Solar ISN mean dips below 1.00 -

While the sun still struggles to form cycle 24 spots like seen in this weak plage area (upper right)  in today’s SOHO MDI and Magnetograms (shown below) Paul Stanko of NOAA writes to tell me of an interesting development in his tracking of the International Sunspot Number (ISN).

shoho_mdi_042109

soho_magnetogram_042109

Paul writes:

My running mean of the International Sunspot Number for 2009 just dipped below 1.00.  For anything comparable you now need to go back before 1913 (which scored a 1.43) which could mean we’re now competing directly with the Dalton Minimum.

Just in case you’d like another tidbit, here is something that puts our 20 to 30 day spotless runs in perspective… the mother of all spotless runs (in the heart of the Maunder Minimum, of course!) was from October 15, 1661 to August 2, 1671.  It totaled 3579 consecutive spotless days, all of which had obs.

Errant counting of sunspecks from Catainia aside, it appears that we haven’t seen anything like this in modern history.

We live in interesting times.

192 thoughts on “Solar ISN mean dips below 1.00 -

  1. If, as many here believe, there is a greater influence from the Sun on climate than the warmists give it credit for, then there is probably reason for concern. Interesting times indeed, and that is a curse in some cultures.

  2. Does it really matter how many ‘spotless’ days we have in a row? I would think the overall activity means more. How many spots per month or year. And size of the spots. Tiny specs don’t do much.

    Without spots, we get a bit less UV. In normal times, we get a bigger dose on a roughly 11 year cycle. In quiet times, that UV is missing. What are the long term effects? It has to have some impact, large or small, probably biological. What grows and what does not?

  3. This is really big news, but does not fit current theories, so no reporting in the major news outlets.

    And you know, cycle 24 is just about ready to launch and all will return to normal… and support the “nothing wrong with the sun” theory.

  4. Curious if we will see a definite cooling trend of the oceans followed by a flat line or maybe a dip in the Mauna Loa CO2 readings.

  5. Hi anthony.

    It’s seems that the sunspot there is today…

    now i’m waiting if it ‘ll live enough to be count by noaa

    Simon

  6. What kind of equipment did they use back in the 1600’s to measure sun spots?I feel sure that some of the sun specks we have had over the past few years would not have shown up back then.

  7. It would be interesting to know if somebody has calculated spotless days not taking into consideration those specks and other phantoms some have counted as sunspots.

  8. Re: Retired Engineer

    I am guessing spotless days are a little less prone to the vagaries of what to call a sun spot. There have been a number of ‘sunspot’ assignments that were vigorously questioned here. Then there’s the issue of whether a spot qualifies as a ‘group’ where it counts as 10 spots. Thus, it would seem to me that spotless days/year would be much less affected by a zealous sun spot counter than total sun spot number.

  9. the mother of all spotless runs (in the heart of the Maunder Minimum, of course!) was from October 15, 1661 to August 2, 1671. It totaled 3579 consecutive spotless days, all of which had obs.

    There were not observations on all days. That is myth. When Hoyt and Schatten compiled their group sunspot number they vastly overstated their case of continuous observations. When an observer in foggy, rainy London (especially during the Little Ice Age!) exclaimed: “I have just seen a spot, having not seen one in three years”, it is false to claim that there were ~1000 observations (one every day, rain or shine) with no spots.

  10. I’m with Terry. How do we know the sunspot data from the Seventeenth Century?

    Is it from recorded direct (or indirect to preserve eyesight) observation? Or are we talking about a proxy?

  11. I think that 100 years ago, the last spot that would be counted was in november…

    so the spotless days in a row would be about 150…

    simon

  12. Without spots, we get a bit less UV. In normal times, we get a bigger dose on a roughly 11 year cycle. In quiet times, that UV is missing. What are the long term effects? It has to have some impact, large or small, probably biological. What grows and what does not?

    Sorry if it is explained before, but I believe that stratospheric ozone production is due to UV light breaking O2 into O radicals, and then these radicals react with more O2 generating ozone (O3) Then, if there is less UV light, Does it mean that the ozone production decreases in spotless sun times?

  13. “which could mean we’re now competing directly with the Dalton Minimum.”

    Hearing an urgent knock at the door, the fat lady applies a final stroke of mascara. “Last call. Showtime!”

    Lose the ‘could’ Paul, it’s time to clear the fallen from the field.

  14. There is a tiny spot!!
    Out, damned spot! Out I say! one, two! (days)
    I agree with comments about bias in observations, and I have also noticed that many have asked the same questions regarding past methods etc and no-one can seem to answer them..
    Unique times indeed, There is now a flurry of plagues so perhaps the cycle will start it’s uptick*rolls eyes*.
    Seriously though, what was the largest image of the sun that observations in the past (pre satellite used to scan for spots)? Surely smaller than the current images…

  15. TERRY46 (07:58:26) :

    What kind of equipment did they use back in the 1600’s to measure sun spots?I feel sure that some of the sun specks we have had over the past few years would not have shown up back then.

    Lief has answered this question probably 1000 times! Maybe Lief could do a “frequently asked questions” page…would save a lot of typing.

  16. The BBC has an article on sunspots today http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8008473.stm
    I particularly like the baffling and simplistic comments…

    Also, Leif Svalgaard (08:15:59) :
    Very good point on cloudy days decreasing historical sunspot counts. This combined with the improvement in measurement technology, makes comparisons between historical and current sunspots numbers suspect at best.

  17. Interesting too, the Arctic ice graph here is currently showing record ice since 2003. The ENSO index is hovering around 6, (so not quite the El Nino forming that Hansen expects).
    Here in South Africa, the weather is unbearable, rainy, windy, and Arctic (12’C – cold for us!) and snow is falling in the Drakensberg and Lesotho… not pleasant for tomorow’s elections…
    Anecdotal evidence yes, but still people are a little confused with the failed predictions of heat, drought and famine made a few years back when summer actually continued into late May.

  18. Retired Engineer (07:47:39)

    “Does it really matter how many ’spotless’ days we have in a row?”

    I fully agree. It is the cumulative effect of the total period that matters.

    The occasional fleck has no effect on the solar output.

  19. While I appreciate the idea that a quiter sun may lower temperatures ( heck the sun is the main supplier of radiation ) The climate is a complex system with many more variables then just the sun, or the moon, or cloud formation etc… While I am interested to see how long this lack of sun spots occurs do we not know already what to expect from it? I ask only in the sense of how much lower does the temperature typicaly get during an 11 year cycle when spots are on the low? While it is easy to say, “Its the sun, Stupid” I do not accept easy answers. I do not know if CO2 is the main contributer to warming, I do not know if less spots on the sun will contribute to cooling. There are far too many variables.

    Now I know you can point back to Maunder Minimum and say there is a direct correlation but unfortunatly it is only one datapoint that I am aware of that demonstrated this extreme drop in temperature along with the sun being spotless. Did the temperature get colder each year the sun was without spots? Was there some thing else going on? Was there some other underlying output drop from the sun that caused the temperature decrease… Was it only in North America ( sorry for my ignorance )? I mean while I would love to link the sun directly to the current drop in temperature doing so does not nessicarily explain the increase in temperature over the last couple decades ( though Anthony showing how biased a sampling we have been attaining from North American Temperature stations has helped explain percieved increase and real articles about the urban heat island effects seem to help as well)

    I suppose my only point here is I don’t feel comfortable blaming only the sun. The Sun is important to be sure but I have not seen it demonstrated to my satisfaction that I should be overly concerned with a spotless sun for any given amount of time.

  20. Re Retired Engineer’s questions about the effects of lessened UV…

    Since we can use UV to sterlize things, I’m thinking that solar minima cause more sickness because more harmful germs survive.

  21. “There were not observations on all days. That is myth. When Hoyt and Schatten compiled their group sunspot number they vastly overstated their case of continuous observations. When an observer in foggy, rainy London (especially during the Little Ice Age!) exclaimed: “I have just seen a spot, having not seen one in three years”, it is false to claim that there were ~1000 observations () with no spots.”

    I have to differ, you do not necessary have to watch “one every day, rain or shine” sun spots track across the sun over several days. Once everyday may have been difficult, but once every 3 days or even once a week is not impossible. And yes these scientists were very dedicated and watched for every spot, but I doubt specks could have been counted.

  22. Either way it’s sliced, Paul has a valid point: The sum total SSN for 2009 / days so far in 2009
    goes below 1.00 is news.
    In 1913, the run started in April and was over in 90 days. 1913 was a vee shaped minimum.
    It ramped fast when it was done being silent. The spots were larger on both sides of the vee.
    They had penumbras. There was a Tiny Tim in a large plage that went off the west limb too.

    But 1913 got in, got the job done, and was out on the track in time to not lose its position (get lapped)
    2009 is not so lucky. Bad pit stops.
    Thank you, Paul.
    While we do not know what tomorrow brings, we certainly know what has happened prior to today, for we are monitoring with the best equipment possible 24/7.
    There are no cloudy day rainticket excuses.
    We missed nothing.
    Thank you again, Paul.

