NASA will try to explain the missing sunspots

This should be interesting. At least they aren’t putting Dikpati on the panel. The scene from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” where after the residents of Emerald City see strange writings in the sky and shout “the Wizard will explain it!” come to mind.

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_256_4500.jpg

The sun, right now Image SDO

MEDIA ADVISORY: M11-043

NASA RESCHEDULES TELECONFERENCE TO EXPLAIN MISSING SUNSPOTS

WASHINGTON — NASA has rescheduled a media teleconference for 2 p.m.
EST on Wednesday, March 2, to discuss the first computer model that
explains the recent period of decreased solar activity during the
sun’s 11-year cycle. The recent solar minimum, a period characterized
by a lower frequency of sunspots and solar storms, ended in 2008 and
was the deepest observed in almost 100 years.The teleconference panelists are:

– Richard Fisher, director, Heliophysics Division, Science Mission
Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
— Dibyendu Nandi, assistant professor, Indian Institute of Science
Education and Research, Kolkata, India
— Andres Munoz-Jaramillo, visiting research fellow,
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
— Delores Knipp, visiting scientist, University of Colorado at
Boulder

Supporting information for the briefing will be posted at:

http://www.nasa.gov/sunearth

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on the Web at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

===============================================

h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

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161 thoughts on “NASA will try to explain the missing sunspots

  1. Considering that their original SC24 predictions were for a peak at 2011-2012 at just over 170 count ….. What was the problem with the “original” NASA program and what has changed in the solar physics to (a) either change the physics (not likely!) or (b) change their understanding of the solar physics to indicate a better prediction program now?

    TO date, what is indicated is a simple continuous “re-re-replotting” of a curve that just fits the latest data. Which is not a prediction at all.

  2. The only words left to tell the world are:
    “The Earth is getting colder quickly because the sun is in Grand Minimum. We can prepare, unlike Dalton/Maunder times when there was no NASA computer models to warn us.”

  3. It would have been more accurate to call this NASA effort a “discussion”. “Explanation” implies you understand what is happening pretty well.
    The basic mechanisms are not well understood and we have nearly zero predictive capacity about what is driving the sun beyond the basic ~11 year cycles fusion and magnetism.

  4. great, another multi-million (billion) dollar computer that can only follow and predict trends……………….

  5. Surely human CO2 emissions must have some negative feed-back effect on the sun’s behavior! LOL

  6. carbon-based life form says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Am I mizzing something?

    _________________________________________________

    Yes, Anthony forgot to tell us about the latest issue in climate science.

    Alphabet disruption.

    There appear to be several well documented (model predicted even) cases of letters in words undergoing spontaneous mutation.

  7. In this corner ten computer models.

    In this corner ten monkeys.

    Which would produce more accurate predictions of solar activity?

  8. We have a troll about that is down dinging everyone and everything. Even a pure science announcement like this.

  9. Clearly the low activity is due to CO2. In the before time when earths outgoing radiation wasn’t blocked by CO2 more of it made it back to the sun which excited and perturbed the surface. Now, with humans belching out so much CO2 the sun is a nice calm place. NASA plans a mission there for 2024. /sarc

  10. Ironic this press conference comes when the sun has been at it’s most active in this cycle (over the last month or so).

  11. I listed to one of these conferences back in 2009. My guess is the scientists will acknowledge the lack of sunspots, but they will say this does not have much impact on the climate and the Sun will, any day now, roar back to life. They will say that 2010 was one of the warmest years ever recorded and thus, the lack of sunspots has virtually no impact. The large solar eruption last week is another sign the Sun will soon be back to normal.

    What is key, here, is that the press ask tough questions, and not let the scientists ‘blow them off’. I was actually proud of the press’s questions in 2009, hope they are as well prepared today.

  12. I have their answer. They are human. They built the models based on what they knew and the models are behaving exactly like the scientists programmed them to, however the Sun isn’t a controlled lab so the models are showing the overall lack of knowledge we humans have in how the Sun works. No surprise, no big deal. One learns and moves on, just don’t try and blame mankind for the Sun’s natural behavior as they have with the Earth’s climate. That’s the easy way out.

  13. I’ve discovered that it is okay to say things about how things might work (IE It’s the Sun wut done it) using the seat of your pants as your first try. But never forcing your butt to then read a book on the subject just makes you look like a butt-head.

  14. I always got the impression from previous NASA discussions on the topic of solar activity that, no matter what state of quiet the sun was in, “the activity could ramp up at any time, any time now!” (my paraphrasing), such as in the sun’s activity was low but within norms. As time went on, the normal range as seen by NASA seemed to be lower and lower as we’ve seen with the belated lower sunspot predictions. Again, all via my perceptions, filtered by reading columns here at WUWT first.

    If the NASA folks are now on board with a “The Sun has surprised us with the lower activity we just didn’t see coming” I’d be surprised. I think it’ll _still_ end up being something along the lines of “Yes, the solar activity is low, but it’s still within normal range because [some new model that explains how low activity can be explained as some normal activity with a fudge factor]

    In other words, I think the NASA view will still cling to the “normal” range for the explanation of the current solar changes. The Livingston/Penn observations might still pose some problems in the way of explaining things to the public.

    I believe NASA doesn’t want to use the phrase “we haven’t seen the sun do this before”
    Too open ended.

  15. mjb says –
    Now, with humans belching out so much CO2 the sun is a nice calm place. NASA plans a mission there for 2024.

    ——————————-
    They better make sure they go at night

    /joke

    EO

  16. While they are in an explaining mood, can they explain what happened to the AMSU daily global temperatures. Just when the curve drops down into scary cold temps (new records?) the satellite gives up. I’m fighting myself to resist concluding that someone pulled the plug on it. It would be nice to get an update on repairs. I’m champing at the bit for the Feb monthly figure. Anyone?

  17. Why isn’t Leif on this panel?

    Oh….now I see….its government. Its the “new” and “less improved” NASA.

    So they choose a guy from India that nobody has ever heard of but they won’t use one of the most qualified solar physicists in the world which is right on our own doorstep.

    Leif is simply too qualified and too politically incorrect for the “new” NASA.

    Got it.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  18. Note:

    The “S” in NASA does not stand for “Science”.

    Quote of the week candidate?

  19. Yesterday’s sunspot info from http://www.spaceweather.com

    Sunspot number: 72
    Updated 01 Mar 2011

    Spotless Days
    Current Stretch: 0 days
    2011 total: 1 day (2%)
    2010 total: 51 days (14%)
    2009 total: 260 days (71%)
    Since 2004: 820 days
    Typical Solar Min: 486 days
    Updated 01 Mar 2011

  20. Solar tour, Special rates for IPCC gore pachy holdren etc etc, lets have whip round to raise funds to send them there:-) get bransons new toy to take em.

  21. I think that one thing’s abundantly clear–the posters here should be the ones asking the NASA folks the questions, because the average reporter (probably even the above average reporter) just doesn’t have the science to ask all the right questions. Hopefully they’ll have done their homework, however, and we’ll get some candid observations in the discussion.

  22. Pamela Gray says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:19 am

    … But never forcing your butt to then read a book on the subject just makes you look like a butt-head.

    Priceless, Pamela… Priceless.

    Terry says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:22 am

    The only words left to tell the world are:
    “The Earth is getting colder quickly because the sun is in Grand Minimum. We can prepare, unlike Dalton/Maunder times when there was no NASA computer models to warn us.”

    I’m just trying to figure out how I can prepare my next summer’s garden knowing they’re in for a cold, difficult “summer”. Last summer was bad enough.

  23. Computer models can explain anything after the fact. It would be nice to see one figure things out before hand. Watson for example knows a lot about things that have happened, but just try and think up something on your own Watson and lets see how smart you are.

  24. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:07 am
    Wow! I’m surprised Leif! Comedy from you? I’ll bet your sitting there with a big smile on your face. And I do not mean that sarcastically. I can see the NASA spokesperson now after a looooong intro- “…. so our super computer clearly shows the it is the stochastic fluctuations in poloidal field source – – – or it was the meriodional circulation of rotten dilithium crystals preventing neutrino formation – – – in either case the computer says they are still there – we just can’t see them or – or detect them.”
    “So there is nothing to worry about…..”
    “CO2 will keep us warm…..”
    “Thank you very much.”
    “We will not be taking questions.”
    “In God we trust.”

  25. savethesharks says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:38 am (Edit)

    Why isn’t Leif on this panel?

    Oh….now I see….its government. Its the “new” and “less improved” NASA.

    So they choose a guy from India that nobody has ever heard of but they won’t use one of the most qualified solar physicists in the world which is right on our own doorstep.

    nothing wrong with a guy from India, or somebody from anywhere else for that matter – if he/she/they/it are honest and unbiased. But with NASA’s mission now politicized about “outreach to Muslims” as the primary task (or was that “climate change” as the primary task just at NASA-GISS?) Or was that Education as the primary task? Or was “climate change” merely the requirement for most of NASA’s funding under Obama’s recent “Stimulust Package” to NASA and his recent budgets?

    Do I have any reason (not to be) suspicious of “NASA” as an honest source of unbiased government-sponsored information about any aspect of climate or solar information affecting climate, when 1.3 trillion in new taxes are at stake?

  26. Tsk! They are not missing! They are simply on the “Dark Side”! sark off!

    Pink Floyd will soon be writing another hit album about it!

