Big jumps in September solar activity metrics

NOAA’s Space weather prediction center released their solar cycle progression updates, and it shows one of the largest jumps for all common solar metrics since cycle 24 began.

Of course we know that the sunspot number has jumped significantly partly due to the recent large sunspot group that released X-class flares, but there’s more than that.

 Big gains were seen in 10.7 CM radio flux as well as the Ap geomagnetic index.

As always, be sure to check the WUWT solar reference page for the latest information.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/solar/

UPDATE: Here’s the daily SSN’s from SIDC

20110901  2011.666  85  59  26
20110902  2011.669  88  72  16
20110903  2011.672  91  71  20
20110904  2011.674  68  48  20
20110905  2011.677  74  53  21
20110906  2011.680  58  38  20
20110907  2011.682  47  31  16
20110908  2011.685  35  27   8
20110909  2011.688  47  28  19
20110910  2011.691  52  33  19
20110911  2011.693  61  37  24
20110912  2011.696  90  53  37
20110913  2011.699  94  54  40
20110914  2011.702 110  64  46
20110915  2011.704 124  89  35
20110916  2011.707 124  86  38
20110917  2011.710 104  73  31
20110918  2011.713  93  79  14
20110919  2011.715  92  78  14
20110920  2011.718  80  68  12
20110921  2011.721  70  61   9
20110922  2011.724  71  56  15
20110923  2011.726  59  59   0
20110924  2011.729  75  68   7
20110925  2011.732  79  69  10
20110926  2011.734  73  73   0
20110927  2011.737  67  67   0
20110928  2011.740  71  71   0
20110929  2011.743  83  83   0
20110930  2011.745  75  75   0

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68 thoughts on “Big jumps in September solar activity metrics

  1. Ironic but me thinks that there is now so little interest in climate change aka global warming that the only interested people left are a few die-hard deniers and believers. There is some evidence of this at Lucia site (with Josh’s cartoons Monckton etc).. LOL. I would predict a pretty big fall in readership at ALL climate sites this year.

  2. If the increased activity continues for a number of months it will be interesting to see whether the AO returns to a more positive mode with more poleward air circulation after the very negative state that coincided with the very low level of solar activity.
    Against that, the current cooling trend in the oceans is not going to give the air circulation systems much of a poleward push.
    Still, we are already seeing a tendency for a stronger high pressure cell over Western Europe pushing the jets up between Scotland and Iceland.

  3. charles nelson says:
    October 5, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Of course this could be the actual ‘Peak’ of 24?

    This is not beyond the realms of possibility. The position of sunspot groups would generally be closer to the solar equator if solar max was near but we may be on a plateau that will stay flat towards solar max. Records are not conclusive during SC5 but the GSN value shows an early rise which faded to nothing. This cycle still has many options.

    This graph puts things into perspective.

    The cold forecast for the NH winter is still firmly in place.

    http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/224

  4. @Andrew says:
    October 5, 2011 at 3:13 am
    //////////////////////////////////////////////////
    I am not sure that the conclusion you draw is correct. Green taxes are only just beginning to bite, and the public are just waking up to the cost in their pocket of all these green incentive schemes. As these costs dig ever deeper in to their pocket, an increasing number of people will question whether the expense is justified. When seeking to ascertain whether the expense is justified more people are likely to come accross climate related web sites, and hence web traffic may not die down. In fact, quite the contrary may occur; if the number of people who are sceptical of this green energy nonsense increases, it may be that web traffic will increase as they bring themselves up to speed.

  5. charles nelson says:
    October 5, 2011 at 3:26 am
    Of course this could be the actual ‘Peak’ of 24?

    It certainly could. It could also be the beginning of the ‘mesa’ of SC24, very similar to other weak cycles.
    The southern belt of sunspots has fallen way behind.

  6. rbateman says:
    October 5, 2011 at 4:02 am
    The southern belt of sunspots has fallen way behind.

