Latest Cycle 24 Sunspot: here today, gone tomorrow

I decided to make an animated GIF of the latest cycle 24 sunspot, dubbed number 1002, which was literally a “flash in the pan”.

Credit: SOHO/MDI

One thing that has been common so far with all cycle 24 sunspots this year is that they have been small and very short lived. This one lived just slightly more than a whole day, a mere blip in solar time, where some sunspots will survive for a whole solar rotation (27 days) or more.

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139 thoughts on “Latest Cycle 24 Sunspot: here today, gone tomorrow

  1. In fact i think the real anomaly stand in duration, just one day or two every single speck(not a spot indeed)

  2. Antony I enjoy reading your blog daily ,several times for updates.My thinking is we will see more effects this winter from the sun’ s lack of sunspots.What are your thoughts about this coming winter in the U.S.?

  3. Maybe the sun is depressed after the NASA press conference and just doesn’t feel like showing its spots for very long.

  4. Pingback: Latest Sunspot Vanished | Skeptics Global Warming

  5. Not depressed. Upset:
    “There are 2 distinct spots, 5:30 pm PDT, and they are both elongated, forming a set of furrowed eyebrows. or an arc.”

  6. Pingback: Houston we have a new cycle 24 sunspot! « An Honest Climate Debate

  7. By the way…
    Region 1002, the ‘quiet… stable…decaying’ Region 1002
    is the reason a Maunder Minimum is not likely.
    Yes, 1002 was the ONLY reason given by Professor Dr. Nancy Crooker of Boston University during the NASA conference today, when she stated that “a Maunder Minimum is not likely.”
    So I think we should all be a little more respectful of Region 1002.
    REPLY: Yeah when I heard that, I thought to myself “wow, she’s really reaching here”. – Anthony

  8. That’s what, the second little group this month? If I recall correctly, the other was an SC23 event at the equator {and that was stretching it at that, considering how weak and anemic that event turned out to be!}.
    Maybe we’ll get a spotless October.

  9. Pingback: New Cycle 24 Sunspot and SSN wavelet analysis « Watts Up With That?

  10. kim (15:35:47) :
    Did he measure the magnetism from it? 2015 or no?
    I’ll ask Bill Livingston, but remember that there is always a certain ‘spread’ in the values so we cannot expect this spot to be exactly on the ‘line’, only that is within the usual spread around the line. We’ll see what he says.

  11. By following all theses discussions on teh Sun, and the science pages linked, I’ve gained a deeper understaning. This sunspot was more obvious in the magnetic dopmain, and lasted longer. Thus, I now understand that the magnetism drives the sunspot holes.

  12. There seems to be more activity popping up on the sun this afternoon – not quite so blank as it’s been of late…
    I’ll be very interested to see how it looks in the morning.

  13. 6:00 pm No Ca PDT, the spot is gone from visibility, it was a smudge this morning in my 70mm refractor. Alas poor 1002, we hardly knew ya.
    But the trend since 05/23/08 holds: The spots start in the lower ebb of Planetary A index and Solar Wind Velocity, and end when those indices flatten out.
    That’s the way Ol Sol is behaving these last 4 months.
    Go Figure.

  14. AnonyMoose (15:50:05) :
    Not depressed. Upset:
    “There are 2 distinct spots, 5:30 pm PDT, and they are both elongated, forming a set of furrowed eyebrows. or an arc.”
    AnonyMoose–give me a break! It was so small and imoptent that I couldn’t tell if that was a frown or furrow. On closer look it does indeed look like a furrow. If NASA keeps this up we may get no spots at all.
    Doug Janeway

  15. Yes, 1002 was the ONLY reason given by Professor Dr. Nancy Crooker of Boston University during the NASA conference today, when she stated that “a Maunder Minimum is not likely.”

    [snip sorry – not an appropriate comment – Anthony]
    (heavens, I love this place!)

  16. As usual, I’m confused. Old cycle spots are supposed to be near the equator, new cycle near the poles? Right or wrong? Latitude 25 (or 26 degrees depending on who you believe) is nearer the equator, or nearer the pole? Lessee, equator = 0 degrees, pole = 90 degrees, 25 nearer 0 or 90? What am I missing here?
    Yeah, yeah, I know about magnetic polarity, but I have gotten an admission that sometimes that is reversed. So what is the evidence that this is really a correct polarity cycle 24 spot at the wrong latitude, or a reversed polarity cycle 23 spot at an expected latitude?

  17. There never was a horror which surpassed
    This icy sun’s cold cruelty, and this vast
    Night like primeval chaos; would i were
    Like the dumb brutes, who in a secret lair
    Lie wrapt in stupid slumber for a space…
    Time creeps at so burdensome a pace.

  18. ‘So what is the evidence that this is really a correct polarity cycle 24 spot at the wrong latitude, or a reversed polarity cycle 23 spot at an expected latitude?’
    Here’s a possible clue: They are all following the same behavior and timing.
    A commonality, if you will, in when they form and when they die.
    I feel that science today strained greatly at a gnat.
    I detect great angst in the wishing for SC24 to start.
    Sure am glad that it was them and not me.

  19. George M (20:41:26) wrote:
    “As usual, I’m confused. Old cycle spots are supposed to be near the equator, new cycle near the poles? Right or wrong? ”
    There are never spot “near” the poles. New cycle spots appear about latitudes 25 to 35 degrees, if I am right. Very few appear around 40 or 45 degrees.

  20. Err, Solar cycle 24 sun spot.
    For us here in the cheap seats, when did Solar cycle 23 end.
    I havn’t seen that said anywhere (I have probably missed that ? ),
    well apart from NASA,
    and they keep moving that date after the fact.

  21. NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day” today is the SOHO picture of that spot:
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080924.html
    Kinda funny how the caption mentions “sunspots” plural, when there was only the 1 and it lasted so short a time. And the final statement “Predictions hold that. . . . ” as though a prediction is what’s going to happen rather than actually being a guess.
    At least they do recognize that the sun is “unusually quiet.”

  22. I would assume that such a spot would not have been observed 200 years ago…no way. It was simply too small and observation techniques back then were simple too primitive. This latest SC24 spot was a well-fed Tiy Tim at best.
    This has to be taken into acount when comparing todays’s data with historical data.

  23. (Without the misspellings!)
    I would assume that such a spot would not have been observed 200 years ago…no way. It was simply too small and observation techniques back then were just simply too primitive. This latest SC24 spot was a well-fed Tiny Tim at best.
    This has to be taken into account when comparing todays’s data with historical data, meaning the sun today maybe even more quiet than we actually believe.

  24. This is OT, and connected with the paper I linked to above, but I once saw a question that said something like “why doesn’t Michael Griffin, NASA’s administrator and James Hansen’s boss, do something about Hansen’s antics on behalf of AGW?” I wondered that too. Until I found out why on page 19. Lindzen says:
    “Michael Griffin, NASA’s administrator, publicly expressed reservations concerning global warming alarm in 2007. This was followed by a barrage of ad hominem attacks from individuals including James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. Griffin has since stopped making any public statements on this matter. ”
    A turn on the old phrase it seems: if they won’t join you, beat them.

  25. “In a closed-door meeting on June 4, 2007 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Griffin said:
    “Unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical, and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it.” “All I can really do is apologize to all you guys…. I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_D._Griffin
    He should have kept it political and fired Hansen.

  26. Yes I agree, would this spot have been observed 200 years ago? Surely they didn’t keep a 24hour watch on the sun back then? This tiny spot lasted barely over a day, and this would surely make it likely to be missed.

