Solar wind to lightning strike link discovered

Lightning_hits_tree[1]From the Institute of Physics: High-speed solar winds increase lightning strikes on Earth

Scientists have discovered new evidence to suggest that lightning on Earth is triggered not only by cosmic rays from space, but also by energetic particles from the Sun.

lightning[1]

Lightning in clouds image from the International Space Station, captured July 21, 2013 by astronaut Karen Nyberg, shows an early-morning storm lighting up the clouds over Southern California.

University of Reading researchers found a link between increased thunderstorm activity on Earth and streams of high-energy particles accelerated by the solar wind, offering compelling evidence that particles from space help trigger lightning bolts.

Publishing their study today, 15 May 2014, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, researchers from Reading’s Department of Meteorology found a substantial and significant increase in lightning rates across Europe for up to 40 days after the arrival of high-speed solar winds, which can travel at more than a million miles per hour, into the Earth’s atmosphere.

A summary of the findings can be found in the associated Video Abstract:

Although the exact mechanism that causes these changes remains unknown, the researchers propose that the electrical properties of the air are somehow altered as the incoming charged particles from the solar wind collide with the atmosphere.

The results could prove useful for weather forecasters, since these solar wind streams rotate with the Sun, sweeping past the Earth at regular intervals, accelerating particles into Earth’s atmosphere. As these streams can be tracked by spacecraft, this offers the potential for predicting the severity of hazardous weather events many weeks in advance.

Lead author of the study, Dr Chris Scott, said: “Our main result is that we have found evidence that high-speed solar wind streams can increase lightning rates. This may be an actual increase in lightning or an increase in the magnitude of lightning, lifting it above the detection threshold of measurement instruments.

“Cosmic rays, tiny particles from across the Universe accelerated to close to the speed of light by exploding stars, have been thought to play a part in thundery weather down on Earth, but our work provides new evidence that similar, if lower energy, particles created by our own Sun also affect lightning.

“As the Sun rotates every 27 days these high-speed streams of particles wash past our planet with predictable regularity. Such information could prove useful when producing long-range weather forecasts.”

Professor Giles Harrison, head of Reading’s Department of Meteorology and co-author of the ERL article, said: “In increasing our understanding of weather on Earth we are learning more about its important links with space weather. Bringing the topics of Earth Weather and Space Weather ever closer requires more collaborations between atmospheric and space scientists, in which the University of Reading is already leading the way.”

To arrive at their results, the researchers analysed data on the strikes of lightning over the UK between 2000 and 2005, which was obtained from the UK Met Office’s lightning detection system. They restricted their data to any event that occurred within a radius of 500 km from central England.

The record of lightning strikes was compared with data from Nasa’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft, which lies between the Sun and the Earth and measures the characteristics of solar winds.

After the arrival of a solar wind at the Earth, the researchers showed there was an average of 422 lightning strikes across the UK in the following 40 days, compared to an average of 321 lightning strikes in the 40 days prior the arrival of the solar wind. The rate of lightning strikes peaked between 12 and 18 days after the arrival of the solar wind.

The solar wind consists of a constant stream of energetic particles—mainly electrons and protons—that are propelled from the Sun’s atmosphere at around a million miles per hour. The streams of particles can vary in density, temperature and speed and sweep past Earth every 27 days or so, in line with the time it takes the Sun to make one complete rotation relative to the Earth.

The Earth’s magnetic field provides a sturdy defence against the solar wind, deflecting the energetic particles around the planet; however, if a fast solar stream catches up with a slow solar stream, it generates an enhancement in both the material and the associated magnetic field.

In these instances, the energetic particles can have sufficient energies to penetrate down into the cloud-forming regions of the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequently affect the weather that we experience.

“We propose that these particles, while not having sufficient energies to reach the ground and be detected there, nevertheless electrify the atmosphere as they collide with it, altering the electrical properties of the air and thus influencing the rate or intensity at which lightning occurs,” said Dr Scott.

The increase in the rate of lightning after the arrival of solar winds was corroborated by a significant increase in the days in which thunder was heard, which were recorded at UK Met Office stations around the UK.