    Good. I’m not the only one. I haven’t heard any discussion about it.

    Hoser says: (in Tips & Notes)
    August 30, 2011 at 10:12 am
    I think I’m seeing the northern hemisphere of the sun progressing at a different rate through the solar cycle compared with the southern hemisphere. Maybe Leif S has noticed that too (or not).

    Also, SC23 persisted it appears mainly due to the slow progression of the SH.

    Can the two hemispheres progress in an uncoordinated manner? It looks like SC20 was a little asymmetrical. Could the NH go into SC25 before the SH? That would be weird.

    Regardless, what goes up can come down. On the other hand, this spike might keep Hathaway from publishing yet another prediction. Oops, wrong (I just checked). http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml

  7. Wholly Human Sacrifice Batman! Maybe the Mayans were right after all.

    12/21/2012, WERE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Andrew says:
    October 5, 2011 at 3:13 am
    *****
    Unfortunately, the politicians haven’t given up on global warming yet. They are still pushing Draconian measures to “stop global warming.”

  9. How does this latest data tie into Penn & Livingston’s work ? Is their hypothesis still in tact?

  10. I am projecting that the solar activity will take a tumble after mid December and last about 2.5 months before it starts to rise again,

  11. One large sunspot actually does not increase the sunspot number, the increase was largely (solely?) because of the large number of smaller sunspot groups present earlier in the month.

    REPLY: It pays to read: “…the sunspot number has jumped significantly due to the recent large sunspot group…“. Note the key word, “group”. – Anthony

  12. @Andrew: ‘so little interest in climate change aka global warming that the only interested people left are a few die-hard deniers and believers’

    I don’t know where you’re from but here in the Uk we are facing gigantic ‘investments’ in the consequences of the agw scam, viz. £150bn or so over the next few years for worse than useless ‘renewable’ energy in the form of windmills, plus carbon taxes for electricity, gas etc.; die-hard, sadly, will be a word that applies to the many poor people who will die this winter from what the government calls ‘fuel poverty’, brought on by their own insane energy policies and their need to reward their already well-heeled chums and supporters. Sure we’re interested.

  13. Once again could I put in a plea for current data from Livingston and Penn. Just about all the other data we get comes from taxpayer funded organizations. L&P are different. They compete for time on the telescope they use, and they are the only ones who get the data. It is not public data, so far as I can tell.

    Nervertheless. it is not clear to me whether SC 24 is “normal” in the sense of the extent that sunspot number correlates with, for example, flare activity. It would be nice to have up to date information on the magnetic strength of the sunspots. Any suggestions?

  14. Geoff Sharp’s comparison image is most interesting, putting SC24 into good perspective.

    Most interesting of months.

  15. “If you can’t predict accurately, predict frequently” (Anon Weather Forecaster)
    Previous NASA predictions below:
    March 23, 2008: predicted peak: 130-140 range
    January 5, 2009: predicted peak: 100-110 range
    May 29, 2009: predicted peak: 80-90 range
    October 5, 2010: predicted peak 60-70
    January 3, 2011: predicted peak 59
    October 4, 2011 eyeballing graph it looks to be about peak of 90.
    Well they do have it “bracketed”.
    How does this unexpected surge in activity conform to the previously Solar Conveyor Belt theory which was predicting continued inactivity?

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/02mar_spotlesssun/

    Is it possible that brilliant computer modeling developed by solar scientists’ be wrong?
    Or perhaps is it that we have much more to learn about Mother Sol?

  16. It helps to know what you are talking about. A large group does not have a significant effect on the sunspot number alone, it will have a large effect on the average sunspot area particualrly in a period when most spots are small (such as now).

    Go to your own solar page and look at the average areas, flux, and area on the linked sites for the month. You need to understand the basic relation between those three parameters.

    You could also write Leif, he will agree with me.

