click on the solar link at the right at least once a day, waiting for a sunspot to appear. So far, the Sun is spookily quiet.

  2. Pardon this skeptic’s doubt, but what are these forecasts based on? Science or statistics? If they’re basing the future on what happened in the past, then the science is really shallow — they’ve got a really long road ahead.

  3. Isn’t the general theory that the longer the wait, the less the solar activity? If so – are we heading into a decade-long cold snap?

  4. As can be seen from my website, a cycle 24 spot was seen also on May 04, I imaged it with an 8 inch amateur telescope and webcam. The spot was so small that image stacking and sharpening was needed to see it properly in the final image. The spot disappeared rather quickly, so it is no surprise it didn’t count as an official spot. If such tiny spots appeared during the Maunder minimum in the 17th century, they would not have been seen or counted, given the available observation technologies then.

    The updated cycle 24 prediction graph from Hathaway you are showing seems to agree only with the highest of the two NOAA prediction curves from April 2007 (why hasn’t there been an update??). The highest prediction expects cycle 24 to be more active than cycle 23. My hunch is that this is now increasingly unlikely, since cycle 23 is now well over 11 years old, maybe even more than 12 years depending on selected start date for cycle 23. Long cycles appear to be correlated with lower activity in the following cycle. To reach the predicted high activity level in time of the predicted maximum date, a rather steep growth curve is needed now.

    Hathaway states in http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml that “We then use the shape of the sunspot cycle as described by Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann [Solar Physics 151, 177 (1994)] and determine a starting time for the cycle by fitting the data to produce a prediction of the monthly sunspot numbers through the next cycle.”

    So what if the upcoming cycle has a different shape than the previous one? It is well established that the 23 cycles we have seen so far do not all have the same shape (not at all). And Hathaway’s own cycle 24 curve shape does not really have the same shape as the curve for cycle 23 in the same graph.

    I can’t help thinking that this low sunspot activity looks much more like an upcoming grand minimum than a high activity cycle.

  5. Dr. Lief Svalgaard points out that Hathaway’s convection model missed this long, slow transit between SC23 & 24 and doesn’t predict a lower SC 24. Svalgaard’s magnetic dynamo model predicts a slow transit & half-scale SC 24.

    But Hathaway’s & Svalgaard’s models both predict a half-scale SC 25 in 2020. That would entail an average loss of sunspot faculae, resulting in loss of warming UV to the tune of -0.2 degrees Celsius from hereon. If cloud-nucleating cosmic rays or loss of auroral particles have an impact, then an even larger decrease.

    But the sun has already, inexplicable, dimmed its average output by -0.1 degrC since the early 1990′s.

    So we could be looking at a net dimming of -0.3 degrC overall, and if the sun’s luminance falls back to 19th C levels (offsetting all the 20th century gain prior to the 1960′s) then that could entail a net -0.5 degrC or more.

    Now think about all the scary talk from the warmists. Do they even mention the remotest possibility that solar dimming would offset their oft-cited +1.0 to +2.0 degrC?

    The Aqua satellites, IIRC, are showing more cloud cover. Could cosmic rays help make the middle troposphere drier and cooler whilst the surface is cloudier?

  6. As can be seen from my website, a cycle 24 spot was seen also on May 04, I imaged it with an 8 inch amateur telescope and webcam. The spot was so small that image stacking and sharpening was needed to see it properly in the final image. The spot disappeared rather quickly, so it is no surprise it didn’t count as an official spot. If such tiny spots appeared during the Maunder minimum in the 17th century, they would not have been seen or counted, given the available observation technologies then.

    The updated cycle 24 prediction graph from Hathaway you are showing seems to agree only with the highest of the two NOAA prediction curves from April 2007 (why hasn’t there been an update??). The highest prediction expects cycle 24 to be more active than cycle 23. My hunch is that this is now increasingly unlikely, since cycle 23 is now well over 11 years old, maybe even more than 12 years depending on selected start date for cycle 23. Long cycles appear to be correlated with lower activity in the following cycle. To reach the predicted high activity level in time of the predicted maximum date, a rather steep growth curve is needed now.

    Hathaway states in http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml that “We then use the shape of the sunspot cycle as described by Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann [Solar Physics 151, 177 (1994)] and determine a starting time for the cycle by fitting the data to produce a prediction of the monthly sunspot numbers through the next cycle.”

    So what if the upcoming cycle has a different shape than the previous one? It is well established that the 23 cycles we have seen so far do not all have the same shape. And Hathaway’s own cycle 24 curve shape does not really have the same shape as the curve for cycle 23 in the prediction graph.

    I can’t help thinking that this low sunspot activity looks much more like an upcoming grand minimum than a high activity cycle.

  7. I watch cosmic ray flux. It tends to peak at the bottom of the solar cycle, and starts going down as the next solar cycle gets under way. So look at this, from the Moscow Neutron Monitor:

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/scripts/nm64queryD.dll/mosc?PD=1&title=Moscow&dt=0&base=9600&Res=1_month&y1=2007&y2=2008&m1=1&m2=6&d1=1&d2=30&h1=0&h2=23&mn1=0&mn2=59

    Assuming crf peaked last September, the slow start to solar cycle 24 is mirrored here by the failure of this chart to begin a more steady downward trend since then. In fact, it has been generally flat since last October, and is even a little higher of late than last October.

  8. Bill: The mini cycles are just due to solar rotation. Image you have a bright spot on the Sun. After half rotation the bright spot would be on the backside, then after another, it would be back, and so on.
    Leon: The forecasts are not based on statistics but on sound physics. The reason they differ is that we don’t have all of the parameters [and 'initial conditions'] pinned down yet. After cycle 24 we should be able to do a better forecast of cycle 25. On physical grounds [the spot magnetic flux is 'boyant' and takes only a few months to rise to the surface], so if they were there [they take years to form] they should have been here already, but, as I said cycle 24 will be a crucial test of our ‘understanding’ of all this. We may be completely wrong, but we may also be correct, so this is a exciting time.
    JLawson: the ‘cold snap’ idea is even more uncertain than the cycle forecast, even if the cycle turns out to be tiny. You just cannot a priory equate cold with few spots, there is very little evidence for that and even less physics. See Leon’s comment, if you wish to conclude from the past [e.g. LIA] that few spots equal cold.

  9. Hey guys… Hathaways’s prediction graph. The Cycle 24 ramp-up looks like a hockey stick!

    It’s true, it’s all true! Oh, the humanity!

    … and I’m done with the silliness.

  10. JLawson asked

    “Isn’t the general theory that the longer the wait, the less the solar activity? If so – are we heading into a decade-long cold snap?”

    According to Svalgaard, there is no correlation between solar activity and temperature. Many of us are not so sure about that.

  11. Ieebert: I do not predict a low cycle 25 as my model only posits a short solar memory. Available statistics might support a low 25 and 26 as several low cycles tend to occur together [as do several high cycles], but that is just extrapolating from the past and is not a real prediction. Cycles 20 and 21are good examples of how wrong you can go if just extrapolating. Since 20 was low, one statistically might think 21should have been low too, yet 21 was arguably the second largest ever.

  12. Well, I see that Leif responded to JLawson while I was preparing my response.

    I will add that there’s no reason, at this point, to assume that cycle 24 will not eventually take off, and be just what about what Leif is predicting. As for climate, I see some evidence of bidecadal and decadal temperature variations I think have some connection to variations in solar activity. I think we’ll see some moderate warming as this solar cycle takes off, but nothing like we saw during the 1980′s and 1990′s, and that the next peak of the warming cycle will be lower than the last peak.

  13. Has anyone compared the past predictions of Hathaways’s prediction graph?

    Wondering if the peak has ever moved back, or if the rise is just getting steeper.

    They seem to be tied into the peak date and amplitude, no matter how steep the ramp appears…

    Can we see if the ramp EVER had that steep of a rise?

    REPLY: Yes done it here already, see the movie

  14. Basil: You misquote me [as everybody else does]. I never said that there is no correlation [there are thousands of papers claiming correlations], just that it has not been demonstrated that there is a physical connection/mechanism to the point that we take this as an established fact and go from there. A good analogy is the connection between solar activity and geomagnetic/auroral activity. This was also argued for more than a century until it was finally established about a hundred years ago. Today, you’ll not find any more papers discussing the reality of that connection. Such is the difference between demonstrated fact and speculation [the latter not bad in itself, being necessary for progress in the end].

    REPLY: I just quoted you in this post, was that inaccurate? – Anthony

  15. henry and others: A few things to be clear about: Hathaway’s prediction is his own private one, not official NASA or US gov. He can do as he pleases and for now he is sticking with his prediction [some consider that a virtue - not to 'flip-flop' :-) ], so he has to have an ever steepening curve [until it falls over ...]. Second, the official prediction is NOAA’s. They have a bureaucratic problem, namely that they deliver a ‘product’ and are not allowed to change predictions once made.

  16. Anthoni: your quote of my saying that the spot was too small and short-lived to be counted was correct [expect for misspelling my name :-) ]. There are, in fact several other criteria for counting a ‘tiny tim ‘, like been seen by at least two observers, and more.

    REPLY: Well you misspelled mine above, so I guess we are even ;-)

    Sunspot counting may benefit from automated processing of MDI and magnetogram images. I can visuallize a way to take the images and come up with a spot count. Has it been tried?

  17. Notice that GISS climate models use repetitions of the last cycle extending into the future. Reality isn’t cooperating.

