This is what passes for a sunspot these days

After the August 21st sunspot debacle where SIDC reported a spot and initially NOAA didn’t, mostly due to the report from the Catania Observatory in Italy, we have another similar situation. On September 11th, a plage area developed. Here is the SOHO MDI for 1323UTC:


Find the sunspot in this image – Click for a larger image

Here is another from a couple hours later, 1622UTC :

Find the sunspot in this image – Click for a larger image

Note that in the large versions of both the above images, you’ll see a tiny black speck. That’s NOT the “sunspot” but burned out pixels on the SOHO CCD imager.

To help you locate the area of interest, here is the SOHO magnetogram for the period, as close as one is available to the above image time. It shows the disturbance with the classic N-S polarity of solar cycle 23 close to the equator:


Click for a larger image

The Catania Observatory in Italy included it on their daily sketch, as barely visible:

Click for a larger image

By contrast, the Mount Wilson Observatory in California did NOT show this on their daily drawing:

Click for larger image

The Catania photosphere image for that period did not show any disturbance:


Click for larger image

But the Catania chromosphere image did show the disturbance:


Click for a larger image

At the time our resident solar physicist Leif Svaalgard postulated and then retracted:

Leif Svalgaard (17:40:36)

Leif Svalgaard (07:06:37) :
BTW, right now Catania is seeing a pair of tiny spots at 7 degree North latitude (these are old cycle 23 spots): http://www.ct.astro.it/sun/draw.jpg
I don’t think NOAA will assign a region number to these spots unless the region grows in size.

Well, I guessed wrong:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/forecasts/SRS/0912SRS.txt:

I. Regions with Sunspots. Locations Valid at 11/2400Z
Nmbr Location Lo Area Z LL NN Mag Type
1001 N06E14 179 0020 Bxo 03 02 Beta

Please welcome cycle 23 region 11001.

And then a few minutes later went on to say:

Leif Svalgaard (18:35:44)

Leif Svalgaard (17:40:36) :
Please welcome cycle 23 region 11001.
REPLY: The MDI hardly shows it at all. – Anthony
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/mdi_igr/1024/l

I would say not at all, And Mt. Wilson neither:
http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/intro.html
Kitt Peak NSO had it:
http://solis.nso.edu/vsm_fulldisk.html

The region died sometime between 17h and 20h UT. One may wonder why this Tiny Tim was elevated to an ‘active region’. Perhaps NOAA is getting nervous now after all the brouhaha and don’t want to be accused of ‘missing’ spots…
Anyway, it is now gone.

And Robert Bateman added:

Robert Bateman (21:45:42)

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/latest/DSD.txt

NOAA gave it a go.
2008 09 11 67 12 20 1 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


So let’s recap:

We have a disturbance that shows up briefly, then disappears in a couple of hours, some observers call it a spot, others do not, or their time of observation (Mt. Wilson for example) was perhaps past the time of visible activity. The “spot” itself is even less pronounced than the sunspeck that was elevated to sunspot status on August 21st, yet NOAA assigns it a spot status this time, where on August 21st they did not, only doing so AFTER the SIDC came out with their monthly report on September 1st. See my report about that event here and the follow up email I got from SIDC when I questioned the issue.

Now 100 + years ago would we have recorded this as a spot? Doubtful. It is most pronounced on imagery from satellite or specialized telescopes. Would the old methods such as a dark filter or projection used 100 years ago have seen this? As I pointed out before, we now have a non-homogeneous sunspot record mixing old techniques and instrumentation with new and  much more sensitive instrumentation, and more coverage. Yet even with this we have disagreement between observatory reports.

How long does a sunspeck (or sunspot) have to be present before it ranks as countable? What standards are in place to ensure that observers use the same type of equipment and techniques to count spots? Is there any such standard? From the perspective of the public and laymen at large, it seems that there’s some randomness to this science process.

In my opinion, science would be better served if these observational questions and the dataset inhomogeneity is addressed.

I’m sure Leif will have some commentary to add.

And as Robert Bateman writes in comments: So, we are still having these SC23 bubbles popping up. Why won’t this cycle give it up? The $64k question.

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265 thoughts on “This is what passes for a sunspot these days

  1. Perhaps NOAA is getting nervous now after all the brouhaha and don’t want to be accused of ‘missing’ spots…

    Or perhaps they finally figured out that each “official” sunspot translates to a 0.01 percent shift leftward in the Gallup poll? #B^1

  2. So, one could hold the position that the sun has been spotless since July 20, with some standing but limited aplomb?

  3. Just my thoughts for what its worth. I think they will have to lay out some kind of historical standard, so as not to distort the numbers. I think that’s the only fair way
    with observations that go back this far in history.

  4. All, what really may affect our climate is the cosmic ray screening due to an active sun. I do not think there are any significant changes in the solar wind, whether or not these tiny points show up.
    On the other hand, when they can be located only with the help of a satellite magnetogram, how is the counting procedure modified, which has been agreed upon 250 years ago?

  5. Excellent article!
    We can see that some couldn’t give a damn and others are getting desperate!! The mix of the old and new methods of recording is a problem. Perhaps there should be an observatory built, that only uses old methods to make it fair.

  6. With sufficiently precise instruments, adjustments and new protocols… Let solar cycle 24 BEGIN!!!!!

    AHHHH SCIENCE!

    or science fiction…

  7. I agree with Leif, the reason is simply the scrutiny level because the obvious intense interest. I said that here before. Of course by taking this road they are opening up for more controversy.

    Let them count the specks if it makes them feel better, it will not change the cycle or level of activity on the larger scale, as I said before the “sunspot free days” count is a psychological threshold not a scientific one.

    Even with that statement IMHO Changes in Methodology is a debate that runs through the entire solar/climate/temperature arena, and it is valid to ask these questions and they should be addressed. Like the SST record and buckets vs inlets as well as the latest Frankenrecord of Mann this is a real problem with combining records over time and across methodology. This will always be a problem for researchers when dealing with large time series data.

  8. Anthony:
    we now have a non-homogeneous sunspot record
    I have been braying about that for several years now. But this has been an issue for 150 years. When Rudolf Wolf published his first list of sunspot numbers [derived using his famous formula R = 10*G + S] in 1857, it extended back to 1749. Most of the data from the period 1749-1796 came from a single source: J.C. Staudacher. In 1861, Wolf realized that the Staudacher numbers were too low [we can discuss later how he did that] and summarily doubled all the numbers and published the new series in 1861. About 1875, Wolf again realized that all the sunspot numbers before 1849 [that is all numbers not based on his own observations] were still too low [and again we can discuss later the why and the how] so he increased all the pre-1849 numbers by an additional 25%. Wolf knew that the visibility of the smallest spots was iffy and depended too much on the ‘seeing’ and on the observer, so did not counted those small spots [leaving aside for now what constitutes a 'small' spot]. When Alfred Wolfer took over in 1893, he started to count ALL spots down to even the smallest he could observe. This, of course, bumped up the sunspot number which Wolfer tried to counteract by multiplying his count by a factor 0.6, but still it seems [and again we can discuss later why and how] that he introduced an upward jump of about 20%. In 1945 when Max Waldmeier took over, his inexperience resulted in a further upwards jump of 20%. When Brussels took over further inhomogeneities were introduced. At all times, people did their best, trying to produce a sunspot number that they thought was a good measure of solar activity. The net result of all these upwards adjustments is that the sunspot numbers have gone up and up and up, giving the false impression that solar activity is [or has recently been] at an all-time high.

    So, it is not just in the last few weeks or years that we have an non-homogeneous sunspot record. this has been a problem all along. One factor that makes it difficult to correct the record is that for many the faulty record suits their purposes quite well, cf. the comment from a poster on one of the other threads:
    it sure looks like solar activity has played at least a significant if not major part in the temp of the Earth for the last thousand years

    A summary of the evidence for the notion that solar activity is not at an all-time high can be found here.

    Be aware that this is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.

  9. Sunspots need to be counted using the same methods used 50, 100 and 200 years ago. Failing to do that makes the data gathered useless, when comparing it to historical data. In 1900 we did not have high resolution colour photo’s of anything, never mind the sun.

    Mind you, because we do have said photo’s and loads of other info about the sun. We can go back over recent very very small short lives spots and remove them from the count, if its fairly certain they would have been missed 100 years ago.
    Brian.

  10. I am positive an area better difined than that was completely ignored last year.

    What are they trying to accomplish by assigning numbers to areas that clearly are not suspots?

  11. Anthony, the following comment from your post really puts the entire issue in the proper context:

    Note that in the large versions of both the above images, you’ll see a tiny black speck. That’s NOT the “sunspot” but burned out pixels on the SOHO CCD imager.

    ROTFLOL!!

  12. Everybody is wrong. There are 21 spots. I just counted them. I have good eyes.

    I’ll go back and look at the last 300 years of pictures if someone can give me a link.

  13. From previous discussions about sunspot observation/counting, it was made clear by Leif that sunspot counts should be performed visually, not photographically. But that is perhaps not a sufficiently clear specification of how it needs to be done in order to stay consistent with observations done hundreds of years ago.

    Any direct solar observation with a telescope without an energy reduction filter would immediately and permanently blind the observer (or destroy a digital camera), so a safe filter must always be used. There are different filters for different purposes and they have very different characteristics.

    A “white light” filter such as e.g. The Baader Astrosolar film is supposedly neutral, suppressing all visual light frequencies equally.

    http://www.baader-planetarium.com/sofifolie/details_e.htm

    My understanding is that sunspot observations need to use such a (fairly cheap) neutral filter or alternatively project the solar image on a screen using eyepiece projection. Observers in the 17th or 18th century did not have such filters, so I obviously they used projection techniques (and made drawings). Using these techniques you get images of the photosphere with sunspots if any can be seen.

    I assume the photosphere image in this article was made with such a neutral “white light” filter. No sunspot is seen in that image as mentioned by Anthony.

    As every solar observer knows, the sun looks much more interesting when using a solar H-alpha (Hydrogen alpha) filter. In addition to reducing the overall energy that reaches the eye or camera, it also suppresses all wavelengths completely, except the H-alpha line (6563 Ångstrøm), with a few nm bandwidth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-alpha
    The more expensive filter, the narrower the bandwidth. Using such an expensive filter, you see a lot more details than you otherwise can see. What you see is the chromosphere instead of the photosphere.

    The Catania chromosphere image shown in the article has all the well known features of an image taken through a solar H-alpha filter.

    I assume the Catania sunspots were observed in white light, and not just in Ha?

  14. MattN (09:24:06) :

    What are they trying to accomplish by assigning numbers to areas that clearly are not suspots?

    If the world cools and the sunspot activity remains at roughly the same level as the previous cycle (through counting tiny tims) then claims can be made that the cooling has no relation to solar activity.

  15. Leif, What’s to stop you from going through the record and coming up with a procedure to correct this mess and publishing it?

    And I’ll repeat my question from the body of the article:

    How long does a sunspeck (or sunspot) have to be present before it ranks as countable? What standards are in place to ensure that observers use the same type of equipment and techniques to count spots? Is there any such standard?

  16. “for many the faulty record suits their purposes quite well, cf. the comment from a poster on one of the other threads:
    “it sure looks like solar activity has played at least a significant if not major part in the temp of the Earth for the last thousand years”

    I do not have a purpose, Leif. Perhaps you do. And I wasn’t talking about sunspot observation all time high, or any all time high, for that matter.

    “Comparisons of observations with simulations from an energy balance climate model indicate that as much as 41 to 64% of preanthropogenic (pre-1850) decadal-scale temperature variations was due to changes in solar irradiance and volcanism.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/289/5477/270

  17. I think we should be able to actually see a spot before it is declared a sunspot obviously.

    There are two disturbances shown in the Stereo Behind satellite, however, which will be coming around to face Earth in a few days. Both areas are high latitude which might suggest Cycle 24 spots.

    Latest Stereo Behind image here.

  18. This raises questions regarding the large technology gap since the 1700’s. Specifically, what constitutes a visable sunspot: telescopic, chromospheric, photospheric or magnetogramic observations? The former was the only means available to observers in the early years. Are we not moving the goal post around a bit when we rely on a magnetogram to reveal an otherwise hidden spot?

    Furthermore, what impact does this have on historical counts? Surely there were many more spots there–they just could not be seen. Do we now go back and adjust past numbers to account for these virtual, but invisible, but real spots? Or do we add another category to the official sunspot number and call it “virtual spots,” or “invisible but real spots” or “almost spots?”

    This gets ridiculous. If it can’t be clearly seen through a telescope, it should not be assigned an official number. At least that would be consistent with historical observational records. Otherwise, how does one make a fair comparison of cycles today with cycles of the past?

    REPLY: We have the same problem with hurricane and tornado counts, better tools, more eyes on the prize. Both datasets show increases in the 20th century, yet it appears that the increase is artificial. There have been a couple of studies citing this.

    Our national NEXRAD Doppler radar network is akin to SOHO, both came into being about the same time. -Anthony

  19. wattsupwiththat (09:47:07) :
    Leif, What’s to stop you from going through the record and coming up with a procedure to correct this mess and publishing it?

    I am working on this, but lack of funding for this project forces me to give priority to other things that put bread on the table. In addition, this is painstaking work that cannot be speeded up, so it takes time.

    How long does a sunspeck (or sunspot) have to be present before it ranks as countable? What standards are in place to ensure that observers use the same type of equipment and techniques to count spots? Is there any such standard?
    Both SIDC and NOAA claim that they follow ‘standards’ that they have set for themselves. These standards are different which is not necessarily bad in itself as one can calibrate one against the other. Part of the problem lies in the very definition of the sunspot number: R = 10*G + S. Wolf devised this formula from the observation that an average group [G] contained about 10 spots [S]. This clearly is not the case for the Tiny Tims, where even the tiniest pore results in a minimum sunspot number of 11. Wolf counteracted this by not counting the smallest spots. In a certain sense the NOAA active region count is a better measure, because the collection of spots will have to have a certain size, life time, and meet some other criteria as well. This work fine, until NOAA panics and deviate from their standard [if they actually did so this time, which we don't know for sure]. I have said this so many times, but let me say it again: “solar astronomers are well aware of all these issues and they do their best [subject to human vagaries] to compensate for differences in instruments and techniques”. What we don’t need is that solar science becomes polarized like climate science.

    REPLY: Leif can you point me to the published standards? – Anthony

  20. Glenn (09:50:32) :
    “Comparisons of observations with simulations from an energy balance climate model indicate that as much as 41 to 64% of preanthropogenic (pre-1850) decadal-scale temperature variations was due to changes in solar irradiance and volcanism.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/289/5477/270

    Glenn, it is become tedious to keep reminding you that just hunting around on the Internet for papers that support your beliefs is not very fruitful. The paper you just cited is from 2000 and must therefore be based on either Hoyt/Schatten’s or Lean’s old TSI reconstruction that have a much larger variation than the solar community [incl. Judith Lean, as I have repeatedly pointed out] accepts today. So, enough of this, please.

    BTW, the old TSI-recontructions were based in part on two things: First, the flawed sunspot number, and second, on the wish for accounting for the LIA ["what kind of change in TSI would be needed for a temperature change of T assuming a climate sensitivity of S"].

  21. Leif,
    Sunspots are of course associated with increased or decreased solar activity,
    and the amount of solar irradiance over a period of time will have an effect on Earth. Various methodologies and research into past historical events reveal the Earth cooling and warming, with a correlation to solar activity. This has been noticed for centuries, and is still being inferred from data. Not sure where you heard the “all-time high” bit but you are aware that we are not in what is known as the “Modern Maximum”?

    “Modern Maximum”
    “The Modern Maximum refers to the ongoing period of relatively high solar activity that began circa 1950. This period is a natural example of solar variation Solar variation (Solar variations are fluctuations in the amount of energy emitted by the Sun), and one of many that are known from proxy records of past solar variability.”

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Modern_Maximum

    “The Medieval and Modern Maximum solar activity imprints in tree ring data…”
    “This work presents a study of the relations between solar and climate variations during the last millennia by spectral and multi-resolution analysis for oxygen-18 and tree ring width time series. The spectral and wavelet analysis of tree ring data shows that main solar cycle periodicities are present in our time series at the 0.95 confidence level. This result suggests the possibility of a solar modulation of climate variations detected in accumulated ice oxygen-18. Results of spectral and wavelet analysis have shown that both solar and climate factors are also recorded in the oxygen-18 data.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VHB-4RJYVCG-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6c0fcda8e909e1da80b7252416f9c5f5

  22. Glenn (10:31:54) :
    Not sure where you heard the “all-time high” bit
    A simple google search will find you many references:
    Here are some of those:

    http://www.globalwarminghysteria.com/blog/2007/7/12/solar-activity-at-an-all-time-high-bbc-report-just-3-years-a.html

    http://spiritofmaat.com/archive/jan4/prns/sunspots.htm

    http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pressReleases/2004/pressRelease20041028/

    but you are aware that we are not in what is known as the “Modern Maximum”?
    “The Modern Maximum refers to the ongoing period of relatively high solar activity that began circa 1950.

    And the problem with your posts is that you often contradict yourself [as the above snippets from your recent post show] while at the same time use condescending language “but you are aware…” and the like. Not very useful in a serious discussion.

    I suggest that you continue this exchange in the ‘sunspecks’ thread that has already been burdened with this.

  23. Anthony–

    Thanks. I posted before having access to Lief’s remarks which adds a new perspective to the discussion, i.e., the problem is not just recent, but recent technology has advanced a “non-homogeneous” sunspot record. Not only do we have human noise added to past records, we now see what they could not see.

    I not sure there exists a solution. We may be able to reconcile to some degree past records knowing what was done, but what to do with current technology which is appreciably better as regards to achieving homogeneity in the record.

    We seem to be counting most “tiny tims,” which it is okay to acknowledge something is there, but should we be counting them in the official international number? Regardless of the noise of the past, these spots would certainly not have been seen or counted. I can’t even find them on the SOHO image.

    I am enthusiastic about our techlogical advances, particularly with SOHO that has allowed many firsts, answered and raised questions about the sun. However, how do we employ that technology in an old system without contaminating the record?

  24. If this little disturbance is Cycle 23, does it extend the length of SC23? Of course, 24 began a while back, but we have seen a few 23’s since.

    The sun probably doesn’t care what we think.

  25. With my experience of IR sensors, this looked immediately to me like a “bad pixel”. In fact I noted it earlier today before this story appeared!

    Usually these are registered, stored and the surrounding pixels used to blend a value for it on each frame. Only a complete idiot would think it was a sun spot :/.

  26. “Glenn, it is become tedious to keep reminding you that just hunting around on the Internet for papers that support your beliefs is not very fruitful. The paper you just cited is from 2000 and must therefore be based on either Hoyt/Schatten’s or Lean’s old TSI reconstruction that have a much larger variation than the solar community [incl. Judith Lean, as I have repeatedly pointed out] accepts today. So, enough of this, please.”

    So now you refer to a consensus of the “solar community”, and you accuse me of acting on my beliefs?? I have not seen you “repeatedly” pointing out what the scientific community accepts, but recently in another thread you
    gave two references in support of your position that the Spoerer Minimum was a “warm” period, and thos papers were very much in contradiction to eachother, a fact you even acknowledged. Perhaps you shouldn’t just hunt around on the Internet for papers that support your beliefs.

    From the URL of the 2000 Science paper I just cited there are many other papers listed that reference that paper. I suggest if you are going to claim that the 2000 Science paper has been discredited, that you cite some specific work in support, instead of papers such as your recent one about cherry blossoms in Japan reconstructed from old records.

    “Four glacial advances occurred between anno Domini (A.D.) 1250 and 1810, coincident with solar-activity minima. Temperature declines of −3.2 ± 1.4°C and precipitation increases of ≈20% are required to produce the observed glacial responses.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/24/8937.abstract

  27. “but you are aware that we are not in what is known as the “Modern Maximum”?
    “The Modern Maximum refers to the ongoing period of relatively high solar activity that began circa 1950.

    And the problem with your posts is that you often contradict yourself”

    Ah, the tactic of making a big deal of typos. Very good, Leif. Throw some ad hom into it “condescending language” and avoid responding, and you have all the trimmings of a true believer. In what, I’m still not sure.

  28. Leif, Thanks for the “all-time high” report, based on C14 data and not sunspot count:

    “The research team had already in 2003 found evidence that the Sun is more active now than in the previous 1000 years. A new data set has allowed them to extend the length of the studied period of time to 11,400 years, so that the whole length of time since the last ice age could be covered. This study showed that the current episode of high solar activity since about the year 1940 is unique within the last 8000 years. This means that the Sun has produced more sunspots, but also more flares and eruptions, which eject huge gas clouds into space, than in the past. The origin and energy source of all these phenomena is the Sun’s magnetic field.”

    http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pressReleases/2004/pressRelease20041028/

  29. wattsupwiththat (09:47:07)
    “Leif, What’s to stop you from going through the record and coming up with a procedure to correct this mess and publishing it?”

    With updated observation/recording techniques there is almost always a need to re-evaluate and correct previous results from out-dated equipment. As you are an advocate for doing this for sunspot measurement and numbering, I assume there won’t be the usual caffufle when temperature records are also re-evaluated and corrected for much the same reason?

  30. Glenn (11:06:10) :
    you are going to claim that the 2000 Science paper has been discredited, that you cite some specific work in support
    It is very rare that papers in this are ‘discredited’. They are just blissfully forgotten.

    Ah, the tactic of making a big deal of typos. Very good, Leif. Throw some ad hom into it “condescending language” and avoid responding
    I have responded to you in great detail in the ‘sunspecks’ thread, and I suggest that you take the discussion there instead of diluting this thread, which is about “what passes for a sunspot these days”.

  31. Dr. Svalgaard,

    Given that your estimate for solar cycle 24 maximum is in the mid-70’s, how would that compare to a revised solar sunspot record? A cursory look at the record seems to indicate to me that a cycle 24 max of 75 would be the lowest since the Dalton minimum.