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From Thursday 15 May, this paper can be downloaded from http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/5/055004/article

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55 thoughts on “Solar wind to lightning strike link discovered

  1. You’re sayin’ that the Sun affects our weather here on Earth? Next you’ll say it has an impact on our climate, too. Man, that’s just crazy talk.

  2. “University of Reading researchers found a link between increased thunderstorm activity on Earth”

    Well, you have to have clouds to have thunderstorms. Does this sentence imply that cloud formation is also affected by solar wind?

  3. I’m confused. The solar wind period is said to be 27 days, but they are comparing before and after periods of 40 days. Doesn’t that mean both the “before” and “after” periods contain one additional solar wind peak?

  4. Water is a polar molecule, which is attracted / repelled by electric charges. Could this be part of the explanation?

  5. “This may be an actual increase in lightning or an increase in the magnitude of lightning, lifting it above the detection threshold of measurement instruments.”

    Based on the principle that there is only so much electrical potential up there and solar wind doesn’t cause more convective activity then either there will be fewer but stronger lightning events (events join) or more but weaker lightning events (easier ionisation pathways). They must have the data for the frequency and distribution of lightning strength to plot against solar wind intensity. Or are they thinking that maybe there will be increased convection to cause more rapid recharging of thunder storms (I’d be surprised).

  6. But! The science is settled! There is a consensus!

    It is well known that cosmic ionizing radiation has no influence whatsoever on atmosphere!

    Those that published that article are denialists!

    /sarc

  7. This statement raises some concern:
    . Particles > 500 Mev have sufficient energies to modulate the atmospheric conductivity above and within thunderclouds though they do not have sufficient energy to be detected at ground level. If these particles are subsequently responsible for the observed modulation in lightning rates it would explain why this result is in apparent contradiction to earlier studies which found an anticorrelation between sunspot number and thunder days..
    page 11, column 1.

    Dr. Svalgaard ?

  8. Call me skeptical. You must rule out any and all null hypothesis causes, IE natural intrinsic drivers. If they exist, you have at best a tie. If you do, you cannot reject the null hypothesis.

  9. In these instances, the energetic particles can have sufficient energies to penetrate down into the cloud-forming regions of the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequently affect the weather that we experience.

    “We propose that these particles, while not having sufficient energies to reach the ground and be detected there, nevertheless electrify the atmosphere as they collide with it, altering the electrical properties of the air and thus influencing the rate or intensity at which lightning occurs,” said Dr Scott.

    =====

    Oh, dear and next some lunatic is going to pop up and suggest solar activity can affect climate.

  10. The paper is interesting as far as it goes, which is to thunder days, but short of rainfall days.
    Others might know of a correlatiion betseen rainfall and thunder days but these authors do not go there – yet.
    Colleagues in Australia are establishing links between rainfall and Tmax at an increasing number of sites.In shorthand, rain cools Tmax.
    If it all links together this way, we will have direct evidence of solar events influencing conventional temperatures, a link that has some far been more speculative than demonstrated.
    I do not know if it will link like this.
    Do others?

  11. “We propose that these particles, while not having sufficient energies to reach the ground and be detected there, nevertheless electrify the atmosphere as they collide with it, altering the electrical properties of the air and thus influencing the rate or intensity at which lightning occurs,” said Dr Scott.”

    Dr. Scott, we have plenty of visiual evidence to support that “these particles” have an electrical affect on the atmosphere. I don’t need a PhD to know that.

  12. This also ties in with the theory being put forth that earth’s magnetic field is weakening, possibly in advance of a pole shift/reversal. The lessening of the magnetic field makes earth more vulnerable to solar winds.

  13. Why wouldn’t they do their experiment in an area known to have fewer clouds? e.g. US desert or Australia?
    What happens to the particles when no cloud formation occurs?