  18. Anthony: yes, I got even [on purpose...]. Automatic counting has been and is being tried. But, the manual counting works just fine and does benefit from 150 years of experience with this, while the automatic counting is too dependent of [uncertain and changing - aging!] calibration of spacecraft instruments that, after all, are exposed to a very harsh environment. The same problem has plagued TSI measurements from the beginning. The way SORCE does it [comparing with unvarying stars] finally solved that problem.

  19. I propose the Hocky Puck realist alternative to the Hocky Stickers.

    It is the real thing;

    … it may be whacked around by the Hocky Stick people but doesn’t care;

    … and at the end of the game, nothing else scored.

  20. “You just cannot a priory equate cold with few spots, there is very little evidence for that and even less physics. See Leon’s comment, if you wish to conclude from the past [e.g. LIA] that few spots equal cold.”

    First I want to say that I respect Leif, and I have learned a lot from him on the Solar Cycle 24 web site. Agree or disagree, he seems to be doing his science as honestly as possible, and without an agenda.

    That being said, I also have this gut feeling that he underestimates the effect of the sun on the climate. I know that is horribly unscientific, but it just seems to me that the correlation between solar cycles and temperature is too consistent to be attributed to a weak response to solar variation.

  21. why I love reading Dr. S.

    “We may be completely wrong, but we may also be correct, so this is a exciting time.”

    None of this “i’m 99 certain” throw the bastards in jail crap.

    Just sayin. he is always a pleasure to read and gives 10X what he takes.

  22. The problem with some scientists is they believe a reduction in CO2 would not be harmful anyway so why not err on the side of caution. This ignores the dramatic effect a government mandated reduction could have on the economy.

    The Fed screwed up and we got the Great Depression and WWII and 50 million dead. Government is a blunt and very dangerous tool.

  23. Leif,

    I do realize that a point of yours is that the physical mechanism is not demonstrated. And I agree with that. There are some theories about the mechanism, but nothing has been demonstrated to the point that it can claim to be accepted science in the matter.

    But is it really wrong to attribute to you the notion that given the absence of a demonstrated physical mechanism, that correlations are only coincidences? Or, haven’t you also taken the position that they could be internally generated oscillations that owe nothing to solar influence? I think I could probably find you saying things along this line. Not that will even try, however. You can add whatever you feel is appropriate to clarify you view of this, or to point out my misunderstanding of you, and we’ll leave it at that. But either of these positions would basically set your view off against those who think that there is a connection between solar cycles and climate cycles, or that there’s enough evidence suggesting such that we should keep looking for the physical cause.

    We’re all aware that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causation (or should be). But correlation can be suggestive of causation, and can provide an impetus for further research that might well yield evidence of causation at some point. That’s my basic take on the evidence of bidecadal and decadal temperature cycles. They are suggestive of a lunisolar influence, with the solar influence working on the bidecadal time scale, and the lunar influence working on the decadal time scale. While we have no knowledge at the present time of what double sunspot cycle activity might cause a bidecadal cycle in terrestrial climate or temperature, given the strong evidence for such cycles in climate, that’s the direction we should be looking at in trying to divine the connection between solar cycles and climate cycles.

    Basil

  24. Any data on CRF prior to entry to the atmosphere?

    Any data from instuments on other planets?

    I do not think CRF is constant.

  25. I’m grateful to Mr. Svalgaard for once again bringing a little perspective.

    Look, a lot of us are starting to go nuts watching the sun.

    Late Thursday night, three, maybe four little areas with Cycle 24 magnetic signatures showed up, at high latitudes, where they should be. Instead of growing into active regions or spots, they fizzled away in less than 24 hours, and continue to show no plage areas and no prospects of development.

    I am aware of many of the correlations Mr. Svalgaard mentions, between low solar activity and cold weather, and the lack to date of established physical linking mechanisms for the correlations.

    However, there are several proposed physical mechanisms which are well researched and well supported, such as Henrik Svensmark’s work linking decreased solar activity with increased galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) and increased low cloudiness, and Karin Labitzke’s work linking low solar activity to colder northern hemisphere climate, when the results are ordered according to the phase (east or west) of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO).

    The correlations are real and are persistent, the proposed physical mechanisms are plausible.

    An association between certain aspects of the solar cycle, particularly extended length from one minimum to the next, slow rise time at the cycle start, significantly reduced SSN through a cycle, and colder climate, through the proposed physical mechanisms or others as yet unknown, in addition to the underlying physics of the solar cycle itself, deserves serious and intense research – and funding.

    “AGW” on the other hand has never seemed to me to be anything but pure political propaganda, a fatuous idea that cannot stand on its own scientific merit and needs to be propped up with “adjusted” data, “tweaked” models, media hype, even outright fraud or persecution.

    “AGW” does not stand up to serious study, whereas the solar-climate connection, far from being “settled science,” continues to cry out across the centuries out for more and better data, in the hands of serious researchers.

    Solar Cycle 24 could begin in earnest _tomorrow_. The “low-end” prediction from the NOAA/NASA panel would be _fine_ with me. I think whatever weather conditions which result from that scenario we could handle easily. Solar minima are most often long and slow, and sometimes anxious. We won’t know for probably six months or more if there’s even anything to be worried about.

    Regrettably, our political leadership is in shambles. If a a genuine climate crisis were to occur, I think we’d have better luck with Beavis and Butt-head in charge.

    Economically, this is not a good place to enter a period unfavorable to agriculture. With cheap food _and_ cheap fuel already apparently just the stuff of nostalgia, it is undoubtedly going to be a tough time for some people. I’m just not sure yet if I’m among them, how concerned I should be, and what exactly I should be doing _right_now_.

    “AGW” may well be laughed off the stage over the next two years. I do believe, even this coming _cold_ winter (think 1970s), that there will be people who will tell you, not just with a straight face, but smugly, “It’s so cold because it’s so warm.” What else could they do but desperately try to blame the cooling on the warming?

    In any case, thinking people are soooooo over “AGW,” if they ever took it seriously in the first place.

    For those whose anxiety is helped by having a least a short term crystal ball, there are some interesting and useful forecasting sites out there.

    Geoeffectiveness of Solar Events (GSE) U of Alaska Fairbanks runs the Hakamada-Akasofu-Fry (HAF) solar wind model with frequent updates and produces some excellent output of solar wind forecasts and ecliptic-plane Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF)

    http://gse.gi.alaska.edu/recent/index.html

    and Lockheed Martin has a nice solar forecasting website

    http://www.lmsal.com/forecast/

    and although it isn’t a forecast, I like NWRA’s “effective” sunspot number (SSNe)

    http://www.nwra-az.com/spawx/ssne-year.html

  26. I too read what this man says with gusto. Leif, I have wondered about the various rotation speeds the sun has at different latitudes. Knowing that over time, these speeds could momentarily cause this ball of fire to rotate at the same moment, would that event account for quiet cycles?

  27. Thank you, all, for your replies. It’s a bit odd to look at solar events like this and try to figure out what it means now, and means in the long run. Again, thanks!

  28. Can someone see what is wrong with this plot?

    No takers on this one? Amazing, considering that this crowd here usually jumps on all and every little error, no matter how inconsequential. Come on now.

    What is shown is Mount Wilson’s automatic sunspot region index based on their magnetograms.

    REPLY: Well I wasn’t going to say anything, since I thought at least some readers would jump on it, but at the same time remember it is Saturday evening, so readership is way down. I get about double on weekdays.

    As I understand this plot, this is a count of N-S spot pairs on the magentogram, correct? – Anthony

  29. The fact that the Maunder Minimum and the Dalton Minimum both occurred with virtually no spots on the sun isn’t a fantasy. We just don’t have enough information from our study of the sun to determine whether these events area cyclical. Nature is very cyclical and I’m betting we’re in another Minima cycle of the sun. Just how severe is the question.

  30. Leif Svalgaard (15:54:22) :
    “… cycle 24 will be a crucial test of our ‘understanding’ of all this. We may be completely wrong, but we may also be correct, so this is a exciting time.”

    This is sort of a me too post, which I ordinarily hate, but occasionally I yield to temptation. I hope I have added enough value.

    Recent solar activity is responsible for making all fields associated with climatology exciting. While I’m happy to see a few mild digs at cycle 24 forecasts that haven’t or likely won’t verify, keep in mind that the Sun is doing some really interesting stuff that has never before happened with anything approaching the tools we now have.

    Instead of looking at cycle 24 forecasts as we would tomorrow’s weather forecast, consider looking at them as forecasts designed to test the hypotheses behind them. If an hypothesis is correct and a forecast verifies, that’s nice. If an hypothesis is wrong and the forecast doesn’t verify (or verifies for the wrong reasons), that opens the door to much better learning. And that’s really more interesting.

    Assuming that long cycles current conditions imply global cooling, that means solar activity has also given us a chance to quantify the contribution of Greenhouse gases vs. solar effects.

    Finally, CERN’s CLOUD experiment may answer some big question about how the Sun’s changes seem to have a disproportionate on climate.

    “Exciting” times indeed – every month we have new data worth talking about. That’s quite remarkable, given that climatology normally moves at a “glacial” pace. So, don’t make a big deal about solar activity forecasts – at least here science is progressing as it should. In fact, let the AGW proponents dismiss a solar connection, this field doesn’t need their “assistance” and I’m quite happy they’re keeping their distance.

    BTW, how do I spell “Svalgaard?” “cut ‘n paste,” of course.

  31. Leif Svalgaard:

    My bad. In our prior discussions I thought we broached SC-25.

    IAC, we have your SC-24 prediction based on current magnetism, and we have Hathaway’s SC-25 prediction. He makes his SC-25 prediction as such a sure thing.