  23. JimB (07:42:12) :

    Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.

    Thanks Jim, it took me at least five minutes to stop laughing and another twenty to wipe the grin of my face.

    This should be quote of the week, or joke of the week.

    David

  24. What type of equipment? They looked at the sun very carefully. Usually this was done by servants whose eyes were not very important.

  25. So the sun is driving temperature, and the CO2 causing warming model is accurate, it’s just that for now the sun is overpowering it.

  26. ” TERRY46 (07:58:26) : What kind of equipment did they use back in the 1600’s to measure sun spots?I feel sure that some of the sun specks we have had over the past few years would not have shown up back then.”

    After the 1600’s — telescope, before — camera obscura — or a simple pinhole lens, most likely. John of Worcester (12th cen.) had the first sunspot drawing, by an unknown method, (pinhole optics were roughly known from Aristotle) and Roger Bacon observed a solar eclipse with camera obscura a century or so later.

  27. So…

    What is the best estimate of the ‘true coverage’ during the Maunder Minimum? Are the actual logbooks around? Because writing ‘no obs’ or ‘bad weather’ or something would seem like a standard procedure in any sort of long term effort like this. And there was more that just one observer in London, yes?

  28. The BBC mentioned the quiet sun today and linked it to pictures of the frozen Thames in the Little Ice Age. But of course the BBC added that ‘scientists’ said the quiet sun wouldn’t stop climate change (global warming)!!

  29. I see that someone else has posted about the Watts effect. I think that it is safe to say that between the Watts effect and the Gore effect we could say that the Human race can control the climate. (If you believe that more sunspots leads directly to a warming earth that is.)

    If things are getting cold, just have Anthony write a bunch of articles about the quiet sun and the sunspots will ramp up. (Calm yourselves Warmies, it’s just a joke) If things are getting a little warm, just have Al Gore hold a speech to discuss the warmth and it will go away.

    Please Note, use of the powerful Gore effect should be monitored closely as overuse could result in a new ice age.

  30. Its worth looking at the Armagh Observatory, (Northern Ireland) temperature data. They have an almost unbroken record from about 1790.
    From 1865, the minimum and maximum temperatures are as flat as a billiard table. Strange. Have they been fiddled?

  31. I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

  32. Anthony is very conservative, using his voice on proper occasion to coax out a sunspot.
    The batteries are quite low, and Anthony knows it.
    Gore, on the other hand, burns his energy like a type “O” star, hot & fast.

  33. We should be preparing for something really bad. It would be practical and a moral imperative to specifically plan for a Maunder scenario while at least having a solid contingency plan for the end of the interglacial.

  34. As expected, the guy at spaceweather.com did not loose any time to reset the spotless days counter to zero, eventhough there is not an official sunspot number out yet. Pathetic!

  35. Peter (09:31:20) :
    I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    NASA Studies
    It’s almost hard to believe, but new NASA-funded research confirms an old theory that plankton can indirectly create clouds that block some of the Sun’s harmful rays. The study was conducted by Dierdre Toole of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and David Siegel of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
    The study finds that in summer when the Sun beats down on the top layer of ocean where plankton live, harmful rays in the form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation bother the little plants. UV light also gives sunburn to humans.
    The plankton try to protect themselves by producing a chemical compound called DMSP, which some scientists believe helps strengthen the plankton’s cell walls. This chemical gets broken down in the water by bacteria, and changes into another substance called DMS.
    DMS then filters from the ocean into the air, where it breaks down again to form tiny dust-like particles. These tiny particles are just the right size for water to condense on, which is the beginning of how clouds are formed. So, indirectly, plankton help create more clouds, and more clouds mean that less direct light reaches the ocean surface. This relieves the stress put on plankton by the Sun’s harmful UV rays.
    Source: http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/0702_planktoncloud.html

  36. Chris,

    I lived in Germany off and on for 10 years. Temperatures from about November through early April were usually about two degrees between high and low, and pretty consistent over time. The Rhine controlled the temperature in Wiesbaden, where I lived. I’m pretty sure Armagh’s temperatures were controlled by the Atlantic Current.

  37. Ann (08:19:01) :

    I’m with Terry. How do we know the sunspot data from the Seventeenth Century?

    Is it from recorded direct (or indirect to preserve eyesight) observation? Or are we talking about a proxy?

    Is there really a proxy for sunspots or am I missing the esoteric humor?

  38. Alex: You wrote, “The ENSO index is hovering around 6, (so not quite the El Nino forming that Hansen expects).”

    Can I ask where you found that number?

    According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the SOI for March 2009 was 0.2, a considerable drop from February:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/soihtm1.shtml

    For the week centered on Wednesday April 15, 2009, NINO3.4 SST anomalies are -0.13 deg C. I posted my mid-month SST update yesterday:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/mid-april-2009-nino34-sst-anomaly-and.html

  39. JimB (07:42:12) :

    Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.

    Don’t be silly, Jim. Fat people have big shadows. You loveable, fat tubs of lard keep the planet cooler one quarter-pounder at a time.

    Now go on with your fat self.

  40. Peter (09:31:20) :

    I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    Liquid water absorbs UV, which raises its temperature.

  41. Do you know why there are no sunspots these days? It’s because of me. I did it. And I won’t turn the sunspots back on until Al Gore apologizes to the world for scaring them with a non-problem.

    (Hey, if Gore can claim junk science as undebate-able, then I can stop sunspots with my mind. Deal with it.)

  42. If Svensmark is right, the real measure of what may be impacting the earth’s climate is the level of cosmic rays and the story there is very interesting.

    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/query.cgi?startdate=1964/04/21&starttime=00:00&enddate=2009/04/21&endtime=19:54&resolution=Automatic choice&picture=on

    Meanwhile, it certainly appears that, led by the great southern oceans, the planet is cooling:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2sh/from:1998/plot/hadsst2sh/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2001/trend

    Given that this should be a lagging affect, what happens to temperatures over the next few years will be very telling. Hopefully our politicians won’t be signing any trillion dollar global warming cheques in the interim.

    Has anyone seen any data/charts on lower atmosphere cloudiness levels that cover the last 6 months to a year?

  43. The Sun is somnolent: Heavy with sleep.

    The questions that no one can answer are how long will the Sun be in this somnolence and why is the Sun in this prolonged period of somnolence.

    Perhaps answering the “why” will put Science in a position of answering “how long”.

  44. How do you tell the difference between a late 23 spot and an early 25 spot?

    I think 24 is just lazy. By the time it gets here it’ll be time to leave.

  45. The BBC mentioned the long solar minimum this morning. Also mentioned was Total Solar Irradiance, which according to the BBC has been decreasing since 1985, which may or may not be true, depending on what is measured.
    The point about the solar minimum is not the TSI but the sun’s weakened magnetic field. The weakened magnetic filed allows more cosmic rays to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, which leads to increased cloud cover , which leads to lower temperatures.

  46. A couple of other calcultions that are interesting:
    I have been doing a running average of 395 days (13 months) and 182 days (6 months) on the SDIC sunspot data (starting with Jan. 1999) . The current results are:

    395 day average 3.89 centered on Oct. 6, 2008
    182 day average 2.48 centered on Jan. 18, 2009

    The latest value for both averages are the lowest since 1999 (an arbitrary date near solar max)

    The minimum on the 6 month average recently jumped from August 08 to January 09. This data tends to support the idea that, based on sunspots, solar minima will be no earlier than October.

  47. SteveSadlov (09:41:29) :

    We should be preparing for something really bad. It would be practical and a moral imperative to specifically plan for a Maunder scenario while at least having a solid contingency plan for the end of the interglacial.

    We’ve got one: tax everyone into poverty then blame the sun for their plight once it is obvious. /sarcasm

    Mark

  48. Bob : “Can I ask where you found that number?”

    Sorry I meant the values of the last 3 days are hovering around 6, not the last month ; the 30 Day moving SOI : http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

    Yes, perhaps not a very accurate description of where the general trend is heading, but the index has not dipped below -5 since 2007 (the last El Nino).

  49. Have we had enough lapse since the last thread to start speculating again? On your mark, Leif, get set, let’s go!

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.
    =====================

  50. If circulations in our oceans can cause significant changes to our surface temperatures over periods that cycle up to 30 years, then is it not unreasonable to conjecture that circulations within the Sun, a body that is 109 times wider and 330,000 times heavier than planet Earth, could also cause significant temperature changes and would likely include cycles of much greater duration and intensity than those created within our oceans?

    Since global temperatures are again correlating with the current short-term sunspot cycle, would it not also be reasonable to invest more scientific funding into the circulations and cycles of the Sun before we conclude decisively that CO2 is the primary causative factor?

    If someone could translate the above arguments into simple English, it seems compelling IMO.

    We are modeling what happens when you add another Nat into the room and forgetting about the Elephant in the corner.