  27. MJB says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:54 am

    It’s not just the CO2! I have been watching a fascinating science prog by the BBC over the last few years. The bloke in it a Dr of something or other (must be a scientist then), but he has this time machine thingy called a TARDIS. It stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. I suspect it’s all that time travelling in & out of space that’s causing it all, mark my words! Well it’s as good as anything NASA will come up with ! What’s the betting they’ll do what they did last time when asked “what effect does this have on climate”, after they got all that data in from the Sun orbiting satellite, they just stared blankly & said “we’re not climate scientists!” :-))

  28. NASA has rescheduled a media teleconference for 2 p.m.
    EST on Wednesday, March 2, to discuss the first computer model that
    explains the recent period of decreased solar activity during the
    sun’s 11-year cycle.

    Does this mean the Predictive Flux-transport Dynamo Model is not going to be used, or will the Predictive Flux-transport Dynamo Model receive some improved conveyor belt adjustments to fit the observations and explain what they really mean?

  29. I am against the participation of Dr Leif explaining the disappearance of sunspots at NASA teleconference.

    Imagine, Leif with a pencil in hand correcting all errors.

    Thus there is no time for great comments in WUWT.

  30. Fellow Bloggers:

    Solar Science is settled! {Well except for those pesky fluctuations}.
    Why do they need a new model? Doesn’t the old one work? It appears to fail validation with real data. I know: “Let’s hide the decline” by altering past data.

    Solar Science is a broken as Climate Science. These are the same people that gave us the Solar Constant on a “Variable Star”.

    If you are interested, check out my new Solar Model on

    http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/208

    Thanks

  31. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:07 am (Edit)

    They might say something along these lines:

    http://www.physics.iisc.ernet.in/~bidya_karak/karak_goa.pdf

    Without a text (or voice description of the powerpoint slide show) their report is more difficult to understand – particularly with respect to any caveats or limits on their model – but the three slides showing the simulated sunspot cycles compared to actual cycles are impressive. In particular, I can’t tell whether they are recommending that a high circulation, low circulation, or a combination of the high and low circulation models reproduce past solar cycles the best.

    Those slides begin here “Modeling last 23 cycles using variable meridional circulation
    From High diffusivity Model (Chatterjee, Nandy & Choudhuri 2004)
    Karak 2010″

  32. Tom T said at 7:37 am
    Computer models can explain anything after the fact. … Watson for example knows a lot… Right Tom, except the “explain” part. Watson and every other mass of circuitry understand absolutely nothing. BIG difference between “knowing” something and “understanding” – and you (it) have to understand to explain. “Give” an instruction manual (program) to anyone/anything and you can exact a response – but that response is no more or lass than what the writer/programmer knows, not what the “programmed” person/computer understands. Little wonder that it (Watson) won – the not at all amazing thing was – it was capable of pushing the button faster. For all the hype, the programming was very error prone – – – or was it?
    Was some of that “stupidity” programmed-in to make it appear more – “human”?

  33. Dave Springer says: The solar system is passing through a cloud of Galaccutane.

    I though you said The solar system is passing through a cloud of Guacamole. ☺ Makes as much sense to me. ☺

  34. They could say something Pythonesque, along these lines:

    (of course they would substitute “sunspots” for “brontosaurus”)

  35. It will be interesting what we hear for MSFC, where many of the predictions originate. I believe it was there, post Challenger, were they decided that NASA stood for Never A Straight Answer.

  36. I always am grateful for the advancing front of science, in that it prepares us for likely eventualities, where the caveman only had the volcanoes to sacrifice victims and so to protect the future.

    The study of sunspots, and their historical relationship to long cold periods now has the world totally prepared for the likely event of a long cold period. The investment in all of those climate satellites and solar instrumentation has really paid off!

    This knowledge, like Joseph’s prophecy of 7 years’ famine in the Bible, has enabled us to save our corn and wheat and not squander these, to drill for oil and gas and replenish our stores, to build new nuclear reactors, and to store food in the granaries for the future bleak period.

    Thank you science! We are now prepared!

    [sarc/off]

  37. Why does the release say ‘the recent solar minimum …. ended in 2008’? Surely it started then. I thought it was cycle 23 that ended in 2008.
    Damn this is confusing.

  38. What they won’t say: “We changed stuff that we though we had gotten right earlier, until the new answer was close to what actually happened last year. Come back in 22 years to see how well this worked.”

  39. I think the missing sunspots are just out partying with the missing solar neutrinos…

    Oh, wait. They explained the neutrinos: they just turn into another kind of neutrino that evaporates before they can be detected. Whew. Glad we modeled that problem away.

    I suppose they could admit that we have a long way to go before we really understand solar physics.

  40. Scott Covert says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:38 am
    Note:

    The “S” in NASA does not stand for “Science”.

    Quote of the week candidate?

    I second this.

  41. Is there something different about this new first model that explains it, compared to the old first model that explained it?

  42. Vuk:

    No money in that! Can’t make a lucrative living off $5 calculators and graph paper!

    It is really sad, seriously. When a person of stature, like a public scientist, paid by the public in trust, says something to make the people prepare for what he predicts, but the opposite comes about, he has effectively betrayed that trust. He is a bogus watchman, worse than a clown. Especially if he knows he is lying and doing it for personal gain, and that people will die if they blindly follow his prognostications.

    Proverbs 14:25 says, “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.”

    In the Old Testament, we all know what was the fate of the false prophet.

  43. The unusual minimum of sunspot cycle 23 caused by meridional plasma flow variations
    Dibyendu Nandy, Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo & Petrus C. H. Martens
    Nature 471, 80–82 (03 March 2011) doi:10.1038/nature09786
    Received 23 April 2010 Accepted 05 January 2011 Published online 02 March 2011
    Direct observations over the past four centuries1 show that the number of sunspots observed on the Sun’s surface varies periodically, going through successive maxima and minima. Following sunspot cycle 23, the Sun went into a prolonged minimum characterized by a very weak polar magnetic field2, 3 and an unusually large number of days without sunspots4. Sunspots are strongly magnetized regions5 generated by a dynamo mechanism6 that recreates the solar polar field mediated through plasma flows7. Here we report results from kinematic dynamo simulations which demonstrate that a fast meridional flow in the first half of a cycle, followed by a slower flow in the second half, reproduces both characteristics of the minimum of sunspot cycle 23. Our model predicts that, in general, very deep minima are associated with weak polar fields. Sunspots govern the solar radiative energy8, 9 and radio flux, and, in conjunction with the polar field, modulate the solar wind, the heliospheric open flux and, consequently, the cosmic ray flux at Earth3, 10, 11.

  44. Why dont they get Eric Steig and co to simply infill the missing spots. They can then homogenize them to fit the required density and all will be back to normal.

  45. Leif Svalgaard says March 2, 2011 at 6:07 am – They might say something along these lines:

    Can a large fluctuation in meriodional circulation lead to a Maunder-like minimum? If we decrease the poloidal field to a very low value at the beginning of the Maunder minimum, then we can reproduce a Maunder-like grand minimum.

    Except don’t we already know from the 10Be record that the sun’s field in general was not at a “very low” level during the Maunder? Depends what’s meant by very low I guess:

    No mention of L & P. But either way, if the dynamo output decreased that much for that long, what caused it to eventually ramp up again? Far be it for me to start contemplating external demons on bicycles wielding cattle prods but then I’m left to consider internal fairies with pots of magic stochastic dust (one of whom is a bolshie union rep). I’ve not seen either genus at the bottom of my garden yet :-)

  46. Leif:
    You described the event well. What is the consequence for climate? What are the pragmatic implications? What can we expect for the next SS cycle? What do you think the SS maximum will be? A WAG will do. It is also known as an hypothesis.

    E.g., can we expect a weak polar field to increase cosmic rays, therefore increasing cloud cover and thereby reducing solar input for a net lowering of surface temps?

    Do the observations have utility, I am asking.

  47. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The unusual minimum of sunspot cycle 23 caused by meridional plasma flow variations (and quoting the study previously cited above.)

    “Here we report results from kinematic dynamo simulations which demonstrate that a fast meridional flow in the first half of a cycle, followed by a slower flow in the second half, reproduces both characteristics of the minimum of sunspot cycle 23. Our model predicts that, in general, very deep minima are associated with weak polar fields. “

    OK. Thank you for the input.

    So, to translate what I think they said, so you can judge if my summary and my understanding is correct:

    Their charts (in the ppt linked above) indicate that they used the these two polar solar circulation currents to model the sunspot behavior in the past 23 cycles. They got a very good correlation by tracking the same two polar currents (0.98+) and the start and finish of sunspot activities over the past Grand Minimums. (That is, sunspot trends at the start and finish of the GM’s, and at sunspot trends at the start and finish of normal 22 year solar cycles.) Now, they are finding the same characteristics that preceded past Grand Minimums in today’s end of Solar Cycle 23.