    When I eyeball Jan Janssens’ spotless days evolution it seems that both your SC-24 and Hathaway’s SC-25 prediction, it seems like you could both be correct. Sometimes trend-matching is “good enough.” How many cycle transits in the 20th Century tracked as well as this current SC23-24 transit to early-mid 19th Century transits.

    see: http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Spotless/Spotless.html#Evolution

    Admittedly there’s no causation here. But correlation…. well… ;-)

  32. I’ll go with Basil about 2002 where plage went up and SSN down.
    ======================================

  33. Basil and others: My problem with the correlations is that there is just too many of them [some contradictory] and they can’t all be right. The correlations go back 400 years. In my 1880s copy of Encl. Britannica, ‘terrestrial magnetism’ is a subsection of ‘meteorology’, so these suppositions are not new. And yet, very little, if any IMHO, progress has been made in this field. This is usually a sign of ultimate failure, yet, the hope is still burning bright for many. The same is the case with barycentric or tidal explanations of solar activity. The yearning is strong for simple explanations. All this magnetohydrodynamic voodoo and complicated million-line computer models is simply too much for a public wanting something they can understand and believe in [a la "the five-minute manager" books]. The world is a messy place and there are precious few easy explanations. I have not addressed the problem of many of the papers being of low quality. This is often due to their cross-disciplinary nature, like me pontificating on climate, when I should stick to the Sun.

  34. The terribly quiet sun is the most fascinating thing I have ever witnessed. I wish I were one of the scientists examining it and the Universe it is allowing us to measure.

  35. I too read what this man says with gusto.

    Gusto et al. ( 2008 )

    (Yes, LS demonstrates a refreshingly open mind. )

  36. The terribly quiet sun

    A fair choice of adjective,

    is the most fascinating thing I have ever witnessed.

    Yes, I could stare at it for hours.

  37. My problem with the correlations is that there is just too many of them [some contradictory] and they can’t all be right.

    this is true. I first noticed it while comparing Kennedy assassination theories.

  38. Leif, I suspect that the failure of progress in 400 years has less to do with ultimate failure than the complexity of the mechanism. When you consider how much more we know now than we did, and how little we know now than there is to know, we just aren’t far enough along the learning curve to pinpoint that mechanism, yet. Life is short, art is long, and the journey tortuous.
    ==========================================

  39. Anthony wrote:
    “So when will solar cycle 24 really get going? It seems even the best minds of science don’t know for certain. A NOAA press release issued last year in April 2007 calls for Cycle 24 to be up to a year late, but they can’t decide on the intensity of SC24.”

    Some page said it would updated in a year. When I hadn’t, I Emailed the contact person, Anatta, on May 2nd and she replied in part “A year after the new cycle gets going, the panel will be able to update the forecast with new information.”

    So, don’t sweat the forecast, watch the Sun. It’s sort of like forecasting New England weather – the best time to forecast a weekend’s weather is the following Monday.

  40. Last year I had 1000 bats in my nursery roost attic. I had running water nearby and lots of insects. Though the winter was bitterly cold (bats hibernate in warmer climates, not here), Spring arrived mild but on time. The summer was comfortable and dry. This season is totally different. The very late spring here in NE Oregon along with heavy snow right up to the first day of summer has predictably led to an extreme decrease in my bat and bug population. Last year the UK experienced the same thing and will likely do so again this summer.

    I don’t think bats care squat about CO2. What they care about is a warm wet Spring, and a fairly hot and dry summer with lots of bugs. So far we have had a cold snowy Spring. Summer has been late in arriving but the bat population already shows the effects. In some decades, my bat nursery can’t even function like a nursery. Instead it just plays host to adults who don’t have babies. Somehow, these bats are predicting the weather and they are predicting a mild summer with rain, no bugs, and another cold long winter.

  41. kim: but the journey is also joyous. If someone from the future would tell me how all this worked, I would refuse to know. There is something in what Richard Feynman said about “the fun of finding things out”.

    REPLY: Ditto that. While I’m on this journey, I’m confronted with new things daily. Sometimes they are puzzling, sometimes I interpret them wrong, sometimes they are enlightening. I learn something new each and every day. If there was no fun in the blogging, or the research I do, I’d soon tire of it. -Anthony

  42. I agree that this is a scientifically and climatologically exciting period. We are seeing evidence, but no proof yet of decreasing solar activity. These periods in the past coincided, but not fully correlated with cooler climates. At the same time the theory of CO2 caused warming is running into problems as steady increase in atmospheric CO2 not only failed to produce the predicted warming, but it is beginning to be contradicted by an emerging cooling trend. However, we know very little about the Sun’s magnetic activity. There have been century long attempts to link the observed behaviour of the Sun to the Earth climate, with relatively little success. Svensmark hypothesis, while it is very attractive and intellectually satisfying, is far from proven and it will not be proven even if the CERN Cloud experiments confirm Svensmark’s ideas. It will merely stimulate additional work and research. Ironically, the only thing that would demonstrate that the Sun’s activity is the dominant driver of the Earth’s Climate if in the next several year we experience a simultaneous large decrease in the both the Sun’s magnetic activity and the Global temperatures.This event may be very satisfying scientifically, especially if you are an AGW skeptic, but it would be a period of hardship for humanity.

  43. Timo Niroma’s stat analysis of planetary motion, solar activity and climate is interesting reading: http://personal.inet.fi/tiede/tilmari/sunspots.html. Quote: “Original alert 31.10.2007
    Updated 26.02.2008 / added the window limits for the minimum
    Update 2 / 07.04.2008 / backing to the original: minimum in 2009
    According to my theory about Jovian effect on sunspots, based on facts measured since 1700 and estimated since 1500 (Schove)
    - The Jupiter perihelion and sunspot minimum never coincide and the nearing perihelion will slow the rise of the height of sunspot cycle, as now is happening to the cycle 23.
    - The Gleissberg cycle has almost reached its lower limit, which is 72 years.
    — In fact this low it has not been ever after the Maunder minimum.
    — So it must go up, the short cycles of the 20th century has created a debt that must be paid.

    Now the next Jovian perihelion is in late March in 2011. I predict that the length of the cycle 23 is 13 years. This means a minimum in Summer 2009. The exact length depends on what we regard as the real minimum, the arithmetic 1996.4 or the agreed-upon 1996.8. Actually it seems that there were two minima. A late spurt of the cycle 22 stopped for a while the first steps of the cycle 23.

    Either way this means that the cycle 24 will be very low, in the range of 30-60, or a Dalton level. This means that the maximum will be reached only in 2014. All this means there will be a cooling for decades, for 60 to 80 years.”

  44. nobody is even close about the Mt. Wilson plot. I’ll give the solution tomorrow pm [my time, of course].

    Oooh, this is like Jeopardy!

    Leif, I’ll take “I have no friggin’ clue” for 1000 please.

  45. Leif Svalgaard (16:47:32) :

    “As an example on the failure of automatic counting see this one:

    Can someone see what is wrong with this plot?”

    1st: All other MSPI charts in whole numbers, first one listed in tenths?

    2nd: Most recent data listed as 6/27/08, yet first chart shows predicted data (with plus signs) from about 05/08. No updated chart to go with data?

  46. Leif Svalgaard (16:30:17) :

    “He can do as he pleases and for now he is sticking with his prediction [some consider that a virtue - not to 'flip-flop' ], so he has to have an ever steepening curve [until it falls over ...].”

    And that’s my point – at what time will he be FORCED to re-predict his plot: when it has to go straight up?

  47. Magnus: The problem with these ‘predictions’ is that should they turn out to be wrong, that will not cause the believers to abandon the ‘theory’ as they should, but to barrel on regardless. In addition, there are sound reasons to believe in at least a low cycle 24, so they cannot take the fulfillment of that as unique support for their theory. As an example of the darkness dripping from the post take this quote: “Actually it seems that there were two minima. A late spurt of the cycle 22 stopped for a while the first steps of the cycle 23.” What specific planetary alignment caused the late spurt of cycle 22 and the stopping of 23? So when kim says [i]When you consider how much more we know now than we did[/i], and one confronts that with your quote one wonders if we have progressed at all.

  48. While the current low sunspot activity might indicate we are near the start of a new Maunder minimum, nothing is sure yet.
    From 2004 to May 2008 inclusively, there have been 344 spotless days. However, from 1910 to 1914 there have been no less than 993 (yes, more than nine hundred) spotless days, yet the following sunspot maximum, in 1917, was normal with a smoothed monthly mean of 112.
    The fact that even solar experts disagree about the sunspot activity during the next months, proves that there is still no sure method for predicting this activity. The only “concensus” is that this is an exciting time.

  49. Hi All,
    Please excuse my interuption, but, in all these solar cycle discussions
    the actual cause of them seems to be being errr, missed..
    If a better idea of what caused the sunspots in the first place was behind the “predictions” wouls this make the predictions better.

    I just read this and thought it rather interesting / relevant.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2008/06/sun-jupiter-saturn-spin-orbit-coupling.html

    – Sun, Jupiter, Saturn: spin-orbit coupling?
    PASA, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. Ian Wilson, Bob Carter, and I.A. Waite propose a new, provoking mechanism that may influence the intensity of solar cycles:

    Hope this helps,
    Derek.

  50. Dr. Svalgaard,

    This is not my field, but I’ll give it a whirl. I have a variety of issues with this plot, starting with the farcical and trending to perhaps the issue you have in mind.

    First, a couple of commendations. Their data appears to be available online, and they also have a pile of logbooks online. The online documentation appears to be in good order, and I think I’ve got a grasp of the steps taken to arrive at their values. There might be some observer-bias issues with the oldest data, as they were only performing “rough hand sketches” at the time. It wouldn’t appear to be an issue for the particular plot of interest though.