  51. “John W. (10:06:04) :

    Peter (09:31:20) :

    I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    Liquid water absorbs UV, which raises its temperature.”

    Water will heat up much quickly with infrared radiation though. Liquid water is somewhat transparent to UV radiation.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html

  52. Ray (10:46:36) :

    “John W. (10:06:04) :

    Peter (09:31:20) :

    I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    Liquid water absorbs UV, which raises its temperature.”

    Water will heat up much quickly with infrared radiation though. Liquid water is somewhat transparent to UV radiation.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html

    Which means that infrared heats the top milimeters of ocean whereas UV can go down to 100 meters distributing the heat in depth. In addition, the UV part of the energy spectrum varies by 6% from minimum to maximum, in contrast to the 0.1% of TSI.

  53. Maunder Minimum — 3579 consecutive spotless days.

    How about them apples!! But, human nature being what it is, even the truest of true believers might take a day off from time to time. After all, if everytime you look at the sun you see that there’s nothing to see, it won’t take much to dissuade you from looking at nothing and skipping a day or two … or three.

    Now switching from apples to oranges, these days there’s almost continuous coverage of the sun, from SOHO to observers on the ground. And the observations aren’t just about sunspots, but include solar magnetism and solar wind; bet these weren’t high on anyone’s list of things to watch for back in the 1660’s. With today’s aggressive peering at the sun, it’s no wonder that SIDC caught and counted that brief short-lived speck on 26 March; heck, even SOHO caught it but it was never counted by NOAA.

    So today we have another sunspeck and this time it’s been noted by SWPC. It’s been a couple months since there was a real sunspot. In that time there’ve been a couple of intermittent sunspecks. Keep this up, with a brief sunspeck every month or so over the course of the next few years and things could get mighty chilly.

    I wonder — how many ‘specks’ were missed in the 1660’s?

  54. John in NZ (10:29:13) : “How do you tell the difference between a late 23 spot and an early 25 spot?”

    Latitude, maybe?

    Peter (09:31:20) : “I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?”

    As near as I can see, the major effect of UV variability is on the ionosphere, where the temperature varies from about 500°C to 1500°C. The altitude of the ionosphere is also affected significantly. (There are on-going night and day variations occurring, as well.) The density of the ionosphere is extremely low, but it’s my opinion that there is a lot we don’t understand about it, relative to global temperatures.

  55. anna v (11:18:03) :

    Yes, uv radiation can penetrate water at greater depth. However, the amount of dissolved or floating “impurities” or live organisms will absorb much more uv than the water will… c=c are really good at uv absorbtion in the pi electrons.

  56. Phillip Bratby (09:21:29) : “The BBC mentioned the quiet sun today and linked it to pictures of the frozen Thames in the Little Ice Age. But of course the BBC added that ’scientists’ said the quiet sun wouldn’t stop climate change (global warming)!!

    Of course, if they claim a quieting Sun yet insist global warming continues they can then claim the Sun has no effect on global warming and conclude it proves the CO2 link.

  57. Check out the continuum, the spot is already fading and will be a plaque soon.

    Again, this spot would not have been counted in the 18th century and probably not in 1913 either.

  58. Ray (11:32:37) :

    Have a look at the link I gave in sequence. There is a world map in the third figure.

    Even if impurities absorb UV, they are still in the water, raising the ocena temperature?

  59. “The latest value for both averages are the lowest [of this minimum]”

    As the last D’Aleo article pointed out the monthly average will have to jump to near 4 for May and remain so thereafter to prevent the 13 month minimum moving into 2009.

    At the end of last July Janssens and Svalgaard argued similarly if it jumped above 5 and remained in August, March 2008 would be minimum. It won’t happen now either.

    hareynolds linked to solarcycle24 a few days back for a comparison of spotless day progressions with earlier cycle transitions. This one is mimicing the Dalton progression not the 14/15 transition as Janssens has it at his solaemon site.

    Trying to reconstruct earlier activity via statistics thru a plausible heliomagnetic field strength is kaput, dead, muerta, thanatos.

  60. JimB (07:42:12) :

    Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.

    Don’t be silly, Jim. Fat people have big shadows. You loveable, fat tubs of lard keep the planet cooler one quarter-pounder at a time.

    Now go on with your fat self.
    —————————–
    So that’s why Al Gore has been getting so fat. Next step in his scam is to reward people with a bigger shadow.

  61. Leon Brozyna (11:28:12) :

    I wonder — how many ’specks’ were missed in the 1660’s?

    It seems like I read some comments on this here in another thread, though I do not recall the conclusions.

    Mark

  62. G.R. Mead (09:18:42) : (pinhole optics were roughly known from Aristotle) and Roger Bacon observed a solar eclipse with camera obscura a century or so later.

    I suspect pinhole optics were known to some folks long before that. In about 1980 something I watched an eclipse of the sun. The most striking memory of it is noticing that under a tree, there were thousands of images of a crescent sun, formed by the little gaps between the leaves… Given millions of people over hundreds of thousands of years, I’m sure I’m not the first to have noticed this… We know the first recorded knowing of things, not the first actual knowing…

  63. Hey, this is my first time posting, and I am not a scientist but spend tons of time here and at CA. I couldn’t resist so here goes: you got it all wrong, it’s not the sunspots’ it’s that the Co2 is teleconnected and suppressing the formation of sunspots. See, it makes perfect sense! Mauna Loa records Co2 leveling off which apparently reached a “tipping” point and the sunspots stopped. And I’m a novice! I’m suprised you guys didn’t make the connection,LOL! Coincidence…I think not!

    Sorry, I won’t do it again. ;-)

  64. Tom in Sun drenched Florida (11:42:37) :
    Phillip Bratby (09:21:29) : “The BBC mentioned the quiet sun today and linked it to pictures of the frozen Thames in the Little Ice Age. But of course the BBC added that ’scientists’ said the quiet sun wouldn’t stop climate change (global warming)!!

    Of course, if they claim a quieting Sun yet insist global warming continues they can then claim the Sun has no effect on global warming and conclude it proves the CO2 link.

    Also, the BBC shows its colours by using the term “climate change” in a context where it actually means “global warming”. Seems climate can only change in one direction for the BBC.

  65. Well, for once I am going to be an optimist (momentarily) and say that I am not going to worry about sunspots this week as we are heading towards 80 degrees down here in Charlotte, NC. I shall enjoy my view of the warm sun thus unobstructed by spots, real or imagined.

  66. AEGeneral (10:05:57) :

    JimB (07:42:12) :

    “Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.

    Don’t be silly, Jim. Fat people have big shadows. You loveable, fat tubs of lard keep the planet cooler one quarter-pounder at a time.

    Now go on with your fat self.”

    Don’t forget that fat people will use less hot water when taking a bath.

  67. Peter (09:31:20) : I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    I would speculate that the reduced UV results in less ozone that opens the 9-10 micron IR window and lets the world cool off more. There are ozone related links under the “resources” tab at the top. One to look at is:

    http://exp-studies.tor.ec.gc.ca/e/ozone/Curr_allmap_g.htm

    Where the absolute ozone levels, I would speculate, show the impact of a Birkland type current from the sun making twin spots of high ozone at the N. Pole; while further down the anomaly map shows the generally lower than expected ozone levels globally.

    Basically, my thesis would be that lower UV by 6% would mean lower ozone (the anomaly map seems to indicate 10=20% or so) that would mean a lot colder due to IR transparency in the band blocked mostly by ozone (almost only by ozone).

    Speculative on my part, but I make money by speculating and have a pretty good sense for when the speculative is a good bet… speaking of which:

    There is a long history of low sunspots having a direct correlation with grain production and thus an inverse correlation with grain prices. A reasonable speculation would be that crop failures will increase and grain prices will rise as yields drop. JJG is an exchange traded fund for grains, while DBA is a general agricultural goods ticker. COW is a combined cows, pigs, chickens ETF and if grain rises in price, so will meat.

    this chart of commodities leads me to believe that JJG is at a bottom. WOOD has bottomed and is headed up and I’ve bought PCL Plum Creek Timber a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) that owns timber. JJA is roughly the same as DBA, a broad ag basket.

    So I’d expect that, probably with a bit of time lag, as we cool off the grains, meat, and general ag commodities will rise in price.

    DISCLOSURE: I own PCL and trade into JJG, DBA and JJA as trade indicators tell me to. (Though right now I’m more in mining, steel, and some retail – gotta love what COH Coach did today +16% !; when they slow down I’m planning to rotate some money back to ag.)

  68. Maybe if fat people would wear white clothes, paint their cars, houses, lawns and pets white, the albedo changes will make up for any other shortcomings. Also sending money to Al Gore couldn’t hurt.

  69. I’m resigned to living through a Maunder Type (Landscheidt) Minimum.

    At this point it looks like for the most part it just means a sharper spring and fall like they get a few hours North of here … where I used to live.

    Moisture being the biological constraint in the Northern Plains and with CO2 notched up somewhat from where photosynthesis shuts down, one or two summers of crop failures in the next 30 years from late springs and early frosts should be made up by increased yields overall.

