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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173 thoughts on “Significant Cycle 24 sunspot group emerges

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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 ;-)

  5. Pingback: Sun’s magnetic field still in a funk during September « Watts Up With That?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Pingback: Solar zit watch October 2008 « An Honest Climate Debate

  12. J Ward (10:43:31) :
    Is the moon in the 2nd house, or Jupiter aligned with Mars?

    Nuttier than squirrel excrement!

  13. 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”

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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…

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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.
    ==========================

  26. 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?

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

  28. 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.
    ======================

  29. 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.

  30. 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.
    ==================================

  31. 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].

  32. 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.

  33. 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.
    ======================================

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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…

  37. 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.

  38. 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.
    =============================================

  39. 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?

  40. 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.
    ============================================

  41. ok Leif, there would be some interesting questions if the cycle 24 ramps up quickly in the next months(especially to whose that have predicted a weak cycle, and i think to many other scientist besides you).
    ciao

  42. kim (14:25:02) :
    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.

    So, how to you tell them apart? And where in the correlations do you draw the line between them? People [Lean, Rind, Lockwood, Froehlich, and others] have actually tried to do this. The vehicle for this is called ‘multivariate’ correlation. For instance, Lean and Rind [GRL, vol35, L18701, doi:10.1029/2008GL034864, 2008] find:
    “[17] None of the natural processes can account for the overall warming trend in global surface temperatures. In the 100 years from 1905 to 2005, the temperature trends produced by all three natural influences are at least an order of magnitude smaller than the observed surface temperature trend reported by IPCC [2007]. According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years”
    I know these people well, they are good scientists, not rapid AGW alarmists. You may counter, that correlations are useless without causations, and I would agree, but then we are back to ‘convictions’ and there I might disagree with you, as I have no preconceived convictions to nurse, not being convinced of anything.

  43. Leif Svalgaard (18:56:07) :

    Paul Charbonneau has written a wonderful review of the “Rise and Fall” of this theory: http://www.leif.org/research/Rise-and-Fall.pdf

    Thanks for interesting read Leif, dispels at least two theories on planetary influence. But hardly a conclusive document that closes the door on the subject.

    I notice that there doesn’t seem to be any work done on the correlation of Neptune/Uranus and the grand minima’s of the past, but i guess we are possibly seeing that in front of our very eyes right now….if so that will indeed be a wonder.

  44. kim (14:12:55) :
    I knew your integration is different than theirs. What are you doing differently?
    I know what I do, and my data is on my website for anybody to repeat the integration. I don’t know what they do. What are they doing differently :-)

  45. Leif,
    If/when you hear from Livingston-Penn, would you let us all know here whether the recent 23 and 24 spots still fall on the straight lines towards disappearance by 2014/15. Thanks in advance!

  46. Another bright area about to come around at the same latitude. We’ll see if it’s another spot, but I’d say cycle 24 is finally starting. How fast it gets its act together remains to be seen.

  47. Leif: “My predictions of solar activity has been right on since 1978, so perhaps what you refer to is not a ‘fact’.”
    and
    “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?”

    Fer crying out loud, your own 1978 paper says:

    “Utilizing the previous estimate of polar magnetic field strength obtained near solar minimum, we have four estimates of cycle 21’s maximum mean yearly sunspot number. These are 155 +- 25, 125 +- 15, 135 +- 20, and 140 +- 20. Averaging these four together we get a value of 140 +- 20 for the mean yearly maximum sunspot number of cycle 21.”

    http://www.leif.org/research/Using%20Dynamo%20Theory%20to%20Predict%20Solar%20Cycle%2021.pdf

    The mean for Cycle 21 was 165, Leif. And that 1978 prediction was made in April 1978, almost halfway to Cycle 21 maximum. You weren’t “right on”, unless you define another prediction of say 190+-20 being the same. Those two predictions would cover a range between 140 to 210, and if you think being 5 off is still “right on” then that would increase the gap of “right-on-ness” to any wild guess between 135 and 215. In my book I’d call that “useless garbage”.

    You’re right on above though about considering what use is a prediction such as those we see, since even were your Cycle 24 prediction to be “right”, it wouldn’t “tell us” who is right and who is wrong, or that we will “know then” about what is going on inside the sun. That isn’t the way science works, Leif. It isn’t a crapshoot where someone wins when they get it right once in a while.

    Most predictions have been terribly off for the last few cycles. but I haven’t found any prediction of yours for Cycle 22 or 23. If you have references to those, please provide them, or at least provide references to your claim of successful predictions since 1978.

    I noticed that you did not respond to one poster’s remarks about your record of predictions being poor from a ClimateAudit blog, andI found a failed prediction from Cliver, who has published with you in the past, for Cycle 23 made in 1997, again made months after the Cycle started: [We] “predict a peak sunspot number of 158 (± 18) for cycle 23”. Cycle 23 peak was around 120.

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/sola/1997/00000176/00000001/00141563;jsessionid=1m49sq4hue7ja.alexandra

  48. By the way, Leif, what is your latest updated prediction for Cycle 24? I’ve seen
    several figures, but am not sure I have the latest. Perhaps though we should wait till halfway or so through the next cycle for the latest. And will you admit that your theory is falsified if your final number is out of bounds, as you have indicated would be the result of a failed prediction?

  49. nobwainer (15:18:19) :
    Thanks for interesting read Leif, dispels at least two theories on planetary influence. But hardly a conclusive document that closes the door on the subject.
    Nothing can make a dent in the faith of a true believer :-)

  50. There is one other aspect of burning massive amounts of fossil fuels that I have never heard anyone comment on: The release of heat. Has anyone stopped to assess the amount of heat energy being generated as compared to the typical amount coming from the Sun on a daily basis?
    Curiosity is killing me.

  51. Why don’t articles such as Lean and Rind 2008 not consider the many articles demonstrating a large warm bias in the near surface station network for at least the last 25 years referring to the many problems existing from UHI and microsite issues.

    Have we really learned that much in the last 10 years since Lean and Rind 1998 where all natural variability uncertainty has been accounted for? Cloud dynamics are now well understood?

    Also, why didn’t they do an analysis using satellite data and Spencer’s recent work?

  52. Leif…i am not a religious person and prefer to keep an open mind. What I can see is lots of experts trying to predict this next phase using only the previous phases’s data and not based on a good understanding of the driver…because it doesn’t exist yet.

    Its not good science to right something off when there is not evidence to do so and the theory is plausible. If the next two cycles do NOT produce Dalton like performance then there will certainly be evidence against one part of the “planetary influence” theory….but if the reverse happens?

  53. Glenn (16:30:41) :
    Fer crying out loud, your own 1978 paper says
    Somehow, I knew you would be there. The early paper did not use the actual polar field, because we had not measured it yet. Later papers by Schatten fared better, but my method [as spelled out in the paper with Cliver and Kamide-san] yields these numbers [where 2nd column is polar field, 3rd is observed, 4th is predicted – table 1]:
    21 250 165 157 [added later – there is a poison pill in this]
    22 245 159 154
    23 201 121 126
    24 119 ? 75
    With the current polar fields, the prediction for SC24 comes to 71 which is not significantly different from 75. The issue is not when the ‘predictions’ were made, by whom, or what Ed Cliver said before our paper. The issue is what Rmax, the polar fields would predict had they been used, and the results are as shown.

    There is an interesting aside: Schatten was on the SC23 panel and argued for Rmax(23) = 120, but was voted down by the rest of the panel that went with Hathaway’s 160.

    As I pointed out, should the actual Rmax(24) be substantially different from 71, our method has no merit as the spread is too big for it to be useful. So, we shall see.

  54. “The accelerating pace of new-cycle sunspot production is an encouraging sign that, while solar activity remains very low, the sunspot cycle is unfolding more or less normally. We are not stuck in a permanent solar minimum.”

    http://www.spaceweather.com/

    What difference does it make, if being in a solar minimum will not significantly affect the Earth’s climate? Are AGWers actually sceptical?

  55. nobwainer (19:23:55) :
    Leif…i am not a religious person and prefer to keep an open mind. What I can see is lots of experts trying to predict this next phase using only the previous phases’s data and not based on a good understanding of the driver…because it doesn’t exist yet.
    The smiley [ :-) ] indicated that ‘faith’ was not the standard religious faith. And the method does not just look at previous cases. Ken Schatten’s paper http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf spells out our understanding of the driver. We are not completely in the dark.

    Its not good science to write something off when there is not evidence to do so and the theory is plausible
    It is written off because it is not plausible. Let me give you an example on something that is not plausible: A ten-ton rock is lying in a field. An ant crawls up upon it, and the rock crumbles into dust. It is not plausible that the ant did it, even though the correlation is there [it happened ‘just when the ant came’].

  56. Glenn (19:42:42) :
    What difference does it make, if being in a solar minimum will not significantly affect the Earth’s climate?
    You are quite right that it will make no difference to the climate, but it will make a big difference to the space industry, to communications, and to the insurance premiums for satellites [this last point being the primary reason for the existence of the NASA/NOAA panels for prediction of solar cycle 24].

  57. Leif

    “Yes. One might add this: Assemble, Expand, and Fade”

    I suppose the duration of the cycle is important? Certainly in comparisons with pre-electronic data, cloud cover in winter, even in southern Italy, would miss low duration spots. Or is this part of the corrections?

  58. I’m skeptical, and not because of one theory of forcing over another, but because severe climactic shifts do occur, and we don’t have a clear picture of what does what.
    Do you focus your production on colder climate crops or do you focus on heat & drought resistant crops? The world is grossly overpopulated and we haven’t a concensus on where climate is heading to act in time.
    Is society expecting too much of science?
    Perhaps they already have.

