Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero

This is something you really don’t expect to see this far into solar cycle 24.

But there it is, the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite shows the sun as a cueball:

The Ap index being zero, indicates that the sun’s magnetic field is low, and its magneto is idling rather than revving up as it should be on the way to solar max. True, it’s just a couple of data points, but as NOAA’s SWPC predicts the solar cycle, we should be further along instead of having a wide  gap:

The Ap index generally follows along with the sunspot count, which is a proxy of solar activity.

And here’s the daily Ap geomagnetic data. The Ap is bumping along the bottom:

Graph by Jan Alvestad

 

The long term Ap has been on a downtrend, ever since there was a step change in October 2005:

The overall data looks pretty anemic:

This page is normally updated once a day by Jan Alvestad. All values are preliminary.

[Solar Terrestrial Activity Report]

h/t to Joe D’Aleo and thanks to Jan Alvestad for keeping this data and plotting it.

Solar and geomagnetic data (last month)

Date Measured
solar flux
Sunspot number Planetary A index K indices (3-hour intervals) Min-max solar wind speed (km/sec) Number of flares (events)
STAR NOAA STAR NOAA Daily low – high Planetary Boulder C M X
20101222 77.7 12 0 0.0 0 0-0 00000000 00001100 287-381
20101221 77.9 12 0 1.3 1 0-3 01001000 11101100 347-457
20101220 77.9 12 0 8.5 8 3-18 13222223 13222223 346-479
20101219 80.9 11 0 1.4 1 0-6 10000002 11000112 345-415
20101218 80.5 0 0 2.3 2 0-5 11001001 11101211 353-446
20101217 81.6 11 11 3.1 3 0-7 21001111 31001221 383-524
20101216 84.1 11 23 4.6 5 0-9 21210111 21220221 433-567
20101215 86.9 22 11 8.9 9 3-27 34111111 44222211 544-655 1
20101214 90.3 34 33 11.1 11 5-18 12233323 13233323 491-757 1
20101213 87.7 49 46 5.4 5 2-9 22200022 32211212 385-611
20101212 89.4 52 23 3.8 4 0-15 00001312 00001422 293-445
20101211 86.9 23 25 0.9 1 0-3 00000001 01001001 284-354
20101210 88.4 40 33 0.3 0 0-2 00000000 00000110 321-349
20101209 86.8 54 22 1.8 2 0-3 11000001 11200110 341-404
20101208 87.2 48 22 2.8 3 0-7 11001021 12111222 337-445
20101207 87.1 31 34 3.9 4 2-7 10102111 01112211 342-385
20101206 88.5 28 35 2.4 2 0-4 00011111 01121121 269-351
20101205 87.9 42 47 0.8 1 0-4 00000001 00011101 270-274
20101204 87.4 52 48 0.6 1 0-3 00100000 00101010 270-314
20101203 86.8 47 27 1.1 1 0-5 01000000 02000000 270-337
20101202 86.5 38 32 2.6 3 0-6 21001000 11000110 339-360
20101201 86.5 44 25 1.8 2 0-4 10000011 10100210 338-358 1
20101130 86.4 36 24 3.0 3 2-4 01011110 12021110 345-402
20101129 82.5 24 31 3.1 3 0-5 00111110 01221111 348-437
20101128 80.1 34 34 6.1 6 0-12 22101231 23212221 384-460
20101127 76.5 38 11 11.9 12 0-67 00001164 00001243 294-520
20101126 76.2 12 23 1.6 2 0-4 00001111 00001110 344-390
20101125 77.9 25 22 3.6 4 2-6 12111110 02112110 382-477
20101124 75.8 23 11 4.4 4 3-6 11111122 11221221 426-518
20101123 75.3 12 12 7.8 8 3-15 21311332 21312321 452-537

This page is normally updated once a day by Jan Alvestad. All values are preliminary.

[Solar Terrestrial Activity Report]

200 thoughts on “Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero

  1. Is anyone besides me worrying about the real consequences of a severe, long term minimum? I want to cheer as the aun goes quiet and the globe cools, but a good part of me is quite apprehensive as to what this could mean to mankind.

  2. No no! It’s not zero! We just can’t measure it with our current instruments! Wait, wait, here’s a better device, ok, now we can go back and re-measure, re-calibrate, recount and restate all of the numbers again, as far back as we want! I mean, had we had this device back in 2010, surely we would’ve counted it…

    /sarcasm

    Science is a bitch, sometimes.

  3. Now here would be a great time to get some geo-engineering project proposals to break up blocking highs over Greenland. The cost of a hard winter in North America and Europe has got to be billions and billions. For greenies just think how much extra fossil fuel is being used to keep a billion people in heated dwellings.

    Of course Greenlanders might have some objections. Their heating bills are substantially reduced and who knows – if it keeps up they can keep cattle like the Vikings once did. Maybe even grow apples too.

    In the meantime people who aren’t old enough to remember what the winters were like 40 or more years ago are getting their first taste. Hey look, Mikey doesn’t like it!

  4. @DoctorJJ “Is anyone besides me worrying about the real consequences of a severe, long term minimum? I want to cheer as the aun goes quiet and the globe cools, but a good part of me is quite apprehensive as to what this could mean to mankind.”

    You SHOULD not be. You SHOULD be worried about Global Warming, not a bit of cooling. Think of the havoc Global Warming WOULD have caused throughout Europe and Brittan, had they got the expected and forecast warm winter, and not the few inches of snow and slightly cooler temperatures that they are having.

    Whose afraid of the big bad snow and ice?

  5. Al Gore explained it to me best. He said that man’s use of fossil fuels is causing the sun’s spin to go out of whack, which makes… I can’t remember it all, but the important thing is that we need to stop using oil. He sounded pretty confident about it.

  6. Wal Thornhill writes:

    “Sunspots are dark instead of bright, which is prima facie evidence that heat is not trying to escape from within. And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. Add to this the dominant influence of magnetic fields on the Sun’s external behavior and we arrive at the necessity for an electrical energy supply. It is the “subtle radiation traversing space which the star picks up,” and which Eddington immediately dismissed because his gravitational model required energy to be generated at the core of the star to bloat it to the observed size.”

    Eugene Parker writes:

    “[T]he pedestrian Sun exhibits a variety of phenomena that defy contemporary theoretical understanding. We need look no farther than the sunspot, or the intensely filamentary structure of the photospheric magnetic field, or the spicules, or the origin of the small magnetic bipoles that continually emerge in the supergranules, or the heat source that maintains the expanding gas in the coronal hole, or the effective magnetic diffusion that is so essential for understanding the solar dynamo, or the peculiar internal rotation inferred from helioseismology, or the variation of solar brightness with the level of solar activity, to name a few of the more obvious mysterious macrophysical phenomena exhibited by the Sun.”

    More from Wal Thornhill …

    “Countless billions of dollars have been wasted based on the thermonuclear model of stars. For example, trying to generate electricity from thermonuclear fusion, “just like the Sun.” The thought that solar scientists have it completely backwards has not troubled anyone’s imagination. The little fusion power that has been generated on Earth has required phenomenal electric power input, “just like the Sun!” The Sun and all stars consume electrical energy to produce their heat and light and cause some thermonuclear fusion in their atmospheres. The heavy elements formed there are seen in stellar spectra. It explains why the expected solar neutrino count is low and anti-correlated with sunspot numbers. It explains why many stars are considered “chemically peculiar.” Get the physics right first and the mathematics will follow.”

    (These quotes come from “Our Misunderstood Sun” at http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=ah63dzac, and are intended to remind people that putting sugar sprinkles onto a turd does not make it taste or smell any better. We need to be looking at errors in the foundational assumptions that go into these models.)

    REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

  7. Is anyone besides me worrying about the real consequences of a severe, long term minimum?

    Not yet. CO2 is still increasing, so we should be ok :p.

  8. I don’t suppose this will do anything to stop the flood of legal immigrants from New York to Texas. A little 2010 census humor there.

    What’s behind the rise of Texas?
    [link was missing target URL, so I edited out the HTML that was broken. -MOD-e]

    By Ruben Navarrette Jr., Special to CNN

    [snippage – go to link for full article]

    It makes for quite a sea change. We are seeing the transfer of influence and prominence away from what has long been considered the power corridor of Boston, Washington and New York and toward the Sunbelt.

    Texas is the buckle in that belt. If you want to catch a glimpse of the future, you don’t go to Alexandria or Syracuse or Worcester. You go to Austin, Houston or San Antonio.

    A generation or two ago, Americans left the Northeast and headed west to California in search of the Pacific, milder climate, bountiful farmland and a spirit of tolerance. Now, they’re still leaving the Northeast — but also leaving California — to head to Texas in pursuit of lower taxes, less government regulation, lower home prices and a spirit of independence.

  9. The graph is too noisy to take any kind of “aha” moment… it’s still very possible for the graph to catch up to the prediction. Check the spikes.

  10. DoctorJJ says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

    “Is anyone besides me worrying about the real consequences of a severe, long term minimum? I want to cheer as the aun goes quiet and the globe cools, but a good part of me is quite apprehensive as to what this could mean to mankind.”

    The effect I think would be best described as sobering. Humbling might fit well too.

    This is mother nature giving us a bitch slap. At least it isn’t a supervolcano, large asteroid strike, or record setting coronal mass ejection. There’s far worse that can happen. At least we can probably predict an asteroid strike and do something to prevent it. And we could prepare for a big CME. Supervolcano – we’re probably screwed, glued, and tatooed there.

    The very least of my worries is global warming. World War III ranks above global warming. Hell I’m cheering for global warming! Call me weird but I prefer plants and animals to barren ice and rock.

  11. Leif, any insights? Is this just a temporary flagging? I would have to guess it is, but it is nonetheless worrisome.

    It reminds me a bit of an old car I used to have that would have a problem starting up in cold weather. There was always that worrisome moment of “will she?”/”won’t she” as I listened to the motor turn over, trying to catch. I feel much the same here with Old Sol. I hope she starts up again.

  12. Re: “REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony”

    Anthony, you’re making a critical error here.

  13. REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Perhaps it would be better to say that they point to the distinct possibility that the current model of the sun’s function is incorrect.

  14. How many denials are we going to hear from the AGW crowd when the price of firewood and heating oil skyrockets during the next mini-Ice Age??? Oh, that’s right… it’s all just ‘climate change’ and ‘local weather’.

  15. @anthony

    Do you think we’re in for an increase in La Ninas due to the solar slumber?

    They cause droughts here in Texas. Bad ones. This one is no exception. California gets the floods instead. I’d rather have floods than droughts.

  16. We in the UK have just had a trial run. Won’t be so bad as long as we don’t expect to go anywhere or do anything.

    Hopefully nature will give us another couple of winters trial preparation to adjust to the changes.

    Anyone for skiing on the Kent coast?

    I’m thinking ski-doo trecks along the Thames, past the Houses of Parliament.

  17. For comparing of solar cycles 1…24 I made a small diagram http://www.dh7fb.de/ssnano/image003.gif in this way:
    I took the monthly ssn-data from here http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/greenwch/spot_num.txt and the data of the beginning of the solar cycles and constructed an “average solar cycle”. After this I calculated the monthly anomaly of solar-cycles 1…24 and the “accumulated SSN Anomaly” (ASSNA) since the beginning of all the cycles after 23 month ( December 2008…November 2010) are the data for the diagram. I’ll update the figure every month. Maybe it’s interesting to see the development of SC24 in relation to the cycles b4 .
    best wishes and merry Xmess DH7FB

  18. @teh article
    > The Ap index being zero, indicates that the sun’s magnetic field is low.

    Actually, the Ap index (and its logarithmic cousin Kp) are strictly measures of fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field, not the solar magnetic field. It is a measure of tiny changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, caused by interaction with Earth’s ionosphere and plasmasphere, and indirectly with the Sun through interaction with the solar wind, a magnetized stream of electrons and protons.

    http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/geomag/kp_ap.html

    These magnetic perturbations of the Earth’s magnetic field (~ 50,000 nano-teslas [nt]) are on the order of a few nt. A magnetic storm is a period of high fluctuation, as much as 500nt, caused by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and such.

    Think of geomagnetic storms as magnetic “quakes”, analogous to earthquakes, except the magnetic field is trembling, not the ground.

    So the title of this article “Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero” is a misnomer and should read “Terrestrial Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero”, and even that is a bit redundant, geomagnetic says it all

  19. The really frightening thought is this:

    If this low internal solar activity really is a valid correlate with a cooling Sun delivering less energy to the Earth, and if it lasts for some time, and if we really are facing a rapid global cold snap analogous to a Maunder or Dalton minimum, there is no course of action that would be LESS well suited to that than the current model of investing heavily in windmills for electric power. To say nothing of relying on agricultural crops for vehicle fuels!

  20. To be fair, the SWPC projection was ‘released May 8, 2009′, when there was very little to go on, and it is clear from their web-page that there was some disagreement about the estimation. I think there is a better agreement now that the max=90 was too high. Also, we are not ‘here’ on the graph, we are at the end of the blue line (i.e. 6 months ago) since the variables are so noisy that they have to be averaged over a year to make much sense.
    This month’s datum looks like it will be well below the line, and a better estimate of the progression of the cycle should come in a couple of months when the upward ramp becomes more clearly defined and it can be fitted to the shape derived by averaging the previous cycles. (or maybe we start to observe a divergence from the pattern, but I don’t think that can be claimed yet).
    In terms of a climatic effect, I suspect at least another year will be necessary before we can see if it is even possible that there is an observable effect on temperature – although it is possible that more direct effects can be wrung from recent observations (except for the big ElN which got in the way)

  21. [quote]Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I don’t suppose this will do anything to stop the flood of legal immigrants from New York to Texas. A little 2010 census humor there.[/quote]

    Not as long as we don’t have an income tax.

  22. Re: “REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Perhaps it would be better to say that they point to the distinct possibility that the current model of the sun’s function is incorrect.”

    If there exists any pretense that we are being objective in science, then there exists a burden to not imagine that we can dismiss the Big Bang’s “former competitor” on the basis of just two sentences. I’ve spent close to five years learning this competing cosmology, and I can say with confidence that the Sun’s behavior can indeed be accurately modeled as a plasma glow discharge. If any of you are not familiar with the specific behavior of laboratory plasmas, then can I recommend that you guys try to be more open-minded on this topic until you are? I don’t think that this is too much to ask for on what is in truth one of the most complex questions facing mankind: What powers the Sun.

  23. I am reminded that it takes a lot of things to go right for this planet to maintain a warm and consistent atmosphere. On the other hand, it would be easy for the Earth to revert to a snowball.

  24. re; sun corona temperature and energy source

    It’s 2-3 million Kelvin but that’s pretty meaningless because the corona is a near perfect vacuum. The photosphere is what we see and that’s 5000K. The core, which is where the energy is generated by gravitational compression of hydrogen to fusion temperature and pressure, is 14.5 million K and is by far the hottest densest portion of the sun.

    The corona, because it’s so vacuous, throws off almost no radiation and neither does it absorb a significant amount . That’s why it isn’t visible except during a full eclipse.

  25. @John Day
    > Think of geomagnetic storms as magnetic “quakes”, analogous to earthquakes,
    > except the magnetic field is trembling, not the ground.

    … forgot to mention, using this earthquake analogy, that Ap/Kp indices are then analogous to the open-ended Richter Index for measuring the intensity of earthquakes. Kp, being logarithmic, is closest to this Richter analogy. Ap can be thought of roughly as the anti-log of Kp.

    Ap, being linear, can be averaged with other readings. Kp, being logarithmic, cannot be averaged. They both are a “Richter-like” measure of the “magnetic quakes” in the Earth’s magnetic field.

    So an Ap value of zero doesn’t necessarily imply a low magnetic field value, only that there are no _measurable_ perturbations.

  26. Dave Springer says (December 23, 2010 at 11:04 am): “The very least of my worries is global warming. World War III ranks above global warming.”

    Heck, I worry more about hangnails than about “global warming” aka “climate change” aka “climate chaos” aka “climate disruption”.

  27. “Gerry says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:17 am
    How many denials are we going to hear from the AGW crowd when the price of firewood and heating oil skyrockets during the next mini-Ice Age??? Oh, that’s right… it’s all just ‘climate change’ and ‘local weather’.”

    Did you know that the theft of heating oil in the UK is one of the fastest rising crimes. The lowlife always seem to know the best way to get money and what people will be willing to pay for.

