What spot?

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Sunspot 993, the first cycle 24 spot of the southern hemisphere, appeared late Saturday, and by Monday morning, the Tiny Tim spot was gone. Which is what happened to the last cycle 24 spot, which was a Tiny Tim and also quickly disappeared.

Galileo, Wolf, and other solar observers of the past would likely never have seen it. So with these Tiny Tims coming and going so quickly, that begs the question; was the Maunder Minimum, Dalton Minimum and other minimums not simply a period of Tiny Tim sunspots that nobody could detect witht he observing equipment of the time?

With SOHO we can see everything. Even backyard astonomers can pull out Tiny Tim sunspots with their equipment.

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Jerker Andersson
May 5, 2008 12:25 pm

Not sure if my other post got through on the other thread since i got an error so I am retyping it here since this one a mysteriously appeared ot of nowhere in cyberspace…
I have said it before and I say it again, sunspots is probably not the correct way to meassure the solar cycle.
It should be an area with increased magnetic activity that have a significant effect on the irradiance in the same area.
We have seen it several times, a SC24 magnetic signature but no sunspot.
Currently the sun seems to have 3 active SC24 areas, except the one that produced a spot. Those 3 areas are currently much smaller than the one that produced a sunspot but still they can all 3 grow or simply disapear in the next 24h.
All 3 areas are detectable in both MDI and ETI images but are sligtly easier to find in the EIT since it makes the area shine slightly brighter atm.
1 area is in the middle of the upper left qaudrant.
2 areas close to each other 1/3 above the center of the sun.
MDI picture
EIT picture
Will any of those grow or are they just a shortlived weak SC24 anomalies reaching the surface?
And what should thos be called in that case? Mini Tim or micro Tim? 🙂

May 5, 2008 12:35 pm

OT – So far, RSS has an anomoly temp of +0.080 C for April. The other 3 (UAH, GISS, and HadCRUT) do not have April data up yet. — John M Reynolds

Jeff Alberts
May 5, 2008 12:59 pm

That was my May 4th birthday spot! Whee! Happy birthday to me!

May 5, 2008 1:09 pm

I’m curious about the “Tiny Tim” expression re sunspots – does anyone know where this originated? (In a solar context, that is – I know the original Tiny Tim is a character in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.) Now reading The Sun: A Biography by David Whitehouse, in an effort to know more about this subject, but he hasn’t mentioned Tiny Tim sunspots so far. Anyone?
REPLY: David Smith started using it to describe matginal hurricanes in a post he did for Climate Audit. The term stuck and began to get used here to describe some of the small sunspots we’ve been seeing.

Mike Smith
May 5, 2008 1:13 pm

Link to RSS data?

May 5, 2008 1:26 pm

“… was the Maunder Minimum, Dalton Minimum and other minimums not simply a period of Tiny Tim sunspots that nobody could detect with the observing equipment of the time?”
It’s way, way too early to answer that. Do we even know if early sunspots in recent cycles sputtered along for a while before finally erupting? We don’t have SOHO data from before cycle #23, one of the earliest I see was http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/1999_12_23/ when the sun was already 3+ years into cycle 23.
I sure didn’t do monthly, let alone daily, checks to see how cycle #23 started, we need to find someone who did.
Only a few people are expecting us to be entering something like a Maunder Minimum, cycle 24 will get going one of these years. And then we’ll have a record of how a sunspot cycle starts. Of course, it won’t be an ordinary start, so we’ll likely puzzle over the start of #25 too.

May 5, 2008 2:09 pm

I saw that data, here is the link
Still no much of an anomoly.
Here’s predicting the other 3.
UAH .06
Hadcrut .40
GISS .80
Note the formula I use
UAH 3/4th of RSS
Hadcrut RSS x 5
GISS RSS x 10.

An Inquirer
May 5, 2008 2:12 pm

Although I recognize that patience is a virtue and that posts will exist within a few days on the April anomoly, still here is what I understand to be the RSS anomolies this year:
January +.056
February +.187
March +.43
April +.08

May 5, 2008 4:25 pm

There is an excellent graphic here:
showing a month-by-month histogram of the ’96-’97 solar cycle compared to the current one, graphing the number of no-sunspot days. It’s quite illustrative of how different this cycle is from the previous one.

Robert Wood
May 5, 2008 4:54 pm

There’s been several posts I have had the opportunity to do this week, on different matters, where I’ve been able to make rhyming slogans, such as Soho, Bojo has Mojo, and others.
Sorry, can’t resist: Soho Soho!

May 5, 2008 5:09 pm

You have to be careful which channel you are using and which data. Land and Ocean? Ocean only? -70 to 82.5? -82.5 to 82.5? and so on. Using the same channel that has .080 for April, the results since January for -70 to 82.5 TLT anomalies Land and Ocean are:
Jan = -.069
Feb = -.002
Mar = .079
Apr = .080

May 5, 2008 6:44 pm

5 consecutive months of negative anamaly for the US according to RSS.
Just sayin’….

