The Tip of the Gleissberg

long-term cycles 1700 2012 in annual sunspot dataGuest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A look at Gleissberg’s famous solar cycle reveals that it is constructed from some dubious signal analysis methods. This purported 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” in the sunspot numbers has excited much interest since Gleissberg’s original work. However, the claimed length of the cycle has varied widely.

Back in the 1940s, a man named Wolfgang Gleissberg was studying sunspot cycles. To do so, in his own words, he introduced a new method, viz:

When I introduced the method of secular smoothing into the study of the variations of sunspot frequency (GLEISSBERG, 1944) I published a table containing the secularly smoothed epochs and ordinates of sunspot minima and maxima which I had deduced from the data published by BRUNNER in 1939. Since then, secular smoothing has proved to be one of the principal methods for investigating the properties of the 80-year cycle of solar activity (cf. RUBASHEV, 1964).

long-term cycles 1700 2012 in annual sunspot data Figure 1. SIDC sunspot data, along with the “best-fit” sine wave for each cycle length from 40 years (orange, in back) to 120 years (blue, in front). Heavy black and heavy red horizontal sine waves show respectively the strength of the 80-year “Gleissberg Cycle” and the 102-year maximum-amplitude cycle. 

This purported 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” in the sunspot numbers has excited much interest since Gleissberg’s original work. However, the claimed length of the cycle has varied widely. One source says:

In different studies the length of the period of the secular variation was determined to be equal to 95 years, 65 years, 55 years, 58 years, 83 years, 78.8 years, 87 years [Siscoe, 1980; Feynman and Fougere, 1984]. That situation is understandable, because the longest record of direct observations of solar activity was and still is the sunspot numbers which provides more or less reliable information since 1700 (see below). That gives one only 300 years of time span by now which encompasses ~3.4 periods of Gleissberg cycle which is quite low for its statistical analysis.

So what was Gleissberg’s “secular smoothing” method that he “introduced” in 1944? Well, it turns out to be a simple 1-2-2-2-1 trapezoidal filter … but one which he employed in a most idiosyncratic and incorrect manner.

Let’s start, though, by looking up at Figure 1. It shows the three centuries of sunspot data in black, along with actual best fit sine waves in color, year by year, for each cycle length from forty years (colored orange, in the back) to one hundred twenty years (colored blue, in the front). Of particular interest are the 80-year cycle proposed by Gleissberg (heavy wavy horizontal black line), and the largest long-term cycle, which is 102 years in length (heavy wavy horizontal red line). As you can see, the 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” is not distinguished in any way.

So … does this mean that in fact there is a 102-year cycle in the sunspot data? Well, no. We still only have data enough for three 102-year cycles. And in natural data, that’s not very reliable. The problem is that nature appears to be chaotic on all timescales, so I’m not trusting the 102-year cycle to stick around. But in any case … just how did Gleissberg get to his 80-year number? Therein lies a tale …

First, Gleissberg decided that what we’re looking at in Figure 1 is an amplitude modulated signal. So he figured he only had to deal with the envelope of the signal, which looks like this:

signal envelope annual sunspot data 1700 2012Figure 2. Envelope of the sunspot record shown in color. As an aside, it turns out to be a curiously tricky algorithm that is needed to identify true maxima, or true minima.

Having gotten that far, he threw away everything but the envelope, leaving only the following information:

signal envelope only annual sunspot data 1700 2012Figure 3. Envelope only of the sunspot record, maximum envelope shown in red, minimum envelope shown in blue.

And that poor misbegotten stepchild of a once-proud record was what he analyzed to get his 80-year cycle … sorry, just kidding. That would be far too simple. You see, the problem is that when you look at that envelope data in Figure 3, there are no evident long-term cycles in there at all. It’s just not happening.

To get around the minor issue that the data has no obvious cycles, Gleissberg applies his whiz-bang “secular smoothing” algorithm to the maximum and minimum envelope data, which gives the following result. Remember, there are no obvious cycles in the actual envelope data itself …

secular smooth signal envelope only annual sunspot data 1700 2012Figure 4. Result of “secular smoothing” of the maxima and minima envelopes of the sunspot data. Dotted vertical line marks 1944, the year that Gleissberg introduced “secular smoothing” to the world.

And voilá! Problem solved.

The big difficulty, of course, is that smoothing data often creates entirely specious cycles out of thin air. Look at what happens with the maximum envelope at 1860. In the original maximum data (light red), this is a low point, with peaks on either side … but after the filter is applied (dark red), it has magically turned into a high point. Smoothing data very commonly results in totally factitious cycles which simply do not exist in the underlying data.

There are a couple of other problems. First, after such a procedure, we’re left with only 24 maximum and 24 minimum datapoints. In addition, they are strongly autocorrelated. As a result, whatever conclusions might be drawn from Gleissberg’s reduced dataset will be statistically meaningless.

Next, applying a trapezoidal filter to irregularly spaced data as though they were spaced regularly in time is a big no-no. A filter of that type is designed to be used only on regularly spaced data. It took me a while to wrap my head around just what his procedure does. It over-weights long sunspot cycles, and under-weights short cycles. As a result, you’re getting frequency information leaking in and mixing with your amplitude information … ugly.

Finally, if you read his description, you’ll find that not only has he applied secular smoothing to the amplitudes of the maxima and minima envelopes. Most curiously, he has also applied his wondrous secular smoothing to the times of the maxima and minima (not shown). Is this is an attempt to compensate for the problem of using a trapezoidal 1-2-2-2-1 filter on irregularly spaced data? Unknown. In any case, the differences are small, a year or so one way or the other makes little overall difference. However, it likely improves the (bogus) statistics of the results, because it puts the data at much more regular intervals.

CONCLUSIONS:

First, the method of Gleissberg is unworkable for a variety of reasons. It results in far too few datapoints which are highly autocorrelated. It manufactures cycles out of thin air. It mixes frequency information with amplitude information. It adjusts the time of the observations. No conclusions of any kind can be drawn from his work.

Next, is the 80-year cycle described by Gleissberg anywhere evident in the actual sunspot data? Not anywhere I can find. There is a very wide band of power in the century-long range in the sunspot data, as shown in Figure 1. However, I don’t trust it all that much, because it changes over time. For example, you’d think that things would kind of settle down over two centuries. So here’s the first two centuries of the sunspot data …

long-term cycles 1700 1908 in annual sunspot dataFigure 5. As in Figure 1, but only the earlier two centuries of the sunspot data. 

Note that in the early data shown in Figure 5, there is very little difference in amplitude between the 80-year Gleissberg cycle, and the 95-year maximum amplitude cycle. You can see how Gleissberg could have been misled by the early data.

Now, let’s look at the latter two centuries of the record. Remember that this pair of two-century datasets have the middle century of the data in common …

long-term cycles 1804 2012 in annual sunspot dataFigure 6. As in Figure 5, but for the latter two centuries of the data.

In this two-century segment, suddenly the maximum is up to 113 years, and it is 2.5 times the size of the 80-year Gleissberg cycle.

In none of these views, however, has the 80-year Gleissberg cycle been dominant, or even noteworthy.

Please note that I am NOT saying that there are no century-long cycles, either in the sunspot data or elsewhere. I am making a careful statement, which is that to date there appears to be power in the sunspot data in the 95-120 year range. We can also say that to date, the power in the 80-year cycle is much smaller than anything in the 95-120 year range, so an 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” is highly unlikely. But we simply don’t have the data to know if that power in the century-long range is going to last, or if it is ephemeral.

Note also that I am saying nothing about either 80-year Gleissberg cycles, or any other cycles, in any climate data. This is just the tip of the Gleissberg. So please, let me ask you to keep to the question at hand—the existence (or not) of a significant 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” in the sunspot data as Gleissberg claimed.

Finally, if you are talking about e.g. a 85 year cycle, that’s not a “pseudo-80 year cycle”. It’s an 85 year cycle. Please strive for specificity.