    Kim

  32. Please correct me if this is wrong, but I thought that solar cycle predictions were made so that electronics sensitive to solar activity (e.g. satellites) would know what kind of near-future activity to expect from the sun and be properly prepared for it. Something like more shielding if the cycle is supposed to be active, etc. I’m going on memory here of something I read.

    IF that’s the case, then if they’re going to start counting these little fleas, won’t that arbitrarily increase the “strength” of the next cycle? Where the sunspot count might look high on paper, but the actual solar activity might be far lower since they’re now counting specks they weren’t counting before?

    Somewhere I read that there’s a reason that NOAA/NASA/somebody has to issue a prediction for the next cycle. I would be interested to read a more detailed explanation of that, especially if I’m totally off-base on all this.

  33. Glenn (11:23:31) :
    Leif, Thanks for the “all-time high” report, based on C14 data and not sunspot count

    You only see one side of things [the side you like]. The Solanki et al. paper is effectively rebutted here:

    Nature 436, E3-E4 (28 July 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04045; Published online 27 July 2005

    How unusual is today’s solar activity?
    Raimund Muscheler, Fortunat Joos, Simon A. Müller & Ian Snowball
    “To put global warming into context requires knowledge about past changes in solar activity and the role of the Sun in climate change. Solanki et al. propose that solar activity during recent decades was exceptionally high compared with that over the preceding 8,000 years. However, our extended analysis of the radiocarbon record reveals several periods during past centuries in which the strength of the magnetic field in the solar wind was similar to, or even higher than, that of today.”

    I show one of their Figures at http://www.leif.org/14C.png so you don’t have to pay $30. Panel a shows [dark blue] solar activity deduced from 14C. It was around 1600 and 1780 as high or higher than today.

    This is also shown well by the 10Be data of Beer et al. [that I have referred to]. What you are missing is that this is an active research area and the various papers are ‘claims’ and ‘proposals’ and ‘suggestions’. But, please, this will be my last exchange with you here. Continue over in ‘sunspecks’ if you must.

  34. It’s like playing where’s waldo.

    How can a simple spot create so much controversy, for the NOAA to change their stance on this is a bit strange. I read earlier an explanation for the “update” to their records but it strikes me as a bit political.

    Can they really be that concerned about the sun breaking a calm record?

    I don’t know the methods used in the past or the number of solar observations per day, but this is far too small to be easily detected. I may be wrong but on the old (instrument limited sunspot scale) I put my $5 on – no spot.

  35. Leif, I don’t see why I am “diluting” this thread. It seems you are having a problem with my habit of referencing scientific articles, and maybe you would like them to be out of view?
    Here’s another more recent paper (2007) which has an interesting graph showing Modern Maximum, see Figure 4:

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0706/0706.0385v1.pdf

    Sure looks to me like these authors are not with your claimed consensus of
    what the solar community accepts, solar activity for the last thousand years on that chart is the highest during the last hundred or so years. Sorry to bust your bubble, but this matches generally the MWP, LIA and current conditions of the last couple hundred years.

  36. It’s interesting how so much of what is assumed to be hard science turns out to be greatly influenced by human whims, bias and manipulation.

    “Where has all the science gone…long time passing…”

  37. Are the original sunspot drawings available electronically?

    It would seem that we’d all be better off using areal-extent-of-spot instead of number-of-spots anyway, right?

    Exactly like the hurricaine analysis, it isn’t the number-of-landfalls that’s the main interest.

  38. Kim Mackey (11:43:56) :
    Given that your estimate for solar cycle 24 maximum is in the mid-70’s, how would that compare to a revised solar sunspot record? A cursory look at the record seems to indicate to me that a cycle 24 max of 75 would be the lowest since the Dalton minimum.
    Our solar cycle prediction paper http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf notes that SC24 may be the smallest in the past 100 years. The sunspot number during the Dalton minimum is very uncertain, and could be off by a factor of two, so who is to say?
    See slide 6 of Wolf’s adjustements.
    Note the very large changes in the Wolf number between 1800-1825 as Wolf struggled to interpret the [very few[ observations back then. The even tried to use counts of aurorae as a proxy.

  39. I assume that there is some sort of internationl scientific body for solar scientists and that this body has published detailed written standards setting forth what is and is not a sunspot. Am I incorrect?

  40. Brian in AK (12:28:57) :
    It’s interesting how so much of what is assumed to be hard science turns out to be greatly influenced by human whims, bias and manipulation.
    It has always been like that when it comes to what you could call “the frontier” of science. There is ‘hard science’ of which there is no discussion [general relativity, quantum mechanics, evolution, plate tectonics, stellar structure, orbital mechanics, material sciences, etc] , but at the fringe [or frontier] where science advances, you will see the usual bickering. Scientists are people too.

  41. To much science not enough common sense, how long have they been counting specks for spots, 10, 20, 50 years, how long have they used these filters, if the sun has been more active recently does this mean more specks or just larger spots or groups of spots. This is totally ridiculous, I am sure there are enough dedicated amateur observers that have good observational records using low tech equipment which can be fairly compared with all historical observations.

  42. Rob (13:31:42) :
    how long have they been counting specks for spots, 10, 20, 50 years
    Since 1893.

    I am sure there are enough dedicated amateur observers that have good observational records using low tech equipment which can be fairly compared with all historical observations.
    There are, in fact, very active amateur groups that do this [and well].

    http://www.vds-sonne.de/gem/res/dia.html#renetz

    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Engwelcome.html

    http://www.britastro.org/solar/newsletters/May2008.pdf

    and many more.

  43. brazil84 (13:00:31) :
    I assume that there is some sort of internationl scientific body for solar scientists and that this body has published detailed written standards setting forth what is and is not a sunspot. Am I incorrect?
    Yes, to a point. SIDC is supposed to be that body charged with sunspot reporting. But the IAU [International Astronomical Union, http://www.iau.org/ ] which is the closest thing you can get to an ‘overarching’ organization [does naming of planets and features on them, for example] does not run the SIDC.
    There is nothing really wrong with the way this is done if we could only get the historical record straightened out, which is in the works. Fixing the record is something that the community does not take lightly. Scientists are VERY, VERY conservative. We cannot have some lone ranger running about changing things nilly willy :-)

  44. What is the problem with having two sets of data?
    1.) corresponding to the methods of mid 19th century
    2.) modern camera techniques to be consistenmtly applied from now forward.
    or is that too simple.
    It si not ideal because of diiferent techniques over the 200yrs or so… but it would be an improvement and it would clarify things a bit

  45. Denis Hopkins (14:09:12) :
    What is the problem with having two sets of data?
    1.) corresponding to the methods of mid 19th century
    2.) modern camera techniques to be consistenmtly applied from now forward.

    We have modern indices of solar activity [f10.7, MgII, and others]. The only reason to have the sunspot number is because of the desire to continue the historical record.

  46. From what I read here there is absolutely no agreement about variations in the power of the sun over the past 30- 50 years as compared with any previous period of time.

    So, lets just start with a clean slate and see what happens to global temperatures during the current period which is obviously one with a quieter sun than we have had for some time.

    Strange, global temperatrure has been dropping for two years.

    Strange, the warming trend reached a plateau after the 1998 El Nino and remained flat despite a waning sun only for so long as the Pacific remained warmer than average.

    Let Earth do the talking.

  47. Does the Catania Observatory calibrate thier images with darks or check for random changes in the noise (like you will find in certain Kodak imagers)?

    As for the noaa numbers , all I did was to check to see who was posting the official numbers and copy & paste them. If they are bogus, throw them out.
    They are still up at that site:
    2008 09 10 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 09 11 67 12 20 1 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 09 12 66 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/quar_DSD.txt

    I have few sources that are up to date: SIDC in Belgium posts updates once a week. Will see what they post on Monday as to the EISN (Estimated International Sunspot Number) for 9/11.
    I do check Solar Cycle 24’s SOHO image and IPS Culgoora Obs. white light and H Alpha images regularly.
    I have no access to data to go back and verify that the Tiny Tims are nothing more than dead pixels on a few CCD’s.
    But I do recall that the last 2 spots with numbers have been given SC23 designations (if memory serves me correctly), and I could see all of them recorded on Calgoora’s H-Alpha and one of them on the White Light image.
    Have we had any SC24 spots that are not Tiny Tims?

  48. http://www.nwra-az.com/spawx/comp.html

    This comparison shows an observed sunspot number on 09/11, and a 10.7 cm derived. They don’t always agree, and in this case they don’t.
    Do we have a bonafide white light image for 9/11 that shows a sunspot or sunspeck, or are we at 53 days and counting?

  49. Until prevented with good evidence to the contrary, I remain highly skeptical of any hidden agenda or undue influence in the daily or monthly sunspot count.

    The use of (at least) three different procedures by SIDC – one to obtain information for the daily bulletins, an automated procedure to obtain the *preliminary* monthly numbers, then a third to derive the “definitive” numbers (six months later) – is hardly ideal, but it is a fairly transparent process, and does not appeared to have undergone any changes to “cover up” for an unexpectedly low Cycle 24.

    If not for the concern about possible solar effects on climate, very few people would be paying any attention to this.

    It would be like fretting over the count of cumulus clouds on any particular fair-weather day. Nobody would bother with it.

    Regrettably, it is only going to get worse.

    – IF – the sun is still this blank this winter, EVERYBODY will have seized on it. Every winter storm and cold snap will be blamed on the blank sun.

    Leif, you’ll be getting lots of media inquiries, so you can get ready for “questions” like this:

    “Man-made CO2 has caused the solar cycle to fail.”

    “Military and commercial use of space has created pollution which has choked off the sunspot cycle.”

    “We have reached a solar ‘tipping-point.'”

    “We only have ten years left to fix the sun. Compact fluorescent bulbs aren’t just an option anymore – they’re our only hope.”

  50. Robert Bateman (14:26:46) :
    Does the Catania Observatory calibrate thier images with darks or check for random changes in the noise (like you will find in certain Kodak imagers)?
    As far as I know Catania follows the established rule that sunspot count must be visual and not derived from photographic or CCD images. The drawings are made by hand on a piece of white paper onto which the solar image is projected.

    The f10.7 flux is integrated over the total solar disk and will not show such a small spot that covered only 1/100,000 of the solar surface unless you observe f10.7 100,000 times more accurately than we actually can.

  51. The last article of the three near the end distorts my view. The journalist asked what would happen IF the solar influence was strong. My answer was that SHOULD it turn out that the sun is a major player [which I doubt, but we don't know for sure] AND solar activity goes down, THEN …
    The ‘no room for complacency’ was totally her own invention. Here is the quote:

    “There is no room for complacency, Svalgaard warns: “If the Earth does cool during the next sunspot crash and we do nothing, when the sun’s magnetic activity returns, global warming will return with a vengeance.”

    It is very hard to counter such distortions.

  52. Having cited the “all time high” reports myself, I must say that I can’t see any reason why correcting the sunspot record to be consistent over time would raise anyone’s hackles, even if a person WAS improperly “results oriented.”

    First, the evidence that 20th century warming was caused by relatively high levels of solar activity in no way depends on those levels having been the highest on record.

    Second, the “all time high” appellations that I have seen do not come from looking at the sunspot record at all, but come from GCR record. It was Sami Solanki who coined the “grand maximum” term to describe late 20th century solar activity, after studying GCR isotopes going back 11,000 years. Obviously the GCR record is not affected by any tinkering with the sunspot record.

    Svalgaard does not provide any evidence for his claim that correcting the sunspot record:

    is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.

    He might be right, but I have never myself encountered this kind of resistance to reason and evidence from the skeptic side of the global warming debate. Maybe Leif can provide us with a link.

    My post here, with some commentary on the likely political motivation for calling sunspecks sunspots.

  53. Oh, and one I forgot…

    “It’s Mother Gaia’s only way to cool down after our failure to implement the Kyoto Protocol.”

  54. Leif Svalgaard (15:26:03) :
    The ‘no room for complacency’ was totally her own invention.
    Should have been ‘his’ own … The author is Stuart Clark who has written an otherwise very readable book about the great 19th century solar observer Richard Carrington: “The Sun King”. Highly recommended.

    Here is the quote:

    “There is no room for complacency, Svalgaard warns: “If the Earth does cool during the next sunspot crash and we do nothing, when the sun’s magnetic activity returns, global warming will return with a vengeance.”

    It is very hard to counter such distortions.

  55. SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory), scheduled for launch in December, will vastly increase the resolution, detail and frequency of observation of the sun.

    Here are some tidbits about SDO:

    “SDO will generate approximately 1.5 Terabytes of data per day.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Dynamics_Observatory

    “AIA (Atmospheric Imaging Assembly)…Data will include images of the Sun in 10 wavelengths every 10 seconds.”

    “SDO’s AIA instrument will have 1/2 greater image resolution than STEREO and 3/4 greater imaging resolution than SOHO.

    “The image cadence also varies. SDO takes 1 image every 0.10 of a second. At best STEREO takes 1 image every 3 minutes and SOHO takes 1 image every 12 minutes.”

    http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/mission/instruments.php

  56. Alec Rawls (15:29:51) :
    First, the evidence that 20th century warming was caused by relatively high levels of solar activity in no way depends on those levels having been the highest on record.
    That is conditionally true, depending on what ‘on record’ means. If we are talking about the last 400 years, I think most people would find it hard to say that the recent warming was caused by the Sun, had the sunspot number in the 17th century been as high as now.

    Second, the “all time high” appellations that I have seen do not come from looking at the sunspot record at all, but come from GCR record. It was Sami Solanki who coined the “grand maximum” term to describe late 20th century solar activity, after studying GCR isotopes going back 11,000 years. Obviously the GCR record is not affected by any tinkering with the sunspot record.
    I have already referred to Muescheler et al.’s rebuttal of the Solanki et al. paper. Solar activity in the 18th century [apart from the first couple of decades] was as high as now as determined by 14C and 10Be data.

    Svalgaard does not provide any evidence for his claim that correcting the sunspot record is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.[...]
    Maybe Leif can provide us with a link.

    Here are some [variants of the same, actually]:

    http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU2008/11765/EGU2008-A-11765.pdf

    K. Mursula, I. Usoskin, O. Yakovchouk, Does sunspot number calibration by the “magnetic needle” make sense?, J. Atm. Solar-Terr. Phys., doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2008.04.017, 2008, in print.

    AGU Joint meeting 2008, abstract SP23A-06:
    Does sunspot number calibration by the “magnetic needle” make sense? by
    * Mursula, K, Usoskin, I, Yakovchouk, O,

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/ja08/ja08-sessions/ja08_SP23A.html

    Unfortunately Mursula didn’t show for his presentation, but it is clear that they have submitted this to every conference they could find who would take it.

    A similar situation arose about six years ago when I pointed out that the there was “No doubling of the Sun’s magnetic field into the last 100 years” as was claimed by Lockwood et al. in an article in Nature in 1999, following up on an old [1978] suggestion by me
    that it had [I was wrong]. We pointed out that the geomagnetic aa-index on which the claim was based is wrongly calibrated. It took us five years fighting peer-review referees trying to publish our paper on this. In every instance Lockwood or one of colleagues was one of the reviewers, and in every case the paper was soundly rejected. You may find the exchange at http://www.leif.org/research/No%20Doubling%20of%20Open%20Flux.pdf illuminating. It first gives our paper, then the peer-review.

    Eventually, the community has come around and realized that the aa-index indeed was wrong and that the method used by Lockwood was flawed. The latest papers by Lockwood’s group show substantial agreement with our point of view, as described here: http://www.leif.org/research/Seminar-LMSAL.pdf
    . Jump to page 16 if you want to avoid some technical details.

    So, yes, if you attempt to overthrow accepted wisdom, you do find stiff resistance. I think that applies to any field and I also think it is proper. The ‘rebels’ must show extraordinary cause and must be challenged. Eventually, if the claim has merit, resistance will subside, although [as I have already said] you will very rarely see a retraction of any earlier paper. They just fade away.

  57. Please pardon my humble oppinion here, but isn’t this all much ado about nothing? We know that sunspot activity has been extremely low, low enough to have an influence on the Earth’s climate in the sunspot theory is correct, so what does it matter if certain scientific research institutions decide to count specks as spots? It is still going to get cold, if the theory is true, and the Warmists are going to be stuck in the unfortunate position of explaining why.

    Now, unlike the past, we have very good images of the sun, which I assume are stored by NASA or SOHO or some other organization so researchers in the future will be able to go back in the record and say that according to a standard, that is not wrapped up with the emotional drive to have one’s preconcieved notions of what should be proved correct.

    A spotless day is still a spotless day, and it seems to me that we are having these spotless days in great abundance. What is the current count now? Over 400, last I heard. Is anyone out there keeping track of just the spotless days? What is the next big threashhold? 450 something? How many spotless days do we need to be truly record setting? 750-1000? Obviously, the sun would have to remain at its current level of activity for another year or two respectively to create something truly impressive, and I do not see how counting or not counting a few tiny sun specks is going to interfer with this, aside from slightly reducing the number.

    Time will tell, but hopefully the results will make themselves obvious before the politicians and various other crooks are able to hoodwink the general public. As of today, there are 129 days until the next President of the United States is sworn in, and both of these idiots intend to “do something” about Global Warming. Let’s hope that nature proves herself in time.

  58. Robert Bateman (14:26:46) :

    Does the Catania Observatory calibrate thier images with darks or check for random changes in the noise (like you will find in certain Kodak imagers)?

    Darks are not so important for solar images, as they are very bright. Darks are important only for long exposures. Much more important here are flats, i.e. flat frame adjustment. It is evident from the Catania photosphere image that flat frame calibration has not been performed, there are several large dust specs visible (i.e. the circular slightly darker features that are out of focus dust particles on a filter in front of the CCD).

    Another thing is that the photosphere image appears to be a not-so-professional mosaic. The top right part is darker and is divided from the rest with a straight line (this appears to be the border between two frames).

    Such an image would generate critical comments among amateur astronomers.

  59. Could it be that the habit of counting these little specks that dissappear
    overnight could just be a recent phenomenon?
    I doubt anyone could get away with adjusting the past record in any significant way. Other methods have been employed to infer past solar activity besides counting sunspots that perhaps gives us a better understanding of past history.
    From the article I referenced for Leif goes back 5000 years, using actual historical sunspot counts only for the last 400 years, and that includes only one of the three discrenible solar minimas of the last thousand years on the chart. An “adjuster” could start from there and draw pretty much whatever he wanted till the present and there would still be evidence of substantial increased solar activity during the last 400 years, even if the Maunder Minimum was completely disregarded.

    This from Figure 4 of http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0706/0706.0385v1.pdf

  60. Leif: When you say the “no room for complacency” bit was Clark’s own invention, do you mean just that phrase, or the sentence that followed as well?

    If the Earth does cool during the next sunspot crash and we do nothing, when the sun’s magnetic activity returns, global warming will return with a vengeance.

    It is the latter that is problematic. If high levels of solar activity do cause global warming, then 20th century warming is largely or perhaps entirely attributable to the high (even if not “all time high”) levels of solar activity post 1940. It is certainly not attributable to CO2, given the lack of a greenhouse warming atmospheric signature, or any other evidence for CO2 based warming.

    The IPCC models completely omit solar magnetic effects, so that when the models are fit to the historic data, the warming effects of this omitted variable get misattributed to whatever correlated variables they happen to have in their models. In particular, since CO2 has also been historically high in the late 20th century, solar magnetic warming effects get misattributed to CO2. The IPCC then projects this phony warming effect of CO2 forward to make its claims about the dire consequences if we “do nothing” about CO2.

    The quote that is attributed to you from Clark fits this story line exactly. If Clark put those words in your mouth, it is serious indeed, and he needs to issue a correction. If they are your words, I think you need to own up to it, and hopefully issue a correction of your own.

    If solar activity is driving global temperature, then warming will not return “with a vengance” when solar activity rebounds. It will just return. Solar cooling will have showed that the feared warming effects of CO2 were misattributed, eliminating any need to “do something” about CO2.

    My posts on the omitted variable problem here and here.

  61. Quite an active thread, with no little hint of anamosity. Standards, no standards, some standards – who’s standard!…To count or not to count, that is the question. Whether it is noblier to count a sun speck or not…
    (Sorry I like the Bard) –

    My point is this. Man (non-pc) started counting sun spots because he found the sun, God’s perfect orb, imperfect. Telescopes were invented, and this made the project easier. Later curiosity overcame these people and they wanted to know if there is a link between sunspots and the earth. Vision was all they had because radio, radar, advanced optics and all the rest were in the future.

    THE NUMBER DOESN’T MATTER, what does is any link between solar sunspot activity, magnetism, etc and the temperature of the earth. Problem is, that that link is just now being explored and little is known about it.

    OK, the sun is asleep. Now let’s see what the earth does. If it cools over time, then perhaps there is a link. If it remains the same, then maybe there is no link. If it warms, well most folks here need to reexamine their thoughts on global warming.

    The problem is, the earth is like my kitchen stove. It is a glass top range. When I turn on the burner, it takes the pan some time to warm up because the heat of the coil takes time to warm the glass, therefore the pan. Likewise the glass holds the heat when I turn the burner off, cooling very slowly.

    The earth is a huge heat sink, those that say the oceans can hold a lot of heat aren’t blowing smoke. It takes time for the heat to escape (and the earth to cool!) This is basic physics folks!

    Dueling papers is like Dueling Banjos – only without a catchy tune. As a retired engineer I liked having Bell Labs, UL and the other standards groups working to develop set ways of doing things, making design easy. That’s not happening now when competing standards are vying in the marketplace (Toshiba and Sony on DVD and Blueray as an example) and may the most popular (maybe not the best) win.

    Same thing here. The sunspots were initially a way to gauge the Sun’s activity. There are many other ways now. Most are pointing to a sleeping sun.

    Should there be a standard that can be applied to the history as well? Sure.

    Is it the only measure of solar activity? No, not any more.

    Just make sure there is a Rosetta Stone to translate the language.

    Mike

  62. Alec Rawls (17:10:32) :
    Leif: When you say the “no room for complacency” bit was Clark’s own invention, do you mean just that phrase, or the sentence that followed as well?
    Complacency was Stuart’s. The sentence that followed is an accurate quote. What was left out was the context. Stuart’s push was for a combination of solar and AGW, and we were talking about the hypothetical case [which I perhaps didn't make perfectly clear] that if the solar ‘crash’ was sufficient to overpower an increase caused by AGW, THEN, of course, when solar activity returned, we would get a double whammy.

