January solar cycle 24 numbers, a new high for one, continued slumps for others

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center released their January 2014 solar data, and it has one small surprise, the 10.7 radio flux is the highest ever in cycle 24, the other metrics, not so much.

SSN has been about where the much adjusted prediction line says it should  be for the last four months. 

Latest Sunspot number prediction

The 10.7cm radio flux hits a new high.

Latest F10.7 cm flux number prediction

Meanwhile, the Ap magnetic index continues its slump as it has since October 2005, bumping along the bottom.

Latest Planetary A-index number prediction

210 thoughts on “January solar cycle 24 numbers, a new high for one, continued slumps for others

  1. Interesting. Flux falling out of linearaity with sunspot number. Seems a bit of a Livingston and Penn effect and a sign of a minimum coming (Leif always claimed flux less inhibited by minima than sunspot number).

  2. One reason the F10.7 is so high is that what is plotted is the observed flux, not the flux adjusted to 1 AU, which is the one one should compare with the SSN. Due to our proximity to the Sun the observed flux is about 5 units higher than the adjusted flux.

  3. Thanks leif.
    I suspect no one will object to adjusting the raw observed value to one that uses a consistent basis

  4. Steven Mosher says:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks leif.
    I suspect no one will object to adjusting the raw observed value to one that uses a consistent basis
    ___________________
    Just can’t help yourself, can you?

  5. Steven Mosher says:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm
    I suspect no one will object to adjusting the raw observed value to one that uses a consistent basis
    The one shown is the one of interest for things on the Earth, so no objection should be raised at all.

  6. Mosher writes “I suspect no one will object to adjusting the raw observed value to one that uses a consistent basis”

    Well surely that would depend on how the data is to be used. If we’re interested in the effect of the F10.7 in our atmosphere for example then the data should be used as measured but if we’re interested in looking at how the F10.7 changes over time then we’d want to be looking at a standardised value.

  7. Well if we are primarily concerned with the effect on earth, I would use the measured value. If I wanted to know what old sol was up to, I would adjust the measured for the presumably 1/r^2 fall off with distance.

    But then I would probably be wrong.

  8. TimTheToolMan says:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm
    ——————
    That’s exactly Mosh’s point, but he was being a smart—. He’s a great champion of massaging data until it confesses.

  9. @Leif
    > …the observed flux is about 5 units higher than the adjusted flux.

    True, but the previous max SF was also in winter (Nov 2011), so the relative rankings didn’t change. The Jan-2014 readings are highest in both cases (observed, adjusted)

    yyyy mm obs adj
    2011 11 153.50 150.23
    2014 01 162.69 157.50
    http://www.spaceweather.ca/solarflux/sx-5-mavg-eng.php (data)
    http://www.spaceweather.ca/solarflux/sx-6-mavg-eng.php (plot)

    Since SF isn’t affected as much by the L-P Effect, shouldn’t we consider this to be the best proxy for solar magnetic activity?

  10. Until this last bottom in the AP index, over the last century, bottoms were often in the 5-10 zone, with a rounded, extended sort of shape to the bottoms.

    Highs were usually brief spikes, often in the 30-45 area.

    This current high has yet to display the spike high type pattern and if this doesn’t happen, the graph formation of this high will resemble what previous lows looked like(turned upside down).
    That is………. more of a stretched out, rounded top, being unable to spike even as high as 15 so far.

    I’m no Leif Svaalgard, just stating the obvious and excited that something this unique is occurring that we’ll probably learn significant new things from.

  11. Alan writes “That’s exactly Mosh’s point, but he was being a smart—. He’s a great champion of massaging data until it confesses.”

    Personally I dislike adjustments that are based on assumption. For example if the policy was to read a weather station at a particular time of the day but the actual times weren’t recorded then IMO a TOBS adjustment based on policy alone would be inappropriate.

    And then there are the misunderstandings on data sets. If the F10.7 data was standardised to 1AU (for comparison purposes ala Leif) but then someone used it in an atmosphere model without understanding the impact or maybe because that metadata was simply lost then again I have a problem.

    Adjustments can lead to their own problems.

  12. The standard reply for the Ap is (paraphrasing) nothing to see here, same as it ever was. So how many more months/years before this “pause” have to continue before it becomes something to see?

  13. Berkeley needs to now use a tweakable parameter data slicer and dicer to spit out something called the BerkSun that matches climate models better and call it macaroni, er…I mean a proud improvement that will allow the academics involved to make a skeevy revisionist claim that they used to skeptics despite numerous quotes to the contrary.

  14. On Nov 17, 2013, the highest SSN of 282 of the year was recorded, along with the second highest SF of 177. The four day period from Nov. 14-17 had the highest solar flux and SSNs for the year, with a SF of 178 on Nov. 15.

    On Nov 17, there was significant volcanic activity in the Pacific ring of fire and tornadoes in the US, under a full moon, even though protons weren’t prominent, and Ap was only 6, and Kp was under 4. Coincidence or causative?

    It appears useful to analyze daily solar activity in relationship to daily Earth events. Are monthly averages compiled for simplicity in producing plots or for some other reason?

  15. John Day says:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    True, but the previous max SF was also in winter (Nov 2011), so the relative rankings didn’t change.
    They did, from a ratio of 1.0218 to a ratio of 1.0343.
    But, the adjustment is only [as I said] part of the reason.

    TimTheToolMan says:
    February 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm
    Personally I dislike adjustments that are based on assumption.
    There are no assumptions involved in this adjustment.

    And then there are the misunderstandings on data sets.
    The technicians and scientists who use the data are not morons [contrary to what some here believe] and apply things as they should.

    Bob Weber says:
    February 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm
    Coincidence or causative?
    This has been studied extensively in detail and there is no evidence for anything causative.

  16. Why are the ISES predictions biased high for sunspot number? I would have put it at <75 and it is at 85? What is driving the assumption that SSN will be higher than it has been?

  17. Paul Westhaver says:
    February 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm
    Why are the ISES predictions biased high for sunspot number? I would have put it at <75 and it is at 85? What is driving the assumption that SSN will be higher than it has been?
    The ISES prediction is [per policy] unchanged since it was made in 2009. Already at that time it was clear to some on the Panel [I was on it] that the predicted value of 90 was too high. My own prediction was 70, but the panel felt that it was easier to reach consensus on 90, and that the uncertainty is such that there is really no significant different between 90 and 70.

  18. I was taught to record the measured values exactly as measured, then show the method of adjustments (so the work could be verified) and record that adjusted data separately, clearly documenting measured and calculated values. If this method is followed it preserves the measured data for future analysis. I don’t see where that principle is violated here, and the adjustment method and reasoning is well documented.

  19. lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    “My own prediction was 70, but the panel felt that it was easier to reach consensus on 90, and that the uncertainty is such that there is really no significant different between 90 and 70.”

    Yet so far, the average of the solar peak seems to be about 60.

  20. Steven Mosher says: @ February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    When I was kid our house cost 15,000 dollars.

    I trust none of you will adjust that number.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The Fed already did via inflation (currency devaluation) The ‘value’ of the house is the same but the number of dollars is not.

    (You could also value the house in barrels of oil.)

  21. John Day says:
    True, but the previous max SF was also in winter (Nov 2011), so the relative rankings didn’t change.
    Leif says:
    They did, from a ratio of 1.0218 to a ratio of 1.0343.

    Leif, I wrote ranking not ratio. “A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two items, the first is either ‘ranked higher than’, ‘ranked lower than’ or ‘ranked equal to’ the second.” [Wikipedia]

    So the Jan 2014 readings were ranked higher than the Nov 2011 values, regardless of any normalization.

    I thought your original comment might have created the impression that the Jan 2014 SF value wouldn’t have been a new high if the value had been normalized to 1 AU.
    :-|

  22. Re: Polar Vortex….
    Slightly of topic…

    I said the sun indirectly caused the polar vortex. I was wrong. The sun is directly responsible in that the solar wind interaction with the IMF affects that magnetosphere and thereby affecting the polar vortex.
    This paper implies that the polar vortex is caused by the action of the magnetosphere in creating electric fields around the footprint of the magnetosphere in the atmosphere….
    The footprints create the polar vortex by ionic circulation around the touch down point.

    I think this paper should be added to your polar vortex reference page.

    “Low-Energy Ion Escape from the Terrestrial Polar Regions”
    ‘The foot points of the magnetic field lines create a convection pattern (red) in the high-latitude ionosphere. As a result, an electric field (blue) is built up. The convection pattern follows equipotential contours of the polar cap electric field. 22

    Figure 2.6 of polar electric fields that look like double polar vortex..

    “Φ is referred to as the cross-polar cap potential. Equipotential contours of this potential are perpendicular to both the electric and magnetic fields, which means that the convection flow will be along these contours. In the polar cap proper the electric field is directed towards dusk, while it is directed towards dawn in the auroral region (see Figure 2.6(a)).”

    Snip

    “The polar wind is mainly varying with solar UV flux, since it controls the ionization rate and photoelectron production in the ionosphere. Therefore the polar wind is sometimes referred to as photothermal outflow (Moore and Horwitz, 2007). The auroral outflows, on the other hand, are enhanced during active times, when the solar wind-ionospheric coupling is strong. Since the
    solar wind energy input shows larger variability than the solar radiation, the auroral wind is much more variable than the polar wind. Nsumei et al. (2008) have shown that solar illumination controls the plasma density over the polar caps mainly at low altitudes (below 2.5 RE), whereas it is controlled by the geomagnetic activity at higher altitudes (above 4 RE).”

    http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:210978/FULLTEXT01

    Brant

  23. Sparks says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    “My own prediction was 70, but the panel felt that it was easier to reach consensus on 90, and that the uncertainty is such that there is really no significant different between 90 and 70.”
    Yet so far, the average of the solar peak seems to be about 60.

    The peak so far in the smoothed number [which is what we predict has been 67 or ‘about 70′

    John Day says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm
    Leif, I wrote ranking not ratio.
    Ranking means little [1000 is ranked higher than 999.9, but is hardly any different], the ratio is what is important, so I [wrongly] assumed that you meant ratio.

  24. Brant Ra says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm
    I said the sun indirectly caused the polar vortex. I was wrong. The sun is directly responsible in that the solar wind interaction with the IMF affects that magnetosphere and thereby affecting the polar vortex.
    And you are still wrong. There is no evidence for that. On the contrary: the solar wind interaction is the same in both hemispheres, but breakdowns of the polar vortex almost exclusively happen in the northern hemisphere.

  25. lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    “The peak so far in the smoothed number [which is what we predict has been 67 or ‘about 70″

    Are you getting a smoothed number 67 due to the two spikes before and after the magnetic field reversal? Which was my call two years ago, and you disagreed with me then too.

  26. Sparks says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm
    Are you getting a smoothed number 67 due to the two spikes before and after the magnetic field reversal?
    66.9 is the official smoothed number which is calculated as the average of two yearly means one month apart. Cannot be cherry picked based on anything. If you go to the bottom of http://www.solen.info/solar/ you can see the run of the smoothed numbers [and of F10.7]. The projected smoothed maximum is 69.6 as you can see.

  27. lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm (replying to)

    Brant Ra says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm
    I said the sun indirectly caused the polar vortex. I was wrong. The sun is directly responsible in that the solar wind interaction with the IMF affects that magnetosphere and thereby affecting the polar vortex.

    And you are still wrong. There is no evidence for that. On the contrary: the solar wind interaction is the same in both hemispheres, but breakdowns of the polar vortex almost exclusively happen in the northern hemisphere.

    Oh, come on now! I respect your judgment, but I have got to ask you re-think this answer. Turn your desktop globe upside down: You know, the one with all the land surrounding a small almost-all-frozen tiny ocean at the top. 8<)

    Now, replace that tiny ocean with a single continuous ice-covered land mass. (Antarctic area + permanent ice shelves = 17.5 Mkm^2, Arctic ocean = 14.0 Mkm^2. Both would cover the "top" from the pole to 70 latitude. Now, surround that 17.5 Mkm^2 with a varying band of ice or open ocean from 56 latitude to 70 latitude 20 Mkm^2 (max) AND then add a single continuous ocean + ocean water at a constant 4-6 degree C temperature.

    Remove ALL of Canada, Greenland, Siberia, Russia, north Europe land masses – with their fronts and polar winds and widely varying temperatures completely, and have a constant 4-8 degree water bath circulating constantly in one direction all the time. Remove ALL of the temperature land masses except North Africa.

    Now, looking at that geography, why would you expect the southern hemisphere to any relationship to the northern polar vertexes?

  28. 3 Feb: Forbes: Patrick Michaels: Will the Overselling of Global Warming Lead to a New Scientific Dark Age?
    Will the overselling of climate change lead to a new scientific dark age? That’s the question being posed in the latest issue of an Australian literary journal, Quadrant, by Garth Paltridge, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists.
    Paltridge was a Chief Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). The latter is Australia’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation, our massive Federal Laboratory network, and all the governmental agency science branches rolled into one…
    Climate scientists have been profoundly defensive about the known problems. Paltridge elegantly explains that this has to be the case, and describes the likely horrific consequences when the day of reckoning finally arrives.
    That day is coming closer, because, as Paltridge notes, people are catching on:
    “…the average man in the street, a sensible chap who by now can smell the signs of an oversold environmental campaign from miles away, is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue.”
    The scientific establishment has painted itself into a corner over global warming…
    When the climate science tsunami breaks the shore, the destruction will be massive and universal. It’s fair to say that scientific seismologists like Garth Paltridge have already detected the P-wave of the earthquake, in the form of the lack of warming, which is now likely to extend to at least 23 years. The S-wave isn’t far behind. Scientists, run for cover. Now.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmichaels/2014/02/03/will-the-overselling-of-global-warming-lead-to-a-new-scientific-dark-age/

  29. RACookPE1978 says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    Now, looking at that geography, why would you expect the southern hemisphere to any relationship to the northern polar vertexes?
    If the solar wind were the primary cause of breakdowns of the polar vortices, I would expect such breakdowns to occur in the southern hemisphere as well, but they don’t.

  30. lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    “66.9 is the official smoothed number which is calculated as the average of two yearly means one month apart.”

    The smoothed monthly numbers look closer to 60.

  31. Would it not be appropriate for WUWT to offer a better prediction for SSN and add a green line reflective of a less Stalinist adherence to collective consensus? Or are you just being polite?… Leif? I say the green WUWT line should be at ~70 now, sliding to zero at 2019. Can we have a consensus?

  32. Sparks says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    “66.9 is the official smoothed number which is calculated as the average of two yearly means one month apart.”
    The smoothed monthly numbers look closer to 60.

    We have to go with what the data actually says, rather than with what think looks closer. Here are the official numbers: http://sidc.be/silso/DATA/monthssn.dat
    201202 2012.123 32.9 66.9
    201203 2012.205 64.3 66.8
    201204 2012.289 55.2 64.6
    201205 2012.372 69.0 61.7
    201206 2012.456 64.5 58.9
    201207 2012.539 66.5 57.8
    201208 2012.624 63.0 58.2
    201209 2012.708 61.4 58.1
    201210 2012.791 53.3 58.6
    201211 2012.875 61.8 59.7
    201212 2012.958 40.8 59.6
    201301 2013.043 62.9 58.7
    201302 2013.124 38.1 58.4
    201303 2013.205 57.9 57.6
    201304 2013.288 72.4 57.9 *
    201305 2013.372 78.7 59.9 *
    201306 2013.455 52.5 62.6 *
    201307 2013.539 57.0 65.5 *
    201308 2013.624 66.0
    201309 2013.707 37.0
    201310 2013.791 85.6 *
    201311 2013.874 77.6 *
    201312 2013.958 90.3 *
    201401 2014.042 82.0 *

    Paul Westhaver says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    Would it not be appropriate for WUWT to offer a better prediction for SSN and add a green line reflective of a less Stalinist adherence to collective consensus?
    David Hathaway’s forecast is pretty good http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/Cycle22Cycle23Cycle24big.gif
    My own count of active regions is also nice: http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png

  33. ren… Yes I would say that such a line is better. Thanks.

    Leif, Thank-you…. Yes the NASA graph is more like what I imagined.

  34. I remember seeing a different prediction in 07. Another high cycle. They have moved the goalposts so many times I have lost count.

  35. Leif,

    “SSN has been about where the much adjusted prediction line says it should be for the last four months.”

    The smoothed monthly numbers look closer to 60. The red prediction line says 80.

  36. Those double peaks remind me of two side by side hills along the Columbia River, East of the gorge on the Oregon freeway (Interstate 84). Many decades ago, someone put a burn barrel on the top of each little peak, clearly visible to your right when traveling in the west bound lanes.

  37. Pamela Gray,

    My mind just went somewhere else. The San Onofre reactor buildings came to mind. Damn sunspots. Out damn’d spot. I say!

  38. Pamela, you just beat me to the double peak point. Northern Hemisphere in 2012, and Southern Hemisphere this year. Forget the jaggedy other little “peaks”. This is the solar max reprise. The question now is how long until the minimum. Beyond 2020? I’d tend to say yes because the double peaks suggest stretching out the cycle, S following N by two years. But Nature surprises.

  39. Hoser,

    re:”Northern Hemisphere in 2012, and Southern Hemisphere this year. ”

    I went through the WUWT (Leif’s) solar data looking for graphs splitting the SSN etc into North and south sets. I found the butterfly charts but which ones were you referring to?

  40. Hoser says:
    February 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm (replying to)

    Pamela, you just beat me to the double peak point(s).

    Pamela! Shame for you for (not) bringing up the pair of Grand Tetons further up river!

  41. Steven Mosher says (February 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm): “I suspect no one will object to adjusting the raw observed value to one that uses a consistent basis”

    Steven Mosher says (February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm): “When I was kid our house cost 15,000 dollars. I trust none of you will adjust that number.”

    Heh heh. Mosh reminds us of the alarmists’ standard “If 99% of doctors said…”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/02/if-99-doctors-said/

    i.e. a false analogy:

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

    Good one, Mosh. :-)

  42. when this cycle (24) is all over and the debrief seesion starts could I ask for a subkect to be added to the agenda
    to construct a `summary for policy makers` with the front page being the original nasa propaganda page indicating the `massive solar cycle 24 being predicted` along with their suggested ssn chart, of course overlaid with the real (and smoothed) ssn.
    it could be quite interesting.

  43. The SC 24 max is near (~2014/15). Solar polar fields are very interesting at this point. North seems to be shifting again. Both N and S will stay weak (close to zero) for some time (decades).

  44. Pamela Gray says:
    February 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm Those double peaks remind me of two side by side hills along the Columbia River…

    When you look at it that way the raw data with or without adjustment is fine.

  45. DaveR, don’t forget that the classic double top on a stock chart is only classic if followed by a rapid decline. It has no predictive power whatsoever.

  46. Thanks, Leif and Ren, for noticing my hemisphere… Ren’s call on the October SSW led me to watch for effects. These were noticeable as a return to wintry weather in new Zealand. Leif: data on relative lack of SH Polar vortex breakdowns? I have been watching the changes here over the last 12yrs, as the southern chill grows, and our jet streams meander more. And some warmth-loving plants thrive less, being on their southern boundaries. Brett Keane

  47. Where can I find the official observed 10.7 radio flux number ?
    – In http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/RecentIndices.txt, one finds for January 2014: 158.6;
    – In http://www.solen.info/solar/, 157.4 (measured).
    Which of those two is the official radio flux number?