My best wishes to all,

w.

Claimer (the opposite of “disclaimer”?): If you disagree with anything I’ve written, which did actually happen once a couple years ago, please quote the exact words that you disagree with. Often heated disagreements stem from nothing more than simple misunderstandings.

Data: The adjusted SIDC data is available as SIDC Adjusted Sunspots 1700 2012.csv . In accordance with the advice of Leif Svalgaard, all values before 1947 have been increased by 20% to account for the change in sunspot counting methods. It makes little difference to this analysis

 

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96 thoughts on “The Tip of the Gleissberg

  1. You took a beloved paper and tore it to shreds with pure logic.
    There should be a website dedicated to doing this daily – if more scientists did this, the world would be a lot better off…

    Here are some Talking Heads lyrics to the song, “Paper.”
    There are parallels here, I think…

    PAPER

    Hold the paper up to the light
    (some rays pass right through)
    Expose yourself out there for a minute
    (some rays pass right through)

    Take a little rest when the rays pass through
    Take a little time off when the rays pass through

    Go ahead and mess it up…Go ahead and tie it up
    In a long distance telephone call

    Hold on to that paper
    Hold on to that paper
    Hold on because it’s been taken care of
    Hold on to that paper

    See if you can fit it on the paper
    See if you can get it on the paper
    See if you can fit it on the paper
    See if you can get it on the paper

    Had a love affair but it was only paper
    (some rays they pass right through)
    Had a lot of fun, could have been a lot better
    (some rays they pass right through)

    Take a little consideration, take every combination
    Take a few weeks off, make it tighter, tighter
    But it was never, it was never written down
    Still might be a chance that it might work out (if you)

    Hold on to that paper
    Hold on to that paper
    Hold on because it’ll be taken care of
    Hold on to that paper

    Don’t think I can fit it on the paper
    Don’t think I can get it on the paper
    Go ahead and rip up, rip up the paper
    Go ahead and tear up, tear up the paper

  2. Willis, we disagree on geology. That debate is foe another place. But we totally agree on scientific methodology, plus on your equatorial thermostatic regulator. Congrats again here on another climate debunking.

  3. You had me at “envelope”.

    Willis, this should be published in a journal if somebody hasn’t already sliced and diced this thing.

  4. Apparently the practice of torturing innocent data to get a publishable confession has a long history and is not restricted to the world of climate science.
    Your efforts to help clear the record of such artifacts deserve praise and support.

  5. Willis I look forward to you posts. Are you going to put these past pieces into book form? If so I will buy the first copy. Keep up the good work.

  6. It seems that the sunspot range (amplitude) over time is what matters (say Fig 2), dealing with max and min activity makes curve fitting difficult. Would making the mimima activity a straight line help with determining maxima shape and periodicity? To me it simplifies the range determination.
    I am not a statistician so let me know if this is silly.

  7. It is a curious characteristic of mankind that many of us have a level of cycle mania where we try to find and explain complex natural and physical phenomena that we don’t understand very well by using simple to understand but usually wrong derivations of supposed cycles of varying duration, amplitude and phase to presumably explain the so far unexplained phenomena.

    Cycles of course, are intrinsic to so much of the natural world which we see and experience and have done so through the long ages of the existence of the human species.
    Day and night, seasons, moon phases and it’s variations, sunspots and even human and animal biology particularly of the female of the species, all cycles, all reasonably predictable.

    So we continue to extend the theory of cyclic behavior into other fields in the usually vain hope it can be used to explain yet another natural phenomena.
    And we try to find those cycles and do find them where none exist but which eventually are seen to be artifacts created by the manner in which the research was done.

    And so we advance three steps forward, two steps back and fortunately for our species, only just occasionally, four steps back but always eventually, forward again

  8. This purported 80-year “Gleissberg cycle” in the sunspot numbers has exited much interest since Gleissberg’s original work.

    I think you probably mean excited, but perhaps you do mean exited.

    [Done. Thank you. Mod]

  9. In a chaotic system you cannot expect real cycles. There are nevertheless peaks and valleys in the sunspot data which must be taken into acount

  10. I, too, look forward to your posts, which always contain a wonderful mix of insight and commonsense, scientific method, good old-fashioned innocent curiosity all topped off with good humour.
    As Anthony said, this should be a paper, but published here is good enough for me as the gatekeepers tend to leave posts on WUWT alone.

  11. Willis –

    Yes – the processing can make its own stuff!

    There is of course the famous saying “Garbage-In, Garbage-Out” (GIGO) which I think applies here, in essence because the original data was just inherently inadequate to “provision” the parameter extraction claimed. The data supports just so much and no more.

    Possibly in the “old days” with far less computing time, a lot more thought went into (or should have gone into) choosing a method of analysis, and less into crunching data to see if anything apparently interesting floated to the top. More thought might seem better – but it coincided with less testing of methods. Today there is a reverse tendency to suppose that we just need to keep chugging. More statistical processing please! Anything you like yet?

    So I think that GIGO has the ADDITIONAL meaning that IF you put in garbage (random test signals) and get something GOOD out (not garbage), you ARE in serious trouble. (For example, the famous “hockey stick”.) Filters and models can make their own stuff.

    Below are two studies I did recently, using only random test signals, the first relating to the trapezoidal smoothing (peripherally involved here), and the second in response to your “Parana River” posting back in January (spurious band-pass). I used only random data – Anything “seen” in my graphs is only apparent.

    http://electronotes.netfirms.com/AN401.pdf

    http://electronotes.netfirms.com/AN403.pdf

    Possibly with regard to time-series processing: LESS is MORE?

  12. Interesting article, and very instructive on how applying seemingly innocuous transformations to data can garble it. Though “factitious” would seem to mean the exact opposite of “fictitious”, which the context seems to demand.

  13. Alexander K says:
    May 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I, too, look forward to your posts, which always contain a wonderful mix of insight and commonsense, scientific method, good old-fashioned innocent curiosity all topped off with good humour.
    As Anthony said, this should be a paper, but published here is good enough for me as the gatekeepers tend to leave posts on WUWT alone.

    Thanks for that, Alexander. There are lots of things that I should write up for the journals, but I feel like I have to give myself an autolobotomy to write in the style that the journals seem to prefer.

    Plus, the real joy for me is in doing the research and writing the computer programs and running them to see what the graphs look like. That’s the pleasure of the chase for me — the writing of the papers is just something I do to purge my mind of the results and to learn what I can from the comments about what I’ve done wrong and to make room for the next “oooh, shiny!” moment when I go haring off after something completely different.

    Regards,

    w.

  14. Gone are the days when mathematics can validate an easy Newtonian clockwork. It’s kind of like mining gold or drilling oil. All the easy stuff is gone. Now you have do drill down a mile, turn a corner and drill another mile sideways and detonate some charges in your casing.

    Ours is the quantum era where everything is weird and seemingly designed to deceive us. Our only cipher in the quantum arena is mathematics, but math has always been a Faustian bargain where certainty is bought at the price of initial conditions or parameters that may or not be correct.

    In physics these initial conditions and the following math has led us to string theory and parallel universes.

    This is why I follow fish. They share with me an utter disbelief in parallel universes. Now the cycles fish follow and which we can measure with weigh master’s certificates may well be ephemeral. They may not have existed before the weigh masters and they may be overwritten in the future, but for right now they are as real as it gets.

  15. I find the longer the ‘cycle’ the least its plausibility. It’s already hard to imagine a mechanism that takes 22y to come around, unless one looks at planetary influences. But 80y or more? What would there be in the sun to reset every century?

