Solar cycle update: sunspots down, Ap index way down

The NOAA SWPC monthly solar cycle update has been published here, and after a big spike last month, the sunspot count is down again. There’s an even bigger drop though in the Ap geomagnetic index, as seen and discussed below the Continue reading line.

image

10.7 centimeter radio flux was down slightly too.

image

But here’s the really interesting part, the Ap geomagnetic index plummeted to a value  of 2, equal to the previous 12 year minimum set in November 2009.

image

Source data: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/RecentIndices.txt

Dr. Leif Svalgaard offers these comments via email:

Ap is based on mostly Northern Hemisphere stations [11 North, 2 South] and is somewhat biased [having less activity in northern winter]. This is in addition to a general semiannual variation  http://www.leif.org/research/Semiannual-Comment.pdf

with minima at the solstices. The definitive Ap values are determined by Potsdam and can be found here:  http://isgi.latmos.ipsl.fr/lesdonne.htm

Real-time values [preliminary the last 15 days] are available here  http://www.geomag.bgs.ac.uk/data_service/data/magnetic_indices/apindex.html

SWPC [NOAA] also compute preliminary real-time values. These computed values are truncated, so if, for instance, Ap = 9.99 it is reported [and plotted] as 9.00. SWPC is not very good at updating their graphs with definitive values, so one should not make too strong statements based on their graphs. The value for December, 2011 is a case in point. It is plotted as 2, but the real value is estimated [by BGS] to be 4.1.

The Aa index is based on one northern and one southern station, so does not suffer from some of the problems Ap has. The index can also be calculated from solar wind data: Aa = 1/6 BVo^2, where the solar wind magnetic field B is in nT and the solar wind speed Vo is in units of 100 km/s. Here is computed [blue and green curves] vs. observed [red curve] values since 2005: http://www.leif.org/research/Aa-Since-2005.png

http://www.leif.org/research/Aa-Since-2005.png

You can see that geomagnetic activity is low, but not as low as at the end of 2009.

The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.

UPDATE: David Archibald adds this graph and narrative -

Dr Svalgaard’s comment re solar wind and solar maximum might be misinterpreted to suggest that Ap Index is lowest at solar maximum.  The opposite is true as shown by this graph from of the Ap Index from 1932.

The Ap Index is back below the floor established by all the previous solar minima.  This is important, and there is a correlation between low Ap Index and cooling.

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150 Responses to Solar cycle update: sunspots down, Ap index way down

  1. PaulR says:

    The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.

    So the inference is that solar maximum is now and not in 2013? That means a short cycle. A short cycle means something, there have been other WUWT posts on that topic.

  2. Adrian Smits says:

    If it is true that we are already at or near solar maximum we should be afraid.Very very afraid!

  3. crosspatch says:

    It can sit at maximum for a while, sometimes there’s even a double peak. Still looks like 2013 from the last data I saw. Still, 1 year away is “close” to solar max.

  4. tallbloke says:

    I think we are going to see a very confused pattern over the next 15 years or so. We may get a long low plateau of activity with the occasional upspike, followed around 2017 by an odd sort of ‘minimum’ and a low cycle 25 which will also be in fits and starts.

    That’s how I’m seeing the tealeaves at the moment.

  5. TB

    That sounds like a climate model prediction.

    predictions must be falsifiable in principle. numbers dude. add some numbers

  6. Tallbloke….tea leaves? That interrogation must have bored you to tears!

  7. Mike Clark says:

    Here’s the real news. All these global warming yoyo’s are going to be eating a pot full of crow. Who’s going to be jamming it down thier throat? Anthony Watts and all the other competent, salient, cogent, sane, superior intellects who post here.

    I probably will never get to meet you Anthony but its ok. These turds you face daily are going to hate the true voice of science and it will be coming from your finger tips. Keep on jamming Anthony! Same to you the moderators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mike Clark——your friend for the truth

  8. Leif

    Can you graph the Ap over the course of cycle 23 and its peak so that we can see a comparison between CY 23 and 24 as your sources show?

  9. Richard Meisterling says:

    Another salient point – if the CERN Cloud experiment presages another valid approach to AGW arguments, the decrease in sunspot activity will inspire increased cosmic ray saturation, and subsequently, diminished cloud formation. The result? A global climate that is less warm.

  10. Don says:

    Sunspot number right on the smoothed average…no big deal.

  11. Rob Dawg says:

    I am not ashamed to admit we do not fully understand solar dynamics. I am ashamed by those warmists who choose to ignore this.

  12. Katherine says:

    You can see that geomagnetic activity is low, but not as low as at the end of 2009.

    The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.

    Does that mean solar maximum was near the end of 2009?

    Message received: Nothing to see here. Move along.

  13. JinOH says:

    So much for all the effort I put in when I installed some new antennas for below 14mHz. As a ham radio operator, this has been a screwy cycle to say the least…oh well, it was fun for awhile – hopefully the sun will toss a few more our way.

  14. R.S.Brown says:

    Dr. Svalgaard doesn’t mention that, in part because of his insistance, the United
    States SSN is now including specks instead of “traditionally” reported spots.

    He has also blogged/lobbied for the revision or “adjustment” of older monthly
    and annual sun spot counts to include a fudge factor for the pores, blips and pips
    the old observers couldn’t or didn’t report.

    We know what happens when adjustments are made to historical data when
    the thought is propounded by folks with a current agenda.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    I have some doubt as to the cosmic ray count going down in reaction to a
    reduction in SSN and 10.7m flux from November this early January. It seems
    a few weeks early for the cosmic ray count to be dropping in response to
    the AP measurment in October.

    My impression was that it took roughly a four month lag for these solar/earth
    factors to have any observable correlation to the cosmic ray counts.

  15. Jimash says:

    Admittedly I am not a solar expert.
    But if everything is down and all of the numbers are low, how is it a max ?
    What is maxing ?
    What is supposed to max ?

  16. tokyoboy says:

    Probably on topic…..the newest CET graph exhibits a drastic cooling for a decade or so:
    http://junksciencearchive.com/MSU_Temps/HadCET_an.html

  17. Richard Meisterling says:

    Please explain a bit, Don – I’m a layman and hardly an expert. It appears from the graphs above that, even on a smoothed average, there will be a decrease. Should I not be following that projection line? And while I’m asking, can you comment on the import of the CERN/cloud experiment?

  18. I’ve noticed that although the sunspot activity has been high recently, the cosmic ray count at the Oulu neutron counter has not gone down since July.
    Instead it has gone up.

    This is consistent with the drop in the Ap index.
    Is there a Maunder type dropout of solar activity just around the corner?
    Only time will tell!

  19. Mike A. says:

    Meanwhile…

    http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/events/events/123002-%5Cclimategate%5C-scientist-rewarded-with-knighthood-in-new-year-honours-list.html

    ” ‘Climategate’ scientist rewarded with knighthood in New Year Honours List
    by ClickGreen staff. Published Wed 04 Jan 2012 20:23
    Professor Bob Watson awarded a knighthood

    A climate scientist who became embroiled in the ‘Climategate’ scandal has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours List.

    Professor Bob Watson of the University of East Anglia, who is also the chief scientific adviser at Defra, has been handed one of the highest honours an individual can receive.

    The professor has consistently warned that there will be a significant rise in global temperatures unless there is a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions. In December 2009 he said: “If we stayed on the road of the last decade or two, we would be much more on the high emissions scenario of the IPCC and that plausibly could take us up by 6C.” “

  20. Jimash says:

    ” In December 2009 he said: “If we stayed on the road of the last decade or two, we would be much more on the high emissions scenario of the IPCC and that plausibly could take us up by 6C.” “

    So we have a baseline for levels of absurdity necessary to rise to the top the heap. And it is a heap.

  21. tokyoboy says:

    Mike A. says: January 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm
    Meanwhile…Professor Bob Watson awarded a knighthood

    In 2010 the Asahi Glass Foundation (shamefully) gave him a Blue Planet Award with US$ 650,000:
    http://www.af-info.or.jp/en/blueplanet/list.html

    And the co-recipient was Jim Hansen……..