  59. Leif Svalgaard (19:38:28) :
    “The early paper did not use the actual polar field, because we had not measured it yet. Later papers by Schatten fared better, but my method [as spelled out in the paper with Cliver and Kamide-san] yields these numbers” (snip)

    You claimed earlier that your predictions from 1978 were “right on”. So now 2005 is 1978? How come you don’t just refer to your right on predictions from 1978 on, instead of hyping what hasn’t been borne out yet, from a 2005 prediction of a future Solar Cycle?

    “With the current polar fields, the prediction for SC24 comes to 71 which is not significantly different from 75. The issue is not when the ‘predictions’ were made, by whom, or what Ed Cliver said before our paper. The issue is what Rmax, the polar fields would predict had they been used, and the results are as shown.”

    The issue certainly *is* when predictions were made and whether they were “right on”, Leif. But as to your claim of predictions being borne out in hindsight, as they say in the funny papers, that’s what they all say. For example,

    “We review how the so-called flux-transport solar dynamos work and show that such models calibrate well with solar cycle observations, and simulate well the relative peaks of the past 8 cycles. This success provides a basis for forecasting a strong solar cycle 24.”
    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=C5296290465BE450F8EF064BEF2B8F7C.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=533508

    So we have at least two competing predictions, one for a weak cycle and one for a strong cycle, both “methods” claiming that models ran on previous cycles works well. Should both take credit, and should we assume that both theories are “right on”, that now we “know”, that both have “told us” what is happening inside the sun?

  60. Leif Svalgaard (20:14:12) :

    The smiley [ :-) ] indicated that ‘faith’ was not the standard religious faith. And the method does not just look at previous cases. Ken Schatten’s paper http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf spells out our understanding of the driver. We are not completely in the dark

    I read your referred paper….and i have to say..war and peace without substance.
    If that’s the best science can do on the understanding of the “driver” we have a long way to go…lets use that “understanding” to predict the next 5 cycles….not likely.

    Its not good science to write something off when there is not evidence to do so and the theory is plausible….
    Leif says..It is written off because it is not plausible. Let me give you an example on something that is not plausible: A ten-ton rock is lying in a field. An ant crawls up upon it, and the rock crumbles into dust. It is not plausible that the ant did it, even though the correlation is there [it happened ‘just when the ant came’].

    Your so predicable lol…what u say is plausible maybe quite different than most.

  61. anna v (21:27:58) :
    I suppose the duration of the cycle is important?
    No, not of the solar cycle, but of the life cycle of each spot [which may be what you meant]
    Certainly in comparisons with pre-electronic data, cloud cover in winter, even in southern Italy, would miss low duration spots.
    Zurich and Italy [where the backup station was] are on opposite sides of the Alps and usually have ‘complimentary’ weather: if one is cloudy, the other is clear, so didn’t miss much because of the weather. The real reason for the ‘correction’ is the deliberate decision of Wolf not to count small spots and of his successor, Wolfer, to count all spots. ‘Splicing’ these different series together is tricky business.

  62. nobwainer (03:30:43) :
    If that’s the best science can do on the understanding of the “driver” we have a long way to go…lets use that “understanding” to predict the next 5 cycles….not likely.

    Since the decay of one cycle is a fairly random process, we don’t think we can ever predict more than one cycle ahead as we need to observe the [unpredictable] polar fields at the start of the next cycle. This is in contrast to the planetary people who can predict the cycle millions of years in advance with impunity. So, we are definitely inferior to those guys.

  63. Glenn (23:42:24) :
    And now to Glenn:
    So we have at least two competing predictions, one for a weak cycle and one for a strong cycle, both “methods” claiming that models ran on previous cycles works well. Should both take credit, and should we assume that both theories are “right on”, that now we “know”, that both have “told us” what is happening inside the sun?

    As usual you have no idea how science works. The reason there are competing predictions with very different outcomes is that we do not know enough about the conditions inside the Sun and how these affect the dynamo process. As long as the different models give the same result [the hindcasts] we cannot discriminate and decide. We have to wait until such time that the models diverge wildly. Now is such a time.
    The issues are these:
    1) is the dynamo deep or shallow? or a bit of both?
    2) what is the speed of magnetic ‘diffusion’ inside the Sun? fast [our case] or slow [Dikpati]. This determines the time scale for the ‘magnetic memory’ [5 years or ~30 years]

    We said in our prediction paper that “The coming cycle 24 has the
    potential to become a test of their [Dikpati] model”. And of ours as well, of course. Even if the test comes out in favor of one of the models, that does not show that that model is ‘it’ [as there could be other explanations we just haven’t thought of]. And if the test comes out ‘halfway’ then all we know is that both models are wrong.

    This shouldn’t be so hard to grasp.

  64. We had a CDC something or other computer in my center back in 1967. Programs on decks of cards which were turned into binary. Had learned how to correct the binary cards themselves in order to save time. Data on huge tapes. We were measuring and analyzing 2 meter bubble chamber physics photos. I know that my lap top is more powerful than than wonder machine.

  65. ‘80% [or some number like that] of what happens is random, so ‘made up’ on the go.’ –Leif Svalgaard

    May I be permitted a philosophical reflection? I read, many years ago, James Gleick’s book on chaos theory, and found the notion of a cosmos in which unpredictability and indeterminacy play a significant role exhilirating and liberating. Classical materialism, based on the notion that every catenation of events is 100% pre-programmed, precludes spontaneity and freedom. Modern physics, it seems to me, validates these notions on many levels.

    A few months ago I got to talking at the train station with an Indian mathematician (stereotypes sometimes are validated) whose specialization, as he told me, was ‘stochastic series and partial differential equations.’ Way beyond my ken, to be sure, but I still found it reassuring to know that creativity and novelty (in A.N. Whitehead’s sense) can be mathematically described.

    I would assume that stochastic series and partial differential equations are important in describing the dynamics both of the sun and heliosphere, and of the earth’s atmosphere.

    It’s a great solar system; I wouldn’t live anywhere else!

  66. ‘Region 11005 decayed slowly and quietly.’–Solar Terrestrial Activity Report

    Requiescat in pace.

  67. Glenn (23:42:24) :

    Leif Svalgaard (19:38:28) :

    The issue certainly *is* when predictions were made and whether they were “right on”, Leif.

    Perhaps you two are exploring different issues. Glenn is impatiently interested in knowing the strength of SC24, and Leif is more interested in learning the physics so that he can forecast the strength of future cycles.

    Normal scientific method is to develop a plausible hypothesis describing that physics, then testing it to see its predictive capacity. Some past data is usually “used up” in developing the hypothesis, but remaining data, past and future, can be used to test it.

    Leif is driven to understand the physics, but you can skip some of that step if you don’t mind groping in the dark or don’t trust existing models. The Klotzbach/Gray hurricane forecasts are done that way. “Inpsired” by the disappointing forecast performance over the last couple of years, they came up with new schemes and tested it against past hurricane data before using it for for their spring forecast. http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/

  68. 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].

    And Leif, didn’t you tell us not long ago that when a scientist states something with absolute certainty, they’re usually wrong… ;)

  69. Leif Svalgaard (04:19:49) :

    Since the decay of one cycle is a fairly random process, we don’t think we can ever predict more than one cycle ahead as we need to observe the [unpredictable] polar fields at the start of the next cycle. This is in contrast to the planetary people who can predict the cycle millions of years in advance with impunity. So, we are definitely inferior to those guys

    So, according to you, the NASA predictions for SC25 are similarly unfounded?
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/10may_longrange.htm

  70. Pingback: Global Warming Skeptics » Blog Archive » Sun’s magnetic field still in a funk during September

  71. Ric Werme (05:55:13) :
    Perhaps you two are exploring different issues. Glenn is impatiently interested in knowing the strength of SC24, and Leif is more interested in learning the physics so that he can forecast the strength of future cycles.
    As long as Glenn can prove me wrong in any way, he does seem to interested in anything else :-)

    Jeff Alberts (08:35:23) :
    And Leif, didn’t you tell us not long ago that when a scientist states something with absolute certainty, they’re usually wrong… ;)
    Especially an elderly, distinguished scientist. But, please, learn how to interpret scientific jargon [Joe Public often gets this wrong]. When a scientist says ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ or some other definite statement, he really means ‘as far as the evidence as interpreted by my theory with the usual caveats and uncertainties may suggest or indicate under the standard assumptions as they may be pertinent to the interpretation at this point in time’, but this is so cumbersome to append to every single statement that it, obviously, is left unsaid and simply understood.

    Carsten Arnholm, Norway (09:11:07) :
    So, according to you, the NASA predictions for SC25 are similarly unfounded?
    No, my model can only do one cycle ahead. NASA/NOAA claim that they can do two cycles ahead, but clearly, if they are wrong on the first of these, the second one is worthless. Dikpati et al. have repeatedly said they would come with a prediction for SC25, but it has never materialized. Hathaway predicted a large SC24 [his prediction is steadily shrinking …] and a small SC25. So, if NASA etc’s prediction for SC24 turns out to be correct, there is a chance that SC25 will also be correct.

  72. “There is one other aspect of burning massive amounts of fossil fuels that I have never heard anyone comment on: The release of heat.”

    I saw such a couple years back, Idso comes to mind (probably spuriously), but I’d bet I saw it rooting around Warwick Hughes, or another SH site, like NZClimateScience.

  73. “if there is a real correlation between solar minimums and global cooling…”

    Dansgaard-Oeschger event? Anyone? Sadlov?

  74. Ric Werme (05:55:13) :
    Normal scientific method is to develop a plausible hypothesis describing that physics, then testing it to see its predictive capacity.