  16. Sunspot chatter. I love it.
    After reading your article Willis, the only fault that seems to stand out is the lack of limits to your process.
    The Gleissberg cycle, when applied to Schove, can vary anywhere from 72 to 83 years or 77.6
    Schove also wrote,”The 78-year cycle [17] is clearly shown since 1610 by an alternation of periods of shortening (c. 1650-1700, c. 1725-65, c. 1890-1930) and lengthening cycles
    (c. 1700-25, c. !765-1810, c. 1845-90).
    Other datasets have been used, like Elatina, that also show a strong correlation to the 78 year cycle.
    Other cycles tend to pop out of these datasets, and it only makes me wonder if these cycles are but like gears in a clock.
    Someone, someday will work it out.

  17. Thanks for replying to another comment of my by making it to a full post
    howver,

    I refer to table 2 here

    http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

    and you will note with me that with only sunspots as guideline you [really] have only touched the tip of the Gleiszberg.

    I am almost sure that Gleiszberg also looked at the flooding of river and lakes, but I will have to do some investigating on that. In the meantime my best fit for the drop in the speed of maxima stands, which was not even mentioned in the table.

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

  18. omnologos says

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/17/the-tip-of-the-gleissberg/#comment-1639152

    henry says
    you have to step off from sunspots (which is a subjective measurement) and rather move to the strength of the polar fields of the sun

    Note with me that you draw a binomial best fit from the top (hyperbolic) and from the bottom (parabolic) which would show that the minimal strengths wll be reached around 2016.
    Note also the 2 past Hale cycles (44 years) for which we have reliable data.
    Any one with a slight scientific brain can easily predict what the next 44 years of polar field strengths will look like….???

  19. The interaction of the magnetosphere of Jupiter and Saturn with sunny field is much greater than we think.
    The layer of metallic hydrogen within the fast spinning Jupiter generates an enormous magnetic field around the planet. It’s magnetic field is much stronger than that of Earth’s (which is generated by turning of its iron core) or any of the other planets. It also follows then that Jupiter has the largest magnetosphere in the solar system, which is a tear shaped bubble of charged particles constrained by Jupiter’s magnetic field. The variable solar wind flow interacts with the planets magnetosphere and as a result shapes it.

    http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/spat/research/missions/space_missions/cassini/events/fly_by_schedule/jupiter_fly_by/jupiter_magnetosphere

    Saturn is surrounded by a giant magnetic field, lined up with the rotation axis of the planet. This cannot be explained by current theories. Cassini may explain how the puzzling magnetic field of Saturn is generated.

    http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/Saturn_s_magnetosphere

    Since the cyclical change position relative to the sun their impact on the solar dynamo is cyclical.

  20. Why should the measurement of a cycle of the sun be in years? One earth year is of no relevance to the sun. Even one Jupiter revolution of the sun is almost as irrelevant unless you also look at where the other planets are in relation to Jupiter and the sun.
    Would Ios,Europa and Gannymead have got into their synchronous orbits without tidal forces? Surely when trying to understand the solar cycles one has to look at the solar system as a whole.

  21. There are some cycles in the climate that are indisputable. The 100,000 year ice ages followed by the relatively short interglacials for example. And these have to do with the sun. That there maybe shorter, smaller, cycles is also possible. There have been warm and cold periods within our Holocene for example

  22. Thought provoking as always Willis.

    The trapezoidal filter is a common variant of the infamous running. It is the same as RM with the first and last points given 50% weighting. It’s very nearly as bad as RM and has the same defect of introducing spurious frequencies that are not in the original data. 70 years after Gliessberg, and with the availability of immense computer power on everyone’s lap, these are sadly just as popular.

    “Look at what happens with the maximum envelope at 1860. In the original maximum data (light red), this is a low point, with peaks on either side … but after the filter is applied (dark red), it has magically turned into a high point. ”

    Well that’s the kind of thing that can happen with runny means but it’s not quite as bad as make it sound. In this case there are 3 high data points and one less high one. Even a decent low-pass filter would produce a similar result. Applying a convolution filter to irregular data is also questionable. It seems he did try to address this but did not clearly explain it enough for you to reproduce it. I doubt this has a major effect on the presence or not of the supposed 80y period.

    However, Willis, you do have a technique that does not require regularly spaced data, so why not apply it to the min and max points in figure 3 if you want to cross-check his claim about that aspect of the data? You could also apply a better filter: a gaussian with sigma=1 (one circa ten year interval) for example.

    I suspect you will find something similar.

    Assuming that is the case, you could then ask why this period comes out from the peaks but not the full series as you mainly did here.

  23. @Brent Walker “Why should the measurement of a cycle of the sun be in years?”

    If its a cycle then it repeats itself after a measure of time. A year is simply a measure of time.

  24. @ren
    Most likely there is some gravitational- and/or electromagnetic force that gets switched every 44 year, affecting the sun’s output. The 2 graphs here

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

    represent almost all of my data on maximum temps. Note that an a-c curve consists of 4 quadrants, for each full wave. In my best fit, I saw that each quadrant has a time span of about 22 years, on average. In the paper from William Arnold,

    http://www.cyclesresearchinstitute.org/cycles-astronomy/arnold_theory_order.pdf

    he suggests that it is mainly the position of the two planets Saturn and Uranus that can be directly linked to the 22 year solar cycle. I looked at this again. At first the dates did not make sense.

    Observe from my a-c curves:
    1) change of sign: (from warming to cooling and vice versa)

    1904, 1950, 1995, 2039

    2) maximum speed of cooling or warming = turning points

    1927, 1972, 2016

    Then I put the dates of the various positions of Uranus and Saturn next to it:

    1) we had/have Saturn synodical with Uranus (i.e. in line with each other)

    1897, 1942, 1988, 2032

    2) we had complete 180 degrees opposition between Saturn and Uranus

    1919, 1965, 2009,

    In all 7 of my own results & projections, there is an exact 7 or 8 years delay, before “the push/pull ” occurs, that switches the dynamo inside the sun, changing the sign….!!!! Conceivably the gravitational pull of these two planets has some special lob sided character, causing the actual switch. Perhaps Uranus’ apparent side ward motion (inclination of equator by 98 degrees) works like a push-pull trigger. Either way, there is a clear correlation. Other synodical cycles of planets probably have some interference as well either shortening or extending the normal cycle times a little bit. Hence the range around 88 years. So it appears William Arnold’s report was right after all….(“On the Special Theory of Order”, 1985).

  25. @Brent Walker “Surely when trying to understand the solar cycles one has to look at the solar system as a whole.”
    No to understand solar cycles one has to look at the Sun. The sun varies in cycles. [Sunspot cycles]

  26. Question:
    Has there been any inquiry into any cyclical variation in the *frequency* of the sunspot cycles (as opposed to their amplitude)?
    We have such a plethora of “modulations” to choose from, 60+ years on….

  27. If you have any doubt about the propensity of men to look for cycles or order in randomness, read about the “Secrets of the Pyramids”. Men spent their lives deriving meaning from the dimensions and the orientation of those structures.

    It’s a lot like numerology. According to Wikipedia, some of the ancient greats believed that numbers (and theory) were more informative than mere facts.

    Things don’t change.

  28. Willis…..I wonder if you know a method of analysis that could elucidate an 8:5:3:2:1 ‘cycle’ from a dataset and how many repeats of that you would need to confirm it? Every paper I have seen on cycles – Bond cycles are a ‘good’ example, looks for an average and a repeated period, usually not found as exact periods. If you take a look at the GISP isotope data (Greenland ice-cap proxy for temperature), especially between 50,000 and 30,000 BP, you can see with the naked eye, that the peaks of temperature repeat a 10,000 year cycle, within which there are 4-5 peaks of varying width, and that variation looks like an 8:5:3:2:1 set – a Fibonacci series. That sets of ‘cycles’ is very clear between those dates when the global system was at its most regular or ‘stable’, and then they seem to get affected by noise….most especially the over-riding deglacial cyle starting at abut 15,000 BP, but if one looks at the last 10,000 years, then there are discernible peaks at 8kyr, 3kyr, 2kyr and 1kyr……but not at 5kyr BP.