  28. Well, I just bought me & the wife ice skates, so it’s bound to start warming up, and if it doesn’t, last one round the lake is a rotten egg :)

  29. Re: “It’s 2-3 million Kelvin but that’s pretty meaningless because the corona is a near perfect vacuum. The photosphere is what we see and that’s 5000K. The core, which is where the energy is generated by gravitational compression of hydrogen to fusion temperature and pressure, is 14.5 million K and is by far the hottest densest portion of the sun.

    The corona, because it’s so vacuous, throws off almost no radiation and neither does it absorb a significant amount . That’s why it isn’t visible except during a full eclipse.”

    By the way, none of the responses thus far have begun to grapple with the various enigmas which Wal Thornhill brings up. Anthony’s objection to Wal’s inference fails to address the numerous problems with the currently favored explanation, magnetic reconnection.

    Magnetic reconnection is the process whereby magnetic field lines from different magnetic domains are spliced to one another, changing their patterns of connectivity with respect to the sources. It is a violation of an approximate conservation law in plasma physics, and can concentrate mechanical or magnetic energy in both space and time. Solar flares, the largest explosions in the solar system, may involve the reconnection of large systems of magnetic flux on the Sun, releasing, in minutes, energy that has been stored in the magnetic field over a period of hours to days. Magnetic reconnection in Earth’s magnetosphere is one of the mechanisms responsible for the aurora, and it is important to the science of controlled nuclear fusion because it is one mechanism preventing magnetic confinement of the fusion fuel.

    Magnetic reconnection is something that has supposedly been “tested” and proven in the lab yet for some reason the lab results keep coming out “wrong.”

    Currently when scientists create a “reconnection” event in the lab between two electrically charged plasma sheets the “reconnection” event takes place at twice the speed MHD theory predicts.

    So far no one has been able to rectify this problem, nor have they been able to produce a “reconnecting” magnetic field without first applying current to the plasma sheets they are observing. The reason being obvious of course, in order to create a magnetic field, one must first induce an electrical current. So far, this is the only known way of producing a magnetic field in a plasma that can be tested.

    As soon as the current shuts off, so too does the magnetic field.

  30. I should have included that a steady and ample supply of C02 is also a requirement for a warm atmosphere such as ours. Our trace contribution being a drop in the bucket; but who knows, every little bit counts. A tiny shift towards reducing our atmosphere’ ability to retain heat could be very catastrophic, as extremely cold is the default state of our climate system. Life tends to avoid cold planets.

  31. I’m wondering what the possible implications are for the solar industry and all the project metric$ going forward in North America and in the West…thinking there is a good chance the ~.5% annual degradation rates for PV assumed in most solar business models may not quite be enough…

    And are we looking at a Dalton or a Maunder? Thoughts?

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/SOLAR_MINIMUM.pdf

    Favorite points from this article…aside from the WUWT honorable mention therein?

    “There remains the question of whether the Maunder Minimum will arrive in time to avoid a global carbon tax?” (where reality meets scientific wit)

    “a better understanding of the Sun might now have practical value.” (intentional understatement of the century)

    Are we there yet?

  32. Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “The core, which is where the energy is generated by gravitational compression of hydrogen to fusion temperature and pressure, is 14.5 million K and is by far the hottest densest portion of the sun.”

    But Dave, according to the “Thunderbolts” website, the dark sunspots are a window into the interior of the sun, proving that the inside is cooler than the outside!

    Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

  33. Take your pick: Do you want an electric current powering the Sun? Or, would you prefer magnetic reconnection experiments, which apparently fail to work without an electric current?

    I’m sure that *somebody* *somewhere* can come up with an inference which explains the inverse-corona temperature enigma and which does not involve an electric current. But upon what philosophical basis are we even trying so hard to do so? Isn’t this the same antiquated approach which led Sydney Chapman to ignore the role of the Sun when trying to explain the aurora?

  34. I see that there are competing ideas as to how the Sun works. The only viable one that I have seen so far is fusion. It not only explains our star, but also stellar evolution such as red giants, novas and other related phenomena. We have still not figured out the finer details of stellar behaviour, but no doubt that will come in time.

    Any competing theory has to be good enough to explain all aspects of stellar evolution, as well as variations that exist in our universe.

  35. What’s really disturbing is the flux data

    It appears as if it has been virtually flat for the whole of 2010.

  36. Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero
    Posted on December 23, 2010 by Anthony Watts
    This is something you really don’t expect to see this far into solar cycle 24.
    Happened too exactly 75 years ago on Dec. 23, 1935, which was 2.3 years into cycle 17…
    No matter what the Sun does, it has done it before :-)

    Chris Reeve says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:49 am
    REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”
    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Rubbish, indeed. As so much else.

    Chris Reeve says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am
    I don’t think that this is too much to ask for on what is in truth one of the most complex questions facing mankind: What powers the Sun.
    This has been known since 1938.

    John Day says:
    December 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm
    So an Ap value of zero doesn’t necessarily imply a low magnetic field value, only that there are no _measurable_ perturbations.
    So it is. In addition, geomagnetic activity has a strong semiannual variation, being smallest at the solstices.
    —–
    It is clear that solar cycle 24 will be a small cycle, as predicted.

    A sector boundary is coming, so tomorrow AP will jump up again, as always when such a boundary sweeps over the Earth.

  37. Could a moderator please correct “colling” to “cooling” in my last post and delete this one please?

    Thanks.

    PS: I wish we had a “preview”.

    [corrected – w.]

  38. Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index Hits Zero
    Posted on December 23, 2010 by Anthony Watts
    This is something you really don’t expect to see this far into solar cycle 24.
    BTW, Bill Livingston has just sent me his latest data. The Livingston-Penn effect is still on track: http://www.leif.org/research/Livingston%20and%20Penn.png
    The larger dots and circles are yearly medians and means.
    One of the important things to look for was if the L&P effect would change at solar minimum, going back up into the new cycle [making the effect just a solar cycle thing]. This did not seem to happen, solidifying the notion that something more unusual is going on [of course, the Sun has been there before – in 1645]

  39. I worry about the effects of cold because it impedes the growth of crops, and starvation can happen if growing period is too short. Warming extends range of crop land, cooling contracts it and while there was starvation during the LIA think what it will be like this time – how much food reserves are there in the world? Already large numbers of people are on inadequate diets.

  40. Well, the Solar Minimum began in 2008. That not prevented 2010 being so far the hottest year on record.

    The Earth has been warming since the 1970s, while at the same time solar activity was in the decline, after peaking in the 1950s.

    A new Dalton Minimum will not cause significant global cooling, the impact of the enhanced Greenhouse effect is overwelmingly bigger. The data show that clearly.

  41. REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Chris Reeve:

    “Countless billions of dollars have been wasted based on the thermonuclear model of stars”

    All these years thinking that things fall down when you drop them and stars are fuelled by hydrogen fusion to helium (the two elements that the sun oddly consists of in about the right balance) – but no … what you say makes wonderful sense all of a sudden. All the sun’s energy is instead mysteriously transmitted in an unmeasurable way through space! And all that material in the sun just sits there and generates no energy! Obvious when you think about it.

    But lets not stop there. “Countless billions” have also been wasted on that other great scientific fallacy – the Copernical / Galilean model of the earth orbiting the sun. Any fool can tell you the sun orbits the earth! Ptolemy and those wise old Greeks were right – the apparent orbits are all the result of epicycles. The earth is stationary at the center of the Universe after all. How nice!

    Electric energy transmission also makes much more sense between the spherical glass balls of the epicycles, within which all the heavenly bodies are embedded. No need to worry about those fantastic huge distances which make electric fields negligible.

    Sparks between glass spheres – it all looks nostalgically like those old Gothic sci-fi horror movies, Frankenstein’s monster etc. All you need is some black and red costumes and cloaks, some white face powder and a nice big organ for sound effects.

    Talking of Sci-fi, Chris Reeve – weren’t you in those Superman films and didn’t you – um – die?

    O I forgot – now that there is no gravity, death is reversable also?

  42. Hmmmmmm…. curiouser and curiouser. Thanks for the regular posts on old Sol Anthony, Joe, Jan, and Lief! Sincerely – Thank You and Merry Christmas to all of the good folks that make WattsUpWithThat such an enjoyable and unique success!

    Richard says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:43 am
    Q: “Whose afraid of the big bad snow and ice?”

    A: Anyone who has lived and worked outdoors through severe northern winters, that’s who!!!

    When the frost in the ground goes deeper than the water supply lines to your house and livestock barns (+4 feet!), life becomes very hard and fear is your neighbor. When you must work bare handed to fix an essential something and you risk frostbite, fear looks over your shoulder. When you must have electric heaters for your car battery and engine block to get it to start on a -30F night, fear of a power failure or finding an available electrical socket is a reality. When the power grid goes down and the electric circulating pumps or blowers on your furnace won’t run, I’m afraid you better have a back up plan!

    When the snow piled high on your barn, garage, and house roofs approaches their structural load limits, you had damn well better be afraid… and get your ‘afraid of heights’ butt up there and clear it off! When you must use your farm tractor to punch a path through the drifting to the point of impassable roads and provide escort so an ambulance team can care for a neighbor heart attack victim, fear for their survival is at the fore. For anyone stranded in ‘white out’ blizzard conditions, life approaches the terminal point and fear stares you in the face.

    I grew up in these conditions and these are my experiences. I have survived in brutal winter conditions that can kill less prepared and less fearful individuals. From unforgiving experiences, I know there is far more to fear from “big bad snow and ice”, be it ‘weather’ or ‘climate change’ induced, than there will ever be from 3C of ‘global warming’.

    In my experience, it is usually those scoffing and ‘unafraid’ folks like Richard that get stranded in the worst conditions. They either die or get rescued by others who put themselves at risk to save their sorry butts.

  43. @pochas
    > according to the “Thunderbolts” website, the dark sunspots are a window
    > into the interior of the sun, proving that the inside is cooler than the outside!

    Your “window” metaphor is completely wrong. “Window shade” would be more consistent with the underlying solar physics: sunspots are highly magnetic regions on the photosphere, in excess of 1500 Gauss, where the magnetism actually blocks the upwelling radiation and prevents its escape. Hence it’s cooler above the spots, which makes them look dark. The surrounding, brighter photosphere is actually more transparent to this upwelling radiation.

  44. Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:56 am
    The corona, because it’s so vacuous, throws off almost no radiation and neither does it absorb a significant amount .
    There is another more important reason. To radiate an electron must transition from one bound quantum state to another one. 99% of the corona is fully ionized, meaning that the electrons are free, not bound, and therefore cannot radiate.

    That’s why it isn’t visible except during a full eclipse.
    what you see during a total eclipse is actually not radiation from the million degree corona. 99% of the light comes from the photosphere [which is why the corona is white] and is scattered off electrons and dust particles surrounding the Sun.

  45. Mac the Knife says:
    December 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    blizzard conditions, life approaches the terminal point and fear stares you in the face.
    I grew up in these conditions and these are my experiences.

    Thank you Mac for that moving, frightening reminder that cold is bad.

  46. ARSE or Anthropogenic Remedial Solar Effect.

    As all the ice caps have now gone and melted the cold has escaped into space, cooling the Sun. In order to maintain thermal equilibrium the CO2 molecules multiply ( proton genesis ) and so the Earth heats up, causing it to snow everywhere. The snow melts and the vicious cycle continues.

    You can purchase your compulsory Solar Credits at taxnfleece.com

  47. “Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:18 am
    @anthony
    Do you think we’re in for an increase in La Ninas due to the solar slumber? ”

    If my climate model is correct then the quiet sun in reducing energy input to the oceans by increasing cloudiness and albedo should over time increase the strength and frequency of La Nina events as against El Nino events.

    At the same time less energy will be entering the thermohaline circulation to affect the climate when it resurfaces again in about 1000 years.

  48. phlogiston, thanks for the great sarcastic reply to Reeves and Thornhill so I don’t have to, (unless it keeps on coming, that is!)

  49. Solar cycles 10 – 15 appear to be pretty quiet for sunspot numbers especially the years from 1910 – 1914.
    We will just have to wait before any calls for global cooling.
    As Dr. Svarlgaard puts it. “No matter what the Sun does, it has done it before :-)”

  50. wayne says:
    December 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    One does what one can for king and country.

    Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:18 am
    @anthony

    Do you think we’re in for an increase in La Ninas due to the solar slumber?

    They cause droughts here in Texas. Bad ones. This one is no exception. California gets the floods instead. I’d rather have floods than droughts.

    According to Bob Tisdale’s excellent recent ENSO analysis here, there are periodic flips between el Nino dominated and La Nina dominated periods, about 30-35 years long each, going back more than a century and without any obvious help from solar activity. While Bob meticulously avoids getting drawn into predictions, the clear implication is that we are just starting a new La Nina dominant phase. Perhaps a quiet sun will add something to this.

  51. Leif Svalgaard:> meaning that the electrons are free, not bound, and therefore cannot radiate.

    Correct me if I’m wrong Leif (I almost certainly am!), but don’t electrons moving in a magnetic field radiate anyway? Or is that just if they’re moving at relativistic speed?

  52. Rhyl Dearden says:
    December 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm
    “I worry about the effects of cold because it impedes the growth of crops, and starvation can happen if growing period is too short. Warming extends range of crop land, cooling contracts it and while there was starvation during the LIA think what it will be like this time – how much food reserves are there in the world? Already large numbers of people are on inadequate diets.”

    Quite right.

    I think we can withstand any number of harsh winters – as long as each one is followed by an adequate growing season.

    A single, global “year without a summer” – such as happened in 1816 – would be catastrophic almost beyond imagination.

  53. I don’t want to go… where the Sun hasn’t gone before.

    So, I sure hope Dr. Svalgaard is right and this pattern has been observed & measured before.

    Time will tell.

    But, God forbid, if the Sun goes where it hasn’t gone before, in Man’s experience, and, again, time will tell…but don’t we have to at least consider… we don’t understand the Sun as well, as we thought we knew?

  54. would be catastrophic almost beyond imagination.

    Only in terms of methane release into the atmosphere: we’d all be eating year old tinned beans.

  55. phlogiston said:

    “we are just starting a new La Nina dominant phase. Perhaps a quiet sun will add something to this.”

    Yes, that’s all I meant in my earlier post.

    There are internal ocean variations that are largely independent of solar input and they obscure the solar effects for long periods of time but the recent step change in solar behaviour is so clear that I hope to see a short period where the solar effect becomes apparent above the background ‘noise’.

    A test would be to observe how the current negative PDO phase compares to the earlier one which took place when the sun was much more lively. It will take some years to resolve though.

    In the shorter term I think observation of AO behaviour in relation to solar activity is a more fruitful area.

  56. Robinson says:
    December 23, 2010 at 2:44 pm
    Correct me if I’m wrong Leif (I almost certainly am!), but don’t electrons moving in a magnetic field radiate anyway? Or is that just if they’re moving at relativistic speed?
    You are not wrong, but not quite right either. Whenever a charged particle changes direction [because of a magnetic field or deflection by another charge] you get radiation [fancy word: “Bremsstrahlung”]. This is not the visible light we see in the corona. On the other hand, the lower corona and upper chromosphere do radiate by this mechanism. We observe that as the F10.7 microwave flux, but it is MANY orders of magnitude weaker than anything we can SEE [except with very sensitive radio telescopes], and is not thermal heat radiation.

  57. Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:56 am
    re; sun corona temperature and energy source

    It’s 2-3 million Kelvin but that’s pretty meaningless because the corona is a near perfect vacuum. The photosphere is what we see and that’s 5000K. The core, which is where the energy is generated by gravitational compression of hydrogen to fusion temperature and pressure, is 14.5 million K and is by far the hottest densest portion of the sun.

    I see. A mental temperature gradient graph is easy for anyone to picture. And is it normal for such incredibly steep temperature troughs to exist as a body radiates heat? Can you give any examples in nature of an incredibly cool surface sandwiched between such enormous temperatures? What is keeping the heat from filling in that trough?

    Your comment is very dismissive of this tenuous 3 million degree corona; I think you would miss it a little here on earth if it were gone.

  58. Look out! There’s a new sun-speck. It might just be a spot on the lens but I’m sure it will count – anything to break the current blank spell that now stands at five days.

  59. 1) The Earth has seen “extreme” temperature swings.
    2) The Earth has only one “energy” source. (besides its core).

    To deny the Sun as the driver, even though we orbit in its “gravity hole”, seems to defy logic.
    Ya gotta love it !!!

  60. Zeke the Sneak asks: “What is keeping the heat from filling in that trough?”

    Why, electromagnetism, of course!

