Code Blue: 10.7 centimeter solar radio flux is flatlining

I had written back in July 2008 about the 10.7cm solar radio flux hitting a new record low value. Part of that has to do with the inverse square law and the distance of the earth to the sun, which is at a maximum at the summer solstice. As you can see below there has been a very gradual rise since then as we approached the winter solstice. David Archibald provides an update below and compares our current period to other solar cycles. – Anthony

UPDATE: In comments, Leif Svalgaard offers his graph, and also speaks of the flatlining. See below the “read more” – Anthony

10-7cm_flux

10.7 solar radio flux from present 23/24 cycle to cycle 19/20

The graph above is of two year windows of the F 10.7 radio flux centered on the last five solar minima.  They are stacked up so that they are 20 solar flux units apart on the same vertical scale.  The original data is from:  http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/SOLAR/ftpsolarradio.html#qbsa

That site notes:

“The quiet sun level is the flux density which would be observed in the absence of activity. Extrapolation to zero of plots of the 10.7cm flux against other activity indices such as plage area or total photospheric magnetic flux in active regions suggest a quiet sun flux density of about 64 s.f.u. This is rarely attained.”  The lowest daily value in this minimum to date was 64.5 in June 2008.

What is evident is that this minimum is quite different from the previous four in that the intra-monthly amplitude has died from June 2008.  The monthly average low was July 2008 and the series has been in uptrend at 0.7 units/month thereafter.  This is a very weak but very consistent uptrend, perhaps the first sign of a rising Solar Cycle 24.  There is very little noise in this signal, suggesting a very weak Solar Cycle 24.

– David Archibald

UPDATE: Leif Svalgaard writes in comments:

As part of my ‘homework’ for the Sunspot Panel [2 years ago] I produced a short document

http://www.leif.org/research/When%20is%20Minimum.pdf

comparing F10.7 and MgII [another solar index] around minima. I have updated the graph in the document to show the flat-lining of F10.7.

svaalgard10-7cm

Advertisements

228 thoughts on “Code Blue: 10.7 centimeter solar radio flux is flatlining

  1. Just a forewarning here to commenters.

    The last solar thread eroded into a chaotic system with comments about nearly everything else under the sun.

    This thread will be different, because I’m going to start deleting widely OT posts. If it has something at all to do with the sun, it is fair game. if it is about anything else, it’s bit bucket because wordpress.com free hosting has no move function.

    I’m going to work up a permanent OT thread page for people that want to discuss other things or need to bring something to my attention. – Anthony

  2. “This is a very weak but very consistent uptrend, perhaps the first sign of a rising Solar Cycle 24”

    We have had this issue before. When discussing solar activity the ‘adjusted’ F10.7 values should be used, not the ‘observed’. The ‘consistent uptrend’ is simply because the Earth was moving closer to the Sun. The correct trend [from a solar view] is on page 5 of http://www.leif.org/research/Most%20Recent%20IMF,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf
    A more detailed view is here [the pink curve]: http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png
    This graph is updated every few days.

  3. If the AP prediction does go down to 3 as per David Archibald’s post, although if I’m reading your graph right the 10.7 flux shows a small but relatively steady increase; overall, this is not happy news.

    Any predictions on how long this ‘solar slump’ might last?

    REPLY: note my comment about Earth’s orbit and inverse square law. – Anthony

  4. On the sunny side of things it’s about time Anthony, some of the comments are mindbogglingly,
    in response,
    Moving through space our solar system perhaps is now beginning to respond to more powerful galactic energies on a electro gravitational bias, the sun, as it has done for hundreds of millions of years, is responding to outside forces, this would obviously impose changes on almost every level of solar energy output .

  5. @ David Archibald

    Do you see a connection to weak solar activity and the recent intense SSW event over the North Pole?

  6. Anthony, good policy.

    Dave, great post.

    This post strongly confirms those who have been predicting an imminent solar minima of some scope. I would like to hear from the “deniers” about whether they are ready to adjust their expectations as a result of this data, or do they still see reasons to doubt that a minima is upon us.

    And, what will the climate consequences be?

  7. wattsupwiththat (07:49:34) :

    Just a forewarning here to commenters.

    The last solar thread eroded into a chaotic system with comments about nearly everything else under the sun.

    Doesn’t this reflect the chaotic nature of our climate?

    :)

  8. The sun is behaving quite strangely. None of the solar physicists seem to have foreseen this turn of events, particularly the NASA affiliated sp’s.

    If this trend continues, Dutch children may be able to skate the canals year round.

  9. How many cycles have solar physicists been measuring this parameter and hence how strong is the correlation between extended weak signal and low amplitude of next solar maximum?

  10. Jeff L (08:54:50) :
    Is there a way to remove the annual orbital effects noted – thus normalizing the data?
    Yes, you multiply by the square of the distance to the Sun. The normalized value is also given each day by the data provider.

    Al Fin (09:04:04) :
    The sun is behaving quite strangely. None of the solar physicists seem to have foreseen this turn of events
    Several solar physicists have predicted [several years ago] that cycle 24 would be the smallest solar cycle in a hundred years. From this perspective, the Sun is just doing its thing.

    Rhys Jaggar (09:11:21) :
    How many cycles have solar physicists been measuring this parameter and hence how strong is the correlation between extended weak signal and low amplitude of next solar maximum?
    Since 1947 [so 5 or 6 cycles]. For so few cycles the correlation is necessarily weak, but expected. Similar indices [CaII, sunspots] go back many more cycles and show a similar correlation.

  11. “I’m going to work up a permanent OT thread page for people that want to discuss other things or need to bring something to my attention.”

    Consider monthly OT articles, so they don’t get too long and they can be found in the archives around the start of each month. A link to the previous thread would be helpful. If an OT articles gets “too full” start a new one at any time. And starting a new OT article provides a speed bump for less significant threads.

    And the intro for an OT article gives you an excuse to show the crows roosting on your Stephenson screens, or whatever struck your fancy.

  12. the_Butcher,

    the Solar Flux, represented by the 10.7cm wavelength, is a PROXY for the overall output of the sun that DOES affect the earth. Leif is correct of course, BUT, what it represents is a lower radiance on the earth that DOES affect us. How much effect for the recorded change is under heated debate even without including hypothesized indirect influences.

  13. Leif,

    Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?
    No

    Hmm, 10.7 cm Radio Flux has influence on distribution of radio signals. Otherwise
    the ‘sparkies’ wouldn’t be that interested in it.

    So, maybe, the best answer would be: Generally no, with the excetpion of some sparkies reach.
    Anyway, reading always all yours postings which much interest.
    Keep on posting.

  14. I imagine the data didn’t look much different going into the Maunder Minimum.

    I feel like saying “Interesting” like Spock would do just before the Enterprise was about to be destroyed by something he hadn’t seen before.

  15. Anthony,

    could we use IDLING instead of FLATLINED???

    Flatlined indicates no signal or DEAD!!! IDLE represents minimum output mode, which would appear to be more appropriate even if it turns out the sun can go to a lower level of output.

    REPLY: Seems like a more representative term. Next post on the subject that is what I’ll use. – Anthony

  16. AnonyMoose (09:57:55) :
    “Consider monthly OT articles, so they don’t get too long and they can be found in the archives around the start of each month.”

    Why not weekly? Considering the volume on this blog, especially the off-topic volume, weekly sounds just about right. Incidentally, in an attempt to keep this post ‘on-topic,’ let me suggest that Ptolemy can explain more than just how the Earth relates to the Sun.

    I wonder how many epicycles would be needed to draw a hockey stick.

  17. KlausB (10:11:17) :
    “Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?
    No”
    Hmm, 10.7 cm Radio Flux has influence on distribution of radio signals. Otherwise the ’sparkies’ […]

    Still, no. But the solar radio flux is correlated with a lot of other solar activity indicators, and those have an influence. So the ‘sparkies’ look to the flux as a sort of ‘barometer’ for ionospheric conditions.

  18. Since the discussion here is solar and ostensibly how solar influences may affect Earth’s climate – I again post the Raspopov paper demonstrating correlation between de Vries cycles and climate.

    http://www.wsl.ch/staff/jan.esper/publications/Raspopov_2008_PPP.pdf

    While it has been pointed out that periodicity of this kind may be found in chaotic data sets, Raspopov et al’s phase shifted waveforms do show correlation at (R2=0.58–0.94). Causing the authors to conclude:

    “The climate response to long-term solar activity variations (from 10s to 1000s years) manifests itself in different climatic
    parameters, such as temperature, precipitation and atmospheric and oceanic circulation. The climate response to the de Vries cycle has
    been found to occur not only during the last millennia but also in earlier epochs, up to hundreds of millions years ago.”

  19. We’re all travelers along for the ride as the sun does it’s “thing”… let’s hope it’s “thing” isn’t going to be catastrophic for us travelers. I can’t imagine what the hundreds of millions of people in the northern hemisphere are going to do if we’re coming upon the beginning of a little ice age… or worse. :(

  20. Is there a theoretical “floor” for the 10.7 cm emission?

    From a quick look at other sources, it looks like 10.7 emissions effect the virtual height of the F layer of the ionosphere, and electron density in the ionosphere, and serves as an “objective” measuring stick for general solar activity and magnetic complexity, without the subjective issues counting sunspots and computing sunspot numbers involve.

    Is there an direct correlation between 10.7 emissions and Total Solar Irradiance, or is that association simply implied by the correlation between sunspot numbers and irradiance, and the correspondence between 10.7 emissions and sunspot numbers ?

    To rephrase that, if you have a 10.7 emission number can you with any confidence predict the total solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere ?

    Larry

  21. the_Butcher (08:39:01) :

    And how much time it takes to reach Earth?

    Leif gave you the 10.7MHz flight time.

    The other flux, that of the solar wind, is currently (from spaceweather.com) about 320 miles/S. At 98 million miles to the Sun, the distance is covered by the solar wind in 85 hours, which is fortunate as it gives us warning of a big hit from a coronal discharge.

  22. Leif,

    Is the “flatlining” of the solar flux related/correlated with what’s happening with the cr flux? As you know, this minima is supposed to correlate with a “pointed” peak in cr flux. And we’ve been bouncing around the top for so long now that we basically have a “flatlined” peak. I don’t think there is any way to say, for sure, what the shape of this peak will be until we get well down the backside of this cr flux cycle, it looks like it could turn out to be flatter than I would have expected for an odd-even transition.

    Basil

  23. Leif, When the Sun is idling for this long, isn’t this a possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to see how it works? When everything is on the spin cycle, you can’t tell what the clothes are in the machine. But when it is simply draining itself of the water, you can now see the clothes. Seeing it’s mechanisms at work on idle speed just seem to me to be the perfect time to figure out how it works. What are some of the Sun’s curiosities, unknowns, and parts of the mathematical calculations that are still iffy that have the potential of being solved while the Sun is just sitting there (in a manner of speaking)?

  24. hotrod (10:32:14) :
    Is there a theoretical “floor” for the 10.7 cm emission?
    Yes, about 64 solar flux units, corresponding to the ‘quiet’ Sun without sunspots and active regions.

    From a quick look at other sources, it looks like 10.7 emissions effect the virtual height of the F layer of the ionosphere, and electron density in the ionosphere, and serves as an “objective” measuring stick for general solar activity and magnetic complexity, without the subjective issues counting sunspots and computing sunspot numbers involve.
    10.7 does not affect anything but is a good [better than spots] proxy for things that do affect the ionosphere.

    that association simply implied by the correlation between sunspot numbers and irradiance, and the correspondence between 10.7 emissions and sunspot numbers ?
    implied

    To rephrase that, if you have a 10.7 emission number can you with any confidence predict the total solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere ?
    short answer is ‘yes’.

  25. Robert Wood (10:38:50) :
    The other flux, that of the solar wind, is currently (from spaceweather.com) about 320 miles/S.
    There is a third flux which may be even more important: that of solar energetic [deadly] particles which may reach us in a few hours after we see an explosion on the Sun.

    Basil (10:40:46) :
    this minima is supposed to correlate with a “pointed” peak in cr flux. And we’ve been bouncing around the top for so long now that we basically have a “flatlined” peak.
    The main reason we see a ‘pointed’ peak is that the other transitions have been short. With a drawn-out transition you get [as we have now] a drawn-out peak. There is a systematic difference in height of the ‘peak’ between E-O and O-E [as we have now] transitions having to do with how the charged GCRs drift in unipolar magnetic fields [over the poles of the Sun]. If this minimum dragged on for another 5 years, the ‘peak’ would be flat for those years. The cosmic ray flux lags about 6 months after solar activity, so with a minimum in, say August-September, 2008, we should begin to see the GCR flux decrease about now.

  26. Basil (10:40:46) :
    this minima is supposed to correlate with a “pointed” peak in cr flux. And we’ve been bouncing around the top for so long now that we basically have a “flatlined” peak.
    The main reason we see a ‘pointed’ peak is that the other transitions have been short. With a drawn-out transition you get [as we have now] a drawn-out peak. There is a systematic difference in height of the ‘peak’ between E-O and O-E [as we have now] transitions having to do with how the charged GCRs drift in unipolar magnetic fields [over the poles of the Sun]. If this minimum dragged on for another 5 years, the ‘peak’ would be flat for those years. The cosmic ray flux lags about 6 months after solar activity, so with a minimum in, say August-September, 2008, we should begin to see the GCR flux decrease about now.

  27. kuhnkat (10:15:25) :
    could we use IDLING instead of FLATLINED???

    I compliment you on such an excellent choice of wording.
    Idling as opposed to flatlining or even lack of amplitude, brilliant.

    I made a mention of part of this before. Since we have never really observed a Sun at IDLE for a full year before (that I have seen any representation of), the inference of AU distance effect on the baseline F10.7 is reasonable, but not tested.