    REPLY: Oh please. Lots of griping over semantics there Brad, and the use of the word “group” which you missed the first time, (you also missed “…but there’s more than that”) but your M.O. here has been all about griping about petty things. [yawn] But I’ve added the word “partly” to satisfy the whining. I’m simply saying that the SSN of the group had a significant effect too, it was the big news of the month, and note that the last time we had daily SSN’s over 100 was March 8th, 2011. Yes there were lots of sunspecks too, some of them not worth counting, and certainly not visible when Wolf and others were doing SSN count work with equipment of the period. The issue of overinflation of the SSN due to counting specks is an issue we’ve addressed many times. Be as upset as you wish. – Anthony

  17. Possibly a dumb question from a layman. If the sunspots have an immediate effect on us, is there any mileage on getting a look at the far side, to see what is coming down the pipe in 6-12 months time

    REPLY: The period of rotation for the sun is 27 days – Anthony

  18. There remains to be exceptionally low sunspot activity on the Southern hemisphere of Sol.

    Another observation: it is right now 11 years since the maximum sunspot spike during the last cycle, SC23.

    We are now entering into the period of observations that will yield enormously important data for understanding Sol.

  19. When the temperatures continue to fall, the democratically elected Governments will be forced back to finding ways to provide cheap energy. That will put the nail in the coffin of the wind farms, the solar panels and all of the scams (Solyndra) that are out there soaking up hundreds of millions of dollars that represent our hard work and toil. The basic disconnect between every individuals hard work and toil and these failed “green energy” ideas will be deleted when it really gets cold. When reality sinks in that our planet is getting colder, survival instinct will be the mechanism for ending the last thirty years of madness.

  20. Eternal Optimist says:
    October 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Possibly a dumb question from a layman. If the sunspots have an immediate effect on us, is there any mileage on getting a look at the far side, to see what is coming down the pipe in 6-12 months time

    Not a dumb question, but reveals the layman’s ignorance that the Sun rotates on its axis approximately* every 27 days. So no need to wait 6 months, just 2 weeks. :-]

    * The Sun is not solid, so parts of it rotate at slightly different speeds.

  21. Here in the UK our buffoon ‘energy and climate minister’ has told a meeting that we must not exploit a huge newly discovered shale gas field because it would jepardise our EU carbon reduction treaty…MADNESS!!

  22. To M.A.Vukcevic. Thanks for the info. However, how to we access data from L&P on a routine basis? Is there a URL where we can go to get the latest info, as there is for just about any other solar data?

  23. matt says:
    October 5, 2011 at 8:11 am
    Why are the graphs labled ‘jan’ if they are for september output?

    The graphs are labeled September but the axis is labeled from Jan 00 (2000) to Jan19(2019)

  24. We can always check on hits to climate blogs/sites. I’ll bet there already down on ALL pro and con AGW/climate sites (maybe ask Anthony to provide data comparing all sites with say, same of a year ago). Interest in these sort of issues nearly always fade away, especially when there is nothing on note happening with the weather etc .

  25. Hang on a minute
    REPLY: The period of rotation for the sun is 27 days – Anthony

    I never knew this. I always thought the sun had a ‘push’ on us. watts m2
    i think you call it.

    but if we get pinged every 27 days by a big spot, what about a harmonic effect ?

  26. Saved from the Grim Reaper’s scythe just in the nick of time. Take your rest now. This weak cycle will crest before we all know it then back to the long slide down the razor blade.