    The Pine Beetle are getting knocked back into traditional territory and it seems the local amphibians are even bouncing back with the minor (1970’s …ish) cooling since 2000. It won’t be all bad the next leg down ;)

  70. SteveSadlov (09:41:29) : We should be preparing for something really bad. It would be practical and a moral imperative to specifically plan for a Maunder scenario while at least having a solid contingency plan for the end of the interglacial.

    I used to be a closet survivalist, then I came out, now I’m an Urban Preparedness Advocate! ;-)

    The biggest issue from a LIA would be food shortages. I cover that somewhat (and what to do to prepare for it without really trying) in:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/food-storage-systems/

    If you have spare cash in excess and don’t like doing things yourself, Google “food storage systems” and there are lots of folks who will sell you a prepackaged system with gallon cans of grains, sugar, etc. I did that once. It was OK, but it’s not what you are used to eating and it’s a bit of a pain to learn new ways of cooking. (When, last recession, I was out of work it did get eaten, so it wasn’t wasted.) But I like the DIY approach better.

    It’s also possible to go to the camping goods store and stock up on dehydrated meals, but it’s expensive.

    Basically, practice your camping skills and review what your ancestors did in the horse and buggy days (pre-supermarket… my “granny” in Iowa had a pantry the size of the kitchen and it was always stocked…)

    Oh, and I have a generator (that got way too much use thanks to the brain dead government in California) and a few hundred gallons of water in plastic barrels for when the Big Quake hits. And a fireplace insert was added a few years back and I’ve planted a few ‘fast trees’ so if needed we can stay ‘warm enough’ on wood though mostly I just watch them grow and use natural gas…

    SIDEBAR: To the inevitable AGW troll who wants to spin this as some kind of panic over a new ice age by AGW Denialists: Yes, I denounce and deny AGW. It isn’t happening. No, I don’t think we’re about to plunge into a new ice age. The onset is way to slow to worry about. I would be doing exactly the same preparations if AGW were real. Or if the whole controversy were gone. In fact, I started doing these preparations in about 1978 and have followed the “be prepared” mantra since my Boy Scout days. It has served me well through several personal events and through one 7.2 quake. It’s just a good idea to be prepared for the inevitable bad times, whatever might cause them.

  71. When an observer in foggy, rainy London (especially during the Little Ice Age!) exclaimed: “I have just seen a spot, having not seen one in three years”, it is false to claim that there were ~1000 observations (one every day, rain or shine) with no spots.

    I don’t follow. Weren’t there observational records from around the world by this time? Was there a Chinese record in the Maunder, for example?

  72. anna v (11:50:03) :

    Leif had an interesting discussion about the uv radiation and water absoption. see: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3052

    But the whole discussion is that of desperate global warmers… the effect of IR radiation forcing etc on the water absoption… bla bla bla

    But the concentration of uv is very small, too small for significant heating of water. I wonder also if they accounted for the mixing of the water and the possible cavitation from the boat propllers in their study… http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

  73. Re: a Chinese record in the Maunder, for example?

    I thought John Eddy had been there and done that for us.

  74. Thanks Lief!! Based on your sunspot analysis of the old ages we may well be entering a Maunder type event.

  75. Those microsunspots seem to be part of the normal variability of the sun’s magnetic background.

  76. Leif Svalgaard (08:15:59) : said,

    There were not observations on all days. That is myth. When Hoyt and Schatten compiled their group sunspot number they vastly overstated their case of continuous observations. When an observer in foggy, rainy London (especially during the Little Ice Age!) exclaimed: “I have just seen a spot, having not seen one in three years”, it is false to claim that there were ~1000 observations (one every day, rain or shine) with no spots.

    Why mention foggy, rainy LONDON, why not SUNNY SOUTH OF FRANCE, SUNNY SPAIN, SUNNY ITALY, anyway it was not foggy and rainy for three years and a decent sunspot should last more than a couple of days.

  77. Bill P (13:19:41) :
    I don’t follow. Weren’t there observational records from around the world by this time? Was there a Chinese record in the Maunder, for example?

    The Maunder minimum is not in doubt, just that there were observations on every single day, which there most certainly were not.

  78. Leon Brozyna (11:28:12) :
    Maunder Minimum — 3579 consecutive spotless days.
    There is no credible evidence of that. See some of the previous remarks on this.

  79. “I used to be a closet survivalist, then I came out, now I’m an Urban Preparedness Advocate! ;-) … Basically, practice your camping skills ….”

    Coincidentally, I just ordered a compact, efficient, lightweight, wood- and alcohol-burning “Littlbug Stove” that was recommended on the Cool Tools website, here:

    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/003640.php

  80. Jim B in Canada (09:06:55) :
    I have to differ, you do not necessary have to watch “one every day, rain or shine” sun spots track across the sun over several days.
    While in general true, the reports we have are much more vague, like “I didn’t see a spot all of last year”, not “I observed on Jan1st, Jan 5th, Jan 8th, …, Dec 21st, Dec 26th, and Dec 31st, and never saw a spot”. And they were not specifically looking for spots, so while there is no doubt the Maunder Minimum time was poor on observable spots, there is no credible evidence for an unbroken string of 3500 days without a single spot.

  81. Rob (13:46:57) :
    Why mention foggy, rainy LONDON,
    Because Hoyt and Schatten specifically show in their tables yearly tables for English observers that claim observations EVERY SINGLE DAY for years on end. Now, you can say, “so, well, there were wrong on those, but they are certainly correct on the others (in sunny Spain)”, but there you take leave of my criteria for ‘credible’ evidence, but if you must, you can, of course, do that.

  82. A possible physical connection between solar activity and climate… Solar irradiance doesn’t change THAT much during the solar cycle, and sunspots have a so-so correlation with climate. But there hasn’t been a working physical theory to connect solar cycles and earth’s climate… until now. See the article at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090409142301.htm

    Begin quote
    ===============
    “When you drag a heavy object over a surface, the interface becomes hot. In JOULE-II we were able to measure directly two regions being dragged past each other, one being the ionosphere — being driven by flows in space — and the other the earth’s atmosphere,” says Knudsen, who also is the head of the Space Physics Division of the Institute for Space Imaging Sciences (ISIS). The institute is a research partnership between the University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge.

    The measurements confirmed what other scientists consider the boundary or edge of space. “The results have given us a closer look at space, which is a benefit to pure research in space science,” Knudsen says. “But it also allows us to calculate energy flows into the Earth’s atmosphere that ultimately may be able to help us understand the interaction between space and our environment. That could mean a greater understanding of the link between sunspots and the warming and cooling of the Earth’s climate as well as how space weather impacts satellites, communications, navigation, and power systems.”
    ===========
    End quote

    In plain English, the direct cause of heating at the top of the earth’s atmosphere is friction between Earth’s atmospheric wind and Sol’s solar wind. This is a much more direct mechanism than GCRs and cloud formation. Rather than trying to find a correlation between sunspots and temperatures, we should be looking for a correlation between solar wind and temperatures.

    The past couple of decades have been rather active, solar-wise, and temperatures have gone up. But recently, solar wind has been recorded at the quietest levels in 50 years of data. And this is when temperatures have turned downwards.

    Leif… are there records of solar wind velocity and dynamic pressure archived anywhere? It would be interesting to plot them versus earth temperatures. And unlike sunspots, there is a logical, physical mechanism to explain things.

  83. One other difference between todays spot counts and those in the early days is that I would imagine back then it was a curiosity so they would likely go out at some point of the day, take a look, later on draw a picture, and whatever they had at that point it would be the count.
    Today these sunspeck’s (when those even happen) will pop in and out in the span of a few hours and be counted. If in yesteryear it wasn’t there WHEN they did the observation no one would have known it existed.
    Kinda like minimum bandwidth needed to accurately transmit a signal, if the bandwidth is too small the info gets garbled or removed.

  84. Just a general observation, the Ap bottomed out a couple months back and was hitting below 5 for some time, recently it has been abveraging in the 4 to 10 range.

  85. Rob (13:46:57) :

    Why mention foggy, rainy LONDON, why not SUNNY SOUTH OF FRANCE, SUNNY SPAIN, SUNNY ITALY

    Maybe because that was where Hoyt and Schatten were, in foggy, rainy London, when they conducted their observations?

    Mark

  86. /// Meanwhile, it certainly appears that, led by the great southern oceans, the planet is cooling:///

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2sh/from:1998/plot/hadsst2sh/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2001/trend

    I may be wrong but according to this graph surely the planet is still warming – but just at a slower rate than previously ? On the graph It has only ‘cooled’ for one month. But no doubt the readings were accurate for that month and wrong for all the other months.

  87. MattB (14:17:55) :

    I would add that considering that we are about to have two satellites that will have a full view of the sun and also that so many people look at the live images of the sun at every second… yeah, I don’t think we will miss any sun spots. That could be a different thing though if we are hit by a Carrington event or if they shut down the internet.