  61. @Zeke

    I see. A mental temperature gradient graph is easy for anyone to picture. And is it normal for such incredibly steep temperature troughs to exist as a body radiates heat? Can you give any examples in nature of an incredibly cool surface sandwiched between such enormous temperatures? What is keeping the heat from filling in that trough?

    Your comment is very dismissive of this tenuous 3 million degree corona; I think you would miss it a little here on earth if it were gone.

    Zeke, you’re missing the point. “Temperature is not energy”. In this case it’s the “kinetic temperature” of the fast-moving molecules in the corona:

    1/2mv² = 3/2kT

    where v is the average speed. Yes, theoretically, even a single molecule could have a million-degree temperature if it moved fast enough. But temperature only makes sense in a useful way in very large distributions of mass.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/kintem.html

    The total mass of the corona is vanishingly small: 3×10¹⁴kg. In comparison, only 1/10 of the mass of Mount Everest: 3×10¹⁵kg! And only 1/10000th the mass of Earth’s atmosphere: 5×10¹⁸kg

    So the total energy here: 1/2mv², is negligible on a solar scale. Therefore, we are entitled to dismiss its radiative effects on the solar system.

  62. The sun has been as smooth as a baby’s butt for more than a few days now. What are the odds it will climb back out of the current funk? Maunder Minimum on the way?

    Anyone?

  63. Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I see. A mental temperature gradient graph is easy for anyone to picture. And is it normal for such incredibly steep temperature troughs to exist as a body radiates heat? Can you give any examples in nature of an incredibly cool surface sandwiched between such enormous temperatures? What is keeping the heat from filling in that trough?

    Your comment is very dismissive of this tenuous 3 million degree corona; I think you would miss it a little here on earth if it were gone.

    Most radiation of solar origin affecting earth emanates from the photosphere, and not the corona. If there corona were gone, the change in the radiative energy flux incident on earth would be changed by only a small, fractional amount.

    Some confusion arises because, even though the corona is warmer than the photosphere, the corona is also very much less dense. If the gas in each layer were the same density, heat would easily conduct from the hotter region to the cooler one (as most people would expect, i.e. heat would flow down the temperature gradient). But the photosphere and corona are not the same density – in fact the photosphere is something like 10^12 times more dense than the corona – and this makes it difficult for the tenuous corona to affect the temperature of the photosphere in any meaningful way.

  64. Dr. Svalgaard, you mention the sun being here before, in 1645. I hate to read anything into anyone’s comments but does this mean you think we’re headed into a Maunder and not Dalton minimum?

    Thanks for contributing to this discussion, as always!

  65. from mars says:
    December 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm
    Well, the Solar Minimum began in 2008. That not prevented 2010 being so far the hottest year on record.

    The Earth has been warming since the 1970s, while at the same time solar activity was in the decline, after peaking in the 1950s.

    A new Dalton Minimum will not cause significant global cooling, the impact of the enhanced Greenhouse effect is overwelmingly bigger. The data show that clearly.

    ***************************************

    I hope you had your tin foil hat on while typing this drivel. Since you believe everything someone feeds you, I happen to have a bridge that I’m selling in Brooklyn.

  66. Dave Springer says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I don’t suppose this will do anything to stop the flood of legal immigrants from New York to Texas.
    =================
    Actually, that is a cause for grave concern. As they flood in from points north, many of them bring with them the mental disease that is liberalism.

  67. Do we really know what happened to global temps in the Maunder or Dalton? We have some anecdotal evidence but hardly a comparable dataset.

    I think this will be an opportunity to make some good observations and learn something new if we have a similar event unfolding.

  68. @jay curtis

    The sun has been as smooth as a baby’s butt for more than a few days now. What are the odds it will climb back out of the current funk? Maunder Minimum on the way?The sun has been as smooth as a baby’s butt for more than a few days now.

    What are the odds it will climb back out of the current funk? Maunder Minimum on the way?

    I think it’s already started. The 2800Mhz microwave flux is back up to 80 (from 78 yesterday) and the Xray flux is increasing slightly. A few new tiny specks now visible in the NE quadrant.

    On the far side we can still see (via the STEREO peekaround satellites) the old sunspot #1131, the largest in solar cycle #24, is still magnetically active. Should be rotating back into Earth view in about a week (if it can keep itself organized).

    You can check all this out for yourself here: http://www.solarcycle24.com/

    So, old Sol will certainly bounce back. But it’s going to be a very small cycle, max smoothed sunspot number around 70 or so.

    In any case, it will be the “Eddy Minimum”, not Maunder, if we do enter another Grand Solar Minimum.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/13/online-petition-the-next-solar-minimum-should-be-called-the-eddy-minimum/

  69. MDR states: “If there corona were gone, the change in the radiative energy flux incident on earth would be changed by only a small, fractional amount.”

    Pure speculation.

    We don’t know what the situation would be if the “corona were gone”.

    And, let’s hope we never find out!

  70. Chris Reeve says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I have a question for the electric sun people… I constantly see them purporting that, like on Earth, fusion is an effective energy sink, i.e. it takes more energy to get fusion going than you get out of it… therefore requiring a huge amount of electrical energy being transported to the sun through some mysterious means I can’t quite figure out, given that over 14 billion years, any widely distributed energy in the vacuum would have been all gobbled up… I digress.

    How can you possibly assume that’s a valid concept though, given that the human energy input is needed specifically to provide the things that a stellar core provides… high temperature and pressure, conducive to producing fusion. It was my understanding that once the reaction was triggered, it was sustainable ONLY through maintaining high temp and pressure.

    Is that fundamentally wrong? Does it require more electricity or energy, sans triggering containment and thermoregulation, to MAINTAIN a fusion reaction than it produces?

    Because otherwise, I can easily imagine that there’s an intrastellar/intrasolar electrical component, but the concept of pulling in essential unimaginable amounts of electricity from the ether for all of the stars in the galaxy… where exactly did you say all that electricity comes from (laws of thermodynamics and all that)? And why hasn’t the Universe already reached a final entropic stage?

  71. John Day says:
    December 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    Zeke, you’re missing the point. “Temperature is not energy”. In this case it’s the “kinetic temperature” of the fast-moving molecules in the corona:

    1/2mv² = 3/2kT

    where v is the average speed. Yes, theoretically, even a single molecule could have a million-degree temperature if it moved fast enough. But temperature only makes sense in a useful way in very large distributions of mass.

    Thank you, and it is the motion of these particles accelerating that should interest us very much. Charged particles, in normal diffusion and Brownian motion, show temperatures in the chromosphere of 5800K, and even lower temperatures have been measured (3800K). But at @ 2,000 km, there is an abrupt temperature rise to 2 million degrees.

    A possible explanation is that since plasmas are well known to form double layers where there is a difference in voltage between two locations, there is a double layer here in the sun’s plasma. Double layers accelerate particles across the sheath. (This technology is used to propel space craft.) The presence of the double layer in the lower corona would explain the following phenomena:
    1. sudden temp rise to 2 mill K
    2. double layers in plasma are always a source of radio waves
    3. protons of the solar wind accelerate, and gain speed the further away from the sun they get, indicating they are in an efield (traveling outward to the heliosphere, another DL)
    4. the electrons follow a reverse curve from the positively charged ions at the double layer, and so the plasma begins to leap into an arc mode at the photosphere.

    Yes it is tenuous and yes it is just the motion of particles. Yet Don Scott and Wal Thornhill have shown how the application of plasma physics and electrical priciples explain the motion of these particles in the sun’s atmosphere.

  72. Shoot the shoulds!

    TX. Great info! Always love learning about the sun. Quiet indeed, and interesting to see how climate will be affected – may finally help quantifying cosmo-climatological forcings.

    BUT… making a posting about the oh-so-low activity at what just as well could be the bottom in an usually up and down swinging graph, and then – much worse- comparing that weekly data point with the prediction for monthly smoothened data, come on now… that’s right up there with putting some instrumental temperature record average for one hot year at the end of a multiyear smoothened proxy graph for temperatures and then saying “look! We are here! See this gap!”.

    So, in regards to potentially “jumping the gun”, I agree with Luis
    (Luis Dias says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:55 am
    The graph is too noisy to take any kind of “aha” moment… it’s still very possible for the graph to catch up to the prediction. Check the spikes.)

    Perhaps it’s all in the language that was used to frame the unusual low.
    This is something YOU REALLY DON’T EXPECT TO SEE this far into solar cycle 24. But there it is, the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite shows the sun as a cueball: The Ap index being zero, indicates that the sun’s magnetic field is low, and its magneto is idling rather than revving up AS IT SHOULD BE on the way to solar max. True, it’s just a couple of data points, but as noaa’s swpc predicts the solar cycle, WE SHOULD BE further along instead of having a wide gap: …

    It’s like saying “we should be seeing this, but”, “Ice breaks off sooner than expected”, etc. The mentality that something is “wrong” with reality when reality doesn’t match a prediction is something I’m accustomed to see among ‘warmistas’, and wish can be steered clear from among the more scientifically inclined here. If you go jump at every low temperature and low solar activity datapoint, disturbingly similar to how CAGW-hotheads send out press releases (a la the tunes of “This is much worse than expected”, “according to our predictions, this wouldn’t be happening until so many years from now”, etc.) whenever there’s unusually hot weather, or as some hype any solar flare, then you begin to lose the scientific high ground, IMO. Same goes for the polar ice data reporting.

    In the long run, I think it’s simply better to wait a couple weeks or months, or ideally: until the smoothened data catch up with the smoothened predictions you want to compare ‘m too. Or just shoot the shoulds and word it a bit more objectively.

    Ya know what I mean? :-/

  73. James of the West says:
    December 23, 2010 at 5:54 pm
    Do we really know what happened to global temps in the Maunder or Dalton? We have some anecdotal evidence but hardly a comparable dataset.

    I think this will be an opportunity to make some good observations and learn something new if we have a similar event unfolding.

    #####

    You are not allowed to suggest that the temp measurements in those times were
    1. inaccurate
    2. sparse

    Also, The term “global average” only has meaning in those periods. Now, its officially meaningless.

  74. @Christolph Dollis

    “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Well, why don’t you be the one person to explain it then, because no one else has.

    You’re conflating temperature, an intensive property of matter, with energy, an extensive property of matter.

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

    Temperature, being intensive, does not depend on the amount of matter. A gram of water can have the same temperature as an entire ocean.

    Heat energy, measured in joules or calories, being extensive, does depend on the amount of matter, in an additive way. A gram of water, even if heated to a million degrees, does not contain as much energy as an entire ocean of water.

    Conservation Law: Energy is always conserved. There is no conservation law for Temperature.

  75. James F. Evans says:
    December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    MDR states: “If there corona were gone, the change in the radiative energy flux incident on earth would be changed by only a small, fractional amount.”

    Pure speculation

    We don’t know what the situation would be if the “corona were gone”.

    And, let’s hope we never find out!

    Why not? I think it would be interesting from a scientific perspective. It’s likely that (at least some) aspects of the conventional wisdom would be challenged.

    In fact, from your “let’s hope we never find out” comment, it seems that you do indeed know that a missing corona would be an overall negative. Please fill me in; I’d like to know.

  76. Luis Dias says,

    The graph is too noisy to take any kind of “aha” moment… it’s still very possible for the graph to catch up to the prediction. Check the spikes.

    Luis, check the smoothing.

  77. Mom2girls says:
    December 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard, you mention the sun being here before, in 1645. I hate to read anything into anyone’s comments but does this mean you think we’re headed into a Maunder and not Dalton minimum?
    It all depends on if the Livingston & Penn effect holds up or not. If it does, we’ll have a Maunder Minimum, if not, just a ‘normal’ small cycle, like 100 years ago. It is too early to tell. Now, contrary to common belief, a Maunder Minimum does not mean total absence of solar activity, just that sunspots are much harder to see [smaller, warmer, not clumped together, etc]. There will still be cosmic ray modulation [as there was during the MM], still be aurorae [at high latitudes, but fewer at low latitudes]. If this happens [and as a solar physicist I pray it will, but is enough of a skeptic not to count on it] we’ll learn a lot. I don’t believe that the climate will be much worse [colder], so am not concerned. You can form your own pet theory about that.

    Christoph Dollis says:
    December 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm
    These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”
    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony
    Well, why don’t you be the one person to explain it then, because no one else has.

    See below for a [wrong] explanation of coronal heating. Solar energy generation is not under debate any more, that was figured out back in 1938.

    James F. Evans says:
    December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm
    MDR states: “If there corona were gone, the change in the radiative energy flux incident on earth would be changed by only a small, fractional amount.”
    Pure speculation.

    Not at all, because we can measure the radiative energy flux.

    We don’t know what the situation would be if the “corona were gone”.
    Perhaps you don’t know. Just pay attention, then, to the free lessons you can get on the blog.

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    Yet Don Scott and Wal Thornhill have shown how the application of plasma physics and electrical priciples explain the motion of these particles in the sun’s atmosphere.
    So go see what they believe happens. [Except, of course, it doesn’t]. There are many theories about coronal heating. In fact, too many. There may be more than one mechanism. In general terms it works like this: The solar atmosphere is permeated by a magnetic field. The lower part of that field is rooted in the photosphere where violent motions [convection] move the field around, at times twisting and shearing the field. A twisted field has more energy in it than a quiet, regular, ‘straight’ field, and is notoriously unstable [as anymore trying to build a fusion machine will know] and explodes easily, heating the atmosphere. That is one reason why the corona is hot. Another is that waves are generated by all that surface motion. As these waves travel upwards in the rapidly thinning corona, the wave steepens and eventually breaks into a ‘shock wave’ also heating the plasma [much like cracking of a whip]. A third reason is that the magnetic field points in different directions and at the boundaries between differently directed magnetic fields, the fields can reconnect [as we have direct observed by spacecraft about the Earth]. Such changes on the magnetic fields can create electric currents that also can heat the plasma. so, many ways to skin that cat, and possibly they are all active at the same time.

    When solar physicists say they “don’t understand how the corona is heated” it general means that they can’t agree on which one of several possibilities is the most dominant [maybe there is single dominant one].

  78. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”
    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony

    Right.

    Well, the plasma cosmologists are making prediction. Kinda normal, everyone who has some hypothesis/theory does that, so one can say, predict away!

    During the past 4 years, I was watching them, in wait, to prove them wrong. What is irksome is that I couldn’t so far. Couldn’t nail them wrong. Rats!

    Kath:

    Any competing theory has to be good enough to explain all aspects of stellar evolution, as well as variations that exist in our universe.

    One small problem. The stellar evolution is an ad hoc theory. Let alone the evolutionary aspect–sort of an application of hermetic as above so below–a biomorphization of the observable differences of stellar bodies. Beside the supernova explosion, we really can’t see the “evolution” of stars. It is a model, and that is very important to remember. In fact, based on a careful study of pictures of supernovae, I again have to concede the irksome phenomenon of plasma cosmology being a better fit for the observations.

    Well, I can hope that one day, they’ll predict something that they will hang themselves with, can’t I?

  79. Mac the Knife said:

    “From unforgiving experiences, I know there is far more to fear from “big bad snow and ice”, be it ‘weather’ or ‘climate change’ induced, than there will ever be from 3C of ‘global warming’. ”
    ———————————————————————–
    Well said, Mac. From a human perspective, it would be better if the AGW crowd was right. There are good reasons why the tropics are populated, and the poles are not.

    Where did you live?

  80. One thing I’ve forgotten to add. Magnetic lines reconnection
    Only astronomers with a cursory exposure to theory of electricity can come up with that concept. Ask any lowly electrical engineer and he would laugh what a good joke that is. It is as mythical as darkwing duck. It does not exist.

    Again, one of these irksome thingies that plasma cosmologists do seem to explain without any hooks that I can grab and throw back at them. They’re smooth. I hate those guys guts!

  81. Dr S, the abrupt temp rise above the sun’s photosphere happens evenly around the sun, not in a chaotic and lumpy way, which would be expected if it is the result of so many explosions and supposed reconections. The positive particles of the solar wind accelerate and continue to accelerate into the solar system, radio frequencies are generated, and the incoming electrons give the photosphere “the appearance, temperature and spectrum of an electric arc” (CER Bruce). That is one simple mechanism, a double layer in plasma, to explain all of these important, defining aspects of the sun.

  82. Sorry for getting a bit off topic,… just blowing some steam.

    Here in Vancouver BC, it’s relatively balmy, but that is normal. There was some dusting by snowflakes about a month ago. 2 inches. It is still likely that there would be some cover later in January/February.