    Second, a semi-farsical look at siting issues. They have a Google Map link, but it places the tower in the middle of a road, which just can’t be right. ;) It’s also close to Los Angeles, and there’s a source of potential air-quality issues.

    Third, I personally would not use a line graph for this type of data. When you’re looking at just a year or so it helps the eye track from point to point. Indeed, they have a couple of yearly or per-cycle plots lying around that look good. But when you shift towards multi-decadal, one’s up-and-down lines are obscuring data. In 1982, say, one can judge the minimum reading, and the maximum reading… but that about it. I’d strongly prefer a scatter plot here.

    Fourth, we have this line from their explanations: “To determine MPSI we sum the absolute values of the magnetic field strengths….” I keep thinking I’m more interested in _not_ taking the absolute value. Let the strength cross zero, where ‘plus’ is one polarity, and ‘minus’ is the other. The even-and-odd cycles visually appear to prefer slightly different shapes, for instance.

    Fifth, no trend lines or error bars. This is basically raw data though, so I guess the perennial complaint can be waived. Although it is interesting to note that either measurement error or MPSI variability seems to flex pretty strongly with the scale of MPSI. That is, in 1986 the total range is around 1, and in 1981 it appears to be roughly 3.5 or so.

    But the sixth point is the one I really suspect: Magnetograph Equipment changes in 1974, 1982, 1994, 1996. Visual inspection of the graph in those years shows an apparent excursion or break-point at each. I haven’t followed through by reading the logbooks to see if there was an overlap period for calibration, testing etc. But the description of the spectrograph arrangement seems to imply that it wouldn’t be a simple matter to run ‘the old gear’ and ‘the new gear’ simultaneously for any length of time. The “gear” isn’t small – so I tend to doubt there was any overlap period at all.

    The actual internal measurement device for their automated measurements is a photomultiplier tube. From what I recall, PMTs have their own list of quirks. Non-linear response, sensitivity to power supply fluctuations, and housing temperature all come to mind as possible additional issues. I haven’t checked to see _what_ equipment exactly was changed in 74, 82, 94 and 96, but sometimes minor changes trickle into the sensitive gear.

  51. I’ve grouped the difficulties in predicting solar cycle maxima from solar cycle minima parameters in this document (15 June 2008): http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SCMinpredMax.pdf
    I think (hope) it explains sufficiently well why we need a prediction method based on physical principles in stead of on statistics. Just like the evolution of the number of spotless days or the transition from old to new cycle groups, these are just statistical approaches applied onto a not entirely regular phenomenon like the solar cycle. These methods may “work” for this cycle minimum and the upcoming maximum, but they do not explain the principles behind this evolution and may be completely off-target in future cycle predictions.

  52. Lief:

    From my perspective I’m like Ptolemy with a sundial — I can predict the effect from the sun casting a moving shadow on a daily basis, even if my more-esoteric model is wrong. It’s sufficiently predictive, it worked for bronze age astrologers, etc.

    This is how I see correlational analyses like Jan Janssens’ spotless evolution trend analysis (used elsewhere in the real world to predict things), etc. You mentioned the hazards of extrapolating from SC 20 & 21, I suppose you’re saying the trend could’ve gone either way.

    But what I see is after SC19 there was a change in the system, w/ shorter, less pronounced spotless day (SD) transit time between the cycles, with minima starting earlier in months 27 – 39 (SC16 to SC22), not in months 62-70 of SC10 – SC15. Since SC-20, progressive transit SD counts have been more stable & have continued to increase. This may look like Kremlin Watching but intuitively emergent patterns seem to speak volumes when many different metrics seem to agree (not just one or two).

    I think the most profound characteristic of the ongoing SC transit is the rate of accumulation of spotless days, the SD count has piled up very quickly much akin to 19th Century SC transits. I’d also be curious to see the relative rate of old- vs. new-cycle spots parsed by hemisphere.

  53. Hi again Lief,

    As I understand it, as of SC22 average TSI started to decrease, on the order of -0.1 degrC since the early 1990′s. Your colleagues are suggesting another -0.1 to -0.2 degrC loss of solar irradiances (I assume from facular UV warming the tropopause & upper troposphere from stratospheric ozone cooling).

    That’s a conceivable net of -0.3 C, which I think makes sense. You’ve said that TSI doesn’t vary as much as has been previously believed. I’m not sure how that totals up in degrees celsius (and we’ve wrangled over Drew Shindell’s 2001 study last round).

    It has been conceded by many that a certain amt of global warming from the early 19th to mid 20th century was from solar irradiance, somewhere around +0.25 degrC before 1970 and at most 50% of warming since 1970, around another +0.15. That’s a total of +0.4 since the mid 19th C. If TSI alone isn’t that variable, what added all that extra solar influence? I might be picking on an extra +0.1 degrC there, but it puts the change in solar effects easily in the ballpark of +0.3 to +0.4 degrC during solar uptrends.

    The spotless days evolution, your half-amplitude SC24 & Hathaway’s half-amplitude SC25 point to a marked change in UV heating. What if all that extra irradiance of the 20th Century were erased by 2020? That was in the range of Drew Shindell’s 2001 study on the LIA.

    To me it’s easily believable we might (since 1992) net a -0.35 C decrease in solar effect by the 2020′s.

    Let’s say I posed the AGW worst-case, I’d also feel it was important to qualify the risks with the possibility that a slackening of solar effect could widen a window of opportunity along with soot mitigation (a possible 20 year window of opportunity right there according to V. Ramanathan (Scripps Inst. UCI) and Charlie Zender (UC San Diego)).

    This to me seems sensible.

    That the AGWers are not speaking to these opportunities just puzzles me. This is much more tangible and credible than a paleo record that appears mostly anecdotal. And if we can’t find the errant heat in the seas (Kevin Trenberth, NCAR, re: Argo data), it seems to me the worst-case scenarios will be invalidated b/c there will less latent heat hiding in an oceanic pipeline and hence, although less than ideal, not catastrophic.

  54. Oooops Apologies.
    I read this post from an external link and had not realised
    the next article /post here covers exactly this paper.
    Please delete both posts if you want to.
    Thanks, (somewhat slow off the mark…lol.)
    Derek.

  55. magnetohydrodynamic voodoo At least you didn’t say astrology. Really, Leaf, the use of snark in an attempt to belittle a legitimate scientific field is, at best, unbecoming of someone calling themselves a scientist. The implication is that you feel threatened by it, so the question is, why.

  56. Well, overnight, it looks like several more rose to Leif’s challenge at finding out what was wrong with the MPSI. If he isn’t up too early, maybe I’ll get this in before he posts his answer.

    I don’t know enough about the technical issues of producing the graph to know if there’s anything wrong with it in that sense. Could Leif be playing with us here, and using “wrong” in a different sense? Assuming the graph is technically accurate for what it represents, it shows declining activity over a period of time during which temperatures rose rather dramatically. Could that be Leif’s point? I.e., that what is “wrong” with the graph is that it appears at odds with the idea that solar activity is driving temperature?

    If — and it is a real big if that is more than likely to be wrong — this is Leif’s point, I would simply want to point out while it might be at odds with an underlying upward trend in temperatures, it doesn’t disprove a solar effect upon cycles about that underlying upward trend.

    But rather than say any more, I’ll humbly await Leif’s solution to the riddle.

    Basil

  57. Here’s a question for one of the pro’s.

    I started checking the SoHo MDI Continuum page on a daily basis several weeks ago.

    In the medium sized photo, the one you posted in this article, there are two, just barely visible “spots” that never move.

    In the largest sized photo, which you can get at the SoHo website, these two spots are easily visible.

    One spot is on the right side at the equator.

    The second spot is “southwest” of the first spot, about 0.2 diameters away.

    Are these camera flaws or real spots that actually never move?

  58. Jan Janssens (00:34:58) :
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SCMinpredMax.pdf
    I think (hope) it explains sufficiently well why we need a prediction method based on physical principles in stead of on statistics.”

    Lovely, just lovely. Now I have no idea what to expect from SC24. Guess I’ll have to take may own advice, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

    OT: Heck of a way to start off this gloomy Sunday, weather that has national implications – I live about 10 miles from the New Hampshire International Speedway, where this week’s NASCAR race is scheduled. One early AM Tstrm skirted by use just to the north, more will be around this PM.

  59. On Mt. Wilson: the clue is that although solar cycles 21 and 22 were almost of the same size, the Mt. Wilson index shows SC21 to be ~40% larger than SC22. The equipment was upgraded ['rebuilt'] in the summer of 1982 which changed the calibration. For more details see http://www.leif.org/research/MWO%20MPSI%20-%20F107.pdf Alan was getting close.
    So, although the MWO index is completely automatic and computer generated, it still fails as an objective index. For obvious reasons, the old and new equipment could not be run in parallel for several years. Luckily we had other indices, like SSN, f10.7. etc.

    Jan asks for a prediction method based on physics, Luckily we have such, although we don’t know all of the parameters yet.

  60. Jan Janssens (00:34:58 ) :

    I think (hope) it explains sufficiently well why we need a prediction method based on physical principles in stead of on statistics. Just like the evolution of the number of spotless days or the transition from old to new cycle groups, these are just statistical approaches applied onto a not entirely regular phenomenon like the solar cycle. These methods may “work” for this cycle minimum and the upcoming maximum, but they do not explain the principles behind this evolution and may be completely off-target in future cycle predictions.

    Hi Jan

    Thanks for joining us!