  14. Answered my own question:

    Around event time t = 0, the tangential solar wind decreases from a background level just below 0−35 km s−1 and then increases to over 60 km s−1, all within a period of around 2 d, with the greatest change at time zero. The grey band, in this and subsequent plots, represents the standard error in the median for all the data points within each time bin of the composite analysis. Outside this time window there are no other changes in V y that greatly exceed the 95 and 99 percentiles of the data (represented by the dot-dashed and dashed lines respectively) though there is a hint of the solar rotation rate with slight enhancements in V y at ± 27 d and ± 54 d.
    [Section 4.1]

    So the prominent mention of the 27-day solar rotation was just confusion. They are claiming a 120-day solar wind cycle centered at a sharp decrease followed by a very sharp increase in total lasting about 2 days, with preceding and following 60-day periods of much lower output.

  15. I recently re-watched a 2007 series of The Universe, where one supposed scientist mentioned that cosmic rays “cause” lightning/thunderstorms.

    My brain immediately suffered a BSOD and puked.

    Cosmic rays may have a minor influence and solar activity somewhat more, but there’s definitely no “cause” of lightning other than a charge buildup in clouds from particle collision.

    But as noted above:

    “Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:
    May 15, 2014 at 4:52 am
    I’m confused. The solar wind period is said to be 27 days, but they are comparing before and after periods of 40 days. Doesn’t that mean both the “before” and “after” periods contain one additional solar wind peak?”

    That definitely represents some problem with the observations and further difficulties with correlation, if any.

  16. The truth will not be suppressed, as more data comes out the details will be shown, then slowly accepted. I have been looking into these effects for 30+ years now.

    http://research.aerology.com/aerology-analog-weather-forecasting-method/

    http://research.aerology.com/natural-processes/galactic-perspective/

    http://research.aerology.com/supporting-research/more-big-picture/

    Recently we had a warm period (in the south eastern US) the first week of May, until we had a heliocentric conjunction with Saturn on the 10th, then on the discharge side, post peak we have had a cooler and much wetter weather pattern in the USA, and global peak precipitation rates went up generating lots of severe weather, landslides, and intensifying tropical systems since the 10th.

    http://research.aerology.com/severe-weather/derecho-storm-seen-from-space/

    Freshly uploaded daily weather maps until 11-04-2015 now available, based on the average of the lunar declinational tidal effects, but with out the algorithms needed to compensate for the outer planet influences. The surges due to outer planet effects can be seen as “errors” in the resultant forecast, or as the easily viewable changes in the background patterns caused by the outer planets, your choice.
    When the data available is plotted by the right reference framing the cyclic patterns show up.

    http://research.aerology.com/supporting-research/paul-vaughan-links/

  17. “They restricted their data to any event that occurred within a radius of 500 km from central England.”

    So this is a global phenomena ?

  18. So, Nikola Tesla, testing his new invention unknowing of this just happened to pick the day of the highest day of the solar wind and the high energy particles did over load his capactiors.

  19. The rate of lightning strikes peaked between 12 and 18 days after the arrival of the solar wind
    Makes the ‘result’ rather dubious. A prompt response would have been more plausible if there is a direct relationship.

  20. Wow! This is unbelievable result. Who would ever think that solar wind affects lightning via pre-ionization of air? (sarc.) Hopefully this research team will deliver more than statistical confirmation of the trivial supposition of the effect of solar wind on lightning. And hopefully, they spent much less public funding as compared to the team of the University of Arizona and University of Central Florida which is developing “a new type of laser technology capable of sending high-intensity beams through the atmosphere much farther than what was previously possible.” ( http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/groundbreaking-new-laser-technology-used-control-lightning/#ixzz31n3eGyqh ). This team is spending $7.5M to further develop failed Teramobile idea (www.teramobile.org) [ Nature Photonics 8, 297-301 (2014) Doi:10.1038/nphoton.2014.47] – see Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR; grants FA9550-10-1-056 and FA9550-12-1-0143) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA; grant HDTRA 1-14-1-0009). The funding for this research is still flowing and research is on full steam regardless of recently demonstrated flaw of the theoretical foundation [ http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.3744 ].

  21. “for up to 40 days after the arrival of high-speed solar winds, “
    I’ll buy the premise that charged solar wind particles somehow wind their way around the magnetic field lines and ionosphere to affect lightening strikes in Europe….
    But that “40 days” crack promptly turned the paper into bottom of bird cage material.