  48. NASA’s link to the streaming audio hasn’t appeared yet, despite promise. Five minutes late. Scottie’s freaking.
    ===============

  49. bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 10:35 am
    What is the consequence for climate?
    None that I can see.
    What are the pragmatic implications?
    Space-based capabilities will be affected. Solar storms also have consequences on the ground [power transmission, transformers, etc].
    What can we expect for the next SS cycle?
    Statistically, small cycles come in groups so on that basis the next [that is cycle 25 and we are currently in cycle 24] cycle would be expected to be small too. However, I have some reason to think that will not be the case. See below.
    What do you think the SS maximum will be?
    The F10.7 radio flux should be about 120. The ‘equivalent’ sunspot number would be about 72 [on the SIDC scale; on the NOAA scale 120]

    E.g., can we expect a weak polar field to increase cosmic ray, therefore increasing cloud cover and thereby reducing solar input for a net lowering of surface temps?
    The short answer is No.
    The cosmic ray intensity is mainly determined by the CMEs and corotating sector structure during solar maximum [decreased GCRs]. At minimum [when the polar fields are strongest] the cosmic ray intensity recovers to about the same value in every minimum [excepting the very lowest energy cosmic rays which don’t have much effect anyway].

    Now, during a solar cycle the magnetic flux from decaying sunspots are transported to the poles where the flux first reverses the old polar fields, and then thereafter builds up the new polar fields that determine the size of the next cycle. The polar fields at the north pole have already reversed sign and that gives the Sun a lot of time for building up the new flux, which may then become rather large, so my WAG for the next cycle [SC25] is a rather large cycle. At least as far as F10.7 is concerned. If L&P are correct, then visual sunspot number may be small, though. That combination of high [real] solar activity and hard to see sunspots might make for a lot of confusion and exploitation of pseudo-scientific nonsense. Is this WAG enough?

  50. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 11:40 am
    It seems that the theoreticians are slowly discovering the obvious namely that both polarities are moving towards the poles as shown in Figure 3 of

    http://www.leif.org/research/Polar%20Fields%20and%20Cycle%2024.pdf

    Munoz-Jaramillo, Figure 7.

    My general impression: Just the usual NASA hype, no real meat. No breakthrough, little understanding gained. Only real tidbit: the polar fields are important [but that we knew].

  51. He is saying that if you alternate a fast flow in the early half of the cycle, and slow meridional flow in the later half, you can produce a very deep minimum, with a large number of spotless days, in his model.

    First question points out that Dr. Hathaway says that there was a slow meridional flow in the first half of the cycle.

    He answers referring to his Nature paper. He compares the flow speed to that of cycle 23, and uses a deeper flow speed in his simulation. Roughly, although his accent is strong so see the paper.

  52. They improved the model, and are debating different points, including what is input in it and what is output.

    There are no predictions in this teleconference, except one woman said that “We are slowly creeping out of this minimum.” Perhaps the model is does not have a forward button to see what the sun will do next yet.

  53. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 11:32 am

    bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 10:35 am
    What is the consequence for climate?

    None that I can see.

    What are the pragmatic implications??

    Space-based capabilities will be affected. Solar storms also have consequences on the ground [power transmission, transformers, etc].

    Additional statements NASA made in this audio stream is that during this a solar minimum, there was a record increase in Cosmic Rays from space. She also said that when the sun is at maximum the atmosphere puffs up, and the day side is hotter; she then said that at minimum the atmosphere contracts and is much cooler. The collapsed atmosphere results in less atmospheric drag for satellites and more collisions with space junk.

  54. I agree with vukcevic

    NASA will make something up to explain the lack of sunspots. Perhaps “Climate Change”. I am sticking to my theory as a 1oth harmonic that will see the next two cycles below 90. The sun is having a rest for the next 30 years.

  55. Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 2, 2011 at 11:45 am
    He is saying that if you alternate a fast flow in the early half of the cycle, and slow meridional flow in the later half, you can produce a very deep minimum, with a large number of spotless days, in his model.
    First question points out that Dr. Hathaway says that there was a slow meridional flow in the first half of the cycle.

    Figure 9 of http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf shows the flow speed during SC23.

  56. Thanks, Leif. It is good that you have the courage to go on record with those statements. Speaks well of your character.

    I don’t know how well it speaks for your take on the implications of the new observations.

    I think I side with the scientists who interpret the low cycles, especially this very low and long one, and the position of the sun with regard to the mass of the solar system, to mean that we are in for a solar minimum that will affect us for the rest of my lifetime at least, with implications for a lower probability for a severe cool-down.

    I don’t know what the “tipping point” for glaciation is, but I don’t believe anyone knows that. I just know from geology that interglacial periods are short compared to glacial. Interglacials seem to average around the span of this Holocene.

    I hope it is a thousand years ahead until this happens, and not 20.

    We shall see.

  57. Leif says:
    “so my WAG for the next cycle [SC25] is a rather large cycle. At least as far as F10.7 is concerned. If L&P are correct, then visual sunspot number may be small, though.

    So, you are saying there is no correlation between traditional sunspot numbers and F10.7 radiation?

    Interesting—that means that F10.7 has no predictive value, since we did not have F10.7 data in the past, but we do have sunspot numbers (Wolf type values). Now I understand why you say that, as to climate effects, “there are none that I can see.”

    Inductive + deductive logic.

  58. Some comments by David Hathaway in response to the work described in Nandy, Muñoz-Jaramillo & Martens (2011), and Nandy’s response, and Hathaway’s response to the response, appear here:

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/spotless-sun-model/

    Hathaway agrees that a fast flow can cause weak magnetic fields and fewer sunspots. But his observations, published March 12, 2010 in Science, suggest that the meridional flow was slow in the first half of the last solar cycle, from about 1996 to 2000. Only after the solar maximum did the flow speed up.

    “That’s where there’s a problem,” Hathaway said. “We see one thing, they want the opposite to explain the observations.”

    Nandy and colleagues point out that the SOHO observations only see plasma moving at the surface of the sun, not in the deep interior where sunspots are born. The surface flows might not reflect what’s going on underneath, he says.

    “In an analogy that you might be able to relate to, one could ask, do ripples on the surface of the sea indicate how ocean currents determine the migration of aquatic animals deeper inside?” Nandy said.

    Hathaway argues that changes in the surface should be transmitted to the interior at the speed of sound, and should reach the creation zone in half an hour or less. The disagreement between theory and data means there must be a problem with the models, he says.

    “Since 1999, I was a huge champion of these models. They so nicely explained why the sunspot zones drift toward the equator at the speeds they do,” he said. “But I’m worried now. I’m really worried.”

  59. So the Indians have cracked the mystery of a spotless sun? Quite comical really and more NASA hype. In reality they still have no idea.

    The only bit they got right was this:

    At the same time, the heating action of UV rays normally provided by sunspots was absent, so Earth’s upper atmosphere began to cool and collapse.

    More research dollars are required in the EUV area instead of setting up kids models that prove nothing.

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/solar-cycle23.html

  60. Oh flip – all this solar inactivity and sicussion means I will have to do some background reading (again!) – isn’t TSI only supposed to vary by 0.1% or something???? :)

  61. bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Leif says:
    “so my WAG for the next cycle [SC25] is a rather large cycle. At least as far as F10.7 is concerned. If L&P are correct, then visual sunspot number may be small, though.

    So, you are saying there is no correlation between traditional sunspot numbers and F10.7 radiation?

    Leif has spoken in support of 10.7 correlating well with various sunspot counts, but that we should use 10.7 for modern era comparisons. Especially if the L&P effect continues to make sunspots fade which of course will foul up the correlation.

    It’s not clear to me you understand what Leif and I are referring to with L&P. See
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/18/suns-magnetics-remain-in-a-funk-sunspots-may-be-on-their-way-out/ . Note that just because sunspots are fading from view doesn’t mean the magnetic structures behind them disappear too, they just weakens somewhat.

  62. Marc:

    Not to worry. People think of these spots as two-dimensional plates floating around. Think of them as tornadoes.

    Just like a tornado connects the lower atmosphere with the ground, so do these magnetic vortexes. Depending on the speed of the wall cloud, we see the tornadoes as straight down to the ground, or stretched out and extruded in sinusoidal shapes.

    So sunspots may be liked to an interior region, moving at a different speed than the coronasphere. This lower region is spawned by a deeper region through some chaotic arrangement.

  63. Kev-in-Uk says:
    March 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Irradiance varies 0.2% peak to valley. However, that is during known history. Now satellites can measure irradiance above the atmosphere. UV, though, is a different matter. It can vary almost 10% peak to trough—again, recent history, so we really don’t know much about ancient history.

  64. This paper is the usual NASA nonsense. It doesn’t explain solar cycle memory or a few other things. There is a paper coming out this year that does, and it is based on the force that dare not speak its name.

  65. Instead of falling back on some unproven mystical “L&P Effect” it is better to look at the changing relationship between F10.7 flux and sunspots. February was a mixed month with spotless periods, strong activity (with strong magnetism) along with many speck groups. The stronger flare activity during Feb saw the F10.7 value rise higher in proportion to the sunspot number, which is the opposite of what we have witnessed during the last 12 months. The type of sunspot has a bearing on the flux/sunspot ratio, unipolar groups tend to have less flares along with lower flux and EUV output. The unipolar groups dominated from last June till Jan 2011, with Feb showing a big change. But we saw this last Feb and looking at the current solar face I see the beginnings of more unipolar groups?

  66. Ric Werme says:
    March 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I do understand. I am just saying that we are not able to associate past climate events with the new knowledge. We can only draw upon the sunspot observations 400 years in the past. It will take 50 years or more to try to draw a correlation with climate, using the new data.

