Solar Geomagnetic Ap Index now at lowest point in its record

As many regular readers know, I’ve pointed out several times the incident of the abrupt and sustained lowering of the Ap Index which occurred in October 2005. The abrupt step change seemed (to me) to be out of place with the data, and the fact that the sun seems so have reestablished at a lower plateau of the Ap index after that event and has not recovered is an anomaly worth investigating.

From the data provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) you can see just how little Ap magnetic activity there has been since. Here’s a graph from October 2008 showing the step in october 2005:

click for a larger image

However, some have suggested that this event doesn’t merit attention, and that it is not particularly unusual. I beg to differ. Here’s why.

In mid December I started working with Paul Stanko, who has an active interest in the solar data and saw what I saw in the Ap Index. He did some research and found Ap data that goes back further, all the way to 1932. His source for the data is the SPIDR (Space Physics Interactive Data Resource) which is a division of NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). He did some data import and put it all into a mult-page Excel spreadsheet which you can access here.

I had planned to do more study of it, but you know how holidays are, lot’s of things to do with that free time. I didn’t get back to looking at it until today, especially after SWPC updated their solar datasets on January 3rd, including the Ap Index. Looking at the data to 1932, it was clear to me that what we are seeing today for levels doesn’t exist in the record.

About the same time, I got an email from David Archibald, showing his graph of the Ap Index, graphed back to 1932. Having two independent sources of confirmation, I’ve decided to post this then. The solar average geomagnetic planetary index, Ap is at its lowest level in 75 years, for the entirety of the record:

ap-index-1932-2008-520

Click for a larger image – I’ve added some annotation to the graph provided by Archibald to point out areas of interest and to clarify some aspects of it for the novice reader.

The last time the Ap index was this low was 1933. The December 2008 Ap value of 2, released by SWPC yesterday, has never been this low. (Note: Leif Svalgaard contends this value is erroneous, and that 4.2 is the correct value – either way, it is still lower than 1933) Further, the trend from October 2005 continues to decline after being on a fairly level plateau for two years. It has started a decline again in the last year.

This Ap index is a proxy that tells us that the sun is now quite inactive, and the other indices of sunspot index and 10.7 radio flux also confirm this. The sun is in a full blown funk, and your guess is as good as mine as to when it might pull out of it. So far, predictions by NOAA’s  SWPC and NASA’s Hathway have not been near the reality that is being measured.

The starting gate for solar cycle 24 opened ayear ago today, when I announced the first ever cycle 24 sunspot. However in the year since, it has become increasingly clear that the horse hasn’t left the gate, and may very well be lame.

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That “its” should have no apostrophe.
Interesting article.

Justin Sane

Yabut, wasn’t 1934 the hottest year on record? So a very low index in 1933-1937 would indicate that 2009 should be just as hot.

Jon

One should add that the 1930-50’s atmosphere, according DVI Dust Veil Index, was very clean of volcanic particles, and that the 1960-70’s was not.
Today’s atmosphere is mostly clean again like in the 1930-50’s, the last major eruption that had a large effect on the climate was Pinatuba in 1991.
If there is another large eruption now I think the UNEP/IPCC doctrine is dead?

Penguin

Thnaks Anthony !
I had been looking for some time without success for this earlier data. Obviously we will need more time to see what the longer tem trend shows. It would appear likely that a longer term low AP is needed before it shows up in the temperature trends as in the 70’s cooler period. A sharp drop from a higher point such as in 1933 may not have been sufficient to cause any noticeable temperature drop.
What I do find most interesting about the AP index is that it always tends to rebound sharply upwards after the SC minimums of the past. This time however the opposite has occured.