  22. DirkH says:

    steven mosher says:
    January 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm
    “TB
    That sounds like a climate model prediction.
    predictions must be falsifiable in principle. numbers dude. add some numbers”

    When has a climate model ever made a prediction? I hear that they only deal in non-falsifiable projections.

  23. Mike says:

    When I am curious about sunspot cycling, I like to refer to the Hathaway/NASA graph. Its on Anthony’s solar page. It gives a much longer view, not as many microscopic details but it strongly suggests the current cycle has started out quite weak and should continue that way. Solar Max this cycle will be smaller by comparison to the seven previous cycles and maybe smaller compared to even more of the remote cycles. Its a perspective thing.
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.pdf

  24. Jeef says:

    Ignorant neck on the line: I project Maximum by mid 2013, SSn <75 smoothed post-maximum. What do you mean no data to support my projection? Works for climate!

  25. Walter Dnes says:

    As I pointed out last month, UAH temperatures are running warm versus RSS (or RSS is running cold versus UAH). Now that December data is in for RSS and UAH, this is the first year of the satellite record (going back to 1979) that UAH anomaly annual mean is warmer than RSS anomaly annual mean. It’s also the first time for any 12-month running mean, not just Jan-to-Dec. Any comments on the divergence, which appears to have started sometime in the spring of 2011?

  26. John Day says:

    @PaulR
    > So the inference is that solar maximum is now and not in 2013?

    The most reliable indicator of solar activity is the 10.7cm radio flux. Looking at the official monthly plots from Penticton you can see SC24 has barely started to show some activity, so SC24 isn’t about to end any time soon:
    http://www.spaceweather.ca/data-donnee/sol_flux/sx-6-mavg-eng.php

    Activity seems to come in surges spaced roughly six months or so apart. The first big flux surge for SC24 occurred in Mar 2011 (115sfu), then a second bigger one in Nov 2011 (150sfu).

    So do you think the Nov 2011 surge was the max? I don’t think so.

    I would expect to see another surge, probably greater than the last around June or July 2012. Probably one or two more after that till we get to solar max, IMHO.

    Leif, what is your latest prediction for the timing of the SC24 solar max?

  27. _Jim says:

    Yes … the 10 meter band was blowing and going for a little while there; sporadic contacts as of late though …

  28. TRM says:

    “The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.”

    If this is the max then what are we looking at for the min? I beginning to be worried that those forecasting a seriously long and low minimum are correct. For the life of me I didn’t want to.

  29. genezeien says:

    Richard Meisterling says: increased cosmic ray saturation, and subsequently, diminished cloud formation

    That hypothesis goes the other way ’round.
    low solar activity ==> more cosmic rays get to Earth ==> more clouds.

  30. burnside says:

    Richard, the CERN CLOUD series postulates decreased solar wind and a corresponding rise in cosmic rays reaching our atmosphere tend to increase cloud formation activity – with a net cooling effect.

  31. Dennis Ray Wingo says:
    January 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm
    Can you graph the Ap over the course of cycle 23 and its peak so that we can see a comparison between CY 23 and 24 as your sources show?
    http://www.leif.org/research/Ap-1950-now.png
    http://www.leif.org/research/Ap-1844-now.png

    Katherine says:
    January 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm
    “The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.”
    Does that mean solar maximum was near the end of 2009?

    No, solar wind speed is also low at minimum [even lower at times]. What it means is that there is a secondary minimum near solar maximum. The solar wind ‘climatology’ is complex: http://www.leif.org/research/Climatological%20Solar%20Wind.png the solar wind speed has a dip at solar maximum. The density is also lower at maximum, so the pressure of the solar wind is actually lowest at solar maximum: http://www.leif.org/research/Space-Climate-n-B-V-Flow.png

    R.S.Brown says:
    January 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard doesn’t mention that, in part because of his insistance, the United
    States SSN is now including specks instead of “traditionally” reported spots.

    You have this completely backwards. The counting of specks was introduced ~1878 by Alfred Wolfer [Rudolf Wolf's assistant]. In order to align the [now larger] count with the traditional Wolf scale, the count is multiplied by 0.6.

    He has also blogged/lobbied for the revision or “adjustment” of older monthly
    and annual sun spot counts to include a fudge factor for the pores, blips and pips
    the old observers couldn’t or didn’t report.

    On the contrary, sometime in the 1940s Max Waldmeier [director of Zurich Observatory] began to weight sunspots such that large spots [not 'blips'] were counted multiple times [up to 5 depending on the size]. In this way, the sunspot count was artificially inflated due to extra-counting of BIG spots. We should, of course, to maintain continuity with the traditional spot counts, get rid of the double-counting, now that we know about it. Or alternatively inflated the old numbers the same way: http://www.leif.org/research/Effect-of-Weighting-on-SSN.pdf

    We know what happens when adjustments are made to historical data when the thought is propounded by folks with a current agenda.
    When errors are found in old data they must be corrected. Your remark about agenda is not worth responding to. Shame on you.

  32. Bill H says:

    Low solar wind…
    Allows an increase of cosmic (ionizing) radiation to hit the earth.
    this increases global cloud cover.. and reduces TSI at the surface.

    Given the lack of any indicators for the next solar cycle on the sun this is going to go cold. If we have reached solar maxim and it falls off rapidly were in for a major cool down.

    Amazing that the sun is not cooperating with the Global Warming…..

  33. John Day says:
    January 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm
    Leif, what is your latest prediction for the timing of the SC24 solar max?
    I think this will be a long drawn-out maximum, perhaps like cycle 14, so it will be hard to put a precise date to it. http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24.png

  34. DR says:

    @Walter Dnes,
    Roy Spencer said recently UAH has a warm bias for the past few years IIRC and so there will an adjustment forthcoming.

  35. Sparks says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    John Day says:
    January 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm
    Leif, what is your latest prediction for the timing of the SC24 solar max?
    I think this will be a long drawn-out maximum, perhaps like cycle 14, so it will be hard to put a precise date to it. http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24.png

    Leif, good work but just one comment cycle 24 looks nothing like cycle 14, if anything it looks to me like it will be much shorter, but, TB is right about the tea leaves comment, Oh how I larfed out loud.
    :)

  36. Theo Goodwin says:

    DirkH says:
    January 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    “When has a climate model ever made a prediction? I hear that they only deal in non-falsifiable projections.”

    The only prediction, so-called, that a climate model can make is “Same old, Same old.”

  37. Sparks says:
    January 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm
    cycle 24 looks nothing like cycle 14, if anything it looks to me like it will be much shorter
    Hard to tell: http://www.leif.org/research/SC14-and-24x.png

  38. Geoff Sharp says:

    R.S.Brown says:
    January 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Dr. Svalgaard doesn’t mention that, in part because of his insistance, the United
    States SSN is now including specks instead of “traditionally” reported spots.

    He has also blogged/lobbied for the revision or “adjustment” of older monthly
    and annual sun spot counts to include a fudge factor for the pores, blips and pips
    the old observers couldn’t or didn’t report.

    We know what happens when adjustments are made to historical data when
    the thought is propounded by folks with a current agenda.

    These statements are wrong, and one should research more thoroughly before passing such comment.

    Leif has answered the criticism, but as an extra note the change in methods since Wolfer and in particular Waldmeier make it impossible to compare the current cycle with cycles before 1945.

    My prediction is for SC24 to be similar to SC5, and at present is still on track. I have used a method of counting SC24 more closely to the way SC5 & SC6 were counted.

    http://tinyurl.com/2dg9u22/images/sc5_sc24_19.png

  39. Geoff Sharp says:

    that should read

    My prediction is for SC24 to be similar to SC5, and at present is still on track. I have used a method of counting SC24 more closely to way SC5 & SC6 were counted.

    {After reading it three times, decided to just fix it ;-) -modE }

  40. ferd berple says:

    Rob Dawg says:
    January 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm
    I am not ashamed to admit we do not fully understand solar dynamics.

    What precentage of solar dynanics does science believe it understands? I expect what we know about the sun is far less than 1% of what is yet waiting to be discovered. History shows repeatedly that the size of the unknown far exceeds the limits of our imagination.