    It is the latter that is problematic
    No, answering a hypothetical can NEVER be problematic…
    What may be problematic is that it was not made clear to the reader that it was a hypothetical.

    If Clark put those words in your mouth, it is serious indeed, and he needs to issue a correction. If they are your words, I think you need to own up to it, and hopefully issue a correction of your own.
    He did not put the words in my mouth, he omitted to mention that we were discussing a hypothetical case, and I have pointed that out often enough.

    Personally, I don’t give a whit about the AGW debate as it has gone past what reasonable people should occupy themselves with [both pro and con]. I try to lay out the scientific case for solar variability [seen through my glasses, even pointing out that there is controversy - and even the latter some people can't believe] and to correct [where possible] when people drive the ‘correlations’ past their ‘sell by’ date, f.ex. the notion that the temperature was ALWAYS low when solar activity was low. I also try to correct some of the circular reasoning that is going on, like “TSI/cosmic rays/whatever must vary because otherwise how do you account for the LIA”.

    Most of my colleagues take the point of view that as scientists they should just ‘do their thing’ and otherwise keep their mouth shut. As I am beholden to no one, it may be easier for me to explain [the best I can] the science even as the story is still unfolding. What the public may not understand [and it up to us to try to make that clear] is that at the ‘front’ of science you will find many points of view, most contradictory, and that a very large percentage will end up on the trash heap. Without that in nay way diminishing the scientists that were wrong. It is often said that the impact of a scientific paper is not how ‘right’ it is, but how much debate it stirs up. The perfect example is Lockwood’s 1999 paper. It was wrong, but opened up a vigorous debate that in the end has led to better understanding.

    If solar activity is driving global temperature, then warming will not return “with a vengance” when solar activity rebounds. It will just return.
    I don’t know how many times I must explain that our hypothetical case was that if solar ‘cooling’ overpowered an assumed AGW for a while, then when solar returned, we would have the combined effect of solar and AGE, hence the ‘vengeance’. But, my experience with human nature somehow tells me that it does not matter what I say, people will read it the way that fits their own views the best.

  63. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (16:31:27) :
    Another thing is that the photosphere image appears to be a not-so-professional mosaic. The top right part is darker and is divided from the rest with a straight line (this appears to be the border between two frames).
    How many times must I repeat that the sunspot count is not done on the photograph or CCD image, but by vsiual inspection of the projected solar image on a white piece of paper, on whhich the drawing is made.

  64. Leif Svalgaard (18:41:49) :
    Alec Rawls (17:10:32) :
    It would be better for your case that you didn’t refer to the geological record as the cosmic ray proxies come from trees (14C) or from ice cores (10Be), none of which is normally considered to be part of Geology.

  65. Tony Sidaway (20:04:08) :
    Does this ancient BBC story from July, 2004, “Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high”, have any basis in fact?
    There are people that claim this to be observed. Since most of the purported increase in sunspots is claimed to have take place in the last few centuries and there is evidence that the sunspot number may be artificially higher in recent times, the claim, that recent activity is the highest in a 1000 years, is very doubtful.

  66. More than a thousand year high:

    “The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional — the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8,000 years ago. The Sun was at a similarly high level of magnetic activity for only ~10% of the past 11,400 years, and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode.”

    “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years”

    http://cc.oulu.fi/%7Eusoskin/personal/nature02995.pdf

    “11,000 Year Sunspot Number Reconstruction ”

    http://gcmd.nasa.gov/KeywordSearch/Metadata.do?Portal=GCMD&KeywordPath=%5BParameters%3ACategory%3D%27EARTH+SCIENCE%27%2CTopic%3D%27SUN-EARTH+INTERACTIONS%27%2CTerm%3D%27SOLAR+ACTIVITY%27%2CVariable%3D%27SUNSPOTS%27%5D&OrigMetadataNode=GCMD&EntryId=NOAA_NCDC_PALEO_2005-015&MetadataView=Brief&MetadataType=0&lbnode=gcmd3b

  67. ‘Darks are not so important for solar images, as they are very bright. Darks are important only for long exposures. Much more important here are flats, i.e. flat frame adjustment. It is evident from the Catania photosphere image that flat frame calibration has not been performed, there are several large dust specs visible (i.e. the circular slightly darker features that are out of focus dust particles on a filter in front of the CCD). ‘

    Ok, I see the dust donuts on the photospere image but not the chromsphere. Yes, they would be on the filter but not on the ccd chip. I hadn’t looked, just noted the dark pixel in the
    Soho image. Looked at the photo/chromo images in AstroArt and AIP4WIN. The donuts show up when I do an exponential stretch. Is there an ftp source for the FITS files?

  68. Glenn (20:33:01) :
    More than a thousand year high:
    “The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional — the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8,000 years ago.

    They get this erroneous result because the reconstruction of the sunspot number from the 14C flux is based on the systematically too low past sunspot numbers.

    The cosmic ray flux gives a better picture. The best data comes from Juerg Beer and his group. Here is what they [K.G. McCracken, J. Beer & F.B. McDonald] say [page 89-90] in:

    http://www.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2005_the_long

    “Since 850 AD the 22-year average cosmic-ray intensity (as measured by the 10Be concentration) has returned repeatedly to low values [meaning high solar activity] that are similar to those of
    the present epoch (i.e. since 1950). Thus the 10Be concentration at the South Pole in Figure 4 exhibits minima within ±2% of 3.00 × 104 atoms/g for the 22-year averages centred on 940, 1132, 1220, 1360, 1740, and 1958 AD. This remarkable result indicates that the modulation process, and by inference, the properties
    of the heliospheric magnetic field, were similar during many of the periods of high solar activity between 850 and 1958. This may indicate that the interplanetary magnetic field near Earth is presently near an asymptotic value that it has approached on five previous occasions in the past 1150 years.”

    The problem is that it is easy to cite articles in support of this or that [and you can always find some that will support any point of view you choose]. but if you don’t know the details of the calculations and are not intimately familiar with the issues, it is easy to be led astray by selecting articles supporting your own view, without due regard for the wider issues and the full breadth of the evidence.

    I have already referred to the rebuttal of the ‘all-time-high’ by Mueschler et al., See, e.g. Nature 436, E3-E4 (28 July 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04045;
    Climate: How unusual is today’s solar activity?
    Raimund Muescheler, Fortunat Joos, Simon A. Mueller & Ian Snowball.
    or Muescheler et all [Quaternary Science Reviews vol 26, p.82, 2007]:
    The tree-ring 14C record and 10Be from Antarctica indicate that recent solar activity is high but not exceptional with respect to the last 1000 yr.

  69. This evening I went to the Mt. Wilson observatory web page http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/intro.html and went to the sun spot records. I found that with their modern equipment that they had not recorded a sun spot in 56 days. This would put their streak at #3 on the number of days without sun spots list. Cantaina must have better equipment. Having such variability in the reporting makes any historical view more difficult, if not impossible.

  70. hyonmin (21:55:24) :
    This evening I went to the Mt. Wilson observatory web page http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/intro.html and went to the sun spot records. I found that with their modern equipment that they had not recorded a sun spot in 56 days.
    Mt. Wilson’s equipment is from 1912 [as it says on their webpage]
    Fun to look at http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/150_scr0.html

    Cantaina must have better equipment.
    Or. more likely, just better seeing that day.

    Having such variability in the reporting makes any historical view more difficult, if not impossible.
    No, we just have to calibrate the record correctly. And this can be done.

  71. The following paper states small changes in solar activity have a profound affect on earth’s climate with respect to hurricanes. Why then wouldn’t it follow that other aspects of earth’s climate system are also dependent on [small] changes in solar activity?

    http://climaterealist.blogspot.com/2008/09/new-paper-us-hurricane-counts-are.html

    The Abstract states:

    The authors report on a finding that annual U.S hurricane counts are significantly related to solar activity. The relationship results from fewer intense tropical cyclones over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico when sunspot numbers are high. The finding is in accord with the heat-engine theory of hurricanes that predicts a reduction in the maximum potential intensity with
    a warming in the layer near the top of the hurricane. An active sun warms the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere through ozone absorption of additional ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Since the dissipation of the hurricane’s energy occurs through ocean mixing and atmospheric transport, tropical cyclones can act to amplify the effect of relatively small changes in the sun’s output thereby appreciably altering the climate. Results have implications for life and property throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and portions of the United States.

  72. Defect Map: Those pixels that do not respond in kind with the others:
    A defect map is an image with the same dimensions as the image sensor that contains a code for each pixel used during calibration to correct defective pixels in the image.
    Used in both professional imaging (HST, GALEX, SDSS, etc) and recently by a large majoity of astroimagers.

  73. Leif Svalgaard’s posts are enlightening. Aside from their inherent value, they also validate that old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    Until his postings I had believed that there was some unquestioned historical method of counting sunspots we had but to follow to align our present counting with that of the past; and therefore to be able to create an unchallenged number line on which to base theory and opinion.
    Leif provided material to show this is not so, and in addition that there are other and perhaps more relevant measurements of the sun’s activity.
    Humbling and valuable knowledge to be carried forward.
    Owe you, Leif.

  74. The answer is obvious.

    We should adjust the historical sunspot record with some algorithm on a monthly basis so that the history continues to change to match our current technology.

    And for goodness sake, make sure we adjust for the urban sunspot effect.

  75. Perhaps there should be two standards.

    A “sunspot” is defined by visibility. We still have better equipment, but if it is visible, a case can be made that it is something that could have been picked up on in the good old days.

    Perhaps there needs to be a second category for which we have only a sparse record for disturbances that are detected in other ways, but are ot visible. This would make the sunspot record more homogenous while still keeping a record of other disturbances.

  76. The 2nd method is preferrable: We should continue to observe the sunspots in an unbroken mannerThere is nothing wrong with using modern imaging to get a higher resolution on the Sun, but it will take centuries to reap the full benefit.
    That’s what makes the older method so valuable: It’s the only thing we have that can tell us where we are in the long-term status of solar cycles
    Right now, how the spots are weighted is not as important as whether spots are visible or not..
    So, the question is: Where are we: 3 days and counting or 56 days and counting?

  77. Darn forum keeps trashing my posts with links. Arggghhh.
    If a 2nd one pops up later, you know why.
    sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/pickoftheweek/magcomp.mpg
    Magnetogram video of 2003 vs 2008.
    The current scene is one of Tiny Tims coming and going in a sea of background noise.
    Signal to Noise ratio is very low.
    like to see the psf’s on these things.

  78. It might be helpful if that magnetometer were to go on an imaging binge and get about 25 images or more to put through a drizzle algorhythm to get rid of the background noise or at least drive it below the visibility threshold.
    Hey, if the signal is that low, do a Solar Deep Field. Eh?

  79. Leif wrote:

    our hypothetical case was that if solar ‘cooling’ overpowered an assumed AGW for a while, then when solar returned, we would have the combined effect of solar and AGW, hence the ‘vengeance’.

    MY point was that if a quiet sun causes global cooling, it is proof that the solar-magnetic effect is powerful (or the effect of solar activity on total luminescence has been WAY underestimated) and that these effects (being omitted from the IPCC models) are being misattributed to CO2, proving that your ASSUMPTION of AGW is wrong. THAT was my objection to your statement. You can’t continue to assume AGW in the face of solar cooling. It has been disproved. Hence no “double whammy.”

    Obviously this is important. The warming alarmists want to maintain exactly what you are saying: that any quiet-sun induced cooling will only temporarily suppress AGW. In fact it will disprove AGW.

    As for whether we ought to expect that a quiet sun WILL cool the earth, the evidence seems to be overwhelming. As arrayed in Fred Singer’s book, there are hundreds of studies of the geologic record that find a high degree of correlation between GCR isotope signatures (a proxy for solar activity) and temperature signatures, covering at this point hundreds of thousands of years. That can’t be coincidence, and the causality can only go one way.

    Against this body of evidence, you offer an anecdote:

    most people would find it hard to say that the recent warming was caused by the Sun, had the sunspot number in the 17th century been as high as now.

    In other words, there was a period of fairly high solar activity before the Maunder Minimum commenced in 1645. But that doesn’t even begin to puncture the correlation between the Maunder Minimum and the very cold temperatures that accompanied it, never mind cast doubt on the many thousands of years of correlation between solar activity and temperature.

    Our predictive models should be based on the full body of evidence and that is what the IPCC refuses to do. They are fully aware of the predictive value of solar activity for global temperature change and they omit it anyway, knowing full well that the explanatory value of this omitted variable will get misattributed to CO2. That scientific fraud needs to be exposed.

    I find it amazing that even if nature PROVES AGW to be a fraud by sending us a quiet sun followed by cool temperatures, you say that you will still be warning about the dangers of CO2, and saying we had better do something about it or we will get a double whammy. I appreciate your saying that you don’t mean to be taking sides on the AGW debate, but maybe you should do some more thinking through, because I believe you actually are taking a very strong alarmist position, if even an event that would disprove AGW would leave you firmly in the “do something about CO2″ camp.

  80. Leif Svalgaard:
    He did not put the words in my mouth, he omitted to mention that we were discussing a hypothetical case, and I have pointed that out often enough.

    When will scientists stop falling for this one. Any “hypothetical case” or “theoretical possibility” discussed with a journalist will “with a vengeance” reappear as a dead certainty to prove their agenda.

  81. Leif-

    “Be aware that this is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.”

    If you do what you propose will it not result in some years’ count being negative?


  82. Leif Svalgaard (19:15:05) :
    How many times must I repeat that the sunspot count is not done on the photograph or CCD image, but by vsiual inspection of the projected solar image on a white piece of paper, on whhich the drawing is made.

    As should be obvious from my post, my comment was not directly related sunspot counting, but to observational procedures in general. Obviously, Catania does visual observations, according to some procedures. They also do CCD observations, ref. the given examples. I am simply pointing out that the CCD images have not been flat frame calibrated, a very basic thing.

    If someone, somewhere attempts to use such CCD images for any scientific purpose, then they must be flat frame calibrated first, or else they will start registering dust blobs inside the telescope as solar features. Dead pixel elimination is also a simple thing to do.

    And yes, I do realise that formal sunspot counting is visual, there is no need to repeat.

  83. Seems to be a rock and a hard place for Planet Earth.
    It’s not going to take a whole lot more to be in striking range of a Minimum at the rate these SC24 dust donuts are taking off and J.Q Public thinks our problem is Global Warming. They don’t have a clue.
    So far, all I can find in archived images for SC24 spots are dust donuts on Solar Images.
    Maybe somebody goofed and flatted the Halpha image with the White Light flat and vice versa. Stuff happens.
    Data, man, where’s the data. Inquiring mind wants to know.

  84. Jan 08 and April 14th according to SIDC were SC24 spot days. I’m still scratching around looking for images of them. Calgoora didn’t show any spots, and neither did UCCLE.

  85. Robert Bateman (20:59:28) :
    Ok, I see the dust donuts on the photospere image but not the chromsphere.

    I believe can see a faint donut also in the Ha (chromsphere) image. The dynamic range is wider for this image, so it is harder to see the artifacts. That is actually the issue here: It is often difficult to separete real features from imaging artifacts.

    Again, this is a general issue for scientific use of CCD images. It is very easy to do right given the right software and procedures. I have written such calibration software myself, to do bias, dark and flat calibration on FITS files, including hot pixel elimination.

    My point is that for such images to be useful for scientific purposes observatories should calibrate the images and/or provide raw frames plus the calibration frames (“master bias,dark,flat”).

    Again, sunspot counting is done visually.

  86. Alec Rawls (00:54:11) :
    MY point was that if a quiet sun causes global cooling, it is proof that the solar-magnetic effect is powerful (or the effect of solar activity on total luminescence has been WAY underestimated) and that these effects (being omitted from the IPCC models) are being misattributed to CO2, proving that your ASSUMPTION of AGW is wrong. THAT was my objection to your statement. You can’t continue to assume AGW in the face of solar cooling. It has been disproved. Hence no “double whammy.”
    I am amazed of the inability of people to read and understand simple English [or is it me that can't write simple English?]. AGW is not MY assumption, it was HIS assumption. And if go by that assumption [it is always valid to follow an assumption to its logical conclusion] then the rest follows. If the assumption turns out to be wrong, so is the conclusion. But we were not discussing the validity of the assumption, only what might happen should the assumption turn out to be true.
    MY point was that if a quiet sun causes global cooling, it is proof that the solar-magnetic effect is powerful
    And this is circular ‘reasoning’. That we have cooling and a quiet
    Sun is not proof of anything, it could be just pure coincidence.

  87. Allan M (03:21:13) :
    When will scientists stop falling for this one. Any “hypothetical case” or “theoretical possibility” discussed with a journalist will “with a vengeance” reappear as a dead certainty to prove their agenda.
    I do not think Stuart Clark was setting a trap or something like that for me to fall into. He just sees the world through his own green-colored glasses, which is fine with me. What I did learn from that experience is to insist on seeing the piece first, before it is published, and that has worked fine since.

  88. Michael (08:09:08) :
    How unusual is this, and what are the consequences for weather here on earth?
    It depends on the time scale. The Sun is now where it was 100 years ago, and 200 years ago, so on that scale, it is just business as usual. On a time scale of a human life, the quiet sun is something we have not seen. Nobody knows if it has any consequences for weather/climate. My personal opinion is that does not have a significant effect, because the amount of variation is still very, very small [one in a thousand] compared to the total output of the Sun.

  89. Leif Svalgaard (21:39:59)
    “The problem is that it is easy to cite articles in support of this or that [and you can always find some that will support any point of view you choose]. but if you don’t know the details of the calculations and are not intimately familiar with the issues, it is easy to be led astray by selecting articles supporting your own view, without due regard for the wider issues and the full breadth of the evidence.”

    Worthless condescending rhetoric. But I expect that would be similar to what the paper you claim has been “effectively refuted” may think. In fact, look below.

    “I have already referred to the rebuttal of the ‘all-time-high’ by Mueschler et al., See, e.g. Nature 436, E3-E4 (28 July 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04045;
    Climate: How unusual is today’s solar activity?
    Raimund Muescheler, Fortunat Joos, Simon A. Mueller & Ian Snowball.
    or Muescheler et all [Quaternary Science Reviews vol 26, p.82, 2007]:
    The tree-ring 14C record and 10Be from Antarctica indicate that recent solar activity is high but not exceptional with respect to the last 1000 yr.”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v436/n7050/full/nature04046.html

    “Climate: How unusual is today’s solar activity? (reply)

    Muscheler et al.1 claim that the solar activity affecting cosmic rays was much higher in the past than we deduced from 14C measurements. However, this claim is based on a problematic normalization and is in conflict with independent results, such as the Ti activity in meteorites and the 10Be concentration in ice cores.”

  90. Glenn (08:44:09) :
    Worthless condescending rhetoric. But I expect that would be similar to what the paper you claim has been “effectively refuted” may think. [...] In fact, look below[...] However, this claim is based on a problematic normalization and is in conflict with independent results, such as the Ti activity in meteorites and the 10Be concentration in ice cores.”
    It was to be expected that the authors being rebutted would respond as they did. What is symptomatic for the selective quoting that you do is that in the rebuttal of the rebuttal it is claimed that 10Be also shows that the Sun is at an ‘all-time-high’, and this in spite of I just showed you what the 10Be record says. I’ll repeat that:
    The cosmic ray flux gives a better picture. The best data comes from Juerg Beer and his group. Here is what they [K.G. McCracken, J. Beer & F.B. McDonald] say [page 89-90] in:

    http://www.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2005_the_long

    “Since 850 AD the 22-year average cosmic-ray intensity (as measured by the 10Be concentration) has returned repeatedly to low values [meaning high solar activity] that are similar to those of
    the present epoch (i.e. since 1950). Thus the 10Be concentration at the South Pole in Figure 4 exhibits minima within ±2% of 3.00 × 104 atoms/g for the 22-year averages centred on 940, 1132, 1220, 1360, 1740, and 1958 AD. This remarkable result indicates that the modulation process, and by inference, the properties
    of the heliospheric magnetic field, were similar during many of the periods of high solar activity between 850 and 1958. This may indicate that the interplanetary magnetic field near Earth is presently near an asymptotic value that it has approached on five previous occasions in the past 1150 years.”

    The 44Ti data is very uncertain. The half-life of 44Ti is poorly known with a large spread ranging from 46.4 to 66.6 years, and the 44Ti data only goes to 1883. The method works by analyzing meteorites that have been seen to fall so we know the exact date of their fall. While in space, 44Ti is formed in the meteorite by bombardment by cosmic rays. That stops when the meteorite falls to Earth. If we measure how much 44Ti is left right now and we know the time since the meteorite fell and the half-life of 44Ti we can say something about the amount of 44Ti that was in the meteorite prior to the fall and hence something about the intensity of cosmic rays at the time. But as I said, that data only goes back to 1883 so says nothing about the last 1000 years.
    Again, you do not know enough about all of this to do anything but selective quoting from papers you do not understand. A little knowledge is dangerous if it is combined with a combative nature. But there is a lot to learn and you would benefit from beginning that learning process right now. It is fun to learn things, it is fun to learn how things hang together, it can be deeply satisfying to understand a subject and to be able to pass the various claims through the sieve of understanding and see which hold up.

  91. Pingback: Fresh Bilge » Sunspeck

  92. ‘On a time scale of a human life, the quiet sun is something we have not seen. Nobody knows if it has any consequences for weather/climate. My personal opinion is that does not have a significant effect, because the amount of variation is still very, very small [one in a thousand] compared to the total output of the Sun.’

    I believe it does have consequences. The weather records for my area only go back to 1850’s. I have been paying particular attention to our local newpaper that depicts a climate very different in key areas from where it is now in the clips of 100 yrs and 150 yrs ago.
    People have forgotten the very hard & bitter winters that existed from the time of Lewis & Clark Exp. through the 1840’s.