    40 milliseconds. Could be.
    40 seconds? Interesting. That is at least on the order of a strike recharge.
    40 minutes? That is on the order of
    40 hours? Very hard to believe
    40 days? Rubbish.
    40 months? You know, I’d believe something tied to the solar cycle more than I’d believe a 40 day cycle.

  22. One part of the news about this new information said it could be used to save lives. Figures of tens of thousands of people being hit by lightning (no numbers on actual deaths) were quoted. Having the information about an increase in possible lightning strikes days before could mean that public health bodies can ensure that everyone stays inside. The fact that a cheaper and more immediate way of finding out exists seems to have skipped the scientists who want to find a justifiation for their grant. You want that mechanism? It’s called a thunderstorm and you can tell its arrived by the dark clouds.

  23. vukcevic says:
    May 15, 2014 at 4:49 am

    Thank you for the link. No science, just “sciency”. No theory proposed, no attempt of deeper insight, just a simple statistics. Something that can be published in high Impact Factor peer-reviewed journals. Useless… However, puts a small weight on the anti-AGW side of the balance as it demonstrates unknown complexity of the system.

  24. Solar forcing climate link?
    Question: Does the solar wind causing lightning
    then cause storms,
    cause changes in cloud cover,
    resulting in changes in insolation?
    That could provide a solar amplification mechanism to climate.

  25. meanwhile, for the “weather is never climate” files, May is usually the month here in East Texas where we start to see temperatures in the 90’s fairly often. This morning, the low was 47 degrees, which blew away the old all-time record low for May 15 here, which was 54 degrees. Now it’s a beautiful, sunny day; in fact, it feels like I’m in the Colorado Rockies. but Texas ain’t ever felt like this, this late in May, before.

  26. It’s funny the things we learn as time goes by. I can’t remember the number of times I hear ‘in a surprising result’, ‘scientists surprised’, ‘unexpected’, ‘contradicts’ etc…. There seems to be a lot more we need to know about the climate, and I don’t just mean co2 and global warming.

    Discovery
    “Cosmic rays, tiny particles from across the Universe accelerated to close to the speed of light by exploding stars, have been thought to play a part in thundery weather down on Earth, but our work provides new evidence that similar, if lower energy, particles created by our own sun also affect lightning.”……………

    “In increasing our understanding of weather on Earth we are learning more about its important links with space weather. Bringing the topics of Earth Weather and Space Weather ever closer requires more collaborations between atmospheric and space scientists, in which the University of Reading is already leading the way,” added Giles Harrison, head of Reading’s Department of Meteorology.

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/weather-extreme-events/can-the-solar-wind-trigger-thunderstorms-140514.htm

    BBC
    “Solar wind ‘triggers lightning on Earth’”
    He explained: “It’s unexpected, because these streams of particles bring with them an enhanced magnetic field – and this shields Earth from the very high-energy cosmic rays from outside of the Solar System – these are generated when supernovae explode, and they accelerate particles up to the speed of light.”

    Previous research has shown that cosmic rays from space can boost the rate of lightning, and it had been thought that an increased shielding effect from the solar particles would cause a decrease in the number of strikes.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27406358

  27. At this rate they may find a connection between atmospheric temps and reconnecting field lines.

  28. chuck says:
    May 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

    “They restricted their data to any event that occurred within a radius of 500 km from central England.”

    So this is a global phenomena ?

    Unless there is a heatwave dontcha know. ;-)

  29. “found a substantial and significant increase in lightning rates across Europe for up to 40 days after the arrival of high-speed solar winds,

    Isn’t 40 days prominent in the Bible? Perhaps there is a correlation.

    FWIW, Florida does not see an increase in thunderstorm activity in the winter months. Perhaps there is no solar wind at that time.

  30. First the government must allow science to slip the traces of politics, then the pieces for a robust theory of climate are out there, and CO2 will be a bit player at most.

  31. The entire earth is enveloped in a voltage gradient of about 100 Volts per meter from the ground to the bottom of the ionosphere. That makes the entire planet a roughly spherical capacitor carrying about 300,000 Volts. All of that charge comes from, and is maintained by, the solar wind. Positive particles in the solar wind are stopped by the ionosphere while negative particles (small, fast electrons) follow the earth’s magnetic field down to the magnetic poles creating auroras on the way.
    Sometimes convection cells of wet air can ‘short circuit’ this capacitor locally and momentarily in ‘superbolts’ visible from low earth orbit.