  41. John F. Hultquist says:

    Leif,
    Someone was commenting about charts in color and the 5% of the male population that had color challenges. I don’t but still have to struggle with the pale turquoise print under the phrase ‘Sunspot Number’ on the Cycle 24 chart.
    Otherwise, I much appreciate your contributions. Thanks.

  42. Joules Verne says:

    I don’t understand what Svalgaard is saying. It sounds like a lot of double talk to obfuscate a fact he never diputes – this reading is comparable with readings at the same point in past solar cycles.

  43. Sparks says:

    Leif, cycle 14 in the chart has a positive curve and the cycle 24 chart has a negative curve they look to me like they are opposite trends, cycle 24 could hit max between 2013 and 2014 which could be a short sharp spike, were as 14 was a gradual peak, I’m not making a conclusion, just pointing to an obvious difference.

  44. Geoff Sharp says:
    January 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm
    My prediction is for SC24 to be similar to SC5, and at present is still on track. I have used a method of counting SC24 more closely to way SC5 & SC6 were counted.
    This is likely meaningless. SC5 and SC6 were re-counted by Wolfer [published in 1902] based on data from Kremsmunster. SC5 and SC6 were originally estimated [from other people's data] by Wolf [never observed by him; wasn't born until well into SC6], but then in 1874 increased by 25% based on comparisons with geomagnetic data, before finally replaced by Wolfer with his own estimates based on comparisons with his method.
    Which of these methods are you ‘counting more closely to’?

  45. Ed Mertin says:

    Dave Archibald’s stated, “This is important,and there is a correlation between low Ap Index and cooling.”

    I don’t understand. The AP index was low in the 1930s on your graph. Yet the summers were said to be very hot and the drought was very bad. The 1930s are known as the great Dust Bowl in the plains.

    The winters were reported as very harsh, particularly in the early 30s. Floods, ice and snow storms, tornadoes, then the summers became progressively hotter and drier.

  46. Brian H says:

    Geoff Sharp says:
    January 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    that should read

    My prediction is for SC24 to be similar to SC5, and at present is still on track. I have used a method of counting SC24 more closely to way SC5 & SC6 were counted.

    Still clubmsy. “to the way SC5 …”

    ;)

    { Ok ok, that too… -modE }

  47. John F. Hultquist says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm
    Someone was commenting about charts in color and the 5% of the male population that had color challenges. I don’t but still have to struggle with the pale turquoise print under the phrase ‘Sunspot Number’ on the Cycle 24 chart.
    That curve is SSN calculated from F10.7 and is downplayed for the comparison I had in mind, so you were not supposed to notice it :-)

    Sparks says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm
    I’m not making a conclusion, just pointing to an obvious difference.
    The black curves are 1-yr smoothed and you should not attach much significance to them. The Sun does not, as each sunspot lives and dies on its own over a period of days to weeks. Weak cycles tend to oscillate a lot and SC14 is the prime example of that. SC24 also does that, but it is too early to tell. You can, of course, always dream [until the slope changes] :-)

  48. Ed Mertin says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm
    Dave Archibald’s stated, “This is important,and there is a correlation between low Ap Index and cooling.” I don’t understand. The AP index was low in the 1930s on your graph. Yet the summers were said to be very hot and the drought was very bad. The 1930s are known as the great Dust Bowl in the plains.
    Perhaps pay less attention to what Archibald says.

  49. Joules Verne says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm
    I don’t understand what Svalgaard is saying. It sounds like a lot of double talk to obfuscate a fact he never diputes – this reading is comparable with readings at the same point in past solar cycles.
    Like the previous two cycles: http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%Count.png ?

  50. Joules Verne says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm
    I don’t understand what Svalgaard is saying. It sounds like a lot of double talk to obfuscate a fact he never diputes – this reading is comparable with readings at the same point in past solar cycles.
    Like the previous two cycles: http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png ?

  51. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Few days ago Dr. Hathaway issued a January ‘ prediction’ (done by his aunty and her crystal ball) not actually ‘prediction’ but estimate etc. etc.
    Link here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm

  52. Sparks says:

    Ed Mertin says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t understand. The AP index was low in the 1930s on your graph. Yet the summers were said to be very hot and the drought was very bad. The 1930s are known as the great Dust Bowl in the plains.

    Why do droughts happen when the northern hemisphere gets colder? In one word, Moisture, it gets frozen else where, you may have all that hot global warming locally in the form of drought, further north, plenty of moisture, and with it, Ice which is the frozen form of moisture. :) kinda opposite to all these catastrophic global warming theories.

  53. Leif

    Thanks, that is extremely interesting. It looks like when Ap is low the variability around the mean is also low. Another harbinger of at least a Dalton type minimum?

  54. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Predictions, predictions …and more predictions
    Here I show not a prediction but an extrapolation based on the astronomic data, as known from the time of Ptolemy of Alexandria:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm
    Up to date it is holding well, worth the attention, or OTOH you could look for views or opinions of those who are ‘in the know’, which is no more than a guessing game.
    ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice’.

    Steven mosher says:
    predictions must be falsifiable in principle. numbers dude
    Hi Steven
    take a look at the link above.

    For the climate change, the Sunspot number is not as important as the coupling of the heliospheric and the Earth’s magnetic fields
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Tromso.htm
    This is very relevant for the events related to the Arctic and the North Atlantic, the home of the AMO, the key to the global natural variability.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GT-AMO.htm
    There is no serious climate science without good understanding of the North Atlantic.

  55. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    ‘The density is also lower at maximum, so the pressure of the solar wind is actually lowest at solar maximum’

    NASA talk about the Solar wind being at a 50 year low:
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/23sep_solarwind/

    A few questions that this raises for me.
    Included in the measurements are that the magnetism, pressure and temperature of the solar wind are reduced. How does this affect Earth’s atmosphere?
    Is the atmosphere expanding due to the lower ‘external’ pressure?
    Is there less thermal resistance to the release of heat energy to space?
    Any takers to educate a non scientist would be appreciated.

  56. Lord Beaverbrook says:
    January 5, 2012 at 12:30 am
    Is the atmosphere expanding due to the lower ‘external’ pressure?
    No, as the interaction with the solar wind takes place 60,000 km up from the surface. No atmosphere there.
    Is there less thermal resistance to the release of heat energy to space?
    No, not from the solar wind. Try H2O, O3, or CO2.

  57. Edim says:

    SC24 will be a long (cold) cycle – longer than 12 years. I also think that it will be a long drawn-out maximum (a plateau or a kind of double-peak). Smoothed, the maximum will be around 2014/15. The SC25 will not start before 2021/22. By then, global temperatures will be significantly lower than now.

  58. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    Dr Svalgaard, clear and precise, many thanks.

  59. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Ed Mertin says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm
    I don’t understand. The AP index was low in the 1930s on your graph. Yet the summers were said to be very hot and the drought was very bad. The 1930s are known as the great Dust Bowl in the plains.

    In my previous post I stated:There is no serious climate science without good understanding of the North Atlantic.
    It is to do with the North Atlantic Oscillation, the NAO.
    Some time ago I assembled a web page to clear-up some of the nonsense written about global (and in particular) N. Hemispheres warming/cooling:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NAOn.htm
    which will give answer to your question, take a look at the globe’s image with wet and dry areas..

  60. Stephen Richards says:

    The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum

    No, that is a symptom not the reason.

  61. Stephen Richards says:
    January 5, 2012 at 1:34 am
    “The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum”
    No, that is a symptom not the reason.

    Geomagnetic activity is generated by electric currents that are induced by the interaction of the magnetic field with the moving solar wind. So the speed of the wind is one of the factors causing geomagnetic activity, hence a reason and not a symptom. Perhaps you confuse ‘low activity’ with ‘low solar activity’. By ‘low activity’ I meant ‘low geomagnetic activity’.