Leon Brozyna

Thanks for providing that link to SPIDR — I was wondering where the data was coming from for the pre-1991 period.
It is interesting to see low Ap indices matching up with solar minimums, especially during 1933 & 1996, two periods noted for record levels of heat. Which just goes to show that climate is a lot more complicated than pointing at levels of CO2 or various cycles of solar activity.
That being said, I think you may be onto something here. We may see the onset of a really protracted cold period as a result of the confluence of several events, including the negative PDO and a rather quiet sun. Should the sun stay at levels below NOAA predicted values and a negative AO/NAO kick in, I suggest we break out the longjohns.

Steve Berry

Justin. Oh, crikey – can we finally put to rest the idea that 1934 was the hottest year?!? It was…in the USA! I know Americans think the US is the centre (see what I did there) of the Universe, and I know those poor saps at Hollywood put every major disaster/alien-invasion/major event directly in the good old US, but there are a lot of other countries out there. The hottest year globally was 1998, so can we ALL remember that please? This isn’t yank-bashing. I’m English, and we actually have an affection for the US since 1942 (even though you were late and made poor excuses. But you did more than make up for it when you finally arrived). I know your media is to blame for insular reporting, so try and listen to the BBC world service a bit. Yes, I know they lie through their teeth on climate, but they get their politics pretty much spot on. Listen to ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ on Radio4. It’s fascinating stuff and gives a superb picture of other countries. But don’t listen to the ‘Today’ programme which is the Beeb at its worst.

Alex

Justin,
No that 1934 record was only in the united States.
Seems like something is going on, however there appears to be a 6-7 year lag with temp, the abrupt spike in 1992 correlates with the temp spike in 1998,, and the abrupt uptick in 1972 correlates with the abrupt end of cooling in 1978, and so perhaps even if the US record temp would be seen, the Ap uptick would be in around 1928/27
Just an observation, may be totally wrong, but seems interesting

Chris H

No, 1934 was not that hot globally, it was only the “hottest year on record” in the USA. Look at the global temperature since 1932 (same year range as the Ap graph) :
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1926/mean:132/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1932/mean:12

jeez

There are those (including myself), that trust the North American temperature record more than the “Global Reconstructions” and believe it is possible that it represents Global temperatures better than the Global datasets.
1. The US and Canada have a large number of rural stations (and just many more stations) which may have helped to reduce UHI contamination of the record compared to the rest of the world.
2. The sea surface temperature bucket adjustments make the entirety of the sea surface records suspect.
3. While NA may be just 4.8% of the area of the Earth, we are 16.5% of the land area, and that’s getting to be more than statistically significant as a percentage of land-based records.
4. I simply do not trust Jones and the Hadley Centre, or Hansen and GISS, their adjustments and extrapolation do not improve accuracy, they simply make up false accuracy and data.
5. If Mann thinks he can reconstruct the world’s temperature to a tenth of a degree from a couple of stands of bristlecone pines in California, it makes far more sense that we can measure the world’s temperature using all of North America.
6. Much of the Global warming signal of the 20th and 21st centuries is found in stations suspect because they suffered discontinuities through Mao’s cultural revolution in China or were outposts under the Stalinist Soviet Union.
7. If you take a handful of sand on a beach and measure its composition it is a pretty accurate representation of the sand on the whole beach.
Personally I believe the 1930’s were the warmest decade on record since we started measuring.

“….lot’s of things to do…” doesn’t have an apostrophe as well.
So speak the grammar-Nazis.

des332

what happens if it hits zero?

John Finn

With respect to the Ap index graph (1932-2008)
1.There wasn’t a 1970s cooling period. The cooling began in the 1940s and ended in the 1970s. The cooling began ~20 years before the dip in the Ap index.
2. As Justin Sane (post #2) points out the 1932 dip occurs just before the warmest period in the US record and at a time global temperatures were still rising.
Whatever the implications of the low Ap index, it doesn’t appear to have much effect on earth’s climate. I accept that is not what’s being implied in the article, but it’s certainly a connection David Archibald is trying to make.