    N.B.: The projected values of the smoothed sunspot number, showed in http://www.solen.info/solar/, could be exact if the solar activity would follow this simulation:
    Sunspot number in
    February 2014: 75
    March 2014: 65
    April 2014: 58
    May 2014: 50
    June 2014: 62
    July 2014: 52
    August 2014: 47

    In any case, it is almost certain that a new maximum of the smoothed sunspot number is in the make!

  48. Gail Combs says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    The Fed already did via inflation (currency devaluation) The ‘value’ of the house is the same but the number of dollars is not.

    Actually, it was the banks that inflated asset prices, Gail. Classic example: the 20G house in California in the 70s. As soon as we became monetarily sovereign in 1971, the bankers caught on to its meaning; the public was left in the dark about what it could mean for them (prosperity) and still are. So the bankers took advantage of it. They convinced the Californians to vote in vastly reduced property taxes, the traditional source of income for the state and local govts. [States (and local govts) need revenue, unlike the federal govt.] Once the property tax was drastically reduced, the banks stepped in to get that former property tax money with mortgages on higher house prices now rising because they were freed of ‘property tax’. The State still needed revenue, so it cut services, raised income and sales tax on everyone, and indebted the middle class and the poor. (The rich couldn’t take deductions on their hefty property taxes, but they could on their income tax.) All of this sold at the time as being good for the people.

  49. Steven Mosher says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    When I was kid our house cost 15,000 dollars.

    I trust none of you will adjust that number.

    Only a dishonest man (or a climatologist?) would adjust that number to something else and replace the historical number with the new “adjusted” number.

    An economist might convert all historical house prices into today’s dollars via the published inflation table for comparison purposes without altering the historical record. An economist would never go back in history and “adjust” some house prices up and others down to support his computer model of CO2 (or political party in power or whatever) effecting housing price. (a climatologist might do so obviously, as we have watched them do it over these last decades)

    Mr. Mosher, I wager that you would be yelling “it is the hottest year ever” as 2 miles of ice pile up over New York — all in adjusted temp reading of course.

  50. Solar frequency is low (long cycle) and that seems to slow everything down (even molecules here on Earth). The maximum comes a bit later and is longer, the polar reversal started, but it will take some time to finish and polar fields will remain close to zero for at least another cycle. Interesting times.

  51. The polar vortex depends on the Brewer-Dobson circulation. When it is strong the polar vortex is well-defined, the polar air stays put, and we get warmer. When it is weak, polar air heads southward over northern continental land masses. But there are no large land masses adjacent to antarctica so southern polar air tends to remain isolated. That is why the north pole is so much warmer than the south pole, why the southern polar vortex is more stable, and why arctic temperatures respond faster to changing atmospheric conditions.

  52. lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    “We have to go with what the data actually says, rather than with what think looks closer. Here are the official numbers: http://sidc.be/silso/DATA/monthssn.dat

    32.9 66.9
    64.3 66.8
    55.2 64.6
    69.0 61.7
    64.5 58.9
    66.5 57.8
    63.0 58.2
    61.4 58.1
    53.3 58.6
    61.8 59.7
    40.8 59.6
    62.9 58.7
    38.1 58.4
    57.9 57.6
    72.4 57.9 *
    78.7 59.9 *
    52.5 62.6 *
    57.0 65.5 *
    66.0
    37.0
    85.6 *
    77.6 *
    90.3 *
    82.0 *

    The average sunspot number from the data you provided not only looks closer to 60 it actually is closer…
    62.1 60.6

  53. Assuming the sunspot maximum is reached in late 2013 or early 2014, then it will be almost 14 years since the last sunspot maximum. According to the charts at http://www.solen.info only cycle 4 was a long as that (OK – I realise that’s from minimum to minimum, so not strictly comparable, but an indication of a long cycle, nevertheless).

    Can any significance be attached to this or useful predictions made about the sun’s future behaviour?

  54. I thought the prediction line was for the smoothed SSN series. That’s way below where the prediction line has been, and unless the SSN numbers stay this high for the next several months, the smoothed line for January won’t reach the prediction line.

  55. Mosher, adjusting the flux to a 1AU constant is open, unambigous and every agrees on what the adjustment factor should be.
    As opposed to the temperature adjustments that are secret and highly arbitrary.
    Do you see the difference now?

  56. Policycritic says:
    February 4, 2014 at 2:30 am
    ——-
    Banks have no impact on inflation, that is the result of the fed inflating the money supply.
    Bankers convinced people to cut their taxes? The people themselves had no interest in paying less taxes? Exactly how did the bankers go about forcing people to act in their own best interests?

  57. Brett Keane says:
    February 4, 2014 at 1:49 am
    data on relative lack of SH Polar vortex breakdowns?
    It is hard to give you a list of events that have not happened. The first [and only] sudden stratospheric warming ever observed in the southern hemisphere took place in 2002: http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/38004/2/04chapters5-8.pdf

    rikgheysens says:
    February 4, 2014 at 2:15 am
    Where can I find the official observed 10.7 radio flux number ?
    ftp://ftp.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/data/solar_flux/daily_flux_values/fluxtable.txt
    There are three values per day. Due to [small] systematic errors when there is snow on the ground, only the noon value [at 20:00 UT] is reliable [ http://www.leif.org/research/f107-Anomaly-Penticton.png http://www.leif.org/research/F107-Sawteeth.png http://www.leif.org/research/F107-sawteeth-2.png ]. You get slightly different averages depending on whether you only use the [good] noon value or use all three values during the day.

    Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 5:22 am
    The average sunspot number from the data you provided not only looks closer to 60 it actually is closer…
    You are still not paying attention. The smoothed values [over a year] are in the right-most column and they show a maximum of 66.9 and will probably reach 70 in the months to come. The prediction is always of the smoothed values.

  58. Richard Barraclough says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:32 am
    Can any significance be attached to this or useful predictions made about the sun’s future behaviour?
    I don’t think so, or at best in a statistical sense, which has no guarantee to hold in the future.

  59. What sun………

    02/04/2014 0758 am
    SSW Mount Hope, Sedgwick County, Kansas
    Heavy snow e3.0 inch, reported by co-op observer.
    Very heavy snow falling in Mount Hope with visibility
    less than a tenth of a mile.

    [ Pamela Gray says:
    February 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm Those double peaks remind me of two side by side hills along the Columbia River…

    When you look at it that way the raw data with or without adjustment is fine. ]

    I prefer the larger unadjusted numbers.

  60. Tim Clark says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:21 am
    I prefer the larger unadjusted numbers.
    In June the unadjusted numbers are smaller as we are a bit further from the Sun. If you care about what the Sun is doing, you must use the adjusted numbers

  61. When I was kid our house cost 15,000 dollars.

    I trust none of you will adjust that number.

    Seriously, is there some point to this? If you want to discuss adjustments to the thermometric data sets, or some specific set, by all means start a thread on it. Go into detail. I’d welcome it. If you are trying to not so subtly hijack a post on solar activity to defend adjustments made to thermometric data in one or more surface temperature sets, don’t, especially not with oblique and mean-spirited non-sequitors.

    Also bear in mind Leif’s comments that scientists are not generally idiots and understand things like elliptical orbits and the 1/r^2 in solar intensity pretty well. As several others have pointed out, whether or not one should adjust the data for this in general depends on the use one wishes to put the data to. If one wishes to make inferences about e.g. the state of the sun, one basically inverts the intensity relationship to obtain knowledge on the surface of the sun. If one wishes to make inferences or predictions about the effect of the radiation on the Earth, then obviously one uses the actual measurement at the Earth.

    In this regard, why pick on poor, hapless, helpless solar indices in an article on solar magnetic state? Why not go whole hog and attack the widespread use of a single number for solar intensity at TOA instead of correcting for the 91 W/m^2 swing in this number at the TOA as the Earth orbits the Sun even when/if solar state were perfectly constant?

    Note well that if you were to open up a general article on land surface temperature reconstruction, nearly all of the “adjustments” made to the data are not of this sort — simple geometry and the application of laws of physics that nobody doubts or can misunderstand or misapply. They are an attempt to reconstruct an accurate and precise record of temperature from a comparative mere smattering of indifferently made surface measurements, and often the adjustments are made in the complete absence of information as to whether or not they are truly justified simply because we lack critical information about local state at the time the measurements were made and those assumptions are bound to be often wrong!

    One doesn’t have to go into the distant past to observe this — many of the “official” thermometers contributing to the contemporary measurements of land surface temperatures are utterly and obviously corrupted by siting issues, as has been pointed out repeatedly. My favorite one locally is RDU airport, which tied an all time minimum temperature (for the date) last week at 7 F. The odd thing is that in my backyard 15 miles away, the minimum temperature was 5 F. In the surrounding countryside on all sides, the field of minimum temperatures was 4F to 5F. RDU is in the middle of a web of expressway and increasing urbanization, and the weather station is sitting a few meters away from a huge, heat retaining runway that is doused every few minutes with superheated jet exhaust consisting of CO_2 and H_2O vapor. It always reads hotter than the surrounding countryside.

    But how much hotter? How can one “correct” for this obvious UHI effect? That’s very difficult to say indeed, and that is right now, with a huge network of personal (but unofficial) weather stations to observe. Two are within a mile of my house. One (at a local school) is well-sited out in a field, with trees nearby but no concrete particularly close to it. I tend to trust it, as it produces readings within 1F or so of what I read in my back yard. The other is at a house like mine in a neighborhood right next to mine, but they mounted it as far as I can tell right over their driveway facing south. During the afternoons it spikes up to highs that are absurdly higher than any of the surrounding weather stations.

    Then there are the problems with the actual inhomogeneity of local temperatures and with just when the high or low temperature of a day occurs. Move a weather station five meters and one can often observe a 1-2 C variation in what it reads across a day — if the house I just referred to put the station elsewhere in their back yard I’m sure their spurious readings would disappear because I don’t think the house is in its own tiny tropical climate zone compared to mine. Then, while the low temperature of the day is frequently but not always at or just after dawn, the high is not so cooperative — it can happen anytime during the day or even the night and indeed is distributed with nonzero weight across all or most of the 24 hour interval, peaked sometime in mid-afternoon. There are problems with the normalization and accuracy of measuring devices. There are problems with record keeping. And we’re still working on contemporary measurements, often at sites set up by professionals using high quality instruments (but in the case of an airfield, for a completely different purpose than recording global surface temperatures — on an airfield they care about conditions at the tarmac as it is these that affect landing planes.

    It is in some sense fundamentally abusive to repurpose these readings as part of a surface temperature reconstruction in the first place — they are broke and one cannot really fix them. How can one compare the 7C read at RDU last week to the record it tied back in 1977? In 1977 RDU had a single terminal, and was literally situated in the middle of surrounding woods and cow pastures with only two lightly travelled two lane highways providing access. Today they are rebuilding the second of three terminals for the second time, where the original terminal (still there, although renovated somewhere along the way) is so tiny, stuck out on one end of the airport loop, that people have a hard time finding it or the airlines it services. There are eight lane expressways on 2/3 sides, the original four lane route 70 is now lined with shopping centers, cow pastures and forests have been replaced by giant housing developments — there is even an “Airport Mall” with shopping, outlet stores, dining, hotels, and a square kilometer or so of tarmac. Perhaps when the wind blows in just the right direction, it doesn’t pull warm air in from one of these urban heat sinks. But alas, when it does it pulls it right over the neighboring runway instead.

    I would say, if we were to “adjust” its record, that there is absolutely no doubt that we set a low temperature record (for the date) last week for the entire triangle area if not the whole state, but officially no such thing occurred, we merely tied a record set (paradoxically enough) in 1977, not in 1910 or 1870 or whatever date in the remote past one might expect given the 0.5 to 1.0 C global warming we supposedly experienced in the intervening century (depending on whether one takes one’s GISS with one’s coffee, or prefers the more moderate HADCRUT4 on a bagel).

    In the end, if I were to try to “adjust” this record, renormalize, account for UHI, I would have to take the field of surrounding personal weather station reports, come up with some sort of criterion for eliminating the obviously broken ones like the one that reads 2 C too high where I can — note well that this is only possible because I have three very nearby readings (one of which I trust a great deal as it is my own and I know right where it is and how it varies over the day and when it reads incorrectly and when it reads correctly) it is inconsistent with, but what would I do if there were two incorrectly sited stations and one correctly sited? What would I do if one were not my own? Even in the best sited station in the area, how do I cope with the spurious variations due to wind direction, due to variation in the instrumental readings themselves as the electronics experiences some occult instability? One thing we teach in physics lab is that one never measures the true length or true time, that one always has to deal with ignored causes such as friction and drag forces and non-inertial reference frames, so that even in the humblest of experiments measuring the local surface gravitational acceleration constant g, one is never going to get the “accepted value” and besides, g isn’t really a constant. Nor is it easy to “correct” for all this, not without knowing the answer ahead of time. In fact, it is difficult and very, very expensive and cannot be done with ordinary undergrad lab equipment.

    Then we could talk about GAST vs GASTA. There is a persistent myth that we can know and compare GASTA over a century and a half (or more!) of this incredibly messy, poorly documented data acquired from indifferent instrumentation with uncertain siting and irregular sampling and get results that are precise enough to be of use in estimating how much it has warmed (GASTA) while still leaving us in a state of profound ignorance as to what the mean temperature itself is right now (GAST). GASTA, we are told, is precise to within 0.15 C in HADCRUT4 (and note well, this is with the best of modern instrumentation!) GAST, NASA tells us, isn’t known to within 1C.

    Of course, the 0.15C only refers to the last 30 or so years at best. GAST, GASTA, the average surface temperature in 1900 is pretty much a mystery. Maybe we know it within a half a degree. Maybe it is within a degree. Land measurements are sparse and it is absolutely impossible to assess errors like the ones I can directly observe within a mile of my own house, all equipped with fully automated modern instrumentation that never sleeps, gets drunk, takes a holiday, and that records the full 24 hour interval at a granularity of a minute or so so that high and low temperatures really are high and low temperatures even if the one occurs at midnight and the other in mid-afternoon (and with a precision of at least a full 0.1C). And then, in 1900 we knew nothing at all about polar temperatures (especially south polar temperatures) and knew virtually nothing about sea surface temperatures. Perhaps 70% of the Earth’s surface completely unsampled (or sampled by methodology so crude that it might well produce measurements that are worse than no measurement at all, just as undergrad lab measurements of g would be, by being systematically biased too low but with no way to ever correct for that if g were not a constant!

    If you insist on using the price of your house as a metaphor, there is one important way in which that metaphor is apropos. The price of a house is not a fixed reflection of its absolute value according to some objective measure, it is a reflection of what people are willing to pay to someone that derives advantage from maximizing that number. When your house was purchased originally, that value was, indeed, what people were willing to pay in dollars. Dollars, of course, are not like degrees, are they? Economics and physics are very similar, no doubt, but degrees F, C, or K are extremely precisely defined in a time-independent way. Instrumentation can be variable, measurement technique can be variable, siting and methodology can be variable, but 1 K then is 1 K now.

    Then, house value in dollars is not measured, it is voted on. In the hands of a skilled realtor and with a coat of cheap whitewash, its “value” (as measured in sale price) can vary tremendously from one week to the next, from one potential buyer to the next. Even “house appraisal” is highly variable and subject to collusion and whim — the appraisal of a seller and buyer often not agreeing to within 10% for obvious reasons — both parties have an interest, one in maximizing and the other in minimizing.

    The great tragedy of modern climate science is that it has, indeed, become a lot more like selling a house than like making an objective scientific measurement with honestly stated error bars and other limitations in the result. Every single person participating makes a living from the public’s willingness to “buy” the argument that we are on the brink of a climate disaster. The results of every measurement are literally brokered to grant agencies, to the governments of every planet on Earth, and to the public underlying those governments, with a derived value that is 90% due to the perception of disaster, 10% to actual value.

    Suppose you wish to convince me that we are in the grip of runaway inflation so that I will invest a tremendous amount of my personal resources in buying contemporary real property, so you try to convince me that housing prices are rising through the roof compared to what they have ever been before. You point to all sorts of new construction (all of which you manage and sell) as evidence of this, and make me sit through a long, dreary presentation on the causes of inflation and how even thought it appears that there are many houses on the market that haven’t increased in price, you can prove that after adjusting for this and that they really have.

    I, of course, doubt this. I know that you make money — a lot of money — selling houses, and you make less money selling them at a fair market price than you make if you can get people to pay a bit extra with a glib argument. I look into things on my own. I discover a lot of 50 houses that have been on the market since maybe 1870 — they are all nice, old houses, well-maintained, and they sell pretty much every year. They constitute a record of inflation that isn’t subject to your complex system of “average house value” adjustments for this and for that, because people always pay for these houses in pure gold, not “adjustable” dollars.

    It turns out that 25 of the fifty houses sold for a peak price not in the last decade, but in the 1930s. The other 25 sold for a peak price not heavily weighted to the last couple of decades, but spread out pretty uniformly over all the years in between, with about as many selling in the early 1900s as in the late 1900s. At this point I might — with some reason — doubt your system of adjustments.

    As a simple matter of fact, roughly half of the state record high temperatures were set in the 1930s. The other half were set in a fairly balanced way over all of the other decades. A perfectly reasonable person might conclude that the continental United States was, as a whole, hotter in the 1930s than it is today, and indeed that it isn’t particularly hotter today than it was anytime in the last 140-150 years. Maybe a bit, but not a whole lot. If one looks at the distribution of continental high temperature records, the same thing is observable.

    The thing about being a salesman is that a good one actually believes in what they sell. They have to! Humans are very good at picking up on insincerity. When they try to sell you a house, or a car, for exactly what is on the sticker, they manage to convince themselves that this house really is special and worth that extra 10%, or they manage to convince themselves that the overall market really is higher than what people are paying. They are always completely honest, but honest in a way that is constantly trying to get a potential customer to pay the asking price. And every sale they make reinforces their belief — the true value of what they sell is precisely what people are willing to pay. The narrative is the value.

    A good recipe, perhaps, for economics in the free market. A terrible recipe for science. We do not vote on the value of g, we measure it. We do not average over measurements of g conducted by undergrads taking into physics and use them to correct precise measurements; if anything we go the other way. We do not — or should not — make support of research contingent on a perception that the science must work out any particular way, not unless we want science to devolve into confirmation bias tainted car sales, where a good story in consumer reports or a sexy model in car ads set the price. If a scientific narrative fails various simple sanity checks, it is the responsibility of science to be cautious and avoid overreaching its own conclusions, especially when one is confronted with the dread career-ending null result, with a result that continues an essentially boring narrative rather than an exciting, let’s save the world narrative.

    I’m a believer not in adjustments per se, especially of the records in the remote past where we cannot possibly know how to correctly adjust them, but in consistency, in justified adjustments in instrumentation that can be directly defended and cross checked. At this point, we have had good instrumentation for ten years (post-ARGO, perhaps), adequate instrumentation for 34 or 35 years, and have sparse records based on good instrumentation for around 60 years. Some of that data is still subject to sanity check correction. At this point the records based on different instrumentation are pretty well mutually constrained — nobody will believe a steadily ramping GISS if HADCRUT4, UAH, and RSS all remain flat. This will become even more so over time — ARGO may or may not be precisely normalized (and is still sparse, dammit) but over time it will only get better as it is forced to be in agreement with multiple independent checks.