  88. Anaconda (10:23:56) :

    The Sun is somnolent: Heavy with sleep.

    The questions that no one can answer are how long will the Sun be in this somnolence and why is the Sun in this prolonged period of somnolence.

    Perhaps answering the “why” will put Science in a position of answering “how long”.

    It’s the Barycenter stupid.
    {The above trip down barycenter lane is not endorsed, approved of, or recognized by Anthony Watts, the moderators of this blog, or many of it’s participant. It should therefore be disreguarded as a phantom or other meaningless garbage and not be commented upon.
    The use of the term Stupid is in no way directed at the poster referenced or any other poster on this blog. It was meerely to be construed as a bad joke (just like the use of the term barycenter) and in no way is designed to be a derogitory term.
    IT’S merely a contraction of the words It is and comprises the subject and predicate of the sentance in one. THE is a definite article which is used to indicate a singular being in this case the noun BARYCENTER. STUPID, is an adjective which as mentioned earlier is designed to be construed as a joke and not a particular admonishment of the intilectual capabilities of any who post on this blog (all other blog’s are not included in this disclaimer so will have to form their own rules reguarding the use of this particular phase.

    Again thank you for listining to the management in reguards to not using the word barycenter here}

  89. When I mentioned UV, I wasn’t thinking about heat. If ups and downs in UV levels caused warming or cooling, we would see an 11 year pattern in SST’s (or anything warmed/cooled). But we don’t. If there is an effect, I suspect it is very long term. Omit the weed killer and you don’t get weeds the next day. Plankton, bacteria, whatever. Go a lot longer than 11 years with less of the magic wavelength, and what happens? I don’t know.

    It may not be a big thing. And it doesn’t happen often enough to have much historical data. Magnetic fields and GCR’s may play a much bigger role.

    In any case, we live in interesting times.

  90. JimB (07:42:12) :

    “Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.”

    I thought we sequestered carbon, I was looking forward to getting carbon credits. I mean, the stuff we consume has already been produced, if we don’t eat it, that stuff spoil and the carbon is released into the air. Blame us for the coming ice age please, not global warming.

  91. Mark (15:31:43) :
    When TSI is reported, does it include “ultraviolet light” energy?

    Yes. The ‘T’ stands for ‘Total’. But the UV is but a small part of the total, and the part that varies in phase with the solar cycle and even smaller part. In Watt per square meter we are talking but a small fraction of a single Watt, compared to the 1361 W/m2 we get all the time.

  92. It has been many years since I had any science class and this whole debate about AGW and climate has been very confusing. Now it seems that if it’s really warm, that’s climate and if it’s really cold, that’s weather. But my understanding from the old days is that “climate” is a just collection of “weathers” averaged out over time, and that the sun has at least a little to do with both. Does anyone have a definition of climate that will help me better understand the debate?

    Anthony, please?

  93. Leif, are you suggesting that men of the past were incapable of recognizing that their inability to monitor the sun would not affect their data acquisition? Just so you know, the Hudson Bay Company was mapping the transit of Venus in 1769. This was a globally coordinated effort that included the likes of Capt. James Cook, and Mason-Dixon. Most people in the world today could not tell you what the transit of Venus is. A disingenuous dismissal of men of history if I may say so.

  94. pft wrote:

    “I thought we sequestered carbon, I was looking forward to getting carbon credits. I mean, the stuff we consume has already been produced, if we don’t eat it, that stuff spoil and the carbon is released into the air. Blame us for the coming ice age please, not global warming.”

    Excellent!

  95. We know there were a dearth of sunspots during the Maunder Minimum. Quibbling over whether there were only a few or none probably isn’t very important. The real question is whether there is real global cooling along with the dearth of sunspots, and whether there is a causal link. We may get to see about that.
    ===========================================

  96. Bob Tisdale: what spot in the Atlantic is the actual AMO spot, because the North Atlantic seems to have a positive anomaly in a large area, is it not in that part?

  97. Peter (09:31:20) :

    I asked this question once before, no one who knows answered, does anyone know if UV or lack therof has a thermal effect on oceans?

    Yes, I do. Yes, it does.

  98. “granny-great (15:58:37) :
    Does anyone have a definition of climate that will help me better understand the debate?
    Anthony, please?”

    Granny it sounds like you already have it just right. Just remember that if anyone tries to scare you about climate they are lying. That is not the way that people of integrity deal with each other.
    Hang around and read the articles and comments, then make up your own mind. There is also a Global Warming Primer online that might help you. It is here:

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Curious.htm

  99. dennis ward,

    The HadSST and HadCRU indices are in temperature C. The slope of the two lines you show plotted at Wood for Trees indicate that temperatures have been cooling since 2001. Temperature anomalies represent temperature differences from am arbitrary baseline. Where the zero value is on the left axis is dependent on the baseline chosen, such as the 1979-2000 average or some other reference. Changing the baseline would have the effect of sliding the plots up or down. The fact that both indices have negative slopes for the best fit line since 2001 indicate that temperatures now are cooler than they were in 2001.

  100. Innocentious (08:58:11) :

    Go read Henrik Svensmarks “The Chilling Stars”, and you will get a glimpse of how complex the interaction of sun on climate is, as well as that there are far more than just “one” set of data points.

  101. Mark (10:16:59) :

    If Svensmark is right, the real measure of what may be impacting the earth’s climate is the level of cosmic rays and the story there is very interesting.

    ~~~~~~`
    could you take pity on a layman whose eyes go buggy at a page full of numbers, and just give a quick summary?
    thank you

  102. Mark:
    Follow-up. I’ve read Svensmarks theories, so, just the paper on cosmic rays were making me buggy.
    thanks

  103. David Ball (16:21:30) :
    Leif, are you suggesting that men of the past were incapable of recognizing that their inability to monitor the sun would not affect their data acquisition?

    Men of the past were probably better than we are in doing science (and in many other things as well). But we today are reading too much into their simple statements of fact: “I have not seen a spot all year”. This does not mean that they observed every day. As simple as that.

  104. AEGeneral (10:05:57) :

    JimB (07:42:12) :

    Hello.
    My name is Jim, and I’m fat. I cause global warming.

    Don’t be silly, Jim. Fat people have big shadows. You loveable, fat tubs of lard keep the planet cooler one quarter-pounder at a time.

    I disagree. If Jim is casting a big shadow, then he must absorbing all the UV that would normally strike the earths surface. Without Bill, convection would carry the converted UV to IR up to higher altitudes and eventually it would be lost to space. As he is a greater density than the surrounding atmosphere he is having the effect of delaying the IR longer in the lower troposphere leading global warming.

    He needs to change his albedo. Wearing white clothing will reflect some of the UV back into space but ideally he should wear a polished tin foil hat.

    This will also protect him from lightning.

  105. Wholly hypothetical but let’s say for instance that all year long everyday, someone walks outside and peers through his solar telecope at precisely 9AM and counts no spots everyday. But everyday from 10:30AM to 6AM the next morning a cluster of sunspots apears. The observer would say that there had been no spots all year long, but in reality there was lots of life up there.

    Again the biggest difference between today’s measurements and those of yester year could well be one of sampling.

  106. I ask only in the sense of how much lower does the temperature typicaly get during an 11 year cycle when spots are on the low? While it is easy to say, “Its the sun, Stupid” I do not accept easy answers.

    Apologies beforehand to Leif . . .

    My understanding is that there is only a 0.1C difference between a normal cycle minimum and maximum. But IF a spotless period persists well beyond its normal timespan (esp. if an entire positive phase is “missed”), the difference can multiply at least tenfold.

    No, we do not “know” this, it is merely correlation, which does not prove causation. And there is the Oort Minimum to consider. But . . .

  107. One of the problems of recognizing the Maunder Minimum had a very long period of no spots is that this doesn’t fit in with a Babcock-Leighton type theory. This theory suggests the Suns modulation is a product of chance on every cycle and therefore looks weak in the face of a Maunder type minimum. Its like throwing lots of snake eyes in a row.

  108. While it is true that our records of early observations is scant, we also don’t know if they didn’t observe, couldn’t observe or the record was simply lost.
    Couldn’t osbserve would be more information than didn’t observe.
    Lost records have been found recently by intensive search, and much was found. We will probably find more if we keep digging.

  109. Again the biggest difference between today’s measurements and those of yester year could well be one of sampling.
    And also a different animal sampling.
    They recorded groups, not considering spots to be significant.
    We do know from Observatorie de la Paris that spots have increased per # of groups in the last century (20’s??).
    We don’t know if there was a point in the early observations where spots vs groups rose or fell, because nobody kept track.

  110. Adam from Kansas: You asked, “what spot in the Atlantic is the actual AMO spot, because the North Atlantic seems to have a positive anomaly in a large area, is it not in that part?”

    The AMO is not a direct measurement of SST at one point in the North Atlantic. It is calculated by subtracting Global SST anomalies from North Atlantic SST anomalies. For the North Atlantic SST anomalies, I used the coordinates 0 to 70N, 78W to 10E.

