21 spotless days and solar magnetic field still in a funk

We are now at 21 days with no sunspots, it will be interesting to see if we reach a spotless 30 day period and then perhaps a spotless month of December.

From the data provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) you can see just how little magnetic field activity there has been. I’ve included it below with the latest available update from December 6th, 2008:

ap_dec08-520

click for a larger image

What I find  most interesting about the Geomagnetic Average Planetary Index graph above is what happened around October 2005. Notice the sharp drop in the magnetic index and the continuance at low levels. Read on for more.

This looks much like a “step function” that I see on GISS surface temperature graphs when a station has been relocated to a cooler measurement environment. In the case of the sun, it appears this indicates that something abruptly “switched off” in the inner workings of the solar dynamo. Note that in the prior months, the magnetic index was ramping up a bit with more activity, then it simply dropped and stayed mostly flat.

Currently the Ap magnetic index continues at a low level, and while the “smoothed” data from SWPC is not made available for 2008, I’ve added it with a dashed blue line, and the trend appears to be going down.

As many regular readers know, I’ve always pointed out the sharp drop in 2005 with the following extended period of low activity as an odd occurance. Our resident solar astronomer Leif Svalgaard disagrees with this. But I’d also like to point out that this was the time when global sea level as measured by the JASON satellite and reported by the University of Colorado began to lose its upward trend.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Source: University of Colorado, Boulder

Coincidence? Perhaps. But I think investigation is needed to determine if there is any mechanism that would explain or exclude this correlation.

(h/t Joe D’aleo

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gary gulrud

While the spate of SC 24 spots (as opposed to specks) last month surprised me the current spotlessness in light of the ap graph is restoring my expectation that the smoothed 13-month sum may yet have a new low ahead.

Ray

I was just doing research on this just before you put up this article. Actually if we count Nov 18 and today (Dec 9th, 2008) it is 22 consecutive spotless days. For a solar activity that is supposidly picking up… I think it is more of a grinding stop!!!
P.S. I like the snow on the site… maybe with an Artic blue background and icicles would make picture-perfect.

Pieter F

When the IPCC first presented its projections for sea level rise in the early 90s, the y-axis scale was in decimal meters (predicting a 0.64 m rise in 100 years). Subsequent presentations of the information was in cm. The graph above is in mm. On my screen at least, 10mm on the y-axis is longer than 10mm.
Does the general pubic (in the US) know what a mm really is, or are they more impressed by the steepness of the rise? Imagine a graph that is expressed in exact millimeters with the time scale moved out so that a decade gives a more reasonable impression of a ten years of time.
BTW: great snow effect — subtle, but meaningful.

Cathy

Love the snowflakes!

crosspatch

Spaceweather says there might be a spot group appearing on the far side of the Sun.
Are there any data that go back beyond 2000 so we might be able to see if there were any previous “steps” of this sort? What I am particularly curious about is if there was a corresponding step up sometime in the 1970’s.

Wondering Aloud

I have taken to looking at the video of the sun, linked at right, several times a week. It makes me cold just watching it.
The snow flakes I find a bit distracting.

George E. Smith

Looking at that magnetic plot with its monthly data and then “smoothed” monthly data, it appears that the “smoothing is simply a data throwaway process.
Does anybody ever do a Fourier Transform on this raw data, to see what its frequency spectrum looks like.
Maybe it is the information that is being thrown away, and the “noise” is being kept.
George

Douglas DC

I think we all are in the barrel on this one,and the Warmists will have no option.
However proving them wrong is not going to be fun…

Hasse@Norway

I’ve always wondered how CO2 is supposed to warm the oceans, when it’s absorbed in the top1-2mm of water. Sunlight penetrates 100m into water so small variances in the sun should have more to do with cooling or heating the oceans than any change in CO2. IMO CO2 should have no heating effect on 70% of the planet.
Considering the huge difference in mass between the atmosphere and the oceans. The atmosphere has only 0.384% of the mass of the oceans (if memory serves me correct). The short term effect on the oceans should be negliable. Yet, oceans have warmed and temperature has increased. It should be a no-brainer which caused what.
[SARC]Of course it is increasing the amount of CO2 in mass A from 0.028% to 0.038% which weighs 0.384% of mass B. [/SARC]
The difference in mass between CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is so enormous that claiming the increase in CO2 has anything to do with the increase in ocean temperature is ridiculous