  32. In addition to what Tadchem says, Serway and Jewett, “Principals of Physics” third edition has two sections that discuss the Earth as a capacitor. The bottom plate is the Earth and the top is the atmosphere at about 5 km.(chapter 20.11) There is a fair weather electric field and a much higher field that is present in thunderstorms.(chapter 19.12). I don’t know if anyone measures this field. It would be interesting to compare it to the rotational energy in tornados and hurricanes.

  33. If the solar particles and cloud nucleation theory is true, is there a potential delayed link from increased cloud formation that builds up to bigger storms that produce more lightning? That could explain the 40 days number without having to posit a 40 day buildup of charge before increased release.

  34. tadchem says:
    May 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

    “The entire earth is enveloped in a voltage gradient of about 100 Volts per meter from the ground to the bottom of the ionosphere. That makes the entire planet a roughly spherical capacitor carrying about 300,000 Volts. All of that charge comes from, and is maintained by, the solar wind. ”

    … and by tropical thunderstorms. Anyone interested in this subject, and it is a big one, should read Tinsley’s 2004 paper which deals with the global electric circuit, clouds as capacitors, ion-mediated nucleation and electroscavenging.

    Atmospheric ionization and clouds as links between solar activity and climate

  35. Re: 40 days delay
    Protons from solar flairs encounter Van Allen belts and some are captured by the Earth’s magnetic field and will spiral along the ‘lines’ of the field. As they approach the magnetic poles, because of the magnetic mirror effect, protons bounce back and forth between the two magnetic poles.
    Once a particle has lost some of its energy it will end up in the atmosphere.
    It is far fetched, but since there are two or three belts (one more extra recently discovered and intermittent) it may be possible but not likely that cascading down from the outer to the inner belt, some days may past, but 40 days is stretching it a bit.
    One even more outrages alternative:
    Flairs energetic particles reach earth in about 2 days at 1AU, Jupiter is at ~10 AU., but distance from Earth every 400 days varies between 9 and 11 AU.
    Particles hitting head on the Jupiter magnetosphere will bounce strait back towards sun and the Earth, reaching the Earth sometimes between 2x2x9 and 2x2x11 days, i.e. 36 and 44 days, which gives average of 40 days.
    Nothing at Reading solar department happens without Mike Lockwood’s approval, one of the above may offer ‘out of jail card’, but not likely.

  36. Leif says: “Makes the ‘result’ rather dubious. A prompt response would have been more plausible if there is a direct relationship.”

    This just goes to show that even as you see potential evidence for capacitor-like behavior for the atmosphere and an instance of a heliospheric electrical connection that is not apparently caused by gravity, that since this is not what you wanted to see, your interest in the construction of accurate models based upon this interpretation will probably never respond to any observation which supports it.

    A person need only learn about a drift current to see how unprovable this worldview is that wherever we see electricity in space, it must be a 2nd-order effect of other more fundamental phenomena (like expansions, explosions, gravity, etc). When you measure a drift current, the charged particles are all exhibiting random motions. Determining that there is actually a net movement of these particles is incredibly difficult, even if you are there in that location measuring it. The lesson of the drift current should have been that electricity in space can be very difficult to observe. It naturally follows that we will NEVER accidentally discover that all of the universe’s E&M is fundamentally connected. And for the same reason, neither can anybody EVER prove that it’s NOT all connected. The only way to add some clarity to the question is for everybody to get behind efforts to just create the models, to see if they can be made to be more predictive than the current models — as science prescribes.

    This is why science exists — to test hypotheses. Where we see so much focus these days upon invisible and exotic phenomena in our investigations of cosmic phenomena, and so little interest in pursuing fundamental physics explanations for the enigmas, even those who don’t care much for the Electric Universe worldview should exhibit a great amount of concern — for science means nothing if those who wield the power to actually write papers and study Nature simply choose to not apply it. That’s the imposition of a worldview upon the data and the public, and has nothing to do with science as a methodology for identifying truth. This is how we hijack the prestige of science, while disavowing ourselves of the underlying mechanisms which inspire that prestige.