    Ramping and deramping have gotten in the way of a clean read, and I
    strongly suspect the possibility of high/low of F10.7 baseline does not match up with Perihelion/Apphelion.

    For lack of any other reads as clean as the latter half of 2008 onwards,
    a steady ramp is currently indicated, but not assured.

  28. Pamela Gray (10:46:42) :
    When the Sun is idling for this long, isn’t this a possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to see how it works?
    Yes, solar physicists are all very excited about this.

    What are some of the Sun’s curiosities, unknowns, and parts of the mathematical calculations that are still iffy
    As per Rumsfeld, there are also the unknown unknowns and those are perhaps the most exciting. But to mention a few of the known unknowns:
    1) the depth of the dynamo [low or high cycle 24]
    2) mapping of plasma flows in the Sun’s interior
    3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!]
    4) what causes a CME [and flares] and can a CME be predicted
    5) why is the corona so hot
    6) why does the heliospheric magnetic field vary a lot less that the Sun’s magnetic field

  29. Pamela Gray (10:46:42) :
    When the Sun is idling for this long, isn’t this a possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to see how it works?
    Yes, solar physicists are all very excited about this.

    What are some of the Sun’s curiosities, unknowns, and parts of the mathematical calculations that are still iffy
    As per Rumsfeld, there are also the unknown unknowns and those are perhaps the most exciting. But to mention a few of the known unknowns:
    1) the depth of the dynamo [low or high cycle 24]
    2) mapping of plasma flows in the Sun’s interior
    3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!]
    4) what causes a CME [and flares] and can a CME be predicted
    5) why is the corona so hot
    6) why does the heliospheric magnetic field vary a lot less that the Sun’s magnetic field
    7) any many more

  30. For all we know about the Sun, F10.7 baseline could have it’s own inherent cycle, independent of AU distance, and we would need a full-blown Maunder to resolve it.

  31. Leif Svalgaard (11:09:45) :

    The cosmic ray flux lags about 6 months after solar activity, so with a minimum in, say August-September, 2008, we should begin to see the GCR flux decrease about now.

    Don’t you mean, “for a minimum in Aug – Sep, 2008, we should see the GCR flux plateau about now”?

  32. “Leif Svalgaard (09:29:38) : ….Several solar physicists have predicted [several years ago] that cycle 24 would be the smallest solar cycle in a hundred years.”

    Could I have links/ names of all these? I’d like to read up on what they said.

  33. I am curious to know if anyone has ever done a study to try and determine which way the Sun ‘walks’ in spectrum when in Maximum and in Minimum.
    The walk would be from G2V up to say, GO, or down towards a lower state of say, G5, in the main sequence.

  34. The YouTube video at this link shows some of the study being done in the area of Space Weather/ cosmoclimatology/ sun/ cosmic particles/ clouds :

    YouTube title :

    Space weather and climate change

    link :

  35. Robert Bateman (11:26:16) :
    For all we know about the Sun, F10.7 baseline could have it’s own inherent cycle, independent of AU distance, and we would need a full-blown Maunder to resolve it.
    but is does, as nobody studying the Sun looks at the observed F10.7 [which, however, is the all important parameter for terrestrial effects]. The ‘for all we know’ should perhaps be interpreted as ‘for all you know’. There is good evidence that the Sun was not any dimmer [F10.7, TSI, or otherwise] during the Maunder Minimum than it is right now. E.g. see http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2470 ‘line 2’
    It may take a full-blown Maunder Minimum to take this issue of the table for some folks, although I’ll predict that there will still be some that will say, that ‘for all we know’ there could be an even bigger [or deeper] minimum lurking somewhere. There will always be such people.

  36. The Raspopov paper (or as much of it as i’ve read) raises my Spockian eyebrow early on:

    “An appreciable delay in the climate response to the solar signal can occur (up to 150 years). In addition, the sign of the climate response can differ from the solar signal sign…”

    Can occur? Up to? Can differ? Sounds highly iffy. I bristle at bristlecone pines, and I shudder at periodicity association diagrams. no matter what the r, especially when prefaced by statements like: “delay…can occur”. Maybe I’ll read the rest of it later.

    ‘Ninety-three percent of all murders occur within a week of a new or full moon.’–Luz Cañon, Statistician

  37. Richard deSousa (10:31:11) : wrote:
    We’re all travelers along for the ride as the sun does it’s “thing”… let’s hope it’s “thing” isn’t going to be catastrophic for us travelers. I can’t imagine what the hundreds of millions of people in the northern hemisphere are going to do if we’re coming upon the beginning of a little ice age… or worse. :(
    —————————-

    Yes, especially as AGW alarmism has pretty much taught us, by focusing our thoughts and observations, that we will not be able to stop it by pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Meanwhile:

    Hundreds attend protest against global warming:


  38. Leif Svalgaard (09:20:31) :

    As part of my ‘homework’ for the Sunspot Panel [2 years ago] I produced a short document http://www.leif.org/research/When%20is%20Minimum.pdf comparing F10.7 and MgII [another solar index] around minima. I have updated the graph in the document to show the flat-lining of F10.7.

    Leif,

    Nice work on “When is minimum?”, it is a very interesting question. But I have to question the logic in your PDF: You state that you are averaging minima 1947-1999 and comparing the declining SC23 with that. That means your entire set of reference cycles comes from the SC16-22 group of cycles, which is just a subset of the observed cycles, and I would say a biased subset. To illustrate this point, look at this graph
    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Spotless/Spotless.html#Evolution

    We have at least two series of cycles that behave very differently around minimum, i.e. cycles 10-15 and 16-22. We can also see that SC23 if anything is much more similar to cycles 10-15 than the ones you have used.

    So my suggestion would be to redo your computation using average cycles 10-15 data instead and see what that does to the estimate of the minimum for SC23. I suspect it results in a significant delay of minimum.

    This of course depends on availability of sufficient quality data for those old cycles. If it does not exist I think the minimum is anyone’s guess (I have my own).

  39. Leif Svalgaard (11:22:26) :

    3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!]

    I learnt some time ago, looking onto a sunspot would be the equivalent of looking onto a cross section of a MHD flux tube?

  40. Would some one please explain this in lay man terms, so that we who are lacking in scientific knowledge can understand this? does this mean we are headed for colder weather for a significant amount of time? how long maybe? please explain so I can understand.

  41. I hope this will be considered OT. It IS about the sun, sort of. It is the beginning of a scifi story published in 1946, written by an astronomer named Robert S. Richardson, who wrote under the pen name Philip Latham.

    Here is the first page of the story. Reading the first few paragraphs was almost like reading wuwt.

    The name of the story is: N Day.
    I have it in an anthology entitled A Treasury of Science Fiction, edited by Groff Conklin
    ==================

    Tuesday, 1949 January 18

    Sunspot maximum and three days without a single spot!

    This cycle is certainly developing in a peculiar way. From the last
    minimum about March, 1944, sunspot activity jumped to a Wolf Number
    of 252 in December, 1948, the highest index on record since that
    rather dubious maximum back in 1778. But this month spots have
    simply failed to appear, as completely as if someone inside the sun
    had pulled a switch.

    Clarke’s elaborate empirical analysis has failed utterly to
    predict. I am now more firmly convinced than ever that no
    combination of harmonics can ever represent the approximate
    eleven-year rise and fall in the number of sunspots.

    Instead I favor Halm’s old idea that each cycle is a separate
    outburst in itself. The very fact that our star is a weak variable
    means it is to a certain degree unstable. Not unstable to the
    extent of a Cepheid variable but still�unstable. Indeed, Halm’s
    hypothesis appeals to me more strongly now than when he announced
    it four cycles ago.

    There I go measuring my life in sunspot cycles again! But four
    cycles does sound much less than forty-four years. Yet how little
    more I know about the sun than when I first came to Western Tech.

    In many ways the sun reminds me of a woman: just when you think you
    are beginning to understand her, invariably she will fool you.
    Enough of that. What business does an old bachelor have writing
    such things in his diary?

    The driving clock on the coelostat was out of commission again
    today but I will have to repair it somehow. President Bixby refused
    my request for three hundred seventy-five dollars on the grounds
    that the…..

    Copyright, 1946, by Street & Smith Publications, Inc. Published in
    Astounding Science-Fiction. Reprinted by permission of the author.

  42. papertiger (11:34:29) :
    Don’t you mean, “for a minimum in Aug – Sep, 2008, we should see the GCR flux plateau about now”?
    plateau if SC24 stays DOA or decrease as SC24 starts up. Since SC24 has started [albeit smallish] the effects of SC24 are on their way out through the heliosphere and we should see a decrease from now on, which may already have started.

    Just want truth… (11:35:49) :
    Could I have links/ names of all these? I’d like to read up on what they said.
    You can have the name and link of the most important one, namely me: http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf
    Here are a lot more here: http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24.html

  43. Sorry. I’m using my mobile both computers down. Its a bit hit and miss.

    REPLY: Ah OK sorry then. I had no idea people read this blog on mobile devices. – Anthony

  44. Leif:

    I have been following this climate debate for years as an interested, but amateur, observer and I would like to thank you, because your comments and contributions have been among the most helpful in aiding me to come to some sort of understanding of these complex issues. My problem is that, while I have been able to increase my knowledge of the issues, the aquisition of that knowledge has been highly piecemeal, driven by the flow of topics on sites like this one. I’m hoping you could recommend a source for a good overview of the current state of solar science. I can tolerate a fair level of technical detail, so it needn’t be aimed at a man on the street level. I want to thank you again for your efforts because I feel if many more of those who nowadays call themselves scientists would follow your example human knowledge would be all the better for it.

  45. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (12:43:23) :
    This of course depends on availability of sufficient quality data for those old cycles. If it does not exist I think the minimum is anyone’s guess (I have my own).
    First, the data I used doesn’t exist for earlier cycles.
    Second, and more importantly, The frame of mind of most people [and of the panel] is/was colored by the recent cycles, and the whole [sneaky] point of the homework was to point out that if SC23 was like those, it should follow the red average curve, so if it in the time since 2007 began to deviate from that, we [the panel] would get a hint that perhaps things were different now. The panel at that time [and certainly before] were leaning towards a very large cycle and I was trying to make a case for a small cycle, by pointing out that should in the months to come [after March 2007] F10.7 fall below the red curve, perhaps SC24 would be small.

    Hugo M (12:46:20) :
    3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!]
    I learnt some time ago, looking onto a sunspot would be the equivalent of looking onto a cross section of a MHD flux tube?

    You are substituting one word with another [much more fancy one], but that doesn’t solve anything. How and where does such a tube form? how does it hold together? how deep is it? Is it one tube or a bundle of very many small tubes? etc.

  46. Edward Morgan (13:43:41) :
    Sorry. I’m using my mobile both computers down. Its a bit hit and miss.
    If you shine a flashlight onto a wall, you see a bright spot. The spot is formed by a flux [or a stream] of photons coming out of the flashlight. The 10.7 solar radio flux is similarly a stream of photons coming out of the Sun [in all directions, some of it our way], but with a wavelength of 10.7 cm requiring a radio telescope to see it. The energy of that radio flux is very, very, very, very small. The energy of all the radio waves picked up by all radio telescopes at all times since such telescopes were invented is all together less that the kinetic energy of a single snow flake falling to the ground. The 10.7 cm radio flux is measured in ‘flux units’ [right now we get 68 of those]. One flux unit is 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,1 W/m2 per Hertz.

  47. “…There I go, measuring my life in sunspot cycles again!…”

    LOL

    I hope nobody here does that!

  48. What generates the 10.7 cm freq. band? H? He? A combination of factors? If this is a repeat, please excuse me. I cannot find the answer, and I never got far enough in Astronomy to know.

  49. Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?
    No

    Hmm, 10.7 cm Radio Flux has influence on distribution of radio signals. Otherwise
    the ’sparkies’ wouldn’t be that interested in it.

    Perhaps you might explain for a non-scientist. I saw a previous post referring to ham radio operators needing solar activity for effective radio wave “propagation”.

    Thanks.

  50. The solstices have nothing to do with the Earth-Sun distance. Closest approach is on January 4, furthest approach is Jul 4 this year (see here) which a function of the elliptic nature of the orbit. The summer solstice is a function instead the orientation of the tilt of the Earth with respect to the Sun.

  51. For all I know, Leif, many astrophysicists were very pleased to be able to test parts of Einstein’s theories, and to prove them out.

    “Extrapolation to zero of plots of the 10.7cm flux against other activity indices such as plage area or total photospheric magnetic flux in active regions suggest a quiet sun flux density of about 64 s.f.u. This is rarely attained.” The lowest daily value in this minimum to date was 64.5 in June 2008.”

    Why would seeing more of the baseline proven out make me “one of those people”?
    I have a suspicious mind , for one.
    I would like to think that I will live long enough to see more reasonable assumptions about the sun proven or disproven.
    In the meantime, I do not trust SC24 any faster than it unveils itself.

  52. Leif Svalgaard @ 11:21:06

    Your list of known unkowns pretty much says we know diddly-squat :-)

    BTW For those here who decry oil-company financing, or political government funding of science, may I suggest you donate a small sum to both Leif’s web site and WUWT’s. If we all just gave a few dollars every , oh, say, 6 months, these guys would be independent scientists, a la 19 century. Several thousand widow mites make mighty independent scientists.

  53. hunter (14:22:37) :
    What generates the 10.7 cm freq. band? H? He? A combination of factors? If this is a repeat, please excuse me. I cannot find the answer, and I never got far enough in Astronomy to know.
    A good source is
    http://web.njit.edu/~gary/728/Lecture10.html
    and all the other lectures, you get by putting ‘1’ ‘2’ ‘3’ etc in the above URL in place of the ’10’. In short, when an electron moves around and it sees a proton somewhere, that proton will deflect the path of the electron. When moving charges change direction they emit electromagnetic radiation.

    bill p (14:29:32) :
    “Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?” No
    It is not the radio flux, but most things that happen on the Sun [a big flare] results in radio waves also being generated, so the radio flux is a ‘proxy’ for solar activity as such [and that activity has an influence]. If you are sick and have a fever, you measure the fever with a thermometer. It is not the thermometer that made you sick.