    Yes I could see the statistical spread in the spotless days evolution raw data. I think your analyses coupled with a stand-in reference physical models of Hathaway’s and Svalgaard’s can lend to a better prediction of where the sun is trending.

    The behavior of the magnetic dynamo is at the basis of all this. Hathaway’s convection belt model mightn’t agree with Lief’s model during transition phases but might point to phenomonological aspects of a gravitomagnetic-plasma system that’ll take yet more time to understand. If the convection bands seem to “disappear” might invalidate Hathaway’s circulation model, or (I”ll guess here just for fun) it could be an artifact of dynamo transition.

    This is all neat stuff!

    I was wondering about your problems with getting smaller error ranges in the multivariate analysis. I proffer this suggestion as a purely naive lay person, so forgive me if I’m covering something already known or obvious: Are there any trend data that’d help by looking at SP/SSG hemisphere, hemisphere vs. SP SC # (requires polarity), SP count by SC #, prominence, solar wind, etc.? Can magnetic perturbations (magnetic phase) be applied to your analyses?

    The fact that SP groups vary in speed and have slowed to a relative crawl migh be telling, reflective of either the convective belt *OR* the magnetic dynamo. So even Hathaway can cite a trend here, even if he might be in for a missed prediction on SC#24 but not SC#25. Hah hah!

    IAC, your analyses have great intuitive appeal, it’d be grand if there could be something to narrow the predictive band.

  61. henry (22:49:14) :

    And that’s my point – at what time will he be FORCED to re-predict his plot: when it has to go straight up?

    It’s curious that Hathaway’s model seems to get the greatest attention.

    Well, that’s what the IPCC is facing. The longer the current temperature plateau continues while CO2 levels accelerate upward, the bigger the game of climate “catch-up” would be required of the Earth to match their theories.

    What’s next? Epicycles?

    That the IPCC’s and Hathaway’s predictions seem to be headed toward a similar wall in 2013 might be rather ironic, or more broadly point to the limits of our contemporary science.

    It was Voltaire, I believe, who wrote “God is a comedian playing to an audience that’s too afraid to laugh.”

    I find all this stuff great fun. It’s made talking about the weather just as riven with bafflegab as before, but now we have scientists to keep us guessing!

  62. Alan S. Blue (00:29:51):

    I personally would not use a line graph for this type of data … Equipment changes in 1974, 1982, 1994, 1996. Visual inspection of the graph in those years shows an apparent excursion or break-point at each

    Isn’t that plot type simply a matter of preference? Here are both forms side-by-side. They look pretty much the same to me. As for the equipment change breakpoints: I plotted a line at each year and, for fun, 1972. 1974 looks like a break but it’s also similar to the non-equipment change year, 1972. The only obvious break IMO is at 1982 but I note that similar ‘breaks’ occur in 1992 and 2001 (2002?).

    we have this line from their explanations: “To determine MPSI we sum the absolute values of the magnetic field strengths….” I keep thinking I’m more interested in _not_ taking the absolute value.

    Perhaps, but then it wouldn’t be a strength index. Taking the average of the absolute value is similar to using the RMS value. The RMS value is more tractable mathematically, though. This is done to average the peaks in both directions. A straight average on cyclical data is often unhelpful.

    Now I’ve got my curiosity up.

  63. I keep typing a comma between href and title in my likes. Apparently, it confuses wordpress. So, second try: Here are both forms side-by-side.

    REPLY: Or you can simply put in the URL without any HTML and WP will do the work for you.

  64. Or you can simply put in the URL without any HTML and WP will do the work for you.

    Yeah, but then I don’t get the advantage of in-line links. I usually think of the link itself as parenthetical. The one in my last post was a toss-up. I used to post on a board that allowed in-line linking with something like: /link(url, text). Not as awkward to type. I got used to expressing myself this way.

    REPLY: The other option is to use an external HTML WSIWYG editor, and paste in the comment form. I sometimes do that when I need to post a detailed comment.

  65. Just reading the exchange between Anthony and Leif,
    Leif Svalgaard (16:43:08 ) :

    Now it seems we’re opening a whole new can of worms here!
    Automatic and manual counting?
    Does that mean we’ll have to go back and “adjust” sunspot data too!?
    Oh dear! Hansen and Mann could have a field day with that.

  66. Bruce: I think you got something wrong somewhere. The MHD physics is how it works [and what I support]; some people find that too complex and have labeled it voodoo. I don’t know where you get the snark idea from. Wrong pseudo-science is not threatening per se, but one as a scientist has an obligation to counter it when it rears its head, especially when it begins to influence the societal impact of science. The decision makers [hopefully the voters] should base their votes on the best science available [I know that I'm dreaming here, but let me].

    DAV: Some clarification about magnetic fields: First we ignore the distinction between H and B, that is magnetic field strength and magnetic induction or flux density. Then, for convenience, we use the old picture of magnetic field lines. The flux density is the number of field lines per area. This is often just called the magnetic field strength. Strictly speaking all this is somewhat meaningless [there are no 'field lines'], but it is established usage and rarely confusing. Now, the number that comes off the magnetograph can be interpreted [in that loose sense] as the number of field lines within the aperture of the instrument. Field lines have a direction, some go in, some go out. On average there are often the same number in as out. If we are just interested in how many field lines there are [we call that the field strength] we count the lines no matter if they go in or go out. Example: 10 out and 12 in give a total of 22 field lines, but a net number of only -2 [out is positive, in is negative, per convention]. Sometimes we want the first number, 22, sometimes, we want the second number, -2. The the MWPI is a ‘strength’ index.

    Zeek: there are a number of burned-out pixels on the SOHO images…

  67. Pierre: Yes, we probably will have to go back and increase the sunspot number before 1947 by 20% and before ~1885 by another 20% on top. Now, this is my current research and is not yet accepted by many solar physicists. Remember that the scientific community is very conservative and will resist such assaults on conventional wisdom. I don’t think it will impact Mann’s ‘work’, but definitely brings into question some of Hansen’s, since the latter relies on obsolete reconstructions of the Total Solar Irradiance.

  68. Leif,

    Thanks. I don’t always express myself clearly. I wasn’t aware of how the sensor actually worked (still not) however I was thinking in mathematical terms of how to measure the strength of something that exhibits differing signs perhaps at different times. I unfortunately tend to refer to that as cyclic.

  69. People, people! It is Summer; the Sun has a right to some holidays! I mean, after providing full power to our Solar System for more than 150 years since the last holidays, I think we should cut the guy a bit of slack…

    PS: Sorry, I could not resist; I think I need some holidays too.

  70. Is there any on-line live record of cosmic ray flux ? I notice that this year has been the cloudiest I have ever know in 27 years in Ottawa.

  71. Unlike SWPC which maintains public records of their sunspot predictions and the results, Dr. Hathaway is apparently under no such requirement. In April 2008 I recovered some of the old graphic predictions of Hathaway from various locations on the Internet and put those, with the same format, into an animation which I posted at http://www.SolarCycle24.com. There was no Hathaway prediction for May 2008 but there was one for June 2008 which is included in the following updated animation which covers the time period from March 2006 to June 2008.

    (See attached instructions for running the animation.)

    Strangely, the May and June 2008 predictions were identical, which based on the recovered Hathaway data is atypical. It is also unusual for Hathaway to miss a month but I don’t have a long enough base line to be sure of that.

    Not only has the goal post been moved, the entire stadium appears to have been relocated. I don’t know if it is the intention of Hathaway to provide short-term or long-term predictions but the objectives are clearly not the same as those of SWPC. Irrespective of the accuracy of their predictions, I will give SWPC very high marks for their integrity and the public records they maintain.

    I find this to be an incredibly exciting time. We are in the middle of a solar system wide uncontrolled experiment for which the outcome is known. The cosmic roulette wheel is spinning and the blue-green marble is bouncing merely along and no one knows on which number it will land. I am looking forward to July 2008!

    Mike

    P.S. Here is the current SWPC animation through May 31, 2008:

    Directions for Viewing GIF Animations in Windows.

    To view the animation in IE full screen press F11.
    To return to the normal IE view press F11 a second time.
    To expand the graphic to its full size pass the pointer over graphic and right click using the magnifying class pointer with the “+” sign.
    The stop the animation press the “ESC” key.
    The restart the animation press the “F5” key.

  72. Leif Svalgaard: You said Hansen relies on obsolete reconstructions of TSI. Are you referring to the GISS solar radiative forcing data that appears to be, and they state is, based on the Lean et al (2000) TSI data with background?

    Or is GISS also using something else that’s obsolete?

    Regards

  73. Interesting to note that Hathaway’s prediction of Solar . Flux (10.7 cm) is off by around 50% for 2008. His prediction (in the text file) is a flux of 90-95, actual is in the 65-70 range. This indicates a weaker Cycle 24 than he is predicting by a good margin.

  74. Jean Meeus – From 2004 to May 2008 inclusively, there have been 344 spotless days. However, from 1910 to 1914 there have been no less than 993 (yes, more than nine hundred) spotless days, yet the following sunspot maximum, in 1917, was normal with a smoothed monthly mean of 112.

    I notice, however, that coinciding with that period there does seem to have been a period of cooling. See 100+ years temperature record

  75. Bob: I’m referring to using the obsolete Lean 2000 reconstruction with background. Not even Lean believes in that one anymore. Here is a slide from her latest presentation [SORCE, Santa Fe, 2008]: http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-LEAN2008.png Note her comments in the lower left corner where she lists the variations in TSI:
    5-min oscillation 0.003%
    27-day solar rotation 0.2%
    11-year solar cycle 0.1%
    longer-term variations not yet detectable – do they occur?