    In thirty to fifty years, we might actually know how to adjust instrumental records. We will get there by finally having sufficiently good and complete instrumentation that we can get the actual answer without adjustment, as usual. You cannot squeeze blood from a turnip, or information from corrupt antique data. You cannot build a working antiballistic missile system from even a precise set of measurements of g from the early part of the 20th century. We are only now getting to where we can measure local gravity (via e.g. GRACE) well enough to correct for gravitational variation in measured sea level, for the variations an antiballistic missile has to deal with as it follows a long trajectory over a VARIABLE gravitational field that does not, in fact, follow any particularly simple “just physics” formula. Our ability to measure things like surface albedo in real time, global variations in measured surface radiation at the TOA, and more are still next to nonexistent — we can sample a bit, no more. Countless experiments remain to be done, some of them bone simple, such as directly measuring the full upwelling spectrum at the top of the troposphere at one specific location over e.g. the Sahara Desert, where one should be able to directly measure the CO_2 linked GHE with a minimum of confounding influences over timescales as short as a decade.

    In the meantime, let’s not get crazy, OK?

    rgb

  62. [ lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:26 am ]

    Leif………
    I think you missed the allusion Pamela was referring to, or perhaps I did too.
    Hint: It was not about the sun’s figures.

  63. Tim Clark says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:57 am
    I think you missed the allusion Pamela was referring to, or perhaps I did too.
    I think it generally is better to stick to facts [and relevant opinions related to the topic] and avoid allusions, hints, obliqueness, etc

  64. @Policycritic – Gail claims the Fed did something, you claim the banks did something… HOWEVER, you seem to miss the whole idea that the Federal Reserve Bank is the Bank that controls all of the other banks, so I don’t think you really invalidated Gail’s argument.

  65. Mosher: oh, tell us, pleaseplease, tell us who of the global warmers use a consistent basis? Do you mean Hansen and GISS?

  66. John Day says:
    February 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    2014 01 162.69 157.50
    Another reason the January values are so high. Solar flares contribute to F10.7.
    Here are the values from ftp://ftp.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/data/solar_flux/daily_flux_values/fluxtable.txt

    20140104 200000 2456662.322 2145.617 0262.0 0253.3 0228.0
    20140104 220000 2456662.406 2145.620 0218.3 0211.1 0190.0
    20140105 180000 2456663.239 2145.650 0210.5 0203.6 0183.2
    20140105 200000 2456663.322 2145.653 0217.5 0210.3 0189.3
    20140105 220000 2456663.406 2145.656 0222.1 0214.7 0193.3
    20140106 180000 2456664.239 2145.687 0204.3 0197.6 0177.8
    20140106 200000 2456664.322 2145.690 0203.9 0197.2 0177.5
    20140106 220000 2456664.406 2145.693 0208.5 0201.6 0181.4
    20140107 180000 2456665.239 2145.723 0592.4 0572.8 0515.5
    20140107 200000 2456665.322 2145.727 0237.1 0229.3 0206.4

    Flares on Jan. 4th and Jan.7th caused very high values [e.g. 592.4 !]. Those should ordinarily be removed [they used to be in the past] manually but since all is now done by computer there is no manual quality control any more. As their website says: “This measurement has been derived, processed and transmitted automatically”.
    If the anomalous values are removed, the mean for January is 156.88 instead of 162.69.

  67. rgbatduke says: @ February 4, 2014 at 7:40 am

    ….One doesn’t have to go into the distant past to observe this — many of the “official” thermometers contributing to the contemporary measurements of land surface temperatures are utterly and obviously corrupted by siting issues, as has been pointed out repeatedly. My favorite one locally is RDU airport, which tied an all time minimum temperature (for the date) last week at 7 F. The odd thing is that in my backyard 15 miles away, the minimum temperature was 5 F. In the surrounding countryside on all sides, the field of minimum temperatures was 4F to 5F. RDU is in the middle of a web of expressway and increasing urbanization, and the weather station is sitting a few meters away from a huge, heat retaining runway that is doused every few minutes with superheated jet exhaust consisting of CO_2 and H_2O vapor. It always reads hotter than the surrounding countryside….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am south of you about 25 miles. We had a temperature of 1 °F at the local small town airport. The airport at Siler City – Muni, Siler City, was 0 °F on Jan 30th. (The record is described as 7 °F (1977) @ KRDU, The Raleigh-Durham International Airport.)

    The Climastrology mixmaster would homogenize and adjust those numbers…. actually I do not think those airports are even in the database despite the fact they are a better measure of conditions without UHI

  68. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:49 am

    “The smoothed values [over a year] are in the right-most column and they show a maximum of 66.9 and will probably reach 70 in the months to come.”

    The value of 66.9 is a smoothed value and is only one point of solar maximum, are you saying that your prediction of 70 was for this one value?

    Looking at the smoothed numbers, there are 0 values in the 70’s, there are 6 values in the 60’s and 12 smoothed values in the 50’s.

    If we are using smoothed number values to judge how weak or strong this cycle is, so far, the 50’s have it. Which is a remarkable 150-200 below Hathaway’s original predictions, 40 below this “consensus” value of 90 and 20 below your value of 70.

  69. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:18 am
    The value of 66.9 is a smoothed value and is only one point of solar maximum, are you saying that your prediction of 70 was for this one value?
    You are still not paying attention. The prediction of the size of a solar cycle is a single number, namely the highest value for the cycle of the monthly smoothed sunspot number calculated by SIDC in Brussels. That number for cycle 24 so far stands at 66.9 and is well on its way to reach 70.

  70. @Leif
    > Solar flares contribute to F10.7.
    > 20140107 180000 2456665.239 2145.723 0592.4 0572.8 0515.5
    Ok, I guess you could say that their data is “fluxed up” :-|

    Don’t understand why they can’t validate and filter the data with simple thresholds. How hard could that be?

  71. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:42 am
    The prediction is pointless!
    A correct prediction is worth billions as the run of the cycle is determined by that single number Rmax [the maximum monthly value of the yearly smoothed sunspot number]. A small example: NASA was contemplating de-orbiting the Hubble Space Telescope about ten years ago when it looked like cycle 24 would be large, but changed their mind based on our prediction of a low cycle and we got more than a decade’s worth [still going on] of observations.
    The health of geostationary satellites and the insurance premium the operators have to pay depend on solar activity. Here is a look of some of them http://www.leif.org/research/Geostationary-2010-03-15.png

  72. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:54 am

    The maximum monthly value of the yearly smoothed sunspot number is way lower than Hathaway’s prediction and is lower than your prediction of 70. The average of the maximum monthly value of the yearly smoothed sunspot number so far is in the 50’s.

    You haven’t predicted when this single number would occur, only that your prediction of 70 would be reached somewhere during this cycle, which it has not, well, not yet.

    Is the maximum monthly value of the yearly smoothed sunspot numbers likely to reach a random peak of 70 or above? It’s possible but not likely, in my own opinion, the average of the Rmax values will remain at 50 with few 60’s and with no peaks of 70+.

  73. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 10:27 am
    the average of the Rmax values will remain at 50 with few 60′s and with no peaks of 70+.
    You are still not paying attention. There is only ONE Rmax value in the solar cycle. It is at least 66.9 and with the high activity lately is likely to reach the 70s [the average since June of last year is 70 and for 2014 so far 82]

  74. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

    “You are still not paying attention”

    I usually just ignore your insults and the silly bate n’ switch tactics.

  75. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 11:15 am
    “You are still not paying attention”
    I usually just ignore your insults and the silly bate n’ switch tactics.

    As I said: ‘you are still not paying attention’, and now we learn it is deliberate…
    Your loss.

  76. @rgbatduke

    Wonderfully stated, as usual.

    I would love to buy you a drink some time & have a chance to chat. I’m not used to talking with people who think so clearly :)
    (The offer is serious, as I work in downtown Raleigh – if you want to take me up on it, please have the mods forward my email.)

  77. It is interesting that neither the posting nor Leif are claiming that a new smoothed maximum has been reached, presumably because “the bottom of http://www.solen.info/solar/ ” uses SIDC data? But from NOAA data available on the web at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/old_indices I get

    [1] "average centred on 1 2012 is 91.92"
    [1] "average centred on 2 2012 is 94.1"
    [1] "average centred on 3 2012 is 93.99"
    [1] "average centred on 4 2012 is 91.25"
    [1] "average centred on 5 2012 is 87.61"
    [1] "average centred on 6 2012 is 83.87"
    [1] "average centred on 7 2012 is 82.31"
    [1] "average centred on 8 2012 is 83.08"
    [1] "average centred on 9 2012 is 83.63"
    [1] "average centred on 10 2012 is 84.96"
    [1] "average centred on 11 2012 is 87.27"
    [1] "average centred on 12 2012 is 88.04"
    [1] "average centred on 1 2013 is 87.12"
    [1] "average centred on 2 2013 is 86.75"
    [1] "average centred on 3 2013 is 85.73"
    [1] "average centred on 4 2013 is 86.75"
    [1] "average centred on 5 2013 is 90.51"
    [1] "average centred on 6 2013 is 94.44"
    [1] "average centred on 7 2013 is 97.94"
    

    (Sorry about not reformatting the R output.) And so we see that by NOAA data the 94.1 centred on February 2012 has been exceeded in both June and July 2013. To get to a standard sunspot number you have to multiply by 0.6, giving 58.8 for the latest value.

    So yes, a roughly 14 year interval from maximum 23 to maximum 24.

    Rich.

    [Easiest table formatting is “pre” and “/pre” within the “<" and “>" brackets. Mod]

  78. See – owe to Rich says:
    February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am
    It is interesting that neither the posting nor Leif are claiming that a new smoothed maximum has been reached, presumably because “the bottom of http://www.solen.info/solar/ ” uses SIDC data?
    I monitor the NOAA data as well here: http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-Cycle-24.png
    The green lines at the bottom. One problem with the NOAA data is that it is meant for real-time consumption and NOAA does not make an effort to keep the calibration stable over time. For the last year the ratio SIDC/NOAA has been 0.685.

  79. Leif says: For the last year the ratio SIDC/NOAA has been 0.685.

    So, Leif, what you are saying, since 0.685 > 0.6, is that even though NOAA are over-counting specks they are not doing it as badly as SIDC? ;-)

    Cheers,
    Rich

  80. “lsvalgaard says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm
    Brant Ra says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm
    I said the sun indirectly caused the polar vortex. I was wrong. The sun is directly responsible in that the solar wind interaction with the IMF affects that magnetosphere and thereby affecting the polar vortex.
    And you are still wrong. There is no evidence for that. On the contrary: the solar wind interaction is the same in both hemispheres, but breakdowns of the polar vortex almost exclusively happen in the northern hemisphere.”

    Oh. So there is no South pole and North pole… Those seem different to me….
    Did you not see the the footprints of the magnetosphere are where the polar vortex is located? And that it changes with the solar wind? If there was a just a magnetosphere and no sun I would not expect any change in magnetic activity. But since there is a changing power input(solar wind) into a constant magnetic field I expect changes especially in a plasma system…..
    Simple logic…

  81. See – owe to Rich says:
    February 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    So, Leif, what you are saying, since 0.685 > 0.6, is that even though NOAA are over-counting specks they are not doing it as badly as SIDC? ;-
    SIDC has never overcounted. They started undercounting about 1999 and their count is about 12% too low. See slide 24 of http://www.leif.org/research/SIDC-Seminar-14Sept.pdf

    brantc says:
    February 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm
    Simple logic…
    Indeed, simple logic says that we should have the same polar vortex breakdowns in both hemispheres if solar activity were the primary factor, but since we do not observe that…

  82. So what has happened to the sceptic hatred of trying to predict through models?
    Seems like there is a lot of predicting going on here – and for what ?

    Is it that the wishful thinking has not materialised into reality ?- namely that solar activity was about to collapse – leading to a hoped for maunder minimum and falling global temperatures ?

    The Sun is notoriously difficult to predict other than on large scales. Lets just wait and see how this cycle pans out.

    Right now we have a high sunspot number, a complex and huge active region flaring and plenty of aurora.

    http://www.spaceweather.com/

  83. PeterB in Indianapolis says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:10 am
    @Policycritic – Gail claims the Fed did something, you claim the banks did something… HOWEVER, you seem to miss the whole idea that the Federal Reserve Bank is the Bank that controls all of the other banks, so I don’t think you really invalidated Gail’s argument.

    First of all, I wasn’t attempting to invalidate Gail’s argument; I consider her one of the more astute commenters on this site and value her arguments. I was attempting to expand upon it in one important way…or two. ;-)

    I am aware that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks regulate the private member banks in their districts. Or they are supposed to by their federal charter, and by law. They are public-private entities; so are banks. (And the NY Fed, aka Timothy Geithner then, was supposed to regulate mortgage banks—not part of the Federal Reserve system—and didn’t, even though the FBI warned in Sept 2004 that mortgage fraud was at 90%; ergo, the 2008 Great Recession.)

    However, the Federal Reserve is a schizophrenic, and misunderstood, beast. It must, by law, do what Congress tells it to do. It answers to Congress, by law, and must return net profits to the US Treasury annually. It handles the US Treasury’s account and its high-powered money as its banker…and…it backs up the banking and payment systems as banks create credit money, the majority of money created, in the system. Since October 22, 1999, however, the Fed Chairman under Clinton allowed these banks to become casinos when they ripped up Glass-Steagall. I say Fed Chairman even though it was Citi’s CEO Sandy Weill and Phil Gramm that twisted Congress’s arm to destroy the stability of the banking system in place for ~65 years; Greenspan could have sounded the alarm, but didn’t.

    My quibble was with Gail’s statement that “The Fed already did via inflation (currency devaluation),” and I apologize for not being clearer about that. On a macro level, US currency has not been devalued. If anything, the Fed’s massive QE programs for the last five years purchasing Treasury Securities on the open market has removed interest income that would otherwise go to the seller over time from the economy, thereby making US dollars scarcer in the macro, which increases the value of the currency. Inflation since the 1970s has gone down from double digits to its current 1.5%, fifty basis points below the Fed’s current target of 2%. Inflation is not the problem.

    The entities that have had free reign to alter asset prices (by gaming the system in my opinion) are the banks untrammeled by sufficient regulation by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Instead of loaning on credit worthiness—their original charter—banks now loan on the underlying value of the financial asset which they have a direct interest in seeing increase. Why? More money to the banker as their fees are a percentage of the value of the loan.

    I hope this is clearer.

  84. James Abbott says:
    February 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm
    So what has happened to the sceptic hatred of trying to predict through models?
    since models are an expression of what we [think we] know, one can only predict through models. No models, no valid predictions.

  85. However I am thinking, Leif, that we do observe different physical/geographic effects, possibly leading to a firmer Antarctic polar vortex. But probably more breakouts than northerners have noticed, and similar solar-induced changes in polar-equatorial gradients…… Thanks for the pdf. Brett Keane

  86. Brett Keane says:
    February 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm
    probably more breakouts than northerners have noticed
    There are ‘southerners’ too. We have good data back for almost half a century.

  87. lsvalgaard says:

    February 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Brant Ra says:
    February 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm
    I said the sun indirectly caused the polar vortex. I was wrong. The sun is directly responsible in that the solar wind interaction with the IMF affects that magnetosphere and thereby affecting the polar vortex.

    And you are still wrong. There is no evidence for that. On the contrary: the solar wind interaction is the same in both hemispheres,…..
    ——————–

    Ya know, we seem to think that Earth’s magnetic field and magnetosphere is like static or something, standing still. But it is not. It’s part of a rotating body and that’s an important factor here too, twisting up the fields as it orbits within an interplanatary field with daily changes in pressures and densitys. Not to mention that whole solar cycle dealo going on..

    Dr S., I think you should watch this NASA depiction of the Halloween storm effect on the radiation belts and Earth’s magnetic field/magnetosphere which is located within. There actually appears a vortex structure around the poles during this storm. So maybe there just might be some processes that are occuring that are not so well understood..yet.. eh

    Movie description:
    Published on May 17, 2013
    This scientific visualization relies on data from the SAMPEX mission, which observed particles in the Radiation Belts during a large solar storm in October 2003. The movie clearly shows just how much the outer belt can swell in extreme conditions. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

    Don’t worry about that outer belt watch the polar and equatorial reactions, wow..

  88. MarkW says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:48 am
    Policycritic says:
February 4, 2014 at 2:30 am
——-
Banks have no impact on inflation, that is the result of the fed inflating the money supply.
Bankers convinced people to cut their taxes? The people themselves had no interest in paying less taxes? Exactly how did the bankers go about forcing people to act in their own best interests?

    Hi MarkW. First see my response to PeterB in Indianpolis at February 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm.

    Banks have no impact on inflation, that is the result of the fed inflating the money supply.

    The Fed does not increase the money supply. When the government spends, via congressional appropriation, it is putting new money into the system since all new US dollars can only be issued (created) by the federal government. Sometime after this spending, the US Treasury issues treasury securities in the same amount, which are sold at auction on the 15th of every month. They are usually gone in about five nanoseconds because they are the safest financial instrument in the world, and everyone with more than $250Gs in their bank account (the FDIC insurance limit) wants them because they are risk-free, unlike banks. So, basically, the money supply rebalances itself. (It’s a little more complicated than this, but this is how it works.) The sale of these treasury securities (bills, notes, bonds) has the unfortunate name of the federal government “borrowing” from the people or China; however, nothing could be further from the truth. The US Treasury issues treasury securities. No one else.

    Inflation is caused when there is full employment, everyone has money in their bank accounts, and there aren’t enough goods and services produced in the economy to meet the need. The classic definition. Or it’s caused by cost or supply shocks, like a rapid rise in the price of oil (again, that is gamed by futures traders in my opinion, which Congress refuses to fix). Or if asset prices rise and, yes, banks have been part of that.

    Bankers convinced people to cut their taxes? The people themselves had no interest in paying less taxes? Exactly how did the bankers go about forcing people to act in their own best interests?

    Again, read my answer to PeterB. Of course people have an interest in paying less taxes. State and local govts, not the federal government, need revenue to survive. They can’t create money out of thin air like the federal government does. State and local govts must get this revenue from a state- or local govt-run business, tariffs, or they get it from taxes. The traditional way for states to get taxes was property taxes. Since 1930, property taxes in California have gone from 67% of state and local govt budgets to 17%. Who makes up that shortfall and how (because the need for revenue doesn’t go away; in fact, it goes up with time)? Increased income taxes, increased sales taxes, taxes on this, taxes on that, and the people who can least afford it, the vast amount of poor and lower middle class.

    And don’t forget, property taxes can be neither deducted from, nor are they indexed according to income. Everyone in a community or city pays the same rate. The ultra-rich pay their fair share when that’s the measure. Not so with income tax, both state and federal. If you know what you’re doing, you can get that reduced to zilch, especially if you’re rich enough to stick your money in a foundation.

    I am not saying raise property taxes; I rail against mine all the time. But I am saying that by getting people to believe that reducing property taxes put them ahead was a fool’s game. It’s like a teeter-totter. Property taxes went down; every other tax went up: at the state and local govt level. And people took the biggest hit on their income. If someone worked hard, made a lot of money, and still lived in the same house during the financial ascent, they lost more than they needed to. Warren Buffett was no fool. He still lives in the same house he bought in 1955; he just renovated it.