  93. ‘My point is that for such images to be useful for scientific purposes observatories should calibrate the images and/or provide raw frames plus the calibration frames (”master bias,dark,flat”).’

    I can tell you that the effect of using an out-of-date or wrong flat can put a bright spot on an image, I’ve done that. I’m still looking around for some ccd images that show the SC24 spots
    of this year. Not having any luck so far, I might add.

  94. on 44Ti: some more falls have been ‘unearthed’ and the record may now extend back some 240 years, still not the 1000 years in question. The further back the 44Ti record goes, the greater influence has the uncertain value of the half-life of 44Ti. The discussion is not whether solar activity in the middle 20th century was high [it was], but whether that activity is unprecedented in the last few millennia [it is not].

  95. “the amount of variation is still very, very small [one in a thousand] compared to the total output of the Sun.”

    Yes, solar radiation can vary with solar cycles by over 1.5 w/m2, which is around a thousanth of a “constant” of 1366 w/m2. No sunspots, low solar radiation. Lots of sunspots, large cycles, high solar radiation. Sunspots increased significantly from 1930 to 1960, dropped till 1975, rose till 1990 then levelled off to the present. Take a hint.

  96. Robert Bateman (10:02:18) :
    I believe it does have consequences. The weather records for my area only go back to 1850’s. I have been paying particular attention to our local newpaper that depicts a climate very different in key areas from where it is now in the clips of 100 yrs and 150 yrs ago.
    People have forgotten the very hard & bitter winters that existed from the time of Lewis & Clark Exp. through the 1840’s.

    Solar activity 1840-1880 was no different from what is has been 1980-present. See e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/SH13A-1109-F2007.pdf [page 12] It all hangs on the correct calibration of the sunspot record. I’m not claiming that my reconstruction is correct. What I’m saying is that the data we have and the understanding of the processes that connect the solar and geomagnetic data are consistent with the suggested recalibration of the sunspot record, while being inconsistent with both the Zurich [SIDC] series and the Hoyt/Schatten group sunspot number series, which, BTW are mutually inconsistent as well.

  97. Glenn (10:13:33) :
    Sunspots increased significantly from 1930 to 1960, dropped till 1975, rose till 1990 then levelled off to the present. Take a hint.
    Science does not operate on hints.

  98. Leif, take a look at sunspot increase since 1900 in figure 4 of your cite.

    http://www.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2005_the_long

    You are well aware of the fluctuation in TSI during solar cycles. When there are no cycles or they are very small with few sunspots, TSI will be low. Large cycles, with high sunspot count, high TSI. Sunspot numbers in that graph went from around 50 in 1900 to around 150 in 2000. In other words, more sunspots, more heat. There is a strong correlation with sunspot/cycle intensity pattern and global temperature pattern in the last hundred years.
    The claim that the increase in TSI (which I haven’t seen to be denied by anyone) is not significant enough to account for even a substantial percentage of the increasing temperatures is just speculation.

  99. Robert Bateman (10:14:00) :
    http://www.nwra-az.com/spawx/ssne-year.html
    Here’s an example of a relative sunspot and F10.7 count that goes negative.

    It is negative because it is a calculated value and it simply means that their conversion formula is not correct. It becomes non-linear for small sunspot numbers because the Wolf formula R = 10*G + S simply does not work for very low solar activity if one insists on counting every spot no matter how small – remember the formula was based on the assumption/observation that an average group has about 10 spots. Wolf thought that the smallest spots should not be counted. And if you do anyway, the constant ’10’ should be different, depending on the number of spots in the group. In other words: it is silly to assign a sunspot number of 11 to one small pore. If one insists on doing so, you end up with the negative numbers shown on the plot.

  100. Glenn (10:43:09) :
    When there are no cycles or they are very small with few sunspots, TSI will be low. Large cycles, with high sunspot count, high TSI
    The issue is not low/high, but how much. For a small cycle, the cycle average TSI is 1365.8 W/m2, for a large cycle TSI is 1366.2, for a difference of 0.4 or less than 0.03%. That is not a lot of heat. In fact it is easy to calculate how much that will increase the temperature since dS/S = 4 dT/T, so a dS/S of 0.03% is a change of T, i.e. dT/T of 0.03/4 = 0.0075%= 100*0.0075*300(degrees Kelvin) = 0.02 degrees.

    There is a strong correlation with sunspot/cycle intensity pattern and global temperature pattern in the last hundred years.
    Since solar activity 1840-188 was comparable to that of 1980-present, temperatures should be comparable too. Cherry-picking just the last 100 years is not a compelling strategy.

    The claim that the increase in TSI (which I haven’t seen to be denied by anyone) is not significant enough to account for even a substantial percentage of the increasing temperatures is just speculation.
    I just calculated for you what the temperature change should be. It is your choice to consider 0.02 degrees to be significant. I wouldn’t base public policy and tax-dollars on that.

    Back when Jack Eddy [1976 or so] called attention to the Maunder Minimum and noted that it coincided with the LIA, it was thought [based on Abbot's measurements 1913-1956] that the change in ‘the solar constant’ between the Maunder Minimum and now was of the order of 1.5% or 50 times larger than we now know that is, so by the same calculation we get dT/T of 50*0.03/4 = 50*0.02 degrees = 1 degree, which is about what it is. Eddy later recognized that his suggestion [MM -> LIA] had been observationally refuted, e.g. as he acknowledged in his Dinner talk “Tales of the Sun and Climate” at the SORCE 2003 meeting http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2003ScienceMeeting/Dec03ScienceMeeting.html

    Unfortunately, the [now unsupported] MM and LIA link has caught the public’s eye [and yours, it seems] and like a zombie cannot be beaten down and put to rest.

  101. The trouble, as Leif has grown old trying to explain to me, is that there is no known manifestation of change in the sun which can account for the wide changes in global climate. If there is a mechanism to magnify some effect of the sun to account for the changes in climate, it is not presently known, and Leif believes in explicatory mechanisms, for some occult reason.
    ============================================

  102. kim (11:24:33) :
    If there is a mechanism to magnify some effect of the sun to account for the changes in climate, it is not presently known, and Leif believes in explicatory mechanisms, for some occult reason.

    Kim, it is not just that; it is also that the correlations are not all that hot, e.g. as I pointed out in the previous comment:

    Glenn said: There is a strong correlation with sunspot/cycle intensity pattern and global temperature pattern in the last hundred years.
    Since solar activity 1840-1880 was comparable to that of 1980-present, temperatures should be comparable too, if there is such a strong correlation in general, and I believe that most people would argue that the temperature now is a bit higher than in the 1850s. Of course, some of those people have their own ‘theory’ about why the temps are higher… As long as we do not know the relative importance of the various factors that may influence climate, we cannot just correlate the climate with ONE factor and say ‘this is it!’. The immortal words of Tweedledee come to mind: “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t.”

  103. “Unfortunately, the [now unsupported] MM and LIA link has caught the public’s eye [and yours, it seems] and like a zombie cannot be beaten down and put to rest.”

    And absolutely tons of scientific articles, official agency reports, college syllabus, Wiki and perhaps some I have missed. It appears your preference is to choose from a few articles that for one reason or another, deny any warming connection to anything other than greenhouse gasses, placating the IPCC. They must all be zombies, except those that swallow the IPCC line and sinker. I don’t trust your opinion, your calculations nor your reasoning skills.
    I wasn’t going to mention it, but you have made in my opinion, several serious mistakes in logic. One was to intimate that two regional areas suggested to have experienced similar climate fluctuation in a certain time period removes that fluctuation from being only a regional event. That isn’t necessarily true, nor are all cats blue because a cat in Detroit is blue and a cat in Istanbul is blue. If you like, I will provide more examples.

    .4 is a lot of heat, Leif. It is about half a W/m2 increase for many years of increasing solar activity. Your simple equation that appears to calculate the increase in temperature is hogwash. The Earth doesn’t work that way to be able to calculate global temperatures by such simple means.

  104. “Since solar activity 1840-1880 was comparable to that of 1980-present, temperatures should be comparable too, if there is such a strong correlation in general, and I believe that most people would argue that the temperature now is a bit higher than in the 1850s.”

    Sure it is a bit higher now than in 1840-1880, because you are wrong. Solar activity is higher now than 1980-present, and had just came out of a quiet period 1790-1835:

  105. Glenn (11:55:46) :
    It appears your preference is to choose from a few articles that for one reason or another, deny any warming connection to anything other than greenhouse gasses, placating the IPCC.
    And this is where you go wrong in the most serious way as it colors your whole view of things. I do not think [and has never said] that the recent warming is due mostly to greenhouse gases. Undoubtedly a small part is [as CO2 is a greenhouse gas], but with an Earth covered 71% with a 3,700 meter deep ocean holding perhaps 300 times as much heat as the Atmosphere, any simpleminded AGW or Solar connection is equal folly. The IPCC report is just politics and should not be taken seriously.

    .4 is a lot of heat, Leif. It is about half a W/m2 increase for many years of increasing solar activity
    Yes, assuming that the heat stays, except it doesn’t. During the few minutes of a total solar eclipse, the temperature falls several degrees. In the desert at night, the temperature falls 30 degrees K. That great greenhouse gas Water Vapor raises the temperature 30 degrees.

    Your simple equation that appears to calculate the increase in temperature is hogwash. The Earth doesn’t work that way to be able to calculate global temperatures by such simple means.
    Oh yes, when it comes to small changes, then it is pretty good. After all, when comes in, must go out eventually, and the formula equates the two quantities. The formula says nothing about the effect of greenhouse gases [mainly Water Vapor], so assumes that the amount of greenhouse gases has not changed [something some people would violently oppose, but i have no qualms with that assumption, since most of it is Water Vapor anyway]

    Glenn, try to get off the stifling fixation on what you wrongly acsribe to people, especially me, and start the learning process, as I suggested.

  106. Glenn (12:10:15) :
    Solar activity is higher now than 1980-present, and had just came out of a quiet period 1790-1835:

    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx/images/zurich.gif

    I think you have just missed the whole point of the recent sunspot debate, namely that the official sunspot series is seriously flawed. If you want to use a sunspot series with even lower solar activity back then, I can warmly recommend the Group Sunspot Number. This is the series preferred by Solanki, Usoskin, and Co. because it makes the present-day sunspot number even relatively higher. You can see the difference here http://www.leif.org/research/SSN%20Validation-Reconstruction%20(Cliver).pdf [page 3].

  107. Leif Svalgaard (12:39:47) :
    The formula says nothing about the effect of greenhouse gases [mainly Water Vapor], so assumes that the amount of greenhouse gases has not changed
    To clarify, I mean, of course, the amount of change due to… or if you prefer, the effect of. the formulat assumes that that change is small. If you, Glenn, want to argue that I should take into effect the warming effect of man-made emissions, then that will have to be added to the 0.02 degree change caused by TSI. I’ll let you add what you think is appropriate and tell us the result.

  108. “Glenn, try to get off the stifling fixation on what you wrongly acsribe to people, especially me, and start the learning process, as I suggested.”

    I suggest you do the same. You’ve repeatedly claimed what my intentions are, yet I haven’t made any such claims to beliefs, and in fact do not. The scientific record is literally swamped with references to such things as the MWP, LIA, a cold Sporer Minimum and other subjects you deny, that provide the basis of my understanding and opinion. Solar eclipse??? Perhaps you are slipping.
    I also do not happen to accept that the sunspot record is “seriously flawed”. Reconstructions of past cycles match early recorded cycles pretty well, and one or two specks counted will not matter much. If there is any hard evidence of the past recording being sporatic or incomplete, you should provide it.

  109. grrr, I’m hit by this all the time. Try again:
    see the difference here
    [page 3].

    Sheesh, Leif, even your own “adjusted” graph shows that the period of 1960-2000 was more intense than that of 1840-1880.
    But now I see why you compared 1980-present to 1840-1880. 30 year span compared to 40 year span with one more cycle in the earlier range. Good tactic.

  110. Glenn (11:55:46) :
    “Unfortunately, the [now unsupported] MM and LIA link has caught the public’s eye [and yours, it seems] and like a zombie cannot be beaten down and put to rest.”
    And absolutely tons of scientific articles, official agency reports, college syllabus, Wiki…

    Especially the IPCC reports, I presume.

  111. Glenn (13:03:58) :
    The scientific record is literally swamped with references to such things as the MWP, LIA, cold Sporer Minimum and other subjects you deny, that provide the basis of my understanding and opinion.
    For the umpteenth time: the MWP and the LIA are real. they are there, no doubt. The Spoerer Minimum temperature is discussed in the ‘Sunspec’ thread, so I’ll keep it there. Perhaps only show this temperature anomaly reconstruction: http://www.climateaudit.org/wp-images/brif2034.gif
    Compare the SM with the MWP that shows similar warming.
    It is from http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3608

    I also do not happen to accept that the sunspot record is “seriously flawed”. Reconstructions of past cycles match early recorded cycles pretty well, and one or two specks counted will not matter much. If there is any hard evidence of the past recording being sporatic or incomplete, you should provide it.
    And this is the crux of the matter. I have repeatedly provided such evidence, but you have evidently not studied it sufficiently, if at all. The way to deal with this is to treat it as a scientific peer-review. The process works like this: the reviewer goes through the paper and for every point where he thinks that the argument is weak or the data non-convincing he/she notes why he thinks so and asks for clarification or elaboration. That he/she merely disagrees is not a valid objection. Then the author responds to each point and the referee evaluates if the response addresses his/hers concerns.
    And you have completely missed the whole point of this thread and several others, by talking about ‘past recording being sporatic or incomplete’. For the umpteenth time, again, the recordings are what they are and are the best we have, but they are not calibrated correctly to be comparable to the modern records, or conversely, the modern recordings are too high. We are not talking about the old observers ‘missing’ spots, but about how we compare their records with ours.

  112. Glenn (13:29:12) :
    “Especially the IPCC reports, I presume.”
    Science does not operate on presumptions.

    Your reading and selection of reports are not science, so this remark does not apply.

  113. Glenn (13:13:10) :
    Sheesh, Leif, even your own “adjusted” graph shows that the period of 1960-2000 was more intense than that of 1840-1880.
    But now I see why you compared 1980-present to 1840-1880. 30 year span compared to 40 year span with one more cycle in the earlier range. Good tactic.

    I don’t do tactic. But I’ll be happy to lop of the first of the earlier cycles to make both periods the same length. Or to add a cycle to the modern span. If I do, here are the average corrected sunspot numbers for each span:
    3 early cycles 63.8 3 modern cycles 68.5, difference 7%
    4 early cycles 62.1 4 modern cycles 65.5, difference 5%
    Of course, the numbers to not match exactly, but are within a few percent of each other [average 6%], so are very comparable. We can translate that difference into a TSI difference. It comes to 4/100 = 0.04 W/m2, as the TSI change from solar min to max for cycles with a sunspot number of 150 has been 1.5 W/m2, so one W/m2 per 100 spots. The 0.04 W/m2 results in a temperature increase of 0.002 degrees.

  114. “Your reading and selection of reports are not science, so this remark does not apply.”

    And your’s are and do? Give it a rest, Leif. My statement would apply even if I were a screaming baboon. This awful logic you practice makes you look bad.

  115. Glenn (13:13:10) :
    Sheesh, Leif, even your own “adjusted” graph shows that the period of 1960-2000 was more intense than that of 1840-1880.
    But now I see why you compared 1980-present to 1840-1880. 30 year span compared to 40 year span with one more cycle in the earlier range.

    Grrrr, I was even misled by your sloppiness or worse [tactic?]. I should have known better and checked. The two periods both had three cycles in them, that was how I chose them in the first place, trying to make them as comparable as possible. So, no extra cycle. In the end, as my later post showed, it doesn’t make any difference. If uses the absolute worst case [for me], namely the Group Sunspot Number, the early interval had GSN = 42.5, and the modern had GSN = 68.0. The difference, 15.5 spots, translates into 0.16 W/m2 of TSI resulting in 0.008 degrees. This is the temperature increase considering solar activity just as extra heat. I think most people realize that that won’t do, hence the scramble for other mechanisms: UV on ozone, cosmic rays, magnetic ‘energy’, you name it. There is no shortage of mechanisms, maybe they all work together. But such plethora does not convince me, perhaps you. Your problem or joy, as the case may be, then.

  116. Glenn (14:22:08) :
    And your’s are and do?
    What you said was:
    Sunspots increased significantly from 1930 to 1960, dropped till 1975, rose till 1990 then levelled off to the present. Take a hint.
    My answer was that “Science does not operate on hints”.
    Nothing about what me or what I do. So ??

    This awful logic you practice makes you look bad
    So be it. I can only do what I do.

  117. ‘Solar activity 1840-1880 was no different from what is has been 1980-present’
    Um, no, the period BEFORE that, 1790-1835, that is where the hard winters were. The Dalton, and that is where I believe we are currently headed. Observant people in everyday walks of life have seen the changes, and they want to know why.
    Fair enough: So do I, and I dig.

  118. As for my digging around for images of 2008 sunspots: All I can find so far for 01/07 to 01/08 is some H-alpha plages. For 04/13 to 04/15 same thing. For 06/18 to 06/20 I find a valid spot lasting 3 days from UCCLE. For 07/18 to 07/21 from Catania I find a pixel that moves way too fast in HAlpha. For 9/11 all sources I find no visible sunpot, and some fishy HAlpha.

    If anybody has some image sources other than Catania, Calgoora and UCCLE, please post it, I’ll continue digging.
    So far, I haven’t found any SC24 spots in the visible. Nada. Are there any for dates/sources outside of the 3 observatories I listed and 01/08 and 04/14?

  119. Robert Bateman (15:07:22) :
    Um, no, the period BEFORE that, 1790-1835, that is where the hard winters were. The Dalton, and that is where I believe we are currently headed.
    And yet you were referring to:
    People have forgotten the very hard & bitter winters that existed from the time of Lewis & Clark Exp. through the 1840’s.
    But ok, in this game everybody seems to thrive on being just a little bit off here and there if it fits better :-)
    There were also at that time significant volcanic activity: 1809 (see Dai JGR 96, 1991), 1814 (Mayon), and 1815 (Tambora), resulting in significant cooling. As I said before, wanting to ascribe all change to just one cause is folly.
    On top of that [which I also touched upon earlier] our knowledge of the sunspot number during the Dalton minimum is very shake. We could be off by a factor two [either way].

  120. Leif, you claim “The two periods both had three cycles in them”, and call me sloppy?? Your ranges were 1840-1880 and 1980-present. Here’s your source:

    http://www.leif.org/research/SSN%20Validation-Reconstruction%20(Cliver).pdf

    There are two graphs, the first starting with 1830, the second further down the page starts at 1840 but not plotted till 1841 or 1842.
    The first graph at 1840 starts on the downslope of cycle 8, and 1880 is the start of cycle 12. The range 1840-1880 includes either 3 or 4 cyles, depending on how you want to look at it.
    But the 1980-present (let alone that range is 12 years less than 1840-1880) starts close to the downslope of cycle 21, and “current” is cycle 23, which represents either 2 or 3 cycles, however you want to look at it.
    I look at both the same, 1840-1880 encompasses 3 1/2 cycles, and 1980-present at 2 1/2 cycles. They are not both “the same” in that “both had 3 cycles in them”.
    As to the intensities, just a straightedge on the peaks show that cycles 21 and 22 were higher than 8, 9, 10 or 11. Cycle 23 peaks higher than 10 and the same as 9. Cycle 20 peaks higher than 10. I’d say do the math, but there is no need to, is there.

    The second lower sunspot graph (no labels, so who knows what it means) as I
    said earlier, starts out at a different time, but is essentially in the same fix. The peaks average higher for the later range of 3 cycles than for the earlier range of 3 cycles.

    Keep always in mind that 1980 is near the peak of one of your 3 “the same number of cycles” cycles, and the 1840-1880 period covers more than 3 full cycles.
    [snip] Leif, were I to publish an article like this, I’d at least make the two graphs the same scale, and clearly label them for what they represent, or at least represent them by “figure” number so they could be referenced elsewhere.

  121. People have forgotten the very hard & bitter winters that existed from the time of Lewis & Clark Exp. through the 1840’s
    Lewis & Clark = 1804. There are few records from 1800-1840, but they all indicate hard winters. And 3 volcanoes should not be expected to last the next 30 years, though they certainly would have contributed.
    Thank God we have Hurricane warnings that work to save lives.
    I certainly hope this all gets sorted out in time to better prepare the public for what lies ahead, otherwise we are no better off than when Modern Science began 400 yrs ago.

  122. Glenn (15:49:11) :
    I guess sloppiness is contagious :-). Better to deal in cycles then. Cycles 9-11 vs. cycles 21-23. Then we find for the years covered by those sets of cycles are:
    9-11: avg(SSN) = 62.1
    21-23: avg(SSN) = 68.5
    or for 10-11 and 22-23:
    10-11: avg(SSN) = 66.4
    22-23: avg(SSN) = 62.9
    leading to the same conclusion as before.

    Or as I said in my presentation at AGU:
    “There is no real difference between the corrected Group sunspot numbers and Zürich sunspot numbers. Both are plotted, but the curves fall on top of another. It is of interest to note that (corrected) cycles 11 and 10 were as active as the most recent cycles 22 and 23. We thus see no evidence in the sunspot number of a secular increase in solar activity over the last ~165 years.

    http://www.leif.org/research/SH13A-1109-F2007.pdf

    Leif, were I to publish an article like this, I’d at least make the two graphs the same scale, and clearly label them for what they represent, or at least represent them by “figure” number so they could be referenced elsewhere.
    Of course, this is normal practice that everybody follows. The figures are from an oral presentation and is meant to be discussed as they are shown. In such cases there is no doubt what is been shown [as it is explained directly] and too much labeling and text are actually discouraged as cluttering the graph [we don't want people to read, but to listen]. So, slightly different rules apply.

  123. Leif tries to justify proceeding on the basis of a counterfactual assumption (AGW) on the grounds that it was the assumption of his questioner, and he was just projecting the assumption to its logical conclusion: that that even if a quiet sun brings solar cooling, we had still better do something about CO2, or face a “double whammy” when solar activity revives. His words:

    I am amazed of the inability of people to read and understand simple English [or is it me that can't write simple English?]. AGW is not MY assumption, it was HIS assumption. And if go by that assumption [it is always valid to follow an assumption to its logical conclusion] then the rest follows.