    I am not a good enough mathematician to even know what kind of analysis would reveal such patterns – but would have thought your approach could do it.

  29. ren says: May 18, 2014 at 12:08 am
    HenryP says: May 18, 2014 at 12:31 am
    ……
    Sunspot cycles regularly change polarity in sync with polar field, but with pi/2 (90 degree) phase displacement. This is common relationship with most physical ‘oscillating’ systems where the exchange of energy is involved.
    Re: planetary magnetospheres: I discussed this with solar scientist Dr. J Feynman (mentioned above), winner of Hale prize solar scientist Dr. E. Priest and Nobel physicist Dr. A. Hewish, about 11 years ago. Although all cautious, none rejected it out of hand. Result is polar field formula , indeed based on electro-magnetic feedback between solar (internal possibly inherently unstable oscillations) and orbital properties of two massive magnetospheres. Few years later solar scientists Dr. Hathaway and Dr. Svalgaard were adamantl that it contravenes physics events as they are understood.
    Spectral analysis of the sunspot cycles (periods of analysis are suggested by Dr. Svalgaard) indicate that the sun moves back and forth around this central period as defined by the above feedback formula. Numerology, autocorrelation etc. etc have in past and may in the future be used to discredit calculation. However, as we can se up to date (11 years later) polar field cycle has followed reasonably well, but for how long in the future, time will tell.

  30. It’s an envelope but not from amplitude modulation, much simpler.
    virakkraft.com/18+20+22,2+23,6.xlsx

  31. Brent Walker says:
    May 18, 2014 at 12:13 am
    Why should the measurement of a cycle of the sun be in years? One earth year is of no relevance to the sun……..

    That’s an incredibly perceptive perspective — Copernicusian in profundity?

    We get these very nice realtively well behaved plots of solar activity based on monthly averaging — which is accidentally relevant due to the coincidence of the canonical solar rate of rotation — the Sol — [approximately 1 / per earth month with a couple of earth days variation from pole to equator] with our earth unit of the Moonth [canonical month before all the Julian era manipulations] — but to suggest that the aggregation of Moonths of solar data based on the earth’s year is at all relevant — Brilliant!!

    Perhaps we are just using the wrong measure for solar activity time frames — Just as it would be bizarre to suggest that we should look for patterns in earthly data to be well organized in terms of Venusian Years

    So — Perhaps the Solar data patterns might more properly be located by searching in the time-unit space of Sols — Solar equivalent of Days {with the matter of solar latitudinal variability of a Sol being fully acknowledged in advance]

  32. henry@vukcevic
    I think you also do not see it yet.
    Your formula, although it accurately describes what happened to field strengths in the past, would end up with zero field strength, never mind the fact that we would all die from the constant global cooling on earth caused by the “hotter” sun.
    As I said before,
    you have to step off from sunspots (which is a subjective measurement) and rather move to both of the strengths of the polar fields of the sun

    Note with me that you can easily draw a binomial best fit from the top (hyperbolic) and from the bottom (parabolic) which would show you that the minimal strengths will be reached around 2016.
    Note also the 2 past Hale cycles (44 years) for which we have reliable data.

    All indications from my own investigations are that in 2016 something strange will happen on the sun. Possibly we will see the poles reversing again but whatever happens, we will slowly cycle back to full polar strengths, 2 Hale cycles from 2016. So the next 44 years we will see a mirror appearing of what happened from 1972-2016.

    Are you with me now?

  33. Willis Eschenbach says: “There are lots of things that I should write up for the journals, but I feel like I have to give myself an autolobotomy to write in the style that the journals seem to prefer.”

    Ain’t that the truth!

  34. WestHighlander says:
    May 18, 2014 at 4:19 am
    …..
    You make some good points (btw, I still use Julian Calendar for the Christian holy days). The Bartel rotation period (solar ‘day’) ‘is assigned to a 27-day recurrence periods of solar and geophysical parameters’.
    However, as our resident solar scientist Dr. Svalgaard and his colleague have noticed in 1970’s there may be another important marker, the sunspot ‘preferable longitude’ , currently at around 240 degrees, perhaps more physically meaningful as the accurate measure of the solar ‘day’. This features slowly drifts around in relation to the standard Bartel’s rotation, its origins (afaik) are not known.

  35. lgl ays
    It’s an envelope but not from amplitude modulation, much simpler.
    virakkraft.com/18+20+22,2+23,6.xlsx

    henry says
    the link does not work?
    please explain what you mean

  36. joel says:
    May 18, 2014 at 2:53 am
    It’s a lot like numerology.
    I suppose it could be.
    To a pudding-head.

  37. Statistical analysis is useful in simple things. It’s a bunch of crock when it comes to something complex. You can prove anything you like by the way you manipulate the data. Try analysing 60 students in 3 classes. You can get all sorts of statistics on grades etc. but you don’t have a clue as to why one class is different to another or why some students respond to stimuli and others don’t. Sometimes it just takes one or two key students to change the entire atmosphere of the class.

  38. ClimateForAll says:
    “Other cycles tend to pop out of these datasets, and it only makes me wonder if these cycles are but like gears in a clock.”

    There are, and timely as this exactly what I have been looking at this week. Certain configurations of gas giants repeat at intervals of 68/69 years, and of around 90 years, in patterns that shift over millennia. The one occurring in the 20th century was a clear 69yr period, it has somewhat fuzzy 90yr intervals at either end of it. At a very variable frequency, the regular patterns break down for 150-250 years, at precisely where there are colder episodes, and Maunder-Dalton-Gleissberg minimum type triplets. Provisional dates for the start of the periods are from: 2980 BC, 2570 BC, 2100 BC, 1350 BC, 510 BC, 380 AD. 1650 AD, and the next one is from 2056 AD. Having now seen this has completely altered my perspective of what the next two centuries of climate will be like.

  39. Counting sunspots doesn’t mean much unless you can get a direct correlation to something. Determining the spending patterns of people with suntans doesn’t tell you much. Some could be sports people, or farmers, rich bitches on yachts or just plain lazy people in their backyard.
    I don’t know the underlying causes of sunspots or why some are larger than others or the reasons some are more persistent than others. Performing a statistical analysis is not going to explain much. Yeah, yeah best tools we have etc.

  40. Reading about Gleissberg’s “envelope” approach reminded me of a method I ran across several weeks ago which was used in a paper featured in a WUWT post.

    The procedure is called Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) and is used to decompose a time series into a trend with various cycles. Max and min envelopes are used extensively during the analytic process. I found the method to be somewhat too subjective in its approach, but possibly capable of giving some exploratory insight into the properties of a series. You might like to add it into your arsenal of statistical hammers for thwacking time series nails.

    You can find a reasonably nice powerpoint and a non-too-long paper describing the methodology on the web. The best part is that there is also an R library (not surprisingly called EMD) which you can use fairly easily for implementation of this technique.

  41. Henry
    Try put www if front of it. I mean it’s a simple summation of the major components.

  42. Vukcevic says:
    Numerology, autocorrelation etc. etc have in past and may in the future be used to discredit calculation. However, as we can se up to date (11 years later) polar field cycle has followed reasonably well, but for how long in the future, time will tell.
    Milivoje, in numerology 11 is a masterly number. Something that means.

  43. henry@willis

    And now? It seems you were stunned by the number of investigations pointing to a 80-100 year weather cycle in the tables 2 and 3 here:

    http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

    How about writing a post, with the name “The Gleiszberg Rose” ?
    (my play of words on “Iceberg rose”)

    which……
    might eventually turn into a good paper, explaining how earth is defending itself from a “hotter” sun. It seems most people donot yet understand how a “hotter” sun makes for a cooler earth.

    No doubt explaining this will help to try and squash the myth of global warming, like you did with your previous paper.