  89. Carla says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm
    Ya know, we seem to think that Earth’s magnetic field and magnetosphere is like static or something, standing still. But it is not. It’s part of a rotating body and that’s an important factor here too, twisting up the fields
    No, the magnetic field in the Earth and in the magnetosphere are separated by an electrical insulator, namely the air you breathe, and magnetic field lines have no individual existence in an insulator so the the rotation of the Earth does not ‘twist up’ the field. It is just like spinning a toy magnet in your hand. That does not twist anything, which would serve to make the spinning harder and harder [which does not happen].

    Dr S., I think you should watch this NASA depiction of the Halloween storm effect on the radiation belts and Earth’s magnetic field/magnetosphere which is located within. There actually appears a vortex structure around the poles during this storm.
    There are several vortices in the polar caps. One is even named after me, so you may assume that I know a bit about polar vortices in the ionosphere.

  90. See – owe to Rich says:
    February 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    “So, Leif, what you are saying, since 0.685 > 0.6, is that even though NOAA are over-counting specks they are not doing it as badly as SIDC?”

    lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm
    “SIDC has never overcounted. They started undercounting about 1999 and their count is about 12% too low.”

    I see that another person has not been paying attention /sarc
    I wonder if “See – owe to Rich” is pointing out the specks classed as sunspot groups. The hand drawn records of every speck… awesome!

  91. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm
    I wonder if “See – owe to Rich” is pointing out the specks classed as sunspot groups. The hand drawn records of every speck… awesome!
    Every single [i.e. not part of a larger group] ‘speck’ must be [and has been since 1894] counted as a sunspot group. You are not only not paying attention, you also do not know what you talking about.

  92. Carla,

    Earths atmosphere is not an electrical insulator, on a planetary scale. Leif, that is nonsense.

  93. Excuse me, Dr. S., one more solar related thingy on my mind, before going back up this thread to finish reading comments..

    Talk about your pattern recognition lol.. Check this out.

    Ran across this article describing a protostar with a “hourglass” magnetic field topology. Like only the second one they have found. hmm
    Have a look at the field topology. Looks like a dent and offset in the nose and dent in the tail. Sound kinda familiar. Please do notice the axis and the outflow..
    figure 2 page 6

    The Magnetic Field Morphology of the Class 0 Protostar
    L1157-mm
    24 April 2013

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1304.6739.pdf

    Ian W. Stephens1, Leslie W. Looney1,2, Woojin Kwon1,3, Charles L. H. Hull4, Richard L.
    Plambeck4, Richard M. Crutcher1, Nicholas Chapman5, Giles Novak5, Jacqueline
    Davidson6, John E. Vaillancourt7, Hiroko Shinnaga8, Tristan Matthews5
    ABSTRACT
    We present the first detection of polarization around the Class 0 low-mass
    protostar L1157-mm at two different wavelengths. We show polarimetric maps
    at large scales (10′′ resolution at 350 μm) from the SHARC-II Polarimeter and
    at smaller scales (1.2′′-4.5′′ at 1.3 mm) from the Combined Array for Research
    in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA). The observations are consistent with
    each other and show inferred magnetic field lines aligned with the outflow. The
    CARMA observations suggest a full hourglass magnetic field morphology centered
    about the core; this is only the second well-defined hourglass detected around a
    low-mass protostar to date. We apply two different methods to CARMA po-
    larimetric observations to estimate the plane-of-sky magnetic field magnitude,
    finding values of 1.4 and 3.4 mG.

    Fig. 2.— Hourglass morphology of L1157 with the red line showing the axis of the hourglass
    and the black line showing the center of the outflow from Bachiller et al. (2001). Cyan and
    red vectors are the same as Figure 1…………………………………………………………………………

    Now check out the heliotail as shown through ENA from IBEX.. looks to have an ‘hourglass’ shape and has an offset as well….more clues to the puzzles in the stamp collection..

  94. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm
    Earths atmosphere is not an electrical insulator, on a planetary scale. Leif, that is nonsense.
    Again, you do not know what you are talking about. The issue is whether or not the magnetic field is frozen enough into the air to connect with the field in the magnetosphere such as to be able to twist it, and the air is too good an insulator for that.
    Up in the ionosphere and in the inner magnetosphere the conductivity is high enough that to confine plasma to magnetic field lines so that the Earth is surrounded by a ‘cloud’ of cold plasma corotating with the Earth – the plasmasphere. But this is another story which you can read here:

    http://vlf.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/spasojevicDissertation.pdf

  95. Carla says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm
    Ran across this article describing a protostar with a “hourglass” magnetic field topology. Like only the second one they have found. hmm
    Interesting, but not relevant to the topic.

  96. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Magnets still operate in a vacuum, or a ‘non-vacuum’ a small magnet can still impose a magnetic gate on a larger nearby magnetic force.

    plasma is the stuff that interacts with the crap your pushing.

  97. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm
    Magnets still operate in a vacuum
    As well as in the non-conducting air. In both cases, rotating or spinning the magnet does not ‘wind up’ or twist its magnetic field.

  98. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    “In both cases, rotating or spinning the magnet does not ‘wind up’ or twist its magnetic field.

    Absolutely not.

  99. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:35 pm
    “In both cases, rotating or spinning the magnet does not ‘wind up’ or twist its magnetic field.”
    Absolutely not.

    Does not make sense as it stands. Are you saying that the spinning magnetic winds up its field or not?

  100. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:47 pm
    When scale becomes involved, forces are always interacting, keep that in mind.
    You are not responsive to the issue at hand.

  101. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Does not make sense as it stands.

    What “Does not make sense” ya fucking arse hole? twisted cunt!!#

  102. lsvalgaard says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    “You are not responsive to the issue at hand.”

    Another lie, what’s new?

  103. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm
    What “Does not make sense” your response to:
    “In both cases, rotating or spinning the magnet does not ‘wind up’ or twist its magnetic field.”
    Absolutely not.

    Are you disagreeing with what I said or agreeing with it that ‘the magnet absolutely does not wind up is field’?

  104. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm
    “You are not responsive to the issue at hand.”
    Another lie, what’s new?

    Sort of proves my point, don’t you think?

  105. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:10 pm
    It needed saying! a bit of a roasting among friends did no one any harm!
    It would be better if you were responsive to the issue at hand. The harm is in polluting the forum.

  106. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm
    I was agreeing with you.
    In that case there should be no need for argument as what I said was a riposte to Carla:
    Carla said: February 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm
    “It’s part of a rotating body and that’s an important factor here too, twisting up the fields ”
    All I was pointing out was that there is no ‘twisting up’ as the Earth is just like that toy magnetic spinning in air. It also does not twist up anything.

  107. @Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    With “roasting” like that you probably will not remain “friends” for long.

    Your choice of course — …and the moderator’s

  108. Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm
    A magnet does not wind up its own field.
    Let us hope Carla is paying attention.
    however, a magnet embedded in a plasma does wind up its field: the spiral field lines in the solar wind…
    That is the crucial difference between a conducting and a non-conducting environment.

  109. I am amazed by this discussion. I have little knowledge of solar and astrophysics but substantial knowledge of magnetism and electricity.

    It would never occur to me to debate with Lief about a subject related to these topics without first studying the subject very thoroughly.

    Some of the posts sound like first graders arguing with the math teacher about the rules of arithmetic.

    I am also amazed at Lief’s patience. I sure wish I could take one of his courses.

  110. Policycritic says:
    Inflation is caused when there is full employment, everyone has money in their bank accounts, and there aren’t enough goods and services produced in the economy to meet the need. The classic definition. Or it’s caused by cost or supply shocks, like a rapid rise in the price of oil (again, that is gamed by futures traders in my opinion, which Congress refuses to fix). Or if asset prices rise and, yes, banks have been part of that.

    Just wondering where you get your definition of inflation from. Every economics text I’ve read defines inflation as an increase in the money supply.

  111. Although I admit I haven’t read any Keynes thus far – still on my ‘to read’ list.

    Dunno about his economics work, but the man was a god of probability and statistics. His classic stats text is one of the foundations of modern Bayesian reasoning and is in the direct line of the ancestors of the Cox axioms and Cox-Jaynes explanation of a homomorphism of probability theory as the proper basis of science and epistemology. The man was pretty smart.

    As for inflation, I’d say increase in the relative money supply, wouldn’t you? It isn’t necessarily that too many dollar (etc) bills are being printed, it is that there are increasingly many relative to the things one can buy with them. Although it is often the case that the government simply prints too much money and deflates its debt as a form of hidden regressive tax, it can also come about through manipulation of the Fed’s interest rates (and by inheritance all interest rates) or just by confluence of circumstance (or, one suspects, highly skilled and deliberate manipulation) in the highly nonlinear and unpredictable market.

    But yes, inflation is literally too much money for what one can buy with it, driving the prices for “scarce” commodities up. Kind of scary; it implies that it is impossible for us to ever build a society where everbody is equally rich until there is literally no scarcity. Which makes a sad kind of sense.

    rgb

    • My understanding of inflation is simply, and only, an increase in the money supply. What we CALL inflation (i.e. the increase in commodity prices) is a symptom of that – a symptom that can also be caused by other factors, and also mitigated by other factors. The texts I’ve read define inflation as only the increase in supply, and deflation as a decrease in the supply. (much as you can inflate or deflate a balloon) The Fed was, in theory, supposed to help smooth out economic bumps by inflating or deflating, as dictated by the specific economic factors of the time. In practice, however, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

      Prices are dictated simply by supply & demand, until government regulation gets involved. The reason prices go up under inflation is because the supply of money increases (the definition of inflation), and since money is in greater supply, the law of S&D indicates its relative value will go down. Its value goes down in relation to commodities, therefore, commodity prices increase.

      Inflation seems to get worse under a fiat currency, since the available money supply can be so easily manipulated. It’s a lot more difficult to inflate your supply of gold, without mining more :)

      I learned in my teens – shortly after the Carter years – that most people think “inflation” is the increase of prices over time, and that this is an incorrect understanding of the term. Seems that popular understanding of a lot of things tend to be incorrect…

  112. Oops, I missed the point I was going to make. One way inflation can arise is by manipulating — surprise — the energy market. Since energy is a highly inelastic commodity, raising prices of energy both raises the prices of every single good or service that depend on it and forces individuals to spend more of their income on energy, leaving less for everything else that is more elastic. This in turn leads to excess supply in “everything else” compared to the money supply and energy-starving peasants. Since in a democracy, starving peasants are given pitchforks, torches, tar and feathers every two years, every government is faced with either increasing the money supply to effectively reduce the real cost of energy so everybody can get a raise and “catch up” to the increase and providing the illusion of prosperity or being ridden out of town on a rail. Easy choice. Of course if there is a real problem with the supply of energy, this triggers the tail chasing spiral of inflation — prices rise, the currency is inflated to match, but there is only so much to go around so prices rise again and the currency inflates a bit more etc. Welcome to the latter days of Jimmy Carter. Welcome, in fact, to the life work of the Fed. Welcome to the probable real cause of the CAGW scandal — not greens acting alone, not climate scientists acting without motivation, but greens playing into the hands of the energy industry, which is the only group that unambiguously benefits from the measures being taken and attention being paid to energy.

    Why was unleaded gasoline always more expensive than leaded? Leaving out a complex additive made it more expensive at constant octane. Why did ethanol get added to gasoline? Who profits from CF light bulbs, from the coming LED bulbs? Follow the money. The tail does not wag the dog.

    rgb

  113. Policycritic says:
    Inflation is caused when there is full employment, everyone has money in their bank accounts, and there aren’t enough goods and services produced in the economy to meet the need. The classic definition.

    Polycritic is evidently conflating inflation with supply and demand

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

    They’re not the same concept.
    :-|

  114. Fantasti response, Dr.Brown. Culture, class, education and true knowledge shining in contrast to the crude, juvenile, arrogant and hypocritical posts of self appointed climastrological adjustment experts, who’re basically peddling snake oil.

  115. TonyG says
    “Prices are dictated simply by supply & demand, until government regulation gets involved. The reason prices go up under inflation is because the supply of money increases (the definition of inflation), and since money is in greater supply, the law of S&D indicates its relative value will go down. Its value goes down in relation to commodities, therefore, commodity prices increase.”

    Gold was over $1800 a while back and is now at about $1250 while the money supply has been continuously increased during that period by Fed intervention. Speculation has a tremendous effect as well as money supply. The $$ being created by the Fed do not get into the real economy but end up in the financial and commodity (or real estate) markets where the bubble is again inflating for the next bust.

  116. rgbatduke says:
    February 5, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Why was unleaded gasoline always more expensive than leaded? Leaving out a complex additive made it more expensive at constant octane.

    Because the ‘complex additive’ (tetraethyl lead) was a cheaper way to increase the octane rating of the gasoline than to refine the hydrocarbons to achieve the same effect.

  117. @Anthony
    > Meanwhile, the Ap magnetic index continues its slump
    > as it has since October 2005, bumping along the bottom.

    The ISES plot which Anthony always uses to demonstrate the alleged ‘continuing slump’ is highly misleading. It’s a plot of _monthly_ averages taken from the daily Ap reports (which in turn are averages of 8 magnetometers producing readings every 3 hours).

    When you plot the _daily_ reports, the ‘slump since 2005′ disappears (red oval)
    http://i57.tinypic.com/121vk3q.png [Ap index from 1932 to 2013]

    Sure, overall Ap intensities are somewhat reduced, because CY24 is a rather small cycle. But note how the activity resumes since 2005. In fact the activity now is comparable to the Ap index around CY20, another small cycle (Blue oval).

    So why does taking monthly averages make the resuming magnetic activity disappear? Because the Ap values above 50 tend to occur as isolated ‘noise-like’ spikes, which are decimated by averaging. In fact averaging is a common noise reduction technique. It called ‘smoothing’.

    You can see this in these two plots which show the _daily_ activity for Sept and Oct 2005.
    http://i59.tinypic.com/2gspo3k.png [Ap index sept oct 2005]

    Note that there are several spikes between 40 and 100. But, the spikes lack statistical ‘mass’, so the montly average for Sept is only 20 (vs. 8 for Oct). The point is that there was a lot of activity in Sept 2005 that the ISES chart doesn’t faithfully represent. So nobody turned off a switch, changing the noise floor. Rather the spikes were smoothed down, making it look like a ‘slump’.

    FYI, the Ap Index is not really a “solar” index like SSN or SF. Rather it is a _geomagnetic_ index derived from readings of the Earths magnetic field, but which happen to be highly influenced by solar activity. Or more precisely, by the solar wind (driven by particles from coronal holes and streamer belts).

    Another way to think about these 3 indices is that they’re all driven by ‘dark regions’ on the Sun: SSN and SF by sunspots (dark in visible light) and Ap by coronal holes (dark in EUV and X-Ray).

    Question for Dr. Svalgaard: Are the large Ap spikes generated by a different process than the ‘background’? The solar wind has slow and fast components, so are the large spikes somehow associated with faster components (which have more variance I think)? And does the ‘background’ signal indicate the slower solar wind?

  118. John Day says:
    February 5, 2014 at 9:53 am
    Question for Dr. Svalgaard: Are the large Ap spikes generated by a different process than the ‘background’? The solar wind has slow and fast components, so are the large spikes somehow associated with faster components (which have more variance I think)? And does the ‘background’ signal indicate the slower solar wind?
    The ap and similar indices depends on the solar wind magnetic field B and speed V roughly as Ap ~ B V^2, so when both B and V are high [as in a CME] Ap has a spike. Over the solar cycle B varies with the square-root of the Sunspot Number B = a + b SQRT(SSN) so tends to maximize at solar maximum, while V is largest at some point later on during the declining phase, so you often see secondary peaks in Ap at that time.

  119. @Leif
    >… when both B and V are high [as in a CME] Ap has a spike. ..
    > The ap and similar indices depends on the solar wind magnetic field B and speed V …
    >… Over the solar cycle B varies with the square-root of the Sunspot Number

    Ok, this is the part that I don’t quite understand. You say the Ap spikes are driven by CMEs, and that the magnetic field B varies with SSN. But what exactly is the connection between CMEs and SSN? I thought the fast solar wind B field originated from open lines emanating from the coronal holes (as this Wikipedia article implies:

    “The fast solar wind is thought to originate from coronal holes, which are funnel-like regions of open field lines in the Sun’s magnetic field.[28] Such open lines are particularly prevalent around the Sun’s magnetic poles. The plasma source is small magnetic fields created by convection cells in the solar atmosphere. These fields confine the plasma and transport it into the narrow necks of the coronal funnels, which are located only 20,000 kilometers above the photosphere. The plasma is released into the funnel when these magnetic field lines reconnect”

    Is the CME-SSN ‘connection’ due to the fact that coronal holes tend to hang out at the polar regions during solar minima, and wander down to the equatorial regions at solar max? Does that explain why CMEs are felt on Earth more during solar maxima?

    Also, do you agree with my assessment of the Ap ‘slump since 2005’?
    :-|

  120. John Day says:
    February 5, 2014 at 10:49 am
    Is the CME-SSN ‘connection’ due to the fact that coronal holes tend to hang out at the polar regions during solar minima, and wander down to the equatorial regions at solar max? Does that explain why CMEs are felt on Earth more during solar maxima?
    If anything, it is the other way around. Coronal holes wander up to the poles [and the field in the CHs helps reverse the polar fields]. Reality is a bit more complicated [has to do with butterfly diagram and flux emergence], but those complications are just details.

    Also, do you agree with my assessment of the Ap ‘slump since 2005′?
    Yes, and I keep telling Anthony about it, but to no avail. There comes a point where one lets it ride…
    :-|

  121. @Leif
    > If anything, it is the other way around. Coronal holes wander up to the poles
    > [and the field in the CHs helps reverse the polar fields].

    I guess there are two ways to look at the coronal hole situation. The Wikipedia article on CH gave me the impression that the wandering took place at solar max:

    “During solar minimum, coronal holes are mainly found at the Sun’s polar regions, but they can be located anywhere on the sun during solar maximum. The fast-moving component of the solar wind is known to travel along open magnetic field lines that pass through coronal holes.”

    In any case, all I wanted to know was if it was the relative increase of CH density in the equatorial regions was the reason CMEs are correlated to the sunspot number. In other words, if the SSN is at max, will there be more CHs aiming their CMEs at the Earth?

    Or is there some other, less obvious mechanism which causes the correlation between the density of large Ap spikes measured on Earth and observed SSN?

  122. John Day says:
    February 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm
    In any case, all I wanted to know was if it was the relative increase of CH density in the equatorial regions was the reason CMEs are correlated to the sunspot number. In other words, if the SSN is at max, will there be more CHs aiming their CMEs at the Earth?
    CHs and CMEs are different animals. First CMEs: they are mostly caused by explosions [flares] in and above sunspots so have an obvious relationship with the sunspot cycle and lead to Ap-spikes if the CME with its high speed and strong magnetic field comes our way. CHs occur when sunspots decay and the debris drifts away from the spot to form what is called a UMR [Unipolar Magnetic Region]. The magnetic field in such a region is weaker so cannot hold the solar wind back [as the strong fields in a sunspot does] and the corona expands readily into interplanetary space. Adjacent CHs often have different expansion speed so solar wind is ejected into the same radial direction as the Sun rotates. This leads to the faster of the two catching up with and colliding with the slower and a ‘corotating interaction region’ forms with increased and disturbed and compressed plasma and magnetic field. When such a region sweeps over the Earth, Ap also has a spike, so there are two causes of spikes with somewhat different behavior over the cycle. I said it was a bit complicated [and there is more more complication at the next deeper level].