  27. Glenn,
    If you read the paper, linked to above (and here again) you’ll understand the scope of this thing and exactly why Griffin could not fire Hansen without risking his own career.
    I think it is Churchill who said that “all that is necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” That is precisely what is going on here. Intimidation. Maybe Griffin may disagree, but he likes his job more than he cares about disagreeing with the AGW crowd. As long as they let him keep his job, he won’t interfere. I think that is the current, though probably unstated, arrangement.
    As noted in Appendix 3 in an article in the Boston Globe by John Holdren, a professor in the Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard and the director of the Woods Hole Research Center (which is an evironmental advocacy center, not a research center, surprise!) virtually all the important people believe in the catastrophic effects of AGW. Who are those, you ask?
    1. The leaderships of the national academies of sciences of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, and India, among others…
    2. All three of holders of the one Nobel prize in science that has been awarded for studies of the atmosphere (the 1995 chemistry prize to Paul Crutzen, Sherwood Rowland, and Mario Molina, for figuring out what was happening to stratospheric ozone).
    3. He [John McCain] has castigated the Bush administration for wasting eight years in inaction on climate change, and the policies he says he would
    implement as president include early and deep cuts in US greenhouse-gas emissions. (Senator Barack Obama’s position is similar.)
    The arguments boil down to two parts:
    First, all the leading scientists believe it, and there’s no way they could all be wrong. It is endorsed by political leaders including even those currently running for US president. My own reply to this is that the science is politically-driven (something
    The second part of the argument stands itself up with plenty of elitism with scientific skeptics being an infestation, and amateur skeptics simply parroting those arguments produced by the former. Then it sets up not one but three straw men, proclaims the first to be most dangerous, and proceeds to knock it down, the other two falling by association with the first. Then returns to the prior elitism (the important people). Third, he characterizes the skeptics as delayers, and that delay as dangerous, which makes delayers dangerous.
    I have to agree with Lindzen, the paper’s author, that the entire AGW movement could be very damaging to science. Regardless of the science, people need jobs to live, cars to drive, lights to see by, etc. Also, I have observed that the technology that the AGW crowd finds compatible with their “pollution-free” ideal of energy generation is substantially more expensive than the alternatives which they detest and would amount to massive price increases. This is already set to happen in Europe. But in some instances there, political leaders are (in talk at least) bucking the ‘green’ trend because they see the train coming, so to speak. The collision between theory (AGW) and observation (reality) is going to be rough.
    Secondly, along with religion (which addresses the parts of our lives that science largely does not and CANNOT), the development of the scientific method and science in general is man’s most oustanding achievement. If the public trust in it fails because of the exploitation of it for political purposes, which is obvious to many and perhaps spreading, it may set us back centuries in terms of progress. We are simply looking at nothing less than the potential collapse of the mindset of Western civilization. Not at this very moment, but gradually and over time.
    Finally, such a trend would end up setting people against their governments because the laws and policies initiated because of the science will negatively impact the common person, yet they will be told that the science is unquestionable, and so are then the policies, and so they will just have to adapt (make-do with less ring a bell?). Meanwhile, of course, those who are wealthy and connected to the AGW crowd (like Al Gore, for instance) will not have to ‘adapt’ quite so much. That will serve to incite class warfare. Inevitably, laws will have to be passed to maintain social order (which may be foreseen before anything actually happens) and that will further stifle any dissent.
    The changes happening are designed to cause chaos. The chaos that ensues is designed to act as a screen to make further and more substantial changes. Also, it will allow for security measures that will support those changes in the name of security and protect the political leadership. By the time the PDO flips back to WARM (in 30 years) you will not recognize the world in which you live. Science is about what possible. Politics, on the other hand, is about what is predictable. If politicians are anything, they are entirely predictable. Wait and see.

  28. Pierre Gosselin: “This latest SC24 spot was a well-fed Tiny Tim at best.”
    Kind of OT, and I apologise, but this got me thinking about Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. If the sun continues to be miserly with its spots and we do experience something approximating the Dalton Minimum, perhaps there will be the sort of Christmas again that Dickens remembered from the early 1800s.
    Thick snow, a biting frost, a bitter wind – but hopefully still some food, fuel and good cheer to go around. :o)

  29. Glenn and Bobby,
    It sounds like Michael Griffin is a coward. I guess you are right, that easy money is hard to turn down.

  30. Alex for most of us we will survive but I wonder what has happened to the homeless and the poor this last winter in the southern hemisphere and what will happen to those in the northern hemisphere in coming months if the world continues to cool. These faceless souls seem unimportant in the whole AGW debate

  31. That spot may indeed have been missed 200 yrs ago. The optics we have today are far superior to that of 50 years ago, what with higher transmissions, better glasses, and the focal ratios are shorter and the images crisper. The eyepieces used for projection are also vastly improved. Throw in modern multi-coatings.
    I’d like to see a side by side comparison of my off the shelf 70mm F/9 against that Fraunhofer with original equipment. I know that the Fraunhofer would pale against today’s high-end Japanese optics. A Tak would blow it away.

  32. ‘I think it is Churchill who said that “all that is necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” ‘
    Actually it was Edmund Burke.

  33. I’m no expert, but I’m not as sure as some of you that this spot would have been missed 200 years ago. This spot was much, much more visible that the sun speck that got counted back in August. That one, I agree, was more likely not to have been counted back then. That it was of such short duration isn’t a reason to think it wouldn’t have been noticed, either. There are plenty of months during minima back then where, from the size of the monthly count, the spots couldn’t have stuck around very long.
    The sun is going to do whatever it is going to do, and whether or not this spot would have been counted 200 years ago doesn’t change that. I understand the importance of consistency, and I think the scientists who do this stuff (count sunspots) do also. So while there may be some occasions to question the official count (as for the sun speck in August), I doubt that we’re going to see a systemic measurement error bias here. Compared to some data collection processes (think G…I…S…S…) I think this one’s much less prone to measurement error, and that the data are reasonably accurate. (Even Leif’s adjusted data produces basically the same kind of wavelet we looked at here a couple of days ago, FWIW.)
    REPLY: One of our commenters in another thread said the spot was visibile on his paper projection, one of the old methods. So I’d say yes, this spot would have been counted back then but the Augist speck would not. – Anthony
    Something to keep in mind is that IF we’re approaching a replay of the Dalton Minimum, it will not be until the next minimum before we should see long (meaning multiple months at a time) periods of no sunspot activity.
    Isn’t that about the time the Livingston and Penn projection has sunspots disappearing?

  34. If you think AGW is off-base and are afraid of what the absence of sun spots may mean for mankind, then you need to see this documentary. It is another prime example of apocalyptic fear mongering in the pursuit of science. I saw this last week and it will air again this Thursday 9/25. At least they are giving us 1500 years to worry about it.
    Earth’s Invisible Shield
    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/naked-science/3838/Overview
    Thursday September 25 5P (EST?)
    The Earths magnetic field, the protector of all life on Earth is under constant attack from deadly cosmic radiation. This invisible shield that we live in is weakening in a region over the South Atlantic, leaving it exposed to potentially lethal radiation. Is the Earth losing its magnetic field and doomed to a fate similar to Mars? Many scientists believe the answer lies in paleomagnetic data, and that this weakening may be a precursor to a magnetic field reversal scientists know Earth is long overdue. However, humans were not around when the last reversal took place, so what does this mean for life?
    More at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_Anomaly