  44. Gleissberg’s method isn’t completely wrong. The basic idea works. I created a data set of the absolute values of am modulation because there are phase reversals and you can’t have negative sunspots. I took the peaks and passed them through a 1-2-2-2-1 filter. The result was twice the modulating frequency. That implies a 160 year cycle. On top of that we have the problem that Gleissberg’s peaks weren’t evenly spaced so who knows what the actual period is. In any event, the period is likely to be twice as long as he thought it should be.

    When we account for Gleissberg’s (serious) errors we have something that roughly agrees with the work of others. sites.stat.psu.edu/~richards/papers/sunspot.pdf

  45. Any thoughts that the 95 – 120 yr cycle could be a double cycle of 50 – 60 years, much as the Hale cycle is two sunspot cycles??

  46. ClimateForAll says:
    May 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    The Gleissberg cycle, when applied to Schove, can vary anywhere from 72 to 83 years or 77.6

    I pointed out above that people have claimed everything from ~50 to ~100 years for what they mislabel the “Gleissberg Cycle”. You get to join that long list.

    However, the Gleissberg Cycle, according to Gleissberg himself in my linked reference, is 80 years.

    Now, there assuredly may be some other cycle that varies from 72 to 83 years, although you have provided no evidence for its existence.

    But I see no sign of any such cycles in Figure 1. The entire area from 70 to 85 years shows nothing unusual, no peaks, nothing to distinguish it from its neighbors. In fact, a close examination of Figure 1 shows that it to be a bit of a valley rather than a peak. And the peak is far away from your range, at 102 years.

    But that’s a separate question, because Gleissberg postulated an 80 year cycle that took his name … and sadly, he based it on entirely bogus mathematics.

    w.

  47. If we superimpose at each other cycles of 210 years and 87 years have a very apparent in research of ice cores cycle of 1,470 years.

  48. HenryP says:
    May 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for replying to another comment of my by making it to a full post
    howver,

    Well spotted, Henry. You challenged me to show what was wrong with Gleissberg. I have done so in spades, showing that both his math and his 80-year claims are contradicted by the facts …

    I refer to table 2 here

    http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

    and you will note with me that with only sunspots as guideline you [really] have only touched the tip of the Gleiszberg.

    Yes, there’s probably been more garbage written based on Gleissberg’s bad math than on most numerical misrepresentations … however, I fear that when one of the studies listed covers “Ethiopian Nile Water Levels 1229-1467 AD” and gives the maximum cycle as 80.6 years, it’s hard to stop laughing. No way you can get that kind of accuracy from a 240-year record, that’s a joke.

    However, we digress. My subject here is the sun. Wolfgang Gleissberg, based on his bad math, claimed that there was an 80-year cycle in the sun. As near as I can determine, no such cycle exists.

    As a result, you can stack up all the 80.6 year cycles in the Nile river records that you want … but since there’s no corresponding 80-year solar cycle to connect them to, then what are you left with?

    w.

  49. Greg says:
    May 18, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Thought provoking as always Willis.

    The trapezoidal filter is a common variant of the infamous running. It is the same as RM with the first and last points given 50% weighting. It’s very nearly as bad as RM and has the same defect of introducing spurious frequencies that are not in the original data. 70 years after Gliessberg, and with the availability of immense computer power on everyone’s lap, these are sadly just as popular.

    Indeed … a sad commentary. And thanks, by the way, you were one of the voices that led me to understand just how destructive the running mean (“boxcar”) filter actually is.

    “Look at what happens with the maximum envelope at 1860. In the original maximum data (light red), this is a low point, with peaks on either side … but after the filter is applied (dark red), it has magically turned into a high point. ”

    Well that’s the kind of thing that can happen with runny means but it’s not quite as bad as make it sound. In this case there are 3 high data points and one less high one. Even a decent low-pass filter would produce a similar result.

    Many thanks for quoting me. However, you left off the first sentence. Here’s the complete quote:

    The big difficulty, of course, is that smoothing data often creates entirely specious cycles out of thin air. Look at what happens with the maximum envelope at 1860. In the original maximum data (light red), this is a low point, with peaks on either side … but after the filter is applied (dark red), it has magically turned into a high point.

    Note that contrary to your misconception, I have not ascribed what happened to the trapezoidal filter. I have ascribed what happened to the smoothing of the data. Sorry for the confusion.

    Applying a convolution filter to irregular data is also questionable. It seems he did try to address this but did not clearly explain it enough for you to reproduce it. I doubt this has a major effect on the presence or not of the supposed 80y period.

    I’m not sure if he wrongly applied his trapezoidal filter to the irregular times in order to compensate for his wrongful application of the trapezoidal filter to irregular data or not. However, it’s easy to reproduce, and shifts the times by a couple years max. On the scale of the graphs, hardly visible, so I didn’t bother to show it.

    However, Willis, you do have a technique that does not require regularly spaced data, so why not apply it to the min and max points in figure 3 if you want to cross-check his claim about that aspect of the data? You could also apply a better filter: a gaussian with sigma=1 (one circa ten year interval) for example.

    I suspect you will find something similar.

    Assuming that is the case, you could then ask why this period comes out from the peaks but not the full series as you mainly did here.

    An interesting suggestion, and I thought of doing that. The problem is that with n = only 27 points in the maxima (or minima) dataset, any results are going to be totally provisional. That’s only 10% of the three centuries of data we started with.

    However, it’s an interesting test. Let me do that and get back to you. I suspect what we’ll find in maxima and minima is about what we find overall, only messier … what we’ll find in the “secularly smoothed” maxima and minima is another question.

    Thanks, more later,

    w.

  50. henry@wilis

    personally I donot believe in SSN for a variety reasons
    it a very subjective observation, prone to improvement over time due to better magnification and observation technigues.
    I did not know that that was all Gleissberg was looking at, if indeed this is so.
    I will check that.
    My own proxy on the data for maxima showed a cycle of 88 years
    and in the tables 2 and 3 I count 29 in total that say 80-90, which is close enough for me.

    that makes it 30

    not convincing enough for you?

    obviously this 86-88 solar cycle does not reflect exactly at the same time what happens to temperatures on earth. Earth has an intricate way of storing energy in the oceans. There is also earth’s own volcanic action, lunar interaction, the turning of Earth’s inner iron core, electromagnetic force changes, etc. It seems to me that a delay of about 5 years either way is quite normal. That would place the half cycle time as observed from earth at around 50 years, on average. 50 years of warming followed by 50 years of cooling. It seems to me the ancients knew this. Remember 7 x 7 years + 1 Jubilee year?

  51. @ Ulric. “Having now seen this has completely altered my perspective of what the next two centuries of climate will be like.”

    And you stop there ! Cold, hot, warm, Teletubbie land ? What ?

  52. Hi Willis
    Now must of people had opportunity to express their view on Gleissberg cycle, I would like to bring to your attention extracts from my exchanges with Dr. Svalgaard going back just over 5 years on SC24.com blog, but then as with most things, views and opinions evolve, however I stood still in that respect. Since Dr.S has not made an appearance I have left out his comments.

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

    In conclusion I said: (written before the SC24 commenced when I was advancing idea of a low cycle)
    “Many researchers use ‘Gleissberg cycle’ as if it is an accordion, stretching and squeezing to fit their requirements. Even Dr. Hathaway, in his latest work, quotes 8 cycle length against discoverer’s 7cycles, since it suits better to his high prediction of SC24.”
    It may be good time for me to take another temporary break from blog commenting.
    best to all.

  53. I’ve studied these Gleissberg cycles and their timing, unlike Willis I’ve used actual observational data in my graphs and all my graphs are made manually, it takes a bit more time and patience, obviously it’s because I don’t trust plotting with statistical sequencers. To me there seems to be an overall 200 year cycle in the number of solar cycles and the closest observational match I’ve found has been the planet Uranus, I’ve also noticed Neptune divided by Uranus’s orbit matches the “Gleissberg cycles” see the graph below.