Retired Engineer

Perhaps an occasional Santa & Reindeer?
If GCR’s cause more clouds, and less magnetic fields allow more GCR’s, should we not see more of those white fluffy things? Some satellite has to record this. Has cloud cover changed at all in the last couple of years?
I see a couple of black spots on the sun, one at the equator near the east, another in the north east. Dead pixels, I assume?
OT: You don’t hate Windows Vista anymore?

Leon Brozyna

Were I to adopt the writing style of the MSM alarmists, I might say that the latest value of the Ap index is the lowest in the current millennium!
As for spotless days, we’ve now reached 246 for the year, compared to 253 for 1912 and 311 for 1913. Won’t take much to exceed the level set in 1912. The sun’s just not getting with the program.

Gary

Month-to-month variation in the solar cycle seems to have damped down after Oct 2005 too. Not only are the values low, they’re lethargic.

Tim L

so we are at 270 days for the year? and total 560 since the switch?
Tx Anthony

Don B

If Leif is reading this, does the linked graph of cosmic ray flux automatically update, and if not, how current is this graph? NASA recently announced the solar wind to be the weakest in 50+ years, and one would expect the cosmic ray count to go to record levels for the last 50+ years as well.
http://www.leif.org/research/CosmicRayFlux3.png

Doesn’t look like an upward trend yet. We’ll see what happens in the next few months.
For anyone who could use some holiday joy, here are the first few verses of a Christmas carol by Bethany Cole, with her kind permission, which I have posted on my site:
On the first day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the second day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the third day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
No warming trend,
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the fourth day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
More falling temps,
No warming trend,
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
It only gets better:
http://talkingabouttheweather.com

Mike McMillan

OT, but the Surface Stations Gallery is down.

It certainly deserves more attention. Even the noise level in the graph dropped. It’s not like the AGW guys should mind more study because it gives an excuse for some of the less convenient trends.
Still they can always apply a correction to the Jason signal if it gets too far out of line.
I know WUWT stays away from politics most of the time but if you haven’t heard–
The US government is considering legislation which gives the government control over the types of cars that can be produced in exchange for the bailout. Of course the key is so that they are environmentally friendly.
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/auto-industry-takeover/

davidgmills

So how many more spotless days before 2008 is the most spotless since 1913?
Have we passed 1912 yet?
It’s been hard for me to keep up with the exact number of spotless days.

Harold Ambler

I don’t see my earlier comment in the awaiting moderation queue, so forgive me if this is a repeat…
The Ap trend does not yet appear to be upward. It will be interesting to see where we are in a few months.
Anyone needing a holiday laugh:
On the first day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the second day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the third day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
No warming trend,
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.
On the fourth day of Global Warming,
my true love sent to me
More falling temps,
No warming trend,
Two Clinton thugs,
And Al Gore’s cap and trade policy.

For the rest of Bethany Cole’s brilliant carol, feel free to visit http://talkingabouttheweather.com
All the best,
Harold

Anthony, I think the planetary index graph drop is interesting too. You say “This looks much like a “step function” that I see on GISS surface temperature graphs when a station has been relocated to a cooler measurement environment.”
Just to eliminate other possibilities: Has an instrument issue been ruled out for the AP graph?
P.S. -8C here, old fashioned winter.

Bobby Lane

OT, but I am just watching a live press conference where President-elect Obama is meeting with Al Gore, and the talk is about climate change. He said that “the time for delay is over” and “the time for denial is over.” He also said that all three (not clear who else is involved – Biden maybe?) are in agreement over the “what the scientists have been telling us FOR YEARS.” His plan is to re-energize America by creating ‘green’ jobs in all 50 states. He sees it not only as a problem, but also as an opportunity. More importantly, however, it is a matter of urgency and national security says our soon to be president. This does not look good at all.