  35. Rudolf Wolf who invented the sunspot number [SSN] and made the first list of SSNs was well aware of the problem of technology improving with time and also found the solution to that problem.
    When there are many sunspots, the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is also higher. Said radiation knocks electrons out of the atoms of the air, thereby creating an ‘ionosphere’: a conducting layer [there are several, actually, the one of interest is the so-called E-layer at about 110 km altitude]. At night, these electrons find their positive partners and recombine, effectively removing the ionization again. Come sunrise, the UV returns and the ionosphere recovers its conductivity. During the day, the air is heated and a system of winds [thermal winds] is set up that moves the air across the field lines of the Earth’s magnetic field [there are also tides in the ionosphere caused by the Sun and the Moon]. Moving a conductor in a magnetic field induces an electric current [this is called a dynamo – an electric motor in reverse], so a system of currents [two giant vortices – one in each hemisphere] is set up. An electric current produces its own magnetic field, so these current vortices add to the Earth’s magnetic field [not much – one part of a thousand, but readily observable, for the first time in 1722]. Even as the Earth rotates, the current and its magnetic field stay fixed in relation to the Sun [on the dayside under the Sun], so seen from the surface it looks like the current and its magnetic field sweeps over the sky, the compass needle being deviated a little to the East [or West, in the Southern Hemisphere] in the morning and bit to the West in the afternoon. This variation is seen every day and amounts to a total variation of the direction of the needle of typically 10 minutes of arc. Such a variation is easily measured even 300 years ago.
    Since the discovery of this regular daily variation in 1722 it was measured for several years in the 1740s and 1760s, and from the 1780s continuously to the present. Wolf [and others] discovered that when there were many sunspots the amplitude of the daily variation was larger. The difference is quite large: at solar maximum, the amplitude of the daily variation is two times larger than at solar minimum. Today we know, that this is to be expected as the UV is larger at maximum. We can even quantitatively calculate from the physics how large the changes should be, in excellent agreement with the observations.
    This, of course means that observations of the amplitude of the daily variation of the direction of the compass needle is also a measure of solar activity and hence of the SSN. This Wolf knew very well and used to great effect to calibrate the SSNs observed by different people at different times with different telescopes [technology] at different locations [clarity of the air]. Wolf used himself as the primary observer and yardstick. So say that he counted a SSN of 100 for a daily variation of 10′, and a long-dead observer had counted a SSN of 50 during a year when the daily variation was also 10′, then Wolf would know that to make that observer’s counts to the same scale as Wolf’s own, he would just have to multiply the other guy’s SSN by 2. This would with a single stroke remove all issues of ‘different people at different times with different telescopes at different locations’.
    Therefore it is [almost] moot to ask: “would this spot have been counted 200 years ago?” as compensation for different technology is built-in in the derivation of the SSN. The reason for the ‘almost’ is the case of no sunspots at all for an extended period of time [years], because it does not help to multiply a zero-count by a ‘compensation-factor’ no matter how big.
    Using this geomagnetic method Wolf kept the calibration of the SSN almost correct for all years until his death. His successors [Wolfer, Brunner, Waldmeier, SIDC, and even Hoyt and Schatten] did not appreciate the strength of Wolf’s argument and stopped using his method, with the result that the SSN calibration since Wolf’s death has become uncertain [and actually wrong]. With modern data we can check and verify that Wolf’s procedure makes physically sense and still works and he passes with flying colors. Effort is underway to apply the method to the SSN record since Wolf’s death and bring it ‘up to snuff’.

  36. On Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 7:19 AM, William Livingston wrote:
    > Yes, very good data. Next week I’ll let you know.
    > Bill
    >
    > On Tue, 23 Sep 2008 16:40:03 -0700
    > “Leif Svalgaard” wrote:
    >> Bill,
    >> did you get a measurement of this [short-lived] little region?
    >> Leif

  37. Question: If the earth’s magnetic field has decreased since Wolf’s time, would that alter the observed magnetic deviation? The same variation in the solar induced field would be a larger percentage of the natural field and should produce a larger deviation.

  38. Just an interesting footnote to Lief’s comments on scientific methodology: UV radiation was not discovered until 1801 and the ionosphere was not discovered until last century. So the early observers of this compass deviation could not explain the physical mechanism involved. But they observed the high degree of correlation between sunspots and magnetic changes.
    The IPCC AR4 rejects solar correlations to climate change because the physical mechanisms (i.e., cause and effect) are not understood. This is a step backward in science. You don’t have to understand the complexities of air pressure and fluid density to use a barometer. Physical explanations will come in time. Most discoveries are made this way. I fear the trend toward dynamic modeling, which requires physical equations, may be inhibiting rather than helping science to advance.

  39. Bill, you have clearly stated a very good point. It is how I learned the scientific method. Observe first without bias. Record data and find correlations. Develop a null hypothesis. Test null hypothesis. Tall and short peas became a predictable outcome over and over again under step four, thus began the search for the mechanism. We are still mapping genes. Had we waited to discover the mechanism before cross pollination became accepted practice, we would not be able to feed the world and mass starvation would be our constant companion year in and year out. We are still discovering the underlying mechanisms for things we know are correlated to genetic causes. Yet the theory is well accepted because of step two: observed correlations
    AGW is based on a mechanism that shows no or poor correlations. If you want, you can certainly start there and try to prove your poorly correlated (and one time span does not make a good correlation just like one pea plant did not) mechanism, but your chances of being right wouldn’t make you the betting horse.

  40. Retired Engineer (08:12:51) :
    Question: If the earth’s magnetic field has decreased since Wolf’s time, would that alter the observed magnetic deviation? The same variation in the solar induced field would be a larger percentage of the natural field and should produce a larger deviation.
    Yes and no. Here are the details: The direction [angle from true north] of the field is called the Declination D. The horizontal component, H, of the Earth’s field is what pulls the compass needle into position [the vertical component being balanced out by the mounting of the needle]. The electric current flows north-south in the morning [in the northern Hemisphere] and south-north in the afternoon. The current produces a magnetic effect dY in the East-West direction [Biot–Savart Law, perpendicular to the current]. The change in the direction of the needle is then determined by vector addition of H and dY: dD = dY/H [to good approximation, provided D is small]. So, indeed, decreasing H by 10% will increase dD by 10% if we keep dY the same. Since we know how H changes over time [it has been measured in the old days by counting the number of swings of a magnet in a minute, say, if you set it swinging. The stronger the magnetic field, the slower does the magnet swing]. So we can correct for that. Another correction is more subtle. Because dY, is not constant, even if the sun didn’t change. This is because the conductivity of the ionosphere increases as the Earth’s field decreases. The reason is this: the conductivity depends on the ‘mobility’ of the charges, the easier they can move, the higher the conductivity. But they have to traverse a magnetic field and tend to spiral around the field, and more for a stronger field. The more time spent spiraling rather than just moving from A to B, the less is their mobility, and hence the smaller is the conductivity, and conversely for a weaker field. One finds that the conductivity is nearly inversely proportional to the field, so again this effect can be calculated and corrected for. So, compensating for known changes in the measuring device [the magnetic effect of the current] enables us to keep track of the SSN.
    Bill D. (08:44:18) :
    Just an interesting footnote to Lief’s comments on scientific methodology: UV radiation was not discovered until 1801 and the ionosphere was not discovered until last century. So the early observers of this compass deviation could not explain the physical mechanism involved. But they observed the high degree of correlation between sunspots and magnetic changes.
    Except that they did have a mechanism. The mechanism was this: The strength of a magnet depends on the temperature [warmer -> weaker], so since the temperature [of the Earth’s upper crust, not the atmosphere] changes during the day caused by the Sun [the ground warms up, then cools off] it is no wonder that there is a magnetic effect as well [“it’s the sun, stupid”, one more time]. This theory was first put forward by John Canton ~1760. As a true scientist, he made a prediction: if true the theory would predict that the daily variation would be larger in summer than in winter. He set out to prove that by measuring the amplitude of the variation every day for some years and found that his prediction is correct: the variation is larger during summer [we know that the UV is too, so no wonder]. This was a valid demonstration of the theory. You make a prediction, it comes true, so the theory is supported. In effect, the ‘science was settled’ for the next more than 100 years. That the theory was wrong, does not make any difference. Our theories today are also wrong [here and there] as we’ll find out in a 100 years, but you go with what you have.
    The discovery of the solar flare by Carrington and its associated magnetic effect put a small dent in the theory, but one could always rescue it by positing that the flare warmed the Earth too, but the case was getting weaker. Same problem as today: the energy was not there as shown by Lord Kelvin in the late 19th century, relegating the correlations to a coincidence [part of the reason that Wolf’s successors were not too hot on Wolf’s method]. At about the same time [1880s] Balfour Stewart concluded that the magnetic effects were due to electric current high up in the atmosphere and the modern view began its slow climb to prominence. Wolf would never have used his method had he not had a theory explaining it, if it were just a coincidence. Causation is always necessary. We may not know the real cause, but what we posit must be a plausible cause. Without that, there is nothing to be had, and the whole thing is just numerology and cyclomania.