K

Anthony:
It is hard to know what to say. I still don’t see much here. But congratulations about the work done with Stanko and Archibald. We now have a much longer set of data.
The argument you presented several months was a graph that indicated – to me at least – the current level looked roughly like 1995-1998. And I was one of those who said that big fall in 2005 didn’t seem important; this index jumps around quite a lot.
Now you have figures back to 1932 that show the current level is lower than any time afterward. Meanwhile you also got the benefit of a downward drift in the last several months. Impressive.
I’m glad to see the longest graphs back to 1932. I offer no opinion on what the low level might mean or foretell.

F Rasmin

Steve Berry (00:56:55) : ‘…even though you were late and made poor excuses..’ The Americans should never have bothered have turning up at all? Look what ‘winning’ did for you!

Over the next two weeks all agencies that report global temperature will post their numbers for December. Although this is off topic for this particular post I figured I might as well post my SWAG’s for these metrics.
UAH: +0.05°C +/-0.05°C
RSS: +0.08°C +/-0.05°C
NCDC: +0.37°C +/-0.1°C
GISS: +0.31°C +/-0.1°C
HadCRU: +0.27°C +/-0.1°C
We’ll see in about 12 days where these estimates stand.

I might as well include NCDC US data estimate for December as well.
NCDC US: -1.6°F (-0.89°C) +/- 0.2°F (0.11°C)

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Steve Berry, you sound like a flamin’ (hope I got that apostrophe right) [snip–I had to look that one up, and it may have been meant as a friendly cross cultural jest, but still a violation of blog policy ~ charles the moderator]

Alan the Brit

If we’re being Mr Picky today, is it not maxima & minima as opposed to maximums & minimums, I’m not a Latin scholar?
BTW it is jolly cold yet again in the UK today, more coal needed urgently it burns well & gives off something called heat! I do believe that we used to burn it to generate electricity before the lunatics took over the asylum!
As sunspot activity has for the moment ceased, I expect skirt lengths to start increasing – high sunspot activity in the sixties correlated with mini-skirt lengths pretty well! The Met Office are playing the “we thought this would happen” game before the raging heat of 2009 kicks in! I certainly hope it does soon. Brrr.
Was the Chaiten? eruption in Chille sufficient to assist in aerosol cooling anyone? It certainly looked to be a significant eruption to me.
BTW & slightly OT, Steve Berry:-) Yes, the US was a tad late joining the party, (& Hollywood always centres its disasters in the US rather predictably & the Brit always gets killed in the last 10 minutes by dying heroically), but don’t forget, that mighty “Sleeping Tiger” was keeping jolly GB in supplies well before 1942 or we would have gone under long before, & it is better to be late than never! They also designed & built for us that wonderful airframe that became the Cadillac of the Skies, the P51Mustang, to Air Ministry specs of course! It was perfectly produced with an excellent Allison engine with a ceiling of 15,000 feet, (Air Ministry specs again!). When it failed to perform above that height (needed to avoid air attack) – that equally wonderful design the Merlin engine was fitted to it. The rest is history fella! You are bang on re the Today programme, its bias towards the green lobby lets them avoid the science in favour of myth! I suspect there is a Ministry of Propaganda within the Beeb controlled by Richard Black & Roger Harrabin. As to the next Hollywood blockbuster disaster, which will presumably be yet another comet/asteroid crashing into the planet – in America of course, I hope they get the impact splash correct this time as in the last movie an angled object impacting into sea or land would NOT produce a vertical “splash”, & technically the US would have had little of a wave impact but Europe would have been awash! Poor show but a rip roaring yarn!

Mary Hinge

jeez (01:54:58) :
2. ………. make the entirety of the sea surface records suspect.
4. I simply do not trust …….. they simply make up false accuracy and data.
6. Much of the Global warming signal ……..suffered discontinuities through Mao’s cultural revolution in China………………. Stalinist Soviet Union.
Personally I believe…….