  54. The F 10.7 radio flux is important. People who get paid to predict solar activity for a living, such as Dr Schatten, quote their 10.7 flux number first and sunspot number second. It is what causes the exosphere to expand during the solar cycle creating drag on satellites. From this document: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20050244826_2005246339.pdf

    “The reduced levels of solar activity would have concomitant effects upon the space environment in which satellites orbit. In particular, the largest influences would affect orbit determination of satellites in LEO (Low Earth Orbit), based upon the altered thermospheric and exospheric densities. A decrease in solar activity would result in smaller satellite decay rates, as well as fewer large solar events that can destroy satellite electronic functions. Other effects of reduced solar activity upon the space environment include enhanced galactic cosmic rays and more space debris at low altitudes (fkom the decay of old satellite parts, etc.). The reasons are well known: namely, solar activity serves to sweep the inner heliosphere of galactic cosmic rays, and lower exospheric densities result in decreased drag on LEO debris, allowing longer lifetimes.”

    This is the reason why I think NASA was so irresponsible in promoting Dikpati’s forecast so heavily. The satellite launchers would be gearing up to spend billions on extra launches to compensate for shorter satellite lives, while ignoring Dr Schatten’s good track record. Or perhaps the commercial satellite launchers would have ignored Dikpati and only the internal NASA schedulers would have had to follow the party line.

    The reason why I constructed the graph that way was to show the change in character. The noise has gone out of the system and it is now dead flat. In the 60 odd years of data, we haven’t seen anything like this before. It is a very interesting development.

    On the subject of NASA, we haven’t heard from the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel for a while. In one of their past announcements, they mentioned that solar minimum wasn’t here yet because: “the configuration of the large scale white-light corona has not yet relaxed to a simple dipole; the heliospheric current sheet has not yet flattened”.

    As a member of that panel, could Dr Svalgaard enlighten us with respect to the current status of the large scale white-light corona and the heliospheric current sheet?

  55. C mitchell (13:02:41) :

    “Would some one please explain this in lay man terms, so that we who are lacking in scientific knowledge can understand this?” I’m with C – as I’ve said before, I ride the short bus to WUWT.

    The following three posts are somewhat instructive to me:

    1) Leif Svalgaard (09:31:51) :

    “the_Butcher (08:39:01) :
    ‘Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?’
    No”

    2) kuhnkat (10:10:17) :

    “the_Butcher,

    ‘the Solar Flux, represented by the 10.7cm wavelength, is a PROXY for the overall output of the sun that DOES affect the earth. Leif is correct of course, BUT, what it represents is a lower radiance on the earth that DOES affect us. How much effect for the recorded change is under heated debate even without including hypothesized indirect influences.'”

    3) Leif Svalgaard (14:08:50) : [will not quote]

    From these posts, I’m guessing that the Solar Flux at 10.7cm is a measure of a certain, specific output of energy [using this term very unscientifically – now stop snorting about that being obvious] radiated from the sun to the earth, which can be /is [?] representative of all/some [?] energy radiated from the sun to the earth. In turn, the effect of the energy represented by the Solar Flux at 10.7cm on the earth’s climate is being “hotly debated.” Is this somewhat correct?

  56. The 10.7cm solar flux has no significant impact on the Earth; it causes some small degree of RF heating in the atmosphere, I suppose, but that’s inconsequential compared to heating due to insolation from visible and IR light. The 10.7cm solar flux number is, however, believed to be correlated with solar X-ray emission levels; high X-ray emission levels (which are associated with high sunspot activity levels) increase ionization of the upper atmosphere, and it is this that affects radio frequency propagation. (Radio activity is also affected by CMEs.)

    It’s the X-rays that radio operators care about; the only thing the 10.7 cm flux does is make 2800 MHz useless for radio communications because of all the noise generated by the sun on that frequency.

  57. very interesting…i wonder how long this will have to go on before the “scientists” acknowledge something unique is happening….

  58. David Archibald (15:27:10) :
    The F 10.7 radio flux is important. […] It is what causes the exosphere to expand during the solar cycle creating drag on satellites.
    No, this is highly incorrect. The F10.7 radio flux is important because it is a proxy for what causes the exosphere to expand, namely the extreme UV and X-ray emission plus Joule-heating from geomagnetic activity. The radio flux per se has no effect.

    This is the reason why I think NASA was so irresponsible in promoting Dikpati’s forecast so heavily.
    NASA likes ‘breakthroughs’. Real or imagined.

    On the subject of NASA, we haven’t heard from the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel for a while.
    And you won’t because, there will be no more meetings as we didn’t produce the desired [high] consensus so NASA/NOAA has lost interest.

    As a member of that panel, could Dr Svalgaard enlighten us with respect to the current status of the large scale white-light corona and the heliospheric current sheet?
    As you can see here http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/c2/512/ the corona is pretty flat [albeit a bit crooked] and more importantly the HCS is now so flat that the Rosenberg-Coleman effect has become visible [this effect is a better indicator of the flatness than the computed ’tilt angle’ – the latter relying on over-simplified physics rather than observation]. For more on this effect see http://www.leif.org/research/Asymmetric%20Rosenberg-Coleman%20Effect.pdf and http://www.leif.org/research/Semiannual%20Variation%201954%20and%201996.pdf and http://www.leif.org/research/Anomalous%20Cosmic-Ray%20Anisotropy,%201954.pdf and http://www.leif.org/research/A%20View%20of%20Solar%20Magnetic%20Fields,%20the%20Solar%20Corona,%20and%20the%20Solar%20Wind%20in%20Three%20Dimensions.pdf and http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf [page 51 ff]

    so the minimum is upon us, or probably even past as the Rosenberg-Coleman effect is strongest during the rising part of the cycle: http://www.leif.org/research/Asymmetric%20Rosenberg-Coleman%20Effect.pdf

  59. Anthony minor point of clarification required in your intro:
    Aphelion: the point on its orbit when the Earth is farthest from the sun (~4th July), and
    Perihelion: the point on its orbit when the Earth is closest to the sun (~4th January).
    Very close to solstice(s) dates anyway.

    REPLY:
    That is what I meant, but I just didn’t express it well. Thanks for the clarifications. – Anthony

  60. “Several solar physicists have predicted [several years ago] that cycle 24 would be the smallest solar cycle in a hundred years. ”

    Hmmm, I remember Dr. Hathaway predicting that *cycle 25* would possibly be the weakest in such a time period. This was based on his observation of what he called the “magnetic conveyor belt” and the fact that it had slowed to the lowest ever observed activity during cycle 23 and that it tended to predict the intensity of the cycle two cycles hence.

    Ahh, here it is dated May 10, 2006.

    Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries.

  61. A YouTube video about the sun and climate that will be more for laymen than others.

    title :

    Unstoppable Solar Cycles

    link :

    btw : at any time if you fellows with college grad level understanding could break things down in to simpler terms, maybe by using illustrations, or smaller words ;), or something, it would be greatly appreciated! :) Have some mercy, hey?

  62. Leif:

    Thanks for the recommendation. This volume looks very close to what I’ve been looking for. Now all I’ve got to do is get on Pokerstars and see if I can rack up enough chips to pay for it.

  63. David:
    IPS is using somewhat the same method that is in the paper you gave links to (the Schatten-Franz)?
    http://www.ips.gov.au/Solar/1/6
    “Description of Prediction Technique
    The prediction is based on the average of the last 8 solar cycles
    (Cycles 15 to 23). IPS will adjust this average cycle as the new cycle
    unfolds. To do this IPS has developed software for manipulating this
    predicted cycle. The difficulty is ensuring that adjustments are not
    made for short term variation, only for longer term cycle variation.”

    They have currently April 2009 as projected minimum.
    What does a flatlined F10.7 do to these type of models?

  64. Dr Svalgaard, thankyou for that.

    “And you won’t because, there will be no more meetings as we didn’t produce the desired [high] consensus so NASA/NOAA has lost interest.”

    So NASA couldn’t even be bothered to pretend to have an interest in science? Their raison d’etre is packing chemicals into aluminium tubes and they don’t care why? Do you know why they are hung up on a high amplitude instead of just letting the chips fall where they may?

  65. Very interesting post at 16:11 by Dr.Leif. – at least to me.

    10.7 wavelength is a proxy.
    Indifferent attitudes at important “scientific” bodies to research because the ” predetermined” (?) conclusion is not reached.
    Dikpati : Any publicity is good – positive or negative – marketing in science.

    And as previously posted. More research needed

  66. Lief ..

    “. There is good evidence that the Sun was not any dimmer [F10.7, TSI, or otherwise] during the Maunder Minimum than it is right now. ”

    So .. if this is true, and there is indeed some solar/climate link, it would seem to me that the IPCC and the models have it completely wrong with regards to solar forcing.

    Yes? .. No?

  67. @Leif Svalgaard (11:22:26) :

    Pamela Gray (10:46:42) :
    When the Sun is idling for this long, isn’t this a possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to see how it works?
    Yes, solar physicists are all very excited about this.

    Unlike politicized climatologists who defend at all costs their unproven hypotheses of AGW, I appreciate the open forthrightness that this gentleman called Leif displays. How refreshing it is to see, in response to unexpected solar activity {or inactivity, in this case}, that solar scientists are excited by the sun not performing as expected. My impression is of a scientist grabbing this as an opportunity to learn, even if it means developing a new theory.

    Would a well-behaving climatologist say something like, “3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!]” ?

  68. I don’t think this point has been clarified: Is the present sunspot “count” based on only the spots visible from earth? Or do the SOHO observations count? And when a group comes around again after ~27 days, is it added to itself for the weekly or monthly sunspot count?

  69. With this machine, I can’t read comments so I don’t know if the recent paper by de Jager and Dehau has been addressed. They expect decades of global cooling from the action of the sun. I’ll go to the library to read tomorrow.
    ========================================================

  70. Just want truth… (17:24:51)

    Im really in the same boat, but ill break down what ive gleaned from this.

    Basically the 10.7 radio flux has shown a close correlation with sun cycles, and going off the current data it is not behaving as it should, the sun is having a quiet spell.

    The sun is a big fusion reactor basically, at its centre it squishes hydrogen atoms together, which creates a helium atom, the rest o the mass o the two hydrogen atoms is converted to energy(basically what a H bomb does, but they use a fission reaction to get the pressure to squish the hydrogen.. and probably heavey water to gain extra mass to the hydrogen atom)

    But it cycles, so it has more fusion going on at times than other times due to the amount o atoms getting squished, but the energy pushing out can effect the density at the centre, which causes it to pulse/cycle.

    How this could possibly effect climate, well theoretically reduced solar winds means more subatomic particles gaining access to our lower atmosphere, causing a nucleus for cloud formation, so more clouds. And reduced energy being radiated by the sun too warm the earth.

    Feel free to correct or hammer if im too far of the mark ;-)

  71. David Archibald (17:50:54) :
    Do you know why they are hung up on a high amplitude instead of just letting the chips fall where they may?
    My own theory [not official Panel policy] is this: Satellite operators usually borrow money to finance their operations [as most businesses do]. The lender requires that the hardware be insured. The insurance company needs to evaluate the risk of damage from solar activity. Having a risk figure, they then set a premium. They like the risk as high as possible to set the premium as high as possible. If the premium [the perceived risk] is too high [e.g. the solar cycle turned out to be very mild] the insurance company can be [and has been] sued. To be sue-proof, the insurance industry wants the Government to give them a number [preferably as high as possible], so that they can say: “hey, don’t sue us, we got the number from the Government”. How does that sound?

    Deanster (18:00:27) :
    “. There is good evidence that the Sun was not any dimmer [F10.7, TSI, or otherwise] during the Maunder Minimum than it is right now. ”
    So .. if this is true, and there is indeed some solar/climate link

    If the Sun was not any dimmer during the MM, how to have a solar/climate link?

    it would seem to me that the IPCC and the models have it completely wrong with regards to solar forcing.
    Yes? .. No?

    They are just models with a assumed solar forcing. Assume something else, you get a different result. The model is not necessarily ‘wrong’, the assumption may be.

    Leon Brozyna (18:00:43) :
    I appreciate the open forthrightness that this gentleman called Leif displays. How refreshing it is to see, in response to unexpected solar activity {or inactivity, in this case}, that solar scientists are excited by the sun not performing as expected. My impression is of a scientist grabbing this as an opportunity to learn, even if it means developing a new theory.
    Except that I fully expected the Sun to go quiet :-)

    George M (18:07:36) :
    I don’t think this point has been clarified: Is the present sunspot “count” based on only the spots visible from earth?
    Yes.

    And when a group comes around again after ~27 days, is it added to itself for the weekly or monthly sunspot count?
    it is counted again as a new group, as it is every day. Say, it stays visible for a week, then it is counted seven times. This is not so silly as it sounds as a long-lived spot has more magnetic field, is larger, may produce more flares, etc, so it altogether more ‘important’.

    kim (18:15:55) :
    With this machine, I can’t read comments so I don’t know if the recent paper by de Jager and Dehau has been addressed. does not bring much to the table anyway.

  72. Robert has a good point about financing science we like.

    Anthony has good point about OT stuff . . . so I can asked stupid question in a properly designated spot where everybody doesn’t have to look at it. I feel one coming on now:

    Who are the “sparkies”?