  27. Brad says:
    October 5, 2011 at 8:26 am
    REPLY: …The issue of overinflation of the SSN due to counting specks is an issue we’ve addressed many times. Be as upset as you wish. – Anthony
    Actually, SIDC is undercounting the SSN. And specks must be counted too, so say the rules. I’m at Mendoza [Argentina] right now [ http://iaus286.iafe.uba.ar/ ]. Here is my talk on SSNs: http://www.leif.org/research/How%20Well%20Do%20We%20Know%20the%20Sunspot%20Number.pdf
    The undercounting is discussed here: http://www.leif.org/research/SIDC-Seminar-14Sept.pdf

    • But Leif, what about that time you and I got into that argument with SIDC over the month without sunspots? I thought your position then was that they were overcounting. – Anthony

      • Anthony Watts says:
        October 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm
        But Leif, what about that time you and I got into that argument with SIDC over the month without sunspots? I thought your position then was that they were overcounting. – Anthony
        That was an isolated incident, which they corrected. The have been overcounting by some 12% since about 2000. They know it and we will eventually fix it when the ‘agreed upon and vetted’ sunspot number emerges from our Workshop #2 in May 2012.

  28. Leif Svalgaard says:
    October 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm
    That was an isolated incident, which they corrected. The have been overcounting by some 12% since about 2000.
    They have been undercounting by some 12% relative to the SSN they counted before [and relative to everybody else]. This is different from the overcounting that Waldmeier introduced ~1945.

  29. M.A.Vukcevic says:
    October 5, 2011 at 4:35 am
    The World Government fires a nuke into moribund sun to keep Global Warming going.
    Desperation has no limits

    Very funny!

  30. Mr. Alex says:
    October 5, 2011 at 10:29 am
    Southern hemisphere has been noticeably weaker though!!

    Another way to look at this would be that the Southern Hemisphere is late to the dance. You can also consider the dual behavior of light – i.e. – contructive and destructive waves vs particle (300,000 km/sec).
    The Solar Max, in this case, would be determined by how out-of-phase the waves (Sunspot bands of the Hemispheres) are. If such were true, then the Northern and Southern Sunspot bands are of different frequecies of thier cycles. If not true, then whatever causes these failures is not readily apparent. SC22 and SC23 pulled apart in peaks, but neither hemisphere failed. Now it gets really interesting.

  31. Jim Cripwell says:
    October 5, 2011 at 9:15 am
    However, how to we access data from L&P on a routine basis? Is there a URL where we can go to get the latest info, as there is for just about any other solar data?
    The plot on my website is always up to date. In fact just got September data from Bill Livingston:

    Since we are losing the small spots the widening distribution [of which we can't see the bottom] is pulling the average up a bit.

  32. Daniel Vogler says:
    October 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm
    20110930 2011.745 75 75 0
    What does those numbers mean.? 75 75 0?

    SSN for whole disk, SSN for Northern half of disk, SSN for Southern half of disk.

  33. While the Titanic sank, at a certain moment the prow (front) rose upwards sharply. Those near the prow might have thought to themselves – “hey – we’re going up, maybe all this stuff about the ship sinking isn’t settled science after all. Look how fast we’re moving up!”

  34. When comparing SIDC with NOAA, SIDC has been counting higher than NOAA for the past 6 months straight. Compare the pink line with the dark green line. This would perhaps be expected as the spots grow in size and the Waldmeier weighting system kicks in. (the Waldmeier system is only used at the SIDC pilot station Locarno)

    Sunspot contrast has been rising slowly since SC23/24 minimum as expected during a weak cycle. The flawed method of L&P is now also showing this.

  35. I like Vukcevic’s model. So far it’s holding firm.

    Other high profile experts have demonstrated how little they know about old SOL. It’s easy to pick a winner when your allowed to keep changing your prediction right up to the finish line.

  36. Geoff Sharp says:
    October 6, 2011 at 2:02 am
    When comparing SIDC with NOAA, SIDC has been counting higher than NOAA for the past 6 months straight. Compare the pink line with the dark green line. This would perhaps be expected as the spots grow in size and the Waldmeier weighting system kicks in. (the Waldmeier system is only used at the SIDC pilot station Locarno)

    You do not know what you are talking about. You assume that the k-factor for NOAA is 0.6, but it is not. It is 0.68. Each observer has his own k-factor, which can vary from 0.5 to 2 depending on the observer. The issue is not what the k-factor is, but whether a given station [SIDC considered as one] has a constant k-factor over time. SIDC has not, and thus is undercounting compared to itself. The weighting system has nothing to do with this.

