Significant Cycle 24 sunspot group emerges

Click for large image

This is the biggest Cycle 24 spot since the first one was seen on January 4th, 2008. This spot looks to have some staying power other than the “specks” we’ve seen winking on and off lately. No squinting to see this one, or wondering if it’s a dead pixel in the SOHO CCD imager or not.

The corresponding magnetogram image, seen here, is also quite pronounced. The polarity is correct, with the white “North” at the top. This spot grew quickly as it came around the rim into visibility. Watch this animation below:

At the same time, to the right of the image, at lower latitude, a new cycle 23 sunspot seems to be emerging, note it has a reveresed polarity from the larger SC24 spot. Solar cycle 23 just won’t give up it seems.

The magentic field, as shown by the Average Planetary index (Ap) remained low in September, see here.

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Pamela Gray

Leif reminded me that the solar magnetic field is still at its lowest. Could you plot that chart again with current data? It would be interesting to see if this activity mirrors that of the magnetic field strength. It should go up.

Leon Brozyna

At last. A real sun spot.
From the EIT imagery from SOHO, there seems to be a hint that there may be another storm waiting to emerge. Now, perhaps, we’ll start seeing how the predictions hold up.

Pamela Gray (10:03:15) :
Leif reminded me that the solar magnetic field is still at its lowest. Could you plot that chart again with current data? It would be interesting to see if this activity mirrors that of the magnetic field strength. It should go up.
You have to make a distinction between the magnetic field of the sunspot and that of the solar wind hitting the Earth. As we speak, there is a [moderate] geomagnetic storm in progress, sparked by the passage of a ‘sector boundary’ [the HCS sweeping over the Earth]. Within the new sector there is a high-speed solar wind stream, that has compressed the field [thus amplifying it]. This, combined with the field having a southward component, is what causes the geomagnetic storm, not the new SC24 spot in any way. As I remarked in another thread, this sector boundary has been with us for a long time [since June 2004]. The occurrence of new cycle spots will tend to destroy the magnetic sector and when those long-lived streams finally disappear, we can really say that we are in the new cycle. The new activity will also help screen out GCRs, so their flux will decrease. Since you check Oulu, you might have noticed that the last year or so there has been a persistent 27-day variation that by now seems to be diminishing. This is due to the demise of another high-speed stream on the other side of the Sun than the one we are getting into today. The disappearance of that stream is another sign that the end of SC23 is nigh. When the streams are dead, the HCS will flatten and the Earth will stay above or below the sheet for an extended time [back in 1954 for 12 months]. You can already see that beginning to happen for the current minimum [e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/spolarr.txt where X is ‘towards’ the Sun polarity and ‘.’ is ‘away’ from the Sun polarity. Note that the last couple of rotations are almost all Xs. If you scroll down you can see that this also happened in 1996 [March], 1986 [Sept.], 1977 [March], 1965 [Sept.], 1954, 1945, …
There are, of course, a corresponding dominance of ‘away’ polarity [‘.’] adjacent to the ‘toward’ polarity asymmetry. Note, the systematic alternations between March, Sept, March, Sept, … This comes from the fact that at those time we are at our highest above the HCS. For more on this Rosenberg-Coleman effect, as it is called, see http://www.leif.org/research/Asymmetric%20Rosenberg-Coleman%20Effect.pdf

J Ward

More to come very soon.
Working backwards from a general NH, UK focussed weather forecast;
October – warmer than average, and dry.
November – colder than recent Novembers and mostly dry.
December – very cold (very) and wet.
January – ^as above
February – ^as above
March – colder than recent Marches and dry.
A massive amount of atmospheric (especially NH) water vapour has precipitated out during the recent rapid drop in temperatures but there is some more to come. The SC24 spots can only increase in size and frequency now. I would be amazed to see more than a very few, very small SC23’s. Just before, and sometimes just after, planetary alignments. Not just the gas giants and Venus BTW. Mid June 2008 will be pegged as minimum in my not so humble opinion 😉

[…] magnetic field still in a funk during September 11 10 2008 While the sun puts out a new and significant cycle 24 spot,  the real news is just how quiet the suns magnetic field has been in the past couple of years, […]

Pamela Gray

There is also a recurring coronal hole coming around that always gets things stirred up a bit. Like the last one, these spots may also spit out a CME but I doubt it will be strong enough or fast enough to do anything but make a pretty cool video.