    I remember looking at the graph of ice age periods years ago and it was quite clear to me that we are nearing the end of the interglacial. In fact, we seem to be a bit past that. I wish it were possible to keep it that way, but I have little illusions that we can change the underlying nature of the cyclical phenomenon. Not that far into the future, we will be freezing our butts off. Unfortunately, there will be a lot of meat popsicles as a result. Yea, I too wish it was really globally warming out there, my decrepit arthritic bones would welcome it with “open arms”.

  83. Dr. Svalgaard: “Not at all, because we can measure the radiative energy flux.”

    Don’t be silly.

    If one part of the system or process was missing, we don’t know what effect it would have on the over all system, or the rest of the system.

    It’s an unknown… a hypothetical (because it’s never happened in Man’s experience) which can’t be answered.

    But, please. carry on, your certainty, in the face of the unknown, only reveals how little we really know…

  84. Jay Curtis says,

    The sun has been as smooth as a baby’s butt for more than a few days now. What are the odds it will climb back out of the current funk? Maunder Minimum on the way?

    Anyone?

    It’s too early to tell. If the LP effect continues, it would be a Maunder event instead of a Dalton event. As of now it LP is on track. See

  85. Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm
    we really can’t see the “evolution” of stars.
    To speak about ‘evolution of stars’ is a bit wrong, as the word /evolution/ invokes the wrong image of things. Stars don’t evolve in the biological sense of that word. They do like you and I, they ‘age’. If you look at a large number of people, you’ll see all ages represented: young, middle, and old. So you can directly SEE that aging takes place. If you come back and look at the same people some years later, they will have aged, and you can see that.
    Same with the stars. There are about 100 so-called globular clusters in the Galaxy, each containing typically a million stars, that were born at the same time and in the same neighborhood [unless you’ll postulate that they all decided to get together for your enjoyment at this present time], so they have the same birthday and initial chemical composition. And in contrast to people, stars AGE at different rates. This does not mean that time is flowing at a different rate. If we look at a life-cycle: you are born, grown up, mature, and die, then you can define age relative to that timeline. Massive stars age [that is, eventually, die] a lot faster than small stars, so when we look at the million stars some will be large and other will be small, so some will be young and some will be old. If you make a 2D plot where each star is represented by a point placed according to its temperature [color] on one axis and luminosity on the other axis, you’ll find that the points do not scatter wildly about, but lie on definite ‘lines’ and ‘areas’ on the plot. This most famous astrophysical plot is called the Hertzsprung-Russell digram [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globular_cluster ] and shows you the age of each star. Not in time [they were all born at the same time], but in how far along their life they are. Different clusters are born at different times, so give us different snapshots of the life cycles of stars. What we see in this way matches very closely what the misnamed ‘theory of stellar evolution’ predicts [or explains is a better word], so we have high confidence in its veracity.

    Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm
    One thing I’ve forgotten to add. Magnetic lines reconnection
    Only astronomers with a cursory exposure to theory of electricity can come up with that concept. Ask any lowly electrical engineer and he would laugh what a good joke that is.

    That is because your lowly electrical engineer does not deal with this in the domain of his expertise and knowledge. If he laughs, it is because he doesn’t know. Like the discussion between two little boys about where babies come from. One says they come with the stork and the other is trying to explain about s e x, and s p e r m, and e g g s. The first boy laughs at that good joke.
    Reconnection is observed in space and in the laboratory, e.g. http://mrx.pppl.gov/

  86. Mac the Knife says:
    December 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    yep this is correct…………

    when the nearest corner market shelves are bare, and the trucks can not get through , and refill the shelves………………..

  87. Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm
    we really can’t see the “evolution” of stars.
    To speak about ‘evolution of stars’ is a bit wrong, as the word /evolution/ invokes the wrong image of things. Stars don’t evolve in the biological sense of that word. They do like you and I, they ‘age’. If you look at a large number of people, you’ll see all ages represented: young, middle, and old. So you can directly SEE that aging takes place. If you come back and look at the same people some years later, they will have aged, and you can see that.
    Same with the stars. There are about 100 so-called globular clusters in the Galaxy, each containing typically a million stars, that were born at the same time and in the same neighborhood [unless you’ll postulate that they all decided to get together for your enjoyment at this present time], so they have the same birthday and initial chemical composition. And in contrast to people, stars AGE at different rates. This does not mean that time is flowing at a different rate. If we look at a life-cycle: you are born, grown up, mature, and die, then you can define age relative to that timeline. Massive stars age [that is, eventually, die] a lot faster than small stars, so when we look at the million stars some will be large and other will be small, so some will be young and some will be old. If you make a 2D plot where each star is represented by a point placed according to its temperature [color] on one axis and luminosity on the other axis, you’ll find that the points do not scatter wildly about, but lie on definite ‘lines’ and ‘areas’ on the plot. This most famous astrophysical plot is called the Hertzsprung-Russell digram [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globular_cluster ] and shows you the age of each star. Not in time [they were all born at the same time], but in how far along their life they are. Different clusters are born at different times, so give us different snapshots of the life cycles of stars. What we see in this way matches very closely what the misnamed ‘theory of stellar evolution’ predicts [or explains is a better word], so we have high confidence in its veracity.

    Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm
    One thing I’ve forgotten to add. Magnetic lines reconnection
    Only astronomers with a cursory exposure to theory of electricity can come up with that concept. Ask any lowly electrical engineer and he would laugh what a good joke that is.

    That is because your lowly electrical engineer does not deal with this in the domain of his expertise and knowledge. If he laughs, it is because he doesn’t know. Like the discussion between two little boys about where babies come from. One says they come with the stork and the other is trying to explain about s e x, and s p e r m, and e g g s. The first boy laughs at that good joke.
    Reconnection is observed in space and in the laboratory, e.g. http://mrx.pppl.gov/

  88. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Or we could have a Sporer Minimum, or a totally new breed of minimum.
    It acts just like our weather, with no two winters or summers alike.
    Right now, it’s got wavy coronal bands where AR’s should be, and weak spots pop in and out like bubbles in a pan about to boil.
    There is also a part of the north and south hemisphere AR bands that meet in a V.
    As for our climate, it’s not looking so hot (pun intended).
    I say the Solar Cycle is about to crash, and we will once again learn why past civilizations feared/revered/stood in awe of the Sun.

  89. From Mars says,

    Well, the Solar Minimum began in 2008. That not prevented 2010 being so far the hottest year on record.

    The Earth has been warming since the 1970s, while at the same time solar activity was in the decline, after peaking in the 1950s.

    A new Dalton Minimum will not cause significant global cooling, the impact of the enhanced Greenhouse effect is overwelmingly bigger. The data show that clearly.

    2010 is not the “hottest year on record.”

    Earth has been cooling since 1998.

    The greenhouse effect is not “overwhelmingly” bigger.

    The data does not show that clearly.

    You really are from Mars!

  90. Thank you John Day, for your explanation that temperature is not a measurement of energy – you have managed to do so more succinctly than I.
    And thanks to Mac the Knife, for reminding us that we who live in temperate climes may experience some real hardship if, as is likely in the UK, we cannot import electrical power from France, because they need all their power for themselves; and worse, if we wake one morning to find no water. No water, plenty snow to melt, but no power to melt it. And that’s just the start…
    Enough. ‘Tis the festive season, and so may I wish you all at WUWT, and our esteemed posters and commenters, a very Happy Christmas.

  91. MDR:

    No, I don’t know what would happen (if the corona disapeared).

    I would be speculating, but since you invite speculation, the Sun might be like an ember, instead of a bright “campfire” in the sky, to employ an older analogy… or it could be something entirely different… as stated, “I don’t know.”

    But put it this way, if one part of a wholistic system is missing, the effect on the rest of the system could have significant effects… or possibly even none at all (although, a highly improbable event).

    We don’t know.

    Science derives understanding from observation & measurement… both directly, and indirectly from inferences, or from a chain of circumstancial evidence.

    Something that has never happened in Man’s experience is not subject to direct observation & measurement… and, in this case (the hypothetical of the corona being “gone”), inferences or indirect observations & measurements likely would be of little help.


  92. Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:09 pm
    we really can’t see the “evolution” of stars.

    Leif’s written explanation is good, but from the “picture is worth a thousand words” department, try this video too.

  93. Reconnection is observed in space and in the laboratory

    Magnetic field is a continuum. There are no “lines”. Hence the whole Magnetic Reconnection Experiment is a waste of money if they are after lines that are only a conceptual aid to visualize. They do not exist, They may encounter double layers of excited plasma, but they can’t get lines that are just a figment of human imagination to make a model of magnetic field more accessible to human grasp. Same with the longitudinal/latitudinal grid–it does not exist, but it is an abstract concept that aids us to get our bearings. Every electrical engineer knows that the lines of magnetic field are just an aid and that they do not represent any physical phenomenon. But hey, it is nice to get some grants pouring in, hook, line and sinker, innit?

    But if you think the lines do exist, please present the part of the Maxwell equations that desribes and proves them. As far as I studied them, they describe the magnetic field as a continuum, there is not a hint of any lines no matter how you slice them, or even normalize.

    Would like to address your segment about stars, but time is not there, so some other day.


  94. James F. Evans says:
    December 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Science derives understanding from observation & measurement… both directly, and indirectly from inferences, or from a chain of circumstancial evidence.

    Something that has never happened in Man’s experience is not subject to direct observation & measurement… and, in this case (the hypothetical of the corona being “gone”), inferences or indirect observations & measurements likely would be of little help.

    I believe there are benefits to thought experiments, though. I find value in the process of (a) assessing what is thought to be true about a particular topic, and then (b) applying this knowledge to various hypothetical situations, with the aim of, say, building intuition, disproving the conventional wisdom, or simply exploring the concept in question.

    Thought experiments can lead to real experiments that do test aspects of what is thought to be known, and such testing of hypotheses is of course an important part of the scientific method (and is thus useful). And in fact, since the future is unknown, one never knows when a hypothetical situation may occur in reality, and indeed evaluating any predictions made from what was thought to be only a hypothetical situation is usually a stringent test of how good a how good the hypothesis is to begin with.

    As a famous example of someone who used thought experiments to great effect, Einstein used thought experiments to refine concepts of special and general relativity, and some of these thought experiments led to real advances in understanding (e.g., the precession of the perihelion of Mercury).

  95. Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm
    Dr S, the abrupt temp rise above the sun’s photosphere happens evenly around the sun, not in a chaotic and lumpy way, which would be expected if it is the result of so many explosions and supposed reconnections.
    Where do you get that idea from? Just by inspection of the Sun’s limb you can see how spiky, uneven, turbulent it is: http://astro1.panet.utoledo.edu/~lsa/_a1010/sun_tz.gif

    Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm
    As far as I studied them, they describe the magnetic field as a continuum, there is not a hint of any lines no matter how you slice them, or even normalize.
    Field lines can acquire identify [and fully understood from Maxwell’s equations couple with Newton’s law] by being loaded with mass. A charged particle will spiral along a field line and thus given identity to the line, namely as the line around which a given particle spirals. In the Earth’s Van Allen Belts particles can be trapped for years spiraling around a field lines almost from pole to pole [and then bouncing back for the return journey to the other pole]. In the mean time the Earth goes around the Sun, but the spiraling particle still follows the field line tied to the Earth.
    It is in this sense that we talk about field lines existing. This is a very useful concept, when used correctly.
    Another example: the solar wind expands radially away from the sun. As the sun rotates the point from where a given parcel of wind came from will move to the west and after several days will be at the limb at the sun and thereafter behind the Sun. The magnetic field through that parcel remains tied to the parcel and by the time the parcels reaches the Earth, the field line will follow an Archimedian spiral. Energetic electrons spiraling along that field line will follow this curved path, while the ordinary solar wind still expands radially.
    Field lines as real constructs are useful in certain situations, and that the concept lives. Here are some beautiful field lies: http://www.cosmiclight.com/imagegalleries/images/space/sun-trace.jpg
    Look very real to me.

  96. James F. Evans says:
    December 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm
    Something that has never happened in Man’s experience is not subject to direct observation & measurement… and, in this case (the hypothetical of the corona being “gone”), inferences or indirect observations & measurements likely would be of little help.
    If a large planet would pass between the Sun and rather near the Earth I would predict [and have every right to expect] that the Sun would be eclipsed by that planet, even though this has never happened in Man’s experience.
    About the corona, it actually does “go away” from time to time [at least in places]. For example there is no corona above the poles at this time. Such places where the corona is gone are called coronal holes; looks like this: http://www.suntrek.org/images/coronal_hole.jpg

  97. While I might not agree with the ‘standard’ Electric Sun model, I am inclined to agree that the gravity, hydrogen, fusion model is even further from correct. I do believe, as a
    still very small but growing nucleus of investigators are reasoning, that the Sun converts energy to mass, and not mass to energy. Again, there is disagreement as to the exact process even amongst that group. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that an even more outlandish model should be considered, that of resonance, spherical standing waves (wavefront collisions for coronal heating), scalar electromagnetics, and all powered by a central vacuum spark. The Birkeland currents do not provide the energy for the Sun, but provide the base current required to trigger release of the ZPF energies which provide the real ‘umph’. Phase conjugation also comes into the picture, but unless you firstly admit to the energy to mass function, the Sun as Creator, then the information as energy part of the proposal will make even less sense.


  98. Holugu says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    MDR, cool clip. Epicycles worked very well too, I hope you know that.

    Thanks.

    It seems that you are suggesting that present knowledge regarding stellar aging is going the way of geocentrism. Can you offer any other theories that are on equal footing as the current stellar-aging conventional wisdom? I am open to considering any idea that explains the appearance and properties of most stars in the sky (such as the final brightness-color diagram shown in the video) to the same degree as the conventional wisdom does.

    BTW, yes, I’m aware of epicycles, you will be glad to know. Aside form their being a splendid example of something that worked (until they didn’t), they also happen to be the current poster children for a “fallacy of irrelevance” argument in scientific discourse. (I hope you know that.)

  99. Solon says:
    December 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm
    I am inclined to agree that the gravity, hydrogen, fusion model is even further from correct.
    Solon, it saddens my heart to see the low level of scientific literacy that you and so many others [of many stripes] have sunk to. Science is important to our society, civilization, and indeed humanity, and we cannot really afford to have an illiterate citizenry in that respect. Alas, it seems we have. The ‘solar articles’ on WUWT always end up with the usual suspects [+various hangers on] pushing pseudo-science and nonsense, instead of addressing the real science issues of the topics.

  100. As Dr. Svarlgaard puts it. “No matter what the Sun does, it has done it before :-)”

    That statement is an example of hubris. First the age of man is a tiny tick in the history of the sun. It has done things man has never seen before and since as it grows older it is supposed to progress into a red giant, you better believe there things its going to do that you have never seen before. It bothers me you consider the sun as consistent and totally predictable.

  101. pkatt says:
    December 24, 2010 at 12:40 am
    It bothers me you consider the sun as consistent and totally predictable.
    The sun is consistent with physical laws, and is predictable in the large [you were predicting it would become a red giant, for example], but certainly not in the small. And it should have been clear to you that the issues were much narrower than the life-history of the Sun. As I watch the Sun today, I see nothing that is out of the ordinary over the past several thousand years [as far as our data goes]. In our limited lifespans things may look unique, but with a longer view, it seems to me to be just business as usual. Perhaps there is a new element, namely that we have never been able to observe as well as now, and that could lead to a better understanding, and even stronger predictive powers at some time in the future.

  102. johanna says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm
    ……………….
    Well said, Mac. From a human perspective, it would be better if the AGW crowd was right. There are good reasons why the tropics are populated, and the poles are not.

    One part of me wants to see prolonged cold / mini ice age just to extinguish the AGW scare cold dead. Another part of me realises the havoc this sow in agriculture and lives in the northern hemisphere. By the way I live in the tropics and am so pleased now I moved out of London.

    Is a mini ice age around the corner? [ http://sc25.com/index.php?id=267 ]

  103. There can be no argument about the theory of thermonuclear fusion – we tested this to destruction with the hydrogen bomb!

  104. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm
    phlogiston said:

    “we are just starting a new La Nina dominant phase. Perhaps a quiet sun will add something to this.”

    Yes, that’s all I meant in my earlier post.

    There are internal ocean variations that are largely independent of solar input and they obscure the solar effects for long periods of time but the recent step change in solar behaviour is so clear that I hope to see a short period where the solar effect becomes apparent above the background ‘noise’.