  62. Sparks says:

    Leif, if there are oscillations between the suns activity and our planets temperature, shouldn’t it be explored? just a thought, when you brought up “oscillations” I immediately thought of their interactions and complexities, to me (in hindsight) the interaction of two solar maximum peaks tend to have more activity therefor more energy than one peak. the difference between the apex of these cycles seems to me just as important as the peak it’s self. After-all it’s the sun that regulates the energy input of our planets climate and not the composition of atmospheric gases. :)

  63. Sparks says:
    January 5, 2012 at 2:02 am
    Leif, if there are oscillations between the suns activity and our planets temperature, shouldn’t it be explored? just a thought, when you brought up “oscillations”
    Shows one has to be careful with words. I should have said ‘messy, wild swings’, to remove the implication of regulated [or forced] oscillations.

  64. polistra says:

    Just by ‘visual correlation’ I wouldn’t be inclined to interpret this last drop as heralding a downfall. Previous peak areas included similar local drops and rises; if anything, this type of delta seems to be characteristic of the middle of a peak, not indicating the end of a peak.

  65. AJB says:

    M.A.Vukcevic @ January 5, 2012 at 2:16 am
    Seems to have quietened down again …
    http://www.ct.ingv.it//sezioniesterne/segnali_sismici/SegnaliSismici.php?Stazione=ESVO_HHZ_IT&nPos=4

  66. Tom Rowan says:

    I remember when Anthony posted a comment some time ago about the Ap index going down.
    Anthony noted that the Ap seemed to be taking a “step change function” (er something,) downward suggesting a “change of state” of solar activity.

    Evidence of a “change of state” of our sun’s activity seems like a pretty big deal to me. It seems that the guys who predicted that sunspots may vanish as geomagnetic indexes fall may be on to something.

    Solar change of state to lower activity > lower Ap > higher global cosmic radiation > higher global cloud cover > cooler global temps

    Unlike the junk science of globalony, the sun’s lower activity is providing us the opportunity to test an actual scientific hypothesis.

    We shall see!

  67. Jim Cripwell says:

    FWIW, I know virtually nothing of how our sun behaves. I have read The Sun Kings, and many other documents, including two originals from Edward Maunder. Detailed observations of the sun started after the invention of the telescope in 1610, and good data has been obtained ever since then. Over the centuries, we have developed new and different instrumentation, and are now getting data which we have never seen before. It would seem that the sun has started to behave in a manner that has not been observed before. As a result, the experts differ as to what is happening, and what it means. Which is the way science ought to behave.

    Eventually, and hopefully, we will know precisely what it all means. Until then, let us non-experts sit back and enjoy the ride.

  68. John Day says:

    @Tom Rowan
    > Evidence of a “change of state” of our sun’s activity seems like a pretty big deal to me.

    When using terms like “sun’s activity” be aware that the term “solar activity” is a term frequently used in solar physics to refer the solar magnetic activity cycle, i.e. 11-year sunspot cycle, whose level of solar activity is indicated by relative numbers and sizes of sunspots.

    > It seems that the guys who predicted that sunspots may
    > vanish as geomagnetic indexes fall may be on to something.

    Geomagnetic indexes (e.g. Ap and Kp) are measures of disturbances in terrestrial magnetism. You are confusing Ap with the solar magnetic field strength, which is inferred from observing Zeeman splitting in solar spectra. The solar magnetic field strength is very high in the vicinity of sunspots, which suppresses upwelling lumination and makes the spots look darker than the surrounding photosphere.

    The Livingston-Penn effect (“L&P”) is based on a series of solar observations which indicate that the magnetic fields around the sunspots have been slowly decreasing for the last decade or so, independently of the solar activity cycle. This causes the sunspots to appear less dark. When the field intensity goes below 1500 Gauss, the spot becomes invisible because it is no longer darker than the surroundings. (But the sunspot is still there and active electromagnetically. Just invisible to the human eye, which can only see visible light).

    The geomagnetic Ap index does not measure solar activity in that sense. But Anthony keeps throwing out suggestions that the Ap index should somehow _closely_ follow the solar activity indexes (SSN and flux).

    The Ap index is more closely associated with the solar wind, which is generated by coronal holes, flares and other solar ejecta, and makes the Ap go up when solar wind is able to penetrate and connect inside the our magnetosphere, causing geomagnetic storms.

    The Ap index does not measure the solar magnetic field intensity. It doesn’t even measure the the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field. Rather it is a measure of tiny disturbances or tremors in the geomagnetic field, which are indicators for magnetic storms (on Earth!) and such. So the Ap index will low even if the magnetic field intensity is high, unless there are large disturbances in the field.

    Leif, are we in agreement on this?

  69. John Day says:
    January 5, 2012 at 6:55 am
    Leif, are we in agreement on this?
    With one additional fact: the solar wind which drives Ap is the result of solar magnetism and does show the 11-yr solar cycle [albeit in a non-trivial way].

  70. John Day says:

    @Leif
    > … solar wind … does show the 11-yr solar cycle …

    Yes, and that further explains the solar-cosmic ray connection mentioned above. The cosmic ray counts are sensitive to solar wind conditions, in an ‘inverse’ relationship: high solar activity causes cosmic ray counts to drop and low solar causes higher cosmic ray activity. So, the 11-year solar cycle thus “modulates” the cosmic ray activity cycles, via the solar wind, which you can see in this long range plot. (Turn it upside down and you can see the sunspot cycle activity!)

    http://helios.izmiran.rssi.ru/cosray/months.htm

  71. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    John Day says: January 5, 2012 at 8:10 am
    ……………
    Hi John
    It would be an easy job if it was as simple as that. Temperatures do respond to the solar oscillations to a minor degree, but the major factor appaers to be the AMO, as you can see here
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Spc.htm
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GT-AMO.htm
    The AMO has somewhat different period at about 9 years. Two oscillations will periodically get into quasi phase, which will give the impression that only one, i.e. the solar as the better known, is responsible for the temperatures oscillations.
    It would suit me just fine if the SSN is the major factor, since my SSN formula has for time being has proven itself to be one of the better forecasting tools of the sunspot activity
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC7a.htm
    If the CLOUD experiment doesn’t come up soon with something more definitive, then cosmic ray factor may well be written of as a major factor.

  72. John Day says:

    @Vuk
    > It would be an easy job if it was as simple as that.
    > Temperatures do respond to the solar oscillations
    > to a minor degree, but the major factor appaers to
    > be the AMO, as you can see here …

    Vuk, I wasn’t even talking about temps or climate. I was showing how the solar wind modulates the cosmic ray count. Don’t you have a regression chart for that over at talktalk.net?
    :-|

  73. Robert Brown says:

    For those that want to see the solar cycle in perspective, visit here:

    http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrsp-2008-3/

    especially figure 17 in section 4 — if I knew how to embed a figure in this interface I’d stick it right on in here. This will give you a much better feel for how serious a sham the CAGW hypothesis is, especially their assertion that there has be nothing special about the state of Mr. Sun in the 20th century.

    They tend not to emphasize the fact, but the 20th century was a Grand Maximum in solar activity, one of only three in the entire Holocene to reach such levels, and the second strongest after the double peak around 9000 BCE, eleven thousand years ago, associated with the beginning of the Holocene (end of the last ice age).

    From this figure, it is a near certainty that solar activity is plunging and will continue to plunge, at least back closer to the 12,000 year mean. Note well that the proxies of this study probably aren’t a perfect match to the current measures used by NASA, but the point is that if there is any coupling between an anomalously active Sun that produces a warmer global climate, one doesn’t need to invoke CO_2 at all as a proximate explanation. The fact that global temperatures have indeed levelled off with the dropping solar state (after a 30+ year lag that is commonly seen in the record and easy enough to understand given all of the 10, 20, 30, and 60 year cycles that affect cooling rates, given the ocean’s vast store of heat that takes decades to hundreds of years to give up) continues to suggest a serious regression of both solar state and temperature back towards (12,000 year) “normal”.

    Time will tell, of course.

    rgb

  74. dickm says:

    Thanks to Don and others for inverting my thinking. Though naive, I still hope that CERN/Cloud can impact some of these postulates. Any comments on that thought would be appreciated – your posts are terrific.