J Ward (10:43:31) :
I would be amazed to see more than a very few, very small SC23’s. Just before, and sometimes just after, planetary alignments. Not just the gas giants and Venus BTW.
Do you read you daily horoscope too? 🙂
This is the quickest I have seen for the planetary alignments to crop up in a thread, so far. I’ll refer you to the extensive discussion in just about any and all previous ‘solar’ threads and pray that we can keep this thread clean.

Pamela Gray

Leif, that artist’s drawing of the magnetic “sheet” field is stunning. Does it come in a poster?

Pamela Gray (11:25:05) :
Leif, that artist’s drawing of the magnetic “sheet” field is stunning. Does it come in a poster?
I agree that it is a stunner. When I made the first [hand-] drawing of what the HCS should look like back in 1975-1976 I remember being awed by it, even as crude as my drawing was. My co-worker [John Wilcox] was also impressed. He knew a Werner Heil [artist at NASA’s Ames Research Center] and asked him to make an ‘artists impression’ with the stunning result you see. I don’t know if there is a poster of that [don’t think so] but you should be able to capture the image and ask e.g. Kinko’s or similar outfit to make a poster. I use the image as Desktop Background for my computer(s), so have it in constant view.
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/helio.gif

I posted this in another thread also, but here is my own image of this group as seen from Norway today (garden telescope image)
http://arnholm.org/astro/sun/sc24/sun_20081011_1100ut_rot.jpg

kim

Leif (12:07:43) Is your first hand-drawing on your website?
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kim (12:23:04) :
Is your first hand-drawing on your website?
yes at
http://www.leif.org/research/A%20View%20of%20Solar%20Magnetic%20Fields,%20the%20Solar%20Corona,%20and%20the%20Solar%20Wind%20in%20Three%20Dimensions.pdf
or just go to the site and look at paper #70.
Werner Heil put in some planets, stars, and the milkyway [look really carefully]. Many people have published later images, but none matches Werner’s.

J Ward

Leif Svalgaard (11:17:08) :
“Do you read you daily horoscope too? :-)”
No actually. That would be Astrology as opposed to celestial mechanics (or the harmony of the spheres).
Just because a very few people have done their homework (precisely, meticulously and diligently) and discovered a system that they choose to keep close to their chests for whatever reason(s), does not preclude anyone else from doing the same and reaching the same conclusions.
A human may spend so long staring into the abyss that they become blind to the “nature” of the universe and the fact that everything is cyclical, spherical, spiral or circular and that the only straight lines are in the mind of man.
Similar, in fact, to someone who studies the Sun but does not notice the current strength of the solar wind on the back of their hand when out walking, which leads them to claim that the Sun has no climactic effect upon the Earth.
Much egg on many faces I see in the future.

Carlo
Robert Wood

Sorry, Leif, Pamela, I’m playing catch-up in solar phyusics here.
What is “HCS”?

Mary Hinge

J Ward (10:43:31) :
Is the moon in the 2nd house, or Jupiter aligned with Mars?
Nuttier than squirrel excrement!

Robert Wood

Should we also be keeping a metric upon the duration of a sunspot/sunspeck. That might resolve the issue of the significance of a spot or speck.
Basically, we would just be integrating over time; a completely normal procedure. It would be something like “size.hours” or “B-field.hours”

Robert Bateman

The lesser spot seems to have done the expand and fade trick today. It’s still there, but the magnitude has not faded just spread itself out. Didn’t we just see a carbon-copy of this scene (double spot fade out) a couple of weeks ago, like Sept. 22nd & 23rd?
That would make it 18 days not counting the twinkle of 10/04/08.