  41. That was me that projected that spot. When a spot is that small, you have to move the paper around to see it if it is not distinct. It only took a few hours for that spot to get fuzzy. My seeing here is generally 3 out of 5, with periods of 4 on a routine basis. Not unlike Mt. Wilson, I too get a finger of oceanic air that represents the northernmost area of consistently good seeing subject to storms, of course. So, my question is that I don’t have a Fraunhofer to check out against, the optics may be much better now that would make a difference between picking that spot out in mediocre seeing after it’s intial clarity had fuzzed.
    No, I am not at all convinced that my good fortune in knowing that the spot was there would be repeated 200 yrs ago between bouts of clouds or whatever. It could have easily been missed.

  42. What would this event lead you to predict John? You must think this is important information. I like to look at data and make predictions if I can. That way I am constantly putting the feet of my beliefs and held theories to the fire for refinement or absolute destruction.
    Regarding sunspot numbers, I think other indicators more readily lend themselves to more accurate predictions of Sun behavior. For me, I can’t make this 24 vs 23 SSN activity fit a prediction of the Sun’s behavior or its effects on our atmosphere. Other data makes me want to do that.

  43. I have used the small production telescopes of 50 yrs ago, and let me tell you that the difference is quite pronounced for what you can get today. Eyepieces too.

  44. Just a thought.
    This summer in the UK has been very cloudy (probably seems worse than it was). If this summers sunspots would have been visible using the equipment of 200 years ago makes no difference, if you can’t see the sun you can’t count the spots.

  45. Leif (07:26:34) Thank you very much, and thanks for the tip about the range of values the result may have. I’ll watch here for Bill’s report.
    ======================================

  46. Robert Bateman (10:42:51) :
    I have used the small production telescopes of 50 yrs ago, and let me tell you that the difference is quite pronounced for what you can get today. Eyepieces too.
    As I have just explained at length, the difference in technology does not mean that the old sunspot numbers are undercounted.
    Wolf took the difference in technology and seeing and eye-sight into account [although his method was forgotten or ignored during the 20th century].

  47. “However, humans were not around when the last reversal took place, so what does this mean for life?”
    Since there doesn’t appear to have been any negative affects to life in general in the last several reversals, I don’t see why there is any need to panic over this one.

  48. Pamela Gray (10:42:15) :
    “What would this event lead you to predict John?”
    IF September finishes this way, with Cycle 24 “ahead of” Cycle 23 for the first time, AND this continues – more Cycle 24 activity than Cycle 23…
    then sometime, say six months or so from now, we will be able to look back and see Solar Minimum, possibly even occurring right about now-ish, or a little earlier.
    But as Leif has pointed out, old cycles can go on making spots long after the beginning of a new cycle, and Cycle 23 has shown it has endurance.
    Based on the recent trend of Cycle 23 strength and Cycle 24 weakness, I do not believe we are seeing minimum yet, and this month will just be a little bump as the SSN curve scrapes along near zero.

  49. Leif Svalgaard (11:00:16) :
    does not mean that the old sunspot numbers are undercounted.
    That said, the modern sunspot numbers are too high because of the change of method in 1893: Wolfer started to count the Tiny Tim’s that Wolf deliberately didn’t count. That is, in itself, not so bad, if we could only get the conversion factor between the two methods right, and therein lies the problem: it is not correct, with all the attendant problems and vitriol.

  50. Lief, thanks for the clarification regarding the history of theories about the earth’s magnetic field. Examples can be multiplied how predictions are sometimes right, but for the wrong reasons (Ptolemy and even Newton come to mind). What it teaches us is that science is always a humble endeavor and we must remain open to the possibility of new paradigms. Become too invested in our pet theories can actually inhibit scientific progress. Statements like “this is settled science,” about complex theories (like AGW) should raise red flags.

  51. Bill D. (11:44:28) :
    What it teaches us is that science is always a humble endeavor and we must remain open to the possibility of new paradigms.
    Scientists are VERY conservative in that respect. Because a paradigm is based on a lot of work by a lot of people, a new paradigm will always have a hard time, which is proper. The most efficient [and probably most prevalent] mechanism for removal of old paradigms is human mortality. As we tend to live longer nowadays, it may even become increasingly harder 🙂

  52. Leif Svalgaard (12:37:34) :
    Bill D. (11:44:28) :
    I just remembered another prediction made by the temperature->magnetism theory. Since it is warmer at the equator than at the poles, the theory would predict that the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field should be weakest at the Equator. In the early 19th century that prediction came true as measurements from different parts of the globe were obtained, so you can see that the ‘settled science’ was riding high. Today we know that the field doubles going from equator to pole which is a simple property of any dipole. Even Gilbert in his 1600 book ‘De Magnete’ could have told you so, and Gauss certainly knew in the 1830s. But the paradigm was strong and it took another generation or two to get rid off it.

  53. Lief, as your illustrations from history point out, the current paradigm is always conserved because the burden of proof is on those who seek to overturn it–as it should be. I am not sure that this has been applied consistently to climate science. In order to establish their hypothesis, the proponents of AGW need to demonstrate that natural variability cannot account for warming over the last century or so. Given the fact that our understanding of these natural factors is still emerging, it follows that they can cannot be ruled out–at least not with the 90%+ level of certainty claimed by the IPCC. Again, scientists need to have more humility. Unfortunately I have see very little humility.

  54. John-X (15:56:14) :

    Yes, 1002 was the ONLY reason given by Professor Dr. Nancy Crooker of Boston University during the NASA conference today, when she stated that “a Maunder Minimum is not likely.”
    So I think we should all be a little more respectful of Region 1002.
    REPLY: Yeah when I heard that, I thought to myself “wow, she’s really reaching here”. – Anthony

    Well, I’d argue that both NASA and we are making too much out of a sunspeck.
    However, I do have a few comments:
    1) It was bigger than some of the of the others.
    2) John-X and solarcycle24.com noted that this might be “the first month where Cycle 24 activity outnumbers Cycle 23 activity …” Just one SC23 sunspeck will “keep the faith” (or “maintain the funk”). No matter what, it takes a 12 month smoothed sunspot record to show the actual SC23 -> SC24 transition per the definition. If things really do start in earnest it will be obvious a month or so earlier, so let’s just all sit back and take it easy.
    3) What? We have to wait until next week to hear if spot 1002 is on the 2015 fade line? I can’t wait that long!
    BTW, I’m trying out a Firefox extension that makes it easier for me to edit text boxes with my preferred editor. I’ll probably screw up the next few posts until I get used to it.

  55. Leif (12:37:34) The CO2=AGW paradigm won’t die from human mortality, it will die from freezing up and cracking into little shards. The politicization of science by this episode of the madness of crowds has made this paradigm brittle and fragile. Mortality was the easy way out, not so available today, and in this instance. It is hubritic, the things that made it too powerful, money, fame, and power, also contribute to the fall.
    ============================================

  56. Bill D. (13:36:22) :
    In order to establish their hypothesis, the proponents of AGW need to demonstrate that natural variability cannot account for warming over the last century or so.
    You don’t have disprove the negative to establish a positive. Do I need to disprove that it is not aliens from outer space manipulating our climate for their purposes? In the debate about the age of the Earth [“young Earth” cranks] do I need to disprove that the World was not created last Tuesday with everything in place including us and our fake memories about a past? It is the other way around, the people claiming that natural variability accounts for the warming need to prove that positive. What would happen if it was half and half? Half AGW and half Sun or Aliens.
    What is wrong with all this is the black-and-white opinions either way. And also the notion of ‘proof’ that does not apply here.