    I think Layman’s is on the right track, for pragmatic reasons. Of course, it is “dumbing down” the data. But historically, we only have such data to look at. We will see if the Layman’s number holds in the next 20-30 years. More important than that, I would like to find out why there is a sunspot cycle. It looks to me that the center of mass of the sun due to pulls of the large planets has shown a compelling correlation with solar activity.

    If we had F10.7 values from the 1800s, for example, I would agree that the correlation, or lack thereof, would be more useful as a predictor than SSN.

  67. Leif, does the polarity of the sunspots affect anything? I have seen recently that some of the spots have reversed polarity on are neutral and this seems odd. Does it go with a weaker sun? Does anyone know?

  68. bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm
    I don’t know what the “tipping point” for glaciation is, but I don’t believe anyone knows that. I just know from geology that interglacial periods are short compared to glacial. Interglacials seem to average around the span of this Holocene.
    The slide into a glaciation is slow, if not to say ‘glacial’. It will take tens of thousands of years to get there.

    bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    So, you are saying there is no correlation between traditional sunspot numbers and F10.7 radiation?
    The correlation there was from 1947 until ca. 1996 is there no more. See: http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Microwaves-at-23-24-Minimum.pdf or http://www.leif.org/research/Eddy-Symp-Poster-1.pdf

    Interesting—that means that F10.7 has no predictive value, since we did not have F10.7 data in the past, but we do have sunspot numbers (Wolf type values).
    See the second link I just gave.

    vukcevic says:
    March 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    Perhaps NASA should show some interest my current project investigating a possible link between magnetic storms and acceleration of the earthquake occurrences.
    I don’t think they will waste any effort on that.

  69. bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    I think Layman’s is on the right track
    The Layman’s sunspot count is uncalibrated junk, and is built on a false premise [namely that Wolf observed during the Dalton Minimum].
    If we had F10.7 values from the 1800s, for example, I would agree that the correlation, or lack thereof, would be more useful as a predictor than SSN.
    F10.7 is a VERY good indicator for solar EUV. EUV creates and maintains the ionosphere and provides the ionization for the regular daily variation of the geomagnetic field, for which we have data back into the 18th century. So we know what F10.7 was back then.

    Rhyl Dearden says:
    March 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Leif, does the polarity of the sunspots affect anything? I have seen recently that some of the spots have reversed polarity on are neutral and this seems odd. Does it go with a weaker sun? Does anyone know?
    The polarity as such does not affect anything. Some 3% of all spots are ‘reversed’ regardless of solar activity.

  70. “””””Rhyl Dearden says:
    March 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Leif, does the polarity of the sunspots affect anything? I have seen recently that some of the spots have reversed polarity on are neutral and this seems odd. Does it go with a weaker sun? Does anyone know? “””””

    No idea; BUT so far as I know, the earth’s magnetic Polarity does NOT reverse every 11 or so years like sunspots do. So to my simple brain, the vector sum of the solar magnetic field, and the earth magnetic field, may not be the same from one 11 year sunspot cycle to the next. That might have some effect on charged particle flux arriving at earth. But as I said at the outset; I have no idea.

    Probably Dr Svalgaard would know.

  71. George E. Smith says:
    March 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    So to my simple brain, the vector sum of the solar magnetic field, and the earth magnetic field, may not be the same from one 11 year sunspot cycle to the next.
    As Einstein said “make it as simple as possible, not no simpler”. So, it is not as simple as the vector sum, but there is an effect of the change of the polar fields of the Sun. As explained in section 9 of http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf there is a ’22-yr cycle’ in geomagnetic activity in the sense that from polar field reversal [near solar max] in even-numbered cycles to the next polar field reversal [odd-numbered cycle] geomagnetic activity is on average about 20% higher than during the time from odd-numbered to even-numbered cycle. The cosmic ray intensity is also a few percent lower [by a completely different mechanism]. All this is reasonably well understood [in terms of basic physics], albeit by rather complex chains of logic.

  72. Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    EUV is a FAIRLY good indicator of F10.7 flux as this daily graph shows.
    On a daily basis, the indicator is fair. On a monthly basis, it is EXCELLENT.

  73. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    On a daily basis, the indicator is fair. On a monthly basis, it is EXCELLENT.

    The point is that EUV, F10.7 flux and sunspots do not all come from the same source. Yes they are a product of magnetism but are produced in different ways. In particular it does not make sense to compare F10.7 flux with sunspots looking for some kind of validation for a “junk theory”.

  74. Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm
    In particular it does not make sense to compare F10.7 flux with sunspots looking for some kind of validation for a “junk theory”.
    F10.7 has a component that is produced by the magnetic fields above sunspots and so is a VERY good indicator of that magnetic field from the spots. It is true that F10.7 is not a good indicator of whether that magnetic field results in a visible spot. In other words, the sunspot number is always not a good indicator of solar activity. But F10.7 is.

  75. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm
    In other words, the sunspot number is not always a good indicator of solar activity. But F10.7 is.
    Is how it should have been said.

  76. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Yikes, your evidence is tautologies. Layman’s is rubbish, and your evidence for that is a proxy for a proxy, but only over some periods. You define F10.7 flux as a good indicator of solar activity. Then you define solar activity in terms of 10.7 flux. Then you proxy it back to EUV and magnetism.

    You say it correlates well, but not before 1947 and after 1998? Huh? If it only correlates for some situations and not others, then it doesn’t correlate.

    Thanks for the papers. I had seen them before and got a lot of good information from them (it was hard, because they are aligned sideways, and I don’t have Adobe pro, but I turned my laptop sideways).

    But remember, this is a Climate Blog! I want to find out about what the climate was yesteryear, and what it will be the next 20 years or so.

    Your methods don’t seem to be trying to do that at all. Layman attempts to put our current situation in historical context. I applaud those efforts. Leif, you do good work, but you are applying a method that has no external validation possible, at least not this decade. Solar influence on climate, the how and whens, is what I need proven. People are getting enamored of nuances and instrumental methods too much, IMO, and not looking for the big picture.

    I believe the sun is the big Kahuna, and that it is a variable star. The earth has gotten cold and hot under the direct influence of Sol, and because of Sol’s variance.

  77. Dr S, thank you for figure 9. It does look like the meridional flow gets fastest at minimum, in that period, 1995 – 2010.

    Also thank you for the Birkeland paper on zodiacal light the other day. Zeke

  78. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    It is true that F10.7 is not a good indicator of whether that magnetic field results in a visible spot.

    Exactly, as flare activity, plage, and other sources also play their part. Trying to show a deviation of F10.7 flux from visible spots without taking in the other factors is more junk science. Time to forget about using F10.7 as evidence for the failed L&P theory. When looking at the magnetic strength and darkness during Feb there is no shortage.

  79. bubbagyro says:
    March 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm
    You say it correlates well, but not before 1947 and after 1998? Huh? If it only correlates for some situations and not others, then it doesn’t correlate.
    Measurements started in 1947. We assume that it correlated well before that [unless you go back several hundred years to the Maunder Minimum]. It still correlates well after 1996, but with a different [smaller] slope meaning that currently we see fewer sunspots for a given F10.7 flux than we saw before 1996. This can be due to
    1) a change in how F10.7 is measured. We have independent measurements of the micro wave flux from Japan, so we may exclude this possibility.
    2) a change in how sunspots are counted, in the sense that we now count too few; although there is some evidence that we undercount sunspots, the amount by which we seem to be undercounting is much too small to explain the discrepancy we see.
    3) a change in the Sun, in the sense that sunspots are less visible than before. There may be some support for this, known as the L&P effect, but regardless of what one thinks of L&P, the fact remains that fewer spots are seen for the same F10.7 flux.

    Thanks for the papers. I had seen them before and got a lot of good information from them (it was hard, because they are aligned sideways, and I don’t have Adobe pro, but I turned my laptop sideways).
    You can download the Adobe READER for free.

    I believe the sun is the big Kahuna, and that it is a variable star. The earth has gotten cold and hot under the direct influence of Sol, and because of Sol’s variance.
    People’s beliefs I cannot do anything about. I can only tell you what my own quest for these things over the past 40+ years have taught me.

  80. Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm
    Exactly, as flare activity, plage, and other sources also play their part. Trying to show a deviation of F10.7 flux from visible spots without taking in the other factors is more junk science.
    These other things are just sunspot related and play the same part. All the time from 1947 to ~1996 they related to F10.7 just like the spots. After that we simply see [and count] too few spots. This is an observed fact that is not up for debate.

  81. Leif Svalgaard says March 2, 2011 at 11:32 am

    The polar fields at the north pole have already reversed sign and that gives the Sun a lot of time for building up the new flux, which may then become rather large …

    How does that pan out in the past? I’m guessing we can’t go back far beyond 1976 or deduce much from proxies. Is there anything prior to the WSO data?

  82. Milwaukee Bob – do not make fun of dilithium crystals or you’ll get in tribble.

  83. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    All the time from 1947 to ~1996 they related to F10.7 just like the spots. After that we simply see [and count] too few spots. This is an observed fact that is not up for debate.

    I beg to differ. My graph shows considerable variation between the two data sets. What do you put down the higher sunspot count to F10.7 during SC20? A negative L&P effect perhaps?

    And if we go past 1996 the heavy flare activity during 2002 showing a large deviation
    between F10.7 and sunspots before aligning again later. Please do not show me your concocted version of the F10.7 record.