Robert Wood (15:30:43) :
What is “HCS”?
In space the magnetic field from the Sun is pointing away from the Sun in parts of the Heliosphere [“The extended solar system”] and towards the Sun in the other parts. The parts with different polarities are separated by a thin sheet of electric current, called the Heliospheric Current Sheet, HCS. Solar rotation curves the current sheet into spiral shape as shown here http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/helio.gif The ‘undulations’ in the current sheet are caused by variations over the solar surface of its magnetic field. At solar minimum when the polar fields dominate, the HCS can be very flat [almost planar]. At solar maximum when the polar fields are gone, the undulations warp all the way to the poles. A movie of the how the HCS’s inner edge projected into the corona varies since 1976 is here http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-SS.gif

Robert Wood (15:55:34) :
Should we also be keeping a metric upon the duration of a sunspot/sunspeck.
On my website at http://www.leif.org/research/Most%20Recent%20IMF,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf
on page 4, I plot what I call ‘region days’. That number is a monthly count [better would be a 27-day count] constructed like this: if on a given day there are x SC23 numbered regions on the Sun within +/-70 degrees longitude of the Central Meridian, then I enter x for ‘old’ cycle. If on the same day there are y SC24 numbered regions on the Sun within +/-70 degrees longitude of the Central Meridian, then I enter y for ‘new’ cycle.
As example, here are my counts for May 2008
2008 2008
5 5
old new
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 1
0 1
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
3 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
1 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
—–
12 2
The sum, 12, of ‘old’ gives the metric for old. The sum, 2, of ‘new’ gives the metric for new. The grand total, RD = 12+2 = 14, is the ‘region day count’ for the month. This number is very closely [but not exactly, R2=0.9245] related to the SIDC sunspot number: SIDC = 0.3 RD.
On page 4 of the link above, you can see the time variation of this metric.

Mary Hinge (15:43:50) :
J Ward (10:43:31) :
Nuttier than squirrel excrement!
Nevertheless, that was once established wisdom. Today the theory has been relegated to a historical curiosity.
Paul Charbonneau has written a wonderful review of the “Rise and Fall” of this theory: http://www.leif.org/research/Rise-and-Fall.pdf

blcjr

Robert Wood (15:30:43) :
HCS = heliospheric current sheet

Glenn

http://www.spaceweather.com/
says
“Sunspot 1005 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Correction: In yesterday’s caption, this sunspot was mis-labeled “1004.”
I thought I must have missed 1004, and found this:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2694123/Main/2693961
What going on? Or should I say Watts up with that?

Arthur Glass

Dr Svalgaard
Is there a ‘Solar Physics for Dummies’ book that the fascinated layman with limited math abilities might profit from? I am thinking of something along the lines of Brian Greene’s books on string theory.

pkatt

Its really not much bigger than the January sunspot that was supposed to herald the start of cycle 24.. I wouldnt get my hopes up too high.

lgl

Leif,
TSI cycles and their causes:
http://virakkraft.com/TSIcycles.jpg

anna v

pkatt
It is already dispersing a bit. I wonder whether it will make it to the other side. There should be bets, like Pooh Sticks.

Andrea

Why are you all hoping in the start of cycle 24? I hope this cycle never starts, so we can see if there is a real correlation between solar minimums and global cooling…

Andrea (04:54:48) :

Why are you all hoping in the start of cycle 24? I hope this cycle never starts, so we can see if there is a real correlation between solar minimums and global cooling…

Even with SC24 running, its lower activity will still provide a good chance to separate the solar effect from GHGs. Though note, the real study may center on the effect of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and friends vs. GHGs. For now I’d like to see people find a mechanism for solar activity affecting climate. Things like CLOUD can go on independent of solar activity.
Besides, I’d like a fairly healthy crop of spots so we can watch them fade over the next several years.