    What simple English did I miss? You never said that this was Stuart Clark’s assumption, and reading his article, it seems quite clear that it is NOT his assumption. Throughout the article he asks various scientists to give their assessment of solar vs. greenhouse effects.

    Even if this journalist did somehow pin you to the assumption of AGW (just how does he do that?) it would still be nonsensical to adhere to that assumption in the face of obvious counter-evidence.

    You deny that if our quiet sun is accompanied by cooling that it proves anything:

    That we have cooling and a quiet
    Sun is not proof of anything, it could be just pure coincidence.

    Indeed, I should have been clearer. One data point is not proof. The many thousands of years of close correlation between solar activity and global temperature, on the other hand, has ALREADY proven that solar activity is the primary driver of global temperature. Many thousands of years of close correlation CANNOT be coincidence. The relationship HAS to be causal, and causality can only go one way, since global temperature cannot possibly be driving solar activity.

    So you were accepting a counterfactual assumption to begin with (your own, not Clark’s), and you say you will continue to adhere to it even if current experience also shows solar activity to be a powerful driver of global temperature (the effects of which have been misattributed to CO2 by the IPCC).

    How does that make you anything but an AGW propagandist? The excuse of trying to blame Clark for the AGW assumption is particularly lame given the context: that the explicit subject of your sentence is POLICY PRESCRIPTION, suggesting that we need to “do something” about CO2 even if get even more evidence that temperature changes are actually being driven by the sun. You even go so far as to suggest that things will be even worse for global warming, which would come back “with a vengance.”

    I notice in Clark’s article that Solanki is also not very well informed about more than solar science:

    “The temperature of the Earth in the past few decades does not correlate with solar activity at all,” Solanki says. He estimates that solar activity is responsible for only 30 per cent, at most, of the warming since 1970. The rest must be the result of man-made greenhouse gases, and a crash in solar activity won’t do anything to get rid of them.

    No, it does not have to be the result of greenhouse gases. It seems to be the result of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Svensmark has it nailed. His graphic near the end of my post here.

  124. Robert Bateman (16:14:24) :
    People have forgotten the very hard & bitter winters that existed from the time of Lewis & Clark Exp. through the 1840’s
    Lewis & Clark = 1804.

    So you corrected your typo. I should have caught that too. My bad.

    There are few records from 1800-1840, but they all indicate hard winters.
    And I guess that a hard winter is more worthy of a report than a normal or even mild winter. Disasters tend to get peoples’ attention more.

    If the Sun is the culprit then one would expect the effect on temperature to be global. The Central England Temperature series [which matches quite well similar series from Europe] goes back to 1659. You can see it here http://www.leif.org/research/CET2.png . The temperature there was not particularly low in the early 1800s [except for a few years around the volcanic eruptions 1809-1815]. Here http://www.leif.org/research/CETandCO2.pdf you can see the four clear increases in the CET record in more detail. Also plotted is the logarithm of the CO2 concentration which is supposed to be a measure of the greenhouse effect from CO2. As you can see only in the last of the four panels [recent data] do the two curves track. Before that they don’t, clearly showing that the CO2 link is dubious. But that is another story. I’m only concerned with the Sun here, and only mentioned CO2 because the curve is on the graph and I want to preempt any discussion of AGW.

  125. A number of things come to my addled mind:

    1. As this sun speck was only really visible in the magnetogram, it appears that sunspots are created by the magnetic anomoly, as these anomolies precede the visual sunspot.

    2. Are we now going to measure sunspots with magnetic images? This makes the sunspot record discontinuous. To be valid, we must employ a standard for sunspots that is equivalent to the method of recording sunspots over the historical record. Calibration, guys!

    3. Is there not some time duration required to count as a sunspot, such as a solar rotation, or two observations within a 48 hour period?

    4. Aren’t these people really clutching at straws? And it was a cycle 23 speck to boot. Ha!

    5. Following on from (2) above: If we calibrated our observations with those from the 17th and 18th century (a not impossible task) then we could make a guesstimate (engineering term for SWAG) of the unseen sun-specks during that period.

  126. Alec Rawls (16:56:07) :
    You never said that this was Stuart Clark’s assumption
    I think that I just said it, no?. How could you otherwise deny it?
    and reading his article, it seems quite clear that it is NOT his assumption
    Well, I was there and know what he said and what he meant. We talked on the phone for two hours. Is it my fault that either he didn’t make that clear in his article or [more likely] that you can’t see it?
    But, I can see with the heavy investment in your opinion why it is hard for you to budge, so I don’t expect you to. Just wanted to clear things up.

  127. Hysteresis points, Leif. Where one continent or portion of a continent sees no change, others are not so lucky. The reports of cooling and phenomena on the ground come from Western US and Australia. If it goes far enough, the rest will follow in lockstep. We just don’t have a very firm grip on where we are in relation to the past.
    But I do agree that AGW is not a lone consequence nor a superior driver of Earths’s climate, but simply another factor in a sea of factors. Given the right set of circumstances, it too passes it’s hysteresis point and adds insult to injury. i.e. – AGW may be real but doesn’t act in a linear fashion, and neither would named Maximums or Minimums.

  128. If someday we can get beyond this “my forcing is better than your forcing” stuff, we might just find ourselves in a position to predict when one condition has reached it’s activation point and now stands above the rest.
    For that reason, I continue to dig away looking for the data that proves which sunspots/sunspecks are real and which are low signal to noise artifacts.
    Stuff happens.

  129. Leif Svalgaard,

    Rather than adjust past numbers, we can calibrate present numbers by employing the techniques used in the past. The past instruments and their capabilites are known; we can employ them, or modern day analogues, to observe over a period of time, and then use those numbers to correlate current, more sensitive counts, to the older counts. This way, we do not do the Hann trick of “adjusting” past data and do not throw away the advantage of modern sensitivty. We will be able to produce an homogenous historical record, though.

    This can be done for technologies available at different periods. It is a simple, yet elegant, experiment.

    As to funding, do like Yon and Totten do for their funding in independant journalism of war in the mid-East: Get a Paypal account and ask for donations. 5000 donations of $20 goes a long way. I will donate a hundred.

  130. Alec Rawls (16:56:07) :
    Now turning to some of the science instead of the silly NewScientist discussion of who assumed what.

    No, it does not have to be the result of greenhouse gases. It seems to be the result of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Svensmark has it nailed. His graphic near the end of my post here.
    I am sympathetic to the PDO, but not to the notion that it caused by the GCRs [or their purported influence on clouds].

    It is GCR that can be measured directly in the geologic record
    First, please don’t refer to it as the geological record, maybe glaciologic record or biological record [for 14C]. No Geology there.
    Second, the GCRs are NOT measured directly. They create 10Be which is washed out by weather and rain and transported to the poles by wind, so the deposition of 10Be in the ice depends not only on the GCRs, but also on the weather and especially on the sulphuric acid aerosols, so volcanic eruptions have a heavy influence on the 10Be record. So, no ‘direct’ link there. Important to get little facts correct. We have temperature and PDO records and GCR records [or their proxies 10BE and 14C] going much further back than what Svensmark shows for his plot. The PDO [e.g. Steve Hare's that you show] back to 1900 does not vary as the GCRs did back to then, hence my reluctance to attach weight to the notion that the PDO is GCR-controlled.

  131. Robert Bateman (17:31:25) :
    But I do agree that AGW is not a lone consequence nor a superior driver of Earths’s climate, but simply another factor in a sea of factors.
    Put in the word ‘small’ somewhere there and we may agree better.

    Robert Wood (17:39:02) :
    Rather than adjust past numbers, we can calibrate present numbers by employing the techniques used in the past. The past instruments and their capabilites are known; we can employ them, or modern day analogues, to observe over a period of time, and then use those numbers to correlate current, more sensitive counts, to the older counts
    Is being done by many, many amateurs, One is even using Rudolf Wolfs very own telescope from 1859.

    This way, we do not do the Hann trick of “adjusting” past data
    We would still have to do that to use the past data as it is already inhomogeneous and MUST be cleaned up first.

    We will be able to produce an homogenous historical record, though
    And in a few centuries will have something comparable to the historical record. There is nothing inherently wrong in ‘adjusting’ [in spite of the bad press that word has] if done correctly and impartially [no letting the fox loose in the hen-house], and the good news is that it can be done [I for one is willing to spend a good chunk of my time on it]

    As to funding, do like Yon and Totten do for their funding in independant journalism of war in the mid-East: Get a Paypal account and ask for donations. 5000 donations of $20 goes a long way. I will donate a hundred.
    Well, I do have a paypal account leif@leif.org but I’m not sure it will bring in enough to sustain this effort [we are not talking about a few days or weeks of work - it will take many months, perhaps years].

  132. “The Central England Temperature series [which matches quite well similar series from Europe] goes back to 1659. You can see it here http://www.leif.org/research/CET2.png .”

    That’s bad. Here’s a better one, and with an official stamp:

    Colder than the dickens from 1800 to 1820, then a short warming 10 year or so reprieve and a couple warm summers, followed by a drop to frigid temps from 1830 to 1840. The warm spell could be explained by ocean circulation patterns, etc.

  133. Alec Rawls, I see your point and almost entirely agree. Without mechanism, though, correlation does not prove causality. It’s faith to believe otherwise, and Leif is as neutral as a scientist should be. You can see that he’s skeptical about CO2=AGW and he scoffs at the IPCC. Leif insists on the mechanism because knowing that is the only way to properly inform policy.
    ====================================

  134. Glenn (18:11:15) :
    “The Central England Temperature series[...]”
    That’s bad. Here’s a better one, and with an official stamp

    Mine shows the actually measured temperatures, not anomalies from some recent high point. And comes from here http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Daily/HadCET_act.txt with the appropriate official stamp, so is not bad. You just couldn’t help yourself, could you :-). The cold in the 1810s is due to volcanic eruptions, not the Sun. Note how the 1850s-1860s were a lot colder [on either graph] than last twenty years despite almost identical solar activity.

  135. Glenn (18:11:15) :
    Colder than the dickens from 1800 to 1820, then a short warming 10 year or so reprieve and a couple warm summers, followed by a drop to frigid temps from 1830 to 1840. The warm spell could be explained by ocean circulation patterns, etc.
    And the cold spells not? This works both ways.

  136. “And the cold spells not? This works both ways.”
    I didn’t say that. Most all of this “works both ways”. That is the problem with
    trying to guess what the complex system of Earth climate is doing at any time at specific locations. Robert offered the Lewis & Clark expedition being a cold period in North America, and you poo pooed that with “If the Sun is the culprit then one would expect the effect on temperature to be global” and what appears now to be a temp anomaly graph of Central England. You should ask yourself the question you just asked me.

    “The cold in the 1810s is due to volcanic eruptions, not the Sun.” How about vulcanism and low solar activity? Or is this one where you can have it one way?

  137. Left this out:

    “The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, lasting from about 1790 to 1830 [1]. It is named for the English meteorologist John Dalton. Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum it coincided with a period of lower than average global temperatures. Low solar activity seems to be strongly correlated with global cooling.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Minimum

    Wiki is a very popular site, Leif. You can be a contributor if you wish.

  138. Glenn (19:30:57) :
    “And the cold spells not? This works both ways.”
    I didn’t say that.

    True, but you were quick to ‘explain the warm spell’ as if needed special explanation, you could also have explained that “the drop to frigid temps from 1830 to 1840 could be explained by ocean circulation patterns, etc.”. Your bias showed itself by trying to explain away the warm spell.

    Robert offered the Lewis & Clark expedition being a cold period in North America, and you poo pooed that with “If the Sun is the culprit then one would expect the effect on temperature to be global” and what appears now to be a temp anomaly graph of Central England.
    The 1800-1820 were not particularly cold compared to the whole period 1790-1890 except for the years with volcanic eruptions.

    How about vulcanism and low solar activity? Or is this one where you can have it one way?
    We now have low solar activity [has been going down for a while] and it is now not ‘colder than the dickens’, so yes, I think this one goes my way.

  139. I see that ozone is not well mixed. CO2 is probably not well mixed, water vapor is not well mixed. Therefore the things that cool temps and seed clouds will not act globally, but will act locally. I have a hunch that it matters not that cosmic rays, one potential seeder of water vapor into clouds, may hit Earth in a well mixed and even way at the outer to inner levels of our atmosphere. It seems it would matter how it reacts to the unmixed conditions of our atmosphere. This is why the variation of the Sun is not as important to me as the interaction of the slightly varying Sun with our stew-like atmosphere.

  140. Glenn (19:34:20) :
    Wiki is a very popular site, Leif. You can be a contributor if you wish
    Wiki says this about ‘Global Warming':
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations”[1] via an enhanced greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.
    —-
    I take it, then, that you agree with this too. I especially like the “solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect”. Good to know that volcanoes help keeping us warm.

  141. “We now have low solar activity [has been going down for a while] and it is now not ‘colder than the dickens’, so yes, I think this one goes my way.”

    Nonsense. Wait for a few years, if the same pattern as the Dalton Minimum emerges. Of course we would be coming down from an all-time high period of solar activity. Furthermore, I’d call the last few months being below or very near the mean baseline “cooling down”. This is global mean temp, Leif. Have a better explanation for the last few months, and as far as that matters the last several years of flat temps? El Nina? CO2 increase?

    “Your bias showed itself by trying to explain away the warm spell.”

    Again your logic astounds. No, I simply said that ocean circulations or something *could have* caused the spike in temp during the Dalton, *in England*.

  142. Robert Wood (17:15:27) :
    Sorry, I didn’t see this one for the fluff:
    1. As this sun speck was only really visible in the magnetogram, it appears that sunspots are created by the magnetic anomaly, as these anomalies precede the visual sunspot.
    Sunspots are the visual manifestation of a magnetic field stronger than 1500 Gauss [the Earth's field is 0.5 Gauss]. If the magnetic field is weaker than 1500 G it shows up brighter than the surrounding atmosphere.

    2. Are we now going to measure sunspots with magnetic images? This makes the sunspot record discontinuous. To be valid, we must employ a standard for sunspots that is equivalent to the method of recording sunspots over the historical record. Calibration, guys!
    We should measure sunspots the way they have always been measured. Unfortunately that is a void statement, because the method changed in 1893 when Wolf died. So we have to ‘splice’ the two pieces together by appropriate calibration.

    3. Is there not some time duration required to count as a sunspot, such as a solar rotation, or two observations within a 48 hour period?
    No, although NOAA has a 12-hour lifetime requirement for counted it as an ‘active region’. Historically, Wolf and his successors only observed once a day, and Wolf had a subjective
    judgment call based on the size of the spot. His successor didn’t like that and counted all spots he could, which is not much better, because different people in different locations with different seeing, see different things.

    4. Aren’t these people really clutching at straws? And it was a cycle 23 speck to boot. Ha!
    No, they are trying to the best they can [and it is not easy]. Of course, as government employees [or maybe all employees] they try to CYA and hate to admit errors and hide behind bureaucracy ['this is an official product and cannot be changed'].

    5. Following on from (2) above: If we calibrated our observations with those from the 17th and 18th century (a not impossible task) then we could make a guesstimate (engineering term for SWAG) of the unseen sun-specks during that period.
    yes, but we have to include the 19th and 20th centuries as well, because they need to be re-calibrated as well. And it is possible to do the re-calibration [I'm working on it :-) ]. A major obstacle is that many folks don’t want a correctly calibrated series because of possible conflicts with their ideas derived from or supported by the flawed series.

  143. “I take it, then, that you agree with this too.”

    Why yes, I agree that the IPCC concludes these things. Again your logic astounds.

  144. evanjones (20:01:22) :
    Well, I agree with Wikipedia: That IS what the IPPC [sic] says!
    Anybody reading that Wiki entry comes away with the impression that IPCC’s is an objective assessment of the situation as it “has been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science,[4] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.[5][6][7] While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with some findings of the IPCC,[8] the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC’s main conclusions.”
    The individual scientists [and by extension all AGW skeptics] are almost represented as some loonies on the fringe.
    I’ll be specific and not split hairs: “That Wiki entry is one-sided”.

  145. “I’ll be specific and not split hairs: “That Wiki entry is one-sided”.”

    Must be, for you: “Low solar activity seems to be strongly correlated with global cooling.”

  146. Anthropogenic Solar Chaos – ASC. Man is causing an upset in the sun. We’ve seen the recent move to the term chaos over warming as you can now claim any change, up down or sideways.
    But, as we begin to acknowledge that it is the sun that most influences the earth’s climate, we need to now find the path to show that it is man that actually is impacting the solar output! Then we can regulate, control and tax that specific action of man.
    One proposed item is cell phones. The magnetic field disruption caused by our cell phones. There is a direct correlation between decreasing sun spots over the last 5 years and the increasing number of cell phones. Direct.
    Better yet, another is negative thoughts of people. Thus, we can now cap and trade in thoughts. We can tax thoughts. There is a proven correlation between the increased number of negative thoughts over the last 5 years and the decreasing number of sun spots.

  147. Glenn (20:18:13) :
    “Why yes, I agree that the IPCC concludes these things. Again your logic astounds.”

    Wiki goes on to say [and this is not in quotation marks:
    Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.

    A far cry from solar heat being a major climate driver. So, since Wiki says that natural phenomena have ‘probably’ caused a small cooling since 1950, you must then agree with them [assuming that you always agree with Wiki] that any increase since 1950 is not caused by natural phenomena.

    Of course we would be coming down from an all-time high period of solar activity.
    No, solar activity the last few cycles was not an all-time high as we have discussed.

    Have a better explanation for the last few months, and as far as that matters the last several years of flat temps? El Nina? CO2 increase?
    Simple internal oscillations of a complex system.

    “Your bias showed itself by trying to explain away the warm spell.”
    Again your logic astounds. No, I simply said that ocean circulations or something *could have* caused the spike in temp during the Dalton, *in England*.

    By the same token, ocean circulations ‘could have’ caused the cold weather [apart from that caused by the volcanoes.

  148. nonein2008 (20:44:33) :
    Anthropogenic Solar Chaos – ASC. Man is causing an upset in the sun. [...]There is a proven correlation between the increased number of negative thoughts over the last 5 years and the decreasing number of sun spots.
    Hurry, hurry, write a Wikipedia entry. We need all those good and strong correlations documented where the unwashed masses can find them.

  149. Glenn (21:13:23) :
    It’s called paraphrasing, Leif.
    You evaded answering if you agree with the paraphrased:
    “Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.”

  150. All I care to see is consistency, and a reported margin of error in the work.
    If you give both the orginal data and the corrected data, the record is preserved for those needing to examine or refine the correction.

  151. Right now I would greatly appreciate some links to other observatories that keep records of sunspot drawings and white light images. I cannot at this time find a single image that confirms any of the SC24 spots reported.
    I have searched Catania, Calgoora and UCCLE.
    There has to be more.

  152. Glenn (20:43:58) :
    Must be, for you: “Low solar activity seems to be strongly correlated with global cooling.”

    it says:
    Peter Foukal and other researchers from the United States, Germany, and Switzerland found no net increase of solar brightness over the last 1,000 years

    Bottom line is that quoting from Wikipedia is a fruitless exercise at least on this issue.

  153. Robert Bateman (21:27:31) :
    All I care to see is consistency, and a reported margin of error in the work.
    If you give both the orginal data and the corrected data, the record is preserved for those needing to examine or refine the correction.

    since the intrinsic [i.e. not calibration] error in the original data is unknown, the error in the corrected data will also be unknown.
    And since the original data is and has always been and will continue to be available, a re-calibration is always possible, as it should be.

    Robert Bateman (21:31:52) :
    Right now I would greatly appreciate some links to other observatories that keep records of sunspot drawings and white light images. I cannot at this time find a single image that confirms any of the SC24 spots reported.
    I have searched Catania, Calgoora and UCCLE.
    There has to be more.

    Mt. Wilson: ftp://howard.astro.ucla.edu/pub/obs/drawings/

  154. Leif: Sorry that Clark misrepresented you, but it doesn’t seem that he can have misrepresented you very much, when you keep maintaining here the same position that he attributed to you.

    HE may have asked you to carry the assumption of AGW to its logical conclusion, but I certainly have not, yet you are unwilling to recognize how the many thousands of years of close correlation between solar activity and global temperature vitiates the AGW theory.

    In that theory, the effects of changes in the level of solar activity are modeled as much too small to account for much ot the temperature effect that the geologic record (pardon the shorthand) suggests they have actually had. That drastic undercounting of solar effects causes CO2 effects to be overestimated by the same amount.

    How can a solar scientist be oblivious to whether the role of the sun is being properly accounted in one of the biggest scientific and policy questions of the day? Yet you argue for dismissing solar effects on the basis, it seems, of an anecdote (that solar activity was not low throughout the entire LIA, but was high in the early 1600’s), without even addressing the thousands of years of correlation that can only be causal.

    You don’t have to understand the mechanism to know that you’ve got a causal relationship, and to recognize its rough magnitude. (Contra Kim here too. A theory of the relationship is absolutely not needed to prove causality. That much correlation cannot be chance, and there is no way that global temperature can be causing sunspots. It is also very unlikely that there is some third actor that is causing both. Those are the only cases to be accounted. It is simple logic. Of course we do have some pretty good theories of how solar activity could be affecting temperature, but we can determine causality without them.)

    That the IPCC completely ignores the known empirical relationship between solar activity and temperature is scientific fraud. That needs to be exposed, but you (Leif) won’t go near the subject, even dodging it with an anecdote.

    If you were claiming that the many thousands of years of close correlation between solar activity and temperature is a misperception, that would be another thing. If more accurate calibration and interpretation of the data finds a much weaker correlation, then that evidence must be followed. But that isn’t what I have seen you saying. You seem to simply be claiming that instead of solar activity being at an all time high in the 20th century, it was just ordinarily high, without denying that highs and lows have on average correlated closely with temperature over many thousands of years.