  84. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    EUV is a FAIRLY good indicator of F10.7 flux as this daily graph shows.
    ——————————————————–
    On a daily basis, the indicator is fair. On a monthly basis, it is EXCELLENT.

    Even on a monthly basis the match is NOT excellent. An example of this is the base levels reached during solar minima. Your own studies suggest the F10.7 flux has a relatively flat baseline at solar minimum. Recorded EUV values show a large variance between solar minima. A presentation by Tom Woods shows F10.7 flux varied by 3.8% when comparing the last 2 minima while EUV varied 15%, I have seen other reports suggesting a higher variance (28%) along with the SC21/22 minimum being higher again. This report also highlights the differences in origin between F10.7 and EUV. The EUV results are backed up by the lowest ever recording of the ionosphere.

    There is much to be learned from EUV.

  85. > Additional statements NASA made in this audio stream is that during this
    > a solar minimum, there was a record increase in Cosmic Rays from space.
    > She also said that when the sun is at maximum the atmosphere puffs up,
    > and the day side is hotter; she then said that at minimum the atmosphere
    > contracts and is much cooler.

    And if the minimum is a few decades long (e.g. Maunder or Dalton) that implies…

    NASA said WHAT?!?!

  86. RockyRoad says:
    I’m just trying to figure out how I can prepare my next summer’s garden knowing they’re in for a cold, difficult “summer”. Last summer was bad enough.

    Well, I suggest learning more about “cool season plants”. Things from the cruciferous family. Cabbages, kale, brussels sprouts, mustards, turnips, radishes etc. Also more potatoes are a good idea.

    Plant fewer things needing a lot of heat ( tomatoes that won’t set fruit under 50 F at night… plant “Siberia” or “Siberian” instead, they set fruit at lower temps) and use shorter season varieties when you do ( i.e. 50-55 day corn instead of the 90 day types) as the season is likely to start late and end early.

    Also look to those vegetables, like peas and green onions, that are more cool tolerant along with things like Fava beans. If you want “green beans” plant “purple pod” types as they will germinate in colder wetter soils. Root crops, like parsnips and carrots, also do well in cooler times, as does lettuce and celery.

    Basically, take your Sunset Garden Book and look up one or two “zones” colder than where you are now, then make your planting calendar based on that one. I’m making extra “starts” and expect to set them out at my usual time, and perhaps again a week or two later if there is a “late frost”.

    For me, for example, I’m doing kale and spinach with radishes and peas this spring when normally I’d be doing more green beans and squash. What squash I am starting is an “8 Ball” or Rond du Nice that matures in 45 days. I’m ditching the lima beans (as they take a long time and want warm) and going with one cold tolerant tomato instead of a ‘few’ that are are marginal for my location. I’m also doing some beets and chard that are more on the cool tolerant side. I’m also expecting more broccoli and I’m looking at some “Chinese Choy” and Napa Cabbage type vegetables that are supposed to be more cold tolerant.

    The “wild card” is going to be rain. You may get a lot more, or a lot less, IMHO. It will depend on where you are. I’d look to the weather history for your location about 1800 as a guide. Most of Europe I’d expect to get more cold / wet, while North Africa I’d expect to be drier ( it looks to me like there is a 1440 year drought cycle in North Africa with a 720 or so 1/2 cycle of mini-events:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/intermediate-period-half-bond-events/

    and to the extent that is right, you can use that cycle as a guide).

    Places like tropical South America are likely to continue the drenching rains. Basically, the rain bands have moved a bit. In North America we will continue the Rosby Wave “loopy jet stream” with alternating cold/wet and sunny/dry depending on what side of the ‘loop front’ you are on in any given day, so expect variation.

    At any rate, that’s what I’m doing…

  87. @vukcevic:

    I was meaning more that “rain will vary with your location more than with any global change” but it looks like I said it badly. So, for example, Sera ( I think in “tips”) cites an article about Chile curbing energy use due to drought while Colombia is getting floods.

    To the extent there is a SSN / Rain correlation, I suspect it will be that kind of ‘rain shift’ where one area gets more and another less. We saw this in The Little Ice Age where Europe got a much increased level of cold rain, but other places got somewhat dryer. Similarly, in about 2200 BC, Egypt had a massive drought during Bond Event 3 that was a cold period event. So if those two bits have similar causes (cold periods due to ???) then the conclusion would be that cold causes Europe to get more rain and North Africa less. I.e. the rain band moves. Somewhat speculative (in that I’ve not done all the homework to prove it) but you get the idea.

    Per the posting: Well, you did all the work, I just figured it was useful for long range prediction of a quality suitable for trading decisions… Any time you can get R-squared of 0.9 or better in any trade indicator it has a name. “Golden”…

  88. Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm
    What do you put down the higher sunspot count to F10.7 during SC20? A negative L&P effect perhaps?
    And if we go past 1996 the heavy flare activity during 2002 showing a large deviation
    between F10.7 and sunspots before aligning again later. Please do not show me your concocted version of the F10.7 record.

    Neither SC20 nor 2002 were any different in that respect:

    Geoff Sharp says:
    March 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm
    A presentation by Tom Woods shows F10.7 flux varied by 3.8% when comparing the last 2 minima while EUV varied 15%
    Woods questions the calibration of the part of the EUV flux he observed.

    The EUV results are backed up by the lowest ever recording of the ionosphere.
    The density of the ionosphere is not the same as the conductivity [which is what is the important issue] and the Joule heating by electrical currents play a role as well.

    vukcevic says:
    March 3, 2011 at 1:14 am
    but they are unwilling to consider all alternatives.
    You misunderstand how experts work. They are not ‘unwilling’. They do consider alternatives and weed out the nonsense.

  89. Tenuc says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:37 am
    Thanks Rob/Leif, I didn’t realise the polar field had stayed that low.
    What happens if it continues at low level for the next couple of decades?

    The polar fields were low over the past minimum signalling a low solar cycle 24 [as we are now having]. Then near solar max, the polar fields disappear [this is happening now] and thereafter they rebuild, ready for the next cycle. The reversal of the polar fields in the North has already started. This may mean [but is a wild guess only] that they will have time to build to be stronger than they were last minimum. If so, solar cycle 25 will be larger than SC24. We shall see.

  90. E.M.Smith says: March 3, 2011 at 4:20 am
    ………………………..
    Mr. Smith
    You were absolutely correct. Rain patterns are more regional than global phenomena.
    I took another look at the Oxfordshire records, and an unusual 40+ year pattern emerged. Most interesting bit about it that the periods 1920 -1960 and 1960-2000 match very closely (Rsq = 0.73). There is no correlation with the CETs or the AMO. Very odd ?!
    Have to think about that one.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ORR.htm (see graphs 2 & 3)

  91. On Nature’s website
    David Hathaway said:
    This theoretical model is diametrically opposed to the observations of Hathaway & Rightmire (2010) Science, 327, 1350. Our observations represent the most accurate and complete measurements of the meridional flow over solar cycle 23 and indicate that the flow was slow at the start of the cycle and fast at the end; the opposite of what this theoretical model requires. The authors’ comments on our observations can be found only in the supplemental information; hidden from view for most readers. They suggest that the variations we measure are irrelevant because they only represent the near surface layers. Yet, their entire meridional circulation system is built on the flow observed in these very same layers. If they want to match the speed of the flow at the base of the convection zone to the equatorward drift of the sunspot latitude zones by using the surface layer flow speed then they should agree that the variations in the surface flow speed represent the variations in the deeper layers as well. Unfortunately for their model, to accept this means their model is in conflict with the observations.

  92. Reuters article at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/02/us-sunspots-idUSTRE72187420110302 says:

    (Reuters) – A trio of top solar scientists said on Wednesday they had solved the mystery behind the disappearance of sunspots, a phenomenon that has stumped astrophysicists worldwide for more than two centuries.

    The research, which will be published on Thursday in the journal Nature, shows that unusually weak magnetic fields on the sun paired with reduced solar activity cause sunspots to disappear.

    DUH.

    Sorry, but that is like saying, “We’ve noticed that when the electricity is off, there are no magnetic fields around the wires.”

    This is one of those cases of scientists stating something that is beyond patently obvious, but getting credit for saying it, anyway. Like saying, “When dogs bite, it is when their jaw closes and their teeth come together.”

    Oy yoy yoy. . . . Aye carumba!

  93. Walter Dnes says:
    March 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm
    > Additional statements NASA made in this audio stream is that during this
    > a solar minimum, there was a record increase in Cosmic Rays from space.
    > She also said that when the sun is at maximum the atmosphere puffs up,
    > and the day side is hotter; she then said that at minimum the atmosphere
    > contracts and is much cooler.

    And if the minimum is a few decades long (e.g. Maunder or Dalton) that implies…

    NASA said WHAT?!?!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That was the language that the NASA scientist used during the conference wrt the atmosphere expanding and contracting with solar max and min. There was also a visual as she said this, but the link was not provided.

    Plainly the atmosphere is absorbing a great deal more energy at solar max and responding by “puffing up” (thier language). Lest we get a lecture from Dr S, the atmosphere is extremely thin at those altitudes, so the “heat” in these parts of the atmosphere is not going to effect the temps of the atmosphere here below. However, I would like to say that another interpretation of the energy that is building in the upper atmosphere is electrical. That tenuous area is ionized and is building an electrical charge that is greater at solar max.