    In our 1978 paper we posited that if Babcock’s solar cycle ‘model’ was correct then the polar fields should be a good predictor of the next cycle. Since there were no good measurements of the polar fields back then [our own data had not yet been digested] we had to use several proxies for the polar fields. The proxies all pointed to a strong cycle 21 [or at least stronger than cycle 20], so our prediction was for a rather strong cycle. This was going against the prevailing wisdom at the time that was expecting a small cycle because that would fit with the expected coming minimum of the ~80 year Gleisberg cycle. So, in that sense we were successful. Once we got real polar field data it became clear that the use of the actual polar fields [obviously] was better than the proxies and the relation has proven true for the several cycles since then. Because the cycles were not very different, the ‘successful’ predictions were not a very strong test. For the coming cycle 24, the polar fields are much smaller than for the previous several cycles and this thus provides a setup for a strong test. We have been criticized for peddling a correlation based on two or three data points only, but that is a mis-characterization of our approach, which is not one of correlation, but of calibration. We posit that it must be like this, use the observations to fix the size of the cycle, and then make a prediction that will serve as a validation or as a refutation of the assumption, as the case may turn out to be.

  75. “is to develop a plausible hypothesis ” That way we get to rule out inconvenient theories as “implausible” based on our own prejudices right off the bat. Remember when continental drift was implausible? Was relativity “plausible”? I don’t think so at the time to the vast majority of physicists. Einstein didn’t think Quantum Mechanics was plausible, yet somehow it has proven to be perhaps the most spectacularly successful predictive theory of all time, if you go by the number of significant digits to which its predictions have been verified.

    Sometimes you have to go where the numbers or other evidence take you, whether it seems “plausible” or not. Time sorts out what is plausible.

  76. Leif, Kim – if your still around

    Regarding 15:25:02:

    “I know what I do, and my data is on my website for anybody to repeat the integration. I don’t know what they do. What are they doing differently :-)”

    I would be happy to send both of you my Excel worksheet with the data and charts on it. I would even clean it up for you and describe what I am doing with ImageJ.

    I would appreciate knowing what I am doing wrong. Then you could toss it in the trash.

    Steve Hempell aka Hemst 101 (my old login at work). :]

  77. Thanks, Steve, but I’m a poseur and wouldn’t know which end of the spreadsheet was up, but I am really curious why you and Pete get ‘telling’ graphs and Leif doesn’t. Maybe Leif can do something with your work?

    If it’s TSI that runs the climate, then your integrating is valid. If it isn’t, it’s irrelevant. Truly, I would have expected Leif to be just a little more curious about why your results and Pete’s differ from his. I note that he did not point out to Pete his error last year.
    ===========================================

  78. moptop (14:08:14) :
    Sometimes you have to go where the numbers or other evidence take you, whether it seems “plausible” or not. Time sorts out what is plausible.
    The cases you refer to [you could have included Newtonian Gravity, Evolution, Dark Energy, etc] were accepted because of their great explanatory and predictive power, because they were a synthesis of a great amount of observations – they are in a sense just abbreviations for the corpus of observations. This does not apply to most ‘implausible’ hypotheses, e.g. that climate change is wrought by little green men from Mars running a physics experiment, that Uranus/Neptune control solar activity, that the mind can bend spoons, etc. Just because Quantum Mechanics doesn’t make sense, does not mean that any other idea that doesn’t make sense is automatically elevated to the same status, power, and demand for attention.

  79. moptop

    While we are on the topic – lessons of science history – there is a fascinating book called “The Demon under the Microscope”. It is the story of the discovery of Sulfa Drugs.

    The Germans at Bayer were convinced that a sulfonimide molecule had to be attached to an Azo ring at a certain position to work. They had spent years, lots of money and plenty of brainpower playing with the Azo + sulfa molecule and finally got it to work. (When you took the drug you turned red or purple or some kind of colour – but it saved your life)

    The French wanted in on this and were experimenting with the drug using mice trying to make it better. One time they had 5 extra mice so they thought, what the hay, lets just give them the sulfonimide – after infecting them with strep – all by itself (cheap compound). You guessed it, it worked!!

    The Germans didn’t believe it and kept spending money and resources on azo compounds for years(they were from a dye background) and beside Bayer had lots of money invested.

    Sound familiar.

    The book is a fascinating read on many levels, and gives you an appreciation of the danger and dread of infectious diseases our grandparents lived with. Something we don’t give hardly a second thought to now.

  80. Leif
    Re your post in response to Pamela Gray (third from the top here) which is most interesting, in terms of working out whether cycle minimum is here or not, and your paper at :http://www.leif.org/research/Asymmetric%20Rosenberg-Coleman%20Effect.pdf

    I know you regard the notion that the sun affects the distribution of the Earths atmosphere on the dayside as insupportable. Consider then the exact conjunction of the recently observed (if not always present to the same intensity ) El Nino in the rising phase of the solar cycle with the peak frequency of BZ intensity as shown in your Morlet wavelet map analysis in Fig 1 of that paper. I would think that seven out of seven is a pretty good score. You could go into the long term climate prediction business on the bases of this observation.

    Your paper argues that a more stable, plane heliospheric current sheet is present only in the rising phase of the solar cycle producing an annual variation in geomagnetic activity as the Earth is influenced in turn by the activity of the suns southern hemisphere and then the suns northern hemisphere. It would seem that the strength of the El Nino could be related to the strength of the solar activity in one hemisphere of the sun versus the other, depending upon which produced the greater BZ intensity.

    Some queries: Is the southward component of the solar wind different according to hemispheric origin? Is one hemisphere consistently more active than the other and over what time scales? Is it possible to say from that observation whether peak impact is to be expected in January or July?

    Please don’t give up on me yet.

  81. Erl (16:11:44) I believe you have a greater understanding of the heat engine that runs the earth climate than anyone else on Earth. I wonder if Harry van Loon might not be able to help you.
    ==================================

  82. kim (14:48:18) :
    I note that he did not point out to Pete his error last year.
    I had not made my integration back then. Furthermore, I don’t think it serves any purpose anyway [preconceived notion here] so did not bother.

    Erl Happ (16:11:44) :
    Please don’t give up on me yet.
    I have. But shall, of course, answer questions and provide whatever explanations I can, as for anybody else.

    I know you regard the notion that the sun affects the distribution of the Earths atmosphere on the dayside as insupportable.
    No, not at all. Just your specific mechanism(s).

    Consider then the exact conjunction of the recently observed (if not always present to the same intensity ) El Nino in the rising phase of the solar cycle with the peak frequency of BZ intensity as shown in your Morlet wavelet map analysis in Fig 1 of that paper.
    That figure shows the SIGN of the polarity [away and towards the Sun] of the IMF, not its strength, nor BZ. The polarity is a large-scale feature of the IMF that stays the same for many days. The sign of BZ changes from hour to hour. In very rare cases does it stay of the same sign for many hours. When that happens and its direction is South, we get a great geomagnetic storm [especially if the solar wind speed is also high], but this is comparatively rare [at most a few times per month at solar max].

    I would think that seven out of seven is a pretty good score.
    It is not conceivable that the polarity of the IMF has any effect, per se [apart from some subtle geomagnetic effect, hardly measurable – a long story can be spun on this, but that is for another post].
    You could go into the long term climate prediction business on the bases of this observation.
    There is a sucker born every day. I know people who give stock market advice on basis of this, and treatment schedules for inmates of lunatic asylums, you name it.

    Your paper argues that a more stable, plane heliospheric current sheet is present only in the rising phase of the solar cycle producing an annual variation in geomagnetic activity as the Earth is influenced in turn by the activity of the suns southern hemisphere and then the suns northern hemisphere.
    No quite the opposite as far as activity is concerned. In section [20] we say “this explanation is not enough to account [for] the variability in geomagnetic activity”.

    Is the southward component of the solar wind different according to hemispheric origin?
    In general not. There are some exceptions [see later], but Bz is generally a purely local effect generated by turbulence and waves

    Is one hemisphere consistently more active than the other and over what time scales?
    Depends on the timescale up to years. There can be some asymmetry for a time, see e.g. http://sidc.oma.be/html/wnosuf.html but none in the long run.
    A CME gives rise to a magnetic cloud or tongue which sometimes retains its Bz structure all the way from the Sun. You will observe that Bz first goes, say, North for a few hours, then slowly swings South for the next several hours. Such occurrences are relatively rare.

    Is it possible to say from that observation whether peak impact is to be expected in January or July?
    There are three competing effects: the closer to the Sun [January 4], the stronger the IMF [and thus also Bz], and the solar wind speed is largest on September 7 and March 7 [because it generally increases with distance from the current sheet. These two effects are very small and hard to tease out of the data [requiring averaging over decades of data – c.f. section [62] and Figure A7 of http://www.leif.org/research/2007JA012437.pdf ] The third effect has to do with the seasonal and diurnal tilt of the Earth’s magnetic field into the solar wind, resulting in the solar wind ‘seeing’ a somewhat weaker geomagnetic field on March 23 and September 23 with resulting higher geomagnetic activity [see sections [17-18] and Figure 4 of the paper cited, or the discussion in http://www.leif.org/research/The%20semiannual%20variation%20of%20great%20geomagnetic%20storms.pdf ]. The latter effect is a modulation of existing activity, so does not ‘generate’ new activity. The modulation can amount to several tens of percents.

    All these effects are subtle and complicated, but are unlikely to be primary drivers, simply because they are so subtle.

  83. anna v (03:36:39) wrote: “There should be bets, like Pooh Sticks.”

    Christopher and his crew are a universal link between disparate individuals and nations, huh, anna v… kinda “Hi, friend!”.

    Leif Svalgaard (14:05:16) wrote: “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.

    Nice philosophic line, Leif, worth contemplating some.

  84. Does anyone know why the solar rotation rate at a particular lattitude changes over time? Are there publically available data sets for solar rotation? I just found a little bit. Thanks.

  85. Leif Svalgaard (21:01:36) :

    The data is noisy and not very convincing.

    Agree, bit hard to determine anything from that report. Do we measure the rotation speed of the Sun or parts of and if so how is the performance right now?

  86. Leif Svalgaard (18:25:33) :
    Thanks for your answer which I will study very carefully after recovering from 8 hours straight driving a tractor.