    We see long cosmic filaments at all scales of observation: the interplanetary, interstellar, intergalactic and even super-galactic. We see magnetic fields all over the place. When we look closely at some of these filaments, we see kinks and on occasion twisting and even filaments within the filaments — plainly suggesting that the magnetic fields are dynamic and accompanied by electric currents. MOND generates almost perfect galactic rotation curves — which, by itself, is suggestive that gravity is the side effect. The values we measure for G have for quite some time now deviated beyond the error bars. We frequently see stars form along filaments.

    Nobody can stop Leif from imagining that it’s all disconnected, despite observations like this one, but neither should that stop people from recognizing that this belief lacks scientific basis — at least until we actually use science to ask the question.

  37. Golly gee ! why the hell would a high energy IONIZING PARTICLE cause a lowering of the breakdown potential required to render the atmosphere conductive.

    EVERYBODY knows that this phenomenon ONLY OCCURS when you capture that ionizing particle in a closed cylinder, like a GEIGER COUNTER or a lower Voltage PROPORTIONAL gas detector.

    Well it certainly couldn’t happen BEFORE the ionizing particle gets here; the atmosphere doesn’t predict its arrival.

    And it certainly wouldn’t happen, after the particle has finally hit the ground, without hitting anything vital, on the way.

    So as Dr. Leif says; it wouldn’t be any delayed event.

    But I already knew about this 60 years ago; that’s two full climate cycles; so it is pretty old news, I would say.

    When I was at the U of A, we used to wait for a nice thunderstorm, so we could go down to the wharf at the harbor, and fly an old radiosonde balloon full of Hydrogen on a tether, and carrying a student’s gizmo to measure the electric fields under those clouds.

    Luckily, we never got ourselves blown off the dock, along with our cylinder of Hydrogen.

    (Helium had not yet been discovered, back then.)

  38. That’s an interesting link. I should mention something that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately …

    I frequently bump into astrophysicists online on this topic of the Electric Universe, and they like to complain about the EU suggestion that astrophysicists don’t understand something about plasmas. They appear to all agree with one another at the suggestion that this single statement discredits the EU.

    But, a person need not go any further than this post by Tim Thompson at http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=4782369&postcount=8

    “As far as I am concerned, any paper published on this topic in IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science should be ignored.” …

    “IEEE Transactions is where the plasma cosmology people publish … Well, the answer is that nobody has ever read them, at least nobody involved seriously in the galaxy business” …

    “My last position at JPL before retiring was with the Evolution of Galaxies Group. Based on my experience with those astronomers & astrophysicists and their collaborators, I am quite certain that most of them do not even know that the IEEE journal exists at all”

    I urge people to think carefully about what is going on here: The Electric Universe proposes that we can take our laboratory observations of plasmas and apply those principles to our astronomical observations. IEEE’s Transactions on Plasma Science is well-known for their plasma publications. And this is important, because there are certain phenomena which relate to electrical plasmas which will not be published in the Astrophysical Journal, or other journals which propose that cosmic plasmas need not be electrodynamic phenomena.

    Chief among these electrical plasma phenomena is Marklund convection (pictured briefly in the link you sent). So, when you hear a professional scientist suggest that the EU has no physical model, it might help to realize that the topic of Marklund convection tends to only get published in IEEE’s Transactions on Plasma Science — and it would be near-impossible to build an electrodynamic cosmology without it. It is the electrical version of gravitational accretion.

    This is why the critics of the EU tend to discredit themselves: They want to be able to critique this worldview, while simultaneously refusing to read IEEE. People should be calling them out on this, for those two decisions combined formulate a contradiction.

  39. While I’m generally a fan of investigations of the electromagnetic aspect of the climate, this study seems dubious at best. This press release says:

    After the arrival of a solar wind at the Earth, the researchers showed there was an average of 422 lightning strikes across the UK in the following 40 days, compared to an average of 321 lightning strikes in the 40 days prior the arrival of the solar wind. The rate of lightning strikes peaked between 12 and 18 days after the arrival of the solar wind.