Alex

Just 7 more days!!! 7 more days and 2008 will be in second place!

marcus

Magnetic field is going down, spotless days are going on and…what about solar flux? And solar wind?
I think is so far starting cycle.

I think about the only thing concrete that can be said at this point, is the sun “did something” and we for once in our existence had the instrumentation in place that could actually measure what happened. Past there, we know little about the why — But fortunately the instruments are still observing.
Oh yeah, we do know it’s getting quit cold on our little speck of a planet. What caused what is still conjecture.
Maybe if we forgot focusing on proving the hoax and got back to doing real science, mankind may actually discover some new science from all this. Ice ages have come and gone for millions of years, and we still don’t know why. Is a clue staring us in the face?

PearlandAggie

i know the number of spotless days per year is the metric, but it strikes me as an inconvenient metric in that, just like the scale on a graph, it can give the wrong impression. when i first saw that 1912 had 311 spotless days, i thought at first, “wow, this minimum has a LONG way to go before it’s anything like 1912.” then, it dawned on me that the timing of the onset of the minimum during the calendar year has a large impact on the number of spotless days observed in a year. for instance, if a minimum happens to coincide with the beginning of a calendar year (or even at the end of the previous calendar year), then that year will obviously have more observed spotless days than a year where the minimum begins midyear.
just my two cents….

PearlandAggie

also, if you add the number of spotless days for 1911, 1912, and 1913 (all in the top ten spotless years), you get a total of 764 (over two complete years-worth of spotless days)!
if you add 2007 and 2008 (also both in the top ten spotless years) and assuming we reach 253 for 2008 (the number of spotless days in 1912, which appears pretty likely at this point), you get a total of 416 spotless days….still a LONG way to go between now and the end of 2009 to reach the number spotless days observed during 1911-1913. essentially, nearly all of next year would have to be spotless to reach/exceed the same number of spotless days observed during 1911-1913.
only time will tell….

David L. Hagen

Per Bobby Lane’s note, see:
Obama vows action on global warming

After huddling with former Vice President Al Gore about climate change, President-elect Barack Obama declared, “The time for delay is over, the time for denial is over. . . .After huddling with former Vice President Al Gore about climate change, President-elect Barack Obama declared, “The time for delay is over, the time for denial is over.” “

Richard Hanson

Perhaps not so coincidently, Figure 2 of Josh Willis’ paper last June:
Assessing the globally averaged sea level budget on seasonal to
interannual timescales
Josh K. Willis,1 Don P. Chambers,2 and R. Steven Nerem3
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 113, C06015, doi:10.1029/2007JC004517, 2008
http://www.agu.org/journals/jc/jc0806/2007JC004517/
Shows that the steric component of sea level begins to decrease sometime in 2005. The steric component slope from July of 2003 through June of 2007 is calculated to be -0.5 +/- 0.5 mm/yr as seen in Table 1. This differs from the altimeter measurement for the same time period of 3.6 ± 0.8 mm/yr.

PearlandAggie

one more thing….if we were to get the 348 spotless days in 2009 to tie the total number between 1911-1913, that would exceed the all-time record number of spotless days set in 1913 (311) by more than 10%. i’m not saying it’s impossible, but it certainly is unlikely.
it is also possible that today’s mproved observational instruments are picking up smaller spot areas that would have been missed in the past with traditional observation methods, artificially lowering the total number of spotless days in the modern era.

davidgmills

David Hagan:
If Hansen and the other AGW scientists would change their tune, don’t you think Gore and Obama would as well?
Blaming the messenger for someone else’s message always seems like a cheap shot.

ElphonPeedupon

re:Stephen Hill’s son, I guess he is to be congratulated for having no impact on the climate. Not sure about the CO2 reference though.