  73. George M (18:07:36) :
    “it is counted again as a new group, as it is every day.
    I forgot to add that the count is divided by the number of days in the month, so gives the average number of spots on any given day within that month. A very sensible measure. Imagine the Sun had only two spots on opposite hemispheres [front and back, not north and south] and they lived forever, then at any given time exactly one would be visible and you then actually want the sunspot number to be one [actually, as you know, it will be 11]

  74. MikeE (19:07:00) :
    But it cycles, so it has more fusion going on at times than other times due to the amount o atoms getting squished, but the energy pushing out can effect the density at the centre, which causes it to pulse/cycle.
    It is highly unlikely that the interior plays any role in this. The solar activity cycle takes place in the outermost layers of the Sun. One reason for the unlikelihood is that it takes 250,000 years for the energy generated inside the Sun to reach the surface. so any cycles would completely wash out. At least, that is current thinking. As always, there is speculation that strange things can go on. People claim to find cycles in the neutrino flux for instance.

  75. Except that I fully expected the Sun to go quiet :-)

    What do you expect that to look like?
    Solar quiet might be entirely different depending on whom one talks to.

  76. Leif Svalgaard (09:31:51) :

    the_Butcher (08:39:01) :
    Does the Solar Flux affects the Earth?
    No

    ….. What about the van allen belts?

  77. Doh… the van allen belts are charged particles, nothing to do with 10.7 solar radio flux… disregard my above post.

  78. Dr. Svalgaard:

    Thanks for sticking with Anthony’s blog. You provide a depth of solar related scientific information likely not available for free anywhere else. Aaargh. Poor sentence structure, but you know what I mean.

    Grant Hodges (19:12:54) :
    Who are the “sparkies”?
    Ham radio operators, among other users of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  79. Robert Bateman, the IPS approach is uselessly simplistic. They have been constantly revising their forecasts month after month as they get proved wrong one after the other. Their forecast of max amplitude of 134 in Sept 2012 is simply the average of the last eight cycles. The Schatten/Svalgaard technique of measuring off the poloidal field strength has proven validity (but may depart from linearity at low values) and Clilverd’s wavelet analysis looks like being correct. Most other people have been basically guessing (including Jager and Duhau).

    I was the first person on the planet to predict a long solar cycle 23 (in 2006) simply because Clilverd (and Badalyan) had been predicting a weak cycle 24. Weak cycles are generally preceded by long cycles. Cycle length is more important in climate than cycle amplitude.

    All I can read into the flatlining of the 10.7 radio flux is that it is highly indicative of solar cycle 24 being weak. There are a lot of peridocities in the 10.7 data prior to June 2008 and it would be good to know what has gone missing.

  80. Robert Bateman (19:58:42) :
    Except that I fully expected the Sun to go quiet :-)
    What do you expect that to look like?

    Something like 1913 in http://www.leif.org/research/Sunspot-Area-and-Number-1895-1922.png or like 1810 that was completely blank [or so low that people then couldn’t see anything – perhaps just specks as we see now].

    David Archibald (20:28:51) :
    I was the first person on the planet to predict a long solar cycle 23 (in 2006)
    Dikpati et al. said in March 2006:
    “the first spots of the next cycle won’t appear until late 2007 or early 2008”.
    I think we saw it in January 2008.

    Cycle length is more important in climate than cycle amplitude.
    Not substantiated by the data, and lacks physical basis.

  81. Leif, I’m in full agreement with Mosh. I appreciate your presence here as do many.

    I’ve been wondering. Does data exist for sunspot longevity for the last 10 or more cycles?.

    I’ve noticed that in the last year, both 23 and 24 spots tend to be not only anemic, but rather brief. I was wondering if there is any data that would support that observation in comparison to previous cycle transitions.

    – Anthony

  82. wattsupwiththat (21:33:08) :
    I’ve been wondering. Does data exist for sunspot longevity for the last 10 or more cycles?.
    Yes, the Greenwich active region list maintained by Hathaway. People have already studied the lifetime issue. I forget who. Usoskin, perhaps, and others. The reason I don’t remember is that I did not find the results convincing [otherwise I would have remembered as this would have been important].

  83. There are very few predictions from solar scientists for a grand minimum in this next cycle (SC24), which if it does happen will have lots of them scratching their heads. We also dont seem to have any reasonable explanations why the solar pole strength has been steadily reducing since SC21, or why the 10.7 flux level is behaving like it is. For that matter science doesnt even know what causes the timing of 11 year avg sunspot cycles.

    What we are observing now is playing out exactly as the angular momentum graph shows us, it might take some time before this theory is taken seriously, but I have no doubt it will happen.

  84. nobwainer (Geoff Sharp) (21:53:27) :
    What we are observing now is playing out exactly as the angular momentum graph shows us, it might take some time before this theory is taken seriously, but I have no doubt it will happen.
    Theories that fit ‘exactly’ and believed without ‘doubt’ can by definition not be taken seriously. It is a hallmark of a scientific theory that it can be wrong.

  85. There is an image taken by George Ellery Hale in 1906 at Mt. Wilson of sunspots. It looks healthy in terms of umbra/penumbra.
    Whatever images exist for the 1910-1913 event should be useful to determine if our fading spots/flatlined F10.7 are unique or a repeat, related or not related.

  86. Leif: Please address this (utterly wrong) prediction by NCAR – apparently in good faith and full optimism of their solar circulations models in spring 2006 – that Solar Cycle 24 would peak much higher, much stronger, and much faster than any recent cycle:

    —-

    NCAR News ReleaseScientists Issue Unprecedented Forecast of Next Sunspot Cycle
    March 6, 2006

    BOULDER—The next sunspot cycle will be 30-50% stronger than the last one and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Predicting the Sun’s cycles accurately, years in advance, will help societies plan for active bouts of solar storms, which can slow satellite orbits, disrupt communications, and bring down power systems.

    The scientists have confidence in the forecast because, in a series of test runs, the newly developed model simulated the strength of the past eight solar cycles with more than 98% accuracy. The forecasts are generated, in part, by tracking the subsurface movements of the sunspot remnants of the previous two solar cycles. The team is publishing its forecast in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

    “Our model has demonstrated the necessary skill to be used as a forecasting tool,” says NCAR scientist Mausumi Dikpati, the leader of the forecast team at NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory that also includes Peter Gilman and Giuliana de Toma.
    …. NCAR scientists have succeeded in simulating the intensity of the sunspot cycle by developing a new computer model of solar processes. This figure compares observations of the past 12 cycles (above) with model results that closely match the sunspot peaks (below). The intensity level is based on the amount of the Sun’s visible hemisphere with sunspot activity. The NCAR team predicts the next cycle will be 30-50% more intense than the current cycle. (Figure by Mausumi Dikpati, Peter Gilman, and Giuliana de Toma, NCAR.)

    Predicting Cycles 24 and 25

    The Predictive Flux-transport Dynamo Model is enabling NCAR scientists to predict that the next solar cycle, known as Cycle 24, will produce sunspots across an area slightly larger than 2.5% of the visible surface of the Sun. The scientists expect the cycle to begin in late 2007 or early 2008, which is about 6 to 12 months later than a cycle would normally start. Cycle 24 is likely to reach its peak about 2012.

    By analyzing recent solar cycles, the scientists also hope to forecast sunspot activity two solar cycles, or 22 years, into the future. The NCAR team is planning in the next year to issue a forecast of Cycle 25, which will peak in the early 2020s.

    “This is a significant breakthrough with important applications, especially for satellite-dependent sectors of society,” explains NCAR scientist Peter Gilman.

    The NCAR team received funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA’s Living with a Star program.

    —-

    Source: http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml

  87. Robert A Cook PE (01:13:34) :
    Leif: Please address this (utterly wrong) prediction by NCAR – apparently in good faith and full optimism of their solar circulations models in spring 2006 – that Solar Cycle 24 would peak much higher, much stronger, and much faster than any recent cycle

    I was a referee on the peer-review of their paper. You can find my review here: http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
    some more info is here: http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Predictions%20SHINE%202006.pdf

    Basically, it seems that their prediction is a failure.

  88. To return to how little we know about the sun’s dynamics, the observed ‘cycles’ are to me like a trompe d’oeuil. Since we humans have brains which almost obsessively discern patterns and the infinitesimal lifespan of our species relative to the sun, we see patterns in it’s behavior as we see patterns in almost anything but which have little or no relation to the actual facts. Look at it another way you see another pattern. The well known cartoon of Freud which can look like a nude female form springs to mind.

    Should our lifespan reach anything like more then a mere second of the sun’s lifespan we might be able to determine the real pattern. But it will be some time before we live to be a 100.000. Till then solar prediction is just an amusing brainteaser, fun to do but pretty much useless

  89. C mitchell (13:02:41) : Would some one please explain this in lay man terms, so that we who are lacking in scientific knowledge can understand this? does this mean we are headed for colder weather for a significant amount of time? how long maybe? please explain so I can understand.

    The 10.7 cm band is just a very narrow low power microwave band ( a microwave oven uses 2.45 gHz which is a hair shorter than 12 cm so this is just a touch higher frequency than your oven, but at almost no power density in comparison.)

    By itself, it doesn’t do much. But it does tell you what the sun in general is doing (it correlates well with other activity) and those activities can do things. But again, not much really directly changes. Total solar output (called TSI ) only changes by a fraction of a percent.

    The ‘does it impact the weather’ and ‘how long will it last’ has a couple of major variations in the answer depending on who’s doing the guessing, er, speaking ;-)

    One camp, the established and best supported traditional solar model folks, like Leif, argue that the TSI doesn’t change enough to do anything without a lot of ‘positive feedback’ mechanisms that are nowhere to be seen. It’s hard to argue with that. (How does the horse fly carry off the horse?…)

    The other camp, the new ideas and not much evidence folks, argue that TSI isn’t the important bit (what they say is important varies by theory) and that when the sun goes low, like now, we get cold, maybe very cold. On their side is a fairly decent correlation for some events (not so much for some others) and a theoretical method in some cases. But no proof yet and poor causality demonstration.

    OK, what are those choices? I think there are basically 3 that matter.

    One is named Svensmark GCR / cloud theory. His theory is that lower solar output also means lower magnetism, and we lose some protection from Galactic Cosmic Rays (that can then make more clouds and make us cooler).

    Another is discussed by Vukcevic here. It has the theory that large currents (of charged particles) flow from the sun to the planets. Some of this then flows back to the sun. Different planets can disrupt these flows (by putting shadows in them when in front of another planet) that then disrupts the return flow, that modulates solar output. Nice theory, but not much physical evidence for it (though it is worth reading about. Made me think about currents in space I’d never known existed before!)

    And from time to time Geoff Sharp will post about another planetary alignment theory, that being that the change of angular momentum (think ice skater putting their arms down and spinning up real fast – only slower ;-) as the major planets get closer to the sun makes something change. The problem is that the ‘what changes’ is completely unknown. The theory does have some published peer reviewed papers behind it with names like Landscheidt, Fairbridge, Charvatova, and a couple of others. It also has a very nice correlation with what’s actually happening. But some of the physical way it would change things is not clear… We’re missing some pieces.

    And one of the biggest pieces is that weather is somewhat random and a bit chaotic. There are big puddles of warm ocean that slosh back and forth chaning the weather; they could do more than any solar wobble. (Or maybe they wobble because the sun wobbled?) But at times the sun goes low and the weather ignores it. At other times the sun is fine, and we get cold. Hard to tell who’s driving whom…

    So we’re all watching this show really really closely! The sun is running the forbidden experiment (shutting off the sunspots for a long time) and letting us watch. We all hope to see if something interesting is learned… More clouds? (Svensmark!) Odd electric flows detected, with cold a year or two later? (Vukcevic!) Sudden dead sunspot cycle 24 that stays there as the angular momentum change stays low for 20 years? (Geoff Sharp et.al!)

    Or maybe the weather just wobbles back and forth with La Nina / El Nino ocean hots spots…

    So the bottom line is we don’t know what will happen, and that makes us all happy as we get to learn something!

    FWIW, I’m particularly interested in ozone. The chart for 2/14/2009 anomaly at:

    http://exp-studies.tor.ec.gc.ca/e/ozone/Curr_allmap_g.htm

    Just doesn’t make sense. Most of the planet at -10% to -30% but the North Pole lit up like Christmas with +30% up to +50% !! This ought to mean a lot of heat leaving most of the planet, but ‘something strange’ at the N. pole.

    Last time I saw this we had a Sudden Stratospheric Warming followed awhile later by really cold weather. But I’ve only been watching this for a few weeks so it may just be random noise! But with low UV (that makes ozone) and with the N.pole pointed away from the sun (winter) something has to be making all that ozone! Solar currents?

    But will we get cold? I’d guess yes, but that would be guessing and your guess is as good as mine!

  90. Darn! I just read the last post.
    Leif,
    it is very difficult to find words of gratitude that can compliment you for the above, PLEASE do not go away,
    Anthony, as always, has made another very enjoyable experience possible,
    a very humble thank you to you both.

  91. E.M.Smith (02:33:57) :

    Very nicely put…my gf even understood most of it. I am enjoying the show just as much as you.

    But there is something I could add. The ‘what changes’ is covered in the theory and it is suggested that the change in momentum which alters the normal path of the Sun (like clockwork every 172 yrs avg) changes the rotation rate of the Sun. This has been observed in past grand minima and is written about in several papers. The solar dynamo is controlled by the solar differential rotation (and something else that likes 11 year patterns), which is intern controlled by angular momentum. We have at least 6000 years of data showing this very strong correlation.
    I think if we do go into grand minimum during SC24 and we do observe the Sun change its rotation speed (inner or outer) and the solar poles both hang around neutral, this theory will gain far more prominence.

  92. Leif Svalgaard (01:38:54) :

    … I was a referee on the peer-review of their paper. You can find my review here:

    —-

    Wow. Sobering, very strongly worded critiques.

    As a nuclear engineer, I can honestly consider myself (relatively) well-educated in nuclear and plasma dynamics and particle physics compared to most readers, but am definitely not a “research paper and university teaching” academian. My own designs and decisions are checked, then immediately installed or applied directly into the field, so I have little experience in the classic “peer-review” process.