    A test would be to observe how the current negative PDO phase compares to the earlier one which took place when the sun was much more lively. It will take some years to resolve though.

    In the shorter term I think observation of AO behaviour in relation to solar activity is a more fruitful area.

    The current coincidence of negative PDO and an apparent solar minimum will definitely be scientifically informative. I agree strongly with your point that the oceans can have intrinsic cycles, not every variation has to be traceable to some astrophysical forcing. However, it may be a 2-way process. Solar and other astrophysical cyclical or fluctuating inputs might act as a periodic forcing of the ocean system. If the ocean system acts as a nonlinear oscillator, then the external forcing could entrain the ocean’s cycles; note however that the pattern and frequency of such forced oceanic nonlinear oscillations would be quite different from the frequencies of the external forcing agents.

    I think Willie Soon has done some work on solar cyclical inputs at the arctic showing up some years later in the tropical ocean.

  105. Leif, the image you posted has no “lines”. What it shows is what plasma physics terms double layers.

    Imagine it as a translucent sleeves–don’t be fooled by the scale that to a large degree compresses the phenomenon into what you perceive as quasi-lines (your approach reminds me of a story of 6 blind men trying to describe an elephant based on a part each of them was able to get by a tactile exploration–the trunk, the tail and the legs… you may guess what the “consensus” was). These “lines” are nearly as wide as earth and often even wider. The discharge is a collection of sheets that form sleeves, often within themselves onion style (example: imagine 3 sleeves of very translucent material nested within each other. When looking at this arrangement, due to low density you can perhaps barely distinguish the “face” of the main sleeve, it may be rather a hint of it than something out there, but since the perspective would compress the “sides” so that there is a perception of density, you would see the outlines of the sleeves, as 6 lines. But there are no lines, are they? It is just your perception (or the perception provided by extension of your senses by tools/gadgets) that gives you an impression of “lines”. Nature does not have wires to transport a charge, it does it by forming it’s own “wires” in the form of double layers and as someone mentioned Birkeland currents–they are the same phenomenon, except in more compressed arrangement.

    I agree with your statement that “Science is important to our society, civilization, and indeed humanity”. However, you need to bear in mind that what science is — a suite of tentative models of reality. I think this aspect of science, it’s tentative nature, is not hammered enough into heads of students and then they get the impression that the current set is “all there is and don’t tell me otherwise”. Never was and never will be–due to our inability and a lack of capacity to perceive most of the reality in a direct fashion. That is the true power of science–the concept that our models are tentative representations of reality, otherwise you end up with a temporary dogma not that far removed from religion. I suppose we don’t have to go too far to see examples of it right on this site–specifically the phenomenon of the AGW religious movement.

  106. stephen parker says:
    December 24, 2010 at 12:13 am
    rbateman @ 9.21
    robert, you’ve whetted my appetite . More please

    Which part? The erratic and sporadic behavior of the sun, or puzzling indications that the sun is being acted upon externally?

    If you took your ipod or cell phone & dropped it into water, then halfway dried it, it would act erraticly, just like our star is now doing. I wouldn’t call the Sun a variable star, I would call it a chaotic variable. It’s a sputtering mess. Like the doused electronic device, it gives every indication of being about to blue screen. Reboot.

  107. I do have some beef with plasma cosmologists–they sometimes tend to get locked into their model and don’t consider other possibilities. But not too often and in most cases, their explanations are more internally consistent that those of “standard” cosmology, the later having holes so large that you could drive VY Canis Majoris through it. Just for the fun, google “astronomers puzzled” or “cosmologists puzzled”. Well, no matter, “epicycles” come always to the rescue.

  108. Dr. Svalgaard

    As fruitless as it may seem to keep repeating yourself, you are having a tremendous effect. Without you we would all be off with Tinkerbell in Wonderland. Merry Christmas! God Bless You and Yours. And, a Very Happy New Year!

  109. Roger Longstaff says:
    December 24, 2010 at 2:32 am

    There can be no argument about the theory of thermonuclear fusion – we tested this to destruction with the hydrogen bomb!

    True, but I remember myself as a kid (or a bit grown kid… a teenager, 14) giving a lecture in 1968 about the controlled fusion progress and the harnessing it, that seemed to be just around the corner. It is still there around the corner, darn it!

    As the stellar theory goes, the observations do yield results that in many instances contradict the fusion model.

    BTW, did you know that some high energy lightning bolts can not only produce x-ray and gamma rays showers, but also apparently “transmute” elements? I had a HD crash recently, so lost a reference, but someone noticed that beside the x-ray/gamma shower, there was an unaccounted presence of isotopes, if I recall correctly, of sulfur and kalium. Which is curious, I seem to recall a segment from Homer’s Odyssey:

    “Zeus thundered and hurled his bolt upon the ship, and she quivered from stem to stern, smitten by the bolt of Zeus, and was filled with sulfurous smoke.”

    There is a few more of similar utterances there. You may not need a nuclear furnace to transmute elements. Electricity may do the trick too.

  110. I wrote a letter to the Concord (NH) Monitor about “What happened to the sun spots?” a couple days ago and they “printed” it on the web this morning. Their 250 word limit made me write it more as something to lead to discussion and not be a definitive tome, which is fine.

    I’ll post links to my references as the discussion there develops.

    Leif, thanks for the L&P update, I referred to their work, but briefly, as it will be a new concept to most readers, I’ll be adding more in the discussion. I’ll be less certain about the solar/climate link in some of my followup.

    Also, Leif wrote: Solon, it saddens my heart to see the low level of scientific literacy that you and so many others [of many stripes] have sunk to.

    One reason for writing the letter is that my daughter pointed me to an editorial asking who was going to pay for mitigating sea level rise ala the work going on in Norfolk VA. That’s due to Norfolk and filled wetlands sinking, not the oceans rising. The editorial had many other things wrong, so I figure I better “help them out.”

    My letter is at http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/230687/what-happened-to-the-sun-spots

    What happened to the sun spots?
    Eric Werme, Boscawen
    By For the Monitor
    December 24, 2010

    While the weather focus is on snow (which is everywhere but here, it seems) and the climate focus is on CO2 and temperatures, there’s another item that is becoming more and more fascinating and is worth as much attention. Four days ago the sun lost its sunspots. I think a couple appeared today, but the official count is still zero. This was unexpected, we’re supposed to be in middle of a climb to the next solar maximum. In 2008, expectations were for a count now of over 100 heading for a maximum in 2012. Current expectations are for a maximum count of only 64 in mid 2013.

    Who cares? People have looked to sunspots as a climate indicator for longer than CO2, going back to Sir William Hershel’s 1801 report “Influence of Solar Activity on State of Wheat Market in Medieval England” linking poor harvests with cold, damp weather and low sunspot counts. So far, no one has proposed a widely accepted mechanism.

    It gets more interesting, in a separate phenomenon sunspots are cooling and getting fainter and may completely fade from view by 2016. No one knows what that means, but it may match the Maunder Minimum in the 17th century.

    We’re going to learn a lot in the next few decades, it’s a great time to be a solar scientist. It may not be so great for our climate.

    That awful editorial:

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/228783/who-will-pay-to-keep-the-sea-at-bay

    They even back up there claim with this from one of my least favorite institutions:

    Last year, New Hampshire’s Climate Change Policy Task Force told Seacoast communities and regional planning commissions to assume a 1½-foot rise in sea levels by 2050 and an increase of three to five feet by the end of the century. Some estimates peg the maximum rise at 6 feet or more. Communities, the task force said, should take immediate action to prepare for rising sea levels.

    Virtually no mention of hurricane risk!

  111. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    It all depends on if the Livingston & Penn effect holds up or not. If it does, we’ll have a Maunder Minimum, if not, just a ‘normal’ small cycle, like 100 years ago

    That’s a big statement Leif, especially as you have stated not that long ago we are not heading into a grand minimum. The L&P effect is just code for grand minimum…nothing new here, but I would be interested in learning how you foresee a possible Maunder minimum episode, this type of minimum occurs very rarely over the Holocene?

  112. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 24, 2010 at 1:53 am

    “Perhaps there is a new element, namely that we have never been able to observe as well as now, and that could lead to a better understanding, and even stronger predictive powers at some time in the future.”

    There are many elements that we have never been able to observe and there are many that we observed but still do not understand completely (or we think we understand but it ain’t so).

    The problem is and has always been, the consensus (established) science is a major obstacle to better understanding.

  113. A peer-reviewed paper, Astronomy Letters, 2005:

    ELECTRON ACCELERATION BY ELECTRIC FIELDS NEAR THE FOOTPRINTS
    OF CURRENT-CARRYING CORONAL MAGNETIC LOOPS

    V. V. ZAITSEV
    Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences

    Abstract: “We analyze the electric fields that arise at the footpoints of a coronal magnetic loop from the interaction between a convective flow of partially ionized plasma and the magnetic field of the loop. Such a situation can take place when the loop footpoints are at the nodes of several supergranulation cells. In this case, the neutral component of the converging convective flows entrain electrons and ions in different ways, because these are magnetized differently. As a result, a charge separating electric field emerges at the loop footpoints, which can efficiently accelerate particles inside the magnetic loop under appropriate conditions. We consider two acceleration regimes: impulsive (as applied to simple loop flares) and pulsating (as applied to solar and stellar radio pulsations).We have calculated the fluxes of accelerated electrons and their characteristic energies. We discuss the role of the return current when dense beams of accelerated particles are injected into the corona. The results obtained are considered in light of the currently available data on the corpuscular radiation from solar flares.”

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/d32j212710843216/

    “INTRODUCTION
    Much of the energy in solar and stellar flares is released in the form of energetic particles. The bulk of the electrons and ions in impulsive solar flares are accelerated to energies of 100 keV and 100 MeV, respectively (Miller et al. 1997) and produce hard X-ray and gamma-ray line emission.”

    Many of these “energetic particles” eventually interact with the Earth’s magnetosphere and potentially effect Earth’s energy balance, one expression of which is climate — In other words, the Sun’s over all energy level effects the Earth’s climate.

    Is Dr. V. V. Zaitsev of the Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, one of the “usual suspects pushing pseudo-science and nonsense”?

  114. REPLY: “And the Sun’s corona is millions of degrees hotter than the photosphere. These simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”

    Really? What rubbish. – Anthony
    ————-

    well, it is millions of kelvins hot, that’s a fact (unless of course cagwarmists the adjusted data here too). Now, the explanation may be a rubbish, but at least it gives lots to think of.

  115. “Reconstruction of solar spectral irradiance since the Maunder minimum ”

    http://www.icecap.us/

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-paper-solar-uv-activity-increased.html

    “A peer-reviewed paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that reconstructions of total solar irradiance (TSI) show a significant increase since the Maunder minimum in the 1600’s during the Little Ice Age and shows further increases over the 19th and 20th centuries. The TSI is estimated to have increased 1.25 W/m2 since the Maunder minimum as shown in the first graph below. Use of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation indicates that a 1.25 W/m2 increase in solar activity could account for an approximate .44C global temperature increase [the HADCRU global warming from 1850 to 2000 is .55C]. A significant new finding is that portions of the more energetic ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum increased by almost 50% over the 400 years since the Maunder minimum “

  116. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Reconnection is observed in space and in the laboratory, e.g. [the Princeton website]”

    http://mrx.pppl.gov/

    But the Princeton website uses “frozen-in” magnetic fields in an infinitely conductive plasma as an a priori assumption, a false assumption, one that fails to describe space plasma or laboratory plasma.

    From the Princeton website:

    “In plasma physics, it is well known that magnetic field lines are “frozen-in” to an infinitely conductive plasma… this means that infinitely conductive plasmas will not diffuse across field lines and mix.”

    This is a false statement.

    In opposition, real space plasma and laboratory plasma has been repeatedly observed & measured to have resistivity, and, thus, can sustain an electric field, i.e., the V.V. Zaitsev paper linked to in my previous comment and numerous other peer-reviewed published papers.

    This is the framework of the analysis & interpretation employed by scientists studying the Electric Double Layer process in laboratory plasma physics and space plasma physics.

    The Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation employs formal mathematical equations which encompass & constrain all the forces and particles encountered in the plasma environment.

    These astrophysicists subscribe to the Current Disruption Theory, which encompasses the Electric Double Layer process.

    Dr. Svalgaard, why do you cite the Princeton website when the premise of its experiments does not reflect what plasma physicists have observed in nature, both in laboratory plasma and space plasma?

    In regards to the Princeton experiments, how can a theoretical model which relies on an a priori assumption which doesn’t exist in nature, and, thus, is misleading because it fails to consider all the forces present in nature, i.e., electric fields, still be a valuble analytical tool for understanding how plasmas behave in nature?

    Doesn’t Science want to understand plasma as it actually behaves in laboratory experiments and in space plasmas?

  117. Holugu says:
    December 24, 2010 at 4:28 am
    Leif, the image you posted has no “lines”. What it shows is what plasma physics terms double layers.
    A double layer is a sheet [or layer] of one charge adjacent to a sheet of the opposite charge. The electric field is between the two sheets and the acceleration of particles would be from one sheet to the other. Double layers are perpendicular to the magnetic field so if the arches shown are double layers the magnetic field would be not from one spot to the next, but perpendicular to the graceful lines shown. Draw me a simple sketch showing where the magnetic field is and where the double layers are.

    Holugu says:
    December 24, 2010 at 5:25 am
    As the stellar theory goes, the observations do yield results that in many instances contradict the fusion model.
    I do not know of even a single one. Show us the ‘many’.
    You may not need a nuclear furnace to transmute elements.
    You have this backwards. It is not the furnace that transmutes. It is the transmutation that is the furnace.

    Ric Werme says:
    December 24, 2010 at 5:51 am
    What happened to the sun spots?
    Thanks for bringing this to a wider audience.

    Geoff Sharp says:
    December 24, 2010 at 5:57 am
    It all depends on if the Livingston & Penn effect holds up or not. If it does, we’ll have a Maunder Minimum, if not, just a ‘normal’ small cycle, like 100 years ago”
    That’s a big statement Leif, especially as you have stated not that long ago we are not heading into a grand minimum.

    It is a statement with two ‘ifs’. If L&P holds up and the sunspots disappear, then most people would compare that to the Maunder Minimum and and claim that we have a Grand minimum. I’ve said that it is way too early to conclude that.

    The L&P effect is just code for grand minimum…nothing new here,
    L&P is an observed effect, not ‘code’ for anything. Whether it persists long enough that people would say we are in Grand Minimum because no spots have been seen for decades is unknown at this point.
    If a Grand Minimum is due to L&P then solar activity will not come to a halt, it will continue, there will still be a solar wind, still high-latitude aurorae, still cosmic ray modulation [as was observed during the last two Grand Minima, Maunder and Spoerer].

    but I would be interested in learning how you foresee a possible Maunder minimum episode, this type of minimum occurs very rarely over the Holocene?
    I don’t know what you mean by ‘foresee’. I’m not into astrology or clairvoyance.

    Edim says:
    December 24, 2010 at 6:15 am
    The problem is and has always been, the consensus (established) science is a major obstacle to better understanding.
    Nonsense, mainstream science is our understanding of Nature.

    James F. Evans says:
    December 24, 2010 at 6:46 am
    “We analyze the electric fields that arise at the footpoints of a coronal magnetic loop from the interaction between a convective flow of partially ionized plasma and the magnetic field of the loop.
    is just what I have been trying to make you understand: neutral plasma moves across a magnetic field generating an electric field that drives a current.

    Is Dr. V. V. Zaitsev of the Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, one of the “usual suspects pushing pseudo-science and nonsense”?
    No, you are. Zaitsev is subscribing [as he should] to the standard description of how these things work.

    R.S.Brown says:
    December 24, 2010 at 7:41 am
    It’s my impression that the monthly counts before 1770 aren’t 100% reliable.
    And right you are.

    BillyBob says:
    December 24, 2010 at 7:43 am
    “Reconstruction of solar spectral irradiance since the Maunder minimum ”
    You can find the paper here: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2010JA015431.pdf
    A big problem with the paper [which invalidates the reconstruction and its conclusion] is the use of the Group Sunspot Number as the primary input to the process [see paragraph 11]. Since it is now becoming clear that the Group Sunspot Number before ~1875 is much [by some 40%] too low, the reconstructed irradiance before that time is also too low. My argument for GSN being too low can be found here: http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf
    Even Ken Schatten [one of the authors of the GSN] agrees with me on this, but that does not stop people from using the [now] obsolete GSN when it fits in their thinking and theories.