    Why should you take that interpretation seriously, rather than assume that NASA is correct, and that themal energy explains all of the expansion and contraction? There is a series of pathways that electrical energy is taking in the earth’s atmosphere, and if you have not been familiarized with the Van Allen belts before, these are two belts rotating around earth, the inner belt positive ions and the outer, electrons. These store electrical energy, and so does the earth’s highly ionozed upper atmosphere. Lightning and other weather events are entirely possibly discharge breakdowns in the circuit between earth and the energy build-ups in the upper atmosphere.

  94. Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 3, 2011 at 11:01 am
    if you have not been familiarized with the Van Allen belts before, these are two belts rotating around earth, the inner belt positive ions and the outer, electrons. These store electrical energy, and so does the earth’s highly ionozed upper atmosphere. Lightning and other weather events are entirely possibly discharge breakdowns in the circuit between earth and the energy build-ups in the upper atmosphere.
    Not quite correct. There is no ‘electrical energy’ involved. The charges are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field and drift around the Earth [plus bounce back and forth between the two poles]. The ionosphere contains both positive and negative charges and is also not a store of ‘electrical energy’. The expansion/deflation of the thermosphere is thermal, with heat supplied by EUV absorption and from Joule-heating by electrical currents. In any event the density is so low [millions to trillions of times lower than at the surface] that the amount of energy involved is very small. Lightning is not a breakdown of any circuit between the ground and the ionosphere. You gotta get all these little details right.

  95. Zeke the Sneak says: March 3, 2011 at 11:01 am
    ………………
    I think the idea of the atmosphere “puffing up” on the account of solar activity alone is overdone.
    Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.
    For the rest see:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/IonSph.htm

  96. vukcevic says:
    March 3, 2011 at 11:27 am
    Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.

    Gravity retains the particles. Don’t pontificate on things you do not understand.

  97. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 2, 2011 at 11:32 am
    ..Now, during a solar cycle the magnetic flux from decaying sunspots are transported to the poles where the flux first reverses the old polar fields, and then thereafter builds up the new polar fields that determine the size of the next cycle. The polar fields at the north pole have already reversed sign and that gives the Sun a lot of time for building up the new flux, which may then become rather large, so my WAG for the next cycle [SC25] is a rather large cycle. At least as far as F10.7 is concerned. If L&P are correct, then visual sunspot number may be small, though. That combination of high [real] solar activity and hard to see sunspots..
    Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 9:37 am
    Tenuc says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:37 am
    Thanks Rob/Leif, I didn’t realise the polar field had stayed that low.
    What happens if it continues at low level for the next couple of decades?

    The polar fields were low over the past minimum signalling a low solar cycle 24 [as we are now having]. Then near solar max, the polar fields disappear [this is happening now] and thereafter they rebuild, ready for the next cycle. The reversal of the polar fields in the North has already started. This may mean [but is a wild guess only] that they will have time to build to be stronger than they were last minimum. If so, solar cycle 25 will be larger than SC24. We shall see..
    ~
    With all this chatter about solar reversal ensuing..reminded me of the last (anomalous) solar polar reversal. That one year delay must be that build up time? Then the polar fields never really developed and Ol Sol been using the source surface fields.
    Oh but northern hemisphere again on its way ..is there a reverse meridional flow in the northern hemisphere of the sun now.. signalling some source surface field harmonic location of its Interstellar magnetic reconnection regimee..?
    Good article, on topic.

    DIAGNOSTICS OF POLAR FIELD REVERSAL IN SOLAR CYCLE 23 USING A FLUX
    TRANSPORT DYNAMO MODEL
    Mausumi Dikpati, Giuliana de Toma, and Peter A. Gilman Charles N. Arge Oran R. White
    ..In this first study we focus on understanding anomalies occurring in the polar field evolutionary pattern in cycle
    23, namely, why the polar reversal in cycle 23 was slow, why after reversal the buildup of the polar field was
    slow, and why the south pole reversed approximately a year after the north pole did..
    ..We show that a 10%–20% weakening in photospheric magnetic flux in cycle 23 with respect to that in
    cycle 22 is the primary reason for a 1 yr slowdown in polar reversal in cycle 23. Weakening in this flux is also
    the reason for slow buildup of polar field after reversal, whereas the observed north-south asymmetry in
    meridional circulation in the form of a larger decrease in flow speed in the northern hemisphere than that in the
    southern hemisphere during 1996–2002 and the appearance of a reverse, high-latitude flow cell in the northern
    hemisphere during 1998–2001 caused the north polar field to reverse before the south polar field..

    http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/601/2/1136/pdf/0004-637X_601_2_1136.pdf

  98. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    Gravity retains the particles. Don’t pontificate on things you do not understand.

    So charged particles are held by the gravity in the Van Allen belts ; it must be very reassuring for those who believe that radiation could be a danger, in case the Earth’s magnetic field looses most of its strength in an eventual magnetic pole reversal ?!

  99. vukcevic says:
    March 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    “”Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.””
    Gravity retains the particles. Don’t pontificate on things you do not understand.”
    So charged particles are held by the gravity in the Van Allen belts

    The Van Allen belts are not the ionosphere. So, as I said, don’t pontificate on things you do not understand.

  100. vukcevic says:
    March 3, 2011 at 3:03 am

    If you live near a city with 100+ yrs. of rainfall data, you can use David Archibalds method of plotting total inches of rainfall vs solar cycle length. Like this:

    It does sort, and it shows my locale with greater precip. when the solar cycles are longer.

  101. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Not quite correct. There is no ‘electrical energy’ involved. The charges are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field and drift around the Earth [plus bounce back and forth between the two poles].

    Which gives us an opportunity to discuss our mutually admired scientist Birkeland once again, and his Terrella experiments. Here is an image of these “trapped charges in earth’s magnetic field” and how they “bounce back and forth between the two poles.”

    Birkeland used a magnetized sphere in a near vacuum in his experiments, and by directing electrical discharges at the sphere he produced analogs of sunspots, auroras, and planetary belts.

    Now anyone can decide if there is electrical energy involved.

  102. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Lightning is not a breakdown of any circuit between the ground and the ionosphere.

    There is observational evidence that there is a path from the ionosphere to the earth’s crust, and you are aware of that. Sprites and jets are diffuse electrical discharges occuring high above lightning storms:

    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&gbv=2&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=sprites+lightning&aq=0&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=sprites%2C+

    “Where is that electric current going to or coming from?” would be the question.

  103. Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm
    Now anyone can decide if there is electrical energy involved.
    Shooting charged particles at a target is not “electrical energy”

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm
    “Where is that electric current going to or coming from?” would be the question.
    From below generated by the thunderstorm

  104. Leif,

    Regarding the ~11 year frequency of the solar magnetic pole reversals, what is your view of any theories that explain the cause of the processes leading to magnetic reversals? Are there theories saying the reversals have a cause only the convective zone? Are there any theories saying the cause originates below the convection zone of the sun in the adjacent radiative zone? Are there any theories that the cause originates even further toward the center of the sun in the core?

    John

  105. Perhaps the static charge from ice crystals in thunderclouds radiate these powerful discharges high above the clouds into space, and down to earth in rapid successions of lightning bolts.

    or, alternatively, the “lightning completes a much larger circuit extending into interplanetary space”
    (The Electric Universe pg 48).

  106. John Whitman says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm
    Regarding the ~11 year frequency of the solar magnetic pole reversals, what is your view of any theories that explain the cause of the processes leading to magnetic reversals?
    The reversal is not a theoretical construct but is simply an observational fact and the process can be readily observed. You can see it in action here: http://obs.astro.ucla.edu/images/smag.jpg
    The magnetic flux from sunspots is virtually indestructible and as the spots decay simply spreads out into the surrounding photosphere. The meridional circulation carries the flux to the poles where is simply cancels out the old flux there, and then builds up the new [opposite polarity] flux. As the sunspots change polarity in an 11-yr cycle so do the polar fields [after the – several year – delay it takes them to get to the poles from the sunspot latitudes].

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm
    Perhaps the static charge from ice crystals in thunderclouds radiate these powerful discharges high above the clouds into space, and down to earth in rapid successions of lightning bolts.
    As I said it all comes from the thunderstorms

    or, alternatively, the “lightning completes a much larger circuit extending into interplanetary space” (The Electric Universe pg 48).
    A circuit requires an electromotive force to drive the current and there is no such emf for what you describe.

  107. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    John Whitman says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Regarding the ~11 year frequency of the solar magnetic pole reversals, what is your view of any theories that explain the cause of the processes leading to magnetic reversals?

    The reversal is not a theoretical construct but is simply an observational fact and the process can be readily observed. You can see it in action here: http://obs.astro.ucla.edu/images/smag.jpg
    The magnetic flux from sunspots is virtually indestructible and as the spots decay simply spreads out into the surrounding photosphere. The meridional circulation carries the flux to the poles where is simply cancels out the old flux there, and then builds up the new [opposite polarity] flux. As the sunspots change polarity in an 11-yr cycle so do the polar fields [after the – several year – delay it takes them to get to the poles from the sunspot latitudes].

    – – – – –

    Leif,

    Thanks of your timely reply.

    I was hoping to get some thoughts from you or references regarding any hypotheses and/or theories that may address something occurring within the sun’s core or radiative zone that could drive the creation of the 11 yr cyclic behavior and the reversal of sunspots magnetic (N-S) orientation within the cycle? Is there any literature on what could be happening beneath the convective zone that could drive the 11 yr solar cycles?