    1. Do many scientific papers evoke such strong analysis during peer-review? Or is the apparent lack of such strong criticism cause/promote/encourage the seemingly careless and unprofessional research seen in papers promoting the AGW agenda?

    2. Have the writers apologized and “backed away” from their failed prediction for cycle 24, or have they revised their methodolgy and tried to find a better approximation? Hathaway, for example, is honest about his revisions as cycle 24 continues to be dormant.

  93. “I’m going to work up a permanent OT thread page for people that want to discuss other things or need to bring something to my attention. – Anthony”

    I think there should be several OT pages, otherwise they’ll get overwhelmed with unfocused clutter:

    1. Mentions of recent articles in the press or the journals
    2. Mentions of recent natural events (heat-waves, etc.)
    3. Questions to the readership
    4. Tidbits of information
    5. Suggestion box. (Such as the post I’m making now.)

  94. E.M.Smith (02:33:57) :
    Great summary! That ozone incease is very intruiging.

    Robert A Cook PE (04:01:21) : I was going to comment on Leif’s review also. Sadly the peer review process is not always that rigorous.

  95. Dr. Svalgaard:
    Is there any event or development that would cause you to make a revision of your prediction of 75 -/+ 10 for cycle 24 TSI maximum?

  96. Leif (paraphrased): We (solar scientists) are all very excited about this (what is happening with the sun).

    …. The sun is behaving just the way it always has …

    …. Solar scientists have predicted this cycle for many years ….

    (end Leif paraphrase).

    A simple “we don’t know what the hell is happening, but we’re paying close attention” would suffice, and come closest to the truth no doubt.

  97. Robert A Cook PE (04:01:21) :
    1. Do many scientific papers evoke such strong analysis during peer-review?
    Most do. And many papers are rejected [my very first paper in 1968 was!].

    2. Have the writers apologized and “backed away” from their failed prediction for cycle 24
    The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. And it is not usual to ‘apologize’ or even retract [unless deliberate fraud has been uncovered]. ‘Failed’ papers are simply forgotten. And the success of a paper is not if it is wrong or right, but how much other research [some of which may turn out good] it stimulates. In that regard Dikpati’s work has been a huge success.

  98. E.M.Smith 02:33:37 Thank-you for the wonderful explanation. I’m starting to understand these things now. It is Great that people know these things but it is even better when they can explain it in layman terms.

  99. Joachim (08:07:17) :
    Is there any event or development that would cause you to make a revision of your prediction of 75 -/+ 10 for cycle 24 maximum?
    The prediction is based on certain assumptions about how the Sun works and on the additional assumption that the sunspot number is a fairly accurate proxy for solar activity. Should Livingston & Penn be correct in their inference that the temperature in sunspots is increasing making them harder to see, the visible sunspot number would no longer be an accurate proxy and that would change my prediction [which is really of how many active magnetic regions there will be]. Other than that, the prediction stands or falls with what the Sun does and is not subject to revision [I may tweak it in minor ways as the polar fields evolve, e.g. 75 -> 72 -> 70 -> 74 -> 75 …]. There is the question of falsification: what would falsify the prediction? usually if the outcome is more than two standard deviations away. The assumption [or expectation – because there is a physical reason for it] is that the sunspot number depends linearly on the polar field. This may be too simplistic. In a sense, SC24 will be great for calibrating the method, so only for SC25 will we have a ‘real’ prediction.

    Al Fin (08:39:28) :
    A simple “we don’t know what the hell is happening, but we’re paying close attention” would suffice, and come closest to the truth no doubt.
    We do have some reason for thinking what we do. And we do labor under the illusion that we have a handle on this. That there are diverging opinions does not mean we don’t know squat, but rather that we don’t have the data yet to chose among several alternatives. Should we be correct this time, I think next time around, we can attach some confidence to the ideas. But science is always like that. Napoleon once said “truth is a bunch of agreed upon lies”. But, if it works, it works. If not, later generations will figure it out [if it is at all predictable – which it may not be]

  100. OT, but has anyone noticed the SOHO website running very slowly as of late? It’s nearly impossible to look at any of the latest images…

  101. E.M.Smith (02:33:57)

    1)”But with low UV (that makes ozone) and with the N.pole pointed away from the sun )(winter) something has to be making all that ozone! Solar currents?”

    The height of the tropopause varies with latitude and time of year. In the
    Northern hemisphere it is lowest in winter, highest in summer and exhibits a
    poleward decrease in height. The height variation is most pronounced North of
    latitude 30′ and results in about 10% of the mass of the Northern hemisphere’s
    stratosphere being exchanged annually with the troposphere. Some 4 to 8 x 10^10
    kg of ozone can be added to the Northern hemisphere troposphere by this process.

    2) More clouds? (Svensmark!)

    Cloud ion formation was first proposed by Dickinson (1975) with regard to GCR.

    A more accepted theory for cloud condensation nuclei is with biological feedbacks.

    It should be remembered there are two UN organizations,the IPCC and the UNEP Environmental Effects Assessment Panel on Ozone.

    Some interesting extracts.

    The Sun’s output is not constant over time, and solar UV-C radiation changes significantly over the 11-year solar cycle. This UV-C does not penetrate as far as the Earth’s surface, but changes in UV-C cause ozone changes of ~3%. Counter- intuitively, the UV-B received at the surface is therefore expected to be a minimum when the solar output is a maximum. However, there may be other climatic impacts of solar variability as well (e.g. changes in cloud cover),…

    …Cloud Effects
    Cloud effects are important. The mean attenuation of UV-B by clouds is typically in the range 15-30%. There have been improvements in the measurement of clouds from automated imagers at the Earth’s surface. Progress has been made relating these cloud images to satellite-derived cloud patterns and to the UV radiation received at the Earth’s surface.37 There is evidence for long-term changes in cloud in some regions, as discussed later….

    Biospherical Feedbacks

    Other feedbacks can involve the biosphere (Chapters 4 and 5).9, 84, 85 For example, increasing UV can reduce the productivity of oceanic phytoplankton. This can produce two feedbacks. Firstly, it reduces the oceanic sink for carbon in atmosphere (production of carbonates which fall to the sea floor). Secondly, it can influence the production of dimethyl sulphide (DMS), which is an important source of condensation nuclei.85 This, in turn affects cloud-droplet size, cloud reflectivity, and hence planetary albedo.

  102. Who are the “sparkies”?

    They include more than the amateur radio operators. The Ionosphere effects most all radio frequencies that pass through it. The ionosphere has several layers that each act differently at radio frequency. The intensity of the ionization and altitude of these layers are of great concern to radio communications systems. The ionozation level and altitude change from night to day, and according to the intensity of the suns activity. At some frequencies it acts like a mirror (actually bending/refracting the radio path), this returns the radio signal to the earths surface many miles away from its local signal coverage area. International short wave radio broadcasts like the BBC, Voice of America, Voice of Russia (formerly Radio Moscow), Germany’s Deutsche Welle etc. use this “skip” characteristic to reach into countries far from the home locations of the broadcast transmitters. Likewise the average guy using a CB radio is also effected by “skip” off the ionosphere, as are folks that like to listen to AM broadcast stations in distant cities late at night.

    During times of high sun activity, “skip” becomes much stronger and more reliable for communications. It can also become a nuisance at low frequency bands, like CB, 11 meter ham radio, and 45 mhz local government frequencies. At other frequencies the ionosphere is essentially transparent. These are used for communication links to satellites, and ham radio techniques like Earth Moon Bounce communication where radio signals are bounced off the moon and back to earth to communicate to distant stations.

    There is also a Maximum Usable Frequency that is controlled by ionospheric conditions that determines the upper limit to frequencies that are bent far enough to be returned to the surface of the earth as a skip path for long range communications off the ionosphere.

    http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2009/02/13/10652/?nc=1
    http://hfradio.org/muf_basics.html

    When skip is strong as it was years ago, I used to listen to broadcast AM stations late at night from Chicago, and New Orleans like they were local stations here in Colorado. During times of high “skip” conditions CB radio allows extremely long range communication sometimes using multiple bounces between broadcast antenna, ionosphere, earth surface and back to the ionosphere. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s on our local government frequency in the 45 mhz range we would sometimes hear traffic from New Jersey here in Colorado as if it was local traffic.

    The ionospheric effects due to the sun also impact high frequency emissions like the signals from the GPS satellites and they need to compensate for those distortions to get accurate GPS location fixes. Some Radar systems can also be effected by reflections and back scatter from the ionosphere.

    In short the strength and effective altitude of the various radio reflection layers of the ionosphere impact most any system that depends on radio frequency transmissions to communicate or gather information.

    This is why many radio amateurs monitor and maintain web sites that keep track of sunspot number, 10.7 strength etc..

    Google HAM radio, ionosphere, and radio skip for more detailed information.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skip_(radio)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_usable_frequency
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere <— discusses the layers

    Larry

  103. *******
    EMSmith:
    But with low UV (that makes ozone) and with the N.pole pointed away from the sun (winter) something has to be making all that ozone! Solar currents?
    *******

    I agree that is puzzling. Texts state that most ozone is created in the Tropics. Makes sense, the sunlight (& UV) is generally at its most direct angle there. By analogy, less is made at higher latitudes, and polar areas hardly any. Yet in winter we often see patches of high ozone either transported to or forming in polar regions. Is it persistent in the atmosphere? I’d a thought its lifetime would be short (hrs?) once the UV stopped.

  104. Leif Svalgaard (21:16:44) :
    to
    David Archibald (20:28:51) :
    I was the first person on the planet to predict a long solar cycle 23 (in 2006)
    Dikpati et al. said in March 2006:
    “the first spots of the next cycle won’t appear until late 2007 or early 2008″.
    I think we saw it in January 2008.

    Mr. Archibald
    Not entirely correct. If you looked up my formulas published in Jan 2004,
    http://xxx.lanl.gov/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0401/0401107.pdf
    and extrapolated to any year ahead, as in

    you would obtain for SC24 in 2013 around 80. However, that does not entitle any of us to claim anything, after all Dr. Hathaway may win laurels at the end, but I doubt it.

  105. Is it possible for GCR’s to make ozone in the absence of sunlight (Arctic in Winter)? The poles are where the neutron monitors record the greatest influx.

  106. “The solar cycle has a great influence on space weather, and is a significant influence on the Earth’s climate since luminosity has a direct relationship with magnetic activity. Solar activity minima tend to be correlated with colder temperatures, and longer than average solar cycles tend to be correlated with hotter temperatures. In the 17th century, the solar cycle appears to have stopped entirely for several decades; very few sunspots were observed during this period. During this era, which is known as the Maunder minimum or Little Ice Age, Europe experienced very cold temperatures.[58] Earlier extended minima have been discovered through analysis of tree rings and also appear to have coincided with lower-than-average global temperatures.”
    (Source Wikpedia)

  107. “you would obtain for SC24 in 2013 around 80.”

    I’ve found some of your thinking interesting. Your prediction, however, detracts from that general impression.

  108. vukcevic (13:57:59) :
    David Archibald (20:28:51) :
    I was the first person on the planet to predict a long solar cycle 23 (in 2006)
    Dikpati et al. said in March 2006:
    “the first spots of the next cycle won’t appear until late 2007 or early 2008″.
    I think we saw it in January 2008.
    Mr. Archibald
    Not entirely correct. If you looked up my formulas published in Jan 2004,

    Perhaps you guys can stop the pissing contest:
    Solar Activity Heading for a Maunder Minimum?
    Schatten, K. H.; Tobiska, W. K.
    American Astronomical Society, SPD meeting #34, #06.03; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 35, p.817
    Publication Date: 05/2003

    Abstract
    Long-range (few years to decades) solar activity prediction techniques vary greatly in their methods. They range from examining planetary orbits, to spectral analyses (e.g. Fourier, wavelet and spectral analyses), to artificial intelligence methods, to simply using general statistical techniques. Rather than concentrate on statistical/mathematical/numerical methods, we discuss a class of methods which appears to have a “physical basis.” Not only does it have a physical basis, but this basis is rooted in both “basic” physics (dynamo theory), but also solar physics (Babcock dynamo theory). The class we discuss is referred to as “precursor methods,” originally developed by Ohl, Brown and Williams and others, using geomagnetic observations.
    My colleagues and I have developed some understanding for how these methods work and have expanded the prediction methods using “solar dynamo precursor” methods, notably a “SODA” index (SOlar Dynamo Amplitude). These methods are now based upon an understanding of the Sun’s dynamo processes- to explain a connection between how the Sun’s fields are generated and how the Sun broadcasts its future activity levels to Earth. This has led to better monitoring of the Sun’s dynamo fields and is leading to more accurate prediction techniques. Related to the Sun’s polar and toroidal magnetic fields, we explain how these methods work, past predictions, the current cycle, and predictions of future of solar activity levels for the next few solar cycles.

    The surprising result of these long-range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a “Maunder” type of solar activity minimum – an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity. For the solar physicists, who enjoy studying solar activity, we hope this isn’t so, but for NASA, which must place and maintain satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), it may help with reboost problems. Space debris, and other aspects of objects in LEO will also be affected.

  109. Robert Bateman (14:02:22) :
    Is it possible for GCR’s to make ozone in the absence of sunlight (Arctic in Winter)? The poles are where the neutron monitors record the greatest influx.
    GCRs generally destroy ozone.