May 5, 2008 6:53 pm

CO2 at ML for APril is 384.52, which is 0.16 greater than March but less than Dec, January, Feb.

May 5, 2008 8:26 pm

While you can’t see the spot on the visible light image of the sun, it is certainly there if you look at the magnetogram image
OF course the image I’m posting updates hourly so the spot will eventually disappear. Even so, the Sun is remarkably quiet magnetically.

May 5, 2008 8:55 pm

There a great deal of meaningless and unphysical noise in the RSS at frequencies of twelve months and less, which may reflect the fact that seasonal adjustment is not in fact feasible to the required precision – we may be seeing noise in the procedure for seasonal adjustment which is not necessarily indicative of real variations.
If I simply take the twelve month moving average, I get a much smoother graph, but I worry that taking the twelve month moving average does not necessarily undo the unavoidably capricious and arbitrary seasonal adjustment. Is it possible to get the pre-adjusted data? In particular, is it possible to get the pre-adjusted data for the aqua satellite. Since Aqua does not drift, and the twelve month moving average takes care of seasonal variations, Aqua twelve month averaged data should be require less cooking.

Jean Meeus
May 5, 2008 10:27 pm

Neither “anomoly” nor “anamaly”.
The correct word is anomaly.

Andrew Blackburn
May 5, 2008 10:57 pm

Interestingly, a couple of days ago, spaceweather.com was linking to a two-year-old NASA article on Solar Cycle 24, predicting an extra-strong Solar Max…
The article they link to is kind of funny, in itself, because it starts out: “March 10, 2006: It’s official: Solar minimum has arrived. Sunspots have all but vanished. Solar flares are nonexistent. The sun is utterly quiet.” The sun has basically taken two more years off since then!

Pierre Gosselin
May 6, 2008 12:06 am

Some Norwegian reader here made the comment somewhere that these small sunspots would have been impossible to detect with the primitive instruments available during the Maunnder Minimum. Of course he’s right. The puny spots we’ve been seeing occasionally are insignificant. It’s like seeing one tiny bubble in a pot you’re waiting to see start boil. Cycle 24 has not started in my view.

Stephen Fox
May 6, 2008 1:16 am

Jean Meeus
Hooray, someone who can spell anomaly.

May 6, 2008 1:35 am

Anthony asked the question and I’m a worried man: http://solarscience.auditblogs.com/2008/05/06/a-very-good-question/

Pierre Gosselin
May 6, 2008 4:16 am

Oh come now…cut poor old Hansen a little slack! But do look for HadCrut and GISS to be getting real cuddly and close. Please allow me to throw my hat in and predict:
UAH .12
Hadcrut .54
GISS .72
@Andrew Blackburn
Good link, real interesting. Tells me these teeny tiny Tims we’ve been seeing are just really a continuation of the sun’s current big nap. If this keeps up, we’ll soon have to say the sun is in a coma.
Concerning solar activity and “natural” factors, I found some comments from Dr. Latif, already posted at NC Media Watch, from Ernst-Georg Beck from EIKE (European Institute for Climate and Energy) at:
2002 Prof. Latif in Stern Magazine:
“Based on our analysis, we can say that solar fluctuations are responsible for only 1/3 of the global warming. The dominant factor is man“.
“There is no credible evidence that would lead someone to doubt the scientifically supported statements of the IPCC Report that global warming is caused by man.”
2003 Prof. Latif:
“It is clear that since about 1980, total solar irradiance, the sun’s UV radiation, and also cosmic rays have fluctuated with the 11-year solar cycle, but have not increased significantly overall. To the contrary, the Earth has warmed up greatly during this period. This therefore eliminates the sun as a cause of the current global warming.“
2004 Prof. Latif:
“At 0.17 degrees C per decade, the temperature increase over the last 30 years has been especially profound. This increase cannot be explained by natural factors. Possible natural influences – like solar activity, volcanoes, cosmic rays and earth orbits – have shown NO TRENDS since the middle of the 20th century.“
I suspect Dr. Latif could soon be looking at a solar trend that he will not be able to overlook.

May 6, 2008 5:45 am

About April temps, I used the data links from this post:
I used the 0.080 since that was in the same column that Anthony used. I was going for consistency. I just checked the other 3 and they don’t have April yet.
About Sunspots, did Galileo or Wolf have teams of people checking the instruments at least hourly to make sure no sunspots would get missed?
John M Reynolds

Jeff Alberts
May 6, 2008 5:55 am

Neither “anomoly” nor “anamaly”.
The correct word is anomaly.
The former two spellings would be, ahem, anomalous.
ba-dump bump!
I’ll be here all week.