    So if the AMO is dropping, it could mean that North Atlantic SST anomalies are decreasing faster than Global SST anomalies, or it could mean that global SST anomalies are rising faster than North Atlantic SST anomalies. So which is it?

    Take a look at the monthly SST anomaly data.

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/march-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html

    If you scroll down to the graph of Global SST anomalies, you can see it’s been relatively flat for the last few months. But if you scroll down a few graphs more, you’ll note that North Atlantic SST anomalies have been dropping rapidly. So it’s a drop in North Atlantic SST anomalies that’s causing the decrease in the AMO.

    Also note that the North Atlantic SST anomalies are still above zero. The reason the AMO is negative is because the North Atlantic SST anomalies are less than Global SST anomalies.

    Regards

  111. I apologize if this has been covered, but I thought that to be counted, the spot had to be within some limits of observed solar longitude, which would eliminate this one which is about to disappear around the limb. Or did I misunderstand that somewhere?

  112. Geoff Sharp (19:23:55) :
    This theory suggests the Suns modulation is a product of chance on every cycle and therefore looks weak in the face of a Maunder type minimum. Its like throwing lots of snake eyes in a row.

    First of all the solar dynamo worked working fine during the Maunder minimum [we know this from cosmic ray proxies], the problem is to explain why in spite of that the sunspots were hard to see. Perhaps Livingston and Penn have the answer to this.
    Second, the polar fields are the product of two things: existing flux from the past cycle and random walk towards to pole. With a lot of flux you usually get a lot of polar flux too despite the randomness on top of that and with only a little flux you usually get weak polar fields, so [as observed] we usually have a succession of strong cycles and a succession of weak cycles. But because of the chance that more [or less] flux makes it to the poles, those successions are broken from times to time [as observed]. So there is nothing mysterious or difficult about this.

  113. George M (20:16:20) :
    to be counted, the spot had to be within some limits of observed solar longitude

    If it is at all visible it should be counted by the official rules. In my own personal count, I don’t count if the distance from central meridian is greater than 70 degrees, but that is not the official criterion.

  114. Leif Svalgaard (21:27:14) :

    So there is nothing mysterious or difficult about this.

    Except the majority of science dont have a clue whats going to happen to the next few solar cycles. This can be seen by the multitude of varying predictions that vary greatly.

    You are talking about observations, not about what is driving the Sun. A random Sun theory defies the regular solar pattern that has been observed over 11000 years, and also poorly explains grand minima cycles themselves. During the Maunder there was 70 years of poor cycles which could not happen if left to chance alone, take a regular step back and we see the exact pattern again during the Sporer which lasted at least 90 years, take another regular step back and we have the Wolf etc, this pattern goes back 1000’s of years…..this is not something random.

  115. Geoff Sharp (23:13:07) :
    defies the regular solar pattern that has been observed over 11000 years,

    There is no such regular pattern, as simple as that. If there were, we would all be using that. You have not demonstrated any such pattern.

  116. Leif Svalgaard (01:45:21) :

    Geoff Sharp (23:13:07) :
    defies the regular solar pattern that has been observed over 11000 years,

    There is no such regular pattern, as simple as that. If there were, we would all be using that. You have not demonstrated any such pattern.

    The pattern is very clear.

  117. Leif Svalgaard (02:02:14) :

    don’t see any. Careful statistical analysis (both by myself and by Usoskin et al. and others) doesn’t show any.

    Lets see this combined analysis.

  118. An obscure photograph produced by NASA, during a more active Sun, may be a first step to understanding what is actually modulating sunspot cycle.

    (i) A unique polar coronal jet observation was made on June 7, 2007. Analysis of the images from the two distinct viewpoints of the STEREO spacecraft reveals an unmistakable helical structure in the jet. These pioneering, multi-viewpoint observations from STEREO provide the first conclusive evidence for the jet’s helical geometry.(/i)

    http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/item.php?gid=1&id=66

    The spiral magnetic fields form in a plasma only in presence of an electric current.
    An explanation of helical magnetic fields and currents in plasma may be found here:

    http://history.nasa.gov/SP-345/ch15.htm#250

  119. vukcevic 04:12:38

    Yeah, and weaker magnetic fields like in our present spots mean less ejection of coronal material, and less solar wind, and more penetration of cosmic rays here, and more clouds, and a cooling earth. Or am I way out in left field? Leif?
    ===============================================

  120. Leif 21:27:14

    You’re hanging your belief that the solar dynamo worked ‘normally’ during the Maunder Minimum on cosmic ray proxy data. Perhaps that is wrong for some unguessed reason. I know you mentioned several others bits of evidence, but I suspect you are not certain that the solar dynamo works ‘normally’ during Grand Minima.
    ====================

  121. Longitudes aside, I still couln’t project it yesterday.
    Did anyone else in this forum try, sucessful or not?

  122. kim (06:27:07) :

    Leif 21:27:14

    You’re hanging your belief that the solar dynamo worked ‘normally’ during the Maunder Minimum on cosmic ray proxy data. Perhaps that is wrong for some unguessed reason. I know you mentioned several others bits of evidence, but I suspect you are not certain that the solar dynamo works ‘normally’ during Grand Minima.

    Great question….I wouldnt expect a good answer on this one.

  123. Kim
    You could be right on both. Low activity, low heliospheric current, low polar fields and even lower next 3 cycles.

    On Maunder minimum; polar fields were reversing, but they were very weak, so not much sunspot-related was going on to record.

    ‘Solar dynamo’ is a term solar scientist use in trying to explain something they entirely do not understand. Some go for deep dynamo (Hathaway, Dikpaty) some for shallow (Svalgaard, Schatten), but I would not be surprised that there isn’t one there at all of a kind they try to imagine. Think about it this way : The Earth’s volume is million times less than Sun’s, last reversal was 750,000 years ago, and then we expect million times larger sun to do it every 11 years. True solar dynamo is probably very stable (deep in the interior), the magnetic reversals are most likely just ‘surface’ effects, resulting from modulation of the solar currents’ flows (shock horror?!)…

  124. Lief, it is very likely that they did “miss” on aspects of their research, on this we can agree. Taken one step into the present, and it is very likely that we today are not getting all the data as well. It would be ultimate arrogance to assume otherwise. Simple as that.

  125. Geoff Sharp (02:42:52) :
    Let’s see this combined analysis.
    We have been over this before, but there are two examples.

    None of the sharp and present peaks in the power spectrum of the angular momentum:

    are present above the noise in the 14C data used to derive the sunspot number:

    http://www.leif.org/research/FFT-SSN-14C.pdf (page 12)

    Usoskin’s explanation of the random dynamo

    http://www.leif.org/research/Usoskin-Grand-Minima-and-Dynamos.pdf

    contain references to papers describing his analysis.

    Bottom line, there is no regular pattern. but I do not wish for us to hijack this thread going over well trodden ground. Your sandbox is good for that.

    kim (06:27:07) :
    You’re hanging your belief that the solar dynamo worked ‘normally’ during the Maunder Minimum on cosmic ray proxy data. Perhaps that is wrong for some unguessed reason. I know you mentioned several others bits of evidence, but I suspect you are not certain that the solar dynamo works ‘normally’ during Grand Minima.

    If we assume that all our data are wrong for some unknown reason many things become possible.

  126. vukcevic (04:12:38) :
    The spiral magnetic fields form in a plasma only in presence of an electric current. An explanation of helical magnetic fields and currents in plasma may be found here:

    http://history.nasa.gov/SP-345/ch15.htm#250

    FlGURE 15.6.1. says: “the spiral magnetic field is unstable and can never be achieved.”
    That reference is too outmoded to be of value today.
    There are no connection between the spicules described in the the first paper and the solar wind. This whole thing is yet another pseudo-scientific speculation that has no value other than for entertainment. Hopefully this should be clear to the general readership.

  127. David Ball (07:24:49) :
    we today are not getting all the data as well. It would be ultimate arrogance to assume otherwise. Simple as that.

    True, but we have to go by the data we are getting.

  128. Leif 07:33:10

    Touche, again. But then, just the fact that cosmic ray proxy data is being used to support the idea that the dynamo was unchanged during the Maunder Minimum implies that the dynamo has an effect on the cosmic ray data. So far, I guess I’m just stating the obvious. Now, is the cosmic ray data of such precision that we can assert that it did not have an effect strong enough to supply the admittedly small periodic nudge that would be needed to effect the oceanic oscillations? Perhaps just enough to nudge them into and out of their coupled pendulum effect?