  118. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 24, 2010 at 5:57 am
    “It all depends on if the Livingston & Penn effect holds up or not. If it does, we’ll have a Maunder Minimum, if not, just a ‘normal’ small cycle, like 100 years ago”
    That’s a big statement Leif, especially as you have stated not that long ago we are not heading into a grand minimum.

    Over on the now dead Dalton thread I explained my view on L&P [which is still a work in progress]. I’ll quote from there:

    The L&P is a simple and natural explanation for why no spots were seen during the Maunder Minimum, and yet the cosmic ray modulation was on par with recent times. Here is McCracken and Beer: http://www.leif.org/research/McCracken-HMF2.png
    They have the level wrong, but that does not affect the modulation. If one would claim that the level was correct, then the Maunder Minimum modulation [as a fraction of the whole] would be much larger than the modern values. Pick your poison.
    Analyses [by Mayahara – Japanese Cedar trees] of 14C during both the Maunder and Spoerer minima also show a large variation. So, solar activity measured by its magnetic field and/or the number of CMEs [and their effect on cosmic rays] during those Grand Minima was considerable, and yet no spots were seen. To use your phrase, the speck ratio was extreme, in fact all spots had turned into specks. This is what the L&P effect is: the convection is weaker and specks do not grow to become spots. [All spots begin their life as specks which assemble into larger and larger spots, except when the L&P effect prevents them so doing so]. So, a grand minimum is not because the dynamo is disrupted and magnetic fields are scarce, but because the surface convection [causing the ‘percolation’] is weaker [we don’t know why – but perhaps during SC24 we’ll find out].
    Your linked graph of the isotope modulation using a small sample of trees is not compelling.
    What nonsense is that? The McCracken-Beer graph is derived from 10Be in ice cores. Mayahara’s cedar trees are just corroborating evidence [and their sample was not small – and in principle a single tree is all that is needed as we just need to measure the 14C value in each tree ring. 14C is a global thing, because of efficient atmospheric mixing]

    It is suggesting that the magnetic modulation is the same during the Maunder as SC19.
    It is not ‘suggesting’. The values are derived from measured values of the 10Be flux.
    it would be like comparing the F10.7 flux value of SC24 to SC19, we know the levels will be vastly different.
    Again, we measure that the modulation was the same, so we know that it was not vastly different.

    What L&P measure and say [and remember Bill L is a good friend of mine and we exchange views and data on this] amounts to this: There is a distribution of spots from large to specks. This is the vertical width of the points on their graph. That whole distribution is steadily shifting downwards in magnetic fields and upwards in intensity. What gets shifted under 1500 G and above 1.000 is still there, but is not visible. This means that although magnetic activity will be slightly lower by the downward shift of the distribution, the effect on the spot count will be much more severe, as the smaller spots will no longer be counted, and the sunspot number is dominated by the small spots. See e.g. http://www.specola.ch/drawings/2003/loc-d20031030.JPG and look at group 266. It has about 10 larger spots and 50 specks.
    As the specks disappears only larger spots will be left, like during the Maunder Minimum, where the reported spots were often large and single. All this makes eminent sense.
    ——
    Whether is will come to pass is to be seen. So far, L&P are looking good:

  119. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “the Princeton website http://mrx.pppl.gov/ describes a laboratory experiment.”

    An experiment that uses an a priori assumption that doesn’t exist in nature (“frozen in” magnetic field lines within an infinitely conductive plasma)… isn’t much of an experiment.

    Since Dr. Svalgaard cites a pseudo-scientific experiment for authority… it would seem Dr. Svalgaard is the suspect “pushing pseudo-science and nonsense.”

  120. James F. Evans says:
    December 24, 2010 at 9:37 am
    “the Princeton website http://mrx.pppl.gov/ describes a laboratory experiment.”
    An experiment that uses an a priori assumption that doesn’t exist in nature

    Why don’t you study the link carefully. To prove that you have even looked, tell us what the 6th word on the page is.
    From the link:
    “In plasma physics, it is well known that magnetic field lines are “frozen-in” to an infinitely conductive plasma. Since charged plasma particles are confined to circular orbits around magnetic field lines, this means that infinitely conductive plasmas will not diffuse across field lines and mix. Conversely, two distinct field lines will remain separate since they cannot penetrate the intervening plasma. In most cases, solar and magnetospheric plasmas can be described very accurately with such a theory since they are both very conductive. However, straightforward application of the theory would remove the possibility of ejected solar plasma penetrating the magnetosphere since the plasmas would not be allowed to mix. Nevertheless, based on observations and known technological disruptions, we know that they must mix, but how?

    The answer resides in the fact that when plasmas carrying oppositely directed magnetic field lines are brought together, a strong current sheet is established, in the presence of which even a vanishingly small amount of resistivity in a small volume can become important, allowing plasma diffusion and, thus, magnetic reconnection to occur.”

    This is how Nature works. Experiment shows this. Theory explains this. All scientists in the field recognize this.

  121. When somebody says the sun “should” be doing something, and it isn’t, what I believe they mean is this: based on our theory we expect X whatever X is. When they say “but it isn’t X” what they are saying is not that the observation is wrong, but rather their theory doesn’t account fully for X. Reality doesn’t bother to consult us or ask our permission to do what it does. Nor does it constrain itself to what we expect of it. The “should” is just a backhanded way of admitting we don’t know everything yet. And anyone who really believes the universe should behave in a particular way is going to be very disappointed.

    But look at the progress in technology we’ve made without knowing everything. We don’t need to know everything to do what we do, but we can do more if we do. Our curiosity leads us ever onward even when there aren’t practical application for the answers we get.

    I do have a question for the guys who advocate that the energy is supplied to the sun from external sources: if the energy is coming from an external source and not from within the sun, why are we not toasting at the temperature of the sun ourselves. Why does the energy go to the sun and ignore the planets? What is the source of the energy? Inquiring minds want to know.

  122. James F. Evans says:
    December 24, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Follow your linear Catholic logic,
    A therefore B therefore C therefore D …
    far enough and you will end up counting angels on the head of a pin.

  123. For heaven’s sake, I’m just a grade school teacher, a special ed one at that, and I get what Leif is saying. Not because of his posts, but by reading the contents of the links and books he has recommended.

    A dose of discernment is needed here regarding science (and for some a larger dose). Yes, some of science stinks in the catastrophic warming writings, but that doesn’t mean all science stinks.

  124. big difference between “infinitely conductive” and “very conductive”.

    otherwise we could replace all the power lines and batteries with “infinitely conductive” high temperature plasma and solve the worlds energy problems over-night.

  125. ge0050 says:
    December 24, 2010 at 10:25 am
    big difference between “infinitely conductive” and “very conductive”.
    Look at it more realistically in terms of resistance [your lowly engineer would], the there is not much difference between a resistance of 0 ohm and that of 0.0000000000001 ohm.

    otherwise we could replace all the power lines and batteries with “infinitely conductive” high temperature plasma and solve the worlds energy problems over-night.
    We are trying to do something like that. It works better with low-temperature superconductors.

  126. I expect it’s a kind of pause while stuff bubbles under the surface then erupts. Or: Little Ice Age. Take your pick. I choose an X-flare.

  127. Pamela Gray, what your post demonstrates is a fair degree of a need for conformity and deference to authority. There is really nothing wrong with it, a majority of people is “built” or if you prefer, “wired”, that way. It is a social mechanism that has a social fitness value, if not a survival value in “interesting” times..

    Once again, what science creates are models, approximations of reality, because the physical reality is not accessible to us directly. Unfortunately, this aspect of science is not stressed enough and hubris is the flip side then.

    Leif,

    It is a holiday time and my attention is thusly oriented where it should be during holidays. I’ll try to respond in the next few days with the CMEs details/sketch and also provide falsification data for the fusion/HR model–I think we may have about 3 cases that are the proverbial VY Canis Majoris holes in the standard edifice.

    Just out of curiosity… if I have data that falsify the fusion/HR model, will you accept it? Or will you try to find proper epicycles so the model remains intact? Something tells me that you would go by the second route.

  128. Jeff Mitchell says:
    “I do have a question for the guys who advocate that the energy is supplied to the sun from external sources: if the energy is coming from an external source and not from within the sun, why are we not toasting at the temperature of the sun ourselves. Why does the energy go to the sun and ignore the planets? What is the source of the energy? Inquiring minds want to know.”

    As well, will provide answer to your questions, though to the last one is in the mold of “we think that the source is…”.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

  129. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm
    Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm
    Dr S, the abrupt temp rise above the sun’s photosphere happens evenly around the sun, not in a chaotic and lumpy way, which would be expected if it is the result of so many explosions and supposed reconnections.
    Where do you get that idea from? Just by inspection of the Sun’s limb you can see how spiky, uneven, turbulent it is:

    What I was trying to talk about is the abrupt temperature rise that is found in the atmosphere above the sun, rising from 5,000K slowly to 20,000K, and then suddenly leaping to 2million degrees.

    You see the white line representing temp. An explanation for that is the presence of a double layer in a plasma accelerating positively charged particles away as solar wind. See the J. A double layer also explains radio frequencies, and accelerating incoming electrons which give the sun the appearance, temerature and spectrum of an electric arc.

  130. My bad, “electromagnetism” is not used, but “electromagnetic” is used several times in the section of the paper, titled, 5.3. Instabilities and Time-Dependent Effects.

    My mistake. This section will be fully discussed with the rest of the paper after the holiday.

  131. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 24, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘foresee’. I’m not into astrology or clairvoyance.

    I am just curious why you would think if we have a grand minimum why it would be as deep as the Maunder. The Maunder probably has at least 4 cycles of disruption, whereas I think this minimum will only be disrupted for two cycles.

  132. johanna says:
    December 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    “Well said, Mac. From a human perspective, it would be better if the AGW crowd was right. There are good reasons why the tropics are populated, and the poles are not.”

    May I make the observation that Islam is kinda limited to the tropics too?…

  133. Jimmy Haigh says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    …my point being that could one survive a lunar month without water or food as an aspiring Muslim would have to do had he/she been trying to promote the religion inside the Arctic Circle…

  134. James F. Evans says:
    December 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm
    But it is noted the term, “electromagnetism”, does not appear in the paper.
    it is noted that the term ‘double layer’ dies not appear in the paper.
    My mistake. This section will be fully discussed with the rest of the paper after the holiday.
    You should use your time to try to understand the paper instead. If you have problems with specific sections, I’ll be glad to help you out. We do not need a diatribe.

    Geoff Sharp says:
    December 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    I am just curious why you would think if we have a grand minimum why it would be as deep as the Maunder. The Maunder probably has at least 4 cycles of disruption, whereas I think this minimum will only be disrupted for two cycles.
    First, the Maunder was not a ‘disruption’, but simply that the spots were too weak to be seen. Second, I have no idea how long the minimum might be and I take a dim view of cyclomania. The Spoerer minimum was probably ‘deeper’ in the sense of less activity, but was shorter lived.

  135. Holugu says:
    December 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm
    Just out of curiosity… if I have data that falsify the fusion/HR model, will you accept it?
    Of course I would accept it, but be forewarned that it better be good. You are in for a Nobel prize [or two] if you can shot that model down, so perhaps you should begin to make preparations for a trip to Stockholm. I’ll gladly sit in the front row listening to your acceptance speech.

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    December 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm
    You see the white line representing temp.
    The temperature rises to millions of degrees over a very short distance [a few hundred kilometers], but that layer [the Transition Region] is very dynamic and varies a lot with time and space

    An explanation for that is the presence of a double layer in a plasma accelerating positively charged particles away as solar wind.
    If positively charges are accelerated away from the Sun, then negative charges are accelerated towards to sun. This would make the sun more and more negative over time. So you get into a situation that the Sun is surrounded by positive charges and is itself negative. The mutual [extremely] strong attraction of these would stop and reverse any further separation. To get a feeling for how strong that force is: if the Earth had a few thousand ton more charge of one sign that the Sun, the force would be stronger than the gravitational force holding the Earth in its orbit. The Solar wind removes several million tons of plasma from the Sun every second.

  136. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 24, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    First, the Maunder was not a ‘disruption’, but simply that the spots were too weak to be seen. Second, I have no idea how long the minimum might be and I take a dim view of cyclomania. The Spoerer minimum was probably ‘deeper’ in the sense of less activity, but was shorter lived.

    Disruption, too weak, L&P, grand minimum….who gives a hoot, the sun was in a funk. By stating a Maunder type minimum you are also stating the depth and length. Your views on cycles is not important but to correct you the Sporer was most likely the longest grand minimum of the Holocene.

    The background problem is that you do not have any forecasting ability when it comes to grand minima. Science is proven by the ability to forecast and hindcast with accuracy.

  137. Possible link back to a previous story?

    “SORCE’s Solar Spectral Surprise – UV declined, TSI constant”

    Possibility that the levels of UV have been changing (or other parts of the spectrum changing) that we just haven’t been able to map yet?

  138. Jimmy Haigh says:
    December 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Jimmy Haigh says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 24, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    …my point being that could one survive a lunar month without water or food as an aspiring Muslim would have to do had he/she been trying to promote the religion inside the Arctic Circle…

    Little use though I have for Islam, I must object to your comment. If you are referring to Ramadan, the fasting is during daylight hours only. Come dark, and they eat like the pigs they won’t eat.

  139. @Leif
    >> First, the Maunder was not a ‘disruption’, but simply that the spots
    >> were too weak to be seen.

    @Geoff Sharp
    > Disruption, too weak, L&P, grand minimum….who gives a hoot,
    > the sun was in a funk.

    “Disruption” is a strong word connoting an abrupt change or cessation of activity, such as when a factory shuts down its manufacturing operations. In this case the sun is not shutting down, but is merely experiencing one of its “seasonal” adjustments, slightly reducing its activity and maybe laying off a few workers.

    It’s still running according to “business as usual” in terms of the magnetically active regions that we call “sunspots”. They’re still there, interacting with the solar system and modulating cosmic rays etc.

    It’s just that we humans will have a harder time seeing them. We hold these “sunspot counts” very dearly.

    So the real disruption seems to be our human perception of what’s going on, because our eyes happen to be tuned to wavelengths where the sunspots will seem to have completely vanished. But they’re still there, broadcasting brightly in microwaves, EUV and Xray.

    We also jump too eagerly to conclusions. These grand minima have occurred in the past in coincidence with cooler climate, so there is a tendency to assume there is a canonical cause and effect relationship. But that relationship has not been established beyond doubt. It’s like flipping a coin four times (Spoerer, Maunder, Dalton, Eddy) and getting heads. Remarkable but just on the edge of being statistically significant (assuming, for the sake of argument, a coin-flip likelihood)

    I personally think it’s likely that these grand minima are related to climate changes, perhaps due to UV absorption, but there is no widely accepted mechanism for explaining this cooling phenomenon. It’s still an area of intense debate.

    So it’s too early to deride the deniers. We can’t even say “the Earth is Round”, in a strictly mathematical sense. (It’s more of an ellipsoid.) :-|

  140. John Day says:
    December 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

    So the real disruption seems to be our human perception of what’s going on, because our eyes happen to be tuned to wavelengths where the sunspots will seem to have completely vanished. But they’re still there, broadcasting brightly in microwaves, EUV and Xray.

    Not so, EUV is severely disrupted right now. Link and again.

  141. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 25, 2010 at 12:41 am
    By stating a Maunder type minimum you are also stating the depth and length. Your views on cycles is not important but to correct you the Sporer was most likely the longest grand minimum of the Holocene.
    I stand corrected on the length, but see the depth: http://www.leif.org/research/Loehle-Temps-and-TSI.png
    Although my ‘views on cycles is not important’ I don’t think I said that a coming Grand Minimum [if one is coming] would be short.

    The background problem is that you do not have any forecasting ability when it comes to grand minima. Science is proven by the ability to forecast and hindcast with accuracy.
    Of course not, nobody has. Grand Minima occur at random with no periodicity.

    John Day says:
    December 25, 2010 at 7:01 am
    It’s just that we humans will have a harder time seeing them. We hold these “sunspot counts” very dearly.
    But only when they confirm what we believe, otherwise they are ‘unreliable’

  142. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 25, 2010 at 8:29 am
    Not so, EUV is severely disrupted right now.
    First of all, we are not even sure if that is instrumental or real. Second, ‘severely disrupted’ is much too strong for a such a small difference [if even real].

  143. @Geoff
    > Not so, EUV is severely disrupted right now. Link and again.