    Without inferring a relationship per-say, (even Leif Svalgaard has said “the sun runs the planets”) isn’t the idea of using cycles as a tool a way of understanding a relationship? to be honest, I’ve begun working on a completely new approach to solar cycles by painstakingly studying their behavior, These cycles are important for understanding the shape and timing of the behavior of the sun and that’s what we are all interested in.

    At this stage I’m getting big results. Unlike some I could mention, I don’t fear criticism and I look forward to publishing my ideas soon.

    Very interesting post as usual Willis.

  54. Willis, you are an enfant terrible going after the masters, too! Actually, reading this, it occurred to me that there is room for a separate “workshop” area in WUWT that combs back through the literature to re-investigate the many presently unquestioned ‘findings’ of the past. I know that climate science is the most fertile ground these days for debunking but it’s a bit of a relief from present despair in science to find there may be loads of garbage in the old literature. Re the 97% consensus paper of Cook, I was less amazed at the shenanigans of the paper than I was to discover there had been 12,400 climate science papers in a decade, a hundred papers a month!

    Yes it would be a huge step for humankind to clean out the enormous overburdening of chaff in the scientific literature. One could do the first pass by checking out papers that use a lot of statistics – not just climate science but medical, sociological, etc. etc. With modern search functions the task may not be as onerous as one might think. One would need a large dedicated team. This might have been better in the tips and notes. I’m sure Anthony isn’t looking for more work, but he probably could rely on others to put a “workshop” together.

  55. Willis says: “Indeed … a sad commentary. And thanks, by the way, you were one of the voices that led me to understand just how destructive the running mean (“boxcar”) filter actually is.”

    Thanks for note of recognition, it is well appreciated.

    This is something I’ve been banging on about since a colleague tried to get me to use one in some spectral analysis software I was writing about 30y ago.

    I’m very grateful to Judith Curry for featuring my article, I think it got the issue noticed by quite a lot of people. I even noticed a recent paper that had chosen a Lanczos filter low pass filter. In view of the rarity of anyone using a Lanczos in any field, I think there is a strong chance the choice was inspired by that article.

    Anyway, after some of the disagreements we’ve had I’m very pleased by your gracious comment and of course pleased to have been of help. You are most welcome.

  56. J Martin says:
    “@ Ulric. “Having now seen this has completely altered my perspective of what the next two centuries of climate will be like.”
    And you stop there ! Cold, hot, warm, Teletubbie land ? What ?”

    A shift towards a higher frequency of cold events, as there were through the LIA, but most importantly, deeper and protracted solar grand minimums. The analogue that I use at 4627yrs back has an Eddy Maximum ending at 2610 BC, which translates to 2017 AD, and the next maximum from 2370 BC (2257 AD), though this list has very little information on what happened in between:

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

    Researching what I could find in google books, there was a significant dessication of much of Africa and the Middle East from around 2500 BC after centuries of wetter conditions, and close to 2400 BC is noted as period of widespread cultural breakdown.

  57. HenryP says:
    May 18, 2014 at 11:59 am

    henry@wilis

    personally I donot believe in SSN for a variety reasons
    it a very subjective observation, prone to improvement over time due to better magnification and observation technigues.
    I did not know that that was all Gleissberg was looking at, if indeed this is so.
    I will check that.
    My own proxy on the data for maxima showed a cycle of 88 years
    and in the tables 2 and 3 I count 29 in total that say 80-90, which is close enough for me.

    Henry, please see my follow-up post, “The Effect of Gleissberg’s “Secular Smoothing”. There is no 88-year cycle in the sunspot data either.

    w.

    PS — You say you “don’t believe” in sunspot numbers … how does that work? What is it you don’t believe? That they are measured correctly? That they are historically consistent? That they vary over ~11 years?

  58. Sparks says:
    May 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I’ve studied these Gleissberg cycles and their timing, unlike Willis I’ve used actual observational data in my graphs and all my graphs are made manually, it takes a bit more time and patience, obviously it’s because I don’t trust plotting with statistical sequencers.

    Oh, please. First, I used actual observational data in my graphs as well.

    And the idea that a graph that is made “manually” is somehow superior? Really? Do you have a team of monks with goose-quill pens doing your calculations?

    You also imply that doing things slowly is somehow better than doing them fast … do you really believe this stuff?

    Finally, you say you “don’t trust plotting with statistical sequencers” … what on earth are “statistical sequencers”? Are you some kind of Luddite?

    To me there seems to be an overall 200 year cycle in the number of solar cycles and the closest observational match I’ve found has been the planet Uranus, I’ve also noticed Neptune divided by Uranus’s orbit matches the “Gleissberg cycles” see the graph below.

    Great. Another genius heard from, a man who can diagnose a 200-year cycle in a 300-year long dataset, and then compares it to Hisanus.

    Without inferring a relationship per-say, (even Leif Svalgaard has said “the sun runs the planets”) isn’t the idea of using cycles as a tool a way of understanding a relationship?

    The term is “per se”, not “per say”. In any case, while cycles could possibly be used as a tool to understand a relationship, in climate they are most often used as a way to claim that correlation actually is causation …

    to be honest, I’ve begun working on a completely new approach to solar cycles by painstakingly studying their behavior, These cycles are important for understanding the shape and timing of the behavior of the sun and that’s what we are all interested in.

    Sparks, when a man says “to be honest”, I get nervous. It strongly implies that what he has said previously has not been honest …

    At this stage I’m getting big results. Unlike some I could mention, I don’t fear criticism and I look forward to publishing my ideas soon.

    Unlike many I can mention, you are more than willing to make accusations without naming names. If you’re not going the mention their names, then don’t bother me with your fantasies about their actions.

    Very interesting post as usual Willis.

    That’s my goal … first to do good, solid science, and then to make it interesting to the reader.

    w.

  59. “There are a couple of other problems. First, after such a procedure, we’re left with only 24 maximum and 24 minimum datapoints. In addition, they are strongly autocorrelated. As a result, whatever conclusions might be drawn from Gleissberg’s reduced dataset will be statistically meaningless.”

    It’s worse than that. Gleissberg’s paper was published in 1944. A study which examines his actual work will have to begin with somewhat less data.

  60. Willis Eschenbach says:
    That’s my goal … first to do good, solid science, and then to make it interesting to the reader.
    Abstract

    Two 9400-year long 10Be data records from the Arctic and Antarctic and a 14C record of equal length were used to investigate the periodicities in the cosmic radiation incident on Earth throughout the past 9400 years. Fifteen significant periodicities between 40 and 2320 years are observed in the 10Be and 14C records, there being close agreement between the periodicities in each record. We found that the periodic variations in the galactic cosmic radiation are the primary cause for periods 250 years. The spectral line for the Gleissberg (87-year) periodicity is narrow, indicating a stability of ≈ 0.5 %. The 9400-year record contains 26 Grand Minima (GM) similar to the Maunder Minimum, most of which occurred as sequences of 2 – 7 GM with intervals of 800 – 1200 years in between, in which there were no GM. The intervals between the GM sequences are characterised by high values of the modulation function. Periodicities < 150 years are observed in both the GM intervals and the intervals in between. The longer-period variations such as the de Vries (208-year) cycle have high amplitudes during the GM sequences and are undetectable in between. There are three harmonically related pairs of periodicities (65 and 130 years), (75 and 150 years), and (104 and 208 years). The long periodicities at 350, 510, and 708 years closely approximate 4, 6, and 8 times the Gleissberg period (87 years). The well-established properties of cosmic-ray modulation theory and the known dependence of the heliospheric magnetic field on the solar magnetic fields lead us to speculate that the periodicities evident in the paleo-cosmic-ray record are also present in the solar magnetic fields and in the solar dynamo. The stable, narrow natures of the Gleissberg and other periodicities suggest that there is a strong "frequency control" in the solar dynamo, in strong contrast to the variable nature (8 – 15 years) of the Schwabe (11-year) solar cycle.

    http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/2012/12/aa19997-12.pdf

  61. ren says:
    May 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:

    That’s my goal … first to do good, solid science, and then to make it interesting to the reader.