    John

  108. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    It would be very interesting to know what the reasons/theories are behind how the polar fields can vary in strength from cycle to cycle.

  109. Leif Svalgaard says: March 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm
    ……….
    So for properties of both ionosphere and Van Allen belts are due to gravity and not of the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field ?
    Well that’s a new one. No surprise that solar scientists can’t agree on anything.
    I did not say they are the same, otherwise why have two names, but then it’s your way of reasoning, which I find rather amusing.

  110. rbateman says: March 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm
    …………..
    Mr. Bateman
    Thanks for the tip, it is worth a try, I am a bit surprised what came out when I looked a bit further in, the 1870 – 1910 period’s winter temperature resembles strongly to the rainfall of 40 and 80 years later, (solid blue line) see graph 4 in:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ORR.htm

  111. rbateman says:
    March 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm
    Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    It would be very interesting to know what the reasons/theories are behind how the polar fields can vary in strength from cycle to cycle.
    ~
    hahahahhahah Most excellent question thar Mr. Bateman..and a happy Friday to you and yar sweet..
    Maybe Ol Sol has a Northern Hemispheric preference in this Interstellar Locale.
    Sol’s changing orbit within a changing interstellar magnetic force and changing interstellar density pressure has caused this northern hemispheric preference. You can see the angle by noting spot locations. Which case the whole unexplained shift in neutral atom data at 1AU means that the gravitational focusing “piston” was changing angle. Which changes the dates the Earth passes through flows from the nose (heliosphere’s apex direction) and flows on the downwind exhaust side of the heliosphere.
    Those inner planets Merc. Ven. Earth as seen on the 10AU java scrip movie here, http://gse.gi.alaska.edu/recent/javascript_movie.html we are going to find to be more involved in the solar reconnection to interstellar space.
    The interstellar neuts that penetrate to 1AU via gravitational focusing piston are continuously being swept up in the Parker spiral. Much different effect out there at the Jupe and Sat distances. Still carrying a pretty good punch though. Oh know my cranky cut stuck in auto again..

  112. John Whitman says:
    March 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm
    I was hoping to get some thoughts from you or references regarding any hypotheses and/or theories that may address something occurring within the sun’s core or radiative zone that could drive the creation of the 11 yr cyclic behavior and the reversal of sunspots magnetic (N-S) orientation within the cycle?
    As far as we know there is nothing in the core or the radiative interior that drives the cycles.
    It would be very interesting to know what the reasons/theories are behind how the polar fields can vary in strength from cycle to cycle.
    The polar fields are the result of a ‘random walk’ of magnetic elements from the sunspot zones to the poles. As such there are enough random fluctuations to make the strength vary. About five to seven ‘surges’ of flux makes it to the poles [only about 1/1000 of the total flux]. You can see them here: http://obs.astro.ucla.edu/images/smag.jpg as the red [or blue] ‘tongues’ Since the number of surges is so small it could be five or seven or four or some other small number, just as when you flip a coin it doesn’t come up exactly 50% heads.

    vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 12:17 am
    So for properties of both ionosphere and Van Allen belts are due to gravity and not of the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field ?
    You are confusing the ionosphere whose volume is controlled by the balance between temperature and gravity with the Van Allen belts which are not part of the ionosphere.
    which I find rather amusing.
    You should rather be embarrassed.

  113. Leif Svalgaard says: March 4, 2011 at 5:20 am
    ………..
    There you go again.
    I am not confusing anything, you are just trying to ‘plant’ a ‘view’ with aim to discredit, don’t forget I grew up and was educated in a communist country.
    I wrote about ionosphere before http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC20.htm
    and happen to know the difference.
    This http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/content/154188main_plasma_bands_lgweb.jpg
    is not product of the gravitational equator but the geomagnetic equator, and it is not in the Van Allen belt but it is occurring high in the electrically-charged upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere. Perhaps you could try something else.

  114. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 6:08 am
    is not product of the gravitational equator but the geomagnetic equator, and it is not in the Van Allen belt but it is occurring high in the electrically-charged upper atmosphere, known as the ionosphere. Perhaps you could try something else.
    That does not change the fact that what holds the ionosphere [and the atmosphere, generally] close to earth is simple gravity. Again, do not pontificate on things you do not understand.

  115. What I said:
    Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.

    Solar wind provides (and or ionises) particles, the Earth’s magnetic retains the particles in the upper atmosphere for longer than it would be case if the magnetic field was not present.

    And that is correct. Charged particles in the equatorial electrojet are retained due to the Earth’s magnetic field, not gravitation!
    You are making a big meal out of it in order to embarrass, but failed.
    Now then, what about this: [only about 1/1000 of the total flux]
    I say, a very successful build up of so well ordered polar fields (despite all problems of physical measurements) from one cycle to another

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm

    with such a small chance of 1/1000 of success. Looks as that idea (1/1000 ) may have to go to the shredder machine soon.
    Dosvidaniya comrade

  116. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 8:10 am
    Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.
    Solar wind provides (and or ionises) particles, the Earth’s magnetic retains the particles in the upper atmosphere for longer than it would be case if the magnetic field was not present.

    And this is what is incorrect. The ionosphere is not created by the solar wind but by solar UV and almost disappears at night. The Earth’s magnetic field has nothing to do with this and is not ‘retaining’ the ionosphere, gravity does that.

    You are making a big meal out of it in order to embarrass, but failed.
    You are doing a good job on your own in the embarrassment department.
    Don’t pontificate on things you do not understand.

    Now then, what about this: [only about 1/1000 of the total flux]
    I say, a very successful build up of so well ordered polar fields (despite all problems of physical measurements) from one cycle to another […] with such a small chance of 1/1000 of success.

    Again, do not pontificate on things you do not understand. Direct measurements of the fluxes show the polar flux to be about 1/200 of the sunspot flux, but there are a lot of unresolved small elements in the active regions, so the 1/1000 is probably closer to the truth. Whatever the number is, it is very small in terms of ‘success’, to use your phrase. Another way of putting it: of the thousands of spots in a solar cycle, the flux from only a handful makes it to the poles.

  117. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 8:10 am
    Now then, what about this: [only about 1/1000 of the total flux]
    In Clare Parnell’s recent paper http://www-solar.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/~clare/Publications/TP_SolPhys2011.pdf you’ll find [line 54]
    “Active regions involve large-scale magnetic features such as sunspots and plage regions and have fluxes of a few times 10^22 Mx (Maxwell)” and [line 915]: “Overall though, more than 10^29 Mx are emerged in regions with fluxes greater-equal to 10^16 Mx over a solar cycle”

    We measured the polar field to be 3*10^22 Mx [3*10^14 Wb], comparable to an active region. So a very small part of the whole. Part of the problem of making a flux budget is to know the lifetime of the flux, to avoid counting the same flux more than once, but it is clear that the polar fields are small fry.

  118. “And this is what is incorrect. The ionosphere is not created by the solar wind but by solar UV and almost disappears at night.”

    I’ve been an amateur extra for many years and hadn’t really thought about this, though I used it almost every day to keep in touch. Sunrise and sunset being ideal times for long range 20 meter HF communications.

    I had always assumed that the ionosphere was locally created each day as the atmosphere rotated with the earth and was carried into the sunlight, as we are taught in the books.

    However, there may be the possibility that the effect is due to the earth turning into the solar wind each day, and it is the magnetic properties of the solar wind that deflect earth based RF communications.

    It certainly is an amazing effect. A radio transmitter with 100 watts power (and often much less). About the same power as a household light bulb, can be detected easily over distances of thousands of miles, because the atmosphere acts sort of like a huge curved mirror, focusing the transmissions back to earth. Sort of like going to a science museum and having your voice carried over long distances using parabolic reflectors.

    By choosing the right frequency and time of day, depending on the solar cycle activity, you can fine tune the communications to your station of interest. Low solar activity generally means you must use lower frequencies. High solar activity and higher frequencies like CB (27mh) can go to the other side of the world on just a few watts.

    Whether the effect is created daily through ionization due to UV, or the earth simply turns into the dome shaped solar wind, I think this is an interesting alternative explanation.

    Maybe the science isn’t as settled as we think it is?

  119. ferd berple says:
    March 4, 2011 at 9:42 am
    I had always assumed that the ionosphere was locally created each day as the atmosphere rotated with the earth and was carried into the sunlight, as we are taught in the books.
    And you are basically correct. Although the F-layer(s) stick around [with reduced ionization] during the night. The solar wind does inject some additional energy in the polar regions, but that is not what maintains the ionosphere.

    Maybe the science isn’t as settled as we think it is?
    When it comes to the ionosphere it is pretty much well-understood.

  120. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 4, 2011 at 9:03 am
    The ionosphere is not created by the solar wind

    You are distorting again, as usual. I never said it was created by solar wind
    I said:
    “Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons”
    So try to keep it truthful.

    Further more I went by what you teach at Stanford:
    “Ionosphere- It’s structure is strongly influenced by the solar wind, which is in
    turn governed by the level of Solar activity. It is continually blasted by particles and
    energy from the Sun.”

    http://solar-center.stanford.edu/SID/StudentWork/SophieMurray.pdf

    or many American universities: you can google the phrase:
    “The structure of the ionosphere is strongly influenced by the charged particle wind from the Sun (solar wind), which is in turn governed by the level of Solar activity”.