  57. When a symposium of distinguished scientists agree on anything…flee to the bar in the hotel lobby before the BS gets too deep! Infiltrating Marxist pseudo-intellectual ‘theorists’ have even de-constructed climate science to advance their foggy agenda! Our blazing parent star has been a mysteriously self regulating entity for 4 billion years acting on its own accord. All we little ants on anthill earth can do is observe the phenomena and survive the consequences as best we know how. I’m getting my heavy duty L.L. Bean winter gear out of mothballs and ordering up a couple of cases of MRE’s!

  58. Leif Svalgaard (14:26:31) :
    “…It is the other way around, the people claiming that natural variability accounts for the warming need to prove that positive…”
    Say what?
    “climate change is natural” is such a weird and novel concept that it has acquired a “burden of proof?”
    When, please, tell me when…
    when was the precise switchover from natural weather to man-made weather?
    Anybody claiming humans make weather walks around under a huge dark cloud of “burden of proof.”
    Anyone who claims we can adjust the climate to our liking…
    [self-censored]
    …and then sends rubber duckies into glaciers!

  59. kim (14:25:39) :
    The CO2=AGW paradigm won’t die from human mortality, it will die from freezing up and cracking into little shards.
    We shall see. As Dee pointed out in a recent post, out children and grandchildren are already well indoctrinated.

  60. Leif, I do not believe the examples you give in this instance are relevant. You are right in saying that we need not disprove every outlandish hypothesis in order to establish a theory. But the reigning assumption has always been that our climate is controled by a combination of natural factors. This is not on the same level as aliens or young earth catastrophism. In fact climate modelers strive to account for every natural influence on climate in order to seperate the AGW fingerprint from the rest of the data. Moreover, they acknowledge that their LOSU (level of scientific understanding) is “low” for a number of major atmospheric parameters (notably water vapor and clouds). So my point is that if you cannot clearly discern the fingerprint of nature from the fingerprint of human influence, you have no right to claim that your theory is 90%+ certain. We are back to humility again.

  61. “Global Warming” is not a scientific discovery…
    it is a political invention.
    See, science works like this…
    “[science] has two rules.
    “First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless.
    “Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised…
    “…To understand the global weather, you must first collect a great body of meteorological data; you must discover how weather actually behaves.” – Carl Sagan, “Cosmos”
    “It is time however that we began to realize that much of what passes for science today may have been scientific yesterday but can no longer qualify because it does not make any additional meaningful statements about anything. It blindly adheres to procedures as a church adheres to its ritual.” – E.T. Hall, “The Silent Language”

  62. kim (14:25:39) :
    ” The CO2=AGW paradigm won’t die from human mortality, it will die from freezing up and cracking into little shards. ”
    Could do both at the same time.

  63. I believe I have entered into some kind of fugue state. I am watching FOX News Special Report, and guess who is sponsoring it? wecansolveit.org… that’s who’ Then the ad comes on… We can repower America with wind and solar. Get rid of our dependence on foreign oil. Big oil is spending lots of money to keep you dependent.
    My mind is swimming… Am I in the Twilight Zone or what?
    I guess that’s the $300,000,000 ad fund at work.
    I guess we don’t need nuclear… or all the coal plants we are building. With this mortgage thing, we are already tapped out.

  64. Bill D. (14:50:28) I dearly hope this recent dip in temperatures will allow us to tease out the various influences, the oceanic oscillations, the solar input, and that of CO2. The question has to be asked, though, instead of denied.
    John-X (15:33:15) Let’s not have the works be grand, please.
    ======================================

  65. RE: Glenn (01:32:41) :
    Actually, by NOT firing Hansen, NASA is being political. The guy’s broken all the rules of conduct, yet skates. I surmise there are one or more heavy hitters either at the cabinet level or one layer below that, who have drunk the AGW fanatic Kool Aid. Even the big, big boss has shown a degree of AGW fanatical orientation.
    Old world saying: “A fish rots from the head.”

  66. Given the fact that our understanding of these natural factors is still emerging, it follows that they can cannot be ruled out–at least not with the 90%+ level of certainty claimed by the IPCC. Again, scientists need to have more humility. Unfortunately I have see very little humility.

    You said it, Bill D. There’s no way they can account for that 90+% certainty, they sure can’t show it via weather/climate prediction. I mean, I can build a simple computer model and pretty much have a 50/50 chance of getting close to what really happens. Doesn’t mean a thing. And if you get enough model runs together, like monkeys and Shakespeare, one will at least get reasonably close by chance alone.

  67. Bill D. (14:50:28) :
    climate modelers strive to account for every natural influence on climate in order to seperate the AGW fingerprint from the rest of the data.
    I’m not a participant in the AGW debate, but I was under the impression that AGW was physics and not correlations. The physics going back to Svante Arhenius ~100 years ago. And that the effect of CO2 was something that can be calculated from first principles, at least the sensitivity. Of course, there may be other things, like feedback and so on, but those things can be estimated, and if not, they have not been shown to be effective. It is wrong science to say to an AGW opponent: “ok, you prove that your mechanism [solar, oceans, aliens, or whatever] explains the data. What you cannot explain must be our effect”.

  68. Leif, the AGW hypothesis is based on sound physics so far as the absorption spectrum of CO2 is concerned. In fact many skeptics would even agree with the IPCC that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in ~1.2C increase in temperature. It is the sensitivity of the climate to this warming where the controversey lies. The level of scientific understanding of major feedback mechanisms is still emerging. Consequently we do not yet posess physical equations to quantify some parameters. In these cases estimates must be made by modelers (this of course begs the whole question as to whether a chaotic system can be reliably modeled over long periods of time). The difficulty of this task must not be underestimated. For example, the type, extent, and height of cloud cover can make or break the entire hypothesis. An error of just 1% in cloud cover is equivalent to about 5 million square km. Consequently, how the climate responds to the 1.2C increase can amplify the warming or reduce it (e.g., by the formation of low, opaque clouds). Our understanding of climate feedbacks at this point does not warrant a high level of confidence in IPCC predictions.

  69. ‘Leif Svalgaard (11:00:16) :
    As I have just explained at length, the difference in technology does not mean that the old sunspot numbers are undercounted.
    Wolf took the difference in technology and seeing and eye-sight into account [although his method was forgotten or ignored during the 20th century].’
    That is what leads me to count 2 orders of magnitude here.
    200 yrs to Wolf to Modern.
    And I agree with you that there is inherent confusion in doing the double conversion.


  70. Leif Svalgaard (17:16:41) :
    The physics going back to Svante Arhenius ~100 years ago. And that the effect of CO2 was something that can be calculated from first principles, at least the sensitivity.
    [snip]

    Perhaps, but not the way you think.
    http://landshape.org/enm/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/Miskolczi%20-%20Idojaras%202007%20Jan-March.pdf
    “For example, a hypothetical CO2 doubling will increase the optical depth (of the global average profile) by 0.0241, and the related increase in the surface temperature will be 0.24 K. The related change in the OLR corresponds to -0.3 K cooling. This may be compared to the 0.3 K and -1.2 K observed temperature changes of the surface and lower stratosphere between 1979 and 2004 in Karl et al., (2006).
    From the extrapolation of the ‘Keeling Curve’ the estimated increase in the average CO2 concentration during this time period is about 22%, (National Research Council of the National Academies, 2004). Comparing the magnitude of the expected change in the surface temperature we conclude, that the observed increase in the CO2 concentration must not be the primary reason of the global warming.” p. 22
    –Mike Ramsey

  71. Leif,
    “I was under the impression that AGW was physics and not correlations.”
    The basic mechanisms are based on physics, however, estimates of past and future warming are model generated guesses (realclimate has admitted this in a recent post).
    More importantly, the IPCC acknowledges that ‘natural factors’ are the null hypothesis and tries to use models to show that the planet would have cooled over the last 50 years without GHGs.
    IOW, the IPCC is committed to the 100% GHGs hypothesis and nothing else because accepting that even 20-30% of the warming was caused by other factors would require them to admit that:
    1) the models were tuned to match the hindcast;
    2) CO2 climate sensitivity is likely less than they have been saying;
    I agree with you that there is no one factor at work and we will eventually figure them all out.