May 6, 2008 6:20 am

Dell, UAH has 0.015. You may have to re-evaluate your formula. — John M Reynolds

May 6, 2008 9:56 am

[…] Watt’s up with this is still tracking sunspot activity, and as he’s been predicting there’s no joy in Gaeaville. The rest of the story is that with the cooling we will see from lack of sunspots our agricultural growing ranges in both Northern and Southern hemispheres will shrink this year. (previous warming cycles provided bumper crops in agricultural regions.) This will exacerbate the ongoing food inflation, and possibly lead to severe shortages in some regions. […]

Pierre Gosselin
May 6, 2008 1:13 pm

John A
You’re being overly pessimistic.
Have a couple of beers…
Sometimes when it comes to cooling I get the feeling we have sceptics who are as alarmist as the AGW folks. I’m originally from Vermont – and cold aint all bad.

Pierre Gosselin
May 6, 2008 1:16 pm

And the temperchure onamolies aint bean that bad.

May 6, 2008 2:05 pm

Are you the Jean Meeus I think you are?
Fantastic work!
I used the theories in your book to simulate the solar orbit, which really has an interesting and very complex behaviour. I wonder if the cyclic behaviour could explain solar activity….
Screenshots of computed orbits

May 6, 2008 2:06 pm

@ Pierre Gosselin
“Some Norwegian reader here made the comment somewhere that these small sunspots would have been impossible to detect with the primitive instruments available during the Maunnder Minimum. Of course he’s right. The puny spots we’ve been seeing occasionally are insignificant. It’s like seeing one tiny bubble in a pot you’re waiting to see start boil. Cycle 24 has not started in my view.”
Definition of solar minimum
“The date of the minimum is described by a smoothed average over 12 months of sunspot activity, so identifying the date of the solar minimum usually can only happen 6 months after the minimum takes place.”
If we apply a “Maunder minimum technology sunspot count adjustment” to the present Cycle 24 spot, to make the current counts consistent with that time, then most likely the total SC24 sunspot count so far would be zero.
I think it is quite likely that solar minimum is still months into the future.

Andrew Blackburn
May 6, 2008 2:35 pm

And today, NASA’s Science News article is on…a giant solar flare! (The Carrington Flare, in 1859) Interesting stuff…

May 6, 2008 3:19 pm

Does anyone know if RSS does anything to adjust for the lack of data between -70 and -82.5? That area is known to have a cooling trend, while the +70 to +82.5 area is known to be warming.
I’m not claiming any cooking of books. My understanding is that the missing data simply doesn’t exist. But regardless of WHY it’s missing, the fact that it IS missing, introduces a known warm bias.
Another concern I have is the difference between temperature, and heat content. Tropical air contains considerably more water, and therefore more energy per degree, than polar air. It seems to me that joules/cubic meter, or something similar, would be a much more useful metric than temperature. I sincerely have no idea how that would alter the global “averages.” But at least the numbers would be more meaningful.
REPLY: See this previous post I made on the subject

May 7, 2008 2:36 am

Pierre, there’s no fun to be had in global cooling: http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec19/holocene.htm

May 7, 2008 9:34 am

Just to say many thanks for the explanation re the origins of the Tiny Tim expression! Also, can anyone recommend a good book about the sun? I’m currently reading The Sun: A Biography by David Whitehouse, would like another one to start after I’ve finished that.
Thanks again!

Pamela Gray
May 8, 2008 8:17 pm

Anyone want to take a crack at plotting cosmic ray data from about 1958 to December 07? It is available in tabulated form:
By eyeballing the tables, it is clear that from one monitor to the next, there are cycles measured by each (which is to be expected). It is also interesting that measurements are different depending on location (like why are Bejing’s numbers so much smaller?), but the cycles are still there. We know that when minimum occurs, we get blasted with cosmic rays, which in theory, can create the process needed for water droplets and clouds to occur. Right now, the sun is deeply asleep with a magnetic number of 66. The length of the minimum is getting quite long, extending the amount of time we are not being protected by the magnetic shield of the sun.
Here is the one-two punch:
If cold ocean water kicks up moisture into the air (and for those readers who are warmers, also slows the increase of CO2 into the atmosphere), AND cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, in essence seeding it, and cloud cover cools the planet…?

May 10, 2008 1:11 pm

I really enjoy your site and applaud your search for the truth. This may be of interest to you and your readers. I recently conducted an informal study of peaking sunspot observations using an autocorrelative market timing algorithm. The results suggest that Tom DeMark’s Sequential and Combo studies may be useful in identifying peaks in sunspot cycles. Here is the link:


Pamela Gray
May 12, 2008 9:50 pm

It appears that cycle 23 is still hanging on. I would imagine this flare area near the equator will send predictions again further into the future for the cycle 24 change over. I do know this, Pendleton, Oregon and Lewiston, Idaho are unusually cold for this time of year, and the private weather station in Joseph, Oregon indicates that the current temps for Wallowa County, Oregon are 23 degrees lower than this same time last year. I also saw the large rainbow like ice-crystal ring around the sun today.

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