Anthony: Looking at the following graphs, I’d have to say that the decrease in Pacific Ocean SSTs is what’s driving the trend of global sea level after 2005.
The Pacific Ocean has been dropping since 2005:
http://i38.tinypic.com/2my3dzb.jpg
The trend in the Indian Ocean’s been relatively flat for a decade:
http://i33.tinypic.com/1z9pxj.jpg
It’s tough to tell what the Atlantic is doing:
http://i34.tinypic.com/11kfuop.jpg
And the Southern Ocean SST anomalies have been dropping like a rock for 20 years and showing no signs of increasing (Brrr!!!):
http://i35.tinypic.com/s3djds.jpg
I covered the big three in this post:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/10/atlantic-indian-and-pacific-ocean-ssts.html

Jeff Alberts

davidgmills (14:19:39) :
If Hansen and the other AGW scientists would change their tune, don’t you think Gore and Obama would as well?

I have seen nothing in Hansen or Gore’s characters that would indicate a willingness to change based on facts.

rtw

PearlandAggie is right: A calendar year doesn’t mean anything to the sun.

Mary Hinge

But I’d also like to point out that this was the time when global sea level as measured by the JASON satellite and reported by the University of Colorado began to lose its upward trend.

Apart from the La Nina induced pause and drop in SL, the trend is definately still up and is back to the rate of 3.3mm a year. There doesn’t seem to be any meaningful correlation between sun spots and sea level, if there was surely the sea level would be falling or at least static instead of rising 5mm since February.
Love the snow effect though!

Richard Sharpe

Mary Hinge says:

Apart from the La Nina induced pause and drop in SL, the trend is definately still up and is back to the rate of 3.3mm a year. There doesn’t seem to be any meaningful correlation between sun spots and sea level, if there was surely the sea level would be falling or at least static instead of rising 5mm since February.

Did you read what you wrote?

I love the snowflakes and find them strangely soothing. But something tells me we will be seeing a lot more of the real thing, as the northern hemisphere winter starts to settle in…
I’ve been a bit busy and out of touch with the sunspot situation, of late. Are we now definitely in Cycle 24, or is there still a way to go?

AnonyMoose

OT, but the Surface Stations Gallery is down.

Maybe these aren’t snow flakes. They’re paint flakes from shattered Stephenson screens.

debby

Love the snowflakes!!! I do not post often and have a question. I understand the concern about the sun’s activity. Here on earth our own magnetic field is in flux. It has decreased 10% in a short amount of time and appears to be shifting towards a polar reversal. These polar reversals occur about every 300,000 years and it’s been over 700,000 years since the last one. Instead of having magnetic fields from the poles, fields are forming in other areas. Does earth’s internal magnetic flux have an effect on weather patterns? Does this flux allow for more cosmic rays or less or for cosmic rays entrance at other points [not poles]? Thanks for any thoughts or information on this issue. Trying to understand all the interactions

Robinson

“I see a couple of black spots on the sun, one at the equator near the east, another in the north east. Dead pixels, I assume?”
I can’t see one at the equator, but the one north east I think is a dead pixel. If the image is generated using some kind of micro-scanning technique, then it will give some weight to the surrounding pixels, hence, if you zoom it (I use Virtual Magnify Glass), you can see it’s actually 4 pixels in size. Still, it could be a spot I guess.

George E. Smith

Well Leif’s Cosmic ray (neutron) graph is interesting, specially the match between the two detectors. Is the average, simply the average of those two sites or something else.
Also, what are you using these days as a Neutron detector; and what is the energy range of these neutrons.
I assume that the Neutrons are being generated in the atmosphere from charged particle collisions, rather than coming in from outer space (or solar)
So what happens if you plot sunspot cycles on top of the Neutron flux.
I haven’t played with Neutrons in right about 50 years, so I imagine that you do things differently today.
Enquiring minds want to know.
George

Eric Anderson

davidgmills wrote:
“If Hansen and the other AGW scientists would change their tune, don’t you think Gore and Obama would as well? Blaming the messenger for someone else’s message always seems like a cheap shot.”
I didn’t interpret his statement as a cheap shot. Being in a position of influence/authority means you are not just a “messenger.” There are thousands of scientists who have signed a statement indicating that they are unconvinced about the extent or importance of AGW. If you’re in a position of power, you have an obligation to listen to more than one voice and adopt a reasonable position based on all the facts you can reasonably gather. You ought not just regurgitate whatever nonsense is thrust upon you by the most extreme alarmists, such as Hansen, and certainly not if you are in a conflicted position of potential personal gain from the alarmism.