    Abstract

    Two 9400-year long 10Be data records from the Arctic and Antarctic and a 14C record of equal length were used to investigate the periodicities in the cosmic radiation incident on Earth throughout the past 9400 years.

    Not impressed, sorry. I discussed the problems with the 10Beryllium records here, including the tiny difficulty that the Arctic and Antarctic records only have a correlation of 0.07 … and the problem that the datasets show no sign of the 11-year cycle.

    w.

  62. Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 19, 2014 at 9:00 am

    “Oh, please. First, I used actual observational data in my graphs as well.”

    You appear to have used a “best-fit” sine wave using actual observational data, This is what I humorously referred to as “statistical sequencers”. Do they skew the timing of the actual observational data?

    To be honest (it’s a casual phrase, get over it) the rest of your reply is semantical and obnoxious with no actual content worth discussing!
    You get top marks for dishing out witty insults, you should do a post on this sometime where we can compare notes.

    :)

  63. Sparks said in part May 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm:
    “… I don’t fear criticism … “

    Well, that at least is good – if you also tolerate criticism . Here comes criticism. In looking at your linked graph, I am not sure what Uranus and Neptune have to do with it? Have you offered any connection anywhere? Why an orange and a blue curve? The curves seems to be of the form of the Uranus-Neptune distance, but it is unrelated to the SSN data (using just my eye as you prefer yourself, and not any “statistical sequencers”, although I have no idea what one would even look like.) If the planetary orbits matter, it should be through gravity I should suppose, so wouldn’t Jupiter and Saturn be far more important being much larger and much closer to the sun? Or even Earth-Venus. Or are we perhaps using numerology, or astrology here? It seems so. That would explain everything.

  64. Bernie Hutchins says:
    May 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I am not sure what Uranus and Neptune have to do with it?

    There is an integral relationship between our sun and its solar system of planets. Uranus seems to have a direct relationship to the suns polar magnetic field reversal and Neptune, it perturbs Uranus’s orbit.

  65. Although the other positions of planets probably also matter in pulling the switch, it is when Uranus and Saturn are exactly opposite each other that we come a dead stop. The lever in or on the sun gets switched, always 7-8 years after exact opposition of these two planets.

  66. Although the other positions of planets probably also matter in pulling the switch, it is when Uranus and Saturn are exactly opposite each other that we come a dead stop. The lever in or on the sun appears to get switched, always 7-8 years after exact opposition of these two planets.
    This is what William Arnold already postulated back in 1985, before they started with the carbondioxide nonsense, although the 7-8 years delay is what I found when compared to my data on maxima,

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

  67. Sparks and Henry –

    And the proposed physical mechanism is? Unstated.

    And the evidence is? A hand-crafted “statistical-sequencer-free” unlabeled orange curve and a blue curve!

    Numerology and astrology BS. Not even entertaining.

    • @Bernie Hutchins
      it is quite simple really, the mechanism,
      I will share with you that I know that a lower solar field strength allows more of the shortest wave radiation (UV-C) to escape from the sun, which react TOA to form ozone, peroxides and nitrogenous oxides. In turn, the increase in these compounds TOA deflect more sunlight to space. This is basically how the wolf-gleiszberg cycle works. Paradoxically, a somewhat “brighter”-, “lighter” sun, such as we are experiencing now, causes cooling on earth. It is a defense system that earth has, to stop UV-C reaching earth./
      So the important graph to watch is this one here:

      Now, if you or anyone can tell me or guess what the next 44 or 46 years of that graph will look like, you are on your way to understand a big (important) part of the climate, as witnessed in the tables 2 and 3 here:

      http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

      best wishes
      Henry

  68. Henry –

    As you well know, I was NOT asking about the physics/chemistry of earth’s atmosphere, but rather the mechanism by which Uranus apparently controls the Sun!

    But, seriously, never mind. You did remove any remaining doubt I might have had!

  69. @Bernie

    yet the correlation is clearly there,
    if both William Arnold and myself noticed it….
    We know (from my own results, at least) that the turning point is 1972 (from warming to cooling)
    and 2016 (from cooling to warming) and we know Saturn and Uranus were opposite each other 7 years earlier. If I have seven such points with 100% correlation, no co-incidence possible,…
    especially not even counting the work of William Arnold.
    I have at least 5 other phenomena as supporting evidence, among which, of course, the increase in ozone.

    as to how the switch actually works, I still have to figure that one out;
    it seems like some sort of electromagnetic pull, switched by a slight difference in gravitation.
    (I am not forgetting of course, that the sun is about 99.7 % of all the weight in the entire solar system. That gives me something to think about during my holidays)

    Any ideas from commenters here?

  70. clearly Bernie has left us
    thinking he is too clever for mere mortals like us….
    However, now that I have come to start to think about it, and maybe some of you as well (what happened to Sparks?)
    namely, about the fact that even though the weight of the planets is small compared to that of the sun, we would have to add the force of the speed that they are rotating around the sun, to that of their actually weight, wouldn’t we?
    just asking.

  71. HenryP said May 21, 2014 at 11:13 am in part.
    “…..yet the correlation is clearly there,….”

    Ah – someone forgot to write on the top of your exam “Show All Work”.

    HenryP also wrote:
    “….as to how the switch actually works, I still have to figure that one out; it seems like some sort of electromagnetic pull, switched by a slight difference in gravitation. ….”

    Oh my goodness! It’s worse than I had supposed.

    Henry – I have to stop. I have never been sure what “feeding the troll” meant but I think I may be doing it.

    Thanks for your time – can I have my time back !

  72. HenryP says:
    May 21, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Although the other positions of planets probably also matter in pulling the switch, it is when Uranus and Saturn are exactly opposite each other that we come a dead stop. The lever in or on the sun appears to get switched, always 7-8 years after exact opposition of these two planets.

    Well, let’s see … the last Saturn-Uranus opposition was November 4, 2008. Their synoptic period is 43.364 years. That gives us the following list of dates when “the lever in or on the sun” gets switched:

    1788
    1834
    1879
    1924
    1970
    2015

    Those are crucial dates in the history of the sun because of … because the … because they mark … well, they are crucial dates because HenryP says so. I know of no big things that happened on the sun in any of those years. Here you go …

    Color me unimpressed.

    There are not too many of us who figured this one out….

    So at least there is some good news. However, I found at least one more of you who figured this one out, because I note that these dates are crucial for the stock market as well … at least if you follow the Astro Trading web site …

    Finally, Bernie is right when he says you need to explain the physical process by which far distant planets could have some effect on the luminosity/sunspots/magnetism etc. of the sun.

    The explanation is made very hard by the fact that in free-fall, the only discernible gravitational effects are the tides … and the size of the tide on the sun which is raised by the gravity of Uranus is a tiny fraction of a millimetre of rise and fall. You’ll have to explain how that makes the slightest difference.

    Yes, “tidal locking” is a real phenomenon, see the moon-earth system as an example, or sun-mercury system. And in close to their parent bodies, there are clear resonant phenomena in e.g. the rings and moons of Saturn.

    But that’s where the tidal forces are large, where tides are metres in swing, not hundredths of a millimetre. Note that the only planet that is tidally locked is Mercury. Note further that Uranus is fifty times further from the sun than Mercury. Finally, note that tidal forces fall off as the cube of the distance … so the sun’s tidal forces on Uranus are only 0.000008 as strong as on Mercury.

    And even over billions of years, those forces have been too weak to tidally lock any planet but Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun …

    In short:

    1. We know of no physical mechanism by which the opposition of Saturn and Uranus could cause the effects you postulate, and in any case,

    2. Per the graph above, the oppositions of Saturn and Uranus seem to have no effect at all on the sunspot cycles.

    Best regards,

    w.