Pierre Gosselin

Finally a sunspot that’s bigger than a couple of pixels.
Andrea,
I wouldn’t mind if this already quite late SC 24 waited another year or so too, for reasons you’ve alluded to. It would be great to see these AGW zealots put a sock in it.

lgl (02:22:01) :
TSI cycles and their causes
Yeah, it would be nice if it was that simple, but it ain’t.

Robert Bateman

Agreed. We’ve been burned before, haven’t we?
While all the indicators are bumping up, in terms of a massive breakout of SC24 this is not yet the real deal.
We won’t get fooled again.
pkatt (02:10:52) :
Its really not much bigger than the January sunspot that was supposed to herald the start of cycle 24.. I wouldnt get my hopes up too high.

Robert Bateman

Even if AGW is nothing more than a fancy way to get people’s attention, we still have to deal with dwindling supplies of easy energy (oil) with not much else to replace it in the current pipeline except for dirtier and more expensive hydrocarbons such as coal. We already dump too much toxins into the environment that sustains us. We’ll know eventually just how much forcing AGW accounts for. What’s the rush?

kim

Andrea (04:54:48) Andrea, you have put your finger on a very important dilemma. In order for us to thoroughly expunge the error of CO2=AGW from the consciousness of the public, there will have to be a dramatic or long-term cooling. That will imply many of the world’s poor dying from freezing and starving. Alternatively, for those people not to die, we’d have to have a short or mild cooling, which may not convince people of the folly of this CO2 craze. I get around the ethics of it by understanding that there is nothing we can do to change what the sun and the earth are going to do.
Pretty certainly, the one moral horror we can avoid is to not unnecessarily raise the price of fossil energy by taxing it or encumbering it in any way. If we are cooling, then the small direct forcing effect on temperature that CO2 has and the large effect it has on the fertility of agriculture will warm and feed the teeming billions in the time ahead.
Given the improved curiosity, and analytical techniques lately, I do believe we have the capability of teasing out the various determinants of climate, the sun, the earth’s response, the oceanic oscillations, the biosphere’s response, the GHG’s etc. This might be easier to do with a dramatic cooling than not.
We are, however, at the sun’s mercy. A deep minimum will be catastrophic for the human race, because of its sensitivity to energy. For that reason alone I hope the sun wakes back up and behaves has we’ve grown used to. We should still be able to figure out the true climate modifiers.
But you pose an awful dilemma: Frigid future horror, or suffering from the tragic effects of a magnificent social, scientific, and political error. It will take our wisest to guide us through this mess.
==========================

Ray

How many days since the last “visible” sunspot? If we want to compare with “ancient” sunspots…
Another question: We often see sunspots appearing at the same time at different places. How are they related? Is that some sort of swelling of the interior that would push out the magnetic field?

kim

kim (08:22:58) Oops forgot ‘land-use changes’ in there with the list of climate regulators. Somewhere, Pielke Pere is frowning.
==============================

kim

Oops, I also forgot: We are cooling, folks; for how long, even kim doesn’t know
Also:
I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.
======================

Ray (08:25:21) :
We often see sunspots appearing at the same time at different places. How are they related? Is that some sort of swelling of the interior that would push out the magnetic field?
There is, indeed, a tendency to see spots occurring at the same place. We do not know why that is. It may have something to do with internal structure of the solar dynamo. Other solar phenomena behave the same way, see e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/The%20Hale%20Solar%20Sector%20Boundary.pdf
People that believe in planetary influences go even further and many contend that everything repeats like clockwork, e.g. that activity on Oct 12, 2008 should be the same as on some date ~177 years ago. Wonders never cease.

kim

Leif (09:58:05) Well it is reassuring to believe that the sun is following a script, rather than making it up as it goes along. At least the audience is paying attention, now.
==================================

kim (08:22:58) :
We are, however, at the sun’s mercy. A deep minimum will be catastrophic for the human race…
Alarmism in another guise?
Kim, as we have discussed many a time, the Sun can’t get any dimmer than it is right now [or was in August, actually].