    I still can’t help but think that the alternating pointed and broadened peak of cosmic rays in the solar cycles might have an effect. It wouldn’t have to be a big effect to modulate the oceanic pendulums.
    ==============================================

  129. Dr. Svalgaard.
    I regret to say, you may be a bit confused.
    You should be looking at: FIGURE 15.3.2.
    Simple model of a filamentary current structure in a low-density plasma.

    and its associated explanation:

    FlGURE 15.6.1 refers to something totally different.
    It refers to the obsolete Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis of the primeval Sun and (one of his many odd ones) planet formation ( ! ), and it has nothing to do with Alvens MHD theory, and even less with NASA’s photograph of polar mass ejection or its description.

    http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/item.php?gid=1&id=66

    Regretfully your comment was more likely to confuse than to make ‘clear to the general readership’.

  130. vukcevic (09:48:40) :
    FlGURE 15.6.1 refers to something totally different.
    It refers to the obsolete Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis of the primeval Sun and (one of his many odd ones) planet formation ( ! ), and it has nothing to do with Alvens MHD theory

    It refers to the central point of Hoyle’s theory: a spiral interplanetary magnetic field and posits that such a field cannot exist.
    You may have noticed that the NASA paper on the helical structure does not even once mention the word ‘current’. In the MHD theory there are no currents as conductivity is assumed to be infinite. Currents require an electromotive force, a voltage difference, and such cannot exist with infinite conductivity. Currents can arise locally by plasma motions and associated break down of the MHD conditions [what Alfven called ‘double layers’ and can thus dissipate and heat the corona. The magnetic field and the kinematics of the plasma are governing all of this and the currents are dissipative consequences, not primary large-scale driving forces.

  131. Leif Svalgaard (02:02:14) :

    Geoff Sharp (01:56:56) :
    Leif Svalgaard (01:45:21) :
    “There is no such regular pattern,”

    The pattern is very clear.

    I don’t see any. Careful statistical analysis (both by myself and by Usoskin et al. and others) doesn’t show any.

    I honestly don’t see a pattern either, visually speaking.

  132. kim (09:38:52) :
    dynamo was unchanged during the Maunder Minimum implies that the dynamo has an effect on the cosmic ray data.
    The dynamo generates the magnetic field which in turn has an effect on cosmic rays.

  133. Speaking of fat people:
    “As he is a greater density than the surrounding atmosphere he is having the effect of delaying the IR longer in the lower troposphere leading global warming.
    He needs to change his albedo. Wearing white clothing will reflect some of the UV back into space but ideally he should wear a polished tin foil hat.
    This will also protect him from lightning.”

    Also since fat people actually take up more volume, they force some of our atmosphere to escape into space leaving less for the rest of us to breathe. Of course, some of that lost atmosphere is CO2… hmmm maybe I should reconsider this.
    Mike

  134. An abstract of one of Usoskin / Solanki’s papers on this can be read here:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007A%26A…471..301U

    From a several-thousand-year C14 sample, Usoskin concludes that the cycles of Grand Minimas are “stochastic” and “chaotic”; duration of Maximas are “deterministic”… whatever that means.

    A list of grand minima and maxima of solar activity is presented for the Holocene (since 9500 BC) and the statistics of both the length of individual events as well as the waiting time between them are analyzed. Results: The occurrence of grand minima/maxima is driven not by long-term cyclic variability, but by a stochastic/chaotic process. The waiting time distribution of the occurrence of grand minima/maxima deviates from an exponential distribution, implying that these events tend to cluster together with long event-free periods between the clusters. Two different types of grand minima are observed: short (30-90 years) minima of Maunder type and long (>110 years) minima of Spörer type, implying that a deterministic behaviour of the dynamo during a grand minimum defines its length. The duration of grand maxima follows an exponential distribution, suggesting that the duration of a grand maximum is determined by a random process. Conclusions: These results set new observational constraints upon the long-term behaviour of the solar dynamo.

    Still, in that many of these cycles overlap each other (whether at regular intervals or not), it’s nearly-impossible (or all-too-possible) to see a pattern.

  135. Dr. Svalgaard
    The argument you present is irrelevant (and partially wrong) in relation to what I am talking about, and you know it. It is designed to deny a fact that is undeniable and to confuse a casual reader. Here it is again with photographic evidence:

    http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/item.php?gid=1&id=66

    and a theoretical explanation for helical magnetic field in plasma:
    FIGURE 15.3.2. http://history.nasa.gov/SP-345/p251a.jpg
    Simple model of a filamentary current structure in a low-density plasma. Currents flow parallel to the magnetic field. The lines in the figure represent both current paths and magnetic field lines. The magnetic field derives partly from an external axial field and partly from the toroidal field produced by the current itself (see Alfvén and Fälthammar, 1963). The current is strongest at the axis and becomes weaker further away from the axis as depicted by the decreasing thickness of the lines.

    http://history.nasa.gov/SP-345/ch15.htm#250

    You may come up with some other ‘irrelevance’, which as you say ‘has no value other than for entertainment’, and I am looking forward to it.

  136. Bill P 10:21:59

    Well, I may be betraying vast ignorance here, but what determines the C14 levels that are used to mark the Minima? Were the C14 levels effected by cosmic rays? If so, that is some evidence that cosmic rays are different during the minima, no? So why not global cooling during minima. Somehow, this seems too easy.
    =====================================

  137. Fat people usually sit around, not taking any exercise, so realise little heat into the atmosphere. It is the people who do lot of exercises, running and engaging in various sport activities that do all the damage, by releasing large amount of heat; contributing more than their fair share to the global warming.

  138. vukcevic (10:48:13) :
    Simple model of a filamentary current structure in a low-density plasma.
    For the last time: There are lots and lots of electrical current on the surface and in the lower atmosphere of the Sun. There are millions of local current sheets and explosions and brightenings all the time, just like there is lots of lightning in a terrestrial hurricane. These currents come about when the conditions that support MHD break down because of movements of plasma that make the gradients too steep. None of this is the least controversial, but all this activity is local, and the current is not a driver but a consequence. There are no large-scale organized currents driving the plasma, and no currents leaping out into interplanetary space [or coming in from afar], in particular no polar currents surging through the heliosphere. Whatever local lightning there is has nothing to do with the solar dynamo or in driving the solar cycle, and THAT was the topic.

  139. Heliospheric current ‘leaps out into interplanetary space’, we can detect it since we happen to be in its path. No space probe has visited directly over the poles, so there is no absolute certainty about your statement. From the Earth’s magnetosphere, it is known that most charged particles that make up ionosphere eventually end up at magnetic poles. Heliosphere is an enclosed space as far as charged particles (making HCS) are concerned

    Over last 10+ billion years heliosphere would hugely expand and saturate, so 11 year cycle would not affect much its contraction and expansion (strength), if the particles did not eventually return to the sun, and that can be only its polar regions.

  140. vukcevic (13:32:52) :
    Heliospheric current ‘leaps out into interplanetary space’, we can detect it since we happen to be in its path.
    I am one of the discoverers of the HCS. The current does not come from the Sun, but is generated locally at the boundary between oppositely directed magnetic fields. Near the Sun these fields are radial and the Heliospheric Current encircles the Sun.

    The rest of your post is just nonsense, so no need to comment any further on that, except to stress that there is no return flow of the solar wind because it is supersonic. Furthermore the solar wind is electrically neutral [as we have known since Lindemann in 1919].

  141. Sun loses thousands of tons (or perhaps much more) of mass in charged particles every second, in 10+ billions of years that is rather a lot of mass (it should have shrunk a bit by now). Where all these particles go if they are contained within heliosphere by the galactic magnetic field?
    I suggest they are pulled by the solar magnetic field back to the poles, after bouncing back at the edge of heliosphere.

  142. vukcevic (14:21:03) :
    Where all these particles go if they are contained within heliosphere by the galactic magnetic field?
    They are not contained, they are slowed down from 400 km/s to about 20 km/s at the termination shock, and eventually merge with the interstellar medium [where do you think that comes from?]

    I suggest they are pulled by the solar magnetic field back to the poles, after bouncing back at the edge of heliosphere.
    They are not pulled back, and don’t bounce back, boing, boing.
    They are lost.

  143. Kim,

    I’m not a scientist. On a rudimentary level I can follow the line of reasoning by which the experts derive their record of solar cycles. It shows eleven-year cycles.

  144. Bill P (10:21:59) :

    An abstract of one of Usoskin / Solanki’s papers on this can be read here:

    One of the problems is everyone expects grand minimia to look the same. What history shows us is the grand minima can vary greatly There are golden periods like after the medieval warm period but the majority of grand minima are more Dalton like. Have a good look how Usoskin has completely missed the Dalton on his graph, drawing the blue line very low. If we raise the bar and include the Dalton and others like it (all the green area’s, which I could have drawn much higher) it becomes clear. The green area’s are all grand minima and they fall on a regular pattern as shown by the vertical lines. You can magnify the image to see it more clearly.

    kim (12:28:56) :

    Well, I may be betraying vast ignorance here, but what determines the C14 levels that are used to mark the Minima? Were the C14 levels effected by cosmic rays? If so, that is some evidence that cosmic rays are different during the minima, no? So why not global cooling during minima. Somehow, this seems too easy.