Bill Illis

To Mary Hinge,
Here is the updated sea level chart from Jason-1 on the same basis as the University of Colorada chart.
http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/fileadmin/images/news/indic/msl/MSL_Serie_J1_Global_NoIB_RWT_PGR_NoAdjust.png
The slope is down to 2.4 mms per year (since 2002) and there has definitely been a pause in sea level rise since the third quarter of 2005.
(Just further noting that the only ocean basin seeing sea level rise at all is the Indian Ocean and the far Western Pacific which has been recharged by all the El Ninos since 1998. All the other ocean basins are flat since 1992.)

Bill Illis

Sorry, I meant to say all the other ocean basins are flat since 2002.

Stanford Uni have updated their solar polar strength graph showing continued weak strength and no indication of polarity change yet.
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/Polar.gif
I am still trying to find data on any apparent slowdown of the solar differential rotation rate but without success…but would like to put money on it.
Meanwhile the planets align just like in the late 1790’s with matching sunspot activity, leading us into a mini Dalton?
The SC24 peak could be as early as Feb 2010.
http://landscheidt.auditblogs.com/

Steven Hill

ElphonPeedupon,
Typing to darn fast….brain was not engaged

R John

A month ago, Hathaway was pronouncing that the Sun was returning to life.
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/07nov_signsoflife.htm
He even still predicts a peak in cycle 24 for 2012. Really?

Steven Hill

AMSR-E shows the ice approaching the highest levels compared to the data there. Will 2009 have the most ice of the period? I expect so.

OT, but this may be very important. The main company that validates carbon offset projects for use in emissions trading has been suspended.
This may be like the bond rating companies issuing high ratings for packages of mortgages. The whole cap and trade scheme seems to me to depend on an unachievably high level of trust – if people’s carbon offsets stand a chance of becoming worthless, the whole market could collapse overnight.
Via Icecap, http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081209/full/456686a.html says in part:
UN suspends leading carbon-offset firm
Emissions trading rocked as Norwegian company is left in limbo.
Quirin Schiermeier
As international climate talks began last week in Poland, the United Nations (UN) suspended the work of the main company that validates carbon-offset projects in developing countries, sending shockwaves through the emissions-trading business.
Based in Oslo, Det Norske Veritas has in the past four years validated and certified almost half of the 1,200 projects approved under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). At its meeting on 28 November in Poznań, the CDM’s executive board temporarily withdrew Det Norske Veritas’s accreditation after a spot check carried out in early November at the firm’s headquarters revealed serious flaws in project management.
The board did not specify which projects are affected, but cites problems with the company’s internal auditing processes, and says that one of its staff members was verifying CDM projects without proper qualifications. As a result, “validation activities could not be demonstrated to be based on appropriate sectoral expertise”, the board reports.

David L. Hagen

davidgmills
“Blaming the messenger for someone else’s message always seems like a cheap shot.”
The issue is not that Obama is repeating Gore’s message, but that Obama is President Elect and in his own capacity promises to act on what he perceives as “scientific fact”. That appears likely to have major detrimental consequences to the economy – but much more so the sever impact on the poor in developing countries – because it diverts key attention to a non-critical issue when the critical issue is to provide alternative fuels to accommodate the pending decline in light oil. If we don’t, we shut down the economy in proportion to decline fuel availability.
See Germany’s recognition of economic realities:
“Merkel: Jobs More Important Than Climate Change”

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been keen to promote herself as a tough actor on climate change, but with a new EU climate deal in the making, she’s issued a new caveat: It must not jeopardize German jobs.