Thanks Jeez for furnishing the script for the next X Files movie….Spooky Mulder and his conspiracy buddies would have great fun with this!

Alex Llewelyn

“There are those (including myself), that trust the North American temperature record more than the “Global Reconstructions” and believe it is possible that it represents Global temperatures better than the Global datasets.”
Hmm… that makes sense. Yeah, why don’t we take data from 1.7% of the globe when we have data for (much) more than half… Yeah that makes sense.
“The US and Canada have a large number of rural stations (and just many more stations) which may have helped to reduce UHI contamination of the record compared to the rest of the world.”
The rest of the world (strangely) somehow also has rural stations. You know, what with America being a developed country and all that, developing countries tend to have more rural stations that America (!)…
“The sea surface temperature bucket adjustments make the entirety of the sea surface records suspect.”
But that’s no reason to disregard them entirely. The American data set is just as subject to strange adjustments anyway. If you’re so suspicious of it then just look at the land data.
“While NA may be just 4.8% of the area of the Earth, we are 16.5% of the land area, and that’s getting to be more than statistically significant as a percentage of land-based records.”
Actually the U.S. is 1.7% of the globe and 6.6% of land. Not statistically significant.
“I simply do not trust Jones and the Hadley Centre, or Hansen and GISS, their adjustments and extrapolation do not improve accuracy, they simply make up false accuracy and data.”
Funny. Because they’re the exact same people who run the American dataset… But of course they forgo their corrupt tendencies when doing it for the homeland. And it’s funny, because the satellites are in such good agreement with the surface data.
“If Mann thinks he can reconstruct the world’s temperature to a tenth of a degree from a couple of stands of bristlecone pines in California, it makes far more sense that we can measure the world’s temperature using all of North America.”
Well we know that his reconstruction is highly inaccurate, but at least you can argue he’s doing the best with what little he’s got. We have better and more extensive data than just America, so why not use it?
“Much of the Global warming signal of the 20th and 21st centuries is found in stations suspect because they suffered discontinuities through Mao’s cultural revolution in China or were outposts under the Stalinist Soviet Union.”
But they weren’t found BECAUSE of the discontinuities (which weren’t that big anyway), there just happened to be discontinuities. There’s been warming documented in many other places and in those places before and since.
“If you take a handful of sand on a beach and measure its composition it is a pretty accurate representation of the sand on the whole beach.”
…you know that’s entirely different…
“Personally I believe the 1930’s were the warmest decade on record since we started measuring.”
Well I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

Dale Chant

re its/it’s
…my name is famous
…your name is famous
…their name is famous
…her name is famous
…his name is famous
…its name is famous
No possessive pronouns have an apostrophe. It’s easy to remember.

Xavier Itzmann:
“That “its” should have no apostrophe.”
Anyone named Itzmann must know all about ‘its.’ And Xavier is, of course, correct. Here’s a useful graphic: click

Ben Kellett

Forgive me for asking the obvious, but if we are to accept that the solar actvity correlates closely with our temperature record, then surely the 1930’s should show up as a cooling phase as should the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I know there is a “lag”, but this does’t seem to quite fit what we are seeing here.
If we accept also the 1970’s cooling happened as shown, then surely we should expect similar dips in global temps during the other periods I have highlighted. While I accept that we might be on the brink of experiencing a cooler phase due to the late 1990’s/early 2000’s dip in solar activity, how might we explain away the dip showing up in the 1930’s. Indeed, if we are to accept JEEZ’s contention that the 1930’s was the warmest decade on record, then our match of temp against sun seems pretty distant.
Having stated all of that, the extent of the recent dip in solar activity does appear a little alarming and it is difficuly not conclude that such an inactive sun won’t have some sort of effect on our climate.
Ben

Steve Berry

Think I should point out that I was pulling the yank chain – or perhaps that should be yanking the chain! I’m full of admiration for the US and all that it has given, and continues to give. No nation is perfect. Even though we (England) gave the world much, we also gave it concentration camps. So, yes I was just having a little fun, and no nasty stuff intended at all. Although I do wish Hollywood would set films (movies) in other countries. Close Encounters got close at the start of the film. But guess where the aliens chose to actually make contact. And then they re-set War of the Worlds in the US when the story is near Woking in Surrey (if memory serves). When we were just about to break the sound barrier the US said they’d give us all they knew about building a Hydrogen bomb if we gave them the secret of how to break through the sound barrier. Seemed like a fair trade at the time. Ah, now I can hear the sound of a Merlin V12. Go to youtube to listen.