  72. Bill D. (18:20:39) :
    Our understanding of climate feedbacks at this point does not warrant a high level of confidence in IPCC predictions.
    I never said that I had. I’m ‘carbon neutral’ 🙂 whatever warms us is good. Rather warm than cold. My only beef with the debate is that I think it unreasonable just to dump whatever doesn’t fit on the Sun. The Sun varies so little that for me to accept that “it is the Sun, stupid” I want to see mechanisms that serve to amplify the tiny variations. And I haven’t seen any yes, that is up to my own standard for a plausible mechanism. But, basically, as they say, I don’t have a horse in the race, in spite of the various accusations. past and future, of the contrary.
    Mike Ramsey (18:51:38) :
    Comparing the magnitude of the expected change in the surface temperature we conclude, that the observed increase in the CO2 concentration must not be the primary reason of the global warming.”
    Just as you conclude and agree that on physical grounds CO2 is not the primary reason for GW, I conclude on physical and observational grounds that the Sun isn’t either. And I don’t buy the “what else can it be” cry.

  73. Raven (19:38:17) :
    More importantly, the IPCC acknowledges that ‘natural factors’ are the null hypothesis and tries to use models to show that the planet would have cooled over the last 50 years without GHGs.
    In spite of solar activity being at an ‘all-time high’? following the popularist solar ‘facts’ and correlations.

  74. Leif
    I agree. The solar connection has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction either. Though there are some interesting correlations (see http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Solar_Changes_and_the_Climate.pdf). We are making much more progress with correlating climate changes to deacadal and multi-decadal changes in ocean temperature caused by upwelling, density turnover, etc. In terms of climate, the oceans are the largest reservoir of heat and CO2. For example, see http://icecap.us/docs/change/OceanMultidecadalCyclesTemps.pdf

  75. Bill D. (20:19:28) :
    Though there are some interesting correlations (see http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Solar_Changes_and_the_Climate
    This link uses obsolete and dubious solar data: Hoyt&Schatten TSI, Lockwood’s non-existing ‘doubling’ of IMF, Lassens and Friis-Christensen debunked [and poor] paper about solar cycle lengths, etc, so it not interesting at all, except as a historical paper documenting the gullibility of ‘climate’ wiggle-matchers.

  76. Leif Svalgaard
    “… The Sun varies so little that for me to accept that “it is the Sun, stupid” I want to see mechanisms that serve to amplify the tiny variations…”
    one possible mechanism could be measured and quantified with the CLOUD experiment.
    i think, it is quite disturbing that this experiment has been delayed so long.
    I hope science is still that interesting to scientists that human curiosity wins in the end.

  77. Leif Svalgaard (19:40:23) :
    Just as you conclude and agree that on physical grounds CO2 is not the primary reason for GW, I conclude on physical and observational grounds that the Sun isn’t either. And I don’t buy the “what else can it be” cry.
    To make the judgment that 0.1% isn’t enough you would have to know what would be enough. How much variability in solar output would be necessary to explain the temperature record?
    Mike Ramsey

  78. Mike Ramsey (02:58:42) :
    To make the judgment that 0.1% isn’t enough you would have to know what would be enough. How much variability in solar output would be necessary to explain the temperature record?
    Ten times as much. When Jack Eddy in the 1070s drew attention to the Maunder minimum, he noted that it coincided with the Little Ice Age. At the time the only ‘measurements’ of TSI were Abbot’s 1913-1956 data which showed a spurious [as we know today] 1 to 2% variation, so it made eminent sense to link MM and LIA. A decade later, Eddy’s suggestion was observationally refuted [as he himself has acknowledged] because the observed variation in TSI turned out to be 10 times smaller.

  79. Though I am sure these papers have not gone unanswered, I would not discount the sun’s role entirely. It is not “settled science” yet.
    “Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900–2000 global surface
    warming” N. Scafetta1 and B. J. West http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2005GL025539.pdf
    “Phenomenological solar signature in 400 years of reconstructed
    Northern Hemisphere temperature record” N. Scafetta1 and B. J. West (Duke University, Physics Dept.)
    http://johnrlott.tripod.com/ImpactSunonEarthsTemp.pdf

  80. “How much variability in solar output would be necessary to explain the temperature record?”
    “Ten times as much. ” — Lief
    Based on the GCHs. (Global Climate Hacks) A “hack” is a computer program written by somebody who doesn’t completely understand the problem space which that programmer keeps adjusting, still without understanding (taking hacks at), until he gets something that approximates the expected answer.
    Lief can say that it will take 10 times as much all he wants but he has no evidence of this beyond the climate models and the assertion of a negative. Lief has asserted this negative many times. There is no mechanism that he believes could alter the climate based on the known variation in TSI. Whatever. This “10 times as much” figure is pulled out of a hat. The only way such a judgement is valid is if all of the facts are known. Even the IPCC admits they don’t understand cloud cover. It is like the argument of creationists who say that they just can’t concieve that life “is an accident” The climate is not limited by current human understanding, or even by the ultimate possible human understanding. “Ten times” is only a judgement, an opinion. It is not a scientific finding that can be proven through rigorous logic.

  81. Bill D. (05:55:53) :
    Though I am sure these papers have not gone unanswered, I would not discount the sun’s role entirely. It is not “settled science” yet.
    “Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900–2000 global surface warming” N. Scafetta1 and B. J. West …

    They compare the temperatures with Lean’s old TSI-reconstruction which not even Lean believes anymore. The reconstruction was made to match the Lockwood ‘doubling’ of the Sun’s magnetic field. Lockwood’s group now find that their old result was flawed and that there has been no ‘doubling in the last 100 years’. There is now general agreement that the Sun’s magnetic field was low at the beginning of the 20th century, increased to a high by mid-century, then decreasing to the same low level as at the beginning of the century. Curiously, some people see that as direct proof of AGW: the sun did it until 1950s, but since the magnetic field [and TSI] has come down again, but the temps have not, CO2 must be the explanation of why temps go up while the Sun goes down. So support for a solar influence is also strong support for AGW. Even Friis-Christensen and Lassen used that argument in explaining why their solar cycle length correlation with temperature broke down after the 1980s. Go Figure.

  82. moptop (06:15:56) :
    “Ten times as much. ” — Leif
    Based on the GCHs. (Global Climate Hacks) A “hack” is a computer program written by somebody who doesn’t completely understand the problem space which that programmer keeps adjusting, still without understanding (taking hacks at), until he gets something that approximates the expected answer.

    Just to clarify. The ‘ten times’ does not come out of any model, but on equating what comes in with what must go out. A 0.1% change in radiation equates to a 0.025% change in temperature, or 0.075 degrees. Since the observed change is perhaps 10 times as large, the change in input must also be ten times larger. That is where my number comes from.
    I have never seen any ‘scientific finding that can be proven through rigorous logic’.

  83. After reading lots of climate change stuff for a couple of years, I can only conclude that, if William of Ockham were alive to see this stuff, he would use his razor to slit his own throat in frustration.

  84. Pingback: Forgot About Global Warming? | Uncommon Descent

  85. Leif
    “They compare the temperatures with Lean’s old TSI-reconstruction which not even Lean believes anymore. The reconstruction was made to match the Lockwood ‘doubling’ of the Sun’s magnetic field. Lockwood’s group now find that their old result was flawed and that there has been no ‘doubling in the last 100 years’”
    Were these ‘new’ findings made before or after the two Scafetta and West papers?