kim (10:11:32) :
Well it is reassuring to believe that the sun is following a script, rather than making it up as it goes along.
Well, it is only a weak tendency. 80% [or some number like that] of what happens is random, so ‘made up’ on the go.

kim

Leif (11:37:12) But dimness hasn’t much to do with the temperature anyway, does it, Leif? Presumably we are at the sun’s mercy for some other reason than the minimal difference between its minimum and maximum output. What that is, we haven’t figured out yet, but I’m still impressed with Pete’s and Hemst’s integrations, and I’m impressed with the correlation between the Little Ice and the Maunder and Dalton Minimums, and, particularly with Spencer’s latest, I’m convinced there is likely something to Svensmark’s idea. There is some reason for cyclic warmings and coolings in the last 2000 years, and it is more likely the sun than CO2. It is hard to get around the fact that predictions for both the sun and the globe’s temperature have been spectacularly wrong, recently.
But my uncertainty is why I won’t claim to know for how long we are cooling.
======================================

Robert Bateman

The minor spot is getting difficult to see, while the main spot is larger and less darkened than yesterday. The spots this go round are bigger, but are acting in the same manner as the previous ones: Expand & fade.
Is that their normal behavior? I confess I have never really watched them on a daily basis until now.

kim (12:29:38) :
but I’m still impressed with Pete’s and Hemst’s integrations,
When I integrate I get a flat curve: http://www.leif.org/research/SumTSI.png
I’m convinced there is likely something to Svensmark’s idea.
Against convictions not much helps…
There is some reason for cyclic warmings and coolings in the last 2000 years, and it is more likely the sun than CO2.
No need to bring in CO2, that is just a straw man. I’m somewhat amazed that people so readily dismiss the idea that the climate has internal cycles, but happily posit that the Sun has…
It is hard to get around the fact that predictions for both the sun and the globe’s temperature have been spectacularly wrong, recently.
My predictions of solar activity has been right on since 1978, so perhaps what you refer to is not a ‘fact’. That NASA and HAO are wrong is no more difficult to understand than GISS is wrong.
Robert Bateman (12:58:57) :
Expand & fade. Is that their normal behavior?
Yes. One might add this: Assemble, Expand, and Fade.

danieloni

Leif, are you still sure about the next SC24 maximum of 70 SSN?
I’ve been reading some stuff from Vukcevic about the correlation between geomagnetic activity and cycles maximums that makes me amazed…

danieloni (13:41:49) :
are you still sure about the next SC24 maximum of 70 SSN?
‘Sure’ is a big word. ‘confident’ might be better, yes.
I’ve been reading some stuff from Vukcevic about the correlation between geomagnetic activity and cycles maximums that makes me amazed…
I have looked at his stuff and it amazes me too, but, perhaps not in the same positive way as you. I would, kindly, call it ‘cyclomania’ to use Ken Schatten’s stark characterization of such ideas. As the real world is so immensely complex, people are often drawn [like moths to a flame] towards such simple and comforting ideas, no matter what physical merit they may have or lack.

kim

Leif (13:11:55) I knew your integration is different than theirs. What are you doing differently? We’ll see about Svensmark. It is a plausible mechanism for Lindzen’s iris. Yes, and even you predict a quiet couple of cycles.
=============================================

danieloni (13:41:49) :
Leif, are you still sure about the next SC24 maximum of 70 SSN?
Actually the ‘current’ number is 70.9 🙂
Now, for my method to work, the error has to be small. It is no good to predict 71+/-30 as that covers the range from 40 to 100, or more than a range of a factor of two [making it useless]. So, if Rmax is below 60 or above 85, my method in its present form does not work well enough and has to be abandoned, even if the physical principles on which it is based turn out to be sound as there would be too much randomness in the system to produce a useful prediction. It is like predicting that tomorrow’s max temp will be between 40 and 90 degrees. I’m sure it will be correct, but what’s the use?

kim

Leif (13:11:55) I’m happy to posit that both the sun and the earth have internal cycles, but that the sun’s cycles impact the earth’s.
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