  75. Robert Brown says:
    January 5, 2012 at 9:59 am
    They tend not to emphasize the fact, but the 20th century was a Grand Maximum in solar activity
    There is good evidence that there was no Grand Maximum in the last half of the 20th century:
    http://www.leif.org/research/IAUS286-Mendoza-Svalgaard.pdf
    http://www.leif.org/research/Effect-of-Weighting-on-SSN.pdf

  76. John Day says:

    @Robert Brown
    > … the 20th century was a Grand Maximum in solar activity …

    … which seems to be supported by the big peak in the fig 4-17 chart. But why is there no evidence of the MWP around 1000AD?

    Is there any noise on this C14 signal which could cause a misinterpretation of these peaks and valleys?

  77. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    John Day says:
    January 5, 2012 at 9:42 am
    ………
    There is no doubt in the short term there is high correlation between the heliosperic magnetic field and the cosmic rays (the regression has been calculated by many far more competent than myself), but in the long term the Earth’s MF fluctuations are far stronger. To the most of us, the link would be of a minor academic interest (excluding the space people) if it can be shown that there is no temperature link.
    However, if there is a temperature link, than the temperatures since 1850 are affected to greater extent by the changes in the Earth’s field than by those of the inter-cycle oscillations.

  78. John Day says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:54 am
    But why is there no evidence of the MWP around 1000AD?
    Why should there be? There is in fact [weak] evidence for a Grand Minimum, the Oort Minimum at that time.

  79. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Robert Brown says:January 5, 2012 at 9:59 am
    ……….
    Hi Dr.Brown
    I put up the graph on my website
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-14C.gif
    but I have strong reservation about the 14C and 10Be reconstructions.

  80. adolfogiurfa says:

    Please don´t forget that every time Anthony has published a comment on the Ap Index, inmediately it happens what it has been called the “Watts effect”, a kind of sympathetic magic where the famous blogger actually affects Sun´s solar cycle almost instantly. Though we know that correlation does not mean causation, WUWT regulars wait with great expectancy this kind of posts, because they seem to reveal a kind of strange “sixth sense” of the popular blogger with the affairs occurring up above in the solar sphere, and immediately go to buy a lot of popcorn to attentively witness what will happen… even Dr.”S” and our friend Vuk buy theirs too, and wait…:-)

  81. Phil says:

    Look at the AP index in 2004 and see the 2009-10 El Nino, as well as the past decades temps reflecting on a 6.5 year lag.

    http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/4577/yapper5.jpg

    http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/2835/gggggggggggggggggggggge.png

  82. Phil says:

    Net decrease in AP relative to the Earth’s energy budget index leads to La Nina, upward spikes in the AP index lead to El Nino, 6.5 years down the road due to the thermal inertia of the ocean body. Change is driven through albedo and kinetic decoupling. When the sun reaches solar max we will begin a cooling trend. The Sun’s poles flip when the Sun hits max, the IMF goes north later this year, which when that happens it correlates to the dropoff in the AP index in 2005 on a 6.5 year lag, for some reason, which will be hit in ther lag time right when the IMF flips.

  83. John Day says:

    @Leif
    > Why should there be?

    If there were a strong positive link between solar ‘activity’ (sunspots/wind) and terrestrial climate such that increased activity implied higher temperatures, then you might argue (incorrectly perhaps) that higher historical temps implied increased historical solar activity. So in that sense, there “should be” a solar maximum to “explain” the MWP warming indicated by proxy records. Just saying.

    Yes, I know, if pigs had wings they could fly.
    :-|

  84. M.A.Vukcevic says:
    January 5, 2012 at 11:29 am
    but I have strong reservation about the 14C and 10Be reconstructions.
    Those are not much in doubt [as far ad their general run is concerned, although some details are debatable]. What is really wrong is Usoskin’s reconstruction of the Sunspot Number. Compare several 14C and 10Be based reconstructions with his and see how he overblows the recent “Grand Maximum” which shouldn’t even exist: http://www.leif.org/research/Usoskin-14C-10Be-GSN.png

  85. John Day says:
    January 5, 2012 at 11:59 am
    >” Why should there be?”
    If there were a strong positive link between solar ‘activity’ (sunspots/wind) and terrestrial climate
    But that is a circular argument. What the proxies show is that there isn’t a link.

  86. Don B says:

    Dr. Svalgaard, thanks for your explanations.

  87. Don B says:
    January 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard, thanks for your explanations.
    You are welcome.

  88. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Phil says:
    But this time, as for the extrapolations of M.Vukcevic, things will be different:
    The polarity change this year and in the 2024 the Sun will fail to change its polarity. Though we are beginning to suspect that any “interesting” matters will have nothing to do with CO2 and all to do with changes in our GMF. (Vuk will remain silent on this though)
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm

  89. Phil says:

    Who says the sunspot # has to correlate to background TSI?

  90. Phil says:

    Thats what I suspect may be the case, the PDO and AMO both correlate to the Sun’s polar flips, PDO flips everytime the IMF flips south, AMO changes everytime it flips north, (PDO in 1999, AMO in 2012). I too think the answer lies in magentism operating through Albedo in the Earth system, so I don’t uderstand Leif’s asserting that because (if he’s right) that there was no grand Max or long term trend in TSI and sunspots, that the Sun’s effect on the climate is small. That is big jump because TSI and the Sunspot # have already been found irrelavent to climate.

    It is more about the response in Earth system energies to relatively minor changes in the Sun, so there is no way to assert a “small” impact on climate, scientifically. The AP index clearly correlates to ENSO, and if minute variations in the AP index can force ENSO (albedo + the wind budget response to heat distribution) then thats all that anyone would need to know to take a stance.

  91. Ian says:

    Time will confirm Vukcevic’s predictions. If we can get a mechanism to explain the correlations, this may rank as another Milanković…

  92. Phil says:
    January 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm
    Who says the sunspot # has to correlate to background TSI?
    I do, except to variations of TSI above the unvarying background.

  93. John Day says:

    @Phil
    > Who says the sunspot # has to correlate to background TSI?
    @Leif
    > I do, except to variations of TSI above the unvarying background.

    Don’t get your hopes up, Phil. The total sunspot# variation is only 0.1% of the total TSI (1361 W/m² ), 70 times smaller than the change due to annual Sun-Earth distance variation.
    http://www.leif.org/research/Eddy-Symp-Poster-2.pdf (slide #4)
    (Leif, thanks for researching and disseminating this info to the world!)

    That’s why TSI used to be called the “Solar Constant”.

  94. tallbloke says:

    steven mosher says:
    January 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm
    TB
    That sounds like a climate model prediction.
    predictions must be falsifiable in principle. numbers dude. add some numbers

    Sure:
    Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six
    (You could say she’s got it all)

  95. Rosco says:

    All this clearly shows is we really don’t know and that we deinitely cannot do more than influence climate and our land use practices are probably more of a driver than a trace gas.

    I do not believe the Sun’s irradiation is NOT the prime driver of climate in that it is the single biggest source of energy. I do not believe it doesnot vary over various time scales especially annually even if this is only an artifact of an elliptical orbit.

    How do people go around making positive pronouncements like TSI varies by only 0.1% ?

    And isn’t 0.1% slightly bigger than 0.04% ?

  96. Zeke says:

    tallbloke says:
    Sure:
    Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six
    (You could say she’s got it all)

    Plus the 250,000 per year.

  97. Steven Mosher says:

    “After-all it’s the sun that regulates the energy input of our planets climate and not the composition of atmospheric gases. :)”

    incomplete. Fill the atmosphere with a gas that blocks incoming SW or outgoing longwave and you change the energy input.

    ever try to shine a light through a cloud
    ever try to sense an Ir emitter through C02?

  98. Stephen Wilde says:

    John Day asked:

    “So in that sense, there “should be” a solar maximum to “explain” the MWP warming indicated by proxy records. Just saying.”

    As you requested:

    “The warm climate overlaps with a time of high solar activity called the Medieval Maximum”

    from here:

    http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/medieval_warm_period.html

    but I don’t accept their use of the hockey stick or the assumption that recent decades have been warmer than the MWP.