  110. There is an interesting dilemma with regard to the effect of solar activity on radio communications. Historically, ships at sea relied on ionospheric propagation for contact with the rest of the world. Due to the vagarities of the ionosphere, as discussed here, the jump to satellite communications was expected and works well. However, this depends on ‘normal’ solar activity, as major particle ejections can and have trashed satellites. So, if we do go into a cycle which includes major solar storms, and satellites fail, the ships will be in a world of hurt, as many have no HF capability any longer. This same discussion applies to government security communications, and any other worldwide system which cannot be tied to a fixed terminal using underground/underwater cables or fiber (Internet).
    One entertaining aspect. The MSM always runs their scare story every ~11 years about power outages, communications failures, etc., due to the upcoming sunspot cycle. What will they run for scaring the public if there is a weak cycle?

  111. Anthony, David, Leif: Thanks for the site, the topic, the thread, and the unbeatable education. Leif, thanks for your generosity in time, patience, and helping train us in the scientific method. Now we can face our giant sun, feeling the warmth of its rays upon us (TSI), and still think our own thoughts about what is causing our variable climate. Perhaps we might even be able to make with friends with CO2 so that our money, scientific minds, and technology can be used to try to figure out how to keep our planet warm enough to stop, or at least hold off, the next period of glaciation. At the very least we can learn to cope with the vicissitudes of earth’s climate. A great read.

  112. Leif gave you the 10.7MHz flight time.

    That would be 2.8 GHz actually or 10.7 cm if you prefer wavelength.

    Solar. – Just to keep om topic. ;-)

  113. Dr Svalgaard, Vukcevic

    I am not claiming to have predicted a low Solar Cycle 24 result – others have done that. What I did was take the logic to the next step. If Solar Cycle 24 was going to have an amplitude in the 40s, then the preceding cycle was going to be a long one. The first sign that Solar Cycle 24 would be weak is if Solar Cycle 23 took a long time to finish. The heliospheric current sheet is telling us that the month of solar minimum is likely to be in August 2009, and could be in 2010. The graphic has a good bit of predictive power. Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4. It is a beautiful world.

  114. EMSmith:
    But with low UV (that makes ozone) and with the N.pole pointed away from the sun (winter) something has to be making all that ozone! Solar currents?

    This is a very interesting topic. Following are some of the atmospheric dynamics that influence stratospheric ozone (all independent of chlorofluorocarbons and chemical effects).

    Ozone is highly soluble in water and it comes and goes in the tropical stratosphere with the strength of convection, in turn related to the energy reaching the tropical ocean. Good proxy for this is 850hPa temperature where latent heat of condensation is expressed.

    Air ascending in the tropics must be balanced by air descending elsewhere so the mid latitude high pressure cells and the polar high pressure cells together account for the descent. All year, Antarctica takes much of the load of descending air at high latitudes and this can be seen in a marked temperature fall there when the equator warms. (Amundsen Scott has been cooling steadily while the rests of the globe has warmed). In winter the Arctic is cold enough to get into the act. In summer the lack of downdraft over the Arctic probably assists to conserve ozone in the northern stratosphere.

    Currently the Arctic Vortex is stalled by the sudden stratospheric warming so a lot of the load of descending air is coming down in the mid latitude high pressure cells.

    There is a symbiotic relationship between mid winter warming in the Arctic and sea surface temperature in the tropics. I think the mechanism involved is a loss of high altitude ice cloud as the upper troposphere warms. Sea surface temperature at 20N to 20S has two peaks the larger of which is generated between December and April. This is when the Arctic warming occurs.

    Increased rate of ascent of the air in the tropics causes a rise in the tropopause there and marked cooling of the air between 100 and 50hPa over the equator. This is independent of the ozone reduction effect due to solubility in water and is happening right now concurrent with the stratospheric warming.

    La Nina in the tropics conserves ozone in the stratosphere as moisture levels drop there. In addition, the energy that drives the Brewer Dobson circulation is cut off and less stratospheric air is driven into the troposphere.

    Stratospheric temperatures rose over the last 8 years or so after declining steadily as far back as the record goes (1948).

    In my opinion temperature in the stratosphere as high as 10hPa is very much a function of ozone content as determined primarily by humidity. Ozone content of the air in the troposphere between 200hPa and 100hpa is less affected by humidity because the air is very cold. Surface temperature influences upper troposphere temperature but the presence of ozone causes a strong peak in temperature in mid latitudes of both hemispheres in February –March. The temperature increase at 200hPa is several times the sea surface temperature increase in the southern hemisphere at that time of the year. In the northern hemisphere of course, sea surface temperature reaches a minimum at this time of the year. So the surface cools while upper troposphere warms. Apart from ice cloud density this phenomenon affects the strength of the easterly winds across the tropics and the northward and southward extension of the Hadley cell.

    The heating of the stratosphere in the Arctic starts at the top and works its way down and on this occasion has raised temperature all the way to the Arctic surface.

    A recent thread on this site discussed the increased detection of muons far underground when the Arctic Stratosphere warms. Theory is that the atmosphere warms permitting this to occur. I see no reason why the warming and expansion of the atmosphere should not be attributed to the action of short wave radiation from the sun. The extent of the warming may be related to the high ozone content currently observed in the Arctic…..lit up like Christmas as you say.

    Here are a some good sites to look at temperature in the troposphere/stratosphere.
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat-trop/
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/index.shtml
    http://www.remss.com/msu/msu_data_monthly.html?channel=tmt

  115. David Archibald (20:49:23) :
    The first sign that Solar Cycle 24 would be weak is if Solar Cycle 23 took a long time to finish.
    It is the other way around: a low-prediction [back in 2003-2004] of SC24 almost automatically makes SC23 long, no surprise there.

    The heliospheric current sheet is telling us that the month of solar minimum is likely to be in August 2009, and could be in 2010.
    No, it doesn’t. I kinda invented the HCS and have studied it longer than anybody. The Rosenberg-Coleman effect has started which means that we are on the upslope of SC24. You can see here http://www.leif.org/research/Rosenberg-Coleman-Effect-2008.png that the variation of Bx and By in 2008 is an almost perfect sine curve, showing that the current sheet is flat. The calculated ’tilt’ angle [e.g. by WSO] is an over-simplification.

    Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4. It is a beautiful world.
    Not at all, more like cycle 13.

  116. David Archibald (20:49:23) :
    The first sign that Solar Cycle 24 would be weak is if Solar Cycle 23 took a long time to finish.
    It is the other way around: a low-prediction [back in 2003-2004] of SC24 almost automatically makes SC23 long, no surprise there.

    The heliospheric current sheet is telling us that the month of solar minimum is likely to be in August 2009, and could be in 2010.
    No, it doesn’t. I kinda invented the HCS and have studied it longer than anybody. The Rosenberg-Coleman effect has started, which means that we are on the upslope of SC24. You can see here http://www.leif.org/research/Rosenberg-Coleman-Effect-2008.png that the variation of Bx and By in 2008 is an almost perfect sine curve, showing that the current sheet is flat. The calculated ’tilt’ angle [e.g. by WSO] is an over-simplification.

    Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4.
    Not at all, more like cycle 13.

  117. David Archibald (20:49:23) :
    The first sign that Solar Cycle 24 would be weak is if Solar Cycle 23 took a long time to finish.
    It is the other way around: a low-prediction [back in 2003-2004] of SC24 almost automatically makes SC23 long, no surprise there.

    The heliospheric current sheet is telling us that the month of solar minimum is likely to be in August 2009, and could be in 2010.
    No, it doesn’t. I kinda [co-]invented the HCS and have studied it longer than anybody. The Rosenberg-Coleman effect has started, which means that we are on the upslope of SC24. You can see here http://www.leif.org/research/Rosenberg-Coleman-Effect-2008.png that the variation of Bx and By in 2008 is an almost perfect sine curve, showing that the current sheet is flat. The calculated ’tilt’ angle [e.g. by WSO] is an over-simplification.

    Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4.
    Not at all, more like cycle 13.

    [perhaps a moderator would be so kind as to delete the two previous posts]

  118. I find it interesting how quickly Svalgaard jumps onto Archibald looking for the slightest crack and the manner and apparent venom in his replies is not exactly professional. That has all the hallmarks of a worried man. Archibald clearly stated in the beginning he was the first to predict a long cycle length for SC23 and did not deserve the “pissing” statement.

    I also find it interesting that Svalgaard on most occasions backs up his arguments with his own research or papers. I would prefer to see more evidence from other sources to achieve some balance.

    SC23 is very much like SC4 although the timing is slightly different….in the background the angular momentum is very similar on both occasions. Keep up the good work David, your method of thinking is refreshing.

  119. hotrod (11:39:34) :

    Thanks for the answer on radio wave “propagation”. While I digest this, perhaps you could answer or speculate…

    How will solar activities of (these/any) wavelengths / frequencies affect luddites (also here in Colorado), who refuse to buy new digital televisions? We still have our old analog antenna, which I will give up when they unclench my cold dead fingers from around the money necessary to buy something better.

    With the converter, we get decent imagery and sound from KRMA, for example, but it’s punctuated with periods of digital “freeze”, “pixelization”, and silence, like the film suddenly broke in the projection booth. My understanding is that KRMA intends to boost its signal from KHz to MHz when they finally make “The Transition”. So, my questions are these:

    1. Is a stronger digital signal any more likely to be a clearer signal?
    2. Do digital or analog t.v. broadcasts make use of the “skip” which you describe as so usefull to radio broadcasts?
    3. If we are not in “line of sight” of the broadcast antenna, will we still be receiving a signal?

    If I wake up in the penalty booth, I’ll know if this is off-topic … you never know unless you ask.

  120. As a relative newcomer I appreciate all posts from David and Leif re their content of science and knowledge and research and find both most interesting, as I do many posters…However, I must agree that there does seem to be some rather quick jumping on and criticizing of posts, which hits me right in the eye everytime I have a new read of the threads. This does seem a bit over the top to be occurring all of the time, and does not help an otherwise great read and thread.

  121. “on most occasions backs up his arguments with his own research or papers”

    Like the proverbial iceberg, 95% is hidden from view. Glad some are awake.

  122. “Not at all, more like cycle 13.”

    Apart from length, Rmax, bimodal morphology, ordinal position in its quintet, its rise over run ratio, etc. A great fit.

    What is the frequency, Kenneth?

  123. Geoff Sharp (23:26:28) :
    I find it interesting how quickly Svalgaard jumps onto Archibald looking for the slightest crack
    Well, well. Take this statement: “The heliospheric current sheet is telling us that the month of solar minimum is likely to be in August 2009, and could be in 2010” that I ‘jumped’ on. I would have jumped less had Archibald offered some justification for this, possibly backed up with research from others for balance. It is ‘the slightest crack’ that makes the dam break.

  124. “In my opinion temperature in the stratosphere as high as 10hPa is very much a function of ozone content as determined primarily by humidity.”

    I am beginning to catch your drift. Significant mixing toward the poles lead to high humidity, ozone and humidity. I’ll have to ruminate further on this and maksimovich’s abstracts awaiting a muse.

  125. David Archibald (20:49:23) :
    Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4. It is a beautiful world.

    And SC23 downramp is as fine a textbook example of a curve one could wish for. It is as if an artisan’s hand was at work.
    Comparing SC4 downramp to SC23 downramp is like comparing Fred Flinstone’s work to Michealangelo’s.
    Oh, sorry, getting off topic, but just can’t help thinking what the Creationists
    would think when they get a load of that curve.

  126. I do agree, David, that SC23 is a perfect to-scale fit for an SC4 restoration.
    Project is on schedule for completion late 2009 to early 2010.
    She’s a right-fine beauty, that SC23 is.

  127. This current low gives us an opportunity to look at correlations and intimations of climate effects. I still think that the correlation of Maunder Minimum (no sunspots, high carbon-14 and berrylium-10, hence high GCR penetration) with the Little Ice Age (paleoclimate data from tree-rings, stalagmites, sediment patterns etc) showing lower temperatures – needs an explanation. Several factors may be at work: svensmark’s low level clouds or optical density effects reducing SW flux to the planet (ocean) surface; low UV affecting the polar vortex (Shindell’s work); possible electrical effects on aerosols/clouds/ice-crystals.

    Camp and Tung have shown that there is an 11/22yr cycle effect on seasurface temperature that also has latitudinal components – and my feeling is the effect (at 0.2C) is too big to be due to TSI changes (0.1%) over the cycle – so we need an amplifier – and cloud effects are the chief candidate.

    If we get a very low cycle it will be like a prolonged minimum. The effect of a short minimum may be small, but the longer it goes on, the effect accumulates. The oceans remix the signal with varying timelags. If we look at the jetstream patterns that are now current (with the low cycles effect on the polar vortex – and remembering from Shindell that there appeared to be a polar vortex effect in the Maunder Minimum), then we should be able to work out the dynamic. Right now there very large areas of the Pacific clear of cloud and absorbing SW in the southern hemisphere most strongly – currents will take this south to Antarctica – which should warm significantly (at last, and how happy for AGWers!). However, in the northern hemisphere, the clouds are shifting southward and exposing northern ‘warm pool’ waters to the night sky, as well as blocking sunlight absorbtion further south – hence the northern oceans will cool.

    If we look at the last 30 years – 80% 0f ‘global warming’ is accumulated in the upper 200m of the oceans, but relatively concentrated in two large gyres in the north Pacific and north Atlantic. The first of these lost virtually all its heat by the autumn of 2006 – and there will be time-lagged knock-on effects downwind (Alaska cools first, then the Beaufort Sea, then eastward to the Norwegian Sea – with the summer ice starting to return in 2008). When the Atlantic gyre cools, and I expect this now to accelerate, western Europe will cool further. Right now western Europe is in the early stages of these cyclic effects – with shifts in the jetstream bringing torrential rain in summer, and polar highs in winter blocking the westerlies and bringing freezing conditions.

    If this pattern continued under the solar minimum the northern hemisphere will cool by 0.5-1 C – but it looks to take a few decades to get that low. Obviously some places will be colder than others, and some warmer (e.g. central Siberia this last autumn).

    The overall ‘global’ mean may not change much – because the southern hemisphere could get much warmer – but it also appears that ENSO amplitude was suppressed during the Maunder Minimum.