  76. The calculations published in the internet in 1998 by Timo Niroma make it quite clear that we won’t see the Wolf number going above 10 before mid 2009. Between now and then we should have one or two months with a zero (or close to it) Wolf number.

  77. Robert Wood,

    There are several online sources of cosmic ray flux, but not always kept up to date. One that I watch, and which is usually up to date, is

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/mosc/main.htm

    You can interactively plot different time periods. Here’s one

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/scripts/nm64queryD.dll/mosc?PD=1&title=Moscow&dt=0&base=9600&Res=1_day&y1=2007&y2=2008&m1=7&m2=6&d1=1&d2=30&h1=0&h2=23&mn1=0&mn2=59

    showing daily values for the past year. The peak seems to have been reached last September. Since this is a “pointed peak” crf cycle, rather than a “flat peak” cycle I would have expected a somewhat more marked decline since then. There’s no evident downward trend (I’m just eyeballing it) since November. This is consistent with the low level of sunspot activity as SC23 winds down, and the slowness with which SC24 has exhibited in getting started. As SC24 activity picks up — presuming it will — then the crf flux will begin to show more evidence of decline.

  78. Why do the orthodoxy continue to cling to a steep ramp up into a high Cycle 24? Is there a scientific basis for this?

  79. SteveS: The scientific basis is two papers:

    Predicting the strength of solar cycle 24 using a flux-transport dynamo-based tool
    Dikpati, Mausumi; de Toma, Giuliana; Gilman, Peter A.
    Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 33, Issue 5, CiteID L05102 (GeoRL ,2006)
    DOI:10.1029/2005GL025221
    Abstract
    We construct a solar cycle strength prediction tool by modifying a calibrated flux-transport dynamo model, and make predictions of the amplitude of upcoming solar cycle 24. We predict that cycle 24 will have a 30-50% higher peak than cycle 23, in contrast to recent predictions by Svalgaard et al. and Schatten, who used a precursor method to forecast that cycle 24 will be considerably smaller than 23. The skill of our approach is supported by the flux transport dynamo model’s ability to correctly ‘forecast’ the relative peaks of cycles 16-23 using sunspot area data from previous cycles.

    Geomagnetic activity indicates large amplitude for sunspot cycle 24
    Hathaway, David H.; Wilson, Robert M.
    Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 33, Issue 18, CiteID L18101 (GeoRL 2006)
    DOI: 10.1029/2006GL027053
    Abstract
    The level of geomagnetic activity near the time of solar activity minimum has been shown to be a reliable indicator for the amplitude of the following solar activity maximum. The geomagnetic activity index aa can be split into two components: one associated with solar flares, prominence eruptions, and coronal mass ejections which follows the solar activity cycle and a second component associated with recurrent high speed solar wind streams which is out of phase with the solar activity cycle. This second component often peaks before solar activity minimum and has been one of the most reliable indicators for the amplitude of the following maximum. The size of the recent maximum in this second component indicates that solar activity cycle 24 will be much higher than average – similar in size to cycles 21 and 22 with a peak smoothed sunspot number of 160 +/- 25.

    Both these predictions are backed by High-Visibility Government Agencies.
    There is mounting evidence that these predictions are off the mark.

  80. Basil: The cosmic ray maxima are not really ‘peaked’ or ‘flat’ [although I have used the same descriptive words from time to time]. The real issue is a small difference in the level of the cosmic rays, with the ‘peaked’ ones being a few percent higher. They looked peaked because the minima where of short duration. With a longer duration minimum as the current one, the level will be look flatter, so no ‘peak’. It is unlikely that the cosmic ray intensity will increase further this time around.

  81. Pingback: Warning of Global Cooling- Sun Still Spotless | SacredScoop

  82. Leif,

    When I look at the full record, like this

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/scripts/nm64queryD.dll/mosc?PD=1&title=Moscow&dt=0&base=9600&Res=1_month&y1=1958&y2=2008&m1=1&m2=6&d1=1&d2=30&h1=0&h2=23&mn1=0&mn2=59

    the current cycle has not had as clearly the inverted “V” shape that the cycles in the 60′s and 80′s had. It has already deviated from those exemplars; it will be interesting to see what happens when SC24 finally takes off. I presume it will begin to drop quickly at that point, assuming SC24 ramps up as quickly as a normal solar cycle does.

  83. re: cosmic ray shapes

    If I put a pot on a stove heated to 200 degrees, and then took it off right away, the water temp will not have changed much. If I leave it on there longer, the temp will slowly begin to change. The same, but reverse, thing could happen in a freezer. Maybe flatter shapes, IE rays that stay around longer and at a steady rate, do the same thing to the atmosphere, causing changes that a single peak, even a stronger peak, could not.

  84. RE: “Both these predictions are backed by High-Visibility Government Agencies.”

    Leif – I get it. CYA – just like we do in big business. LOL!

  85. Last week I noticed a couple of SC24 ‘events’ that only showed up in the SOHO Magnetogram view, though there were no visible spots, not even ‘Tiny Tims’. It got me to thinking about how this will play out over the next decade. I wonder how many SC24 disturbances will appear only in the Magnetogram view and how those numbers will compare to the limited historical record of magnetic-only events, especially if there is a paucity of visible spots. In other words, will the number of magnetic disturbances roughly match predictions for SC24 sunspots while the number of visible sunspots remain low or might these magnetic disturbances also remain low? The next decade should prove most interesting for those studying the sun.

  86. So why do we care about neutrons? Because they are representative and easier to measure (if so elaborate please); or because of their decay products?
    Most of us are interested from the perspective of earthly effect, the otherworldly source, not as much.
    I agree that Leif will receive top marks in the USA for cycle 24, but our focus(speaking for my cats here with me) are the observable results here on the surface.

  87. I’ve been in the space weather business since 1972, three solar cycles. The effective SSN plot mentioned earlier is one from my website. A couple of observations RE predicting the next cycle:

    1. As Jan pointed out, many of these predictions are not too far removed from pure numerology. Analyze the sunspot number time series to date and predict the future based on the past. Past experience in the community has shown these approaches to not work all that well.

    2. The newer computational approaches based on MHD are in their infancy. Nearly like trying to predict the average earth’s temperature for the next year using our understanding and observations from 1850. The folks running these predictive models have a long way to go (in predictive capability, not chutzpah).

    3. There is a long-running disagreement between the SWPC (a NOAA group) and NASA researchers as to “who’s on first” when it comes to the official prediction. When the SWPC folks are allowed to get off their bureaucratic duffs and make a real prediction as opposed to this current “we can’t decide” position, that is the official prediction and the one I’ll use.

    4. And yes, there are people who do care about the prediction for the next cycle. Anyone who is deploying any system that is impacted by space weather over the next 11 years wants to know how badly they might be impacted so they can include the appropriate mitigative actions in their planning. At present, all we can tell them is that the official position of the community is “your guess is as good as ours.” A sad state of affairs.

  88. Jim: I agree with what you say. As for your point 3, there is hope that the Sun soon will resolve the disagreement by lending support to one or the other prediction. IMHO, the Solar Cycle Prediction Panel [of which I am a member] has not done enough to resolve the issue [like no new analyses or meetings] for over a year now. A possible reason for this may simply be that the techniques are still ‘in their infancy’. One thing that we have accomplished [at least internally] is to realize that numerology and cyclomania (your point 1) cannot form a sound basis for the prediction.
    On top of that there are (point 3) silly bureaucratic issues. The ‘official’ prediction from SWPC [ http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/Predict.txt ] has this sad disclaimer:
    # Prediction values are based on an average of the ISES panel cycle 24 forecasts
    # of 13-month running smoothed values. The panel does not consider this to be a
    # correct interpretation of their predictions.

  89. Jim: I agree with what you say. As for your point 3, there is hope that the Sun soon will resolve the disagreement by lending support to one or the other prediction.

    Of course that won’t necessarily mean the prediction was correct for the right reasons. Coincidence is still a huge concern. How many predictions are there? One is bound to be right, by coincidence. The problem, as with the CO2 principle of climate change, is proving that the prediction was actually a science-base prediction (meaning the results happened for the reasons stated by the prediction) and not just the same outcome by chance.

  90. Jeff: There are basically four predictions that have a somewhat physical basis:
    1: Dikpati et al. Rmax = 180
    2: Hathaway et al. Rmax = 160
    3: Svalgaard et al. Rmax = 75
    4: Choudhuri et at. Rmax = 75
    In addition there are a few predictions based on similar physics [e.g. Schatten's Rmax = 80; same method as #3]
    #1 and #4 are MHD dynamo models [Deep conveyor belt]. They differ by how important ‘diffusion’ of magnetic flux is within the Sun [slow for #1, fast for #4].
    #2 is based on the geomagnetic precursor technique that failed for cycle 23.
    #3 is based on the Babcock-Leighton shallow dynamo theory that regards the polar field as a seed and direct precursor for the next cycle.
    All the ~50 other predictions that were submitted [ranging from Rmax=40 to Rmax=200] were basically not considered by the panel [most for obvious reasons].
    #1 and #2 form the “High Group” and #3 and #4 form the “Low Group”, so the panel split between a high [170] and a low [75] prediction as averages of the two groups. For various [human] reasons those numbers were watered down to 140 and 90, to avoid predicting an ‘extreme’. So the predictions came out as ‘moderately high’ or ‘moderately low’, which were not in the spirit of the difference between the two groups.
    So, this time, we do have very definite, testable, ‘scientific’ predictions. If the Sun comes out average [Rmax=120, say] then both sets of theories and models forming the basis for the two groups are wrong or need major revision. This is a very sharp test.
    When you make predictions, an equally important quantity is the ‘error bar’ [although I still have to see error bars on the daily or weekly weather forecasts]. If you make the error bar wide enough, any prediction can come true. So we need narrow error bars. Trouble is, we don’t know how the calculate the error bar either. Since the solar dynamo is complex we have to make many simplifying assumptions and we do not know how big an error we commit by that. Past success/failure rate could be used to estimate error bars, but the methods are new and have only been tested on a few cases [hindcasting doesn't count, as the past is built into the models by virtue of calibrating using earlier data]. In case of #1, cycle 24 will the first real prediction; #2 failed on SC23; #3 has had success on real predictions of SC21, SC22, and SC23, #4 is a first-timer. So error bars are hard to come by.