    I would say that the EUV output is reduced, not “severely disrupted”. Like I said, some of the “worker” sunspots have been “laid off”. Happens every 11 years, but the plant dynamos are still very much in operation. E pur si muovono.

    @Leif
    >> It’s just that we humans will have a harder time seeing them.
    >> We hold these “sunspot counts” very dearly.

    > But only when they confirm what we believe, otherwise they are
    > ‘unreliable’

    … like any proxy used to model nature. The RF fluxes and other EMR radiations are proxies too, for understanding the underlying solar physics. But are far more reliable for most purposes because they don’t require human interpretation (as I have learned from your blog discussions). The one exception to this, IMHO, would be the L&P Effect, the on-going decline of sunspot magnetism, the detection of which was facilitated/accentuated by the visible fading of the spots.

  144. > The RF fluxes and other EMR radiations … don’t require human
    > interpretation
    I meant to say “don’t require as much human interpretation as sunspot counts require, just to produce a measurement”. Of course, all measurements are information which need to be interpreted to discover knowledge.

  145. @Dave Springer:

    A generation or two ago, Americans left the Northeast and headed west to California in search of the Pacific, milder climate, bountiful farmland and a spirit of tolerance. Now, they’re still leaving the Northeast — but also leaving California — to head to Texas in pursuit of lower taxes, less government regulation, lower home prices and a spirit of independence.

    Poppycock, Dave. The reported increase in Texas is mainly in Mexicans and blacks. The Mexicans happen to be tied to the Pope and his dictates about making babies, which means lots of babies, whether they happen to be south of the Rio Grande or north.

    (Lest anyone think I am being racist here, I am half Mexican myself, name of Garcia. My own family came here to get away from the Mexican Civil War, so we didn’t exactly fit the norm.)

    Between people coming from Mexico and them making babies here, that accounts for the vast majority of population increase in Texas in the past decade. That was also true in the previous decade, too. But it was only through actions by the Federal courts that the increased Hispanic numbers weren’t disinherited completely from their voting rights: The first round of redistricting tried to screw them out of their fair share of representation. It is the major concern this time, too – that the GOP will try to redistrict them into minority status like last time, even where they are at or near a clear majority, by gerrymandering. (Thanks in major part to the criminal Tom Delay.)

    The blacks are secondary thing. People moving there directly from the northeast for any reason other than jobs is hogwash.

    As to the long term moves from the NE take away the air conditioners and watch how fast everyone moves out of the South and SW.

    Our population has always gone where the jobs are and away from where the jobs aren’t. The corporations have chosen to move from the NE to the S and SW, but that was only a way stop on the way to China and India, by way of maquiladores just across the border. If Americans can move to China easily for jobs, they will all be abandoning Texas and the South soon, too.

    The reason EVERYONE (over 90%) came from Europe – or Mexico or China – for the last 400 years was because this is where jobs were. Ask any immigrant, legal or illegal why they came here. Taxes had nothing to do with it. We didn’t get the people from the industrial north of Italy or from the industrial regions of the British Isles; we got them from the rural bootheel of Italy and rural Ireland, places where there were no jobs. Similarly, ask any 100 Mexicans in the U.S. where they came from in Mexico, and 80% will either tell you they are from Michoacan or from the north – areas where there are very few jobs being created, during a time of large population increases. Almost none come to the U.S. from Mexico City or Guadalajara, or from the Monterrey area. They didn’t come to the U.S. from London or Rome in the 1880s, either – because there were jobs in those places.

    People moved to California in the 1930s because there were jobs there. The opposite is happening now.

    Don’t go around puffing out the “individualist American” going where his personal taxes are lower crap. They go where the jobs are, and hang the taxes – the job is numero uno. Taxes are the least of their issues.

    Not so for corporations. THEY go where taxes are lowest, and they always have, and always will. That is why the jobs are moving and why the people go.

    The people follow the jobs.

    Period.

    Home prices? That comes from lower real estate prices, along with lower labor/construction costs – and lower labor costs come from cheaper labor because the labor base was low to start with – AND because the incoming labor pool expands because of people following the corporations and jobs. An expanding labor pool drives labor costs down, as every Econ 101 student knows.

  146. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    I am just curious why you would think if we have a grand minimum why it would be as deep as the Maunder. >i>
    Perhaps a better answer would be that I don’t consider minima to be Grand,
    unless they are on par with the Maunder. So some of the other ones that have been called Grand, like the Dalton, would not qualify.

  147. Leif Svalgaard says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    December 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Geoff Sharp says:
    December 24, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    I am just curious why you would think if we have a grand minimum why it would be as deep as the Maunder.
    Perhaps a better answer would be that I don’t consider minima to be Grand, unless they are on par with the Maunder. So some of the other ones that have been called Grand, like the Dalton, would not qualify.

  148. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Of course not, nobody has. Grand Minima occur at random with no periodicity.

    Nobody in your part of the science world perhaps. My robust data lines up with previous slowdowns during the recent past along with the Holocene. This same data can be simply extrapolated into a grand minimum starting at SC24 and ending after SC25.
    Most acknowledge the Dalton Minimum is a grand minimum, only those who refuse to see the regular grand minimum events that occur over the Holocene suggest that the monster Maunder type events are the only events worth considering. This may suit the followers of the Babcock branch but it is “blinkers on” science when you close your eyes just to follow a theory. My data not only agrees in a timing sense but also in the strength of the downturn. The data is solid and can be tested, I have a 200 year prediction, but the real test is happening right now.

    I am not interested in debating the detail here….let’s just observe and see if the prediction sticks.

  149. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm
    I am not interested in debating the detail here….let’s just observe and see if the prediction sticks.
    OK, come back in 200 years and let’s see then. If you have a 200-yr prediction you also have a 200,000 year prediction as the planets cycle regularly enough for that. The near-time behavior does not qualify as a valid prediction, as many people with different ideas agree that the coming cycle will be small [and that probably the next one too], so your ‘prediction’ is not a discriminator, as everybody and his brother will claim that their prediction has come true.
    It looks to me that you are the one that “close your eyes just to follow a theory”. My view is that long-term prediction is not possible, so no theory-based prediction is being made and no theory followed. The un-predictability of the Grand Minima and Maxima follows directly from analysis of the available solar data. Of course, this does not stop people from seeing cycles where there are none. You might compare your cycles with other cyclists [Vuk, DeJager, Jose, etc.] to get a feeling for the shakiness and arbitrariness of your [and their] schemes.

  150. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    OK, come back in 200 years and let’s see then. If you have a 200-yr prediction you also have a 200,000 year prediction as the planets cycle regularly enough for that.

    The next 2 cycles have the opportunity to prove the theory wrong, if so its pack up time. But at least I have the balls (and data) to put it on the line. The current JPL data only goes to 3000AD, so 200,000 years is difficult. My theory stands alone and is quite different from those you mentioned, but you would need an understanding to appreciate that.

  151. Geoff Sharp says:
    December 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm
    The next 2 cycles have the opportunity to prove the theory wrong, if so its pack up time.
    But not to prove the theory correct, as many other predict the same thing.

    But at least I have the balls (and data) to put it on the line.
    Everybody has that and does that.

    The current JPL data only goes to 3000AD, so 200,000 years is difficult.
    Simply ask JPL to run the calculation out further. Or use other calculations [e.g. Carsten’s] as the accuracy does not need to be ultra high for this.

    My theory stands alone and is quite different from those you mentioned, but you would need an understanding to appreciate that.
    That is not the point. The point is that the others are equally adamant that they are correct and that they will be proven correct in the next two cycles. Understanding of your idea is difficult due to its hand waving nature, lack of numerical expression, and reliance on eye-balling of wiggly lines. These things disqualify it as a ‘theory’ in the usual meaning of the concept.

  152. “I personally think it’s likely that these grand minima are related to climate changes, perhaps due to UV absorption, but there is no widely accepted mechanism for explaining this cooling phenomenon. It’s still an area of intense debate. ”

    Primitive man didn’t know the precise mechanisms for very much but he knew enough to make decisions on the basis of observed events and ensuing consequences.

    I’m inclined to think it is primarily a matter of changes in ozone quantities due to a fine balance between destruction at levels above the stratopause and creation below the stratopause (apparently arounf 45km where the sign of the atmospheric response appears to reverse). That does of course involve UV absorption issues but I think it also involves a whole range of atmospheric chemical reactions to changing solar wavelengths and particle compositions.

    UV on its own just doesn’t do the job.

    What we seem to have here is a situation whereby very small solar changes produce not so small energy flow consequences by changing the chemical composition of our atmosphere with differential warming and cooling effects at different levels. I don’t think simple radiative physics is much help where chemical processes intervene.

    That then affects the vertical temperature profile throughout our atmosphere to change tropospheric pressure distributions and thus the quantities of solar shortwave energy entering our oceans.

    So we see what is primarily internal system variability but arising from atmospheric sensitivity to variations in the composition and relative proportions of the photons and particles that reach us from the sun.

    It isn’t a big deal from the planet’s point of view but our lives and works are highly sensitive to local and regional weather so our perceptions make it seem like a big deal.

    The so called ‘coincidences’ are just too frequent to be ignored.

  153. @Stephen Wilde
    > What we seem to have here is a situation whereby very small solar changes
    > produce not so small energy flow consequences by changing the chemical
    > composition of our atmosphere with differential warming and cooling effects
    > at different levels.

    I am not a proponent of any particular Maunder cooling theory, so your theory might succeed if you can back it up with some relevant observational data. My point was that none of these theories are widely accepted.

    What you’re proposing sounds like a “thermodynamic transistor”, which produces large output changes from very small input changes. In effect, an “energy amplifier”. Of course, so energy must be diminished elsewhere to conserve total energy.

    > … primarily a matter of changes in ozone quantities due to a fine balance
    > between destruction at levels above the stratopause and creation below
    > the stratopause (apparently arounf 45km where the sign of the atmospheric
    > response appears to reverse).

    Yes, the stratopause is a very interesting part of our atmosphere, where temperature peaks and above which molecular mixing ceases and the different gases tend to separate out by their scale heights.

    (Waving my hands a bit) it strikes me as being similar to the current-voltage operating curves of some transistor devices which depend on negative resistance to function as an amplifier.

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

    Perhaps you can find a analog to this effect between the stratosphere and mesosphere to make your climate transistor work.
    :-|

  154. Thanks John, that is a resonable analogy.

    From what I say certain observations must necessarily follow otherwise my proposals will be falsified.

    Some such observations are available such as :

    The generally cooling mesosphere and stratosphere when the sun was more active.

    The cessation of such cooling and the beginning of slight warming as the sun became less active.

    The discovery that from 45 km upward (the stratopause is around 50km) the ozone quantities increased between 2004 and 2007 when the sun was quiet despite the expectation that they would have fallen. Quantities decreased as expected below that level.

    The fact that the jets moved poleward when the sun was more active and the stratosphere cooled. Under conventional climatology the stratosphere should have warmed with the jets shifting equatorward as happens during so called sudden stratospheric warming events.

    Cloudiness and albedo both began to increase as the jets started to shift back equatorward.

    The Arctic Oscillation turned more negative around the same time and has now become very negative.

    Since the same processes all presumably occurred in the MWP it cannot be anything to do with human emissions.

    So, there are lots of varied bits of persuasive evidence that have drawn me to these conclusions. We need some more observations to clarify the issue once and for all but I am confident that the process is already in hand.

  155. @Stephen Wilde
    > So, there are lots of varied bits of persuasive evidence that have drawn me to
    > these conclusions. We need some more observations to clarify the issue once
    > and for all but I am confident that the process is already in hand.

    IANAC (I am not a climatologist), so all of that sounds reasonable to me. Is this your own theory? Does it have a name? (no idea can exist for long without a name). Do you have a write-up on it with the technical claims, specs and references? I would like to study some of your “stratospheric” concepts to learn more about them. (“You can observe a lot by watching” – Yogi Berra)

  156. John,

    IANAC either.

    It is my own but has no name yet as I’m not yet satisfied that it is complete. I’m building it step by step with the assistance of critics who make points that require me to refine it.

    You can try my series of articles at climaterealists.com which record my gradual steps towards my proposed scenario.

    This is the latest:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6645

  157. Even if the solar cycle change observations are not enough to alter climate, the coincidence of these changes with a down cylce in the AMO will do the number… on all of us.

  158. So why are both SDO and SOHO offline?
    SDO claims a disk controller failed on the 19th. Fine. 15 minutes to swap in the spare while the backup server is promoted.
    Is there anything else?

  159. rbateman says:
    December 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm
    SDO claims a disk controller failed on the 19th. Fine. 15 minutes to swap in the spare while the backup server is promoted. Is there anything else?

    the drives need to be “rebuilt” before we start back to work again – because in some cases there were two drives bad in the same “LUN” – and that will take 3+ days. So perhaps by Monday we will be back.
    But likely not before.

  160. So we hear-that we should plan for drought.
    So we see-that we should plan for flood.
    I shall plan for both. And pray for neither.

    Follow fools, if you will, but do so knowingly.

  161. John Day;
    Aaggh! A Yogi misquote!
    “‘You can see a lot just by looking.”
    No messing with YB’s verbs, please.

  162. @Brian H

    December 27, 2010 at 1:44 am
    John Day;
    Aaggh! A Yogi misquote!
    “‘You can see a lot just by looking.”
    No messing with YB’s verbs, please.

    Au contraire, mon frère, I think you’ve got it wrong. YCOALBW is the title of Yogi’s book. Or perhaps he’s misquoting himself?

    My favorite is about a restaurant that Yogi used to frequent. He said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”. Great wisdom disguised as nonsense.

  163. Well, time has past, so I will only engage in brief discussion of the “reconnection” paper presented by Dr. Svalgaard:

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/Plasma-Reconnection.pdf

    From the paper:

    “To an excellent approximation, magnetic fieldlines are frozen to the plasma and magnetic flux is conserved.”

    Many, if not almost all “magnetic reconnection” papers rely on the above “approximation”, a priori assumption, where magnetic fieldlines are “frozen in” to infinitely conductive plasma.

    But it is not an “excellent” approximation, rather, it is a misleading a priori assumption, because both space plasmas and laboratory plasmas are tenuous, not fluid, and have resistivity. The lower the percentage of ionized particles in the body of tenuous plasma, the higher the resistivity, but never in tenuous plasma, space or laboratory is resistivity zero.

    Now, I mentioned that the paper does mention use the term, “electromagnetic”, but as is true to form for “magnetic reconnection” papers, the exception proves the rule.

    The paper uses the term “anomalous resistivity” to describe regions of higher resistivity in bodies of plasma, as if resistivity is rare in bodies of tenuous plasma, but that is false and, again, misleading because zero resistivity does not exist in tenuous plasmas.

    The elephant in the room is that when ions, electrons (charged particles, each with electric force), and magnetic fields interact, and charged particles are accelerated, thus, demonstrating electric fields exist, this is an environment where the fundamental force of electromagnetism holds sway.

    So-called “magnetic reconnection” is an obfiscation.

    Current sheets are referenced in the paper, but current sheets are the result of electric fields. when “magnetic reconnection” papers discuss “electron dissipation regions”, really, in point of fact, the papers are discussing electron acceleration regions.

    Magnetic fields can deflect or change charged particle direction, but they don’t accelerate charged particles, electric fields do.

    The paper discusses “magnetic self-organization” without any reference to Irving Langmuir, who first observed and described the self-organizing ability of plasma and identified such self-organizing ability as a function of the principles of electromagnetism.

    Yet Zweibel & Yamada make no mention of Langmuir’s prior work. This is tantamount to academic fraud.

    But let’s take a look at a UCLA paper, that while is a “reconnection” paper, at least is more forthright about the role of electric fields in the so-called “magnetic reconnection” process:

    The paper employs the study of magnetic fields to, in part, derive a resolution of the charged particle current flows. As the authors contend resolution of the current flow is important for understanding the larger system. This fits well with what I’ve been pointing out: Mapping the movement of charged particles is critical for understanding the dynamics when two bodies of plasma collide. The authors conducted the experiment where bodies of magnetized plasma were collided within a background magnetized plasma. This is a laboratory experiment which offers a rough approximation of space plasma dynamics.

    Space plasma environments tend to be “rivers within larger rivers of plasma”. Or distinct, structured flows of plasma within larger flows of plasma. In numerous instances, these structured flows of plasma take the form of magnetic flux tubes.