Steve Berry

Parts of Britain to drop to -10 degrees C tonight!

braddles

Frankly, the correlation between that Ap index and global temperatures reminds me of the correlation between global temperatures and CO2 – largely non-existent. Look at 1998!

Alex Llewellyn:

Actually the U.S. is 1.7% of the globe and 6.6% of land. Not statistically significant.

Alex should brush up on his reading comprehension. I believe that jeez was referring to North America [NA] in his statement, as opposed to the U.S.
Alex had my attention, up until his deferential apology for Michael Mann’s bogus hockey stick data. What, Mann gets a pass, but jeez gets nitpicked on every single point? The fact that Mann refuses to disclose his taxpayer-funded data and methodology tells us all we need to know about his global warming agenda.
Overall, I thought jeez made a pretty convincing argument. Keep in mind that it is not the skeptics’ point of view that must be defended, but that of those purveying the AGW/CO2 hypothesis.

Chris H

@Ben Kellett
IMHO, while there seems to be SOME correlation between sun activity & temperature, it is not the only thing going on! I would like to remind everyone of the wonderful Wood For Trees web site, here showing sunspots vs temperature since 1850, using an 11 year average:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/mean:132/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1850/mean:132/scale:0.01/offset:-0.8
Close, but no cigar 🙂

1933 is around solar minimum so I wouldnt get too carried away….plus 1934 showed no form on the world scale. One country’s record can be heavy influenced by local events.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

Allen63

Because of the Earth’s “thermal mass”, peaks and valleys in global temperature changes due solar causes would lag the solar peaks and valleys. Thus, if the solar variation is annual, the corresponding temperature highs and lows (if any from that cause) would be offset by months. If the cycle being measured is decades (e.g. Sunspots or Ap index), then the offset could be many years — in proportion to the length of the cycle. The forgoing says nothing about the possible heating/cooling mechanisms, if any.
Hence, I would not expect global temperature cycles to precisely overlay solar cycles (of any type) even if they were related. Consequently, if this “low” in Ap index implies low temperature, we probably have not seen the lowest temperature from that cause.

tallbloke

Alex (00:59:53) :
Justin,
No that 1934 record was only in the united States.
“Seems like something is going on, however there appears to be a 6-7 year lag with temp, the abrupt spike in 1992 correlates with the temp spike in 1998,, and the abrupt uptick in 1972 correlates with the abrupt end of cooling in 1978”
The lag was also noticed by previous researchers:
http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/solarwind.htm
We’ll be feeling the real effects of the drop in 2005 starting in 2009-13
Brrrr. Snow on the ground this morning.

Allen63

I’m with jeez. I like to look at long continuous temperature records from individual out of the way sites — I have an unproven feeling that they more closely represent the reality of global temperature change. And, I seriously question the technical validity and impact of all the “adjustments” affecting the official averaged records.