    As I said in my first comment, it doesn’t make one whit of difference whether 20th century activity was super high, or just high. If there is a historic correlation between solar highs and high temperatures, the IPCC needs to stop attributing the warming effect of high 20th century solar activity to CO2. That is so simple, I don’t get how a solar scientist can be oblivious to it.

    Are you denying that there IS a long history of close correlation between solar activity and temperature? Are you, in effect, claiming to debunk Fred Singer’s book, where he arrays the geologic, ice core and tree ring evidence for such a correlation?

  155. Leif Svalgaard (21:45:51) :
    Mt. Wilson: ftp://howard.astro.ucla.edu/pub/obs/drawings/
    shows three tiny SC24 spots on April 14th, 2008.

    That’s helpful. I have an image of April 14th from NASCOM that shows nothing, but Mt. Wison caught it with a seeing of 3. Even I saw the spots on April 22nd with a 70 mm refractor using projection.

    I assume they are using the 3 out of 5 to describe the seeing with 5 being perfect.
    Their drawing of 09/11 shows nothing with a 4 out of 5 seeing.
    That’s mighty bad for a sunpot counted. Mt. Wilson is picking up the tiniest of pinpricks, so it was indeed of the briefest of encounters whomever saw it that day.
    From what I can gather after the April bout of sunpots on the equator and mid latitudes, the 16th to the 21st of June is the last healthy sunspot that has been observed. Sunspots 1000 is a pinprick and 1001 is a bust.
    I’ll keep digging, though.
    SC24 is nowhere to be found 9mos after first spot.

  156. The only thing I can say for AGW is that it is inconceivable that the CO2 content of Earth’s atmosphere can be so heavily increased without the expectation that there will be an effect. The grounding of the US airline industry for 3 days following 9/11 was an experiment.
    Maybe science can convince the govt. to repeat it quarterly for the next year to save some fuel and gather some vital data points.
    Think of the impact on global fuel prices that would have.
    On 2nd thought, don’t think about that.

  157. I have a few questions. It appears that Leif reasonably questions the ability of the very small change in output during solar cycles to significantly affect climate . I have heard it postulated that LWR does not penetrate, and is therefore not absorbed by the ocean. If the SWR of increased solar activtity does penetrate the ocean surface is it not possible then that this small amount of increased energy is absorbed into the oceans and thus accumalates over the years of increased activity? Could not this along with the yet unproved theory of cosmic ray induced cloud formation be a signficant part of the amplifying affect of solar cycles?

  158. I’m confused. The magnetogram clearly shows the magnetic disturbance on the left side. The Catania drawing indicates the “spot” is on the right side.

    So…is one image reversed? I don’t think that the viewing angle from earth could make that much difference, nor time of day. Is there something I’m missing?

  159. mark wagner (05:57:53) :
    I’m confused. The magnetogram clearly shows the magnetic disturbance on the left side. The Catania drawing indicates the “spot” is on the right side.

    The Catania drawing is done from a projection of the Sun. The telescope forms an image of the Sun in the focal plane. You can look at that image from two sides: the front or the back. Left and right are reversed between the front and back views. If I hold out my right hand to you, that hand will be to the left of me seen by you..

    If you look through the telescope you see the image from the back. If you place a piece of cardboard in the focal plane and look at the image falling on the cardboard you look at it from the front, hence the reversal of left and right. The image formed in an astronomical telescope is also upside down, but that you compensate for by simply turning the drawing 180 degrees.

  160. Its time to wake up to the fact that this transit from 23 to 24 falls outside the 1850 to present experience. Spotless, speckless days are set to continue as currently observed thru the next 12 months. That 23 still lingers is not noteworthy–24’s stillbirth, 2 years and counting is the story.

    The 24 max will be 3 sigma or more outside any statistical prediction based on the past 150 years. Its over; Daedalus has failed and will be overcome with the Darkness before his blindness is self-evident.

  161. By the same token, ocean circulations ‘could have’ caused the cold weather [apart from that caused by the volcanoes.

    Funny. A History Channel show about dinosaurs says, with certainty, that lots of mega volcanoes hundreds of millions of years ago caused significant warming due to all the greenhouse gases they spewed. Never a mention of all the ash and sulphur they would have poured out and caused significant cooling. Of course that was coming from a biologist. But this is the kind of “science” the average person is getting.

  162. Alec Rawls (00:27:29) :
    It is hard to know where to begin, maybe at the bottom of your post:
    Are you denying that there IS a long history of close correlation between solar activity and temperature? Are you, in effect, claiming to debunk Fred Singer’s book, where he arrays the geologic, ice core and tree ring evidence for such a correlation?
    There is little doubt that the 1470-year Bond cycles are real as reflected in the various climate-related proxies. The late Gerard Bond was a friend of mine and we have often discussed this [e.g. http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/sns/2003/sns_dec_2003.pdf page 5, Gerard on the left]. Bond never showed that his cycles were caused by the Sun. If you read his papers carefully, you’ll see that he ‘suggest’ that there might be a solar cause. The only problem is that there is no 1500-year cycle in solar activity. Using cosmic rays induced radionuclides [as you point out yourself] one can reconstruct solar activity thousands of years back. One such reconstruction can be seen here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/solanki2004/fig3a.jpg

    Although there are problems with this plot [the red curve showing the 'observed' sunspot number is not correct] the reconstruction back in time is not much affected by this and certainly a strong 1500-year cycle should have been evident and it isn’t. Even Gerard conceded that.
    The unstoppable global warming every 1500 years is likely due to internal oscillations of the combined atmosphere-ocean-biosphere system. There is a curious paradox here: people who deny that the climate-system can have internal 1500-year oscillations are perfectly happy saying that the Sun has those. The Earth has a large and long internal memory because of the heat content of the oceans, the Sun does not, because the solar convection zone overturns in about a week http://solar.physics.montana.edu/ypop/Spotlight/SunInfo/Conzone.html and the stable radiative interior is completely dominated by the energy of the nuclear furnace which in turn depends only on the pressure of the overlying layers [and the Sun's mass doesn't vary cyclically].
    Finally, it is a fallacy to think that the issue is a choice between 0% AGW, 100% solar or 100% AGW, 0% solar. The truth is closer to X% AGW, Y% solar, Z % orbital, and W% other. One can then discuss the relative sizes of X, Y, Z, and W. In my opinion [which you can take or leave] X is small, Y is small, Z is large, and hence W is what is left [W includes a lot of things: volcanoes, ocean circulation, salinity, etc]. Since the time scale of Z is very long, on shorter time scales W becomes the dominant effect.

    The fraud of IPCC has nothing to do with solar activity. In fact, IMHO, by clinging to the dubious solar connection you are seriously weakening the effort to discredit IPCC. You don’t discredit by using in your argument something that is even shakier.

  163. Gary Gulrud (08:09:11) :
    The 24 max will be 3 sigma or more outside any statistical prediction based on the past 150 years.
    Which is why we don’t use statistical predictions anymore. The current prediction(s) are not based on statistical correlations or extrapolations, but on [what is believed to be] solid physics. The discrepancies between the predictions are caused by poorly known boundary conditions. Cycle 24 will help us constrain those.

  164. I mean they changed the rules for statistical treatment, validation of computer models, and merging data from multiple sources to make a case for AGW in the first place. Should it really come as a surprise to anyone that someone would eventually take some liberties with how we define a true sunspot? Folks the bankrupting of science is already a done deal. If you are still lamenting that, you are late for the party…

    Sadly, as “outraged” as so many of you are, you will all vote for either a Democrat or Republican in the next election. Apparently it is a hobby of yours to come out strongly against something while continuing to actively promote it’s cause. Time to put your money where your mouth is smarty pants…

    http://www.lp.org

  165. Leif wrote:

    Bond never showed that his cycles were caused by the Sun. If you read his papers carefully, you’ll see that he ’suggest’ that there might be a solar cause.

    Yes, but he suggested it pretty darned strongly. Here is the abstract from, “Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate during the Holocene,” Bond et. al. 2001:

    Surface winds and surface ocean hydrography in the subpolar North Atlantic appear to have been influenced by variations in solar output through the entire Holocene. The evidence comes from a close correlation between inferred changes in production rates of the cosmogenic nuclides carbon-14 and beryllium-10 and centennial to millennial time scale changes in proxies of drift ice measured in deep-sea sediment cores. A solar forcing mechanism therefore may underlie at least the Holocene segment of the North Atlantic’s “1500-year” cycle. The surface hydrographic changes may have affected production of North Atlantic Deep Water, potentially providing an additional mechanism for amplifying the solar signals and transmitting them globally.

    The full article includes (p. 2132) graphs of the coincidence between C14 and Be10 and Bond’s temperature proxy (ice drift deposits).

    Leif says that the problem with making a sun/Bond-cycle connection is that “there is no 1500-year cycle in solar activity.” Bond did find a small variation in solar output corresponding to the 1500 year cycle. (“.1%” as he put it in a USA Today interview about his 2001 article. Bond was talking about changes in total irradiance, and seems not to have considered possible climate effects of the solar flux.)

    But suppose we accept Leif’s contention that there is no 1500 year cycle in solar activity. So what? Bond’s robust finding was of a very strong correlation between solar activity and global temperature on centennial time scales:

    …over the last 12,000 years, virtually every centennial time scale increase in drift ice documented in our north atlantic records was tied to a distinct interval of variable and, overall, reduced solar output. [p. 2133.]
    This centennial correlation appears to be a simple fact, as does decadal correlation. That implies causality, which can only go one way.

    The fact that the case for a millennial correlation may be weaker certainly does not undermine that causality. Leif suggests that the 1500 year cycle is

    likely due to internal oscillations of the combined atmosphere-ocean-biosphere system.
    Yes well, it seems those “internal” mechanisms are being driven by decadal and centenial variability in solar activity, so if they can account for the 1500 year cycle, so can solar activity, especially given that there does seem to be SOME 1500 year cyclical solar variation.

    Where would such a cycle come from? Maybe from the wobble in the solar system’s barycenter. Who knows? Maybe the whole 1500 year thing is simply coincidence. (Bond calls it a “quasi-cycle”). What is undoubted is the overall correlation between solar variability and global temperature.

    Interestingly, Bond was like Leif in apparently being unwilling to acknowledge that a connection between solar activity and temperature REDUCES the implied sensitivity of the climate to CO2. Instead, he found a way to put an alarmist spin on his findings, telling USA Today:

    “The climate system is extremely sensitive to weak forces, such as solar variability,” Bond said. “That should make us that much more worried about greenhouse warming.”

    Why can’t solar scientists be honest about this? The IPCC is assuming that solar activity is causing much less warming than the known empirical relationship between solar activity and temperature suggests. That warming effect is instead being attributed to CO2, then projected forward to create a doomsday fairy tale about CO2 caused warming now being in control of the climate system, all to try to force human beings to stop burning fossil fuels.

    Leif thinks that the solar effect on climate is “small,” but that’s not what the empirical evidence says. There is as strong correlation, consistent over hundreds of thousands of years, where big changes in solar activity on average coincide with big changes in temperature. Everything else is theory, and when there is a choice between theory and evidence, scientists should follow evidence first.

  166. Alec Rawls (14:26:47) :
    There is as strong correlation, consistent over hundreds of thousands of years, where big changes in solar activity on average coincide with big changes in temperature.
    Let’s take one step at a time. Produce the data, the graphs, the evidence [not just quotes from abstracts] that 1) back up your statement and 2) specifically shows the 1500-year cycle over those hundreds of thousands of years.

  167. I started my foray into this question [and my blogging 'career' (after having been banned by Tamino because I was not enough pro-AGW for his site, plus that I was foolish, ignorant, a lier, and worse] with this entry at Steve McIntyre’s blog:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2470

    If you don’t want to go there [for your own personal reasons] I repeat here [slightly edited - correction of typos, etc] my very first posting [warning: it is long], setting forth several lines of inquiry and evidence:

    Line 1:
    The Total solar Irradiance (TSI) has several sources. The first and most important is simply the temperature in the photosphere. The hotter the sun, the higher the TSI. Some spectral lines are VERY sensitive to even minute changes in temperature. Livingston et al. has very carefully measured the line depth of such temperature-sensitive lines over more than 30 years spanning three solar cycles [Sun-as-a-Star Spectrum Variations 1974-2006, W. Livingston, L. Wallace, O. R. White, M. S. Giampapa, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 657, Issue 2, pp. 1137-1149, 2007, DOI; 10.1086/511127]. They report [and I apologize for the somewhat technical turn my argument is taking, but if you really want to know, there is no avoiding this], “that both Ca II K and C I 5380A intensities are constant, indicating that the basal quiet atmosphere is unaffected by cycle magnetism within our observational error. A lower limit to the Ca II K central intensity atmosphere is 0.040. This possibly represents conditions as they were during the Maunder Minimum [their words, remember]. Within our capability to measure it using the C I 5380A line the global (Full Disk) and basal (Center Disk) photospheric temperature is constant over the activity cycles 21, 22, and 23″. I have known Bill Livingston [and White] for over 35 years and he is a very careful and competent observer.

    Line 2:
    Since the 1960 we have known that the sun’s surface oscillates up and down [with typical periods of ~5 minutes]. These oscillations are waves very much like seismic waves in the Earth [from earthquakes] and just as earthquake seismic waves can be used to probe the interior of the Earth, they can be used to probe the solar interior. There are millions of such solar waves at any given time and there are different kinds (called ‘modes’) of waves. The solar p-modes are acoustic [sound waves] normal modes. You can imagine a frequency increase with an increasing magnetic field, due to the increase in magnetic pressure raising the local speed of sound near the surface where it is cooler and where the p-modes spend most of their time. Of course one can also imagine higher frequencies may result from an induced shrinking of the sound cavity and/or an isobaric warming of the cavity. Another kind is the solar f-modes that are the eigenmodes of the sun having no radial null points [i.e. asymptotically surface waves; again I apologize for the technical mumbo-jumbo]. From the solar cycle variations of p- and f-modes [and we have now enough data from the SOHO spacecraft to make such a study] we now have an internally consistent picture of the origin of these frequency changes that implies a sun that is coolest at activity maximum when it is most irradiant. Now, how can that be? How can a cooler [overall, including the cooler sunspots, for instance, as the temperature of the non-magnetic areas of the sun didn't change {see line 1 above}] sun radiate more? It can do that, if it is bigger!. Goode and Dziembowski (Sunshine, Earthshine and Climate Change I. Origin of, and Limits on Solar Variability, by Goode, Philip R. & Dziembowski, W. A., Journal of the Korean Astronomical Society, vol. 36, S1, pp. S75-S81, 2003) used the helioseismic data to determine the shape changes in the Sun with rising activity. They calculated the so-called shape asymmetries from the seismic data and found each coefficient was essentially zero at activity minimum and rose in precise spatial correlation with rising surface activity, as measured using Ca II K data from Big Bear Solar Observatory. From this one can conclude that there is a rising ‘corrugation’ of the solar surface due to rising activity, implying a sun, whose increased irradiance is totally due to activity induced corrugation. This interpretation has been recently observationally verified by Berger et al. (Berger, T.E., van der Voort, L., Rouppe, Loefdahl, M., Contrast analysis of Solar faculae and magnetic bright points. Astrophysical Journal, vol. 661, p.1272, 2007) using the new Swedish Solar Telescope. They have directly observed these corrugations. Goode & Dziembowski conclude that the Sun cannot have been any dimmer, on the time steps of solar evolution, than it is now at activity minimum.

    Line 3:
    Foukal et al. (Foukal, P., North, G., Wigley, T., A stellar view on solar variations and climate. Science, vol. 306, p. 68, 2004) point out the Sun’s web-like chromospheric magnetic network (an easily visible solar structure seen through a Ca II K filter) would have looked very different a century ago, if there had been a significant change in the magnetic field of the sun supposedly increasing TSI. However, there is a century of Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory Ca II K data which reveal that the early 20th century network is indistinguishable from that of today.

    Line 4:
    Svalgaard & Cliver have recently (A Floor in the Solar Wind Magnetic Field, by L. Svalgaard and E. W. Cliver, The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 661, L203�L206, 2007 June 1, 2007) shown that long-term (∼130 years) reconstruction of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) based on geomagnetic indices indicates that the solar wind magnetic field strength [and thus that of the sun itself, from which the IMF originates] has a ‘floor’, a baseline value in annual averages that it approaches at each 11 yr solar minimum. In the ecliptic plane at 1 AU [at the Earth], the IMF floor is ∼4.0 nT, a value substantiated by direct solar wind measurements and cosmogenic nuclei data. We identify the floor with a constant (over centuries) baseline open magnetic flux at 1 AU of 4×10^14 Weber. Solar cycle variations of the IMF strength ride on top of the floor. They point out that such a floor has implications for (1) the solar wind during grand minima: we are given a glimpse of Maunder minimum conditions at every 11 yr minimum; (2) current models of the solar wind: both source surface and MHD models are based on the assumption, invalidated by Ulysses, that the largest scale fields determine the magnitude of the IMF; consequently, these models are unable to reproduce the high-latitude observations; and (3) the use of geomagnetic input data for precursor-type predictions of the coming sunspot maximum; this common practice is rendered doubtful by the observed disconnect between solar polar field strength and heliospheric field strength [the wrong prediction by the NASA panel for cycle 23 was based on this, and the prediction {of a high cycle} by one half of panel for cycle 24 is also partly based on this]. The constancy of the IMF also has implications for the interpretation of the Galactic Cosmic Ray flux.

    Line 5:
    But maybe it is the Ultraviolet flux that varies and affects the stratospheric ozone concentration and thereby influences the climate. I have earlier in (Calibrating the Sunspot Number using the “Magnetic Needle”, L. Svalgaard; CAWSES News, 4(1), 6.5, 2007] pointed out that the amplitude of the diurnal variation of the geomagnetic Y-component is an excellent proxy for the F10.7 radio flux and thus also for the EUV flux (more precisely, the FUV, as the Sq current flows in the E layer). There is a weak trend in the amplitude of 10% since the 1840s that can be understood as being due to an increase of ionospheric conductance resulting from the 10% decrease of the Earth’s main field. Correcting for and removing this trend then leads to the conclusion that (as for the IMF) there seems to be a ‘floor’ in rY and hence in F10.7 and hence in the FUV flux, thus the geomagnetic evidence is that there has been no secular change in the background solar minimum EUV (FUV) flux in the past 165 years.

    Line 6:
    Careful analysis of the amplitude of the solar diurnal variation of the East-component of the geomagnetic field [we have accurate measurements back to the 1820s] allows us the obtain an independent measure of the FUV flux (and hence the sunspot number) back to then. The result is that the Wolf number before ~1945 should be increased by 20% and before ~1895 by another 20%. The Group Sunspot number in the 1840s is 40% too low compared to the official Wolf number. When all these adjustments are made we find that solar activity for cycles 11 and 10 were as high as for cycle 22 and 23. Thus there has been no secular increase in solar activity in the last ~165 years [a bit more precise than the 150 years I quoted earlier]. Of course, there has still been small and large cycles, but we are talking about the long-term trend here [or lack thereof].

    Line 7:
    Direct measurements (although beset by calibration problems) of the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) from satellites have only been available for 30 years and indicate that solar irradiance increases with solar activity. Correlating mean annual TSI and sunspot numbers allows one to estimate the part of TSI that varies with the sunspot number. If TSI only depends linearly on the sunspot number then irradiance levels during the Maunder Minimum would be similar to the levels of current solar minima. But TSI is a delicate balance between sunspot darkening and facular brightening, and although both of these increase (in opposite directions) with increasing solar activity, it is not a given that there could not be secular variations in the relative importance of these competing effects. Several earlier reconstructions of TSI, reviewed in Froehlich, C. & J. Lean (Solar Radiative Output and its Variability; Evidence and Mechanisms, Astron..& Astrophys. Rev., 12(4), 273, 2004, Doi;10.1007/s00159-004-0024-1.[6] all postulate a source of long-term irradiance variability on centennial time scales. Each group of researchers have their own preferred additional source of changes of the ‘background’ TSI, such as evidence from geomagnetic activity, open magnetic flux, ephemeral region occurrence, umbral/penumbral ratios, and the like. The existence of ‘floors’ in IMF and FUV over ~1.6 centuries argues for a lack of secular variations of these parameters on that time scale. The six other lines of evidence discussed above suggest that the lack of such secular variation undermines the circumstantial evidence for a ‘hidden’ source of irradiance variability and that there therefore also might be a floor in TSI, such that TSI during Grand Minima would simply be that observed at current solar minima.

    Now, this is a BIG subject and you are in a sense watching science in the making, but the picture is becoming clearer and there is enough NEW evidence that simply quoting old papers [even rather recent ones] is old hat. If you look carefully at the various reconstructions they all rely on some combination of the [too low] Group Sunspot numbers and/or the [too low aa-index] and/or the now discredited ‘doubling of open magnetic flux in the last 100 years’ [not even Lockwood thinks so anymore]. With these things out of the way there is little support anymore for the ‘all-time high solar activity’. But as I said, this whole thing will probably take some time to play out – let’s say about a solar cycle’s worth. Each of the issues mentioned above is complicated and requires a lengthy analysis and much convincing before they sink in. But at least you are now forewarned. All the lines are connected, you cannot easily accept some and reject the others [with possible exception of #1]. So accept all or reject all. I’m very willing to discuss any and all of them in detail, but it has to be done with civility [windandsea: nobody is 'flinging nonsense'. People are either ignorant (which is no shame) or have other hidden motives (which is no shame either)]. I have learned that civility is a precious commodity in the GW debate, but we can all do our part.

    I concluded that “So, if there is ‘solar activity’ or TSI forcing, the sensitivity of the climate system to this must be much greater than generally assumed and understood. A simpler hypothesis is that there is no solar effects on the timescale of decades or centuries.”

    And I asked the blogger community at ClimateAudit for help in trying to understand if there was such hypersensitivity. After 4000 posts and after enduring a significant amount of abuse [similar to what I get from you {e.g. not being honest}, or worse: you ain't seen nothin' yet] we are no closer to the answer to that. I discovered there that many were not interested in rocking the boat, the ‘science was settled’ [that is: the strong correlation between solar activity and temperature], and any change to that would impact too much their personal beliefs. Since human nature is universal it is no surprise to encounter the same attitude here. As a counterweight to the abuse it is, however, encouraging also to see all the comments from people that feel that I have given them something valuable and interesting, and <i<that is what keeps me here, in spite of a few bad apples or banana peels to slip on.