  99. tallbloke says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Robert Brown says:
    January 5, 2012 at 9:59 am
    They tend not to emphasize the fact, but the 20th century was a Grand Maximum in solar activity
    There is good evidence that there was no Grand Maximum in the last half of the 20th century:

    Activity was well above the average over the period of record all the way from 1930 to 2003

  100. tallbloke says:

    Mike A. says:
    January 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    A climate scientist who became embroiled in the ‘Climategate’ scandal has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours List.

    Professor Bob Watson of the University of East Anglia, who is also the chief scientific adviser at Defra, has been handed one of the highest honours an individual can receive.

    The professor has consistently warned that there will be a significant rise in global temperatures unless there is a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions. In December 2009 he said: “If we stayed on the road of the last decade or two, we would be much more on the high emissions scenario of the IPCC and that plausibly could take us up by 6C.” “

    It was Bigears call. For services to propaganda apparently.

    He was also head of the IPCC and chief scientist for the World Bank

    Follow the money…
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/climategate-2-follow-the-money-to-see-who-calls-the-shots/

  101. tallbloke says:

    Zeke says:
    January 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    tallbloke says:
    Sure:
    Forty-two, thirty-nine, fifty-six
    (You could say she’s got it all)

    Plus the 250,000 per year.

    I never realised Bon Scott’s ladyfriend got so well paid. ;)

  102. John Day says:

    @Stephen Wilde
    > “The warm climate overlaps with a time of high solar activity
    > called the Medieval Maximum”
    > http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/medieval_warm_period.html

    We have a problem with that because the MM didn’t occur until after 1200AD and was preceded by the Oort Minimum just after 1000AD, coinciding with the time when Greenland (“Vinland”) had warmed up enough to support farming and communities for the Vikings.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sp%C3%B6rer_Minimum

  103. tallbloke says:
    January 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    “There is good evidence that there was no Grand Maximum in the last half of the 20th century”
    Activity was well above the average over the period of record all the way from 1930 to 2003

    Average since 1749 is 59, 1930-2003 is but 73. That does not make it a Grand Maximum. Here is what the Grand Maximum Myth presents: http://www.leif.org/research/Usoskin-14C-10Be-GSN.png

  104. Stephen Wilde says:

    “We have a problem with that because the MM didn’t occur until after 1200AD and was preceded by the Oort Minimum just after 1000AD,”

    It was relatively high from 800 to 1300 with the Oort as a small dip in the middle. It makes sense for maximum troposphere warmth to be towards the end of the period of high solar activity.

  105. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm
    It makes sense for maximum troposphere warmth to be towards the end of the period of high solar activity.
    Since everything always makes sense to you and confirms any and all notions you might harbor, does this also make sense: http://www.leif.org/research/Usoskin-14C-10Be-GSN.png

  106. Stephen Wilde says:

    No Leif.

    I bow to you on many technical issues but not on judgement where the data is unreliable.

    And I am wary of so called reconstructions whoever prepares them.

  107. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm
    I bow to you on many technical issues but not on judgement where the data is unreliable.
    And yet you say that the data makes sense, instead of admitting that we can’t say either way. There is a word for that.

  108. meemoe_uk says:

    I’ve looked at http://www.leif.org/research/Usoskin-14C-10Be-GSN.png, and from inspection, its clear to me there is a correlation between SSN proxies and climatic periods on Earth. There’s distinct dips in the 14C and 10Be during 600 – 750AD and 1250AD-1920AD correlating to the ‘dark ages’ and the LIA, and higher plateus for 750AD-1250AD and 1920-2000AD correlating with the MWP and 20th century warm period.
    The proxies are higher still before 500AD, around the roman warm period, which is reckoned to be warmer than today and the MWP.
    Leif : What the proxies show is that there isn’t a link
    The exact opposite is true. The proxies evidence a direct link between SSN and Earth climate. Most readers of this blog believe this and can see it in your charts. Why do you think an anti-AGW blog is so focused on solar activity?

  109. meemoe_uk says:
    January 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    Leif : “What the proxies show is that there isn’t a link”
    The exact opposite is true. The proxies evidence a direct link between SSN and Earth climate.

    Then it is time to put the temperature on the plot as well. Now it should be clear that there is no correlation; e.g. look at the deepest minimum of all the past 200 years around 650AD: http://www.leif.org/research/Temperature-vs-10Be-14C.png

    Most readers of this blog believe this and can see it in your charts.
    Most readers suffer from confirmation bias: to see what they want to see and ignore what doesn’t fit. This is a normal human affliction. You should know it well.

    Why do you think an anti-AGW blog is so focused on solar activity?
    beats me. The AGW people NEED solar activity to explain LIA, MWP, and even the rise in the 20th century until ~1950, e.g. http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2009Q1/111/Readings/Lockwood2007_Recent_oppositely_directed_trends.pdf
    “There are many interesting palaeoclimate studies that suggest that solar variability had an influence on pre-industrial climate. There are also some detection–attribution studies using global climate models that suggest there was a detectable influence of solar variability in the first half of the twentieth century and that the solar radiative forcing variations were amplified by some mechanism that is, as yet, unknown. However, these findings are not relevant to any debates about modern climate change. Our results show that the observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanisms is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified”
    They are the biggest fans of solar activity. If I may speculate, I might say that anti-AGW cult desperately need a mechanism, any mechanism [even astrology], to counter the AGW cult who has a mechanism.

  110. Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm
    look at the deepest minimum of all the past 2000 years around 650AD

  111. Phil says:

    The past data could be incorrect or it could be fine, there is no direct quantitative way to say with certainty, I don’t find adjusting of data based on speculation or qualitative potential odds to be viable but that us just me.

    Using Leif’s own AP index calculation one can find the correlation (not necessarily causation) of the AP index to the 2009-10 El Nino, and a correlation to the variation in the past decades temps. In my view, not enough attention is paid to the geomagnetic field and magnetic flux, cloud albedo variation is so important. Think about it, AP index –> cloud variation through forcing on the AO and NAO oscillations –> changes in heat distribution —> change in the global wind budget —> ENSO. There is no proof that this is the direct causative mechanism, but ENSO/variation in the global temp and the AP index correlate very well especially in the 2009-10 El Nino.

    If the AP Index was the culprit for the 2009-10 El Nino, then any notion that the Sun’s influence is minor can be put to permanent rest.

  112. meemoe_uk says:
    January 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm
    Leif : “What the proxies show is that there isn’t a link”
    The exact opposite is true.

    Still think so if I overlay the temperature and cosmic ray records?
    http://www.leif.org/research/Temperature-on-10Be-14C.png

  113. Phil says:
    January 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    If the AP Index was the culprit for the 2009-10 El Nino, then any notion that the Sun’s influence is minor can be put to permanent rest.
    This is a vacuous statement. You could make it meaningful by replacing the initial ‘if’ by ‘since’, but then you have to show that that is true. One swallow does not a summer make. What you need to do is to produce a list of times of El Ninos as far back in time as possible. Then make a ‘superposed epoch’ analysis with those times as key times and show that the Ap response is statistically significant. Until you have done that it is just hand waving.

  114. Phil says:
    January 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    I don’t find adjusting of data based on speculation or qualitative potential odds to be viable but that us just me.
    Imagine a data set constructed as a mean of several station series. Now it is discovered that some of the stations reported the temps in Centigrade while others reported in Fahrenheit. Clearly, to make the data set useful, this error has to be corrected and the data adjusted to reflect a uniform scale [either one will do]. But, just you would not do that. You would continue to use the wrongly constructed data set, especially if it confirmed your pet theory, right?

  115. Phil says:

    Leif, I will do just that. I really do hope in the meantime you at least give it a look very carefully. en the AP Index is on a net decrease on a yearly scale, La Nina is present 6 years later for as long as the decrease lasts, always. Visa versa for El Nino. Every single El Nino is represented in Solar cycle 23, as is every La Nina, the very high AP spike in the 1991-92 timeframe correlates to the 1997-98 El Nino 6 years later, the 2003-04 AP index correlates incredibly well in shape and length to the 2009-10 El Nino.

    http://www.leif.org/research/Ap-Index-1932-now.png
    http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/8382/boobies9.jpg
    http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/4577/yapper5.jpg
    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/9337/temperature4445557.jpg

  116. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    Only reasonable correlation is with the Earth’s magnetic field delta (change), but again it is two reconstructions. Keep in mind that further you go back in time greater uncertainty in the amplitude and time factor.
    Here is the Loehle temperature vs. Potsdam and Zurich geo-magnetic reconstructions:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LL.htm

  117. meemoe_uk says:

    Leif : Still think so if I overlay the temperature and cosmic ray records?