Ben Kellett

Smokey wrote…..
“Keep in mind that that it is not the skeptics’ point of view that must be defended….”
Sorry, but what kind of statement is this? Does that mean that we, as skeptics can churn out any old bunkum, while those holding more mainstream views must defend & justify?
If the skeptics’ stance is to be taken seriously, I’m sorry but our views have to be as (if not more) robust, defendable, well reasoned and backed up with solid evidence, as those views supporting AGW.
While I agree that there is an up hill battle to fight against alamism and in attracting funding for research that challenges AGW, I certainly do not believe that this battle is best fought by not having to defend our views. Indeed, the very opposite is true.
Ben

Arthur Glass

‘If we’re being Mr Picky today, is it not maxima & minima as opposed to maximums & minimums, I’m not a Latin scholar?’
‘Maximum’ and ‘minimum’ are, in origin adjectives of the first/second declensions in the superlative degree, the positives of which are ‘magnus’ (large) and ‘parvus’ (small’). The –um’ inflexional suffix indicates neuter gender and nominative case (masculine would be –us and feminine would be –a). The plural ending for neuter substantives (nouns and adjectives) with nominative singular in –um is –a. This latter fact can cause confusion, since the nominative singular feminine is also –a (a female graduate of a college is an ‘alumna’).
In ancient Greek, the equivalent endings are: singular –on, plural –a, e.g. one ‘phenomenon’, many ‘phenomena.’
SOLA EST LINGUA MORTUA BONA.

Arthur Glass

But when words have been used in English, or at least in everyday speech, for a long enough period of time, they tend to assimilate to English structures, which would mean, among other things, acquiring a regular -s plural. Thus the plural of ‘forum’ is forums, not ‘fora’.

Hugo

Hey Steve Berry: I watch BBCA, mostly DOCTOR WHO, and it seems like England always gets attacked by aliens. And why does everyone in the whole universe speak with an English accent? Seriously, DON’T look to Hollywood for realism, or the Beeb. And you spelled center incorrectly!

OT (but no good threads for these):
1) 7,001,387 hits (and counting)
2) Dr. Heidi Cullen is subbing for Sam Champion on ABC’s (the US ABC) Good Morning America. I don’t know if this is a step up or a step down for her. They share the same climate views.
3) While I’m talking about ABC, last night their Evening News closed with a spot on the disappearing glaciers at Glacier National Park that was shot last fall before this winter’s snow. I later found on their web site it was first aired Dec. 18. One mentioned that to rebuild the glaciers the area needs 3X the average snowfall for years, I’m not sure what the current snow depth is, but they might be getting 3X this year. West Glacier’s forecast is snow each of the forecast days.
4) I would’ve been more interested in something on the Yellowstone earthquake swarm, but I guess it’s still the holiday season. Besides, this time of year I think snowmobiles are about the only easy access into the park.

Arthur Glass:
De gustibus non est disputandum.
Ben Kellett:
I agree with you. But the real problem is in forcing the pro-AGW contingent to defend their [failed] AGW/CO2 hypotheses — something they are very adept at dodging.

tallbloke

Chris H (04:06:33) :
@Ben Kellett
IMHO, while there seems to be SOME correlation between sun activity & temperature, it is not the only thing going on! I would like to remind everyone of the wonderful Wood For Trees web site, here showing sunspots vs temperature since 1850, using an 11 year average:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/mean:132/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1850/mean:132/scale:0.01/offset:-0.8
Chris, I’ve tweaked your graph to give you a better idea of what’s happening. Smoothing the temperature date at 1/3 of the solar cycle length brings out the solar signal in the temperature data better than smothing over the whole cycle length. I’ve also detrended the temperature data to take account of the 30%-50% inflation of the post 1970 trend brought about by the positive phase of the PDO and the *ahem* ‘adjustments’ introduced by Giss and Hadcru. It also gives a clue as to what’s going to happen over the next 5 years or so as the temperature seems to have resumed the lag behind solar activity it displayed a century ago.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1850/mean:43/detrend:0.4/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1850/mean:132/scale:0.01/offset:-0.9

Traciatim

On an off topic note in the fun weather category:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/090104/national/prairie_cold_snap
“Residents of Saskatoon woke up to the coldest temperatures since 1966, with a wind chill of -45 C, leaving the city shrouded in ice fog. ”
Wow, now that’s cold.