    Actually, this is bait and switch. They did NOT measure times before and after “the arrival of a solar wind”. Instead, they defined “trigger events”, times when the magnetic field in the z direction (perpendicular to the plane of the planetary orbits) velocity in the y direction changed by more than a certain amount.

    Here’s where the trouble starts. Per the study they used six years of data, 2000-2005, and they identified 532 “trigger events” during that period. Six years times 365.25 days per year divided by 532 trigger events gives one trigger event every four days!!!

    They are doing a stacked analysis by aligning 532 copies the same data, with each copy shifted on average by about four days, and showing what happens for two months on either side of the overall average of each of the “trigger events”???

    Words can’t begin to express the folly of this procedure … by the time you’ve extended your stack analysis out sixty days in both directions, it includes about thirty “trigger events” in each and every 120-day long shifted copy of the data.

    w.

  40. First off – You are currently converting speed units from miles per hour to kilometers per second
    1000000 mph = 447.04 kms-1
    Anyone watching the Solar Page at WUWT knows the solar wind will vary between 250 to over 800 KM/s and its ‘arrival’ is constant, just varying speed and density. i.e. PE=1/2 * M * V^2.

    In these instances, the energetic particles can have sufficient energies to penetrate down into the cloud-forming regions of the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequently affect the weather that we experience.

    Also on the Solar Page – The OVATION Prime Real-Time (OPRT) tool is a real-time forecast and nowcast model of auroral power. They list power range from 5GW to 150GW. So something that has enough energy to luminous miles of N2, cannot create a few thunderstorms??? By the way the GW’s mostly affect a thin slice in the polar regions.

  41. Jeff says:

    “Invoking cosmic rays helps explain why we get lightning when the voltages in the atmosphere are not high enough for breakdown.”

    Well it is a bit obvious, isn’t it? It is not a ’cause’ it is akin to the way a CCD camera works. Something pre-charged is loosed by a kick up in voltage.

    I am also not surprised by the delay with peaks at a couple weeks. The particles are not light waves, people! It says they are travelling at various speeds and fast packages of particles can overtake slower ones. The spiral of particles leaving the sun is well known and has been mapped for decades by the Voyagers.

    So the delay between an increased emissions/blast at 1,000,000 miles an hour and its arrival at Planet Earth is….? That’s right, 93 hours. So if it is slower and more massive, it will take longer to get here and maybe has an even stronger effect on the charged portions of the atmosphere. I can’t see why anyone is surprised by this.

    The incoming blast does not have to ’cause lightning’ any more than a finger on a trigger ’causes’ a bullet to leave a rifle at 1000 ft per second. But it does, doesn’t it. :)

  42. DD More says:
    May 15, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    ___________________
    You forgot to mention, dayside reconnection, dissipation of solar wind through magnetic null points, and instability wave like vortices that penetrate..etc..etc.. CLUSTER satellites come to mind..

  43. I doubt the link between solar wind and lightning. Most of solar wind is deflected by earth’s magnetic field. Few solar wind reaches the ionosphere which is at least 50 km high. The highest thunder clouds are 23 km high. They are too far apart for electromagnetic force to take effect.

  44. Correlations with solar activity and lightning strikes were shown at least 40 years ago.

  45. Piers Corbyn of Weather Action says that this has been known for decades and his company has been using such knowledge for weather forecasting for years.

    He suggests with potentially good reason that this is all about charlatans trying to claim as novel what their opponents have known about for years, following in the wake of warmists trashing those citing oceanic factors in climate change and then shamelessly incorporating that into their propaganda.

    There comes a point when a law suit suing academics for blatant lying needs to bankrupt them in order to teach scientists how to behave. The Editors of the Journals that sanctioned this as ‘novel’ need to be sacked and banned from future editorships and the referees of the paper need to be named and shamed for their ignorance or blatant corruption.

    Those that sanctioned the funding of this research should be named, shamed and sacked for wasting taxpayers’ money in reinventing the wheel and the journalists and editors who hype this story without checking it out first should also be marked down as unsuitable for journalistic work.

    That would be a start.

    Perhaps you could apply this across vast swathes of climate research, medical research and god knows what other research??

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