  91. The community making these predictions needs to be aware of how useless the current situation is for anyone who really cares about the peak solar flux over the next cycle. This is my primary complaint with the SWPC. The user community needs a prediction on which to provide official assessments of future solar behavior. This “it will be one extreme or the other” prediction is borderline worthless. When I absolutely must provide impact assessments I follow the “engineering” approach – provide estimates of impact based on the mean of the two predictions along with very wide uncertainty bars.

    While this approach may be scientifically tainted and suspect, an end user can’t always wait for perfection. While the scientific community might strive for perfection, an operational group like the SWPC does not have that luxury. They must put out an official prediction for people to use. If the range of uncertainty is large, just make sure that’s clearly known and is part of the predictions products.

    (My customers are interested in ionospheric impacts, which are strongly dependent on the solar EUV flux which varies roughly with, but is not strictly dependent on, the sunspot number.)

  92. There are many comments made about this being an “unprecedented time” and that we are in new territory as far as the sun’s inactivity is concerned. But then in looking back at the historical data being presented, it doesnt appear to me that we are in any exceptional period. Am I missing something? Are we witnessing new behavior never before seen?

  93. Steph_in_L.A. (13:37:46) :

    “There are many comments made about this being an “unprecedented time” and that we are in new territory as far as the sun’s inactivity is concerned. But then in looking back at the historical data being presented, it doesnt appear to me that we are in any exceptional period. Am I missing something? Are we witnessing new behavior never before seen?”

    We are witnessing behavior we have never seen with tools invented in the last 50 years or so. Whether we are entering a period of solar behavior that hasn’t been seen since the invention of the telescope is unclear.

    The last few solar cycles have been short period affairs, few living observers have studied a cycle with the current long minimum. Lots will be learned in the next decade.

  94. It is far too early to start calling any of this “unprecedented.” If we go another 12 months and things don’t pick up, perhaps then. We are seeing the solar 10.7cm radio flux (a better surrogate for solar energy output than the sunspot number) at historically low levels. There have been several daily readings of 65 Janskys from the official observation (the daily noon value from the Penticton Observatory in Canada), which are about as low as has been observed in the 60 or so year record of this measurement.

    Our observing record is just too short, in terms of solar cycles, to say what’s outrageous behavior. It would be like basing 500-year flood estimates on 20 years of data.

  95. It is far too early to start calling any of this “unprecedented.”

    It’s pretty ignorant to ever use that word. Unless the sun or Earth explode, nothing we’ll ever see in nature could be called unprecedented. Maybe unprecedented in our extremely small window of observation, but that’s a pretty arrogant and naive position to take.

  96. Pingback: ------ THE SKY IS FALLING ------ - Page 239 - The Environment Site Forums

  97. I do believe the debate over Global Warming came & went. There was the uncertainty of the Sun’s role, but now there is opportunity to calibrate that out.
    The Public now firmly believes in AGW and is relying upon Science to tell them what comes immediately next.
    Namely, what is my weather going to be this year? Is it true that in Solar Minima the UV of the Sun increases and this is causing something to happen to the lower atmosphere (air inversions?). Or is the UV constant and the rest of the Solar Output is diminished?
    The recent massive fires in California are experiencing low-lying smoke that refuses to clear, the incident commanders are openly discussing the unlikely event of any long-term clearing of smoke to allow air support to suppress wild fires.
    So please, my good scientists, give the public a break and let them know what to expect if Cycle 24 is a dud and continues to fizzle.
    The flora & fauna: The public has noticed alarmingly that the normal green of summer seems brighter, paler shade. Is this due to spectral output shift?
    Optical illusion? Bugs are out with a vengeance, weeds are notoriously aggressive and refuse to die out in the summer sun. You fellas got anything on that?
    While I am impressed with the diligence of effort to observe & solve the solar phenomenon, please take a few moments to observe the effects that are occuring to everyday life, seasons, weather, flora & fauna.
    Thank you.
    And yes, I regularly prjoject the Sun at every opportunity and have seen 3 measly spots in over a year. There is a great paucity of information on what is going down and what is to come. Glad to see you folks here hard at work on it.

    RobertB

  98. Now that the smoke has cleared, recall everyone, the first magnetic reversals July 31 and first week of Sept. 2006? This caused excitement in Hathaway releases leading to the 12/2006 prediction of 24 minimum.

    Apart from 1 Jan. 2008 24 spot and 1 May 2008 that was legal for mere hours (having been an unofficial sunspeck for a few days prior) this is all we’ve seen apart from a few more specks failing to blossom.

    I bet last year 24 does not reach 50 for a smoothed month’s count. Why is Heliophysics any more credible than ‘climate science’(sic)? Anyone?

    Jim S. agrees: it isn’t!

    REPLY: We should send a spacecraft full of Mentos to crash into the sun – Anthony

  99. So, Gary, you are saying that 24 will look like the first cycle in the Maunder Minimum. A 50% peak with gentle slopes on both sides. Could be.
    Sunspecks, I like that. That’s about all I have seen in over a year.

  100. Robert Bateman: It is my considered but inexpert opinion that this solar depression will be deeper than the Dalton if not as deep as the Maunder.
    Cycles 4 and 5 (Dalton, available in graphic form at Jan Alvestadt’s dxlc site) delivered a similar transition but I think the solar kill-switch timing was different.
    Cycle 4 wound down for ages-rather like 23-leading to a 14 year cycle. Then 5 weakly entered near zero in smoothed monthly sun spots, maxing out at 50 and 12 years. I’m guessing the switch was turned off later in cycle 23 than it was in 4 and so 24 and 25 will both be puny.
    Each minima comes around 180 years (see Jose) but it is has a non-magnetohydrodynamic source, in synchrony, which remains open to speculation, but is obvious nonetheless. Comparsions with more recent cycles are simply not apt.

  101. I have been searching hard for information on the UV output at Solar Minimum, and the rest of the spectrum. What I am looking for is what exactly is changed. Is the UV abnormally high, is the entire spectrum diminished and the UV just more penetrating, etc? Even the incident commanders at fire briefings are aware of the Solar Sunspot drought, and talk openly of the UV causing the low-lying inversions that hamper firefighting efforts. There are observable phenomena on the ground for the last year. The public has noticed it also.
    So, if you have any knowledge or reference, I’d really like to know what’s going on in the Solar spectrum output.
    Thanks.
    I’ll look up Alstadt’s site.

  102. RB: I don’t have a link to historic UV per se, however, swpc has historic daily data into the last century.
    My limited experience links UV to flaring, in particular. There has been little or none since Feb. 07 yet looking at the 1996 minimum’s daily data, flaring persisted all the way thru spotless periods.
    TSI measures do not necessarily include UV at all, and none I’m aware of attempt to account for intermittent peaks which may be 100% above steady state. (De Jager, Versteegh 2004), (De Jager, Usoskin 2007).
    With an active sun, e.g., 2000-2002, UV heating causes the atmosphere to double in extent as Ionosphere balloons, and heating extends even to Stratosphere.

  103. So the current UV story is rather thin in extent. When they say the Sun’s output is diminished, that diminishing is rather unquantified in terms of spectra. I do get the cosmic ray interaction causing the low cloud cover.
    It’s rather amazing to see these super-stubborn highs & lows dominate so completely. The weather pattern of last July never really left town. It’s still here.
    I’m going to guess at why the Northwest Passage opened up last summer. The immovable high/low pattern made for a railroad for heat to get to the Artctic, where the CO2 and cosmic ray low clouds trapped it at the surface.
    Since nobody has stated anything to the contrary, a reflective layer could trap heat transported under it just as much as a layer could bounce incoming Solar heating.
    So, even under global cooling, if you have CO2 trapping and/or low-lying cloud trapping, you can still melt the Polar Ice Caps. Theoretically. We would then be partly to blame, guilty of adding insult to injury.
    No matter the why, oil is too damned expensive, so we need to conserve to preserve our way of life. Funny, money wins out over scary science.

  104. “So, even under global cooling, if you have CO2 trapping and/or low-lying cloud trapping, you can still melt the Polar Ice Caps. ”

    The application of Beers-Lambert would suggest trapping but is physically inapt and practicably inept. “Trapping” cannot occur.

    Beers does not distinguish on the ‘absorptive’ side scattering by non-GHG gases and GHG absorption leading to kinetic energy transfer to the atmosphere as a whole. On the ‘emission’ side, the signal transmitted is absorbed many times over at the wavefront and instantly emitted.

    The law was developed prior to quantum mechanics, when an ‘ether’ carried the light wave. It is asinine for a physicist to use it for generation of GHG transfer functions.

  105. If trapping cannot occur, then what exactly melted the NorthWest passage last year when the solar cycle was in the exact same flatline? Just plain large highs & lows stairstepping the heat to the Arctic?
    No trapping needed?
    During the Dalton Minimum, no such melting of the Northwest Passage is documented. This seems to imply on the face of it an as yet unaccounted for mechanism to heat the Arctic if CO2 does nothing to trap incoming.
    Is the current backlash against global warming going as far as to say that CO2 is incapable of heat trapping and has no effect whatsoever?