  123. Because the ‘complex additive’ (tetraethyl lead) was a cheaper way to increase the octane rating of the gasoline than to refine the hydrocarbons to achieve the same effect.

    I stand corrected. I thought it just prevented knocking (premature detonation) associated with the valves, that was cured instead by car companies re-engineering the valves so that they wouldn’t erode under the pressures needed to get efficient combustion without lead. I admit to getting confused by the co-option of the simple idea of percentage of iso-octane vs heptane compared to relative burn efficiency of a raft of alternative additives. Sigh.

    rgb

    rgb

  124. Dr. Svalgaard, I’m not sure why you previously said that the solar wind interaction at both earth poles is the same. I looked up the Hemispheric Activity Level at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/lists/hpi/power_2013.txt, and in perusing the data, I couldn’t find any corresponding hemispheric power equality in gigawatts at any closely-spaced times for north and south hemisphere measurements. One problem with comparing both poles simultaneously is the fact that no two N and S readings are taken at the same exact time by the NOAA satellites. However, closely timed measurements as seen in the data list varied a great deal between hemispheres. Why is that? Would that not indicate that the poles respond non-symmetrically to the solar wind? The auroras “look” somewhat symmetrical, but maybe looks are deceiving there.

    Additionally, specifically, what causes magnetic field “lines”? Your old friend Hannes Alfven retracted his original proposition that they are “frozen in” space, and he called that idea a mistake. Doesn’t the flow of electrons create the magnetic structures around the sun and earth? The field “lines” really don’t exist do they? Aren’t they a conceptual construction illustrating the directional motions of electrons?

  125. rgbatduke says:
    February 5, 2014 at 7:17 am
    first
    I look forward to reading whatever you write youre just an incisive great mind. its a pleasure to read your posts.
    as for economists…i lean to friedman and von hayek. keynes didnt really understand the limitations of central planning…the inability to access full information…..
    as for creating inflation through increased energy prices…consider that the CPI, which is used to adjust stuff like social security payments and the interest on inflation “protected” government debt instruments, doesnt include energy, or for that matter food.
    because when old people heat their homes, or buy cat food to eat, theyre not consuming, theyre investing in the future.
    what do I know. in any case thanks for posting.

  126. lsvalgaard says:

    February 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm
    Sparks says:
    February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm
    A magnet does not wind up its own field.

    Let us hope Carla is paying attention.
    however, a magnet embedded in a plasma does wind up its field: the spiral field lines in the solar wind…
    That is the crucial difference between a conducting and a non-conducting environment.
    ___________________________

    The Earth’s magnetosphere is sounding more like it is embedded in a ‘current sheet,’ based on the following. And sounds like plenty of wave action, but you say no “twisting up?” Don’t we see current sheets on the Jovians and aren’t they twisting up?

    Megavolt Parallel Potentials Arising from Double-Layer Streams in the Earth’s Outer Radiation Belt

    F. S. Mozer1, S. D. Bale1, J. W. Bonnell1, C. C. Chaston1, I. Roth1, and J. Wygant2
    Received 22 August 2013; published 2 December 2013

    http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v111/i23/e235002

    Huge numbers of double layers carrying electric fields parallel to the local magnetic field line have been observed on the Van Allen probes in connection with in situ relativistic electron acceleration in the Earth’s outer radiation belt. For one case with adequate high time resolution data, 7000 double layers were observed in an interval of 1 min to produce a 230 000 V net parallel potential drop crossing the spacecraft. Lower resolution data show that this event lasted for 6 min and that more than 1 000 000 volts of net parallel potential crossed the spacecraft during this time. A double layer traverses the length of a magnetic field line in about 15 s and the orbital motion of the spacecraft perpendicular to the magnetic field was about 700 km during this 6 min interval. Thus, the instantaneous parallel potential along a single magnetic field line was the order of tens of kilovolts. Electrons on the field line might experience many such potential steps in their lifetimes to accelerate them to energies where they serve as the seed population for relativistic acceleration by coherent, large amplitude whistler mode waves. Because the double-layer speed of 3100  km/s is the order of the electron acoustic speed (and not the ion acoustic speed) of a 25 eV plasma, the double layers may result from a new electron acoustic mode. Acceleration mechanisms involving double layers may also be important in planetary radiation belts such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, in the solar corona during flares, and in astrophysical objects.

  127. Let me see if I can get my foot in my mouth again. lol

    Wouldn’t the act of “twisting up” produce those double layers seen in the radiation belts. Alls it takes is a little rotation.. but no..

  128. Current sheets on all Jovians and similar on Earth and Mercury

    Observations of plasma sheet structure
    and dynamics
    Chris Arridge1,2
    1. Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL.
    2. The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck.
    Magnetospheres of the Outer Planets – Boston, USA – Tues 12 July 2011
    Discussed:
    – Plasma sheet global shape and position and observations of its dynamics.
    – Plasma sheet thickness variability.
    – Centrifugal effects on latitudinal structure.
    – Reconnection, periodic plasmoid release and recurrent energisation.
    – Energisation of plasma.
    – Current sheet tearing.
    – Current sheet oscillations and waves.
    – Discrete blobs of plasma.

  129. We might have some incites into “twisting up” and some incites into vortices from Saturn..
    And how bout some spin periodicities in the magnetosphere of Saturn for exammples?

    The Seasonal Variations of Saturn’s Current Sheet Tilt

    Khurana, K. K.; Dougherty, M. K.; Russell, C. T.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012espc.conf..310K

    European Planetary Science Congress 2012, held 23-28 September

    The location of a planetary current sheet, where most of the magnetospheric plasma resides, is determined by the effects of centrifugal, solar wind and Lorentz forces on the plasma. It is well known that at any local time, Saturn’s current sheet develops a static tilt from solar wind forcing which gives it a global shape of a shallow bowl [1]. However, less appreciated is the fact that the current sheet also develops a dynamic tilt which moves the current sheet up and down at any local time during a Saturnian day [2]. Khurana et al. (2009) suggested that the dynamic tilt results from the asymmetric lift of the magnetosphere in the presence of ring current asymmetries which rotate with the planet [3]. Khurana et al. (2009) examined Cassini data from the period of 2004-2006, when the solar elevation angle was > 14 degrees. They showed that during this time, the dynamic tilt was > 10 degrees. Saturn passed through its equinox during July 2009. The solar elevation angle during 2009 was between -3.4 and 2.2 degrees. Using magnetic field observations from this period, we now show that the dynamic current sheet tilt was also extremely small (< 5 degrees). We further show that the current sheet's dynamic tilt is governed largely by the solar elevation angle. The variability of Saturn's current sheet's dynamic tilt has implications for the models of spin periodicity in Saturn's magnetosphere.
    Two types of models have been proposed to explain the spin periodicities in the magnetosphere. In the magnetospheric driven models, an inner magnetospheric vortex drives cyclical convection in the magnetosphere and creates periodicities in the observed field and plasma parameters. In the ionospheric driven models, a vortex in the ionosphere imposes magnetospheric periodicities including dynamic tilt in Saturn's current sheet

  130. Bob Weber says:
    February 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm
    I looked up the Hemispheric Activity Level at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/lists/hpi/power_2013.txt, and in perusing the data, I couldn’t find any corresponding hemispheric power equality in gigawatts at any closely-spaced times for north and south hemisphere measurements.
    The aurorae are extremely dynamic and very narrow spatially. The satellite traverses an aurorae in seconds, so it is no wonder that the detailed data don’t match. An auroral ‘substorm’ lasts from minutes to a couple of hours. What is important are, of course, the larger events, say above 100 GW. If you look through the file you linked to you will find that such large events have a companion in the other hemisphere rather close in time; here are some examples:

    2013-02-20 11:23:03 NOAA-15 (N) 10 110.44 1.25
    2013-02-20 12:12:55 NOAA-15 (S) 10 101.98 1.10

    2013-02-21 18:38:35 METP-02 (S) 10 97.07 0.79
    2013-02-21 19:15:31 NOAA-19 (S) 10 117.15 0.83

    2013-02-22 02:04:23 NOAA-15 (N) 10 118.79 1.81
    2013-02-22 03:46:47 NOAA-15 (N) 10 104.82 2.84

    2013-03-01 09:56:09 METP-02 (N) 10 96.68 1.60
    2013-03-01 10:12:55 NOAA-15 (S) 10 110.71 1.05

    2013-03-01 11:03:31 NOAA-19 (S) 10 129.75 1.06
    2013-03-01 11:03:35 NOAA-15 (N) 10 173.53 1.30

    2013-03-03 02:11:31 NOAA-19 (S) 10 101.79 0.80
    2013-03-03 02:24:09 METP-02 (N) 9 85.29 0.94

    2013-03-17 06:09:27 NOAA-15 (N) 9 76.09 3.44
    2013-03-17 06:28:36 NOAA-19 (S) 10 152.64 1.58

    2013-03-17 08:41:43 NOAA-15 (S) 10 98.68 0.90
    2013-03-17 09:01:24 NOAA-19 (N) 10 136.77 0.98

    2013-03-17 09:32:39 NOAA-15 (N) 10 98.00 1.71
    2013-03-17 09:52:04 NOAA-19 (S) 10 101.10 1.20

    2013-03-17 10:22:47 NOAA-15 (S) 9 87.35 1.11
    2013-03-17 10:42:28 NOAA-19 (N) 10 104.48 1.17

    2013-03-17 12:03:19 NOAA-15 (S) 10 130.49 1.04
    2013-03-17 12:23:16 NOAA-19 (N) 10 98.92 1.32

    2013-03-17 12:26:54 NOAA-18 (N) 9 89.40 1.31
    2013-03-17 12:31:56 NOAA-17 (S) 10 108.01 0.88

    2013-03-17 14:29:58 METP-02 (N) 10 113.47 0.76
    2013-03-17 14:55:00 NOAA-19 (S) 10 112.38 1.32

    2013-03-17 15:23:51 NOAA-15 (S) 10 104.63 1.26
    2013-03-17 15:45:08 NOAA-19 (N) 10 196.16 1.26

    2013-03-17 17:03:35 NOAA-15 (S) 10 111.94 1.19
    2013-03-17 17:26:44 NOAA-19 (N) 10 211.43 1.11

    etc, you get the idea.
    Also, different satellites have different sensitivity and different orbits so will never see the same thing, but the overall energy deposited over some time, e.g. a day will correlate closely, see e.g. slide 10 of http://www.leif.org/research/POES%20Power%20and%20IHV.pdf [North is blue, south is red]

    Additionally, specifically, what causes magnetic field “lines”? Your old friend Hannes Alfven retracted his original proposition that they are “frozen in” space, and he called that idea a mistake.
    This is a hard-to-kill untrue myth perpetuated by people with an agenda. What Alfven was saying was that ideal MHD with frozen-in magnetic field does not allow the kind of explosions and energy releases we see in solar flares and magnetic storms. For ‘action’ to take place, the frozen-in condition must be ‘thawed’. This can, and does, happen during magnetic reconnection. So Alfven’s point was that the concepts ‘frozen’ and ‘thawed’ apply to different situations which must not be confused. In the ‘frozen’ condition field lines have an existence given to them by the plasma riding on them: move the plasma and the field line moves with. A good example of frozen in magnetic fields is the heliospheric magnetic field rooted in the Sun but frozen to the plasma of the expanding solar wind and thus wound into a spiral by the rotation of the Sun. In a plasma field lines exist in the sense that you can follow the motion of the field line, in a vacuum or a non-conductor they do not exist in the same way [although the magnetic field is there] and you cannot tell one from the other, they are not ‘lit up’ as they are in a plasma.

  131. Carla says:
    February 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    and on and on.
    Carla, I’m tired of explained the same thing again and again. So, none of what you bring up is relevant and It just wastes bandwidth you keep posting abstract after abstract of things you do not understand.

  132. Carla says:
    February 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    lots of irrelevant stuff
    I’ll try one more [last] time: rotate a magnet in a plasma and the field lines wind or twist up. Rotate the magnet in air, a vacuum or any other non-conductor, the field lines do not wind or twist up. Since there is this literal air-gap between the rotating Earth and the magnetosphere, the Earth’s rotation does not wind up the field lines in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. For the Sun there is no air-gap and the rotating Sun does indeed wind up the magnetic field in the heliosphere into the well-known spiral shape.

  133. Thank you for your Dr. Svalgaard. I do have an agenda: understanding what’s going on exactly, which I’m pretty sure you would appreciate. Of course I have my bias as most do. On page 6 of your given pdf, you say “Very similar result for the Southern Hemisphere (no surprise as POES Hp is calibrated so that the South has the same mean as the North).” What underlying rational was there for the South and North calibration means to be equated the same?

    With so many satellites, I can only imagine what a job that is calibrating them!

    I was able to find some significant N-S differences in the data (just a sampling – too many to list):

    2013-01-20 07:38:22 NOAA-18 (N) 7 32.94 1.26
    2013-01-20 07:50:41 METP-02 (S) 10 117.75 0.83

    2013-01-20 08:01:50 NOAA-16 (N) 8 48.72 2.80
    2013-01-20 08:05:59 NOAA-15 (S) 10 109.99 0.84

    2013-01-21 00:34:38 NOAA-18 (N) 3 4.53 0.96
    2013-01-21 00:42:25 METP-02 (S) 7 25.11 0.90

    2013-01-21 22:39:58 NOAA-18 (N) 4 7.72 0.76
    2013-01-21 22:40:49 METP-02 (S) 6 19.67 1.11

    So maybe we’re both right sometimes!

    Regarding field “lines”, yes, I did think that the magnetic fields move with the plasma, as you appear to be saying too. But, I wonder how does anyone know “… in a vacuum or a non-conductor they {field lines} do not exist in the same way [although the magnetic field is there]”? There really isn’t a true vacuum or non-conducting space in the heliosphere, is there?

    Doesn’t the solar wind plasma exist everywhere in the heliosphere, just at varying densities? The use of words like “frozen” and “thawed” appear to be generally vague, considering nothing in space is actually motionless, especially plasma, which means magnetic fields are ever-variable, right? Motionless plasma being the only condition where magnetic fields would be “frozen”, were that possible. Is it?

    I’ve seen it written that flares and resultant CMEs are caused by “magnetic energy” – well, if magnetic energy is proportional to plasma flow/density, and plasma is ionized hydrogen, a combination of electrons and protons, and, as you’ve said in previous blogs, that inside a plasma flow such as in the solar wind, there exists an electrical current (electrons & protons – charge in motion), then isn’t it fair and accurate to say that flares and CMEs are caused by overloaded plasma tubes bridging sunspot regions, in effect an overload of electrical current?

    If so, that would mean “magnetic energy” really results from plasma caused “electrical energy”. To me, the use of the term “magnetic energy” doesn’t cover the true cause of the magnetism, the electrical currents caused by plasma flows of electrons and protons.

  134. Bob Weber says:
    February 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm
    I do have an agenda: understanding what’s going on exactly
    I don’t think so [judging from your comments]. Rather, you have a need to fit things into your worldview which is inviolate. As far as understanding what goes on exactly, I have that understanding [well, perhaps not ‘exactly’ – nobody has that] and am trying to pass it to you, but you resist and reject.

    On page 6 of your given pdf, you say “Very similar result for the Southern Hemisphere (no surprise as POES Hp is calibrated so that the South has the same mean as the North).” What underlying rational was there for the South and North calibration means to be equated the same?
    As the northern and southern auroral zones are cut by the satellite orbits in slightly different ways [therefore sampling the magnetic regions differently], normalizing to the same mean makes it easier to compare the two hemispheres. In any event, the difference is small so will not have a significant impact.

    I was able to find some significant N-S differences in the data…
    So maybe we’re both right sometimes!

    No, because what is important is not the instantaneous values but the values summed over several passes, e.g. covering a day. Try to average the power for each day and then compare.

    There really isn’t a true vacuum or non-conducting space in the heliosphere, is there?
    There certainly is [and that is what started this whole ‘discussion’], namely the air you breathe: there is a 60 mile non-conducting air gap between the surface of the Earth and the ionosphere.

    Doesn’t the solar wind plasma exist everywhere in the heliosphere, just at varying densities?
    See just above. And in addition the magnetic fields of most planets exclude the solar wind from their environment.

    The use of words like “frozen” and “thawed” appear to be generally vague
    They have a very precise meaning and were used by Alfven himself.

    Motionless plasma being the only condition where magnetic fields would be “frozen”, were that possible. Is it?
    No, the solar magnetic field is frozen into the solar wind moving at 400 kilometer per second.

    flares and CMEs are caused by overloaded plasma tubes bridging sunspot regions, in effect an overload of electrical current?
    Absolutely true, but the crucial point is how that electrical current is generated. In flares and magnetic storms the current is caused by changes of the magnetic field, e.g. by reconnection or by twisting and rotating the field.

    If so, that would mean “magnetic energy” really results from plasma caused “electrical energy”.
    Other way around as just explained.

    To me, the use of the term “magnetic energy” doesn’t cover the true cause of the magnetism, the electrical currents caused by plasma flows of electrons and protons.
    Since the plasma is electrically neutral there are no electric currents as electrons and protons move together, [and this is important] unless they encounter a magnetic field which will deflect the electrons and protons in opposite directions, so, again, you see the supremacy of the magnetic field in generating the electric currents that are the cause of the explosive events. We use the same mechanism to generate power here on earth [from wikipedia: “A dynamo machine consists of a stationary structure, called the stator, which provides a constant magnetic field, and a set of rotating windings called the armature which turn within that field. The motion of the wire within the magnetic field causes the field to push on the electrons in the metal, creating an electric current in the wire”]

  135. A change has come over the ratio of whole spot to umbra:
    It has been as high as 10-1, but in late November started falling, and is now in a more ‘normal’ 4-1
    That 4-1 to 6-1 is seen for about 80-90% of a Solar Cycle. SC24 has been truly a weird beast of a Solar Cycle.

  136. TonyG says:
    February 5, 2014 at 6:52 am
    Just wondering where you get your definition of inflation from. Every economics text I’ve read defines inflation as an increase in the money supply.

    Again, my lack of clarity. My remark should have continued

    Inflation is caused when there is full employment, everyone has money in their bank accounts, there aren’t enough goods and services produced in the economy to meet the need, so too much money chases too few goods. Prices inflate. The classic definition.

    But inflation, in reality, is extraordinarily difficult for a central bank to create. Japan has been trying to do it for 20 years. Debt-to-GDP (that money supply you were talking about) over 200% for 20 years. Interest rate at 0% to 0.25% for 20 years. Can’t do it. The Federal Reserve targeted 2%. Can’t do it either. Inflation is at 1.5%.

    I agree with rgbatduke at February 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

    inflation is literally too much money for what one can buy with it, driving the prices for “scarce” commodities up.

    and with this

    One way inflation can arise is by manipulating — surprise — the energy market.

  137. However, rgbatduke,

    rgbatduke says:
    February 5, 2014 at 7:29 am
    Of course if there is a real problem with the supply of energy, this triggers the tail chasing spiral of inflation — prices rise, the currency is inflated to match, but there is only so much to go around so prices rise again and the currency inflates a bit more etc. Welcome to the latter days of Jimmy Carter.