    “I know you regard the notion that the sun affects the distribution of the Earths atmosphere on the dayside as insupportable.
    No, not at all. Just your specific mechanism(s).”

    This intrigues me. By what mechanism can the sun affect the Earths atmosphere in terms of density and distribution?

    By the way, this is the data that I forgot to show in the last post
    :http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg220/erlandlong/SOIRCeffect_Page_1.jpg

    The SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) is sign reversed so that when it goes up it represents warming. In its normal presentation a rising index represents a La Nina.

    By the way, the current weak La Nina appears to be strengthening. Paradoxically, the only anomalously warm areas in the oceans appear to be those parts that routinely have heavy cloud cover. In mid latitudes these are areas where tropical moisture streams away from the equator so the warming appears to be via absorption of heat from the atmosphere.

  87. kim (17:31:50) :
    Thanks for your confidence in me. I have a great admiration for Harry’s work. I corresponded with Harry briefly and recently invested in his book ‘The Stratosphere’. Harry has long been interested in the solar connection. In his correspondence he remarked that solar maximum is frequently marked by a La Nina, a point brought out in his most recent articles.

    The big El Ninos that have marked the rising phase of the cycle in recent times add a lot of moisture to the atmosphere, particularly that in 1998. A precipitation response can be self reinforcing in that it produces surface cooling, atmospheric cooling, condensation, more cloud, keeps out the solar radiation hence more precipitation. La Nina represents the Earth taking over the reins for a while after a surfeit of solar influence. So, its not surprising that a big El Nino in the rising phase can produce a strong La Nina at solar maximum. This comprehensively masks any changes due to small changes in irradiance. It also makes complete nonsense of any expectation that the Earth should be warmer at solar maximum, even though Camp and Tung (if my memory is correct) happened to find that it was marginally warmer. If La Nina marks the minimum and also the maximum where are we?

    Tropical warming and cooling events are what we observe in terms of temperature change. The first requirement of any climate theory is to explain what we observe.

  88. “Assemble, Expand, and Fade”.

    It occurs to me that this trinity governs all particular events in the physical realm, including a human life.

  89. Leif
    “It is not conceivable that the polarity of the IMF has any effect, per se [apart from some subtle geomagnetic effect, hardly measurable – a long story can be spun on this, but that is for another post].”

    My apologies. I confused BX with BZ. I’m flummoxed.

    Are we to wait long for the ‘other post’.

  90. Erl Happ (04:12:40) :
    By what mechanism can the sun affect the Earths atmosphere in terms of density and distribution?
    The first point of confusion is that the Earth’s atmosphere is too broad a notion. The higher atmosphere [Thermosphere, Ionosphere, …] responds differently than the lower atmosphere [Troposphere]. But at all levels there are ‘thermal winds’ caused by solar heating [often mediated by factors, such as the surface] which in combination in combination with rotation creates the winds we observe. So there are lots of ways the Sun can affect the atmosphere. What does NOT happen is a ‘compaction’ by the solar wind.

    Erl Happ (04:32:07) :
    The first requirement of any climate theory is to explain what we observe.
    No, the first requirement is that it makes physical, and energetical, sense. If we relax that very first requirement it is easy to come up with a perfect explanation of the observations [e.g. angels pushing the stuff around for our benefit – this was once the explanation of what kept the planets going].

    Andrea (07:19:07) :
    Leif, do you think it’s possible to study sun’s activity via dynamical systems techniques?

    This is [and has] been done, e.g.:

    Prediction of Sunspot Cycles by Data Assimilation Method
    by: IN Kitiashvili, AG Kosovichev
    (22 Jul 2008)

    Abstract
    Despite the known general properties of the solar cycles, a reliable the forecast of the 11-year sunspot number variations is still a problem. The difficulties are caused by the apparent chaotic behavior of the sunspot numbers from cycle to cycle and by the influence of various turbulent dynamo processes, which are far from understanding. For predicting the solar cycle properties we make an initial attempt to use the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF), a data assimilation method, which takes into account uncertainties of a dynamo model and measurements, and allows to estimate future observational data. We present the results of forecasting the solar cycles obtained by the EnKF method in application to a low-mode nonlinear dynamical system modeling the solar αΩ-dynamo process with variable magnetic helicity. Calculations of the predictions for previous sunspot cycles show good agreement (with ∼10% error) with the actual data. This forecast model predicts that the next sunspot cycle will be significantly weaker (by ∼ 30%) than the previous cycle, continuing the trend of low solar activity.

  91. Erl Happ (07:32:34) :
    Are we to wait long for the ‘other post’.
    As it does not seem relevant, the ‘other post’ may be a long ways off. Our understanding of all these subtle effects have not changed much since my ‘Skylab Coronal Hole Workshop’ chapter back in 1977. It is set out in excruciating [and eye-glazing-over] detail in http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf

  92. ‘…[e.g. angels pushing the stuff around for our benefit – this was once the explanation of what kept the planets going].’

    Well, it was one explanation, at least, v. Dante and Milton. Going back to Plato, at least if we read the __ Timaeus__ literally, celestial objects are themselves living, intelligent beings capable of motion. I don’t believe that Church doctrine ever officially sanctioned belief in such pushy angels (remember also that the Church had discouraging things to say about belief in astrology).

    But Dante and MIlton–and Plato, for my money– are interested in poetic and not scientific truth.

    No fair considering such ancient and medieval cosmological accounts as laughably primitive attempts to do what modern science does much better. Not really according to Hoyle (or Hubble). A different sort of thinking is involved.

    What Newton achieved, in showing with breath-taking simplicity that one might account for the motion of celestial objects in exactly the same way one might with the fall of an apple, was nothing less than the unification of the realm of physical reality as a field for human thought.

    But this is to veer, self-indulgently, far off topic; (I wouldn’t blame Anthony if he rejects it), and I am basically parotting what K.J. Burtt says in __The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science__, which is one of those books–the ones that, if you are attached to an American university, and you are seen simply carrying them around, win you a certain reputation.

  93. Erl Happ (04:32:07) :
    It also makes complete nonsense of any expectation that the Earth should be warmer at solar maximum, even though Camp and Tung (if my memory is correct) happened to find that it was marginally warmer.
    Go and explain that to the LIA-Maunder minimum crowd. What marks the solar-climate connection is that people can’t even agree on the basics and tend to ignore [or disparage] all other research that does not conform to their own ideas. There are two causes normally served up for this:
    1: “this is an emerging field [after 400 years still struggling] and such disagreements are normal when not all the pieces are in yet”
    2: “this is typical for wishful thinking wanting there to be something when there isn’t”

  94. Einstein, from “Ernst Mach”, 1916:

    “Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such an authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they come to be stamped as “necessities of thought,” “a priori givens,” etc. The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors.”

  95. Leif (18:25:33) Gotcha, and thanks. I’ll be fascinated to see what you make of Steve’s integration.

    Erl (04:32:47) You are welcome and you deserve it. You and Leif are going to get this explained to me, yet.
    =============================

  96. kim (10:39:12) :
    I’ll be fascinated to see what you make of Steve’s integration.

    Steve describes his process thus:
    “At first I divided the chart made from your data into various periods in Excel(5, 6, 7 years etc ) exported the chart to ImageJ and determined the area of each periodby subtracting each period area from the total starting at the LH side of the chart.. Filled the area under the curve I wanted, made a binary image and counted the particles. I then charted it and compared to Hadcrut (unmodified).”

    I don’t know how I can respond to that. Since the data points are equally spaced [ignoring the slight differences between the lengths of months] integration over a cycle amounts to simply adding all the TSI values for each month belonging to that cycle. That is what I did [took all of 10 minutes].

  97. Gar Gilrud:

    Is Einstein’s essay on Mach available on the net?

    You are driving me to reread Isaacson’s bio.

  98. Arthur Glass:

    I yanked it from a web pub of “The Philosopher Scientist”. It centers on his thoughts re: the connection for the scientist between physics and epistemology.

    In high school and as an undergrad I remember attaching little esteem to his philosophy but my view has changed some.

  99. “When Bz is south, that is, opposite Earth’s magnetic field, the two fields link up,” explains Christopher Russell, a Professor of Geophysics and Space Physics at UCLA. “You can then follow a field line from Earth directly into the solar wind” — or from the solar wind to Earth. South-pointing Bz’s open a door through which energy from the solar wind can reach Earth’s atmosphere!

    Southward Bz’s often herald widespread auroras, triggered by solar wind gusts or coronal mass ejections that are able to inject energy into our planet’s magnetosphere.

    Were the teraWatts input in these events spread over the entire globe they might pass for insignificant. Nonetheless, a paper came out this year suggesting a 2-3 degree Arctic anomaly on their basis.

  100. Gary Gilrud:

    According to Isaacson, Einstein was, in the annus mirabilis of 1904, a member of a Spinoza study group.

  101. Leif Svalgaard (08:00:31) :
    The first point of confusion is that the Earth’s atmosphere is too broad a notion. The higher atmosphere [Thermosphere, Ionosphere, …] responds differently than the lower atmosphere [Troposphere]. But at all levels there are ‘thermal winds’ caused by solar heating [often mediated by factors, such as the surface] which in combination in combination with rotation creates the winds we observe.

    The concepts that we have developed relating to a stratification of the atmosphere tend, in my opinion, to compartmentalise our thinking. There are no sharp boundaries on the surface of the Earth to accord with our concepts of ‘regional climate’. From a location that shows a strong central tendency e.g. winter rainfall to another with a different central tendency e.g. summer rainfall, there is a transition zone, and that transition zone actually encompasses the whole. Similarly in the atmosphere, it is useful to have zonal concepts that are derived according to understanding of some dominant feature of the local situation eg Troposphere the ‘turning sphere’ where temperature decreases with altitude, Stratosphere, where temperature increases with altitude and convection is less vigorous, enhanced ozone content etc In the Thermosphere it is obvious that ionisation is a central feature determining dynamics and auroras above the poles to demonstrate a focus of energy.