Tom in Florida

“Seek and Ye shall Find!” Even a regular joe like myself can see there doesn’t (apostrophe ok here) seem to be any link between low AP and temperature. However, we only have a very short time frame as reference. Perhaps the AP was this low or even lower at different times in the past causing who knows what. But we don’t (apostrophe again ok here) have those records and cannot know what correlation, if any, to climate there is. Let’s (once again apostrophe ok here) not fall into algorean science and use a limited period to try to conncect dots that are not there.

As this is a new thread that will run some time can I state that the global temperatures since 1850 are not worth the time that is spent analysing them and global temperatures from any era are pretty meaningless.
I fully endorse the validity of using good national records-the longer the better.
I graph Hadley CET back to 1660 a lot. I have also done similar work on Swiss figures to 1860. I know Ellie from Belfast has graphed figures from Armagh and at various times I have seen German, US, and Dutch figures. If there is an existing site which links to long national records could someone point me in the right direction? If not, if people would place a link here to their national (or even regional) temperature data sets I will collate and publish them as a useful resource.
TonyB

Ric Werme (05:02:06) :
Oops – Heidi Jones (who?), not Heidi Cullen. Sigh. I wondered why they didn’t say she was from the Weather Channel.

Stephen Wilde

Looks like I need to again refer to my article which points out that combining solar variability with ocean variability largely resolves the problem of time lags and poor fit between solar variability and temperature.
http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1302
And one must remember to consider the net combined effect of all the ocean cycles at the same time, not just PDO or AO.
Oceans and sun in same phase for any length of time as from 1975 to 2000 can be expected to give the largest and fastes temperature changes.

JP

I think it will be difficult if not impossible to correlate solar activity and gloal climate -at least in the short run. It is only recently that we’ve been able to measure precisely solar activity, and past proxy methods haven’t always delivered expected results.
A case in point in the timing of the LIA. Many scientists date the LIA incorrectly with the Maunder Minimum. However, ice core data from New Zealand, Africa, the Artic, as well as anecdotal evidence from North America, Asia, and Europe have it beginning nearly 3 centuries earilier. For it wasn’t just temperatures but precipitation patterns that changed. Was it just coincidence that much of the LIA occured during the negative phase of the Gliessberg Cycle (this 200 year period of solar inactivity that encompassed the Sporer, Maunder, and Dalton Minimums)? We simply do not know, but we do know that glaciers in both hemispheres began to grow around 1300, that is 300 years before the Maunder Minimum. The Gleissberg Cycle has been in a positive or active mode since 1820 and with it, a period of long term global warming). Some scientists believe that the Gleissberg Cycle cycles from positive to negative every 200 years. Again, this is more of a “guess”. Who knows, maybe the Russians are correct, and we are about to enter a 150 year “cooling” period.
Otherwise, our climate cycles for the last 12000 years appear to be determined primairily by the ability of our oceans to absorb and exhaust heat energy. Two fluids, our oceans and the atmosphere above it, oscillate in a very complex and chaotic way. Add it the short term effects of volcanic aresols (and other man made pollution), not to mention other things such as land use, and it is almost impossible to predict what determines our climate.
The Alarmist have spun thier entire arguement around the narrow bandwidth of infared absorbtion of a trace gas -namely CO2. Let’s us not make the same mistake.

Jon

About 1934.
Well first I question the temp datasets for the last 200 years.
Hadcrut tells me that South-Norway had its warmest year in 1934 and that the 1930’s where as mild as the 10 last years.
The same goes for Arctic in Hadcrut2 Jones et al, but that changed a lot with Hadcrut 3, with old “corrected” wooden seabucket measurements, surprise?
So why does the non-urban station in a large degree tell us that we today towards the polar regions do not have significant warmer weather than in the 1930’s?
When actually this is where it today should be much warmer to validate that the global temperature is warmer today than it was in the 1930’s.
You can only compare 1934 with other years that have the same PDO, ENSO, NAO, AO, Solar activity, volcanic activity(DVI) etc etc..?