    Meanwhile, in the upper atmosphere I note that 2007-2008 was warmer than the long term mean not cooler as was the surface (MSU data at 1km). Maybe this is the carbon dioxide effect!

    What will be interesting if this minimum continues, is whether the CO2 and other greenhouse gases can counteract the surface/cloud/ocean dynamic significantly. In which case, we should invest in bumper stickers ‘carbon dioxide is my friend’! Well, at least until the upturn of the sun.

    My own feeling is that CO2 can account for about 15-20% of the observed 1800-2005 global warming – the rest is recovery from the Little Ice Age (by whatever means – solar, clouds, ocean dynamic).

  128. This minimum has a lot more time to keep going.

    shows N / S hemispheres monthly averages of the daily sunspot areas
    (in units of millionths of a hemisphere)

  129. Leif Svalgaard (19:11:45) :

    David Archibald (17:50:54) :
    Do you know why they are hung up on a high amplitude instead of just letting the chips fall where they may?
    My own theory [not official Panel policy] is this: Satellite operators usually borrow money to finance their operations [as most businesses do]. The lender requires that the hardware be insured. The insurance company needs to evaluate the risk of damage from solar activity. Having a risk figure, they then set a premium. They like the risk as high as possible to set the premium as high as possible. If the premium [the perceived risk] is too high [e.g. the solar cycle turned out to be very mild] the insurance company can be [and has been] sued. To be sue-proof, the insurance industry wants the Government to give them a number [preferably as high as possible], so that they can say: “hey, don’t sue us, we got the number from the Government”. How does that sound?

    Leif,

    This could mean that we have just experienced the first insurance fraud in Space when the Russian Kosmos 2251 crashed into Iridium 33 approximately 800 km over northern Siberia. I think the Russian Mob is behind it.

  130. Solar Differential Rotation.

    Some maybe aware I have been trying to track down if we are experiencing any change in the differential rotation rates of the Sun. Today I heard back from Dr. Rachel Howe from NOAE who specializes in this area, and she said:

    ” Thank you for your query. The solar differential rotation
    does show slight changes during the solar cycle. There is not currently
    a publicly available data product monitoring this, but there is an
    extensive literature on the subject.

    I attach a plot with the most recent results from MDI and GONG, shown
    as a time-latitude false-color map of the difference between
    the rotation rate and the temporal average, with the scale in nHz.

    As it happens, my review article on “Solar Interior Rotation and its
    Variation” has just been accepted by Living Reviews in Solar Physics and
    a preprint version should be available on arXiv.org (astro-ph) this evening,
    with figures including the most recent data. (The figures have been
    degraded to save bandwidth, but the PDF version includes links to better
    copies.) I hope this will be helpful.
    Regards,
    Rachel Howe”

    While not exactly the information I am chasing none the less the up to date graphic showing the different rotation rates in the convection zone is quite fascinating.

    We can see how currently the higher latitudes are experiencing slower than avg rotation rates while the equator is faster than avg but slowly decreasing as SC24 attempts to make a start, slower rotation = more activity. The Flow from SC23 is clearly ending around 2002 which lines up very nicely with the Solar Pole strength graphs from the WSO

    SC24 looks to begin its weak march way back in 1996 and certainly looks to be weaker than SC23. We can also see the start of SC25 and it also looks weak. Another paper by Frank Hill supports this.

    http://www.ias.ac.in/jaa/marjun2008/JAA09.pdf

    There is many different parts of the Sun showing different rotation speeds and this is just in the convection zone, what is happening beyond the Tachocline is another story, but perhaps we may gain something from this research that does suggest different rotation rates at times of grand minima.

  131. It is easy to destroy a satellite if it is moving in the same direction; you just have to catch up with it. Real test of the space navigation expertise is to intercept one coming from the opposite direction. It is surprising that neither side is protesting too much.

  132. Geoff Sharp (23:26:28) :

    “I find it interesting how quickly Svalgaard jumps onto Archibald looking for the slightest crack and the manner and apparent venom in his replies is not exactly professional. That has all the hallmarks of a worried man. Archibald clearly stated in the beginning he was the first to predict a long cycle length for SC23 and did not deserve the “pissing” statement.

    I also find it interesting that Svalgaard on most occasions backs up his arguments with his own research or papers. I would prefer to see more evidence from other sources to achieve some balance.

    SC23 is very much like SC4 although the timing is slightly different….in the background the angular momentum is very similar on both occasions. Keep up the good work David, your method of thinking is refreshing”.

    Geoff Sharp,

    Do I sense a slightly jealous undertone here or do you really mean what you say?
    I personally think we could not do any better.
    I am sure we would not have this wonderful exchanges of knowledge and arguments if Leif wasn’t participating this blog with his postings, his patient explanations and his incredible amount of knowledge.
    I do not mind him citing from his own papers at all.
    If you can ‘t appreciate this I think you are missing the moments of opportunity here that makes this a really amazing blog.

    What we see happening here is an almost real time confrontation of real serious “out of the box thinking” from David Archibald test benched by all the available knowledge available from Leif.
    This is exactly how science works and how new ideas get hands and feet.
    David presents his theory and projections in a brave cocky manner, short to the point and clear.
    Leif starts challenging the fundamentals of this theory and pulls the arguments from his own database forcing David to come back and defend his claims.
    In the mean time we are sitting in the front row seat.
    I also have detected some rivalry (maybe irritation) between David and Leif but that is inevitable when creative characters interact. It comes with the package.
    That’s how I think about it, no hart feelings.

    Short remark:
    We are not stalked by AGW proponents here.
    This subject is not their cup of tea.

  133. peter vd berg (02:29:40) :

    To return to how little we know about the sun’s dynamics, the observed ‘cycles’ are to me like a trompe d’oeuil. Since we humans have brains which almost obsessively discern patterns and the infinitesimal lifespan of our species relative to the sun, we see patterns in it’s behavior as we see patterns in almost anything but which have little or no relation to the actual facts. Look at it another way you see another pattern. The well known cartoon of Freud which can look like a nude female form springs to mind.

    Should our lifespan reach anything like more then a mere second of the sun’s lifespan we might be able to determine the real pattern. But it will be some time before we live to be a 100.000. Till then solar prediction is just an amusing brainteaser, fun to do but pretty much useless

    Peter,

    And you are an optimist?

  134. Geoff Sharp (15:15:22) :
    SC24 looks to begin its weak march way back in 1996 and certainly looks to be weaker than SC23. We can also see the start of SC25 and it also looks weak. Another paper by Frank Hill supports this.
    You might be off by a cycle…

  135. Peter Taylor (10:13:06) :

    This current low gives us an opportunity to look at correlations and intimations of climate effects.

    Pete,

    Thanks for the superb, balanced summary of our current circumstance.

    -psi

  136. How will solar activities of (these/any) wavelengths / frequencies affect luddites (also here in Colorado), who refuse to buy new digital televisions? We still have our old analog antenna, which I will give up when they unclench my cold dead fingers from around the money necessary to buy something better.

    With the converter, we get decent imagery and sound from KRMA, for example, but it’s punctuated with periods of digital “freeze”, “pixelization”, and silence, like the film suddenly broke in the projection booth. My understanding is that KRMA intends to boost its signal from KHz to MHz when they finally make “The Transition”. So, my questions are these:

    KRMA is on UHF channel 18 with a low power of 13.8kW right now, and it looks like they will be going to 1000 KW of broadcast power later after the conversion.

    You might want to look here for additional info.
    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/tvq.html
    http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx

    1. Is a stronger digital signal any more likely to be a clearer signal?
    2. Do digital or analog t.v. broadcasts make use of the “skip” which you describe as so usefull to radio broadcasts?
    3. If we are not in “line of sight” of the broadcast antenna, will we still be receiving a signal?

    If I wake up in the penalty booth, I’ll know if this is off-topic … you never know unless you ask.

    The issue or ionospheric refraction/reflection mostly effects only low frequency bands. I doubt it will have any effect on digital TV reception.

    It can be very strong in the commercial short wave band, CB frequencies, and 11meter amateur radio bands. Once you get to a radio frequency above the MUF (maximum usable frequency) the ionosphere becomes transparent to radio signals — at least it bends them a negligible amount.

    The traditional TV bands are in the VHF and UHF frequencies, which are for the most part line of sight frequencies and usually well above the MUF although radio amateurs can occasionally use skip in unusual conditions at VHF frequencies it is not common.

    By line of sight I mean they have limited ability to go over the horizon or reflect off the ionosphere, so sun spots and ionospheric effects have essentially no effects in those frequency bands.

    For example I used to live in the radio shadow of North table mountain (on the west side of Denver metro area), having no line of sight to Lookout mountain (the location of the major radio/tv towers). I could get good pictures in the 2-6 channel range on analog TV, but reception started to get shaky at the higher channels.

    As you can see below, when you go to channel 7 and 9 in our local area you jump from the high 80 Mhz range into the 170-180 Mhz range, those channels are much more prone to “radio frequency shadow” due to obstructions, but they also tend to bounce better off of obstructions so you get weaker primary signals in a shadow area, and more ghost images from secondary reflections. As you go even higher in frequency the radio signals behave more and more like light does, becoming very directional, giving strong shadows behind obstructions.

    VHF TELEVISION FREQUENCIES
    BAND CH # FREQUENCY

    VHF LOW 02 54-60 Mhz
    VHF LOW 03 60-66 Mhz
    VHF LOW 04 66-72 Mhz
    VHF LOW 05 76-82 Mhz
    VHF LOW 06 82-88 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 07 174-180 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 08 180-186 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 09 186-192 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 10 192-198 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 11 198-204 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 12 204-210 Mhz
    VHF HIGH 13 210-216 Mhz

    By the time you get to channel 31 you are in the UHF band at 572-578 Mhz. In my location it took divine intervention or small animal sacrifices to get even crappy reception. During the digital conversion many of these lower frequencies will be abandoned for TV use as they cut over to the new digital frequencies and re-assigned them to other applications.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_broadcast_television_frequencies

    Bottom line, is the new digital channels will behave differently than the old analog channels due to both shifts in frequency and the change over to digital.

    On the old analog signals you could (if you had any signal at all) at least get the audio of the broadcast or a snowy video plus audio. With digital you have a win some lose some situation, where if you get a signal, it will usually be bright and clear or no picture at all. It will be pretty much an all or nothing reception. The blocking you talk about, will show up in that small band where sometimes the receiver gets enough info to process the digital signal and sometimes it does not.

    So to answer you primary questions:

    1. Is a stronger digital signal any more likely to be a clearer signal?
    If you get a good signal it will be a nice clear picture, if you drop into marginal signal strength you will probably get no usable TV image. (you might want to look at the amplified digital antennas if this is still an issue after the cut over).

    2. Do digital or analog t.v. broadcasts make use of the “skip” which you describe as so usefull to radio broadcasts?

    No! The ionospheric skip is most effective in the lower frequency bands. The ionosphere is essentially transparent to radio signals from the UHF band up to microwave. In that sense, solar activity will have little if any direct effect on digital signals, although its effect on the extended upper atmosphere may cause problems for low flying communications satellites due to increased atmospheric drag. Major solar storms will threaten satellites at all altitudes but that problem is typically a problem during periods of high solar activity not low solar activity.

    3. If we are not in “line of sight” of the broadcast antenna, will we still be receiving a signal?
    It will be more of an issue, and no general answer can be given. Radio frequency shadow effects will be stronger at the high frequencies used in the new digital channels but it is hard to say how increased broadcast power will effect that in your particular case. You might contact the engineering department of the station you are concerned about, they should be able to give you a good guess based on their engineering studies, and help you determine if you will have good reception. Some of them will fill coverage gaps on alternate translator frequencies so you might be able to get the signal by switching to a different frequency than you normally would for that channel.

    At my old location, I could get channel 20 by aiming my TV antenna at a near by mountain and picking up a reflection off the peak that was stronger than the direct signal, but at that house I never could figure out a way to get channel 31 until I went to a satellite service. By using Direct TV I could get all the channels as part of their package, and those signals will all be digital.

    Larry

  137. bill p (23:57:09) :
    Bill:
    Drop me an email at w5vpqarrl.net. I’ll be happy to explain the apparent silliness about the DTV conversion.

  138. Leif Svalgaard (17:12:55) :

    You might be off by a cycle…

    Do you think, I guess this sort of diagram can be interpreted differently and also the time frame is short. I see it as the equator having the impact with SC23 tapering off around 2002, with each cycle having its roots way back that forms a V shape gradually building in strength and begins to take over when the preceding cycle ends. I know the actual SC23 solar cycle began around 1996 but perhaps SC24 was also starting in its infancy?

  139. Another observation on the differential rotation diagram, SC23’s Rmax coincides right on with the slowest rotation speed at the equator.

    I think this would be an invaluable tool if we could access it easily like the WSO polar strength graph and watch each move through the cycle. I informed Dr. Howe of this, lets hope it gets something going.

  140. Geoff Sharp (19:08:34) :
    >i>”You might be off by a cycle…”
    Do you think, I guess this sort of diagram can be interpreted differently
    No, SC23 started in 1994, built from the polar fields that started to build up in 1991, after their reversal in 1989, SC24 started in 2005, built from the polar fields that started to build up in 2003, after their reversal in 2000, and SC25 will not start until after the polar fields reverse sometime after 2014-2015 and begin to build up again. If you think differently then you must qualify your statements appropriately. “We can also see the start of SC25” is not qualified as it should be.

  141. Geoff Sharp (19:08:34) :
    ”You might be off by a cycle…”
    Do you think, I guess this sort of diagram can be interpreted differently

    No, SC23 started in 1994, built from the polar fields that started to build up in 1991, after their reversal in 1989, SC24 started in 2005, built from the polar fields that started to build up in 2003, after their reversal in 2000, and SC25 will not start until after the polar fields reverse sometime after 2014-2015 and begin to build up again. If you think differently then you must qualify your statements appropriately. “We can also see the start of SC25″ is not qualified as it should be.