    We do not understand surface climate without an understanding of the process responsible for central tendencies and the way that these processes can wax and wane over time.

    I think it is productive to ask to what degree a process that we associate with one atmospheric ‘conceptual sphere’ also operates in adjacent parts of the atmosphere e.g. convection. Although convection is slowed in the stratosphere it must persist because as long as there are differences in density laterally, the less dense material must rise.

    Similarly, ionisation is a matter of degree. The presence of ozone in the upper troposphere/ lower stratosphere is an indicator that short wave radiation is providing sufficient energy to keep two electrically unbalanced oxygen molecules that have a preference for a conjoint relationship, apart. The concentration of ozone also depends upon environmental constraints, temperature and humidity and there are no sharp boundaries between the stratosphere and the troposphere. Cirrus clouds are sometimes seen in the stratosphere. The stratosphere is more influenced by outgoing radiation from the surface than the upper troposphere (so evidencing heating from surface rather than solar influences).

    If we consider a conjoint population of particles with unbalanced/balanced electrical charges then the forces that operate on particles with unbalanced charges will affect the others in the same way that a crowd of people exiting a football stadium are carried along with each other and it becomes very difficult to retrace ones path.

    So, to understand what is happening we need to ask where the limits are to the processes that are responsible for our ‘conceptual zones’.

    So, where are the limits to the atmospheric effects of the process described by Gary Gulrud (13:33:02) :

    I think we are just scratching the surface here. We have no idea of the cause of ‘sudden stratospheric warmings’ and why they seem to be confined to the northern hemisphere. It is plain that the upper troposphere warms and cools over thirty to 100 years affecting cloud cover and this is a major dynamic affecting tropical temperature. We need to pay as much attention to the temperature of the upper troposphere (routinely sampled for thirty or forty years) as we pay to the gyration in magnetic needles at the surface of the earth.

    This is not to belittle what the magnetic needle tells us, because in sensitive and imaginative hands it tells us a great deal.

    Leif, thanks for your great generosity in opening a window to further our understanding of the sun. Yours is a rare and brave commitment.

  102. Gary Gulrud (13:33:02) :
    South-pointing Bz’s open a door through which energy from the solar wind can reach Earth’s atmosphere!
    Southward Bz’s often herald widespread auroras, triggered by solar wind gusts or coronal mass ejections that are able to inject energy into our planet’s magnetosphere.

    Except that that is not the way it works in a literal sense [there is no window through which pours energy directly into the atmosphere]. What happens is that more energy is fed into the magnetospheric tail from where it may be fed into the night side upper atmosphere [we were discussing ‘day side’ effects].

    Were the teraWatts input in these events spread over the entire globe they might pass for insignificant.
    TeraWatt input is rare. Typically, the input is of the order of 30 GigaWatt. To compare wtih TeraWatt would be like considering hurricanes as the normal state of the troposphere.

    Erl Happ (16:05:22) :
    As I said, I have given up already. You basically have the energy flows backwards except for the heating peaks at the stratopause and the ionosphere. Even the mesosphere is heated from below [from the stratopause at 1hPa] as is the troposphere [from the surface at 1000 nPa]. Your understanding of the ‘greenhouse’ effect is wrong too. The reason for the greenhouse effect is that the atmosphere contains molecules with more than two atoms [H20 being the most] so that they have more ways of containing energy, rotation, vibration, etc. These molecules absorb and emit at wavelengths corresponding to Earth’s radiation temperature, half of the re-emitted energy is radiated downwards and that is the cause of the greenhouse effect. This has little to do with CO2 compared to H20 and is not something that is ‘supposed to happen’ or ‘assumed by evil forces’. The effect of this half downwards emission is to raise the temperature by the fourth root [Stefan-Boltzmann again] or two, or a factor of 1.19 increasing the temperature to 255K*1.19 = 303K. The actual effect is a bit smaller, because the emitters aloft are of lower temperature than the surface, but you should get the idea. But enough already.

  103. Erl Happ (16:05:22) :
    We need to pay as much attention to the temperature of the upper troposphere
    And we need to do this because that is where the cooling happens, not the heating. You are barking up the wrong tree. It is not about how solar activity adds energy to the system [because there is precious little extra energy to add, but [if there is an effect, at all] how solar activity might help cool the system. But I don’t really want to get started on post number 666 [or more] on this topic as it will have as little effect as all the hundreds that went before it.

  104. Erl Happ (16:05:22) :
    there are no sharp boundaries between the stratosphere and the troposphere.
    With a suitable definition of ‘sharp’ e.g. 1 inch thick, you could be trivially correct, but this is not of interest. What is important is that the stratosphere has a temperature inversion [people in Los Angeles can tell you what happens then], thus stable against convection [that’s why it is called the stratosphere in the first place: it is stratified], while the troposphere is heated from below, and unstable against convection. I could go on and on, but won’t [already been too much].

  105. Leif Svalgaard (21:01:36)

    Thanks Leif. The data is noisy – still interesting. I’ll mess around with it a little more.

  106. There is not much left from our “Significant Cycle 24 sunspot group” that has sparked this discussion is it not?

  107. Kim and anyone else interested in this – Leif has asked me to post our conversation here.

    Leif:
    Since the data points [monthly values of TSI] are equally spaced, to integrate over a cycle, you simply add up all the monthly values belonging to that cycle, then do the same for the next cycle, etc. Takes 10 minutes to do for all the data. The result is the graph I showed at http://www.leif.org/research/SumTSI.png

    Steve:
    So I did it your way and got the very much the same result as you (I guesstimated the start and end of cycles).

    The crux of my inquiry was – why do we differ in result?

    Well, I divided the sums of each cycle by the cycle length and got my result.

    So, I am somewhat confused. What does this mean?

    The average TSI of each cycle gives the same result as literally taking the area under the curve of each cycle. Why would this have a pattern that would in any way have somewhat the same pattern as Hadcrut?

    Leif:
    Then you are not integrating over the cycle, but simply computing the average TSI for each cycle which not surprisingly would simply vary as the average sunspot number, low for small cycles, high for large cycles. That the result in some way resembles the HADCRUT is not a surprise, because you knew that there was such a coincidence to begin with. You could also have plotted against the square root of the U.S. population [or any other quantity that you know have increased over the past few centuries] and find a correlation.

    The integration idea came because people were claiming that is (sic) was TSI working over a longer time interval that was somehow important or the
    total effect over a cycle, or something. Never quite clear to me.

    So it was fun and I learnt some new skills but always suspected that if you didn’t quite understand what you were doing all sorts of “correlations” pop up.

    Thanks Leif (and I should have listened to William Briggs!!)

  108. Back to the spot, I check it every morning .

    Half way through and still there :).

    One of my strong memories is watching a setting sun in the Aegean, back in the eighties, and idly wondering how it was possible for a seagull to keep such a steady course, when I realized it was a huge sunspot I was seeing.

  109. Ron de Haan (19:58:37) :
    There is not much left from our “Significant Cycle 24 sunspot group” that has sparked this discussion is it not?
    We could show it the honor to continue the discussion until its final demise :-)
    It is interesting to watch how all these ‘solar’ topics always converge to the same questions: barycenter, AGW, Erl, climate correlations, diverse nit-picking. But, of course, everything is connected.

  110. ‘What is important is that the stratosphere has a temperature inversion [people in Los Angeles can tell you what happens then], thus stable against convection [that’s why it is called the stratosphere in the first place: it is stratified], while the troposphere is heated from below, and unstable against convection’

    What about ‘sudden stratospheric warming events’ over the poles during the winter? These events at the 10 mb level seem to be predictors of the development (in the NH) of a blocking pattern at 500mb and the consequent establishment of a negative AO and NAO. In other words, get your mukluks ready.

  111. Arthur Glass (21:14:26) :
    What about ’sudden stratospheric warming events’ over the poles during the winter?

    For once, good ole Wikipedia has the correct answer:
    “In a usual northern-hemisphere winter, several minor warming events occur, with a major event occurring roughly every two years. One reason for major stratospheric warmings to occur in the Northern hemisphere is because orography and land-sea temperature contrasts are responsible for the generation of long (wavenumber 1 or 2) Rossby waves in the troposphere. These waves travel upward to the stratosphere and are dissipated there, producing the warming by decelerating the mean flow. This is the reason that major warmings are only observed in the northern-hemisphere, with one exception. In 2002 a southern-hemisphere major warming was observed. This event to date is not fully understood.
    There exists a link between sudden stratospheric warmings and the quasi-biennial oscillation: If the QBO is in its easterly phase, the atmospheric waveguide is modified in such a way that upward-propagating Rossby waves are focused on the polar vortex, intensifying their interaction with the mean flow. Thus, there exists a statistically significant imbalance between the frequency of sudden stratospheric warmings if these events are grouped according to the QBO phase (easterly or westerly).
    —–
    So, there you have it.

  112. Leif,
    Data trumps doctrine every time.

    University of Alabama Huntsville satellite derived temperature anomalies in the tropical troposphere vary on an inter-annual basis a great deal more than surface anomalies. This requires an additional source of energy other than that emanating from the surface of the Earth.

    Atmospheric moisture above 700hPa varies very little as temperature rises.

    When temperatures rise above the 700hPa level, cloud albedo literally evaporates.

    The problem is to work out how this variation in mid to upper troposphere temperature occurs.

    Upper troposphere anomalies define the ENSO phenomenon better than surface anomalies.

    ENSO defines tropical cooling and warming events that are related to changes in cloud cover that are in turn related to swings in temperature that largely manifest as summer warming in the tropics and winter warming at high latitudes.

    Bury yourself in doctrine if you wish but the facts are unalterable.

    First real day of summer warmth here (S.W. Western Australia) after a very long and miserably cold winter. Winter rainfall was about 20% above average. I have never seen the grass in the vineyard so high. Today the sun seems to have recovered its sting. The snakes are out.