    You might be surprised to know that natural gas was locked in at 30 cents in early 1978. Jimmy Carter deregulated it, and it went to around $2.30, an embarrassment but waaaaay cheaper than oil that traveled to $38/barrel by then as a result of the Oil Crisis (oil was $3.00/barrel before the Yom Kippur War, Oct 1973, when the Oil Crisis started). It took at least two to three years for the power plants to retool, but that broke the back of OPEC and brought energy prices down to an eventual $10/barrel. Reagan got the praise, but it was Carter who did it.

    That horrific inflation (20% and above) of the late 70s and early 80s was the result of Fed Chairman Paul Volker who didn’t understand how monetary operations worked. He set a limit on borrowed reserves of $50 billion, and said the banks couldn’t have any more money. Volker didn’t understand that banks make loans which make deposits, and then two weeks later they settle up with the Fed (Volker was still thinking like a gold-standard animal, not unlike Ron Paul). So, first Volker transferred interest rate control to the New York Fed from the Washington Fed by default. The banks would add up their deposits and instead of $50 billion in reserves, they would need, say, $55 billion and the Fed was supposed to say you can’t have it (at the Fed Funds Rate, which was normal but Volker didn’t know). The loans and deposits had already been made, and the banks already had an overdraft at the Fed for the reserves because a loan/deposit creates an automatic need for reserves at the Fed; ergo an overdraft, which is an automatic loan. The banks had no option but to try to borrow from each other to cover their reserve requirement, driving up interest rates. Or go to the Fed’s discount window with its particular interest rate; however, use of the discount window would precipitate bank examiners at the bank trying to use the discount window and each bank would pass until the interest rate was attractive enough to endure the bank examiners, sometimes reaching 28% in one day. It was a mess. It took over a couple of years for Volker to understand that he didn’t know what he was doing and fix it, but the damage had been done.

    As for this, I agree completely

    Welcome to the probable real cause of the CAGW scandal — not greens acting alone, not climate scientists acting without motivation, but greens playing into the hands of the energy industry, which is the only group that unambiguously benefits from the measures being taken and attention being paid to energy.

  138. Policycritic (February 6, 2014 at 3:36 am) “That horrific inflation (20% and above) of the late 70s and early 80s was the result of Fed Chairman Paul Volker who didn’t understand how monetary operations worked…”

    That is completely incorrect. Volker was sworn in as Fed Chairman in August 1979 as the price of gold was rocketing skywards: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?&id=GOLDAMGBD228NLBM&scale=Left&range=Custom&cosd=1968-04-01&coed=1980-01-01&line_color=%230000ff&link_values=false&line_style=Solid&mark_type=NONE&mw=4&lw=1&ost=-99999&oet=99999&mma=0&fml=a&fq=Daily&fam=avg

    It was Volker who put an end to “inflation” in every sense of the word.

    First, I will use the term “price inflation” to avoid confusion. “Price inflation” is not some arcane side effect of high interest rates as you seem to be implying above. “Price inflation” is a psychological side effect of “monetary inflation” which was practiced by the prior Fed chairs particularly Nixon’s toady Arthur Burns who flooded the economy with money specifically to enhance Nixon’s reelection prospects in 1972. Once the inflation was embedded into the remnants of America’s strong 1950’s and 60’s economy, wages and prices soon spiraled upwards at double digit rates. Inflationary psychology was rampant.

    I would go to the Burlington mall every month or two which was filled from end to end with stamp and coin dealers, and buy and sell gold or old pocket watches or practically any other collectable. I sold everything in 1981 just after the peak, not because I was smart, but because I needed the money for college.

    Bubbles have their own psychology and the gold price peaked dramatically 6 months after Volker’s appointment. But inflation psychology is harder to kill so prices still rose for a year or two after that.

  139. Dr. Svalgaard, I question [most of the time], YOU reject [sometimes].

    On Jan 31, ACE RTSW MAG from 14:00 to 20:00 UTC Bx, By, and Bz were as flatlined as I’ve ever seen, can you explain how that happens please?

    If your arguments regarding the plasma and magnetics can be absolutely confirmed, I’ll be the first in line to pat you on the back for it. Our argument appears on the level of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” Perhaps there are pre- or misconceptions on both sides, and I do appreciate your “trying”. Thickheadedness appears to vary with the solar wind and magnetics as well!

    As for the use of averages, running means, and statistics: you may call me a “true believer” in that I think events cause events – things cause things to happen, and mathematical constructions don’t [not to say the laws of physics aren’t represented mathematically]. Of course the math is essential to analyze events and make predictions.

    I am an audio engineer from wayback, and instantaneous power is a very important metric wrt sound. I think the same type of audio analysis applies to solar activity metrics. So with that in mind, I do think that the significantly different nearly-instantaneous POES readings are not irrelevant as compared to the averages, as you appear to suggest, and later today, I will do as you suggest, “Try to average the power for each day and then compare.” We’ll see…

    I said: “The use of words like “frozen” and “thawed” appear to be generally vague.” and you said,
    “They have a very precise meaning and were used by Alfven himself.” My question now is, did he use those descriptors before or after he changed his mind regarding “frozen-in” magnetic fields?

    Where you say, regarding a non-conductive region: “There certainly is [and that is what started this whole ‘discussion’], namely the air you breathe: there is a 60 mile non-conducting air gap between the surface of the Earth and the ionosphere.” I have to respond with: what about lightning? What about the electric field from ground to the ionosphere and atmospheric ions?

    You say, “Since the plasma is electrically neutral there are no electric currents as electrons and protons move together, [and this is important] unless they encounter a magnetic field which will deflect the electrons and protons in opposite directions, so, again, you see the supremacy of the magnetic field in generating the electric currents that are the cause of the explosive events.”

    What about the plainly described heliospheric current sheet? It is from the plasma flowing [solar wind] from the sun outwards, right? Further, since the electrons and protons are deflected in opposite directions, wouldn’t there be evidence at the Earth’s poles for a higher electron concentration at one pole and then a corresponding higher proton concentration at the other pole?

    What happens when electrons and protons in the solar wind move together in the magnetosphere? Do they spiral together at any time? Would this not create twisting magnetic field “lines” and outwardly appear as twisting filaments at the right wavelength(s)? Aren’t those Birkeland currents?

    As well, how does your assertion that electrons and protons move together (proportionately?) square with the fact that the GOES solar wind electron flux and proton flux readings don’t track very well together most of the time?

    What about the reverse of what wikipedia describes as a dynamo: a magnet (the Earth) immersed in a varying stream of charged particles (the wires)?

    As for today’s solar activity: SSN 234, SFI 194, the highest values in a while; and a rarity, Bz negative now for 12 straight hours (continued linkage to Earth’s magnetic field.) That’s just food for thought – we’ll see if anything comes of that. Also looking at AIA 211/193/171, we can see the polar coronal holes are nearly symmetrical, as well as the hemispheric active regions, looking like a “balanced” sun. Is that something we’d expect after solar max?

  140. Bob Weber says:
    February 6, 2014 at 7:32 am
    Dr. Svalgaard, I question [most of the time]
    ‘Questioning’ does not lead to understanding [Learning does], unless you question your own bias. You don’t gain understanding by ignoring hard-won knowledge, but from learning about the science involved. Looking over your comments I can see that you have learned absolutely nothing. Not once, have you said “Ah, I see it now. Thanks for furthering my understanding’.

    On Jan 31, ACE RTSW MAG from 14:00 to 20:00 UTC Bx, By, and Bz were as flatlined as I’ve ever seen, can you explain how that happens please?
    The solar wind speed did not vary during that time, so we just hit a pocket of calm. Nothing unusual there. The air wind speed at a location on the Earth also has calm periods.

    If your arguments regarding the plasma and magnetics can be absolutely confirmed
    These are not ‘my arguments’, but rather what all available data supports and is generally accepted as valid by people who know something about this.

    Our argument appears on the level of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”
    To get electric fields in a plasma you need magnetic fields [to separate the charges], so the question is ‘where did the very first magnetic fields in the universe come from?’. How do we create a magnetic field from nothing? This is a valid and interesting question. I discuss it here http://www.leif.org/research/The-Origin-of-Magnetic-Fields.pdf
    It is also of interest to remember that from 389,000 years after the Big Bang the universe was not a plasma until some 200-400 million years later.

    instantaneous power is a very important metric wrt sound. I think the same type of audio analysis applies to solar activity metrics.
    In a very inhomogeneous medium the power varies greatly from place to place and to get a good measure you need to sample it in many places and average over space and time. A single point-measurement is almost meaningless as a characterization of the medium.

    My question now is, did he use those descriptors before or after he changed his mind regarding “frozen-in” magnetic fields?
    He did not change his mind [in spite of my telling you that already, you insist on perpetuating the myth – you didn’t learn a thing], he pointed out that although the magnetic field is generally frozen in to a plasma [and he did not question that], you need to ‘thaw’ the field [his words] in places to get the explosive events we observe. Nobody disagrees with him about that, in fact, magnetic reconnection relies on the MHD conditions breaking down at the boundary between the two oppositely directed magnetic fields. This can happen when the length scale becomes smaller than the gyro-radius of the particles.

    I have to respond with: what about lightning? What about the electric field from ground to the ionosphere and atmospheric ions?
    Lightning occurs precisely because air is not a conductor. This allows a large voltage to build up, eventually to be discharged as a short-duration transient event. The electric field also exists because the air is non-conducting. If air were a conductor that field would discharge right away.

    What about the plainly described heliospheric current sheet? It is from the plasma flowing [solar wind] from the sun outwards, right?
    The current is a drift current caused by the magnetic field changing direction across the sector boundary.

    Further, since the electrons and protons are deflected in opposite directions, wouldn’t there be evidence at the Earth’s poles for a higher electron concentration at one pole and then a corresponding higher proton concentration at the other pole?
    No, there wouldn’t and there isn’t.

    What happens when electrons and protons in the solar wind move together in the magnetosphere? Do they spiral together at any time? Would this not create twisting magnetic field “lines” and outwardly appear as twisting filaments at the right wavelength(s)? Aren’t those Birkeland currents?
    Figures 1 and 2 in http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf explains what happens.

    As well, how does your assertion that electrons and protons move together (proportionately?) square with the fact that the GOES solar wind electron flux and proton flux readings don’t track very well together most of the time?
    Because the instruments record different energy ranges.

    What about the reverse of what wikipedia describes as a dynamo: a magnet (the Earth) immersed in a varying stream of charged particles (the wires)?
    The Earth is immersed in an electrically neutral medium. Your body is also a collection of charged particles, but is overall [one might hope] electrically neutral.

    Is that something we’d expect after solar max?
    The sun and the solar wind are extremely dynamic and messy. Looking at different times you may find just about any combination of things you could ask for.

    All of this we have gone over again and again, both here and in other posts, and you [and other adherents] have learned nothing and understood nothing.

  141. Eric1skeptic says:
    February 6, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Policycritic (February 6, 2014 at 3:36 am) “That horrific inflation (20% and above) of the late 70s and early 80s was the result of Fed Chairman Paul Volker who didn’t understand how monetary operations worked…”

    That is completely incorrect. Volker was sworn in as Fed Chairman in August 1979 as the price of gold was rocketing skywards:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?&id=GOLDAMGBD228NLBM&scale=Left&range=Custom&cosd=1968-04-01&coed=1980-01-01&line_color=%230000ff&link_values=false&line_style=Solid&mark_type=NONE&mw=4&lw=1&ost=-99999&oet=99999&mma=0&fml=a&fq=Daily&fam=avg

    It was Volker who put an end to “inflation” in every sense of the word.

    Thanks for the chart. It proves one of my points: people still don’t understand what it means to be off the gold-standard 100% and how that affected monetary operations, and neither did Volker then, who thought that if you restricted the reserves you would control the money supply and curb inflation; he made it worse. It had nothing to do with gold because we were not pegged to it.

    Here’s the history and I’ll try to be brief. As your chart shows, gold was (artificially) pegged at $35/ounce internationally until August 15, 1971. The USA went off the gold-standard domestically in 1934 (or so), but was still pegged to it internationally. [Any newly discovered store of gold would reduce the value of your currency, not increase it.] That meant all export and import payments were settled internationally in gold, and that was done, literally, with a forklift that would move gold between cages designated by country in the basement of the NY Fed (don’t know how many other district Feds did that, maybe DC, San Fran).

    In 1970, Nixon discovered that Charles De Gaulle had taken every US$35.00 he could get his mitts on and exchanged it for an ounce of gold, physically taking possession, draining the US coffers for over 10 years. Americans loved French wine, French this, French that, and he was happy to sell them to us. The US dollar by that time had become the reserve currency, wresting it from the British Pound, especially after the run on gold dissolved London’s gold pool sometimes in the 60s. So on August 15, 1971, on the advice of Herb Stein and others Nixon took us off the gold standard and we, the USA, became 100% monetarily sovereign for the first time in our history, able to pay for anything denominated in US dollars both domestically and internationally. Our dollar was no longer pegged to a fixed exchange rate. It was floating, and free. [That $100 case of wine that had to be paid for in gold? From a macro POV, it cost us $0.07, the cost of printing a $100 bill.]

    As your chart shows, once gold was depegged from the US$, the commodity price of gold soared. It had, and has, nothing to do with the value of the $US. It had, and has, nothing to do with inflation. Zero. And thank god, because the commodity price of gold has gone up and down like a toilet seat for the last 13 years, from ~$200/ounce to a high of ~$1900/ounce (the Hugo Chavez gold affair). Had we been on gold, we would have replicated the panics and depressions of the late 1800s and early 20th C.

  142. Eric1skeptic says:
    February 6, 2014 at 6:09 am

    “Price inflation” is a psychological side effect of “monetary inflation”

    Meaningless statement. The price of goods and services in the economy is not determined by monetary (Federal Reserve) operations.

  143. Eric1skeptic says:
    February 6, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Once the inflation was embedded into the remnants of America’s strong 1950′s and 60′s economy, wages and prices soon spiraled upwards at double digit rates.

    Wages have gone down 19% since the early 70s in the aggregate.

    These myths are as destructive as the current debt ceiling crisis. The debt ceiling was imposed in 1917 to put a belt and set of suspenders on the gold supply after WWI. It should have been wiped from the books in 1971 as soon as we became 100% monetarily sovereign (but then the country was going through Watergate and journalists knew nothing, still don’t.) The debt ceiling has no logical meaning in today’s economy. Zero. Zip. Those using it today for political purposes and financial blackmail are impoverishing this country. It is criminal, and in my opinion, its practitioners should be in jail for lying to the American people, causing untold sorrow and pain to ordinary people, because some of those congressional bastards know the truth about the debt ceiling ruse and are using the deception for their own political and career purposes.

  144. Dr. Svalgaard, if I thought my bias was unquestionably correct, why would I bother asking you questions? You are a great man of science. I really respect your experience and desire to inform. Your insults don’t hurt me, because I’m just a student in life, and like a student should, I’m not afraid or embarrassed to ask questions. It appears that if I or someone else doesn’t parrot what you say, you get insulted. You express a great deal of frustration on the blogs, not just to me. Perhaps your patience wears thin. I won’t be browbeaten into anything by you.

    Over the past few months as I’ve taken a keener interest in this stuff, I’ve noticed all the different blogs over time where you’ve participated (not just at WUWT), and at times, you’re very testy and dismissive, and at other times very forthcoming and gracious with your knowledge. I realize you have gone over and over the same territory so many times with so many people for so many years, that I’m amazed that you still put yourself through it all here if it bothers you that much.

    Very few people have had the long experience in these matters that you have had, and maybe you’ve taken for granted the questioning that you once went through as a student in life. Often when we see something that looks contradictory to stated fact, or read seemingly contradictory statements, we have to question what is meant, exactly. If I appear to be slow in learning its because there’s so much to learn, and time is so short with so much else to do in life, especially this winter. So, I’m sorry that you’re offended by myself and others. I do try to be respectful to you. “Sparks”, further up this blog, was being rather dense and then disrespectful in my opinion: it’s not too hard to understand that a single solar max indice is useful.

    I don’t like to brag; neither did my father. But in my own defense, allow me to express this story. Even though I’m an electrical engineer by education, I ended up owning two dump trucks and a log skidder along with numerous chainsaws, and have worked in the hard maple forests in N. Michigan for many years, doing dangerous yet rewarding work – alone. Starting with no mechanical knowledge or experience, I mastered my equipment by asking questions of and working with experienced mechanics and machinists, reading specs and owners manuals, doing the hands-on work myself, making all the mistakes and misdiagnoses possible along the way before getting things right. I successfully rebuilt gas and diesel engines, designed and built a self-powered mobile double splitter machine with conveyor, and conducted my business in every kind of weather imaginable to deliver the goods. I am hard core. I don’t quit. I will not give up searching for answers about how it all works, EVER.

    Scientific method: observe, question, hypothesize, test, validate.

    Now, back to our irregularly scheduled program.

    In reference to http://www.leif.org/research/The-Origin-of-Magnetic-Fields.pdf , strangely, you answered my question with the answer I gave you that you rejected.

    Here it is, the truth, in this paper that you provided. If you don’t want to believe me, believe your own paper. From page 4:

    “Biermann to the Rescue” Ludwig Biermann, 1907-1986, Zeitschrift für Naturforschung, vol. 5a, p 65 (1950) proposed a mechanism “The Biermann Battery Process” by which a weak seed magnetic field can be generated from zero initial conditions by the relative motion between electrons and ions.”

    There it is. “Magnetic field can be generated from zero initial conditions by the relative motion between electrons and ions”

    That is pretty much what I’ve been saying all along: charge-in-motion creates the magnetic fields, not the other way around.

    Since I don’t take anything said or written for granted without checking it out first, I’ll go find what Hannes Alfven said, and when he said it, and if I learn that your characterization of his position is correct, I’ll thank you for pointing that out. Further, I’ll be calculating the 2013 POES data averages as you recommended, and if what you say is verified, I’ll thank you for pointing that out.

    As a matter of philosophy, what is more absurd, that the Universe of everything is finite and started with a bang from nothing, or that the Universe is infinite in time and space? I go with the second option. There is no bridging that gap. It’s one way or the other. I don’t expect us to resolve that, and for all practical purposes we shouldn’t waste our time with it.

    As for how the sun-earth connection and how that works; it’s electromagnetic, electric, and magnetic. Can’t we agree on that?

    I can’t wait to read your paper, “Geomagnetic Activity: Dependence on Solar Wind Parameters”, and see what I else I can learn from you.

  145. Uh, I made a mistake in how I said something. I meant to say that I believe the Universe is infinite in time and space, and that what is more absurd is saying that the Universe of everything is finite and started with a bang from nothing. Sorry for that. We’re all human and error prone, especially typing!!!

  146. Bob Weber says:
    February 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm
    I won’t be browbeaten into anything by you.
    My goal is to inform you, not to browbeat you, but you are almost impossible to teach.

    at other times very forthcoming and gracious with your knowledge.
    A lot depends on the student. If a student is not willing to learn it doesn’t matter how forthcoming I am.

    I’m amazed that you still put yourself through it all here if it bothers you that much.
    Teaching does not bother me the least. Willful ignorance does.

    we have to question what is meant, exactly.
    And I explain patiently what is meant, exactly. It is there for the taking.

    If I appear to be slow in learning its because there’s so much to learn, and time is so short with so much else to do in life, especially this winter.
    There being much to learn it is important that learning actually takes place, and I have found with you that you have not learned anything at all, mostly because of your unwillingness to do so.

    So, I’m sorry that you’re offended by myself and others.
    I am never offended by anybody, even Sparks. Such antics I just ascribe to an immature, small mind and such people can probably not help it anyway.