    Signing off on this thread. I’ll be back in new threads, should Anthony post more on the Sun.

  168. Glen, Leif, Kim, arguing about 10-20 years as indicative of global climate change is wrongheaded. Perhaps at those timescales, the oceanic oscillations may have impact (that certainly appears so to me); but I reckon a step change in solar output would take at least 60 years to change then temperature of the oceans; remember the Oceans are an enormous thermal mass.

    So, to argue about decadal changes is not very useful. We must be using at 60 smoothing year filters.

  169. Comet Encke could be responsible for the Bond Events. Encke’s orbit is 1,460 years. It is most likely responsible for the Younger Dryas cooling as well as several other cold periods in our history.

    Here is a graph of historical sunspots with Bond dates and Encke’s orbit inserted. I used the historical sunspots as a timeline to see if comet impacts caused the major dips in the sunspot record. I do not think there is any connection between sunspots and the Bond events or sunspots and Comet Encke.

  170. Glenn (16:46:45) :
    Here’s the Bond article, Leif, although I imagine you are familiar with it

    Yes, I have discussed this one with him several times. The trouble with this one is that there is power at very many frequencies and by filtering out everything with power at periods longer that 1800 years, you pick out power in a band just below it.

    A careful analysis by your ‘heroes’ Usoskin and company comes to this result [no filtering] http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/aa7704-07.pdf:
    Grand minima and maxima of solar activity: new observational
    constraints.
    Usoskin, S. K. Solanki, and G. A. Kovaltsov
    Accepted 25 May 2007
    Results. The occurrence of grand minima/maxima is driven not by long-term cyclic variability, but by a stochastic/chaotic process[...]

  171. Robert Wood (17:01:54) :
    a step change in solar output would take at least 60 years to change then temperature of the oceans; remember the Oceans are an enormous thermal mass.
    So, to argue about decadal changes is not very useful. We must be using at 60 smoothing year filters.

    Not only a filter, but also a lag of the order of 60 years, but the correlations claimed are without such lags. And there is also no lag in the claim that the last 10 years of cooling is due to the recent decline is solar activity. Just more examples of why the claims are not credible.

  172. Jim Powell (17:03:50) :
    Here is a graph of historical sunspots with Bond dates and Encke’s orbit inserted. I used the historical sunspots as a timeline to see if comet impacts caused the major dips in the sunspot record.
    Ans as you can see, the Bond events and the 1460-year marks are in phase back to 6000 BT (Before Tunguska], then they drift out of phase and don’t line up anymore as well as the Bond events not matching the sunspot curve anyway.

    It is all just too flimsy and shaky to base anything serious on. That is why I as a solar scientist if asked for example at a Congressional Hearing if the solar connection was solid enough to base policy on, would have to [honestly] NO. This does not mean that I’m closed to the idea. On the contrary [it would make my expertise all that much more valuable], I eagerly [as I have done for 40 years] read every scrap of paper announcing yet another solar link, to see if, indeed, ‘this is it’. Alas, I haven’t seen it yet. Often I serve as reviewer of such papers. I reject some [that are just bad], I give the authors a hard time [on the ones that need more work], and I accept some [because the speculation has some merit and might lead to progress in the future].

  173. Derek D (10:20:30) :
    I do not intend this to be a political post. It is a language post, as much as I can make it without being diplomatic. :-)

    Sadly, as “outraged” as so many of you are, you will all vote for either a Democrat or Republican in the next election.

    Software engineers (and engineers in general) hardly ever use the word “all”. I have voted for Libertarians when possible in the last 20 years and my wife has run as one. Enough people read this list daily so “all” is too inclusive. You may have managed to insult all the readers here, if so, well, you can learn to write to annoy just the subset you’re aiming for. I call it finesse. (Others probably say I’m a jerk.)

    Please stick to science. If Anthony wanted this to be a political forum he would have included that word at the top of the page.

  174. One possible reason for them drifting out of phase is that Encke crosses paths with an asteroid belt every 10,000. I don’t know when they cross paths last. Over time much of the debris collides with Jupiter and the Sun.

    Tunguska occurred at the same time as the beta Taurids and so was probably part of Encke. The timing of the Dark Ages matches up within a few years of Tunguska. The Dark Ages were reported by monks to have been actually darker during the day during the first couple of years. A comet hitting the ocean could have caused this. Younger Dryas was most like the result of a comet piece hitting Canada 12900 years ago. Those are the only dates that I have been able to associate with events.

    Another thought I had about Encke was that it would explain why this inter-glacial cycle is flat — jagged topped rather than peaked like the previous 3 inter-glacial cycles. If the chunks were hitting the oceans, a lot of water vapor would be injected into the atmosphere stopping the earth from continuously warming to a peak.

  175. Jim Powell (19:40:31) :
    One possible reason for them drifting out of phase is that Encke crosses paths with an asteroid belt every 10,000. I don’t know when they cross paths last. Over time much of the debris collides with Jupiter and the Sun.
    One never knows …
    “Gentlemen, I would rather believe that two Yankee professors would lie than believe that stones fall from heaven.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1809

  176. Leif: I already cited documentation of the close correlation between solar activity and temperature (in Bond 2001). You can find much more of the same in Singer’s book and in Svensmark’s book. I asked you if you were challenging this relationship, and you advert to the 1500 year warming cycle, claiming there isn’t a corresponding 1500 year solar cycle.

    I don’t see how that is an answer. Whether there is or isn’t a 1500 year solar cycle does nothing to challenge the clear solar-temperature correlation on centennial and decadal time scales. Why in the world focus on the possibly evanescent 1500 year cycle? As I quoted from Bond, the correlation on shorter time scales (going back 12,000 years in his case) is very strong. Since such extended correlation can’t be coincidence, it PROVES that solar activity is driving temperature. It may not be the whole story (certainly it isn’t), but it is clearly the biggest source of temperature variation, or the correlations wouldn’t be so consistent.

    The lack of a clear 1500 year cycle isn’t much of a counterexample, given that Bond did find SOME such cyclical behavior in solar activity as well. More generally, the fact that there are instances where solar activity and temperature change are not correlated (like the early 1600’s) does not alter the fact that there is a high degree of correlation. It just means that some other things must also be at work, as one would of course expect. Does correlation have to be perfect before you will recognize it?

    I still can’t tell whether you are challenging the correlation between solar activity and temperature or dodging it. All you’ve offered is a couple of counterexamples, which don’t seem to add up to much. Still, you’ve been a good sport, which is very nice. If it seems that I’ve been trying to twist your arm, well, only in a good way. I think it is you (not me) who is exchanging the stronger argument against the IPCC’s fraud for the weaker one, and since you are in a much better position to expose their fraud than a layman like me, I just hate to see you trading a .50 BMG for a Tommygun.

  177. Farmers Almanac is soon to be out, and in it, for better or for worse, they are purported to be including the extended solar minima in it. I can’t say that it will be scientific ornot, but I also am not seeing any coverage of this outside of the science circles.
    You know what happens: He who gets the story out first is the winner.
    What has science got right now on this thing?

  178. Alec Rawls (21:04:58) :
    Whether there is or isn’t a 1500 year solar cycle does nothing to challenge the clear solar-temperature correlation on centennial and decadal time scales. Why in the world focus on the possibly evanescent 1500 year cycle?
    Simply because you ended with asking if I was trying to debunk Singer’s book [which I have and have read - I also know Fred Singer and he had visited with me when I was at Stanford].
    I’m perfectly happy to drop the 1500-year cycle as irrelevant and not established.

    I still can’t tell whether you are challenging the correlation between solar activity and temperature or dodging it.
    I would never dodge anything. I think you are projecting onto me. We have a proverb in Denmark: “a thief thinks everybody steals”.
    In fact, you are dodging my demonstration that it doesn’t
    have to be either 0%AGW,100%solar or 100%AGW,0%solar, but that the XYZW situation is what we have and that therefore a small Y says nothing about the size of X or vice versa. But, let that slide, I didn’t think you would pick that up anyway.

    All you’ve offered is a couple of counterexamples, which don’t seem to add up to much.
    You have this backwards, it is up to the one making a claim to show that the claim has merit, not for the opponent to show that it has not. And would you change your mind if I had 10 counterexamples? or 50? or 100? Of course you would not [otherwise I would ask what the 'tipping point' number would be, 42 perhaps?].

    Still, you’ve been a good sport, which is very nice. If it seems that I’ve been trying to twist your arm, well, only in a good way.
    I’m not a good sport. I’m an old cranky scientist that has studied this thing for 40+ years. You cannot twist my arm if you wanted to.

    I think [...] you are in a much better position to expose their fraud than a layman like me,
    No need to do this [or to get hot under the collar], their house of cards will fall all by itself. Science is self-correcting, and twenty years of cooling will do the IPCC in, no matter what causes the cooling. The solar argument is not and should not become a political weapon. It is an unsolved scientific problem that solar scientists have struggled with ever since Giovanni Battista Riccioli first posed it in 1651. Regardless of how convinced you are, the correlations [already to big a word for much of what is claimed] have not convinced me, and that is, of course, for me the overriding issue. I shall therefore oppose such claims, if asked. Now, I have often tried to examine the problem in a scientific manner with a poster, that is: collect some data, look together at the data, put it to statistical tests, etc, but it invariably fizzles out, because the patience and painstaking attention needed are foreign to people, who are not really interested in studying the problem [which is hard work], but just want their opinion confirmed. So it ends up with the silly comedy of dueling references, and then dies away as the parties are exhausted by the nonsense.

  179. What happens in your model if the expected minima (2006.8) doesn’t happen?
    It would seem to me that if the intent is to predict the height of the following maxima by taking the years before a predicted minima, your model could suffer from picking the wrong years. Once the minima is known, then yes, you have something to work with.
    Did I read your work right? My apologies if I am mistaken.
    So, if you can come up with a model for cycle LENGTH, you’d have the market cornered.

  180. Robert Bateman (22:23:09) :
    What happens in your model if the expected minima (2006.8) doesn’t happen?
    The polar fields have been unchanged since 2003, see e.g.

    http://www.leif.org/research/Most%20Recent%20IMF,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf

    So as long as they stay the same, it doesn’t matter when the minimum is. The reason that the polar fields stay the same is that there are no new cycle [24] regions eating away at them, but this can go on ‘forever’, as far as I’m concerned.

    So, if you can come up with a model for cycle LENGTH, you’d have the market cornered.
    I don’t think that is possible because while the build-up of a cycle seems to be an orderly process, the decay is much more random. To give you a feeling for it: there are 3000 active regions in a sunspot cycle. The polar fields that are left over [to form the next cycle] contains the magnetic flux from only about 5 of those, and that could by accident as well be 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7, covering a wide range of possible next cycle sizes [proportional to the polar flux]. Because of this randomness, the decay and therefore the length is almost undetermined, although statistically small cycles tend to be longer, but this is not a firm rule [and may be an artifact of the sunspot number being too low a couple of hundred years ago (when the cycles were about a year longer)]. So, LENGTH is tough.

  181. Leif asks:

    would you change your mind if I had 10 counterexamples? or 50? or 100? Of course you would not.

    That’s right. Of course I would not. The general point I made is that a high degree of correlation between solar activity and temperature change cannot be dismissed just because there are points where it is not found. In a big enough sample, you could find any number of counterexamples. A high degree of correlation still implies causality.

  182. Alec Rawls (22:40:21) :
    would you change your mind if I had 10 counterexamples? or 50? or 100? Of course you would not.
    That’s right. Of course I would not.
    [...]In a big enough sample, you could find any number of counterexamples.

    So, I have 10001 time series, one shows what you want, and 10000 show what I want, and they don’t count?

    A high degree of correlation still implies causality.
    There is a very high correlation between the population of the US and magnetic flux in the solar corona. The census is taken every 10 years and for the 20th century [for which we have magnetic flux data – calculated by Lockwood et al. [Lockwood, M., R. Stamper, & M. N. Wild, A Doubling of the Sun’s Coronal
    Magnetic Field during the Last 100 Years, Nature, 399, 437-439 (1999)]] I calculate the 10-year averages centered on the census years. The correlation coefficient between the two time series is 0.92 [1.00 means perfect correlation]. Causation?

  183. This just in:
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L18701, doi:10.1029/2008GL034864, 2008
    How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006

    Judith L. Lean, Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory,
    Washington, D. C., USA
    David H. Rind, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA,
    New York, New York, USA
    Abstract
    To distinguish between simultaneous natural and anthropogenic impacts on surface temperature, regionally as well as globally, we perform a robust multivariate analysis using the best available estimates of each together with the observed surface temperature record from 1889 to 2006. The results enable us to compare, for the first time from observations, the geographical distributions of responses to individual influences consistent with their global impacts. We find a response to solar forcing quite different from that reported in several papers published recently in this journal, and zonally averaged responses to both natural and anthropogenic forcings that differ distinctly from those indicated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose conclusions depended on model simulations. Anthropogenic warming estimated directly from the historical observations is more pronounced between 45°S and 50°N than at higher latitudes whereas the model-simulated trends have minimum values in the tropics and increase steadily from 30 to 70°N.

    The main result is their Table 1:

    Table 1. Amplitudes of Global Temperature Trends Arising From Individual Natural and Anthropogenic Influences Determined As the Slopes of the Time Series in Figure 2 Over Different Epochs

    1889– 2006:
    0.0015 ± 0.0005 ENSO
    -0.0009 ± 0.0003 Volcanic Activity
    0.007 ± 0.001 Solar Activity
    0.050 ± 0.001 Anthropogenic Forcing

    100 yrs: 1905– 2005
    0.0028 ± 0.0006 ENSO
    -0.0029 ± 0.0004 Volcanic Activity
    0.007 ± 0.001 Solar Activity
    0.059 ± 0.001 Anthropogenic Forcing
    0.074 ± 0.018 IPCC [2007]

    50 yrs: 1955– 2005
    0.015 ± 0.002 ENSO
    0.001 ± 0.001 Volcanic Activity
    0.002 ± 0.001 Solar Activity
    0.136 ± 0.003 Anthropogenic Forcing
    0.128 ± 0.026 IPCC [2007]

    25 yrs: 1979– 2005 
    -0.007 ± 0.005 ENSO
    0.018 ± 0.004  Volcanic Activity
    -0.004 ± 0.004 Solar Activity
    0.199 ± 0.005 Anthropogenic Forcing
    0.177 ± 0.052 IPCC [2007]

    The solar forcing is based on Wang et al.’s 2005 TSI reconstruction so is overestimated a bit. In any case, the solar forcing is deemed insignificant. According to their analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years, not 69% as claimed by Scafetta and West [2008].

    The anthropogenic forcing is the net effect of eight different components, including greenhouse gases, land use, snow albedo changes, and tropospheric aerosols.

    I know the two authors. They are reputable scientists. No hanky-panky here.

    Interesting.

  184. There are two official sunspot numbers in common use. The first, the daily “Boulder Sunspot Number,” is computed by the NOAA Space Environment Center using a formula devised by Rudolph Wolf in 1848: R=k (10g+s), where R is the sunspot number; g is the number of sunspot groups on the solar disk; s is the total number of individual spots in all the groups; and k is a variable scaling factor (usually <1) that accounts for observing conditions and the type of telescope (binoculars, space telescopes, etc.). Scientists combine data from lots of observatories — each with its own k factor — to arrive at a daily value.

    Perhaps someone can explain to me how, by using this formula a sunspeck the size of the recent (single) speck could have been seen and counted 200 years ago, we are not talking about groups just one speck.

  185. Sunspots observations in the seventeenth century, the most active observers being the German Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) and the French Jesuit Jean Picard (1620-1682). Very few sunspots were observed from about 1645 to 1715, and when they were their presence was noted as a noteworthy event by active astronomers. At that time, a systematic solar observing program was underway under the direction of Jean Dominique Cassini (1625-1712) at the newly founded Observatoire de Paris, with first Picard and later Philippe La Hire carrying out the bulk of the observations. Historical reconstructions of sunspot numbers indicate that the dearth of sunspots is real, rather than the consequence of a lack of diligent observers. A simultaneous decrease in auroral counts further suggest that solar activity was greatly reduced during this time period.
    This article also gives a Reproduction of one of Galileo’s sunspot drawings.

    http://www.hao.ucar.edu/Public/education/Timeline.C.html#1645

  186. Robert Wood wrote…
    Robert Wood (17:01:54) :
    a step change in solar output would take at least 60 years to change then temperature of the oceans; remember the Oceans are an enormous thermal mass.
    So, to argue about decadal changes is not very useful. We must be using at 60 smoothing year filters.

    Lief responded…
    Not only a filter, but also a lag of the order of 60 years, but the correlations claimed are without such lags. And there is also no lag in the claim that the last 10 years of cooling is due to the recent decline is solar activity. Just more examples of why the claims are not credible.

    I submitted theis earlier question, probably a dumb one which no one responded to.
    It appears that Leif reasonably questions the ability of the very small change in output during solar cycles to significantly affect climate . I have heard it postulated that LWR does not penetrate, and is therefore not absorbed by the ocean. If the SWR of increased solar activtity does penetrate the ocean surface is it not possible then that this small amount of increased energy is absorbed into the oceans and thus accumalates over the years of increased activity? Could not this along with the yet unproved theory of cosmic ray induced cloud formation be a signficant part of the amplifying affect of solar cycles?
    And now another, I hope cogent question. If these two responses were valid
    would not they have very different lag responses, the one (cloud cover) being almost instant, the other being very long and slow?


  187. Leif Svalgaard (23:29:08) : The correlation coefficient between the two time series is 0.92 [1.00 means perfect correlation]. Causation?”

    I think you may have this whole damn thing figured out. Perhaps you should factor in population zodiac sign data? —– ;) , ;)

  188. Just saw where Mike Bryant got a little hammered for being too silly. Not speaking for Mike, but only myself, sometime the best I can do to participate is, “silly.”

    Anyway, please moderate this post and my “silly” post out. Will not happen again.

  189. garron (04:24:49) :
    “The correlation coefficient between the two time series is 0.92 [1.00 means perfect correlation]. Causation?”

    I think you may have this whole damn thing figured out. Perhaps you should factor in population zodiac sign data? —– ;) , ;)

    yeah, adding that may drive the correlation coefficient past 1.00.

  190. “I know the two authors. They are reputable scientists. No hanky-panky here.”

    This has no persuasive import, as you are well aware.

    Less than 40% of the sun’s incident energy reaches the surface. Of this fraction, re-radiated into the atmosphere, none returns. Why shill such ‘work’?

  191. Gary Gulrud (07:17:29) :
    “I know the two authors. They are reputable scientists. No hanky-panky here.”
    This has no persuasive import, as you are well aware.

    I just stated that as a fact. Lean and Rind are tops. Their work is rock solid. If you care to look, you’ll see that they are talking about multivariate strong correlations. You may argue [talk to Alec], like me, that strong correlations do not imply causation, so you can still maintain your views and not be persuaded.

  192. ‘So as long as they stay the same, it doesn’t matter when the minimum is. The reason that the polar fields stay the same is that there are no new cycle [24] regions eating away at them, but this can go on ‘forever’, as far as I’m concerned.’

    I see from your graphs that the crossover period for when the first new cycle spots appear and when they actually start eating away at the last cycle is highly variable.
    Is there a list for the length of these crossovers previous to SC21/SC22?

  193. Robert Bateman (08:15:48) :
    Is there a list for the length of these crossovers previous to SC21/SC22?

    No, and the plot you see, is my own work. I’m also working on extending that back to the 1860s, but the day only has 32 hours [that's including the 8 hours time difference with GMT :-) ].
    Have patience, there are the Glenns, the Garys, the Alecs, etc that take a big bite out of the available hours.

  194. Robert Bateman (08:15:48) :
    “Is there a list for the length of these crossovers previous to SC21/SC22?”
    No, and the plot you see, is my own work. I’m also working on extending that back to the 1860s

    Shameless Plug: you can help fund my sunspot work via PayPal (leif@leif.org) like Robert Woods did.

  195. Gary Gulrud (07:17:29) :
    This has no persuasive import
    When Lean & Rind find:
    100 yrs: 1905– 2005
    0.0028 ± 0.0006 ENSO
    -0.0029 ± 0.0004 Volcanic Activity
    0.007 ± 0.001 Solar Activity
    0.059 ± 0.001 Anthropogenic Forcing

    One must, of course, as part of the ‘Anthropogenic Forcing’ count the fact that some of that forcing has been on the data rather than on the atmosphere, e.g. the various ‘adjustments’ that have been made to the data. But I think your knee-jerk reaction missed my point, which was that these strong correlations do not imply causations [in spite of Alec]. Or to put it differently: some people claim strong solar correlation with a strong effect, Lean & Rind claim a very weak solar correlation [or rather a strong correlation with a weak result]. You can’t have it both ways. We are now back to dueling correlations.

  196. I don’t buy your defense of purpose. One would show an example of strong correlation between unrelated variables and another between variables dependent on a third cause not included to blow away the correlation == causation inference.

    The example chosen does not serve this purpose.

    “One must, of course, as part of the ‘Anthropogenic Forcing’ count the fact that some of that forcing has been on the data rather than on the atmosphere, e.g. the various ‘adjustments’ that have been made to the data.”

    Are you implying science may use questionable data in PCA to obtain useful results? Looks ripe for an audit.

  197. @Leif
    “Still, you’ve been a good sport, which is very nice. If it seems that I’ve been trying to twist your arm, well, only in a good way.
    I’m not a good sport. I’m an old cranky scientist that has studied this thing for 40+ years. You cannot twist my arm if you wanted to.”

    Leif…you have no idea how informative and enjoyable your posts are to folks like me. Thank you for taking the time….