    Our inland wheat crops looked like setting a record till the frosts came a day after rainfall.

  113. Dr Svalgaard:

    You are a patient and lucid teacher. I still intend to avoid Wikipedia like the avian flu (whatever happened to that bugbear?)

    Now I have a question about Rossby waves. My vague impression was that they were major factors in tropospheric dynamics only at middle latitudes. Is that invalid?

  114. Arthur Glass (21:14:26) :
    An alternative viewpoint on ‘stratospheric warmings’ that pays more attention to causation than to patterns of atmospheric movement that characterize meteorological (pattern recognition) explanations of the sort offered by Wikipedia:

    SORCE meeting February 2008
    Mean Circulation
    Terrence R. Nathan [trnathan@ucdavis.edu] and John Albers, University of California, Davis; and Eugene C. Cordero, San Jose State University, CA.
    An ever-increasing body of evidence shows that changes in solar spectral irradiance (SSI) over the 11-year solar cycle (SC) can produce changes in stratospheric ozone. Changes in stratospheric ozone can in turn produce changes in planetary wave drag (PWD) via longitudinal variations in ozone heating, which was recently expounded upon in a paper by Nathan and Cordero (2007, JGR-Atmospheres). Because SSI-induced changes in PWD may
    have potentially far-reaching consequences for the global circulation, including the zonal mean flow, the Brewer-Dobson circulation and stratosphere-troposphere communication, it is important to understand the connection between SSI and PWD. In this study we employ analytical and numerical models of the extratropical atmosphere to examine the connection
    between SSI and PWD. The models couple radiation, ozone and dynamics and provide in a relatively simple but self-consistent way the means to explicitly identify the pathways that connect changes in SSI to the wave-driven zonal-mean circulation. The sensitivity of the stratospheric circulation, particularly stratospheric sudden warmings, to changes in SSI associated with the SC is addressed.

    The focus on solar spectral irradiance is noteworthy. I hypothesize that the relatively cloud free regions to the west of the major land masses that are the sites for generation of tropical warming and cooling events events exhibit a higher ozone content because of the dryness of the air. This then renders them more reactive to UVB explaining the strong fluctuation in temperature (and cloud cover) in the upper troposphere. Like these researchers I am also interested in ‘longitudinal variations in ozone heating’.

    Temperature at 100hPa varies on solar radiation time scales. There is very little atmosphere between 100hPa and 200hpa.

    It is no accident that the surface of the ocean is cool in this deep and prolonged solar minimum.

  115. Leif Svalgaard (21:11:30) :

    Ron de Haan (19:58:37) :

    There is not much left from our “Significant Cycle 24 sunspot group” that has sparked this discussion is it not?

    We could show it the honor to continue the discussion until its final demise :-)

    That would be a welcome change. We usually keep talking until long after the poor old spot is dead and buried. Or whatever it is that happens to old spots. :-)

  116. Arthur Glass (04:48:32) :
    Now I have a question about Rossby waves. My vague impression was that they were major factors in tropospheric dynamics only at middle latitudes. Is that invalid?

    The problem is that little word ‘only’. The Coriolis effect [part cause of the Rossby waves, together ] on horizontal flow is maximal at the poles and zero at the equator. The main point is that Rossby waves need shear to originate. Shear is not limited to middle latitudes.

    Sometimes Wikipedia is not so bad [when they happen to be correct :-) ] you just need to know already what the issue is so that you can filter appropriately.

  117. ‘Temperature at 100hPa varies on solar radiation time scales. There is very little atmosphere between 100hPa and 200hpa.’

    Very interesting, insofar as I can follow your argument in technical detail. However, my impression from what little I have read on the subject, is that SSW’s occur way up at the 10mb level. Also, that such events are related to the Quasi-bienniel Oscillation in the tropics.

    One of the most dramaic reversals in weather here in northeastern New Jersey occurred in January of 2004. Here is the daily data for Newark airport for that month:

    http://proa.accuweather.com/adcbin/professional/historical_index.asp?month=jan&metric=0&record=&location=EWR%7CHILLSIDE%7CNJ&year=2004&btnClimo=Go

    In sum, the first six days of January averaged close to 10 degrees above normal, but the entire month averaged almost eight degrees below. According to the Office of the State Climatologist, January 2004 was the coldest month in northern NJ in 22 years, i.e. since the gloriously brutal winters of the late 70’s and early ’80’s, when the AMO was in its depressive phase.

    My guru at Accuweather, Joe Bastardi, had predicted this sudden cooling partially on the basis of an SSW occurence ten days or so before

  118. Re your comment at Leif Svalgaard (18:25:33) :
    Relating to the coincidence of El Ninos in the rising phase of the cycle with a strong incidence of an annual variation in the orientation of the HCS.

    Your comment that : “It is not conceivable that the polarity of the IMF has any effect, per se”

    I quote from: INCREASE OF THE MAGNETIC FLUX FROM POLAR ZONES OF THE SUN IN THE LAST 120 YEARS V. I. MAKAROV, A. G. TLATOV, D. K. CALLEBAUT and V. N. OBRIDKO
    Near sunspot minimum activity there are two distinct solar wind regimes: slow and medium-speed wind flowing from the coronal streamer belt that encircles the equator, and fast wind from the polar coronal holes. Legrand and Simon (1989) have found that the geomagnetic activity depends on solar wind streams from coronal holes during 90% of the time.

    The long-term increase of magnetic flux from the Sun and _aa_ index was caused mainly by growth of the area of polar cap of the Sun occupied by the unipolar magnetic field.

    The area of polar zones Apz of the Sun, occupied by unipolar magnetic field at the minimum activity, has risen by a factor of 2 during 1878–1996. This means that the behavior of the index _aa_ and consequently the magnetic flux from the Sun may be explained by an increase of the area of polar caps.

    The high-latitude zone boundary (θ2m), average N and S, moved nearer to the equator by about 15° during 12 solar cycles. In the northern hemisphere the latitude (θ2m) shifted from 55° in 1878 down to 36° (shift: 19°) in 1996. A similar process was observed in the S-hemisphere, where the latitude (θ2m) shifted from 51° in 1878 to 39° in 1996 (shift: 12°).

    Given the relationships described above might I suggest that the differential between the polar caps in the solar hemispheres should produce an annual (rotational) flux in the strength of the solar wind that will be most observable on the Earth when the HCS is most stable, ie during the rising phase of the solar cycle?

    If the relationship between the aa index and terrestrial temperature described by Cliver, Boriakoff, and Bounar (who are referenced in the article cited above) has legs, we then have an explanation for the conjunction of the El Nino in the rising phase and minimum variation in the HCS at that time. Any increase in geomagnetic activity will tend to be more sustained, less episodic when the HCS is more stable. As soon as we have 50 sunspots there is significantly more very short wave radiation (X rays). That should help.

    One speculates that if the solar hemisphere generating the greatest geomagnetic activity happens to be proximal between September and April, when the southern hemisphere is best illuminated, the addition to the Earths heat budget will be greater simply because of the absorptive capacity of the ocean by comparison with the land.

    And furthermore, that the puzzling swing between La Nina and El Nino dominance across solar cycles, and groups of cycles, could well be related to the size of the area of respective polar caps of the Sun occupied by the unipolar magnetic field and rotational aspects that determine which Earthly hemisphere is exposed to the solar hemisphere that is providing the greatest geomagnetic activity.

  119. “The reason for the greenhouse effect is that the atmosphere contains molecules with more than two atoms [H20 being the most] so that they have more ways of containing energy, rotation, vibration, etc. These molecules absorb and emit at wavelengths corresponding to Earth’s radiation temperature, half of the re-emitted energy is radiated downwards and that is the cause of the greenhouse effect.”

    This is badly confused. The emissivity of a gas is directly related to the speed of electromagnetic interaction. Your GHGs rapidly share absorbed radiation (the acquired vibrational energy) via collision with the major components of this low temp, low pressure gas, the atmosphere.

    They do not contain the energy absorbed. If the energy absorbed is not instantly re-emitted, it is lost. The molecule returns to its ground state-the average kinetic energy of its surrounding enviorns, raised immeasurably by the IR absorption.

  120. Gary Gulrud (08:14:16) :
    They do not contain the energy absorbed. If the energy absorbed is not instantly re-emitted, it is lost.
    There is no confusion. At Erl’s level [which is where I tried to be] this suffices. The energy is acquired and the re-emitted very shortly thereafter [there is no ‘immediately’ in quantum physics because of the Uncertainty principle]. One might argue that energy cannot be ‘lost’ as you claimed, since it is conserved. I classify all this as irrelevant [and not even wrong] nit-picking.

  121. Erl Happ (07:45:34) :
    As I have said many times, just hunting around for snippets on the Internet is not very fruitful.
    I quote from: INCREASE OF THE MAGNETIC FLUX FROM POLAR ZONES OF THE SUN IN THE LAST 120 YEARS
    There was kind of a bandwagon effect several years ago because of Lockwood’s ‘doubling’ paper. Now, that it is becoming clear that there was no such doubling [I was the original culprit in suggesting that there was – but I was wrong], all the ‘bandwagon’ papers fall by the wayside.

    Legrand and Simon (1989) have found that the geomagnetic activity depends on solar wind streams from coronal holes during 90% of the time.
    This is typical of the kind of quotes that you come across [they chose Legrand&Simon because of some other ideas these people had]. But the finding goes back to Snyder et al. in 1963.

    The long-term increase of magnetic flux from the Sun and _aa_ index was caused mainly by growth of the area of polar cap of the Sun occupied by the unipolar magnetic field.
    The aa-index is wrong before 1957, so the inference is moot, as well as the speculations following.

    The size of the polar cap [as measured by the latitude of the filaments] is crudely correlated with sunspot activity itself, so will show a similar time-dependence.