  37. Sunspot says:
    October 6, 2011 at 3:45 am
    when your allowed to keep changing your prediction right up to the finish line.
    You have not understood what the NASA ‘forecast really is. It is NOT a prediction of the cycle based on theory or such, but simply a fit of current data to a standard shaped solar cycle. It is just as valid as your daily weather forecast that is based [as it should be] on data right up to ‘the finish line’.

  38. Guest says:
    October 6, 2011 at 3:38 am
    I can’t believe Locarno is still the pilot station for the SSN after all this.
    It doesn’t matter which station is the pilot station as long as the station has a long record and is manned by experienced people. Locarno fulfills those criteria as no other, so is the station to use. Your ‘after all this’ is not a valid criterion as there has not been any ‘all this’, except whining from people who do not understand the issues and/or have an agenda to push.

  39. Leif Svalgaard says:
    October 6, 2011 at 4:22 am

    You do not know what you are talking about. You assume that the k-factor for NOAA is 0.6, but it is not. It is 0.68.

    The NOAA k-factor is not constant and has been closer to 0.6 since 2001. Pre 2001 it could be considered that the SIDC were counting higher. The last 6 months has seen the SIDC edge closer to the 0.68 average that I assume you have calculated from 1991.

  40. Geoff Sharp says:
    October 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm
    The NOAA k-factor is not constant and has been closer to 0.6 since 2001.
    As I said, you do not understand or know how this works. NOAA makes no attempt to provide a stable long-term calibration. The purpose of the NOAA number is to provide an approximate sunspot number in real time for operational purposes without having to wait for the official numbers published every month. The observers are airmen and rotate every two years, so never become really expert at their job [but don't have to either]. So the k-factor for NOAA is arbitrary and sometimes show jumps and the like. No conclusions about SIDC can be drawn from the NOAA number.

  41. As the sun grabbed a higher gear, has anyone noticed how the volcanoes have quietly subsided? There is still a little very low altitude volcanic action, but no high altitude honkers. Lacking those high fliers, the cold will capitulate to the warmth. I am still swimming in the cold arse creeks in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois because they aren’t cold yet.

  42. Leif,

    The title of this WUWT post is “Big jumps in September solar activity metrics”‘

    Question – Compared to the past 11 yr solar cycles going back to say ~1900, is this recent fluctuating behavior of SC24 cycle buildup to solar maximum considered ‘Big jumps’ or rather a commonly observed kind of fluctuation?

    Other thought question – Do you have an idea where I can get good references to the recent atomic/molecular makeup of the solar wind at 1 au (earth orbit)? I am curious about the sun as a source of carbon/carbon dioxide and H2O among other things.

    Thanks.

    John

  43. John Whitman says:
    October 7, 2011 at 7:35 am
    Question – Compared to the past 11 yr solar cycles going back to say ~1900, is this recent fluctuating behavior of SC24 cycle buildup to solar maximum considered ‘Big jumps’ or rather a commonly observed kind of fluctuation?
    Weak cycles often display such swings. The classical example is cycle 14: http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24.png

    Other thought question – Do you have an idea where I can get good references to the recent atomic/molecular makeup of the solar wind at 1 au (earth orbit)? I am curious about the sun as a source of carbon/carbon dioxide and H2O among other things.
    The solar wind starts at temperatures around a million degrees and is still 10,000-100,000 K at the Earth. No molecules survive such temperatures, so no CO2 or H2O. The oxygen content of the solar wind is very low [much less than 1%] of the 5 particles per cc impinging on us, so the solar wind is not a source of oxygen or oxygen compounds.

  44. Enneagram says:
    October 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    still pretty deep… movement in the lower magmatic system of this hot spot. But this particular one hasn’t erupted in over 2500 years. If the quakes get shallower and stronger, look out!

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