    If you ever get tired of winter and decide to visit Florida, please let us know as I would drive anywhere in the state to sit down and have a cold one with another old crank….
    cdl

  198. Leif:

    I stated very clearly several times WHY a high degree of correlation between solar activity and temperature over many thousands of years implies that solar activity is driving temperature: because such a close and extended a correlation cannot be coincidence, and it cannot be the earth’s temperature that is driving solar activity.

    You answer by asking if the correlation between recent population growth and solar activity implies causation.

    I said flipping a thousand heads in a row cannot be coincidence. You answer in effect: “So flipping one head cannot be coincidence?”

    You are just as perverse on the question of counterexamples. I tried several times to get you to answer whether you were challenging Singer’s and Svensmark’s claims about extended close correlation between solar activity and temperature when all you were offering were a few conflicting data points. Now you suggest that your counterexamples are actually time series, and that the vast majority of time series are on your side. Or are you just talking hypothetically? Again, you can’t answer a simple question.

    When I suggested that you seemed to be dodging the question of whether you were challenging Singer’s and Svensmarks claims of extended correlation, you answered with a Danish schoolyard sing-song: I’m not dodging but you are.

    No, I have been very straightforward. If you are sincere on wanting some documentation on longer term correlations, here a couple citations from Singer. (I am not presenting myself as an expert on this data. I am asking if you are denying what Singer and Svensmark have said about it.)

    On ice core data going back 90,000 years, Singer cites Perry and Hsu, 2000: “Geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change.”

    For much longer term correlation between GCR and temperature, he cites Shaviv and Veizer, 2003: “Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?”

    If you want to deny these correlations, fine. Deny it. What I have been criticizing is your seeming to accept that there is an overall strong sun-temperature correlation, but thinking that it can be dismissed by focusing on the points where the two don’t match up, which is patently ridiculous. Of course other things might also be happening to affect temperature and disturb the correlation. What a high degree of correlation over many thousands of years would tell us is that solar activity is the PRIMARY modulator of global temperature. That in turn would imply that high 20th century solar activity had had a warming effect, which has been misattributed to CO2 by the IPCC.

    Pretty darned simple, but if the subject doesn’t interest you, so be it.

  199. I think that the Sun and its properties do not change much. But I also think that the Earth’s atmosphere is very sensitive to external forcing, not because of large changes in the Sun but small changes over a long period of sustained time. If a small change is made on the stove, candy will not get to the desired change in hardness. And only small changes make a HUGE difference in how candy turns out. To me the Sun is like that. The longer your pan of candy stays on the stove under the same temperature, the more likely your candy will change, and the changes are sudden. The longer the Earth’s atmosphere stays under the Sun’s current events (high or low magnetic fields, UV light, etc) the more likely the temperature conditions will start to change. And adding ingredients to the Earth’s atmosphere will bring about even more changes. The ingredients would be the stew we call gases and the water circulating on our planet. All of which are likely not well mixed. When these Earth cycles coincide, the temperature changes when the Sun is in a constant state for a long period of time, either active or sleeping. So I don’t think the Sun changes that much, but I think the Earth changes greatly in response to the Sun’s small changes, especially when those changes become stable inbetween shifts from active to quiet, much like the stove top temperature dial and the candy cooking away.

    Watch carefully when cooking candy. It can change from chewy caramels to rock hard jaw breakers in seconds. The Earth is like the candy. It can change rapidly from warm to cold, or visa versa, if left on the Sun’s slightly cool or slightly warm stove too long.

  200. I watch the ozone measurements regularly. It never fails that if ozone stays at a minimum level over areas that have lots of water vapor available, pretty soon a matching cloud cover develops over the same area covered by the thin ozone. What has changed? The ozone appears to be changing under a constant bombardment of cosmic rays. What is available to help this happen? Water vapor. So the Sun didn’t suddenly change, but the Earth’s stew did under the Sun’s constant conditions, aided by a special mix of Earth’s stew in a specific area.

    Notice the cloud cover in an area of thinned ozone. Wasn’t there at first. But after several days of this thin ozone, the clouds showed up.

    http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/rt/viewdata.php?product=o3_us

  201. Gary Gulrud (11:15:08) :
    I don’t buy your defense of purpose. One would show an example of strong correlation between unrelated variables and another between variables dependent on a third cause not included to blow away the correlation == causation inference.
    The example chosen does not serve this purpose.

    Are you implying science may use questionable data in PCA to obtain useful results? Looks ripe for an audit.

    Please speak English for me and the folks.

    Alec Rawls (14:39:05) :
    On ice core data going back 90,000 years, Singer cites Perry and Hsu, 2000: “Geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change.”
    is one of the best examples of ‘cyclomania’ I have seen in some time: “Reported cycles in various climate-proxy data show a tendency to emulate a fundamental harmonic sequence of a basic solar-cycle length (11 years) multiplied by 2N (where N equals a positive or negative integer)”. c.f. Usoskin’s paper quoted earlier:
    Usoskin, S. K. Solanki, and G. A. Kovaltsov
    Accepted 25 May 2007
    Results. The occurrence of grand minima/maxima is driven not by long-term cyclic variability, but by a stochastic/chaotic process[...]

    What a high degree of correlation over many thousands of years would tell us is that solar activity is the PRIMARY modulator of global temperature.
    The hundreds of thousands of years is rapidly shrinking, it seems. And a low degree of correlation [as observed] would then tell us that solar activity is not the PRIMARY modulator of global temperature.

    What I have been criticizing
    I have taken your ‘criticism’ much too seriously [it is my wont to respond to people the best I can]. Maybe it is time for me to stop ‘being perverse’. And about Singer’s book: There are good things in it and there are bad things in it. Among the bad things is the insistence that there are strong 1500-year solar activity cycles that are PRIMARY [that was actually your word] drivers of the 1500-year cycles in temperatures [the latter somewhat observed - with a few misses].
    If that were the case the solar and atmospheric quantities should be clearly and visibly correlated and matched up, which they are not.

  202. I will look forward to seeing that. Should be interesting.

    Leif Svalgaard (08:33:00) :

    Robert Bateman (08:15:48) :
    Is there a list for the length of these crossovers previous to SC21/SC22?

    No, and the plot you see, is my own work. I’m also working on extending that back to the 1860s, but the day only has 32 hours [that's including the 8 hours time difference with GMT :-) ].

  203. Is Leif saying that all the past warmings and coolings are due to natural causes related to our planet and that this present warming is due to man. Is he saying that the sun plays only a minor role, if so perhaps he can enlighten me as to the cause of these past warmings and coolings.

  204. Rob (10:37:33) :
    Is Leif saying that all the past warmings and coolings are due to natural causes related to our planet and that this present warming is due to man.
    I don’t know where you get that idea from.
    Let me repeat [from 9/15 08:36] how I see it:
    “Finally, it is a fallacy to think that the issue is a choice between 0% AGW, 100% solar or 100% AGW, 0% solar. The truth is closer to X% AGW, Y% solar, Z % orbital, and W% other. One can then discuss the relative sizes of X, Y, Z, and W. In my opinion [which you can take or leave] X is small, Y is small, Z is large, and hence W is what is left [W includes a lot of things: volcanoes, ocean circulation, salinity, etc]. Since the time scale of Z is very long, on shorter time scales W becomes the dominant effect.”

    Is he saying that the sun plays only a minor role, if so perhaps he can enlighten me as to the cause of these past warmings and coolings.
    Regardless of the past warmings and coolings [some are even disputed] direct observations of the Sun shows that it does not vary very much. One of the strongest observations [go look at post on 9/15 16:43] is that the Sun cannot have been any dimmer in the past [excluding the billion year time frame] than it is now at activity minimum. And the 5-year variation from sunspot minimum to maximum is too minute (0.1%) to have any impact. So, the most recent observations show that the Sun is VERY steady and that the various warmings/coolings must be caused by something else as I outlined with the X,Y,Z,W example.

    Now, there are various ways one can react to this. I’ll run several by you:
    1. You could say that solar scientists don’t know what they are doing, or are lying cheats, or it is one big Government conspiracy to conceal the truth from Joe Sixpack. If you do that, you are home-free and can merrily go on with your life [I'll refer to that as YAHF].
    2. You could say that in spite of our observations, there are so many things we don’t know about the Sun, that it is folly to apply what we have just learned to the past, If you do that YAHF.
    3. You could say that, so what if the sun hardly varies, the climate is hypersensitive to even the smallest changes. Against that I will point out that in the course of every year there is a very large change in what we get from the sun, namely 90 W/m2, compared to the measly 1.5 W/m2 change between solar minimum and solar maximum, that if the climate is so hypersensitive we should see a huge effect from the 60 times larger yearly variation, and we don’t. You could say that that is all baloney in which case YAHF.
    4. You could say that it doesn’t matter what I say, you have invested so much in your viewpoint that any change is too painful, if you do that YAHF.
    5. You could say that 100 years from now [when we finally have figured out how all of this works] you’ll be vindicated after all, if you do that, YAHF.

    So there are many ways to stay happy in a steadfast belief.

  205. “Please speak English for me and the folks.”

    Nolo contendere?

    “If a small change is made on the stove, candy will not get to the desired change in hardness. And only small changes make a HUGE difference in how candy turns out. ”

    Lady Gray has the grasp of one consequence of Lorenz’s ‘butterfly effect'; chaotic loops can exit suddenly on small additional inputs. Whether we had such a point of comparative stasis in solar effect, at the turn of the millenium, now disrupted, is open to question, but the sorting out is near at hand.

    “we don’t use statistical predictions anymore.”

    It’s a beginning.

  206. 3. You could say that, so what if the sun hardly varies, the climate is hypersensitive to even the smallest changes. Against that I will point out that in the course of every year there is a very large change in what we get from the sun, namely 90 W/m2, compared to the measly 1.5 W/m2 change between solar minimum and solar maximum, that if the climate is so hypersensitive we should see a huge effect from the 60 times larger yearly variation, and we don’t. You could say that that is all baloney in which case YAHF.

    YAHF?

    So, since we don’t have extreme sensitivity from the primary heat source, why on earth would one think we’d have extreme sensitivity to minor elevantions on trace atmospheric gases?

  207. Jeff Alberts (13:19:20) :
    So, since we don’t have extreme sensitivity from the primary heat source, why on earth would one think we’d have extreme sensitivity to minor elevations on trace atmospheric gases?
    You tell me, or if at a loss for words, go over to tamino http://tamino.wordpress.com/ or realclimate http://www.realclimate.org/ for a refresher :-)
    In any case, we are not talking about large temperature changes, only of the order of 1%, and a physically complex system with lots of internal couplings and feedbacks could easily sustain a 1% noisy change [including whatever Man is claimed to be doing to it] from time to time, it would seem to me.

  208. From physics.org:

    http://www.physorg.com/news140866561.html

    The conclusion seems to be [although cautiously not stated explicitly] that the current ‘slowdown of global warming is just the calm before the storm [a tipping point]‘. Incredible. The conclusion is based on a correlation involving eight ancient ‘climate shifts’ and the assumption that correlation implies causation. No mechanism is given, except that “Besides climate change, slowing down may also be an early warning sign for other systems, since it is a universal property of systems approaching a tipping point. The scientists suggest that slowing down could precede tipping points in areas such as disease dynamics, physiology, and social and ecological systems.”

  209. “Be aware that this is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.”

    And also the “no one has made a plausible case either way” crowd.

  210. Gary Gulrud (14:32:00) :
    “Be aware that this is controversial and is being met with stiff resistance from the ‘all-time high’ crowd.”
    And also the “no one has made a plausible case either way” crowd.

    And who might that be? I don’t know any one [with actual knowledge of the issues] belonging to that crowd on this particular issue.

  211. ‘The prolonged solar minimum is also occurring at a time of reports in the northern hemisphere of continued sporadic-E enhancement on both the ten and six metre bands.’

    Got that from a link posted on SolarCycle24.com

    It sounds like increased long-wave radio waves, source unknown.
    Leif, are you aware of anything about this?
    I’ll see if I can dig on it in the meantime.

  212. Robert Bateman (16:56:29) :
    reports in the northern hemisphere of continued sporadic-E enhancement [...] source unknown.
    Nothing mysterious. Sporadic E are just patches of a bit higher ionization in the ionosphere. They can occur at any time [although around Christmas is a favorite]. Radio hams can bounce signals off sporadic E and use them as communication links.

  213. Re: the candy metaphor. If you don’t have a very good dial on your stove, you have to watch the candy thermometer constantly. With the small changes that occur on the stove heat coils as they heat up and cool down to stay within the temp dial, the candy can suddenly jump to hard crack when what you really wanted was soft ball stage. Or maybe the candy never gets to the stage you want because the heat source isn’t quite hot enough. Worse, as the temp of the candy is just beginning to increase, the rate is as slow as a snail so you momentarily look away, then suddenly the temp jumps and you have to start all over again because you don’t want to take your kids to the dentist to fix broken fillings. The ingredients of candy make it a dicey dish to try. Melting chocolate poses the same problem. Your heat source can be relatively constant (even though the coils heat up and cool down to maintain a somewhat constant temp). The chocolate however acts all crazy.

    I think the constant stew like mix of our atmosphere are like the various ingredients in candy but even worse, because the ingredients aren’t well mixed and change in amounts from year to year, season to season, month to month, and day to day. That means that in some years, the Earth will react to the influence of the Sun more readily than in other years. Or seasons, or months, or days.

    Lets say we have a warm ocean current in the Arctic and a strong wind, but cold weather and an active Sun (as in UV or magnetic field, or, etc). I think the melt will look very different than if we have a cold current, weak wind, warm temps, and a quiet Sun. The mix is very complex which means to me that SOMETIMES the Earth is hypersensitive to the Sun and sometimes it isn’t. I don’t think the Sun drives our temps as much as the conversation between the Earth and Sun does. Sometimes the conversation is heated and sometimes it is not. What may be of use here is to see what kind of cycle we can pick out from each of these variables as stand-alone data. It would then be possible to see whether or not these cycles ever come together in a way that would predict my freezing fanny or sweated brow.

    So small changes in the heat source may not affect the candy at all and you end up with goo. Or a small change may give you the perfect melt in your mouth taffy. And maybe the best advice is that whatever you do, go to confession and receive communion before ever trying to cook a batch of candy. Or predict the Earth’s temperature.

  214. ‘Nothing mysterious. Sporadic E are just patches of a bit higher ionization in the ionosphere. They can occur at any time [although around Christmas is a favorite]. Radio hams can bounce signals off sporadic E and use them as communication links.’

    Ok, I got it, used to be called “skip” I think. My dad was a ham operator.

  215. I do think that thinned ozone combined with abundant water vapor combined with cosmic rays results in clouds. That is different than already formed clouds that swirl through the Pacific on their way towards the US loosely following the jet stream (as an example). I am talking about overlaying same time and place zone looping maps of ozone thinning, water vapor, and cloud formation. My favorite place to watch this event, the Pacific Ocean and western US, has been very consistent over the summer and currently. Water vapor is present. Ozone thins. Cosmic rays beat through the stew into the water vapor, and sure enough, cheesecloth like clouds show up. Then when the ozone thickens up again, the clouds clear away, not move away, they just clear away. I have also noticed that in places where there is less water vapor but the same amount of thinned ozone and cosmic ray bombardment, the cheesecloth clouds do not form. I don’t know if the water vapor turned cheesecloth cloud cover is doing anything to temps. But it sure is interesting to watch.

    I wish our planet had bright colors for all its various gases. Then we would look like Saturn as its relatively poorly mixed gases swirl about each other.

  216. Leif wrote: “SIDC has issued a Clarification…”

    well that’s something at least, though it still seems to be a bit of wagon circling…

    The real question is of course justification of events like August 21st.

  217. wattsupwiththat (08:47:07) :
    The real question is of course justification of events like August 21st.
    Snafus happen. They have, of course – in sticking to their rigid procedure, not removed the sunspot counts from the Southern Hemisphere. Without the wrong count there, the sunspot number for August should be 0.3 and not 0.5 [granted, that that doesn't make a whit of difference].
    More alarming to me is the NOAA count on 9/11 as that speck should not have been counted according to their own procedures [too short-lived]. Some panic reaction? Anyway, I guess that the lesson of all this is that this is tricky business with an error bar as so much else, and not to attach too much symbolic importance to the ‘zero count’ [admittedly hard not to].

  218. Pamela,

    If you were to assert that there is a ‘conversation’ between the sun and the oceans then I’d agree with the bulk of your picturesque description.

    Sometimes the oceans supplement solar changes, sometimes they oppose them and at other times changes in oceanic influence balance out solar changes for a while.

    See my various articles on this link, especially the one about the Hot Water Bottle Effect.

    http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?tag=stephen+wilde

  219. I agree, Leif, the 9/11 sunspot is a total reach, maybe it only deserves an 0.1 or an 0.05?
    If we round down, it’s a zero.

  220. We all watched as the smoke from the fires in No. Ca laid low all summer, and the answer came straight from the Fire Infomation Officer who got her briefing from NASA: Cosmic Rays hitting the lower atmosphere in the UV and creating the inversion layer. Only the winds dislodged the smoke, which travelled halfway down the state under the ‘layer’.
    The fire people couldn’t believe what was happening. They never saw anthiing like it.

  221. OT: To keep this on our collective minds, as of Sept 19th, we are only about 10 days away from the next milestone of 446 for solar minima spotless days. We may hit that next milestone by the end of this month.

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/spotless-days-400-and-counting/

    July had 3 or 4, and I think Aug 21, 22 each had a small sunspot, so I count 6 since June 30. Am I missing any? “Region 1001 (N06, L =
    179, class/area Bxo/020 on 11 September) emerged on 11 September,
    but quickly decayed to plage.” (see http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/latest/WKHF.txt ) Does that one count? The http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/DSD.txt page gave it an SESC Sunspot number of 12 and area of 20 x10^-6 Hemis, but that page does not have a sunspot number for Aug 21 nor 22.

    Taking 4 for july, 2 for August and 1 for sept, I get 436 so far.

    Before it is lost:

    :Product: Daily Solar Data DSD.txt
    :Issued: 1425 UT 19 Sep 2008
    #
    # Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
    # Please send comments and suggestions to SWPC.Webmaster@noaa.gov
    #
    # Last 30 Days Daily Solar Data
    #
    # Sunspot Stanford GOES10
    # Radio SESC Area Solar X-Ray —— Flares ——
    # Flux Sunspot 10E-6 New Mean Bkgd X-Ray Optical
    # Date 10.7cm Number Hemis. Regions Field Flux C M X S 1 2 3
    #—————————————————————————
    2008 08 20 66 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 21 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 22 68 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 23 68 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 24 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 25 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 26 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 27 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 28 66 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 29 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 30 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    2008 08 31 67 0 0 0 -999 A0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

    John M Reynolds

  222. Email from Roger Ulrich of Mt. Wilson Solar Observatory:

    I have prepared the paragraphs below to indicate my evaluation of the magnetic field/ CaK spectroheliogram history of solar activity during three solar minima.

    A set of pretty large pdf files for the 1933/34 and 1954 minima can be found at:

    http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~ulrich/MW_SPADP/CaK_RM_flat_sum/

    in case anyone wants to review these earlier minima. This page is not linked to any active pages but can be accessed by the above.

    I have looked at the current minimum and the minima preceding cycles 17 and 19. It is a bit difficult to be precise in this comparison because of the different sizes of magnetized regions on the solar surface. The operating active sun almost always has a magnetized region or several on its surface at any given time. Often the sun is unbalanced with an active region on one side and not on the other. During all three minima there are episodic times when very small features appear for one to several days. These features are much smaller than are the typical active regions. I think I have to count the time of quiet minimum as that period between the last region is seen and when the next region is seen. The small features confuse the description because they have been seen during the quiet minimum phase for all three minima but they are distributed in time differently in each case [I don't know what he means by this - Leif]. If I just take the intervals between last region and first region as the quiet period the interval of cycle 16/17 was from 11/27/1933 to 2/10/1934 with marginally large feature/region present from 1/12/1934 to 1/18/1934, approximately 2.5 months. The quiet period for cycles 18/19 was from 4/19/1954 to 8/29/1954 (just over 4 months) with the month of June, 1954 being extremely quiet. The present quiet period began June 27, 2008 and is continuing so we are coming up to 3 months. The current month of September is so far as quiet as was June 1954.

    The current quiet period is unusual but not unprecedented. It is on the edge of setting a record but not there yet.

  223. SPACE WEATHER, VOL. 6, S09006, doi:10.1029/2008SW000440, 2008

    Sunspot Record Reveals Little to Space Weather Watchers
    Irene Klotz

    Abstract

    Despite a month of nearly spot-free conditions on the surface of the Sun, solar physicists with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who keep a sharp eye on solar activities to forecast space weather, are no closer to assessing the nature of the next sunspot cycle.

    Published 20 September 2008.

  224. Leif (19:59:24) Isn’t it visible on the magnetogram, but not to the eye?
    ==========================================

  225. I didn’t read all the comments because I’ve been behind, and 246 is a pile to read anyway. I’m surprised by the attack on the solar observers, saying that a “speck” or “tim” shouldn’t be a spot, and trying to condemn said observers to use antiquated technologies. If the solar observers are to use refracting telescopes with filters for visual observing, then the temperature observers should go back to using whatever they were using back in the day, to avoid contaminating the record.

    I’m a little disappointed that this science blog has seemed to take a step into “activism” territory. The solar observations don’t match what was expected/hoped for by the temperature crew, and now that crew is complaining bitterly to get the record corrected so it suits their needs. The whole thing seems to be somewhat hypocritical.

    During my short life I’ve learned that nothing stays the same – technology evolves and (usually) makes things better. Just because something was done one way ~100 years ago doesn’t mean we should keep doing it – why doesn’t everyone drive a Model-T or use a graphophone to listen to music?

    And instead of just flaming the comments, I’m proposing a solution. If we have technology that can detect a sunspot when our eyes can’t, then we should keep track of that. Perhaps everything (specks/spots/disturbances) should have size, polarization, location, and duration (and temperature?) recorded. By building the solar observance dataset can we analyze that data and get into discussions about what a spot is or isn’t. We can then embrace technological advances that give us more data to analyze because we stand to gain more knowledge from the analysis of those richer datasets.

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