    Given the relationships described above might I suggest that the differential between the polar caps in the solar hemispheres should produce an annual (rotational) flux in the strength of the solar wind that will be most observable on the Earth when the HCS is most stable, ie during the rising phase of the solar cycle?
    differential?
    rotational?
    strength?
    Don’t know what you mean. In any event, the solar wind has most effect [highest speed and geomagnetic effect goes up with the square of the speed] during the declining phase, e.g. 2003, 1994, 1983, 1974, 1952, 1945, 1930, 1910, etc.

    If the relationship between the aa index and terrestrial temperature described by Cliver, Boriakoff, and Bounar (who are referenced in the article cited above) has legs
    Ed Cliver now knows that it has not [aa wrong etc]

    One speculates that if the solar hemisphere generating the greatest geomagnetic activity happens to be proximal between September and April, when the southern hemisphere is best illuminated, the addition to the Earths heat budget will be greater simply because of the absorptive capacity of the ocean by comparison with the land.
    You can speculate, but the premise is wrong [or rather, meaningless]. In June we see equal amount of the solar hemispheres; June 7th we are just over the Sun’s equator. So, this speculation and the next one in your post has no foundation. This often does not deter speculation, of course.

  122. Mary Hinge (07:32:14) :
    “Evidence suggests your theory needs major rethinking.”
    I would be pleased to hear about that in more detail.

    My reference for sea surface temperatures is here: http://www.eldersweather.com.au/climimage.jsp?i=sstag
    Looks to me as if most of the Southern Hemisphere oceans have a negative anomaly along with the Arctic and a goodly part of the North Pacific.

    The note beneath the map says “Positive SSTAs are usually correlated with increased regions of convection (cloudiness and rainfall) while negative SSTAs are usually correlated to reduced convection.”

    That is certainly the case at the moment as you can see if you check the distribution of precipitable moisture at: http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/plan_water_000.png

    As you can see, the cloud is streaming away from the tropics in warm wet air that tends to keep the skin of the ocean over which it travels warm. By contrast the relatively cool parts of the ocean have little precipitable moisture, which is contained in the main in the lower 2km of the atmosphere.

    Iask you: What in your opinion keeps the cool relatively moisture free areas cool? if not upper atmosphere cloud due to the very low upper atmosphere temperatures that prevail at the moment then what?

  123. “I classify all this as irrelevant [and not even wrong] nit-picking”

    Think about this for a second, dear Leif.

    A m^3 volume of the atmosphere, in thermal equilibrium, receives a radiative flux from below. This means:

    1. The flux entering is balanced by that leaving.
    2. The temperature in the box does not change.
    3. Emission equals absorption.

    Now allow the temperature to rise.

    1. The flux entering exceeds that leaving.
    2. Absorption exceeds emission.

    You require assent to so classify, and it is not granted.

  124. As of today 10-15-08, that little dimple is fading fast. In our youthfully exuberant college farting contests, after considerable beer or beans, we referred to such a display as this little spot as a “flirp.” Flirps only get 1 point. Flutter blasts (real sunspots) would rank about 5…ergo, “2 flirps and a flutter-blast, 6 points” would be a far more active solar display. I’m not sure flirps would even count as cycle 24…maybe a flutter-blast later?

  125. Gary Gulrud (16:18:10) :
    1. The flux entering exceeds that leaving.
    2. Absorption exceeds emission.

    As usual, your posts are completely irrelevant. And especially to the greenhouse effect [that was the topic], which is very simply due to half of the radiation emitted downwards.

  126. Leif, I have to say this. Your logic is intoxicating. There is no better thing on this Earth than logic. Because I was baptized a Catholic (and then excommunicated as an adult) I can’t worship logic but if I could be given immunity from persecution, I sure as hell would.

  127. “The energy is acquired and the re-emitted very shortly thereafter… One might argue that energy cannot be ‘lost’ as you claimed, since it is conserved.”

    ‘Lost’ to the GHG molecule absorbing, read more carefully.

    On the one hand, we’ve just seen if OLR is heating the atmosphere, then emission must exceed absorption.

    On the other hand, N2 and O2 own the excess of any absorbed energy. Are they emitting IR downward? I thought not.

    So, since the emissivity of asphalt, green leaves, snow, etc., is 1000 times greater than CO2 at STP, and 500 times greater than gaseous H20, also at STP, just how, may we ask, can the heat be retained? Won’t convection and condensation just carry it away?

    And yet, if it is as you say, H2O and CO2 emit their absorbed IR energy instantly, all of it, then is there heating at all? If so of what?

    That’s an especially nasty contradiction you’ve got this time. You really ought to take something for it–derivation from first principles, maybe?

  128. Leif
    Is ‘the size of the polar cap [as measured by the latitude of the filaments]’ related to the strength of the solar wind from that hemisphere, and given that the other hemisphere has a smaller or larger polar cap will the solar wind from that hemisphere vary accordingly?

  129. Pingback: Sun’s magnetic field still in a funk during September

  130. Gary Gulrud (20:08:45) :
    derivation from first principles, maybe?
    If it helps you, the essential mechanism can be explained thusly:

    Consider a system consisting of a bottom slab that is at a temperature Te, and a top slab which is at a temperature of Ta. The absorptivity of the top slab over the spectrum of the emitted radiation of the bottom slab is α. Assume the spectrum averaged α is equal to the spectrum averaged ε. Also assume that the top slab does not reflect radiation from the bottom slab; the reflectivity is 0. The transmissivity is thus 1 minus the absorptivity (1-α, or 1-ε). The top slab is transparent to an incoming source of radiation (S). By conservation of energy, the incoming energy must be balanced by the energy emitted by the bottom slab and transmitted through the top slab plus the radiation emitted by the top slab.
    Application of Stefan-Boltzmann gives:
    S = σTe^4(1-ε) + εσTa^4
    Now apply it to just the top slab:
    2εσTa^4 = ασTe^4 = εσTe^4
    If we solve these equations for Te^4:
    Te^4 = S / σ(1-ε/2) or
    Te^4 = 2S / σ(1+τ)
    Let’s look at the extremes where τ=0 and τ=1.
    For τ=0, Te=303K
    For τ=1, Te=255K
    In the case where there are no greenhouse gases (τ=1), the temperature of the bottom slab is equal to the radiative effective temperature. If there are greenhouse gases (τ>1), the temperature is always greater than the radiative effective temperature.
    [Bohren and Clothiaux, Fundamentals of Atmospheric Radiation, pp 31-33.]

  131. Erl Happ (21:16:53) :
    Is ‘the size of the polar cap [as measured by the latitude of the filaments]‘ related to the strength of the solar wind from that hemisphere, and given that the other hemisphere has a smaller or larger polar cap will the solar wind from that hemisphere vary accordingly?
    First, the size of the polar cap is only very crudely given by the latitude of the filaments, so any kind of quantitative comparison is suspect from the outset. Second, the ‘strength’ of the solar wind? [here we go again: what do you mean by ‘strength’?]. Here http://swoops.lanl.gov/data.html you can see how several solar wind quantities vary with latitude. In a sense the momentum flux can be said to be the ‘strength’ and it does not vary with latitude.
    There are several points to be made: 1) the emission of the solar wind is a local process depending only on conditions at the point of emission. 2) the solar wind does not come from the polar caps per se [c.f. at solar maximum when there are no polar caps]. 3) there is thus no hemispheric asymmetry related to the size of the polar cap.

    You can see more here:
    http://www.leif.org/research/A%20Floor%20in%20the%20Solar%20Wind%20Magnetic%20Field.pdf

    This paper was written before the data from the last polar passes of Ulysses were in. The latest data show a somewhat diminished magnetic field strength and solar momentum flux. What should be taken into account, though, is that the previous polar passes were two years before minimum, so the data do not refer to the same point of the cycle. At http://www.leif.org/research/HMF-Owens.png you can see the open flux measurements from all deep-space spacecraft compared.

    Don’t over-interpret the Makarov paper

  132. Arthur Glass (07:37:17) :
    Stratospheric sudden warmings are a complex subject. I have been reading Labitzke and Van Loon ‘The stratosphere’. Many things seem to be involved including the southern oscillation, the QBO, the same periodicy appearing in the Southern Oscillation, one notices the recent La Nina fits a pattern starting in 2004, then 2006 and 2008 with El Ninos at 2003, 2005 and 2007. Then there is the influence of the sunspot cycle with a different manifestation of SSW at minimum versus maximum and volcanoes that twist the thing again.

    Then there is the fact that it appears in the Arctic and affects temperatures all the way to the surface but does not disturb the troposphere in the Antarctic. One thing stands out for me, and that is the influence of warming in the tropics drives convection that cools the upper troposphere. This is said to increase the thermal gradient between the Equator and the poles. But there is a simpler connection that is overlooked by those who compartmentalize the Troposphere and the Stratosphere and suggest that the Stratosphere is little affected by forces beneath, ie. stable against convection.

    Enhanced uplift at the equator is matched by stronger downdraft over Antarctica which has the coldest, densest air on Earth. This effect appears in the temperature data. Some depression of the stratopause might be expected. The Arctic is coldest in winter and I would expect enhanced convection in the Southern Hemisphere to provoke some depression of the stratopause in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I first noticed this mirror image effect when comparing temperature data for Central England and Victoria Australia. A warm southern hemisphere summer provokes a cooler northern winter.

  133. “The transmissivity is thus 1 minus the absorptivity (1-α, or 1-ε). The top slab is transparent to an incoming source of radiation (S). By conservation of energy, the incoming energy must be balanced by the energy emitted by the bottom slab and transmitted through the top slab plus the radiation emitted by the top slab.”

    Beer’s Law in use: not a modern treatment and one that fails in any way to account for evaporation, convection and condensation on a water planet.

    The emperor has no clothes.

  134. As of 13:15 UTC, there isn’t a recent SOHO MDI Continuum Image, but on the GONG Images

    http://gong.nso.edu/Daily_Images/

    I can’t see anything left of the spot, other than its dwindling magnetic field.