    Starting with no mechanical knowledge or experience, I mastered my equipment by asking questions of and working with experienced mechanics and machinists
    If that is so, how come you have not made any progress here.

    I will not give up searching for answers about how it all works, EVER.
    But you will not accept the answers when given to you, so you don’t get to enlightenment, EVER.

    There it is. “Magnetic field can be generated from zero initial conditions by the relative motion between electrons and ions”
    This is the typical out-of-context quote.

    That is pretty much what I’ve been saying all along: charge-in-motion creates the magnetic fields, not the other way around.
    The seed field generated this way are trillions of times smaller than the field we see today. The amplification of those fields is due to plasma moving in the magnetic fields creating the electric currents that have effects. The Biermann mechanism is not the cause of modern magnetic fields.

    Since I don’t take anything said or written for granted without checking it out first, I’ll go find what Hannes Alfven said, and when he said it, and if I learn that your characterization of his position is correct, I’ll thank you for pointing that out.
    But you initially misstated his view apparently without checking first, so your high-minded declaration seems a bit disingenuous.

    Further, I’ll be calculating the 2013 POES data averages as you recommended, and if what you say is verified, I’ll thank you for pointing that out.
    I hope you will learn from that experience to trust what I tell you. Why would I tell you something that is not true?

    As a matter of philosophy, what is more absurd, that the Universe of everything is finite and started with a bang from nothing, or that the Universe is infinite in time and space?
    The Universe is infinite in space but not in time.

    It’s one way or the other.
    You missed the third possibility that I just pointed out.

    As for how the sun-earth connection and how that works; it’s electromagnetic, electric, and magnetic. Can’t we agree on that?
    It is electromagnetic [light], magnetic and mechanical [the solar wind], and gravitational [solar tides]. No electricity from the Sun is involved

  147. Bob Weber says:
    February 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm
    Uh, I made a mistake in how I said something. I meant to say that I believe the Universe is infinite in time and space, and that what is more absurd is saying that the Universe of everything is finite and started with a bang from nothing
    Frankly, I can’t tell the difference between the two statements, but that doesn’t really matter. That you consider modern Precision Cosmology to be absurd just shows that you are not willing to learn about the greatest story ever told – for philosophical reasons (?) also known as prejudice. Just like your unwillingness to learn about the fundamental role of the magnetic field in generating the transient electric effects we occasionally see.

  148. Bob Weber says:
    February 6, 2014 at 7:36 pm
    I can’t wait to read your paper, “Geomagnetic Activity: Dependence on Solar Wind Parameters”, and see what I else I can learn from you.
    A paper written a few years before that paper, gives a complimentary view of the physics of the interaction: http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf
    Amazingly, very little has changed in the 41 years since I wrote that paper, except that we now have extensive experimental evidence that we were on the right track back then.
    Note the prominence in both papers of the electrical currents generated by the neutral [but highly conducting] solar wind plasma running into the [almost stationary] magnetic field of the Earth, converting solar wind kinetic energy into electric currents with attendant magnetic and other effects.

  149. lsvalgaard says:
    February 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf

    Thanks for access/link to this paper. I’ve been following this thread with some interest (in between the detours I apologize for adding). I was captivated by Dr. Hiroko Miyahara’s talk last year on GRCs and climate at the Tokyo conference you also presented at. As a layman, I know zip, but appreciate the significant time and energy those of you who know your stuff are willing to spend educating us, even though you must feel as if you’re pulling spinach out of your teeth. Your paper is on my iPad reading list and I am going to read it. Thx.

  150. Policycritic (February 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm) “Wages have gone down 19% since the early 70s in the aggregate”

    Right and that has nothing to do with double digit inflation, created in the 1970’s by Burns. You say:

    “It proves one of my points: people still don’t understand what it means to be off the gold-standard 100% and how that affected monetary operations, and neither did Volker then, who thought that if you restricted the reserves you would control the money supply and curb inflation; he made it worse. It had nothing to do with gold because we were not pegged to it.”

    Ok, the gold price chart was not a good choice on my part. Here’s the CPI: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/fredgraph.png?&id=CPIAUCSL&scale=Left&range=Custom&cosd=1970-01-01&coed=1990-01-01&line_color=%230000ff&link_values=false&line_style=Solid&mark_type=NONE&mw=4&lw=1&ost=-99999&oet=99999&mma=0&fml=a&fq=Monthly

    The chart shows that the psychological part of “price inflation” had responded to the “monetary inflation by the late 70’s. The predictable result of those excesses was the worst recession since the Great Depression, which can certainly be “blamed” on Volker and his tight money policy. The other result was taming of inflation in the 80’s. Volker broke the inflationary spiral which was caused by loose monetary policy. The psychological (spiral) part of inflation is shown by the concave shape of the curve. Once inflation became linear in the 80’s and 90’s most of the nonsense of hoarding precious metals, other commodities, artwork, etc went by the wayside.

    Nowadays thanks to Greenspan and Bernanke and their policy of propping up large banks using monetary inflation, precious metal speculation is back. Price inflation is not, thanks to those same policies which hurt rather than help the economy by discouraging long term investment in favor of short term speculation. Overall, we have a deflationary tendency like Japan in the 90’s. That won’t end until sound monetary policy is restored, corporate taxes lowered, etc.

  151. Nowadays thanks to Greenspan and Bernanke and their policy of propping up large banks using monetary inflation, precious metal speculation is back. Price inflation is not, thanks to those same policies which hurt rather than help the economy by discouraging long term investment in favor of short term speculation. Overall, we have a deflationary tendency like Japan in the 90′s. That won’t end until sound monetary policy is restored, corporate taxes lowered, etc.

    Or, maybe, possibly, the elimination of the Fed? I’ve heard that bandied about. Over its tenure, having a federation of banks under the nominal control of the government in charge of dynamically negotiating a national monetary policy and supposedly controlling it by the means of only a tiny handful of “controls” might be likened to putting tribal shaman foxes in charge of the henhouse to care for the hens by means of blessing them and cursing them with ritual chants and roosters slaughtered with a black-handled athame on the steps of the NYSE.

    And that’s before one starts to think about money laundering and the shadow government/economy that accounts for a staggering fraction of bank business, where we rarely get to see more than the well-concealed tip of a mighty iceberg.

    I don’t have strong feelings about this, BTW, but on the hijacked economics subthread you two both sound like you know a lot more than I do, and it is interesting to listen to you both propose entirely plausible and fact-supported theories for the super-inflation of the late 70s/early 80s — as long as I don’t have to pick which one of you is right…;-)

    But the stuff I’ve read about the evils of the Federal Reserve system is somewhat compelling. I’m not sure what one might create to either replace it or how one might transition away from a complex economy being driven in a highly multivariate and nonlinear space by a single drunk one-eyed conductor who can only see back along the direction the train has come from, armed only with a brake.

    rgb

    • Constitutionally, the individual states are empowered to coin money. The Federal government is not.

      Not saying it’s an answer – just pointing out what the founding document has to say about it. Might be interesting to explore (theoretically) the possibilities of that becoming the case once again.

  152. eric1skeptic says:
    February 7, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Eric, that rise in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) chart you linked to was not psychological. It was real. It reflected the high cost of money and doing business when the interest rate on loans was so high. It pushed prices higher, which was one of my points earlier about inflation when it is on the cost side (energy, etc). Ordinary businessmen had to pay 20% rates–the cost of money–in the early 80s to borrow for regular business operations like financing raw materials and finishing operations of their manufacture.

    It also started the outsourcing movement, incidentally. The consequences of Volker’s ignorance were real.

    I’m glad this is the end of a thread and off the radar because if it was higher, I’d get screams and yells for what I am about to say, but the figures are there and there is an actual article (had to search for hours to prove it), and it is this: what really brought down inflation and improved the economy was not Volker but Reagan’s massive deficit spending. It fired the economy up, which was running ice cold in spite of an ‘apparent’ inflation (which should have indicated full employment and smokin’ aggregate demand, but didn’t) that was not real but manufactured. Reagan did it, or so he thought, to prevent the Democrats from introducing any more government social programs. He thought the deficit spending would bury the Democrats. Idiot savant.

    In 1985, Stockman let the cat out of the bag; Tom Wicker reported it.

    After the budget director’s resignation, Sen. Moynihan of New York said Stockman had told him that even in 1981 Reagan knew the tax cuts would mean loss of revenue, but that the president had accepted the resulting rise In the deficit in order to bring pressure on Congress to cut spending.

    That sharply contradicts what Reagan then publicly argued that cutting taxes would expand the economic base and increase revenues. In his 1980 campaign, he even contended that the increase in revenues resulting from the tax cut would pay for the military buildup he also planned.
    But Moynihan said Stockman had told him that in 1981, “the plan was to have a strategic deficit that would give you an argument for cutting back the programs that weren’t desired. It got out of hand. ‘

    Stockman, a former student of Moynihan’s, has denied “any such conversation” but not the substance of the allegation. Moynihan said he had had dozens of private talks with the budget director; their “thrust,” the senator said, was that ” the principal purpose of the tax cuts was to provide a basis upon which to shrink Government.”

    Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, has made a similar charge. He told the Association for a Better New York in January 1984 that Reagan “intentionally created a deficit so large that we Democrats will never have enough money to build the sort of government programs we want.”

    The interesting thing in that 1985 article I link to is Freidrich Hayek’s comment. He was 84 at the time. Perhaps he was unaware that the US was 100% monetarily sovereign as of 1971. Perhaps he had no clue was that portended. Because he made one of the singular most idiotic statements that reflect what many Americans still believe today about how our economy works.

    “I really believe Reagan is fundamentally a decent and honest man. His politics? When the government of the United States borrows a large part of the savings of the world, a consequence is that capital must become scarce and expensive in the whole world. That’s a problem.”

    The USA doesn’t borrow squat! We are the monopoly creators of the US dollar. No one on the planet can make them, or issue them, unless they are counterfeiting. We are 100% monetarily sovereign. Period. As I wrote above, after the US Treasury spends into the economy per congressional appropriations, it then issues treasury securities—bills, notes, and bonds, prints them up at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, or did until April 1 of 2013 when they became electronic–then auctions them to Americans (Fed can’t buy them) and the world on the 15th of the month to rebalance the money supply, to rebalance the spending. It doesn’t have to issue treasury securities for any financial reasons; it does it to help the rich reduce their risk, or people/companies/foreign govts and banks, with more that 250Gs in their savings accounts. 11-12% of US money are physical cash/dollar bills and coins. The rest of US ‘money’ are treasury securities (‘net financial assets’). Separately, the difference annually between the amount congress spends and the amount received in taxes is the deficit, but that deficit amount does not take into consideration US Treasury operations just described! It’s a phony index by which to judge things other than to indicate when spending needs to be higher because unemployment is high (because people can’t pay the tax).

    That said, I agree with you that we have “we have a deflationary tendency like Japan in the 90′s. ” But it’s fiscal policy that’s going to change it: constitutionally Congress (fiscal) has to act, not the Fed (monetary). Congress has to lower taxes, get rid of FICA to help the middle class and poor, and increase deficit spending. Our deficit is far too small right now in this economy for the size of government we need, but that’s a story for another thread. Nice talking to you.

  153. TonyG says:
    February 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm
    Constitutionally, the individual states are empowered to coin money. The Federal government is not.

    That’s not true. The Legal Tender Laws of the 1870s ironed all that out in the US Supreme Court. The upshot: anything the US federal government slaps the US Government Seal on and declares as legal tender in the payment of taxes is legal tender. They could use logs or chopsticks.

    The federal agency, the US Mint, creates coins.

  154. RGB, the Fed can bring out strong opinions. I don’t think the Fed needs to be abolished but it does need another Volker or someone even better.

    It is a really bad idea to prop up big banks by buying mortgages that they churn while pretending that this helps the economy. It is ludicrous that the average Joe American should have the “right” to pay 4% or so for a loan on an overpriced house, while drowning in credit card debt, with generally diminishing job prospects, with little in the way of retirement savings, with a country that has unfunded obligations in the 10x GDP range. Properly priced credit would be a 15% mortgage at this point. Then a bank holding that mortgage would offer 10% on long term CD’s.

    The essence of what Volker did is allow credit to become properly priced. When I put my money into a savings account in those days I got 15% interest because my money was highly valued, and even a little overvalued. But that switched the bulk of investors from short term speculation in commodities and collectables into long term investments which increased the productive capacity of the economy.

    The other bad idea by the Fed is to print up money and give it to politicians to spend. That seems to be ok with some people but it is incredibly short sighted. It doesn’t necessary cause price inflation since a lot of the money goes to political connected investors who reinvest it in some way and a little to other constituents who live more or less hand to mouth. But it is a drug that it hard to withdraw and can lead to Zimbabwe style inflation in the worst case.

    Our economy doesn’t need more credit or large banks or refinanced homeowners. It simply needs lower corporate tax rates (not the highest in the world) and lower long term gains taxes with those terms extended to 5 or 10 years. It also needs far fewer regulations. Price controls on debit cards? Come on.

  155. Policycritic said: “The USA doesn’t borrow squat! We are the monopoly creators of the US dollar. No one on the planet can make them, or issue them, unless they are counterfeiting. We are 100% monetarily sovereign. Period. ”

    Sure, and as I point out that is not sustainable.

    Policycritic also said: “Congress has to lower taxes, get rid of FICA to help the middle class and poor, and…”

    That’s fine. But please leave printing and spending out of your equation, it is not sustainable.

  156. eric1skeptic says:
    February 7, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Nowadays thanks to Greenspan and Bernanke and their policy of propping up large banks using monetary inflation, precious metal speculation is back.

    They’re actually mutually exclusive. Allowing banks to speculate in commodities is, in my view alone, another goddam criminal act of dicking with the resources of this country that are the wealth of the people. The stuff was here before we were born and it’s under our collective feet. We own it—just like we own the airwaves that get licensed to business altho’ the govt gets the money, not us—if the idea of a social contract of a government, of the people, by the people, blah-blah-blah is to be believed. Allowing the banks to drive up the prices of these national assets affects the cost of business, the manufacture of products, and ultimately aggregate demand. It should be business demand that decides these prices. This is financial—not industrial—capitalism at its worse. Where is Congress? Why aren’t they stopping this? Banks should be made to go back what they do best: making prosaic home and business loans. Nothing else. Banks are public-private entities—like the military, like the Post Office—regulated by federal government charter. What is Congress doing allowing them to run a casino that excludes but ultimately affects the American people?

    This: “their policy of propping up large banks using monetary inflation.” You talking about QE?

  157. eric1skeptic says:
    February 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm
    Policycritic said: “The USA doesn’t borrow squat! We are the monopoly creators of the US dollar. No one on the planet can make them, or issue them, unless they are counterfeiting. We are 100% monetarily sovereign. Period. ”

    Sure, and as I point out that is not sustainable.

    Of course it’s sustainable! It is how our monetary system works–it’s how the middle class was built in the 50s and 60s–and we’re not alone. There are five countries in the world that are 100% monetarily sovereign, which means they can pay for any debts, buy anything they want that are denominated in their own currencies. The bond vigilantes can’t get them because they don’t have to borrow outside the currencies that they alone create: Great Britain (Cameron is an idiot), Canada, Japan, Australia, and the USA. Japan has a credit rating below Botswana, an extraordinarily high standard of living, and its currency is one of the strongest in the world even with a Debt-to-GDP of 200%: no bond vigilantes there, Japan can thumb their noses at them.

    Look what happens when you don’t create and control your own currency: the Eurozone. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, and 9 others all gave up their own currencies to adopt the experimental Euro controlled by unknown men with cruel tendencies no one votes for. Those formerly sovereign countries turned themselves into US states, incapable of creating (issuing) the currency that they could use to monetize their operations. The Eurozone countries are subject to bond vigilantes that swooped in to loan them money at high rates (because of the risk) taking the country’s national resources as collateral. Look at the unemployment. Look at the devastation to lives. Look at the destruction.

    We have a fiat currency, what’s wrong with that? Joe Q Public should know how it works so that he benefits by sticking a hot poker up his congressman’s rear for his lack of action. Because right now those who do know how it works are using their knowledge to scarf everything up for themselves.

    [And don’t get me started on Jack Lew–one of the architects of the 2008 Great Recession which no one knows–and Obama because we’ll be here until December. ;-)]

  158. “another goddam criminal act of dicking with the resources of this country that are the wealth of the people. The”

    If the banks are incentivized to do speculate in PM’s then that is what they will do. It doesn’t matter whether you think it is criminal or should be regulated or not, they will find a way to do it.

    “Banks should be made to go back what they do best: making prosaic home and business loans.”

    I agree with that completely. Credit should be priced properly so that money is valued properly. With a (for example) 5% rate for savers, they could loan money to small businesses at 10%, absorb risks and make adequate profit. That means money being saved is both investment and deferred consumption.

    “It is how our monetary system works–it’s how the middle class was built in the 50s and 60s–and we’re not alone.”

    Total rubbish. We didn’t build the middle class by printing money and having the politicians hand it out, but rather by productive capacity created by long term investment that came from a sound currency. The downhill slide of the middle class started in the 70’s when we debased the currency and has continued more or less since then.

    “Look what happens when you don’t create and control your own currency: the Eurozone. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, and 9 others all gave up their own currencies to adopt the experimental Euro controlled by unknown men with cruel tendencies no one votes for.”

    Those countries were destroyed by socialism not by tight money. But we can certainly agree that adopting the euro was a huge mistake. Just like in Ukraine right now where there is a fake populist movement to join the EU. But we both know that only a few Ukrainians benefit in the long run by Ukraine joining the EU. It is primarily the elite in those countries like Greece that benefitted. And oh yes, the people got some great purchases for a while with an excessively strong currency. Look at all the nice made-in-China crap in Greek households that is now probably broken.

    Once that party ended the 50% civilian labor participation rate caught up quickly: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.ZS

    Very simply, if your country’s citizens are not working productive, private jobs, then you will need a weak currency to increase exports and that is when you are correct about that. A weak currency also depresses imports of crap from China which is generally healthy. But you cannot turn that into simply printing money and handing it out to people unless you want to create an inflationary spiral, black markets, etc.

  159. Eric, there’s a great little book, only 87 pages, that came out 10 months by the former Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury, Frank N Newman. It’s called Freedom from National Debt. Think that’s it. Available on Kindle, too. He explains US Treasury operations in simple plain language, and the logic of it, how our monetary system works operationally. How our fiat money works. You might be interested in picking it up. As he explains in the book, the National Debt (also called Debt Held by the Public), that huge $17 trillion+ number is nothing more than a record of all currency created by the federal government since 1791 minus the amount of currency destroyed (taxes). It’s a record of what we own, not owe. We should be experiencing a period of untold prosperity right now, not the shambles this ignorance of how our monetary system works from an accounting point of view is making of people’s lives.

  160. [Think this will be my last on this topic. Too much weekend stuff.]

    rgbatduke says:
    February 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Or, maybe, possibly, the elimination of the Fed? […] But the stuff I’ve read about the evils of the Federal Reserve system is somewhat compelling.