    PS: Even if you get past 1. and 2. immediately above, you still have a further hurdle:

    3. There is no clear 11-year cycle in any of the climate datasets.

    HenryP, my suggestion would be to take your work over to Tallbloke’s. There, people stand ready to tell you that the Saturn-Uranus synoptic cycle is sooo last century, and how modern numerology concentrates on half the Jupiter-Saturn synoptic cycle, 9.3 years … but at least they won’t point and laugh like I do. I know it’s unmannerly, but really, Henry, on my planet your claims are just astrology in a new guise … and they won’t tell you that over at Tallbloke’s.

  73. @willis
    you keep on coming to me with SSN when I (and others) keep telling you that SSN is just a waste of time. It does not tell you what actually happens.
    Why don’t you tell me exactly what you predict for the next 44-46 years on this graph

    ?

    Astrology is regarded as a sin, by most of us (Christians)
    in case you did not know.

  74. Henry says
    It (SSN) does not tell you what actually happens.

    Henry says
    (apart from assuming eyesight 20/20)

    To give you an example as to why SSN is useless, how do you define the degree of “darkness” of a spot? Have you got a colourmeter on that?

    So please, if anyone comes to me with SSN again, I am going to scream!!!!

  75. HenryP says:
    May 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    @willis
    you keep on coming to me with SSN when I (and others) keep telling you that SSN is just a waste of time. It does not tell you what actually happens.

    Thanks, Henry. Clearly, sunspots don’t tell us what actually happens here on the earth. If they did, we’d see 11-year cycles in climate variables … but we don’t.

    However, since sunspots are the subject of the post, that’s what I thought you were referring to.

    Why don’t you tell me exactly what you predict for the next 44-46 years on this graph

    http://ice-period.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sun2013.png

    I predict that the climate is chaotic, and that anyone who tries to forecast it given our current state of knowledge will fail badly.

    Astrology is regarded as a sin, by most of us (Christians)
    in case you did not know.

    Then why on earth are you practicing astrology so assiduously? There is no more evidence that the timing of the Saturn-Uranus opposition affects climate than there is that it effects human beings. You are most definitely practicing astrology, my friend. It’s weather astrology, not natal sign astrology or Babylonian astrology, and it’s astrology just the same—the belief that via no known mechanism, the oppositions and conjunctions of the planets affect affairs on the earth. Astrology by definition.

    Seriously, HenryP. If there were a scrap of evidence for the physical mechanism linking the opposition of Saturn and Uranus to the climate, you might be able to persuade yourself that it might be science.

    But without that, what you are doing is absolutely astrology, not distinguishable in any way from linking the opposition of Saturn and Uranus to the current state of world affairs or to the stock market.

    Heck, above, I cited a web site that links the opposition of Saturn and Uranus to the stock market. That’s market astrology, and it’s no different from your weather astrology.

    You get your own interpretations, HenryP, but not your own facts. Astrology is the belief that by no known or explainable mechanism, the oppositions and conjunctions of the planets affect affairs here on the earth. Astrology. Hang on, let me look it up:

    as·trol·o·gy
    əˈsträləjē/
    noun
    the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.

    You claim that the position of the planets influences weather events on earth … and without a physical mechanism to explain that, by definition, it’s just weather astrology.

    Knowing that, as a Christian you have two choices. Either come up with the mechanism, or give up the astrology.

    All the best,

    w.

  76. willis says
    However, since sunspots are the subject of the post, that’s what I thought you were referring to.

    henry@willis
    I think wolf and gleissberg worked together and they must have compared ssn with weather phenomena.
    They would have found some correlation but not the accurate dates when change-over occurs. The paper from yousef must have history and is compiled from previous papers who borrowed again from previous people.working on this, etc

    http://virtualacademia.com/pdf/cli267_293.pdf

    If Gleiszberg were a good scientist he would never build his theory on one set of data.
    William Arnold picked up on the Hale cycle and was able to give an indication as to how the switch actually works.

    http://www.cyclesresearchinstitute.org/cycles-astronomy/arnold_theory_order.pdf

    Independent to all of them, even not knowing about them at the time, I did my own investigation for the drop in in the speed maximum temperatures. I had a high correlation on the 2 binomials (>0.995) which allowed me to determine the top and bottom of the wave, namely 1972 (top) and 2016 (bottom). That is 44 years, exactly two Hale cycles and a half Gleissberg cycle.

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

    Now, you say: I predict that the climate is chaotic, and that anyone who tries to forecast it given our current state of knowledge will fail badly…..

    You disappoint me. I thought you were clever.

    Knowing what I know, and assuming I am right, don’t you see the two Hale cycles from 1972 in this graph?

    So, you can draw binomials from the dead stop top and bottom (1972) and you will see that we reach the bottom of the field strengths somewhere around 2016. Now, tell me what the next two Hale cycles will look like on this graph?

    (I am trying to spoon feed you now)

  77. @Willis
    ……..

    so, there has to be switch that moves us to start to increasing solar polar strength

    it just happens to be that that switch always occurs 7 -8 years after Saturn – Uranus opposition, but it would include the balance of (weight/force) of the whole solar system. Clearly the sun and planets are an integrated system.
    the timing could be purely co-incidental, and has nothing to do with astrology, but clearly some have already noticed the disasters coming from prolonged low solar field strengths. I did not know about this until you informed me about such link existing with (pure) astrology.

    so, yes, I predict that something strange will happen in 2015 or 2016 on the sun. Maybe the poles switch over again?

  78. Bernie Hutchins and Willis Eschenbach.

    You are both using very unfair derogatory remarks by trying to suggest that people are involved in astrology and numerology as if they were some sort of mystic rolling chicken bones in hat or what ever mystics get up to. I would be equally unimpressed if someone called anyone of you a ‘climate denier’ inferring that you are akin to a ‘Holocaust denier’.

    Astronomers study astronomical events and record these events and their timing to gain an understanding of the processes involved, they then mathematically plot these observations looking for patterns and possible relationships.

    Looking at Willis’s graph above it shows a period of timing known as a ‘planetary beat’ obviously several observations of an event such the “Saturn-Uranus opposition” doesn’t tell us very much in regard to a relationship with the sun or even what influence Uranus and Saturn has on each other for that matter.

    I wonder if Willis could use his method to discover a planet? absolutely not! Although the methods that astronomers use are able to workout astronomical relationships and actually have been field tested and proven and they have been used to discovered planets even without physically observing them, for example the planet Neptune was mathematically predicted before it was directly observed.

    It’s my opinion that discussions involving aspects of astronomy should be treated with a little more regard, and hopefully some of these ‘shouting matches’ can be avoided.

    All the best :)

    (Don’t have me come back here!) :P

  79. MODS I have a post which contains the ‘D word’ in moderation, Its not used as an insult. are you able to retrieve it or should I repost without it? thanks in advance!

  80. Sparks said in part May 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm:
    “…..Astronomers study astronomical events and record these events and their timing to gain an understanding of the processes involved, they then mathematically plot these observations looking for patterns and possible relationships. …”

    I hope Sparks would agree that astronomers do not just “look for patterns”. (Astrologers and numerologists look for patterns as a solitary goal.) Astronomers (as scientists) look for patterns that are consistent with well-described physical laws, or else they know they must take responsibility for providing extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims.

  81. Sparks also said in part May 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm:
    “….Looking at Willis’s graph above it shows a period of timing known as a ‘planetary beat’ obviously several observations of an event such the “Saturn-Uranus opposition” doesn’t tell us very much in regard to a relationship with the sun or even what influence Uranus and Saturn has on each other for that matter. …”

    Do you means the graph Willis posted Mar 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm?

    Isn’t Willis saying there that that does NOT work? What are you disagreeing with?

    Please elaborate on your comment.

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