  86. #Anthony Watts
    Is there an update available from the graph below ?
    (I haven’t seen as many clouds as this year for decades…)
    Leif Svalgaard:
    “…A 0.1% change in radiation equates to a 0.025% change in temperature, or 0.075 degrees…”
    here is a possible multiplier, with giant impact measured in W/m2.
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/earth_albedo_bbso.png
    from
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/10/17/earths-albedo-tells-a-interesting-story/

  87. Tiny Tim, spotlet, sunspeck, sunprick, drop of tint on a football field of paint base.
    All born to fade.
    Not much more than a ‘bubble’ reaching the surface.
    The size of the bubble is in observed proportion to the time to live.
    They die quickly.

  88. “here is a possible multiplier, with giant impact measured in W/m2.”
    Another is the varying period of reduced input. The SO is the 800 pound gorilla, absorbing nearly half of the incident energy. Water’s emissivity is 60% that of the terrestrial earth, and it’s heat capacity 50% greater (if memory serves).
    An extra year of minimum integrating the reduced input begins to tell, … oh, wait, has begun. Yeah, 0.1% sounds like a slam dunk, it’s just trite.

  89. There are at least three levels on the earth which are capable of sustaining geomagnetism. The ionised upper atmosphere is one. The core and mantle is another. The third is the oceans and land surface, which consist of water and electrolytes, or soluble ions.
    The assumption that the core of the earth is iron must be irrelevant. The temperature below the earth’s crust is above the Curie point of iron, the temperature that iron ceases to be ferromagnetic. It may be relevant that the core may be metallic (i.e. electrically conductive), or that the mantle, like the surface, contains a solution of ions, but the viscosity and inertia of such a subterranean composite structure are unlikely to show changes measured on annual scales. Millennial scales or aeons maybe.
    I would suggest that the current decrease in geomagnetism is factored by the atmosphere and oceans, and the conductivity in the near surface soils and bedrock. And of course the changing amounts of polar ice.
    Of course no-one has done the experiment with 1000 km lengths of 1cm thick silver cables shielded against electrical and magnetic influences on meridional and longitudinal vectors across land or ocean, monitoring the absolute surface electrical current variation over time. It could be done. Cheaper than NASA!
    Then again, we haven’t done this with probes in the earth’s mantle or core, either, which are technically more problematic.
    It’s a comfortable thought that there is a big lump of familiar iron at the centre of the earth, keeping our poles magnetically oriented, but an impossible thesis if the poles can reverse, as they apparently have, many times in the past. It would require a reversal of spin, not very likely IMO.
    It would be rather disconcerting if we found out our core was actually that dense because it was a mixture of carbon, silicon, nickel, lead and iron and various isotopes of uranium in a well balanced nuclear reactor keeping things ticking over.
    Of course we don’t know that. We can only guess that our core is the composition that our current paradigm accepts.
    Whatever, the fact that there’s iron there has nothing to do with geomagnetism. It is all electromagnetism, and solenoids require no core to produce magnetic force.
    So what would be required for a pole reversal? A shift of landmasses perhaps, blocking ocean currents, or a climate shift, sending ocean currents in different directions entraining the much more flexible ionospheric and thermospheric currents in counter directions from their previous paths.
    A little like what we seem to be learning about heliomagnetism.

  90. Chris Knight
    an impossible thesis if the poles can reverse, as they apparently have, many times in the past. It would require a reversal of spin, not very likely IMO.
    I’m not a geophysicist, but I’ll have a go at this anyway. The core would not have to stop and start up again in the opposite direction to reverse its spin, it would only have to tip over through 180 degrees. Or did I miss some deeper meaning in your statement?

  91. John, if the core tipped over through 180 degrees, don’t you think this would have some major implications in the spin of the planetary surface? What sort of energies can you imagine would have to be applied to tip over the core, without tipping over the rest of the planet?

  92. Bill D. (09:26:04) :
    “They compare the temperatures with Lean’s old TSI-reconstruction which not even Lean believes anymore. The reconstruction was made to match the Lockwood ‘doubling’ of the Sun’s magnetic field. Lockwood’s group now find that their old result was flawed and that there has been no ‘doubling in the last 100 years’”
    Were these ‘new’ findings made before or after the two Scafetta and West papers?

    After. The TSI referenced by S&W is the old one anyway. Even Hansen has a paper from 2007 [after some of the new stuff] that still references 10-year old obsolete TSI-series.
    manfred & Gary:
    Don’t forget that support for a solar influence is also strong support for AGW.
    Chris Knight (13:49:20) :
    I would suggest that the current decrease in geomagnetism is factored by the atmosphere and oceans, and the conductivity in the near surface soils and bedrock. And of course the changing amounts of polar ice.
    There is no need for this extra hypothesis. The geomagnetic field is likw the solar field generated by a self-sustaining dynamo. These from time to time naturally reverse. One of the problems in dynamo theory is how to prevent them from reversing [as the Earth’ field hasn’t done in a long time, but is perhaps now ready to do]. P.S. No tipping of cores.

  93. So what would be required for a pole reversal? A shift of landmasses perhaps, blocking ocean currents, or a climate shift, sending ocean currents in different directions entraining the much more flexible ionospheric and thermospheric currents in counter directions from their previous paths.

    I think it’s much more likely that the oceans would cause a climate shift rather than any other force (besides a collision with a large external body, or the Earth stoping spinning, or the moon suddenly disappearing), instead of the other way around (climate shift reversing ocean currents).

  94. The sun is currently playing a game with us.
    I’m a sunspot, Poof! You’re a pile of equations.
    As stars progress through the Main Sequence, do they not cool?

  95. @Robert Bateman:
    If I remember my standard model correctly, main sequence stars warm and expand until late life, then become red giants and planetary nova before ending as white dwarfs and cold hunks of iron.
    Sol is still warming.

  96. If the sun moved off the main sequence, then it would be about to undergo Red Giant Branch transformation. See any signs of the sun expanding? Warming? Contracting?
    What then are the Minimums and why is the TSI down ever so slightly?
    The models don’t seem to be able to predict them, which tells me that too much is taken for granted.
    The total geologic timeline of Earth seems to indicate that is has been cooling, with a lot of burps along the way. Which brings up a strange relationship: If the sun is slowly getting hotter and expanding, where’s the point at which Earth then starts warming?

  97. “Don’t forget that support for a solar influence is also strong support for AGW.”
    Absurd, Sir. Yes we know you have some reasoning, like ‘sensitivity’, but like TSI invariance, it is guaranteed to be simplistic.

  98. Does this make any sense?
    By far the greatest amount of CO2 is released by the world’s oceans; they are also the largest absorbers. It should not be assumed that both sides of this process are always in equilibrium. The release of CO2 is not, but its absorption may be affected by the Sun.
    Increased UV and gamma radiations are reaching the oceans’ surface during periods of high sunspot activity. There are also charged particles originating either from solar or galactic activity. All of these to a certain degree damage living cells. Clouds provide protection from UV rays; Van-Allen belt provides partial protection from charged particles and the atmosphere to some extent from gamma rays.
    If solar activity is on increase (as it has been since 1860-s) then level of all 3 kinds of radiation would be on increase. Coincidently, the average strength of the Earth’s magnetic field has been decaying during same period by about 11% (61 to 54 micro Tesla), consequently protection of Van-Allen belt has also been reduced.
    This increase of the harmful radiation is causing reduction of bio-mass of the oceans’ surface phytoplankton, which is by far the largest absorber of CO2 on the Earth’s surface. The damage is either through direct destruction of its cells or process of sterilization by irradiation. Result of this is a reduced uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere and rising in the ‘green-house’ effect. There are already quantifiable evaluations of reduction in the efficiency of phytoplankton. Reverse process takes place during significant reductions in the solar activity e.g. 1650-1710.

  99. Gary Gulrud (06:15:58) :
    “Don’t forget that support for a solar influence is also strong support for AGW.”
    Absurd, Sir.