  106. Looking at the last year of RMS, the trend is an ever so slight downward, but the amplitude is ever weakinging. Like a campfire that slowly wanes through the night as the tenders went to bed adding no more sticks.
    Or the train that slowly fades off into the distance.

  107. RB:

    No ‘trapping’ does not imply no ‘heating’.

    A number of papers are out recently describing the AO, or Arctic Oscillation–which I haven’t exactly read closely. The gist seems to be that along with the AMO and PDO, the Arctic current alternates its circumpolar direction and has been flushing ice out the Beaufort Sea in recent years. Melting is an unsupported conclusion in that scenario.

    Another paper in the last couple months indicates that earth’s weak magnetic field during this period of earth facing solar coronal holes is likely a source of a 2-3 degree C local Arctic warming anomaly. The exceptional length of the current solar minimum was last seen early last century and I believe ice-free Arctic seas were seen then as well. Keep in mind this heating is of the sea and not necessarily the air.

    In any case, this is far afield of the electromagnetic investigation into weak GHGs’ radiative effects.

  108. Which Solar Cycle around 1900 was long and where do you reference the Arctic Seas becoming Ice Free in that period?
    Is the Earth’s Magnetic Field subject to weakening due to Solar effects?
    This is all getting rather tricky I see.
    I can see where an exceptional Coronal Hole during High Solar Activity could melt some ice given a favorable alignment, but that would imply melting due to Maxima rather than Minima, unless the Minima is where Coronal Holes have their greatest effects.
    I see we are going to have to wait for this summer to unfold to get some answers.

  109. If Coronal Holes do thier greatest heating during minima, and the Solar Output of normal is diminished, this is a smoking gun for the Solar output spectrum to be shifting rather than diminshing.

  110. According to this, there’s a lot of speculative reading going on of the trends, more like stock market forecasting.

    R. J. Thompson1

    (1) IPS Radio and Space Services, P.O. Box 702, 2010 Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia

    Received: 28 April 1988

    Abstract The new solar cycle, denoted Cycle 22, has risen faster than of any of the previous 21 cycles, indicating that the cycle is likely to be of large amplitude. Moreover, the rapid rise suggests that the cycle could be arriving early, perhaps similar to the phase advance which occurred during Cycles 1–4. The rapid early rise of Cycle 22 also suggests that there might be a connection with the period of extraordinarily low geomagnetic activity centred on 1980. If this is the case, then the suppression of geomagnetic activity is the first sign of a new cycle, in this case approximately 7 years prior to the official start of the cycle. This idea is consistent with recent ideas on the solar cycle and has significant implications for geomagnetic disturbance forecasting.

  111. I’m completely under-educated on the topic of the sun, but I find it and this blog fascinating. Quick question for the more informed – How common is an equatorial coronal hole during a solar minimum? From most of what I’ve read, coronal holes are at the poles most of the time during solar minimums. What do you make of the current coronal hole at the equator? Could this mean the sun is starting to ramp up? Thanks in advance for your info.

  112. What does a coronal hole at the Sun’s equator signify for life on Earth?
    Does the coronal hole travel about just like a Sunspot?
    Thanks.

  113. Robert: A coronal hole is simply a part of the solar atmosphere where the magnetic field is to weak to keep the atmosphere bottled up near the Sun. The Sun’s corona [upper atmosphere] is so hot [million degrees] that it escapes the Sun’s gravity except when held back by strong magnetic fields. As a result the solar wind comes largely from coronal holes. In itself the coronal hole [and the solar wind] do not have any significant effect on the Earth or its life, but the tangled magnetic field dragged along by the wind can connect with the Earth’s magnetic field and cause aurorae, magnetic storms, electric currents [which can blow up transformers and cause power outages]. Some of these effects can be sensed by animals [e.g. racing pigeons - the fanciers are avid watchers of solar activity and don't fly their birds if the sun is acting up]. The tangled magnetic fields also reduce the cosmic ray flux by a few per cent, which may have some weak effects.
    Coronal holes are features of the Sun and rotate with the sun as sunspots do.

  114. Lief: I looked up the Australian Observatory sun data.
    We have this Coronal Hole at the Sun’s equator, but the winds are mid velocity.
    390km/s currently. Been averaging 330 km/s.
    I guess from some of the charts & maps that 700+ km/s is what is supposed to come out of the polar holes at solar maximum.
    So the mid-range winds are normal for the equator, just the hole is unexpected?
    The thing is like a strobe or a rotating beacon.

  115. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post Dr. Svalgaard. Since the current coronal hole was caused by cycle 23 sunspots and coronal holes typically don’t happen during a solar minimum, would it be wrong to infer that we a still quite a way from the actual solar minimim and cycle 24 is 4-5 years from starting up in earnest?

  116. That’s an interesting thought, jonk. Could be what happened during the Maunder Minimum. A cycle could simply fail to switch polarity, in which case you never get one. Then the Sun is stuck in the current cycle until it manages to get unstuck. Matches our current weather patterns: Stuck in Lodi.
    Figure out why the Sun is stuck and you get the Nobel Prize.

  117. Robert: The solar wind striking us comes from the Center of the disk [roughly] but it takes 5 days to get here: 150,000,000 km/ 333 km/s = 5 days, so the wind we see at Earth right now left the Sun five days ago. This corresponds to a point more than halfway out towards the edge of the Sun, where if you look right now there is no coronal hole.

    jonk: coronal holes are quite common in the years leading up to the minimum so nothing unusual there.

    Robert: we think that the Sun did change polarities during the Maunder Minimum [cosmic ray generated radioactive nuclei in ice cores tell us that]. A possibility to consider is that the spots were there but were invisible as has been recently been discussed in this blog.

  118. Is there anything unusual about this coronal hole?
    Longevity, size, position w/respect to place in cycle.
    i.e. – what relationship if any can be related to the remarkable phenomena now observable on the ground (like a full year of windstorms, highs & lows w/extended latitude reach, melting Northwest Passage, shortened and altered growing season, widespread strange luminescent green on new growth, half moon w/darkside unusually lit to the point of full recognition of all major features like the rays of Tycho, craters, mtns. , Mare, scarps, etc).

    I have observed the Moon for over 40 years in telescopes. I have never, ever seen recongnzable Earthshine past 3 days until now. I also never was able to make out all the features of the unlit portion until now. I have been ascribing it to light pollution striking, but now I’m not so sure.

  119. With this recent spate of geomagnetic activity due to a high solar wind, is this some proof that sunspots are not directly associated with these types of events, or are they normally associated but not bound to them?
    I.e. – The sun may appear to go benign during protracted minima but it is simply changing it’s ouput venue.
    So many surprises.

  120. Any partiucular reason you rejected this posting submitted 7.11.08?

    “This is only a theory, of course, just as is the prevailing but nonetheless theoretical solar nuclear furnace core supposition.

    Overwhelming and diverse evidence strongly suggests there is no nuclear fusion taking place in the sun’s core.

    Instead, the sun, like its dormant companion Jupiter has a large planetary core surrounded by an abyssal sea of liquid hydrogen, metallic at the point it impinges upon the terra firma core.

    Above the liquid hydrogen sea is a layer of hydrogen gas, all of which is encapsulated by the relatively thin, roiling plasmasized photospheric sheath. The predominant reaction taking place in the photosphere is molecular hydrogen being converted to atomic hydrogen and back to molecular again under the influence of immense electrical forces.

    The only fusion taking place in the sun is in the photosphere where fresh molecular hydrogen gas breaches through the photosphere we call a sunspot. In the process of the freshly emerging hydrogen being converted from molecular to atomic and back again, it becomes entrained in powerful concentric magnetohydrodynamic flows that can be described as nothing less than a natural solar cyclotron!!

    One need only examine the highest resolution images of a sunspot from the 1 meter Swedish Solar Telescope at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands for confirmation that below the clearly defined photosphere is nothing more than a dark gaseous interior! http://www.astro.su.se/groups/solar/solar.html

    I have a theory as to what causes sunspots that is inextricably interwoven with the above theory of the sun’s actual composition.”

    John Goetz Reply: It is likely it was sent automatically to the spam bucket.

  121. Poor ol Sol, she’s flatlined don’tcha know.
    Kind of like listening to a train receding into the distance. Just gets harder and harder to make out the sound of it from the background noise.
    Pretty soon you find yourself listening for mirages.

  122. Dr Svalgaard,
    I recently read your 2005 paper
    “Sunspot cycle 24: Smallest cycle in 100 years?”

    How has recent WMO data affected your prediction for Rmax for cycle 24?

  123. Is it just me, or is he cherry picking the data on this graph:

    Because there is no mention of what the gray lines mean, which are consistently much lower in cycle 23/24.

    And one could easily say that in 1933 there were only 12 times that the sunspot number was 0 more than 15 days in a month and when by June 2008 it had already reached 10. This July will no doubt make it 11.

  124. The Solar Polar field suffered a voltage spike circa late Dec. 2005, and has been through 4 monotonous reversals evers since then.
    blip bleep, blip bleep, blip bleep, blip bleep
    And the sunspots plus all other activity signs just petered out, and the Sun stares back at us in all it’s uncanny sameness, day after day, month after month. The flywheel exhausted all of it’s momentum in less than 2 years.
    All stop, coronal hole opens at equator and stays put.
    Look for another voltage spike to jump start it.
    Clear !

  125. July’s sunspot average in today. 0.5 That’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
    I don’t think it’s even snoring at this point.

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