I just finished participating in the press teleconference call in for reporters with NASA and their panel of solar experts today. There was a lot of interesting discussions and questions. Unfortunately even though I put in for a question, I was shut out, and judging from the order of the questions asked and the organizations represented, clearly they played favorites for getting maximum exposure by choosing the larger media outlets first, such as AP’s Seth Borenstein who got the first question. That’s understandable I suppose, still I really wanted to ask what they though about the step function in the Ap Index that occurred in October 2005 and has remained flat since.
I took quite a bit of notes, and I’ll write more later from them, but for now I wanted to give my readers a chance to weigh in.
See the written NASA press release here
The three general things that struck me most from this conference were:
1) We don’t know enough yet to predict solar cycles, we aren’t “in the game”, and “we don’t really know how big next maximum will be”.
2) We don’t see any link between the minimums, cosmic rays (which are increasing now) and earth’s climate. This was downplayed several times. Some quotes were “none of us here are experts on climate, and when asked about Galactic Cosmic Rays and Svensmark’s climate theory is the answer was “speculation”.
3) The minimum we are in now is “unique for the space age”, but “within norms for the last 200 years”, but we are also surprised to learn how much the solar wind has diminished on a truly “entire sun” scale.
Here are a couple of the graphics they provided, note the difference in solar wind pressure between the two measurement periods.
+ Larger view
And the fact that the electron density and temperature have decreased about 20%
Anyone who has listened to this teleconference is welcome to weigh in. For those that did not hear it, The RealAudio file would not play on my PC, did anyone record it? If so advise and I’ll post it here.