    Exactly my point:
    reductio ad absurdum is a process of refutation on grounds that absurd – and patently untenable consequences would ensue from accepting the item at issue.

  100. Simon Radun (06:16:43) :
    Increased UV and gamma radiations are reaching the oceans’ surface during periods of high sunspot activity.
    Almost all of the UV and all of the X-ray [there is no gamma rays] radiation is not reaching the ocean surface, but is absorbed high in the stratosphere.


  101. I agree about X-rays but UV and Gamma-rays should not be entirely dismissed.
    From Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology:
    “The UV Alert is issued when the UV Index forecast is 3 or above, a level that can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. The higher the Index value, the greater the potential for damage to your skin.”
    If UV can damage human skin cells why not phytoplankton’s, since they obtain energy through photosynthesis and must therefore live in the well-lit surface layer of oceans.
    Gerald H. Share and Ronald J. Murphy from Center for Space Research, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC published a work claiming that atmospheric gamma rays are produced from solar energetic particles and cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere. Although the atmosphere is too thick for solar gamma-rays to penetrate in a substantive amount they do strike atmospheric gasses and produce ‘secondary’ more penetrating particles which can and do reach surface.

  102. Simon Radun (09:42:36) :
    work claiming that atmospheric gamma rays are produced from solar energetic particles and cosmic rays penetrating the atmosphere.
    Yes, I should have been more precise there. These events are exceedingly rare [a few times for a few minutes during an 11-year cycle], so no significant flux.
    About the UV: the Far Ultraviolet that varies significantly with the solar cycle does not penetrate. We do get some of the less energetic UV [just below the visible], but the flux of these vary oppositely to solar activity [i.e. goes up when solar activity goes down].

  103. Chris Knight wrote on the Earth and its sustaining of geomagnetism
    Another view
    There is huge amount of iron in the Earth’s crust which has permanent magnetism frozen in. Looking from a purely engineering point of view, if there is a rotating conducting sphere (regardless of its temperature and composition) within the crust, then electric current will be induced in the sphere. The requirement is that inner sphere rotates at slightly different speed to the crust which is not implausible considering existence of a viscous layer. The induced current then via its own magnetic filed would over time strengthen permanent ferromagnetic field in the crust.
    Polarity of induced current (and of the resultant magnetic field) will depend on which one rotates (even slightly) faster; the crust or the core. If there is no difference then the induced current (and the resultant magnetic field) will drop to zero.
    Now imagine an asteroid approaching the Earth at an oblique angle following its orbit; the time (day or night) at the place of impact will determine whether the crust will speed up or slow down in relation to the core. Considering that they are separated with a viscous layer an impact will have greater effect on the crust then the core (the core is higher density; gyroscope effect). After few thousands millennia the speed difference will drop to zero. In meanwhile another asteroid may hit the Earth again; if speed difference is sufficiently low and this time happen to be day instead of night at the place of impact, newly arising speed differential will be of opposite sign so it would be polarity of induced current and polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field will flip.
    To prove validity of the above it would be necessary to compare geomagnetic records with records of species extinction and sudden climate changes. Only alternative day-night time impacts (if asteroids hit only following the Earth’s orbit) would cause reversals and only if the speed differential is very low or zero.

  104. From Lief: About the UV: the Far Ultraviolet that varies significantly with the solar cycle does not penetrate. We do get some of the less energetic UV [just below the visible], but the flux of these vary oppositely to solar activity [i.e. goes up when solar activity goes down].
    As the links that you provided attest to, the Near UV (the last 1/3 of it) is up compared to the rest of the spectrum. I have wondered somewhat that as soon as you get to the next sensor (the visible) the lowest values are again back down. Is there something in the detectors that is causing the sharp drop? i.e. – the NUV imaging chip might have a propensity to become overly sensitive near the end of it’s ramge, or the filter for the visible range is cutting off the violet sensitivity too early.

  105. Robert Bateman (20:19:44) :
    As the links that you provided attest to, the Near UV (the last 1/3 of it) is up compared to the rest of the spectrum. I have wondered somewhat that as soon as you get to the next sensor (the visible) the lowest values are again back down. Is there something in the detectors that is causing the sharp drop?
    No, it is not the sensors, but the Sun. It doesn’t matter though: the UV that causes sunburn and are dangerous are at and lower than 300 nm and are thus inside the band 240-310 that shows the negative correlation with the sunspot number.

  106. The question that has been bugging me for many months, Lief, is that if the NUV in the dangerous range is up, is it getting through to the surface, where us humans live?
    i.e. – Should the public be warned?
    I believe members of Congress have been warned, as Sen. McCain dropped a hint about the Sun a couple months ago.

  107. Please bear with me (I know I am a pain at times, my apologies in advance):
    Are we absolutely certain that the change is ‘normal’ and is well within that which is to be expected at Solar Minimum?

  108. Robert Bateman (18:42:17) :
    Please bear with me (I know I am a pain at times, my apologies in advance):
    Are we absolutely certain that the change is ‘normal’ and is well within that which is to be expected at Solar Minimum?

    You are never a pain, and one is ‘never’ absolutely sure of anything, but I’m sure enough that I’ll not consider any other interpretation. This is normal.

  109. Well, ‘normal’ for the long term, in the sense that nothing terrifyingly new is likely to happen, but this cycle transition has been somewhat ‘subnormal’ in a number of measures, and often just barely so, too. F’rinstance, the magnetism measured by Ulysses; f’rother instance, the number of spotless days. Ignorant of ‘normality’ we be.
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  110. kim (06:09:51) :
    F’rinstance, the magnetism measured by Ulysses
    The claim by NASA that there is a significant drop in the Interplanetary Magnetic Field from the last minimum to this minimum is a blatant PR-stunt. Ulysses went over the poles in 1994-1995 and then again in 2007-2008. The first time was two years before solar minimum while this time we are much closer, perhaps even at solar minimum. The decrease in the magnetic field between the two Ulysses passes is just the normal decrease during the declining phase of the solar cycle. What they claim is like saying that the Earth is cooling because the temperature in Houston has decreased 40 degrees from July 2007 to January 2008.

  111. Leif (11:42:57) Well, thanks for the correction. One thing I like about this exchange is how readily I can display vast ignorance. Well, let’s take Livingston’s measurements as another f’rinstance, then.
    I maintain, from little actual knowledge, that what the sun is doing now is unusual, not so much abnormal, as irregular, or at the very least, not within a regularity understood by us as yet.
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  112. kim….maybe we are not looking back far enough…all the science is really the last 50 yrs or so. This situation of sol is not unusual, just not observed in our lifetime.

  113. Re: UV and TSI. The SORCE data sheet indicate that sigma for the UV sensor is 12-24% corresponding to the occasional 100% variance in UV.
    In practice, this situation is a challenge for the engineer.
    1. A transducer cannot, as a rule be both, sensitive and invulnerable.
    2. Analog data that can fluctuate wildly or chaotically (repetitively swinging) has to be damped, inorder that the value settle. Since the higher intensities are temporally brief, the optimization here in UV measurment is at lower, steady-state, energies.
    Of the total TSI 40% is IR, of which total only 1% reaches the ground. 40% is in the visible spectrum, subject to reflection with increasing albedo. 20%, nominally, is UV, but the measure of this spectrum is less well taken.

  114. Gary Gulrud (09:02:03) :
    Re: UV and TSI. The SORCE data sheet indicate that sigma for the UV sensor is 12-24% corresponding to the occasional 100% variance in UV.
    I think that it pays to be a bit more precise. The ‘variance’ is normally the square of ‘sigma’, so the numbers don’t come out right. And percentages are a poor way of characterizing some that varies a lot. E.g. what is the percentage change of the sunspot number from minimum to maximum?
    Maybe by ‘variance’ you meant ‘variability’? but, if so, measured how?

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