    Depends on the temperature graph used. You’ve selected Loehle, I’d select GISP2
    http://westinstenv.org/wp-content/postimage/Lappi_Greenland_ice_core_10000yrs.jpg

    Most readers suffer from confirmation bias
    Yes, but that’s a double edged sword, it applies to you as it does to me. We’ve selected temperature graphs that pre-suit our hypotheses.

  118. meemoe_uk says:

    This is what Loehle said about a graph which shows the roman warm period as warmer than his graph ( one you use ), and by this creates a significant temperature dip in the dark ages to correlate with the SSN proxies.
    The new recon shows the Roman Warm Period, which I agree is probably more correct than in my graph.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/28/loehle-vindication/

  119. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    meemoe_uk says: January 6, 2012 at 3:50 am
    ………..
    Greenland temperature reference even if correct is not representative of the rest of N. Hemisphere, it all depends on the NAO phase.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NAOn.htm
    Since 10Be deposition records are also from Greenland and they are affected to the large extent by local precipitation and consequently the GISP, NGRIP and Dye records are to be taken with extreme care. Differences between two neighbouring sites are often so large that whole dating process may be questionable. There are number of recently published papers on the subject.

  120. Good that Mr. Watts allows David Archibald to express his common sense view of things.
    Otherwise, we would be left with nothing but double-talk and obfuscation.

  121. Stephen Richards says:

    Leif

    Nearly there. The current is generates by the solar wind interaction creates a magnetic à la Maxwell but what changes the solar wind velocity., please ?

  122. meemoe_uk says:

    M.A.Vukcevic : Greenland temperature reference even if correct is not representative of the rest of N. Hemisphere, it all depends on the NAO phase….
    There’s always some voice saying some source is unreliable.
    which is why Ljungqvist went to the trouble of combining 30 different temperature proxies. The result was qualitatively the same as GISP2.
    i.e. Roman warm period, dark ages cool period, MWP, LIA, 20th century warm period.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/28/loehle-vindication/
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/ljungqvist2010/ljungqvist2010.txt

  123. meemoe_uk says:
    January 6, 2012 at 3:50 am
    Depends on the temperature graph used.
    If so, there is no evidence either way. Nothing of “showing exactly the opposite”.

    This is what Loehle said about a graph which shows the roman warm period as warmer than his graph ( one you use ),
    Overlaying the other graph as well, just makes the fit worse.
    http://www.leif.org/research/Temperature-on-10Be-14C.png

  124. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    meemoe_uk
    I am not attempting to persuade anyone, but just expressing caution.
    For some of my research I looked into the Greenland temperatures during the last 30 years (there is a very reliable instrumental record). As you can see from the link temperature anomaly (normalised at the 1980 value, 10 year moving average) fluctuate widely from east to the west coast and do not appear to very representative of the Northern hemisphere’s temperatures for the same period.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GrnlndT.htm
    As they say ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice’.

  125. John Day says:

    Stephen Richards says:
    January 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Leif

    Nearly there. The current is generates by the solar wind interaction creates a magnetic à la Maxwell but what changes the solar wind velocity., please ?

    Leif must be busy, so I’ll give a try at answering your somewhat incoherent question.

    > … current is generates by the solar wind
    > interaction creates a magnetic à la Maxwell …

    Magnetic field generated by the solar wind, perhaps? If you already know the plasma current, then the Biot-Savart Law would be sufficient, otherwise, yes, you can compute the magnetic field over a collection of moving point charges using Maxwell’s equations.

    > … but what changes the solar wind velocity., please ?

    I think that’s a non-sequitur because you’re implying that a change in the current is required to generate the magnetic field. A steady-state current generates a steady B field. A changing current generates an electromagnetic wave.

    In any case, the low-speed background solar wind (>= 400k/s) is generated by plasma continuously streaming off the solar equator. Episodes of higher speed wind are triggered by CME’s and coronal holes.

    It’s true that big solar flares generate instantaneous magnetic field spikes in the upper atmosphere, due to the enhanced UV/X-ray ionization. But since the solar wind is already ionized, flares don’t have such an instant effect on solar wind unless they’re riding under a plasma filament, which gets pushed out as a CME, which will still take a day or two,three to reach Earth.

    > Nearly there.
    I hope that gets you to where you were going.

  126. meemoe_uk says:

    Overlaying the other graph as well, just makes the fit worse.
    The correlation is broadly there. At fine resolution its poor, but when your themometers are sedimentary the resolution isn’t expected to be good.
    Its good enough for me to see the 5 periods mentioned above in each graph.

  127. Mr. Alex says:

    “The value for December, 2011 is a case in point. It is plotted as 2, but the real value is estimated [by BGS] to be 4.1″

    Big deal. Whether it is 2 or 4.1 those numbers are still in the low range!

  128. meemoe_uk says:
    January 6, 2012 at 10:08 am
    Its good enough for me to see the 5 periods mentioned above in each graph.
    Dealing with true believers is always hard…

  129. John Day says:
    January 6, 2012 at 9:58 am
    Magnetic field generated by the solar wind, perhaps? If you already know the plasma current, then the Biot-Savart Law would be sufficient, otherwise, yes, you can compute the magnetic field over a collection of moving point charges using Maxwell’s equations.
    I think that’s a non-sequitur because you’re implying that a change in the current is required to generate the magnetic field. A steady-state current generates a steady B field. A changing current generates an electromagnetic wave.

    you cannot apply those laws directly to a plasma with practically infinite conductivity. What happens is that the magnetic field in the corona reconnects with itself [if the configuration and topology are right] and generates currents that heat the corona and make it expand, basically ‘evaporating’ it away from the sun. Because solar gravity decreases with height, the force [or restriction] that holds the corona near the Sun is gradually relaxed. This causes the expansion speed to become supersonic [much as what happens in a de Laval rocket nozzle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Laval_nozzle ]. Because the conductivity is ‘infinite’, the magnetic field is ‘frozen’ into the plasma and is dragged out into space. So what we see at Earth is an imprint of the solar magnetic field some 4 days earlier [the time it takes the solar wind at 400 km/s to reach the Earth]. The solar atmosphere is a complicated beast where in some places the field pushes around the plasma while in other places it is the other way around. In the end, the plasma wins and drags the field out into space. Nearer the sun the magnetic fields channels the flow of the plasma, and at the surface and below, the plasma pushes around the magnetic field.

  130. Ben D Hillicoss says:

    who was counting sunspots in 650AD??

  131. Ben D Hillicoss says:
    January 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    who was counting sunspots in 650AD??
    Cosmic rays were. Sunspots carry magnetic fields that eventually end up in interplanetary space where they help turn cosmic rays away from the sun, thus changing the number of cosmic rays hitting the Earth where they collide with the air and generate radioactive nuclei that eventually may fall on ice and be embedded in the ice. Drilling cores out of the ice and measuring the radioactivity along the core we can keep track of how the sunspots count changed with time. Also, sunspots can at times be seen with the naked eye, and we have records from China and Korea going back much further than 650AD. So, if you were trying to be facetious, you failed.

  132. John Day says:

    @Leif
    > … the magnetic field in the corona reconnects with itself
    > [if the configuration and topology are right]
    > and generates currents that heat the corona and make it expand,
    > basically ‘evaporating’ it away from the sun.

    So does that magnetic process manifest itself in those plasma loops that are rendered so clearly in EUV at 171A? http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_1024_0171.jpg

    > …The solar atmosphere is a complicated beast …

    Yes, but actually I was addressing the solar wind closer to the Earth. Could those plasma currents be modelled using the classical physics formulae? I guess I don’t quite understand how the magnetic field could be ‘frozen’ into the plasma 93 million miles from the Sun.