    How common is it for early-cycle spots to die after about 1/4 rotation?

    The region now coming into view over the eastern limb [probably} produced sunspots (I saw some fading spotlets yesterday), is now just a plage region.

    The monthly sunspot count for October is now certainly higher than for September which was higher than August, so solar minimum may have happened or may be happening now.

  135. Steve Hempell (20:44:50) on 10/14

    Thank you and Leif and Pete. I guess it’s back to square one, which it seems, I now share with Leif et al. I’m reminded of the picture of the cat sitting on its hind legs, looking down at a Rubik’s Cube held in its paws. The caption was OMG WTF. This may be our relationship with understanding climate regulation. Now, if we just had a roomful of lolcats.
    ================================

  136. Has anyone else noticed that Leif has assumed the pedagological personality of his subject? His knowledge beams radiantly, constantly, and steadily.
    ==============================================

  137. Leif Svalgaard (03:04:22) :
    Thanks for that information. There is a small difference between the hemispheres, more noticeable perhaps at aphelion, but the diagrams give a static picture at a point in time. Is there a record of the change over time? Am I correct in assuming that any increase in the energy coming from the suns southern hemisphere plays out between January and June tending to reinforce the influence of the March magnetosphere coupling effect?

    Listened to Ken McCracken on the radio tonight saying that the next twenty years will bring cooling that may inhibit the political effort to control greenhouse gas emissions. I believe his temperature projection is based on ice core data. I imagine that the mechanism that relates low amplitude solar cycles to reduced terrestrial temperature remains unexplained. Without an understanding of the mechanism and the way it plays out its going to be very hard to quantify the solar variation and work out what proportion of the past temperature increase may be attributable to other causes.

  138. Leif Svalgaard (02:29:15) :
    Consider not two slabs but three and let us assume that the energy radiated downwards from the topmost gets only as far as the second topmost from where it is convected away.

    Add another slab, and another, in fact add lots of slabs.

    Add a slab that is made entirely of greenhouse molecules but at such a density that any intercepted radiation upon re-emission moves freely in the space between the molecules where the downwards radiating portion gets only as far as the next atmospheric molecule from where 50% is radiated away from the Earth and you have something like the stratosphere where strong seasonal heating produces no response whatsoever in the layer immediately below. How many downwards transfers does it take for the energy to become insignificant?

    Mathematics is no substitute for common sense. A lousy model is just a lousy model no matter how it is dressed up.

  139. Gary Gulrud (06:01:52) :
    Beer’s Law in use: not a modern treatment

    Nothing wrong with Beer’s Law:
    http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Beer's_Law

    But study carefully this modern treatment:
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.4324v1.pdf
    especially section IV.

    and one that fails in any way to account for evaporation, convection and condensation on a water planet.
    None of which has anything to do with the greenhouse effect, although, of course, with climate in general [which is why it is such a good straw man to put up].

    John-X (06:28:48) :
    How common is it for early-cycle spots to die after about 1/4 rotation?
    The lifetime does not vary with early/late in the cycle per se, the size of the group is an important factor: the larger the group the longer it lives. A typical lifetime for a group of the size of 1005 is less than a week, so nothing unusual there.

  140. a better link to Beer’s Law: here
    I wish there was a preview [Anthony?]. Too much of a struggle against the blog software.

    REPLY: I wish there were too. But WordPress.com free hosting doesn’t offer one. – Anthony

  141. Erl Happ (07:50:36) :
    There is a small difference between the hemispheres, more noticeable perhaps at aphelion, but the diagrams give a static picture at a point in time. Is there a record of the change over time?
    Once the train has derailed, putting it back on track again seems to be very difficult.

    Am I correct in assuming that any increase in the energy coming from the suns southern hemisphere plays out between January and June tending to reinforce the influence of the March magnetosphere coupling effect?
    First, there is no generally accepted difference and persistent increase from either hemisphere. There are no shortages of wild claims, of course, here is one of the worst http://spaceweb.oulu.fi/~kalevi/publications/Mursula_ASR_2007.pdf [even using my IMF polarity data]. I’m sure you’ll find in it ample material to further your speculations.

    Second, the [small, perhaps 15%] part of the magnetospheric coupling that maximizes in March for one polarity of the IMF will minimize in March for the other polarity [reversed in September]. Since the poles change polarity at cycle max, the result is a [weak] 22-year cycle of geomagnetic activity. This is explained in [too?] great detail in the papers referred to, e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf

    Ken McCracken on the radio tonight saying that the next twenty years will bring cooling […] I believe his temperature projection is based on ice core data. I imagine that the mechanism that relates low amplitude solar cycles to reduced terrestrial temperature remains unexplained.

    Not only that, but also un-demonstrated, so no wonder is it not explained.

    Erl Happ (08:23:49) :
    the stratosphere where strong seasonal heating produces no response whatsoever in the layer immediately below.
    It seems that you have seen the light, good, finally.
    The two-slab model is a teaching tool to make you grasp the physics at work [it apparently failed to do so]. A more realistic atmosphere has more than one absorbing layer, which will just further decrease outgoing thermal radiation and increase surface temperatures. You see, the main point is that the downward directed radiation heats the surface, not the atmosphere, but since the atmosphere is heated from below, a higher surface temperature leads to a higher atmospheric temperature the usual way.

    Mathematics is no substitute for common sense.
    First, common sense is not so common [to wit …]. Second, Mathematics is the most powerful tool we have to understand how the universe works. It is a bit unreasonable [ http://nedwww.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/March02/Wigner/Wigner.html ] that it should be so, but without Mathematics, you cannot really understand [and apply that understanding] the physical world. You can still be awed by its beauty and violence.

  142. “Sunspot 1005 fades as new Cycle 24 Sunspot appears”
    10/16/2008 by Kevin VE3EN at 20:45 [UTC]

    “Sunspot 1005 has decayed into a plage region.

    ” Meanwhile a new sunspot formed overnight in the southern hemisphere and also belongs to Cycle 24. For a short period early today, both sunspots were visible at the same time.

    “This is the first time two Cycle 24 sunspots were visible at the same time.”

    http://www.solarcycle24.com/

  143. I just checked the latest magnetogram at solarcycle.com. Is it just me or is there a cycle 23 area nearer the equator in the southern hemisphere?

  144. Yesterday I saw a sunspot right on that cycle 23 area, which led me to view the magnetogram. They must not be counting tiny tims anymore. It looks like it faded today.

  145. dave bruenner (11:33:59) :

    “I have heard quite a twitter about a mysterious term 10xcsn being batted about in the looney bin chat rooms. It supposably refers to some kind of solar mishap or flare. Does this have ANYTHING to do with the suns variation of magnetic field.”

    Could be “clear solar noon”, which appears to be what it sounds like, a clear noon day.

    “This model is referred to as the Clear Solar Noon Model”
    http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=5901573

    “Nontemperature-related errors in the pre-1976 global horizontal data used in the SOLMET/ERSATZ data base were corrected using a technique known as the SYI/CSN procedure. Data for clear solar noons (CSN) were compared with standard year irradiance (SYI) values obtained…”
    http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/pubs/NSRDB/history.html

  146. For Friday October 17, 2008 Mt. Wilson is not reporting any Sunspots. Today’s weather report for Mt. Wilson CA was that the skies were clear. Meanwhile a sunspot number 24 is being reported for today with two sunspot groups. Any idea why there is a discrepancy?

  147. Leif, my remark regarding the “sigificant 24 slar cycle sun pots apearing” was only made to underline “the observation”. I enjoy every part of the discussion and really love the commitment of all particiapants.

    I am still stuck with my question about the Landscheidt papers.
    He not only made the prediction for a Maunder Minimum in 2030 (still to be proven), he also made predictions for El Ninjo events and big droughts (which were proven).

    In order to make such predictions he must have had a profound understanding of the way our sun behaves and interacts with our atmosphere and oceans.

    I just would like to have your opinion how to weigh Landscheidt’s work and conclusions in regard to the current discussions.
    One of the aspects I remember is an explanation how solar winds bring energy into the statosphere thus influencing air pressure and weather patterns.

  148. From the SIDC ‘Weekly Bulletin’

    “…two small active regions (NOAA11005 & 11006) were seen on the disc from Oct. 13 to 18, as well as several small plages without sunspots.

    ” Most of those features belonged to the new solar cycle, thus heralding the onset of the rising phase of cycle 24.

    “Only AR11006 produced minor A subflares on Oct. 17 and 18. A semi-halo CME was also seen in LASCO images on Oct.17, but it was a backside event directed away from the Earth.

    ” It may indicate the presence of an active source that could
    rotate onto the Earth-facing hemisphere over the coming week. ”

    http://www.sidc.be/products/bul/

  149. Leif Svalgaard (12:20:00) :

    dave bruenner (11:33:59) :
    ‘ I have heard quite a twitter about a mysterious term 10xcsn’
    ” I have no idea…”

    One of those “web bot” things – they crawl the web for supposedly significant words & phrases which are then supposed to be important for predicting future trends & world events & such. (For example, in 2001, an increase in online references to Sept 11th as that date approached).

    This 10xcsn is now on various conspiracy sites, but few even purport to know its meaning, other than to say its from the ‘new world order,’ secret societies or ufos.

    I’m going to make up a weird, Kurt-Vonnegut-style name, and associate it with a secret-project-type title and throw it out on the web, then see how long it takes for web bots to pick it up as a sign of end times, something related to a Nostradamus prediction, or part of an international multi-generational conspiracy.

    Any decent web bot will surely scan WUWT, so here goes:

    Lucifex Trasmastodedes appointed Dirigent for Operation Empoissoner. Take all normal measures to conceal this information. – Mendacitas de Aleppo

    ufo new world order bilderberg assassination cia illuminati mafia da vinci code paris hilton

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