    The books that started it were those by Eustace Mullins, Thomas Scharf (Sharf?), and Gary Kah. All of them understood the monetary system as if we were still on the gold-standard, and all of them were subject to the arrogant opacity of the Federal Reserve, who refused for decades to reveal their operations. So these authors guessed. If you eliminate the Fed, you’re still going to want a central bank to be a lender of last resort and regulate the nation’s payment systems. Not to mention as a check-and-balance against corrupt politicians who might otherwise have access to the nation’s treasury through their congressional power to spend alone. Only Congress can tell the US Treasury what to spend, not the Fed or central bank. The Fed does not print up dollars to give to politicians to spend.

    The Fed is nothing more than a fancy payday loan operation with big buildings and wood-paneled walls, the better to justify a couple of bottles of Opel for lunch on their expense accounts. It has two kinds of bank accounts: checking and savings, just like your bank. The Fed gives them fancy names to bamboozle the public and especially journalists who prefer exotic theories to operational reality: reserves (checking) and securities (savings) accounts. That’s it.

    The Fed is the US Treasury’s banker. The US Treasury has a general account at the Fed. By law, from the days of the gold-standard—pre-1934—the US Treasury is not allowed to run a negative balance, although hat wouldn’t matter. When Congress appropriates a spending bill, it contains the authority for the US Treasury to spend that interest-free real money into the economy. The US Treasury then authorizes the Fed to mark up its general account by the amount of spending. They probably use Excel. So let’s say Congress appropriates $250 billion to fix all the roads in the national parks. The Fed would mark up the US Treasury’s general account by $250B with a keystroke, then pay the vendors by marking up with a keystroke their banks’ checking accounts at the Fed (for onward forwarding to the vendor), increasing the money supply by $250B, and at the same time subtract each payment to each vendor—marking down with a keystroke—from the US Treasury’s general account. The US Treasury issues treasury securities in the amount of $250 billion to restore this spending to balance. The US Treasury, of course, now owes interest on those treasury securities as they come due (3 months to 30 years), which they pay for by issuing more treasury securities once a year after they calculate the interest needed.

    QE, when it involves treasury securities, is the Fed buying treasury securities on the open market. It is not allowed to buy them at auction. So if Duke University decided to cash in its 10-year $10 million treasury note before maturity, it would go to one of the 12-20 dealers authorized to sell them. Duke would have no idea that the Fed was buying. The Fed would purchase it and now the Fed would get the interest income that Duke would otherwise get on that 10-year note. Here’s the rub. It wasn’t Harvard buying the note. It wasn’t Nestle, the State of Georgia, or Bill Gates’ trust fund buying the note. It was the Fed. The Fed gets the interest income, which it sticks in its checking (reserves) account. Also, from the Fed’s POV, it was an asset swap from savings (securities) to checking (reserves), like you cashing in a CD. Because the Fed is getting the interest income, that money has now been removed from the economy. Why? Because the Fed is required by law since 1947 to return all net profits to the US Treasury every year. So Duke doesn’t have that interest income to pay for scholarships. Neither does Harvard. The State of Georgia doesn’t have that interest income to pay for roads. Bill Gates wouldn’t have that interest income to buy malaria medicine. The interest income, this real money, is removed from the economy because the Fed bought the treasury security. Last year the Fed returned nearly $100 billion to the US Treasury, destroying its existence in the process. It’s basically a tax on the economy. So why are they doing this? Because Bernanke thought the excess reserves in the banks’ checking accounts at the Fed would cause them to loan money to the real economy, and it was about the only thing he could dream up in light of the utter failure and abdication of responsibility of the US Congress to enact fiscal policy. The complete abject failure of Congress to do its job as the only legal entity that can authorize spending and jumpstart this economy because they are too busy occupying themselves with inconsequentials, and not fixing the mess they created over the last 15 years.

  161. OK, One more because I owe Eric an answer on the things we differ on.

    eric1skeptic says:
    February 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    If the banks are incentivized to do speculate in PM’s then that is what they will do. It doesn’t matter whether you think it is criminal or should be regulated or not, they will find a way to do it.

    Only since 1999 when they destroyed the common people’s protection of Glass-Steagall, which they should restore. Before that there were separate investment banks that used their own money at the casino, not the public’s. And they didn’t have access to the Federal Reserve as a lender of last resort. This is like me waltzing into the Sports Book at the Bellagio and betting with the full faith and credit of the US Government behind me. I don’t even have to use my own money.

    Credit should be priced properly so that money is valued properly. With a (for example) 5% rate for savers, they could loan money to small businesses at 10%, absorb risks and make adequate profit.

    The only thing credit at a bank should be based on is the creditworthiness of the borrower, and that is based on income, or sufficient collateral. It shouldn’t be based on the underlying value of the financial asset because that incentivizes the lender to increase the value, oftentimes corruptly. And setting a specific saver interest rate is tantamount to a guaranteed income for their clients which banks should not be involved with. Yes, savers get a low end of the deal when borrowers get low interest rates, but we need to get the 70% of the economy that spends the most, the households, back to consuming the goods and services that they can’t afford to buy right now. They need jobs. And once they get jobs and have income for spending on durable goods like refrigerators, TVs, and air conditioners, or non-durables like travel, education, food and clothing, then business (which accounts for only 10-14% of spending) will come back.

    Total rubbish. We didn’t build the middle class by printing money and having the politicians hand it out, but rather by productive capacity created by long term investment that came from a sound currency.

    You have the procedure backwards. No one prints money and has the politicians hand it out. It doesn’t happen. The term ‘printing money’ is an artifact of the gold-standard days when you printed money against your pile of gold. The US Treasury creates interest-free real money out of thin air on the authorization of Congress with a keystroke. That’s reality. The politicians—our congressmen—appropriate spending in the economy through Congressional appropriation bills: roads, bridges, airports, Hoover Dam, education, telecommunications infrastructure, scientific research, Space Program, et cetera, et cetera. Unless the government spends first, there is no new money possible in the economy (the old money just circulates between spenders and savers). Where else is it going to come from? Unless you want to risk counterfeiting. Only the US government can create new money. I’m talking from a macroeconomic POV.

    Those countries were destroyed by socialism not by tight money

    They are being destroyed by tight money. No sales, no jobs. No jobs, no income. No income, no spending. No spending, no sales. Repeat.
    ………………….
    Yeah, I agree that the Ukrainians are nuts to want to join the EU. And look who is pushing them to do it. Someone is salivating after their oil resources.

  162. What might make someone think that Earth’s magnetic field would twist up. Which we now know isn’t the case on Earth at least but that’s not the point.

    Earth’s magnetic equator. Earth’s magnetic dip equator is what made me think that there is a twisting up.
    After learning that there were seen over 7000 electric double layers in a one minute interval inside Earth’s radiation belt, to me this was saying that this is a current sheet.

    The dent at the magnetic dip equator, radiation belts containing current sheet like structure are in close proximity to Earth’s surface
    and the warp produced (dip) made me think that the magnetic field was twisting up.

    And in the case of Saturn’s current sheet and warp, changes in solar wind pressure affect the tilt angle.
    Which makes me think that changes in the solar wind pressure affect the radiation belts and current sheet angle at Earth, which might alter the location of some primary vortex structures, which is implicated in the Saturn ref. abstract above.

    For an example of large scale magnetic structure. The dent in the nose of Protostar0 another of the abstracts above, is a good example.

  163. Just some further thoughts on current sheets and their interactions from solar to planetary and interstellar to solar.

    Astrophysisits think that the interstellar wind, in the solar neighborhood, has changed directions in the last 40 years. How accurate are our measurements of heliospheric current sheet tilt angles at 10-100 AU…?

  164. How is this relevant to the solar cycle..
    lots of little bipolar regions on the solar disk with a “strangley tilt angle,” and spots not forming.

  165. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 9:43 am
    Which makes me think that changes in the solar wind pressure affect the radiation belts and current sheet angle at Earth, which might alter the location of some primary vortex structures, which is implicated in the Saturn ref. abstract above.
    You are not precise. What does ‘at the Earth’ mean? on the surface? 100,000 miles out in the magnetosphere? or where? The changes way out in the magnetosphere do not alter the surface polar vortex and the situation cannot be compared to conditions at Saturn. Now all of this ‘discussion’ could have been avoided right up front by you recognizing this.

  166. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 10:15 am
    How is this relevant to the solar cycle..
    lots of little bipolar regions on the solar disk with a “strange tilt angle,” and spots not forming.

    The Sun is a messy place…

  167. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 10:12 am
    Astrophycisits think that the interstellar wind, in the solar neighborhood, has changed directions in the last 40 years. How accurate are our measurements of heliospheric current sheet tilt angles at 10-100 AU…?
    This is favorite misconception of you that those two fields are related in some way. They are not. The solar wind is supersonic and magnetic information about the outside cannot travel upstream. You may also have misunderstood the interstellar data [link please – no abstract needed]. Our measurements of the HCS latitudinal extent are good, and the HCS is not ’tilted’ in any meaning of that word.

  168. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 10:40 am
    Coincidently .. was there a shift of tilt angle in the radiation belts.. at the same time as the strong perturbation in Earth’s polar motion Dec. 10 2013.. which coincidently corresponds with some strong polar air shifting,descending..
    ‘coincidence’ is the operative word.

  169. Just so happens ALL of us need to rethink our perception of the so called “ballerina skirt,” adaptation of the heliospheric current sheet..
    And yes Dr. S., another abstract.. another stamp without and article in my stamp collection. And it’s a 2014 stamp woo woo woo…

    EVIDENCE FOR TWO SEPARATE HELIOSPHERIC CURRENT SHEETS OF CYLINDRICAL SHAPE DURING MID-2012
    Y.-M. Wang et al.
    2014 ApJ 780 103 doi:10.1088/0004-637X/780/1/103
    During the reversal of the Sun’s polar fields at sunspot maximum, outward extrapolations of magnetograph measurements often predict the presence of two or more current sheets extending into the interplanetary medium, instead of the single heliospheric current sheet (HCS) that forms the basis of the standard “ballerina skirt” picture. By comparing potential-field source-surface models of the coronal streamer belt with white-light coronagraph observations, we deduce that the HCS was split into two distinct structures with circular cross sections during mid-2012. These cylindrical current sheets were centered near the heliographic equator and separated in longitude by roughly 180°; a corresponding four-sector polarity pattern was observed at Earth. Each cylinder enclosed a negative-polarity coronal hole that was identifiable in extreme ultraviolet images and gave rise to a high-speed stream. The two current sheet systems are shown to be a result of the dominance of the Sun’s nonaxisymmetric quadrupole component, as the axial dipole field was undergoing its reversal during solar cycle 24.

    And there is that “hourglass” structure again like we see in Protostar0..

  170. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    Just so happens ALL of us need to rethink our perception of the so called “ballerina skirt,” adaptation of the heliospheric current sheet..
    Nonsense, only those few misguided souls who believe in that silly over-simplification. If you watch this animation http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-SS.gif of the current sheet neutral line on the source surface you will see many examples of such disconnected cylindrical magnetic tubes. This has been known and understood for decades and is not special or unusual and has nothing to do with your ‘Protostar0′

  171. lsvalgaard says:
    February 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm
    “many examples of such disconnected cylindrical magnetic tubes. This has been known and understood for decades and is not special or unusual and has nothing to do with your ‘Protostar0′”

    Here some examples:

    They obviously [for good reasons] occur near polar field reversals.
    This is not a worthy member of your ‘collection’, or perhaps just as bad a member as your other ones.

  172. lsvalgaard says:

    February 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    ..If you watch this animation http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-SS.gif of the current sheet neutral line on the source surface you will see many examples of such disconnected cylindrical magnetic tubes..
    ——————-
    Very nice Dr. S., 1977 thru 2007. Could we slow it down a bit and add 2008 thru 2014? Probably a flatter looking neutral line, over a longer period of time, with fewer and smaller cylindrical magnetic tubes, by comparison with other solar maximum periods.
    thank you

  173. Carla says:
    February 8, 2014 at 4:16 pm
    Very nice Dr. S., 1977 thru 2007. Could we slow it down a bit and add 2008 thru 2014?
    One day I might do that, but for now it suffices to show that NONE of us need to rethink our perception of the HCS.

  174. “No sales, no jobs”

    Policy, the step you are missing is “no production, nothing new to sell”. The savings and deferred consumption is the step most often left out by people who believe in consumer spending as a formula for prosperity with no other inputs.

    “The politicians—our congressmen—appropriate spending in the economy through Congressional appropriation bills: roads, bridges, airports, Hoover Dam, education, telecommunications infrastructure, scientific research, Space Program, et cetera, et cetera. Unless the government spends first, there is no new money possible in the economy (”

    You give the politicians waaay too much credit. They would much rather spend on Solyndra than the Hoover dam. A lot of telecommunications infrastructure came from the telephone monopolies which could dedicate huge amounts of money to basic and applied research. Roads would be empty without private R&D and investment.

    Solyndra is a perfect example of the kind of stupidity that results from bad science and especially bad engineering lining up with political correctness. I have an ordinary flat panel that works at acute and obtuse sun angles far better than Solyndra’s curved panels. Why? I accidentally drilled into the tempered glass surface and fractured it into a million pieces. I lacquered over the pieces and they are still stuck in place. The drawback, like Solyndra, is I get about 1/2 the current as an identical unbroken panel next to it at 90 sun ange.

    You say: “Last year the Fed returned nearly $100 billion to the US Treasury, destroying its existence in the process. It’s basically a tax on the economy. ”

    A drop in the bucket. Last year the Fed financed about a trillion worth of deficit spending. The spending was mostly wasted, doing nothing much for the economy. Helped in some ways, but in other ways it creates artificial demand for resources that could be used more productively elsewhere. For example a new and unneeded highway in WV courtesy of the WV pork barrel Senators takes asphalt away from small projects where the difference in cost means the difference in doing the project or not.

    The real problem is that way in which the money was created. By using monetary inflation, the Fed undermines confidence in the future of the currency and makes it impossible for the economy to recover. This is because people are not going to risk locking money into long term investments when the Fed can unleash a 3 trillion dollar flood of reserves at any moment.

    Policycritic (February 7, 2014 at 7:43 pm) “[Think this will be my last on this topic. Too much weekend stuff.]”

    Really? You will never troll another thread with your ridiculous Keynesian quasi-sociialsm? That would be great, but I kinda doubt that’s going to happen.

  175. eric1skeptic says:
    February 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm
    “No sales, no jobs”
    Policy, the step you are missing is “no production, nothing new to sell”.

    OK. No jobs, no sales. That better?

    You give the politicians waaay too much credit. They would much rather spend on Solyndra than the Hoover dam.

    Not arguing the politics. Only talking about the congressional and accounting process at the federal level.

    Last year the Fed financed about a trillion worth of deficit spending.

    The Fed financed nothing. The US Treasury spent it into existence out of thin air. The definition of the deficit is what the federal government spends minus taxes, the amount by which a government’s expenditures exceed its tax revenues. No jobs, no taxes.

    The real problem is that way in which the money was created. By using monetary inflation, the Fed undermines confidence in the future of the currency and makes it impossible for the economy to recover. This is because people are not going to risk locking money into long term investments when the Fed can unleash a 3 trillion dollar flood of reserves at any moment.

    You don’t understand how the monetary system works. No one spends the reserves. Maybe another voice will convince you…from the dailypaul site. This guy has it right. “How Banking Actually Works In Fiat World.” http://www.dailypaul.com/279537/how-banking-actually-works-in-fiat-world [This is banking, not the federal govt.’s high-powered money.]

    You will never troll another thread with your ridiculous Keynesian quasi-sociialsm?

    I am not talking theory or socialism, marxism, or free markets. I am not talking Republican, Democrat, Independent, or any other political party. Nor am I talking about how I would like things to be.

    I am discussing the differences between federal accounting (both sides of the ledger) by the issuer of the currency vs. accounting for State govt/Local govt/Businesses/Households (both sides of the ledger) by the users of the currency in a fiat world with a floating exchange rate, which is present reality. Not the gold-standard detritus you insist on bringing up. The laws of double-entry accounting rule, whether you like it or not.

  176. Thanks for the link, but it is gibberish just like a lot of things you post. You are then forced to cling to red herrings like the gold standard which I really could care less about. Your absolutely ludicrous idea that governments should simply print and spend is morally wrong because it destroys the value of the currency. Gold has nothing to do with it.

    The Fed action will end in a disaster in one of two ways. The most likely outcome is a couple decades of deflationary stagnation like Japan since businessmen can’t trust the currency and therefore can’t make any long term investments. The other outcome is that the economy drops below the level needed to sustain the Fed’s deflationary actions. At that point the politicians will go with the Zimbabwe option and start to hand out money for wages which quickly initiate wage-push inflation.

    Since, like the earth’s climate, the economy is never in equilibrium, there will be various ups and downs driven primarily by carry trade and commodity bubbles. But all those bubbles do in the long run is hollow out the economy.

  177. Eric1sceptic,

    Thanks for the link, but it is gibberish just like a lot of things you post.

    Here, knock yourself out: US Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

    The most likely outcome is a couple decades of deflationary stagnation like Japan

    Quite possible, but not because “businessmen can’t trust the currency.” It will be because the president and congress don’t understand federal monetary operations, and the accounting difference between how the federal government works and the state & local govts/businesses/households work.

    politicians will go with the Zimbabwe option

    Not possible unless our politicians introduce a fixed exchange rate or change the currency to a convertible to (metal or something) currency.

  178. The Fiscal Service is mostly just an agency of accountants. On your second point, it is true that the President and Congress mostly have no clue, but they are mostly willfully ignorant since that suits them as politicians. Finally you say that going Zimbabwe is “Not possible unless our politicians introduce a fixed exchange rate or change the currency to a convertible to (metal or something) currency.”

    It is true that Zimbabwe had a fixed exchange rate, but that was for a very simple reason explained in this news clipping “The official rate is used for government transactions, but is also a hugely lucrative opportunity for senior officials in Robert Mugabe’s regime, who are entitled to use it exchange the virtually worthless Zimbabwean currency for US dollars.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1562485/Zimbabwe-abandons-fixed-official-exchange-rate.html

    They didn’t abandon the fixed exchange rate but kept bumping it up a couple orders of magnitude at a time to try to keep up depreciation on the black market. Classic hyperinflation. But you seem to think that could be caused by “convertible to (metal or something) currency”

    Again, you are obsessed with the gold standard, but it has nothing to do with that situation nor ours and would certainly not be the cause of hyperinflation, in fact the opposite is true. Zimbabwe overvalued their currency by 1000x in that news article and 1,000,000x later on. Convertibility to fixed value commodities would not have allowed them to do that.

    In our case the Fed has artificially inflated the value of Treasuries so that they sell for double or triple what they are really worth. Foreigners buy them for two reasons, they are trapped in some developing country’s bubble currency (thanks to carry trade) and want a quick exit. And/or they are speculating on a temporary profit assuming that the Fed will buy Treasuries from them (greater fool theory, where the Fed is the ultimate greater fool). The main problem with that policy is that it overvalues dollars which doesn’t help our deflationary psychology, so people postpone purchases and the economy sputters. I’m sure you will agree with our current deflationary psychology and its consequences even though your solution, politicians printing and spending, is unbelievably wrong.

    At the same time the economy suffers from a lack of real investment since it is all locked up in extremely overpriced gold and other commodities. That is because either deflationary stagnation is inevitable (as the paragraph above) or inflation is inevitable (the paragraph above that). There is no magic happy middle in between those two because of Fed and federal policies. We need to (1) stop printing to buy treasuries and (2) lower corporate taxes (highest in the world) and eliminate inflation (long term cap gains) taxes.

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