    A quoted passage from the UCLA paper:

    Caption for first image: “Three dimensional field lines taken from a volumetric data set in an experiment in which two laser produced plasmas collide. Data was acquired at 30,000 locations in a 3D volume in the LAPD device. Shown are the magnetic fields due to Alfven wave currents. The two Carbon targets that the lpp plasmas originate at are seen in the background. The “sparkles” are the induced electric field calculated from -dA/dt. Note that the induced field is largest in the reconnection region at the center of the image. The data is acquired 5 us after the targets are struck and 6.56 meters and 65.6 cm away. There is a background He plasma (n = 2X10^12 cm-3, B0z (not shown) = 600G)”

    To highlight: “The “sparkles” are the induced electric field calculated from -dA/dt.”

    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/pages/gallery.html

    And here is a close up on the image showing the outbreaking of electric fields, “sparkles”, where the plasma density and magnetic stress is greatest:

    The outbreaking of electric fields, mini- parallel electric fields, is due to the charged particles’ electric force interacting with the magnetic field. The maximum electric field breakout is in regions of maximum magnetic field stress and maximum charged particle density — it’s charged particle density that determines magnetic field strength.

    The higher the charged particle density & magnetic field stress, the greater the formation of electric fields (arrayed mini-parallel electric fields).

    It’s important to examine the UCLA image of the breakout of electric fields in relation to magnetic fields — the two forces are inter-related as Maxwell’s equations amply demonstrate.

    This is all a product of electromagnetism, not some unquantified process of “magnetic reconnection”. The term, “magnetic reconnection”, is an attempt to obscure the fact that all these interactions happen within an environment where the Fundamental Force of Electromagnetism predominates.

  164. James F. Evans says:
    December 27, 2010 at 10:24 am
    Well, time has past, so I will only engage in brief discussion of the “reconnection”
    You didn’t learn much. Continue to study the paper.

  165. Re: ““The core, which is where the energy is generated by gravitational compression of hydrogen to fusion temperature and pressure, is 14.5 million K and is by far the hottest densest portion of the sun.”

    But Dave, according to the “Thunderbolts” website, the dark sunspots are a window into the interior of the sun, proving that the inside is cooler than the outside!

    Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

    The real and ONLY question of any merit here is whether or not the electric universe theorists can facilitate the development of a solar model which makes accurate predictions. And just how accurate are those predictions?

    We live within an era of social networking. If it CAN be done, people should expect that it eventually WILL be done.

    What is startlingly missing from all of these forum discussions of the electric sun hypothesis is an analysis of the claims being made. Wal Thornhill and Don Scott are making the case for a plasma glow discharge model for the Sun — a Crook’s tube, essentially — where the power input is an electron drift current, and the geometry is spherical. Within the EU view, in theory, we should be able to accurately predict the Sun’s behavior by monitoring the electrical current arriving into the heliosphere along interstellar filaments (which are already observed at the 21-cm wavelength).

    Anybody who thinks that EU theory is preposterous should really be speaking to the debate of whether or not these ideas can be codified into a working, predictive model … Because if they can achieve that, then people who are ridiculing them are just throwing up noise.

    Any model which can predict solar eruptions will ultimately win. Is anybody here claiming that it cannot be done?

  166. Re: “You’re conflating temperature, an intensive property of matter, with energy, an extensive property of matter.

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

    Temperature, being intensive, does not depend on the amount of matter. A gram of water can have the same temperature as an entire ocean.

    Heat energy, measured in joules or calories, being extensive, does depend on the amount of matter, in an additive way. A gram of water, even if heated to a million degrees, does not contain as much energy as an entire ocean of water.

    Conservation Law: Energy is always conserved. There is no conservation law for Temperature.”

    In your citation of traditional physics, you’ve conferred an artificial respectability to the “new physics” explanation of magnetic reconnection which was the point of the criticism, as well as the conventional explanation for this *enigmatic* observation of temperature at the corona.

    What laws of physics can you cite to validate magnetic reconnection?

  167. Re: “All the sun’s energy is instead mysteriously transmitted in an unmeasurable way through space!”

    It’s neither mysterious nor “unmeasurable”. Our radio telescope astronomers already observe the interstellar filaments which connect the stars. You just choose to not read those papers. Look up Gerrit Verschuur.

  168. Re: “@pochas
    > according to the “Thunderbolts” website, the dark sunspots are a window
    > into the interior of the sun, proving that the inside is cooler than the outside!

    Your “window” metaphor is completely wrong. “Window shade” would be more consistent with the underlying solar physics: sunspots are highly magnetic regions on the photosphere, in excess of 1500 Gauss, where the magnetism actually blocks the upwelling radiation and prevents its escape. Hence it’s cooler above the spots, which makes them look dark. The surrounding, brighter photosphere is actually more transparent to this upwelling radiation.”

    The conventional model for the Sun proposes that magnetic fields are second-order effects even as theorists observe the entire electromagnetic surface of the Sun behaving as a single electromagnetic entity.

    The notion that sunspot flux is dominated by the convective motions of supergranules treats the magnetic fields as though they can be separated from their electric current causes. We should all be clear that this is a thought experiment. It’s a hypothetical treatment of the magnetic fields.

    When you see a magnetic field — whether it be in a laboratory or in space — a theorist or experimenter has a *burden* to consider the fundamental inference that it is the result of an electric current. To ignore this is an expression of an ideology — and in this case, it is one driven by cosmological necessity.

  169. Re: “I have a question for the electric sun people… I constantly see them purporting that, like on Earth, fusion is an effective energy sink, i.e. it takes more energy to get fusion going than you get out of it… therefore requiring a huge amount of electrical energy being transported to the sun through some mysterious means I can’t quite figure out, given that over 14 billion years, any widely distributed energy in the vacuum would have been all gobbled up… I digress.”

    When comparing cosmologies, we have to take a philosophical approach. That means that we do not use the claims of one cosmology to evaluate the claims of another. Discussions of electricity in space are, to be clear, not bound by a Big Bang. This would be a “steady-state universe”.

    The electric universe has its own mechanisms for creating and organizing charged particles in interstellar space. Look up Marklund Convection and critical ionization velocity. z-pinches and Birkeland Currents behave as ion vacuums. And anybody who has worked with lifters knows that neutral matter can easily get dragged into this activity.

    And by the way, the interstellar electrical transport mechanism is not as mysterious as you propose. In fact, it can be explained with the right-hand rule and the fact that plasma filaments exhibit both long-range attraction, as well as short-range repulsion. This phenomenon is well understood in the plasma laboratory. These filaments attract one another with the strength of the electric force. And, unlike the gravitational force, there is no limit to their reach. This mechanism extends the electric force to infinite distances.

    Keep in mind that Gerrit Verscuur — one of the world’s most famous radio astronomers — already observes these interstellar filaments and their CIV’s. And it is conventional theorists who would prefer to keep many of these “anomalous high-velocity clouds” anomalous, for they refuse to admit that the inferred redshift velocities at 35 km/s and 50 km/s are in fact critical ionization velocities.

    Re: “How can you possibly assume that’s a valid concept though, given that the human energy input is needed specifically to provide the things that a stellar core provides… high temperature and pressure, conducive to producing fusion. It was my understanding that once the reaction was triggered, it was sustainable ONLY through maintaining high temp and pressure.”

    The thing is, we can reproduce the core functionality of the Sun in the plasma laboratory without the need for a thermonuclear core. That — and the anti-correlation which has been observed between sunspots and neutrinos — suggests that the thermonuclear activity is occurring simply where the temperatures permit it. Many of these features which people observe to be enigmatic to conventional models — like the inverse-temperature at the corona — are in fact *required* by the plasma glow discharge model for the Sun.

    Re: “Is that fundamentally wrong? Does it require more electricity or energy, sans triggering containment and thermoregulation, to MAINTAIN a fusion reaction than it produces?”

    Very possibly.

    Re: “Because otherwise, I can easily imagine that there’s an intrastellar/intrasolar electrical component, but the concept of pulling in essential unimaginable amounts of electricity from the ether for all of the stars in the galaxy… where exactly did you say all that electricity comes from (laws of thermodynamics and all that)? And why hasn’t the Universe already reached a final entropic stage?”

    Our solar system is electrically connected to its galaxy, and the galaxies are electrically connected to one another. This is why filaments pervade both interstellar and intergalactic spaces.

    People need to get over this notion that — without learning plasma physics — they are going to undermine plasma cosmology’s foundation. Plasma cosmology was created by Hannes Alfven, who received the Nobel Physics prize for his creation of magnetohydrodynamics (the plasma models). This is a theory which remains an ongoing subject of peer-reviewed publication in IEEE’s Transactions on Plasma Sciences. Anthony Peratt is a former adviser to the Department of Energy and an experimenter on the world’s premier plasma laboratory — the z-machine. These are clearly the guys who are working with plasmas in the laboratory. At the point where astrophysicists and conventional theorists are claiming that they don’t understand plasmas, people need to carefully consider these points. These are not the type of people who we should be dismissing.

    The proper approach would be to first learn how plasmas tend to behave in the laboratory, then learn what plasma cosmology and electric universe propose, and then learn the arguments on both sides of the debate. Once you fully understand how observations are inferred for both cosmologies, then you have a basic handle for what’s being said.

    And at that point, you can agree or disagree. But, there exists a burden to do some minimal background reading before people come to conclusions. Satisfy yourself that you understand the theory before criticizing it, and it will reduce the forum noise.

    Keep in mind that 99% of what we see with our telescopes is matter in the plasma state. The models for plasmas do indeed matter.

  170. Re: “The paper discusses “magnetic self-organization” without any reference to Irving Langmuir, who first observed and described the self-organizing ability of plasma and identified such self-organizing ability as a function of the principles of electromagnetism.

    Yet Zweibel & Yamada make no mention of Langmuir’s prior work. This is tantamount to academic fraud.”

    Yes, also consider another example of Jack Zirker’s summary of the solar model in “Journey from the Center of the Sun”. His relevant “biography” for Hannes Alfven on page 145 sees fit to only mention Alfven’s creation of a political satire titled, “The Great Computer”.

    Zirker did not find it necessary to mention Alfven’s creation of the plasma models, nor his creation of the competing plasma cosmology, throughout the entire book. Neither is there ever any mention by Zirker that electric currents and magnetic fields — in the laboratory — tend to go hand-in-hand.

    And, given these omissions, it also naturally follows that Alfven’s relentless criticisms of the way in which the plasma models were being applied by astrophysicists has been completely sanitized from the “official story” of plasma physics.

    He would repeatedly state about the notion of the frozen-in magnetic field concept which is popular amongst conventional theorists:

    “I thought that the frozen-in concept was very good from a pedagogical point of view, and indeed it became very popular. In reality, however, it was not a good pedagogical concept but a dangerous “pseudopedagogical concept.” By “pseudopedagogical” I mean a concept which makes you believe that you understand a phenomenon whereas in reality you have drastically misunderstood it.

    [..]

    At that time (1950) we already knew enough to understand that a frozen-in treatment of the magnetosphere was absurd. But I did not understand why the frozen-in concept was not applicable.

    [..]

    In 1963, Fälthammar and I published the second edition of Cosmical Electrodynamics [12] together. [..] We analyzed the consequences of this in some detail, and demonstrated with a number of examples that in the presence of an E|| the frozen-in model broke down. On [12, p. 191] we wrote:

    “In low density plasmas the concept of frozen-in lines of force is questionable. The concept of frozen-in lines of force may be useful in solar physics where we have to do with high- and medium-density plasmas, but may be grossly misleading if applied to the magnetosphere of the earth. To plasma in interstellar space it should be applied with some care.”

    And yet, everywhere you look, you see cosmic plasmas treated as having frozen-in magnetic fields. Zirker’s text proposes that magnetic forces are subservient to convective forces on the Sun. But, there’s never any attempt to prove that it is so. It is merely an assumption claimed by conventional theorists. They never mention that plasmas and electromagnetic forces can reproduce ALL of the features of the Sun without the need for inferring convection at all. Theorists infer convection on the Sun in order to satisfy the cosmological framework.

  171. Re: “So go see what they believe happens. [Except, of course, it doesn’t]. There are many theories about coronal heating. In fact, too many. There may be more than one mechanism. In general terms it works like this: The solar atmosphere is permeated by a magnetic field. The lower part of that field is rooted in the photosphere where violent motions [convection] move the field around, at times twisting and shearing the field. A twisted field has more energy in it than a quiet, regular, ‘straight’ field, and is notoriously unstable [as anymore trying to build a fusion machine will know] and explodes easily, heating the atmosphere.”

    Perhaps, but what causes the twisting? Is it okay if we talk about the behavior of laboratory plasmas?

    In the laboratory, plasmas conducting electrical current *naturally* form filaments. Furthermore, these filaments exhibit both long-range attraction and short-range repulsion with one another. In laboratory plasma physics, *this* is what causes the twisting morphology. Why does your explanation ignore that important fundamental observation of plasmas?

    Re: “That is one reason why the corona is hot. Another is that waves are generated by all that surface motion. As these waves travel upwards in the rapidly thinning corona, the wave steepens and eventually breaks into a ‘shock wave’ also heating the plasma [much like cracking of a whip].”

    By the way, waves have failed to explain the motions of spicules, so I’m not sure why we are still talking about them. See Zirker’s “Journey from the Center of the Sun” (pages 144 – 146).

    Re: “A third reason is that the magnetic field points in different directions and at the boundaries between differently directed magnetic fields, the fields can reconnect [as we have direct observed by spacecraft about the Earth].”

    But, your preferred theory is redundant of laboratory plasma physics principles which pertain to Birkeland Currents. Don Scott goes to great length to explain how these two inferences can be confused from the data. You are ignoring all of these arguments, and leaving the impression that there exists just one inference that deserves mention. It’s misleading.

    And by the way, you cannot “directly observe” a reconnection event. Reconnection is an *inference* for the observations. It is no more directly observable than magnetic field lines. You should take care to distinguish between observations and inferences.

    Re: “Such changes on the magnetic fields can create electric currents that also can heat the plasma. so, many ways to skin that cat, and possibly they are all active at the same time.”

    But, of course, what is specifically NOT allowed is to propose that electric currents are the underlying cause for the Sun’s magnetic fields. That would be so utterly ridiculous that we should *never* propose it as an inference for our observations of large-scale cosmic magnetic fields. If I am following along properly, the consensus that it is absurd essentially proves that it cannot be happening. After all, we would surely see the electron drift through the heliosphere if it was there … riiiiiiight?

    Re: “When solar physicists say they “don’t understand how the corona is heated” it general means that they can’t agree on which one of several possibilities is the most dominant [maybe there is single dominant one].”

    What’s fascinating is that the model has remained so flexible, and yet, simultaneously, so impervious to comparison with other competing models. If we are to believe advocates for the standard solar model, it is perhaps best described as “vaguely perfect”.

    (BTW, it sounds as though you’ve been reading your Tim Thompson. Don Scott replied to all of Thompson’s claims some years ago.)

  172. Re: “As I watch the Sun today, I see nothing that is out of the ordinary over the past several thousand years [as far as our data goes].”

    The anti-correlation between sunspots and neutrinos is a serious problem.

    The failure of the solar wind to appreciably decelerate even as it passes the Earth’s orbit remains unresolved, and a major problem.

    Keep in mind that there remain no discernible connections in the transition region of the Sun’s surface, where the plasma temperature transition from 50,000 to 500,000 Kelvin. Why is that? Is this not what one would expect to see if the corona’s heat was the result of an external power supply?

    Re: “In our limited lifespans things may look unique, but with a longer view, it seems to me to be just business as usual. Perhaps there is a new element, namely that we have never been able to observe as well as now, and that could lead to a better understanding, and even stronger predictive powers at some time in the future.”

    It’s clear to many people by now that the Standard Solar Model is not the only model which we can build. To presuppose that the competing plasma-based solar model cannot be made to perform better than the conventional model is not the behavior of an objective theorist. An honest theorist would want to build it and refine it before coming to any conclusion — or at least encourage others to do so …

    You seem intent on swaying people before the model is even codified. What’s the point of that?

  173. It’s a little past midnight, but it’s still not to late, to be objective.

    Science has seen many assumptions.

    Good Science follows the evidence where it leads.

    The evidence for the electric Sun is not in.

    I don’t know.

    But shouldn’t we look for the facts the best we can, and be open to the evidence,

    even if it disagrees with the assumed knowledge we think we know?

  174. So exactly how will the EPA ever get back any respectability when, after it’s endangerment finding, the Earth goes into an Ice Age.

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