  133. Khwarizmi says:

    BBC, February 13, 1998
    The Sun is more active than it has ever been in the last 300 years
    Climate changes such as global warming may be due to changes in the sun rather than to the release of greenhouse gases on Earth.
    Climatologists and astronomers speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Philadelphia say the present warming may be unusual – but a mini ice age could soon follow.
    =========

    BBC, 6 July 2004
    Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
    A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.
    Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star’s activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth’s climate became steadily warmer.
    ============

    BBC, April 21, 2009
    ‘Quiet Sun’ baffling astronomers
    “If the Sun’s dimming were to have a cooling effect, we’d have seen it by now.” – Mike Lockwood
    ============

    BBC 5 July 2011
    UK faces more harsh winters in solar activity dip

    [...] Last year, Professor Lockwood and colleagues published a paper that identified a link between fewer sunspots and atmospheric conditions that “blocked” warm westerly winds reaching Europe during winter months, opening the way for cold easterlies from the Arctic and Russia to sweep across the region.
    Professor Lockwood, while acknowledging that there were a range of possible meteorological factors that could influence blocking events, said the latest study moved things forward by showing that there was “improvement in the predictive skill” when solar activity was taken into account.
    =========

    An improvement in predictive skill is more important than understanding mechanism. You can have a predictive tool without understanding how it works.

  134. Johnnythelowery says:

    I always love a good Solar thread. I’m still, after all these years, still trying to understand why it ISN’T the Sun!!! to blame for the agreed warming and the general state of affairs down here. . I believe the onesss is on the one trying to show that it is the Sun but never realized how thin the connection is. .

    THat one of the world’s foremost authorities on all things solar, blogs here in the first place is amazing, but that he believes, correctly by the looks of it, that the Sun has nowt to do with it is even more amazing. The whole solar thing is just……flipping fascinating!!! SO, thanks to all. And Cheers to Tallbloke. We’re thinking of you. Did you get your computers back?? Call them and bug them about it. You need them…..etc.

  135. John Day says:
    January 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm
    So does that magnetic process manifest itself in those plasma loops that are rendered so clearly in EUV at 171A?
    The loops are in the region where the magnetic field overpowers the plasma, which is then forced to move along the field and trace out those beautiful loops. When loops of different directions [of the magnetic field] touch, the fields can connect to form a different loop, in the process inducing electrical currents that heat [both by ordinary Joule heating and by accelerating particles to high speed that heat on impact with other material] the plasma [and you have a solar flare].

    …The solar atmosphere is a complicated beast …
    Yes, but actually I was addressing the solar wind closer to the Earth. Could those plasma currents be modelled using the classical physics formulae? I guess I don’t quite understand how the magnetic field could be ‘frozen’ into the plasma 93 million miles from the Sun.

    The solar wind is also just a part of the solar atmosphere extending more than 100 astronomical units away from the Sun. The classical physics formula have to be modified to their MHD-versions to work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetohydrodynamics
    The trick to understand the frozen in condition is as follows: moving a conductor in a magnetic field [or vice versa] induces an electric field. Lenz’s law [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenz%27s_law ] works such that an induced electromotive force (emf) always gives rise to a current whose magnetic field opposes the original change in magnetic flux, meaning that the flux cannot change, is thus ‘frozen in’.

    Khwarizmi says:
    January 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    The Sun is more active than it has ever been in the last 300 years…
    A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years.

    I don’t think so.
    An improvement in predictive skill is more important than understanding mechanism. You can have a predictive tool without understanding how it works.
    True enough, but that is VERY hard to accomplish. In most cases it will fail eventually if you don’t know how it works.

    Johnnythelowery says:
    January 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm
    That one of the world’s foremost authorities on all things solar, blogs here in the first place is amazing, but that he believes, correctly by the looks of it, that the Sun has nowt to do with it is even more amazing. The whole solar thing is just……flipping fascinating!!!
    It is, indeed. And the Sun does have a lot to do with SPACE weather and its technological consequences.

  136. Ulric Lyons says:

    “The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.”

    It is typically at the lowest on the rising side of the cycle in the first couple of years after minimum:
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/AreaAp.png

  137. Ulric Lyons says:

    @Phil says:
    January 5, 2012 at 11:58 am
    “Net decrease in AP relative to the Earth’s energy budget index leads to La Nina, upward spikes in the AP index lead to El Nino, 6.5 years down the road due to the thermal inertia of the ocean body.”

    That is the wrong way round and there is little lag. A falling trend in the solar wind speed brings on El Nino conditions, and a rising trend in the solar wind speed brings on La Nina conditions.

  138. Ulric Lyons says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm
    “look at the deepest minimum of all the past 2000 years around 650AD”

    Exactly what I was looking at, and all I can find is cold events in the 7th Century…

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/geos462/holobib.html

    http://syrcom.cua.edu/Hugoye/Vol3No2/HV3N2Morony.html

    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/500_750.htm

  139. Ulric Lyons says:

    Phil says:
    January 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    “There is no proof that this is the direct causative mechanism, but ENSO/variation in the global temp and the AP index correlate very well especially in the 2009-10 El Nino.”

    It correlates particularly well with falling solar wind speeds, as does the 1997/98 Ell Nino:
    http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/tmp/images/ret_30887.gif
    (no lag involved)

  140. Ulric Lyons says:
    January 7, 2012 at 11:17 am
    “The reason for the low activity is that the solar wind speed is low [365 km/s]. This often happens near solar maximum.”
    It is typically at the lowest on the rising side of the cycle in the first couple of years after minimum:
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/AreaAp.png

    There are two local minima, one just after minimum and one at maximum: http://www.leif.org/research/Climatological%20Solar%Wind.png the density is lowest at solar maximum, leading to a minimum in solar wind pressure right at solar minimum.

  141. There are two local minima, one just after minimum and one at maximum: http://www.leif.org/research/Climatological%20Solar%20Wind.png the density is lowest at solar maximum, leading to a minimum in solar wind pressure right at solar minimum: http://www.leif.org/research/Space-Climate-n-B-V-Flow.png

  142. Ulric Lyons says:

    @Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm
    “There are two local minima, one just after minimum and one at maximum:”

    Yes I am aware of the one at maximum, as you may remember from my comments about more frequent colder winters around cycle maximum`s. Though I must say they vary considerably, and clearly the Ap index is consistently lower at the one just after minimum:
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/AreaAp.png

  143. Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm
    Fingers a bit stiff today:
    There are two local minima in solar wind speed, one just after minimum and one at maximum: http://www.leif.org/research/Climatological%20Solar%20Wind.png the density is lowest at solar maximum, leading to a minimum in solar wind pressure right at solar maximum http://www.leif.org/research/Space-Climate-n-B-V-Flow.png

  144. Ulric Lyons says:
    January 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm
    Though I must say they vary considerably, and clearly the Ap index is consistently lower at the one just after minimum
    Basically because the solar wind magnetic field is lowest then. At solar max, the magnetic field B is at a maximum, so Ap tends to be less low. To good approximation Ap = 1/3 * B * Vo^2 where B is in nanoTesla near Earth and Vo is wind speed in units of 100 km/s.

  145. Ulric Lyons says:

    @Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    “the density is lowest at solar maximum, leading to a minimum in solar wind pressure right at solar maximum”

    So there is a low in flow pressure around maximum yes:
    http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/tmp/images/ret_20809.gif
    but the Ap index is still typically at its lowest just after cycle minimum`s:
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/AreaAp.png

  146. Ulric Lyons says:

    @Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Ulric Lyons says:
    January 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm
    Though I must say they vary considerably, and clearly the Ap index is consistently lower at the one just after minimum
    >Basically because the solar wind magnetic field is lowest then.

    No I am saying that the local Ap minima at maximum varies considerably from cycle to cycle
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/AreaAp.png

  147. Ulric Lyons says:
    January 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm
    No I am saying that the local Ap minima at maximum varies considerably from cycle to cycle
    That is why it takes 13 cycles to see the systematic variation. Ap varies then because the magnetic field B varies [with the sunspot number]. All this is well understood in physical terms.

  148. boogiedown2011 says:

    Basically we must breed in times off the apocalypse this solves everything i mean we all cant die its just like roaches…………………………..

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