John

There seem to be many ways to measure solar activity, and the ap index is but one. If memory holds, don’t the Danish solar researchers (Svensmark and Christensen) show that the 30s was an active solar period? They used a method that produced an indicator of solar activity using the length of the sunspot cycle, again if memory holds (from their 1991 article in Science). And sunspot activity per se wasn’t at a low in the 1930s, either, I don’t think.
So maybe what we are learning here is that we need to understand which indicators of solar activity are most correlated with temperatures on earth, and try to identify the physical mechanisms by which solar activity might cause significant temperature changes on earth. Judith Haigh’s articles suggest that when UV flux is highest (when the solar wind is lowest), more ozone is created in the stratosphere, which affects wind circulation patterns, and somehow causes polar weather to advance more toward the equator (both poles). So it would be interesting to see if the solar wind in the 1930s were very weak, or otherwise.

Alan the Brit

OT 🙂 Arthur Glass – thanks it was very informative! I actually get much of my Latin from the back of my 1925 P.O.D!
Hugo 🙂 God was supposed to be an Englishman so tradition has it in the UK, that would perhaps explain why the accent flows thro’ the Galaxy! Oh, & the Dalek did actually fall to Earth in the US in series 1! Curiously DR WHO has avoided mentioning Climate Change so far!
It is still very cold!!!!!

rhodeymark

Forgive me for asking the obvious, but if we are to accept that the solar actvity correlates closely with our temperature record, then surely the 1930’s should show up as a cooling phase as should the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I know there is a “lag”, but this does’t seem to quite fit what we are seeing here.
I would think PDO (and massive El Ninos) could determine whether the effects are enhanced or mitigated.

Ben Kellett

Smokey, I don’t think we’re yet at the point where we can say for sure that the AGW/CO2 hypothesis has failed. Yes, there may be some holes here & there. Problems with the “Hockey Stick” and yes, the rate of warming has definately slowed to mention but a couple!
There are however, as we are all of us very aware, some pretty complex processes out there and I actually believe it’s still too early to call. I feel that the time of some reckoning at least is drawing near. For example, should Ap Index continue to fall and things don’t change much or indeed if temps start to rise again, then I think we might need to start taking the CO2 thing a bit more seriously. Conversely, if we enter a sustained period of cooling, then I reckon the IPCC et al have some serious explaining to do.
As regards defence of theory dodging by those who support AGW, I have to say that I have been really impressed by some the extremely robust defending of AGW contributers such as (among others) Foinavon and Joel Shore particularly on the James Hansen “nailed it” topic back in December.
My point is that our views need to be presented at least as well as those supporting AGW and our science equally if not more robust – but only to the point where there continues to enough doubt in AGW to bother contending. By the same token, I would expect AGW scientists to eventually capitulate if reality doesn’t soon (10 years) start to match projection.
Ben

Renaud C

I have read nearly all the comments and I do not understand the link some people are doing between low Ap and temperatures.
The second graph is making the link with solar minimum which has nothing to do with temperature directly. Solar minimum is end of a solr cycle and it seems that end of solar cycle is combined with a low Ap.
Now what is interesting is that we are precisely at the end of a solar cycle and this end seems to refusing to end. We had in fact for the first time since 1913 a sunspotless month in August 2008 and we had also since 1913 the record number of spotless day for a year. Unfortunately we do not have Ap data for 1913 but what is interesting is that now we have record (for 76 years) low Ap. So this seems to be confirming that this end of solar cycle is quite unusual (for the last 90 years).
It seems also that Ap stays low while new Solar Cycle seems to start and then Ap is recovering.
Will Ap continue to go down? Will that announce a much longer end of the SC23?
Are the Sun cycles data available somewhere so that we could compare them with Ap and see whether we could take any conclusion from this low Ap?