    The comic rays are what produce the C14 in the atmosphere which settle to earth and are recorded in trees and coral. A more active Sun shields the cosmic rays which produces less C14. The actual records are inverted to replicate solar activity. The graph is produced from the INTCAL98 records which is considered accurate and has been calibrated to incl fluctuations in the natural cycle and also to reflect the Earths changing magnetic field strength.

  145. Geoff Sharp (16:29:39) :
    The green area’s are all grand minima and they fall on a regular pattern as shown by the vertical lines.
    Except that the designated year for the Dalton minimum, 1831, was not during the Dalton Minimum at all [centered on 1811], so with 20 years slop either way one can fit anything.

  146. Leif Svalgaard (17:14:47) :

    Except that the designated year for the Dalton minimum, 1831, was not during the Dalton Minimum at all [centered on 1811], so with 20 years slop either way one can fit anything.

    I dont think so, the elephant in the room is that there are no high points between 172 yr pattern centres in 6000 years (except for one at 185AD which is completely explainable….on another forum). High points are nearly always grouped with grand minima. We dont need to talk about the causes here, but I think discussing the shape of this graph has lots of merit on both sides of the debate. To me it clearly shows the Sun spends a great deal of its time in a grand minimum state.

  147. Geoff Sharp (19:34:00) :
    ” so with 20 years slop either way one can fit anything.”
    I dont think so, the elephant in the room is that there are no high points between […]. High points are nearly always grouped with grand minima. We don’t need to talk about the causes here,

    If you do not invoke the AM cause how would you define ‘high points’? The ‘nearly always’ sounds like some crap-shooting going on…

  148. This lack of sunspot activity and the cooling effect it is having is way scarier than global warming! I find it ironic that every time human beings think we’ve figured out everything, monther nature and the rest of the universe puts us back in our place.

  149. Leif Svalgaard (20:26:58) :

    When I say high points I mean high sunspot activity, and I have to say nearly because there is one occurrence in 6000 years that goes against the trend. But there is a definite trend in the sunspot record and 14C record that defies any crap shoot type theory…its basically a slow ramp up of activity from a lowish base for around 60 years, followed by some kind of grand minimium (except for the MWP) which then slowly declines for another 60 or so years back down to the lowish base. The strength of the grand minima involved is really the only variable. This trend has probably been happening for 4 billion years.

  150. Geoff Sharp (21:50:40) :
    its basically a slow ramp up of activity from a lowish base for around 60 years, followed by some kind of grand minimium (except for the MWP) which then slowly declines for another 60 or so years back down to the lowish base.
    This is just the usual Gleissberg ‘cycle’ and is a natural occurrence in such chaotic systems. May even be like my Grow-n-Crash cycle :-)

    This trend has probably been happening for 4 billion years.
    Very unlikely, as solar activity has changed enormously [decreased] since the Sun was young. You have to stop making such unfounded statements. It reflects badly on you.

  151. Leif Svalgaard (22:18:26) :

    This is just the usual Gleissberg ‘cycle’ and is a natural occurrence in such chaotic systems. May even be like my Grow-n-Crash cycle :-)

    Ah the Gleissberg cycle…another imaginary cycle to explain solar modulation. I have never seen a driver for the Gleissberg cycle, surely not another crap shoot? btw, my described cycle is longer than 80 or so years.

    Very unlikely, as solar activity has changed enormously [decreased] since the Sun was young. You have to stop making such unfounded statements. It reflects badly on you.

    Just because it was stronger doesnt mean the Sun wouldnt follow a similar pattern….both of us have no way of knowing?

  152. Dr. Svalgaard
    Usual Gleissberg ‘cycle’ as you describe is nothing of sort. It is precisely defined cycle controlling anomalies in the solar periodic activity.

  153. Geoff Sharp (02:15:37) :
    Just because it was stronger doesnt mean the Sun wouldnt follow a similar pattern….both of us have no way of knowing?

    But that does not prevent you from making wild statements about it. And

    vukcevic (02:38:23) :
    Usual Gleissberg ‘cycle’ as you describe is nothing of sort. It is precisely defined cycle controlling anomalies in the solar periodic activity.
    That do not match up with the other cyclomaniac’s…

  154. Leif Svalgaard (07:16:33) :

    But that does not prevent you from making wild statements about it.

    I did say “probably” has been happening……

    Relax a little.

  155. Geoff Sharp (07:27:19) :
    “But that does not prevent you from making wild statements about it.”
    I did say “probably” has been happening……

    Probably has to be based on something, and since solar activity was MUCH higher when the Sun was young, it is more probable that the periods involved were very different. It is known [from observations of stars] that young stars [and the young Sun] rotate much faster than the Sun now does, hence solar activity would probably have proceeded to a different tune.

  156. Hi all,

    Just so there is no confusion, I do work for NOAA, but everything I post here is as an interested individual. I do not in any way speak for NOAA at this site. Hope you all understand,
    Paul

  157. Fascinating discussion. I have yet to understand the link with angular momentum though. I also don’t know if denoting the start of a new cycle at the point of field reversal is a sound idea. How does that set with historical data? Can I go back 250 years in the historical data and find out when the first cycle 5 spot appeared? I don’t think they were recording spot field reversals. If you apply the same demarcation point to modern data as historical data, (decreasing numbers, a low point, then increasing numbers) it seems that cycle 23 is still here, and has run for about 155 months. That’s a bit longer than the average 130.4 months that you get when you slice them like this. SIDC called the start of 24 on 12/13/2007. If you take the monthly SSN averages of a typical cycle, and compare them to the month by month numbers we are currently seeing, then we are out in 2 sd land. Month 15 of a typical cycle averages 24.3, and we are at 0.7 (Mar 2009) (mo 15 sd is 12.4)

    (Note, do not put much stock in my data, I’m just some random idiot on the net)

  158. …I may be betraying vast ignorance here, but what determines the C14 levels that are used to mark the Minima? Were the C14 levels effected by cosmic rays? If so, that is some evidence that cosmic rays are different during the minima, no? So why not global cooling during minima. Somehow, this seems too easy.

    I do have a few questions about this method and its results – certainly not a critique of anything.

    Is there a somewhat consistent lag time between the “impact” of cosmic rays in our upper atmosphere and the uptake of resultant C14 ions into tree rings? (a consensus on this?)

    Is the shower of galactic cosmic rays consistent?

    One solar physicist commented that the sun has “cycles” on every time scale, from millionths of a second up to and including the life of the sun itself, or billions of years.

  159. Jan Veizer, in an article today from the Australian, found at 11:56:01 in the Osgood thread talks of the radionucleide record for the last 10,000 years. I’d be interested in Leif’s comment on that record, and on that article.
    =============================================

  160. And what about that, that C14 levels seem to be a proxy for the minima? Is a tautology sucking someone like a maelström?
    ====================================

  161. Hi all,

    Regarding the sunspot data from the 1600’s, particularly the data from 1661 to 1671 that I highlighted, Leif is correct that I got it from Hoyt. It might be a better and newer version as it is called the Hoyt reanalysis. As many years as possible are reconstructed from multiple observers, ostensibly to minimize problems such as those Leif pointed out. (Like turning a statement that no spots were observed that year into 365 days of spotless observations.)

    Here are the number of observers used for each year in my spreadsheet:
    1661: 5 observers
    1662: 4 observers
    1663: 7 observers
    1664: 4 observers
    1665: 4 observers
    1666: 9 observers
    1667: 8 observers
    1668: 5 observers
    1669: 6 observers
    1670: 7 observers
    1671: 9 observers

    Now it doesn’t state where the observers were. I suppose it is possible they were all in London (for example) and therefore all subject to the same weather whims. Seems unlikely though. It seems to me Leif’s point is that the 3579 days is not worth its weight in gold the way our data is today, but it is the best we’ve got. If we end up with a grand minimum out of this, we can then compare and see how it looks. If we got a verified string of 1 or 2 or 3 thousand spotless days in a row, it would make this much easier to call confirmed.

    Thanks all for the interesting discussions here,
    Paul

  162. There should be a way to filter today’s sunspot count to be more reflective or comparable to the 1600’s. Today’s greater sensitivity leads to more accurate data to be sure, but the historical significance of old data becomes marginalized. The only way to come to a general conclusion is to generalize the dataset, removing excessive digits of precision from recent data.

    This leads to a less numerically significant number some would say, but leads us to a more accurate general conclusions. What we need is to see what is going on in a less exact but highly comparable way. I doubt seriously with the technology we apply today that we’ll ever see 3579 spotless days. It is doubtful that it was the case then (using today’s measurement standards), so why impose that restriction now?

    The highly accurate data we have today will be useful in the future, but introduces noise when trying to do comparative analysis with old data.

    I really enjoy this blog! Thanks!

  163. AGW is BS of course. But if those idiots are gonna blame fat people, then what about blaming Governments who subsidise farmers to over-produce needless crops? As I say though, it’s all a complete scam. We get the governments we deserve, I’m sorry to say.

Comments are closed.