  121. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 11:11 am
    You are distorting again, as usual. I never said it was created by solar wind
    You said:
    vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 8:10 am
    “Volume of the ionosphere depends on:
    1. Intensity of solar activity – ions, protons and electrons
    2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.”

    The ions, protons and electrons are the solar wind. And the volume of the ionosphere does not depend on the solar wind, but on solar extreme and far ultraviolet, educate yourself a bit here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere

    “The structure of the ionosphere is strongly influenced by the charged particle wind from the Sun (solar wind), which is in turn governed by the level of Solar activity”.
    while not untrue is misleading as the solar particle perturbations [PCA and strong geomagnetic storms] are short lived and rare.

    “2. Intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field – retaining the above particles.”
    is blatantly false [and that was the main point]. Gravity holds the atmosphere in place. Remove the Earth’s gravity and it would be as airless as the Moon. Near the geomagnetic equator the so-called Fountain effect results from the ionosphere [created by UV] moving across horizontal magnetic field lines generating a Lorentz force that pushes some of the ions generated in the E-layer up into the F-layer. The magnetic field effectively trying to expel – rather than retain – the ions. Luckily gravity ensures that the ionosphere does not disappear into outer space.
    So, don’t pontificate on things you do not understand. And as they say: ‘when in a hole, stop digging’.
    BTW, remove Earth’s gravity and the Van Allen belts would still be there.

  122. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 11:11 am
    Further more I went by what you teach at Stanford:

    http://solar-center.stanford.edu/SID/StudentWork/SophieMurray.pdf

    If you had cared to read [and understand] the whole text, you would have learned:
    “1.2.1 The Ionosphere
    Solar radiation strikes the atmosphere with a power density of 1370 W/m2
    This intense level of radiation is spread over a broad spectrum ranging from radio frequencies to IR, and visible light to X-rays. Solar radiation at UV and shorter is considered to be ionising. This is because photons of energy at these particular frequencies are able to dislodge an electron from a neutral gas atom or molecule during a collision. So the solar radiation is incident on the gas atom, and part of this radiation is absorbed by the atom. A free electron and positively charged ion are produced. Cosmic rays and solar wind particles also play a role in this process but their effect is minor compared with that due to the sun’s electromagnetic radiation [Kelley & Heelis 1989].
    As the altitude decreases from high up in the Earth’s atmosphere the ionisation process increases because more gas atoms are present. However, recombination then also begins to occur. Here if a free electron moves near enough to a positive ion, it is captured by it. So at lower altitudes where the gas density is greater, more and more recombination takes place. The point of balance between these two processes determines the degree of “ionisation” present at any given time [Kelley & Heelis 1989].
    As the altitude decreases further, the numbers of atoms and molecules of gas increase further, so there is more opportunity for absorption of energy from a photon of UV solar radiation. At lower altitudes the intensity of this radiation is smaller because some of it was absorbed at the higher levels. Thus a point is reached where lower radiation, greater gas density and greater recombination rates balance out. The ionisation rate then begins to decrease with decreasing altitude. This leads to the
    formation of ionisation peaks or layers [Kelley & Heelis 1989]. These are called
    Heaviside layers. As seen in figure 5, the composition of the atmosphere changes with height, so
    the ion production rate also changes and this leads to the formation of these several
    distinct ionisation peaks, the D, E, F1, and F2 layers.
    Figure 5: Variation of plasma density vs. altitude for daytime and nighttime

    1.2.2 The Ionospheric Layers
    D Layer
    The D layer is the innermost layer, 50-90 km above the surface of the Earth. Negative ions prevail here, and electrons are produced by the ionisation of oxygen and nitrogen by soft X-rays, of wavelength less than 1nm [Phillips 1992], which are strongly enhanced during period of solar activity, e.g. solar flares. Ionisation is also due to Lyman series-alpha hydrogen radiation at a wavelength of 121.5 nm, ionising a nitric oxide molecule, NO [Phillips 1992]. Cosmic rays from outside the solar system
    can also produce significant ionisation in the D layer.
    E Layer
    The E layer is the middle layer, 90-120 km above the surface of the Earth. Positive molecular ions are in the majority, mainly O2+ and NO+, Ionisation is due to soft X-ray (1-10 nm) and far ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation ionisation of molecular oxygen [Phillips 1992].
    F Layer
    The F layer, also known as the Appleton layer, is 120 km to 400 km above the surface of the Earth. Here extreme UV (10-100 nm) solar radiation ionises atomic oxygen, O. The F layer combines into one layer at night, and in the presence of sunlight (during daytime), it divides into two layers, the F1 and F2. “

  123. Yes Dr. Svalgaard, I did read most of it, and I do not dispute it, but I have learned one valuable lesson from you, and that is to cherry peek what suits the argument, but I do not go as far as you do, to distort and misrepresent your statements as you do those of mine. And I speak to everyone with respect, a lesson not everyone wishing to learn.
    Btw. my polar field formula

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm

    is far superior solution to your 1/1000 theory. I noticed you are now shying away from the Schatten’s percolation dynamo theory; another one for the shredder?

  124. vukcevic says:
    March 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm
    Yes Dr. Svalgaard, I did read most of it, and I do not dispute it, but I have learned one valuable lesson from you, and that is to cherry peek what suits the argument
    Quite a confession…

    but I do not go as far as you do, to distort and misrepresent your statements as you do those of mine. And I speak to everyone with respect, a lesson not everyone wishing to learn.
    I quote your statements verbatim as you utter them in the proper context.

    Btw. my polar field formula

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm

    is far superior solution to your 1/1000 theory.
    The amount of polar flux is not theory, but is an observed quantity.

    I noticed you are now shying away from the Schatten’s percolation dynamo theory; another one for the shredder?
    Schatten’s theory is one of the explanations of the solar cycle. It is still as good as any, perhaps better. Recent work by Brandenburg et al. discuss their work “in the context of a distributed solar dynamo where active regions and sunspots might be rather shallow phenomena” arXiv:0910.1835

    As far as I know, you have no understanding or explanation of how your formula might work.

  125. Dr S, in our discussion about powerful electrical discharges (sprites 3 – 12,000 amperes) extending from thunderclouds to outerspace, you said that the energy for this discharge and that of lightning bolts comes from static separation in thunderclouds. You forbid the suggestion that this massive of a discharge could be “complet[ing] a much larger circuit extending into interplanetary space” (The Electric Universe pg 48).

    Electromotive force:
    “When two electrified conductors are connected by a wire, and when electrification is transferred along the wire from one body to the other, the tendency to this transfer, which existed before the introduction of the wire, and which, when the wire is introduced, produces this transrer, is called the Electromotive Force from the one body to the other along the path marked out by the wire.” James Clerk Maxwell, An Elementary Treatise on Electricity, 1881

    Observational evidence for the transfer of electromotive force from the Sun to the Earth:
    THEMIS mission tracks electrical tornadoes in space
    By Robert Sanders, Media Relations | 23 April 2009

    Vienna, Austria — Earth-bound tornadoes are puny compared to “space tornadoes,” which span a volume as large as Earth and produce electrical currents exceeding 100,000 amperes, according to new observations by a suite of five NASA space probes.

    Space tornadoes span a volume of space about the size of the Earth, and funnel hot ionized gas into the ionosphere, triggering bright auroras. (Andreas Keiling/UC Berkeley)The probe cluster, called Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS), recorded the extent and power of these electrical funnels as the probes passed through them during their orbit of Earth. Ground measurements showed that the space tornadoes channel the electrical current into the ionosphere to spark bright and colorful auroras on Earth.

  126. These were sensed 40,000 miles away and pointing toward the Sun. NASA says they are connected to the Sun:

    Angelopoulos was quite impressed with the substorm’s power and he estimated the total energy of the two-hour event at five hundred thousand billion Joules. That’s equivalent to the energy of one magnitude 5.5 earthquake . Where does all that energy come from? THEMIS may have found the answer.

    “The satellites have found evidence of magnetic ropes connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the sun,” said David Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/themis/auroras/northern_lights.html

  127. Leif Svalgaard says:
    March 4, 2011 at 5:20 am

    John Whitman says:
    March 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I was hoping to get some thoughts from you or references regarding any hypotheses and/or theories that may address something occurring within the sun’s core or radiative zone that could drive the creation of the 11 yr cyclic behavior and the reversal of sunspots magnetic (N-S) orientation within the cycle?

    As far as we know there is nothing in the core or the radiative interior that drives the cycles.

    – – – – –

    Leif,

    Thanks for you reply.

    Please persist in your teaching mode. : )

    John

  128. Zeke the Sneak says:
    March 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm
    These were sensed 40,000 miles away and pointing toward the Sun. NASA says they are connected to the Sun
    No, NASA says that the magnetic field is connected to the Sun [which it is]. The solar magnetic field and the Earth’s magnetic field can reconnect if their geometry is right. The reconnected field lines are then stretched down the geomagnetic tail by the solar wind. This stores magnetic energy in the tail. The tail is unstable [flaps around] and tail field lines can reconnect and ‘snap’ back towards to earth restoring the magnetic field to what it was before. That rapidly changing magnetic field induces an electric field that accelerates whatever particles are present in the tail, resulting in the charges precipitating in the ionosphere [a la Birkeland’s discharges] exciting the atoms of the air to glow as the bright aurorae.

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