  142. And yet more…you can see in the pattern why early cycle sunspots appear at high latitudes then gravitate to the equator, thats what the dark blue areas are, the poles “earthing out” on the sunspot that is created in the area of slowest rotation.

    This might be a new kind of Hale cycle that begins before the change in polar polarity and the overlapping preceding cycle causes the polarity change. We might have the workings to explain the 11 year solar cycle…its all driven by the V patterns driven by differential rotation. Now we just have to work out why the differential rotation changes.

  143. Geoff Sharp (19:41:23) :
    We might have the workings to explain the 11 year solar cycle…its all driven by the V patterns driven by differential rotation.
    Take heart from the fact that scores of solar physicists are working on that very problem [and have been for a long time].

  144. Leif Svalgaard (19:35:04) :

    If you think differently then you must qualify your statements appropriately. “We can also see the start of SC25″ is not qualified as it should be.

    This is not easy when discussing a diagram like this….but here is one I prepared earlier that has purple arrows showing the beginning of the flow….that is the start of the V which is connected to 2 cycles.

    Also the latitude changes (dark blue area’s) correspond with where the cycle spots appear…the latitudes look correct?

  145. I agree regarding Leif’s explanation of TSI, magnetic field variations, solar wind, etc. There is much that is known about the Sun, thanks to Leif’s explanations. Especially those related to heat. These parameters can be mathematically represented, like a Bunsen burner in an experiment, and thus have a known variable that represents them, like the dials on my stove top. Were these sources of potential heat increases (and by logical conclusion, decreases) actually the dials on my stove, I could turn them from dead off (no spots) to all the way up to high (sunspot-marked like a teenager’s acne) and not tell with my hand pressed on the burners whether or not there was a difference in heat. Interestingly, his patient explanation of the extremely small variations in the Sun, which results in an extremely small variation in Earth’s lower atmospheric temperature, is much like CO2. CO2’s affects are as small as the Sun’s. In my humble opinion, warmers should be protesting against the oceans.

  146. Geoff Sharp (20:11:03) :
    This is not easy when discussing a diagram like this
    Just take what I say at face value, then it is easy. SC23 began in 1994 off the left edge, and SC24 in 2003 or 2004, about where you have the arrows. Sunspots tend to form at the boundary between purple and yellow; where the shear [velocity difference] is the largest. I have tried to explain this several times before. Here is a plot of the velocity from Mt. Wilson: http://www.leif.org/research/Torsional%20Oscillation.pdf

  147. Robert Bateman (08:47:28) :
    David Archibald (20:49:23) :
    Solar Cycle 23 is increasingly looking like Solar Cycle 4. It is a beautiful world.

    When making such comparisons, one must actually look at the data first. So a good question is: “what did SC4 look like?” This is not easy to answer, because our data is scant. Here are plots of ALL the data we have: http://www.leif.org/research/Sunspot%20Number%20Data%201775-1802.png
    The blue dots and curve show the Group Sunspot Number GSN, the red curve the Wolf Number WN, and the green dots and curve the sunspot data acquired by Staudacher 1749-1796 and recently re-measured by Arlt [ http://www.leif.org/research/Staudacher-1.pdf ]. We don’t really know what the ‘true’ sunspot number was or how to calibrate Staudacher’s data. I have simply scaled his data so that they fit halfway between the GSN and the WN.

    The next problem is how to compare cycles of different sizes. The standard solution is to scale them to have the same mean over an interval and to shift them in time until you get a ‘good’ fit. the second panel shows this done for SC4, SC13, and SC23. What makes SC4 so special is that halfway down its decline, it somehow got a resurgence that pushed the minimum out by several years. We don’t know if the ‘new’ flux was old cycle [i.e. 4] or new cycle [i.e. 5] polarity. Most solar researchers would go with old cycle.
    Arlt has also produced the butterfly diagram for those cylcles here: http://www.leif.org/research/Staudacher-2.pdf [see page 10] and it looks quite normal for cycle 4 [although cycle 1 looks strange].

    For those reasons I argue that the cycle to compare SC23 with is SC13, in spite of the numerological and astrological musings [“ordinal position in its quintet”]. The heliomagnetic field for SC23 also matched closely that of SC13 [page 9 of http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202008%20SH24A-01.pdf note the circles 107 years apart]. The cold data of science can sometimes put a damper on enthusiastic personal opinion and pet theories, like it or not.


  148. Leif Svalgaard (11:21:06):
    […] But to mention a few of the known unknowns:
    […] 3) what is a sunspot? [yes, we don’t know!] […]

    Hugo M (12:46:20): I learnt some time ago, looking onto a sunspot would be the equivalent of looking onto a cross section of a MHD flux tube?

    Leif Svalgaard (13:55:52): You are substituting one word with another [much more fancy one], but that doesn’t solve anything. How and where does such a tube form? how does it hold together? how deep is it? Is it one tube or a bundle of very many small tubes? etc.

    Dr. Svalgaard,

    it took me some time to get my hands back on a solar physics textbook written by your German confreres Scheffler and Elsässer, who gave reason to my infidel question. At any rate, it wasn’t just me who substituted one word by another (certainly much more fancy one), but your former colleague Horace W. Babcock, who put sunspots in context with his solar dynamo theory. He, for one had not simply renamed things, but had given a physical explanation which linked a physical effect (sunspots) to a possible cause (magnetic flux tubes), the latter induced in solar plasma by sun’s polar field.

    A nice illustration which I took from the above mentioned book is available here:

    The caption reads: “Fig. III.53: Formation of a bipolar sunspot group by local buoyancy of a magnetic flux tube located beneath sun’s surface (a) and it’s breakout to the upper solar atmosphere(b). (According to H. W. Babcock)”

    The next figure puts the former in context:

    The caption reads: “Fig. III.54: Conceptions of H.W.Babcock about the genesis of the magnetic cycle of sun’s activity. (According to C. Livingston)

    You may be right that the zoo of evolving solar dynamo theories had not solved so much until today. Else it would not be conceivable that the former solar prediction panel seriously tried to decide a scientific question by democratic voting – and finally failed in doing so, fortunately.

  149. Leif Svalgaard (20:44:23) :

    Just take what I say at face value, then it is easy. SC23 began in 1994 off the left edge, and SC24 in 2003 or 2004, about where you have the arrows. Sunspots tend to form at the boundary between purple and yellow; where the shear [velocity difference] is the largest. I have tried to explain this several times before. Here is a plot of the velocity from Mt. Wilson: http://www.leif.org/research/Torsional%20Oscillation.pd

    Thats not in my nature unfortunately and would rather find out things the hard way even if I end up with egg on my face, and I tend to find things when I dig. The plot you provide is quite different from the Dr. Howe plot, as if a lot of detail might be missing. This new plot shows the effect of differential rotational far more clearly. Have all the sunspots from the past couple of cycles been plotted on the differential rotation diagram at the corresponding latitude and date…that would be something to see.

  150. Geoff Sharp (22:55:52) :
    “Just take what I say at face value, then it is easy.”
    Thats not in my nature unfortunately

    Indeed it is not, which does make it a whole lot harder than it need be.

    The plot you provide is quite different from the Dr. Howe plot, as if a lot of detail might be missing. This new plot shows the effect of differential rotational far more clearly. Have all the sunspots from the past couple of cycles been plotted on the differential rotation diagram at the corresponding latitude and date…that would be something to see.
    I’m not sure which one you are referring to. Which has something missing? You are a bit muddled with this ‘differential rotation’. The diagrams show something very different. The differential rotation has been removed from the data. What the diagram shows is what is left after the removal: narrow bands that locally rotate slower and faster than the global differential rotation.
    Here you can compare the magnetic field [and thus the spots] with the torsional oscillation: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~obs/torsional.html

  151. Leif Svalgaard (23:11:35) :

    The original MWO graph you referred:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Torsional%20Oscillation.pdf
    looks to be missing detail, but as you have explained we are not comparing apples.

    I might keep digging….superimposing the sunspot data over Dr. Howes plot might be interesting.

    I will post an article later tonight on my mirror site (Auditblogs is having some major probs). For those interested go to: http://users.beagle.com.au/geoffsharp/

  152. Re Dr Svalgaard (21:22:52)

    WSO? You are not going pre-emptive on my data sources are you? Why not at least wait until the graphic has been posted? You have good reason to be concerned. The graphic looks good with a lot of predictive power, and it is saying August, 2009 for the month of minimum and possibly into 2010. I’ll to the math for everyone. A 13.4 year Solar Cycle 23 means that it will be 3.8 years longer than 22, which at 0.7 degrees per annum means a cooling of 2.7 degrees for places like New Hampshire. The solar cycle length – cooling relationship is 0.002 degrees per day, and every day counts. There is not one Solar Cycle 24 activity that has yet turned upwards.

  153. I may have missed it, but did anyone offer an explanation of Anthony’s question relating to the sudden drop in the ap index in October 2005.

    To my uninitiated mind. there are no obvious causes in all this slow-changing dynamo dynamic. It looks as if something delivered a ‘shock’ to the Sun’s system. Are there any electric currents out there sufficient to shock that system?

    And in the discussions about solar wind and climate – am I right that the solar wind is also a kind of current with a voltage? And the same for cosmic rays and ‘particles’ all measured in GeVs? The Earth has an electric current circuit, and a huge voltage differential from top of the atmosphere to bottom. Voltages – especially voltage shocks, affect aerosols (When conducting his cloud chamber experiments, Svensmark & co used voltages to clear the chamber after each experiment), and of course lightning has that air-clearing effect.

    I draw attention to this partly because no one much talks about it and partly because in some of the atmospheric science I have been reviewing of late, there is strong evidence that ‘global dimming’ (the cooling from 1945-1980) was not caused by human pollution, but by natural changes in aerosol and cloud. The end of ‘dimming’ occurred in the mid-1980s and early 1990s and satellites showed clear-sky increases in shortwave flux to the surface – global ‘brightening’, as well as less cloud cover (4% decline globally from 1983-2000). That SW flux can explain all the late 20th century warming – in terms of watts/square metre it is 4-6 times the greenhouse gas increment over that period.

    I would love to see a thread on atmospheric electrics! As well as anything similarly related to the Sun – after all, Hannes Alfven, the ‘father of magneto-hydrodynamics’, had a theory that the photosphere was an electric-arc phenomenon – what happened to that theory?

    Sorry if all these questions have been answered!

  154. Leif,
    With the proviso that I am not a physicist or a scientist, but only a curious onlooker… Is there any possibility at all that sunspots could be eddies created by the differing speeds of solar rotation?
    I am sure this is a very simplistic question, but still wondering.
    Thanks,
    Mike Bryant

  155. Peter Taylor (10:13:06) :

    “Right now there very large areas of the Pacific clear of cloud and absorbing SW in the southern hemisphere most strongly .”

    Peter, How do you know this? Have you any ideas as to the why the cloud has disappeared? What sort of cloud? Where exactly?

  156. From DIGITIZATION OF SUNSPOT DRAWINGS BY
    STAUDACHER IN 1749–1796
    Page 13 graph
    Figure 12. Average sunspot area in 183-day averages (top) and 365-day averages (bottom).
    The vertical lines are an indication for the error margin in that they are taken from the
    square root of the number of individual data points entering the average. The lower panel
    also contains the Wolf numbers from the SIDC, Belgium.

    The Wolf Numbers from SIDC work for me.
    Staudacher’s aren’t bad, either.
    The main point is the overall shape of cycle 4 and it’s length as compared to SC23 (still going…and going….and going).
    SC13 ended at 12 yrs of age.
    SC23 > 12.5 yrs
    SC13 was preceeded by a weaker cycle of 11.2 yrs.
    SC23 is preceeded by a stronger cycle of 10 yrs.

    I used the graphs from Solar Terrestrial Activity Reports
    http://www.solen.info/solar/cycl1_20.html
    Copyright notice: The graphics can be freely used provided that proper credit is given. The graphs have been prepared by Jan Alvestad based on data from SIDC, Brussels. – which I did.
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin.htm
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin1.htm

    It looks to me like SIDC has done a good job here.
    I even took the source you quoted me for the monthly ssn’s for the early cycles and made my own graphs. They agree with Jan Alvestad’s graphs.
    I’ll go with SIDC for thier consistency, and I’ll go with David’s comparison
    of SC23 with SC4, not because I agree with him, but because I found it independently, and nobody put the idea in my head.

  157. “Do I sense a slightly jealous undertone here or do you really mean what you say?
    I personally think we could not do any better.”

    I heartily agree with the second sentence. Dr. S. has a big gift as archivist and interpreter of data and is perhaps the most prominent scientific programmer around.

    Moreover, I have learned a lot from his corrections.

    The former sentence, however, seems the inverse of reality. Keep your day job.

  158. David Archibald (01:55:24) :
    WSO? You are not going pre-emptive on my data sources are you? Why not at least wait until the graphic has been posted? You have good reason to be concerned. The graphic looks good with a lot of predictive power
    What kind of fluff is this? I was one of the builders of WSO [and I’m back at WSO]. I wrote the program that is used at WSO to calculate the spherical harmonics [that determine the flatness of the HCS]. I know whereof I speak. The ‘graphic’ has no predictive power at all, only the physics behind it. Show us your graphic and explain whence it derives its power.

  159. Geoff Sharp (07:18:16) :
    The pattern matching is spot on, clearly showing the relationship.
    you are off by half a cycle [at least as rendered by my browser]. Try again.

    Robert Bateman (06:14:23) :
    I’ll go with SIDC for their consistency
    Where did SIDC get their numbers from? From Rudolf Wolf who got them from Staudacher. In Wolf’s first version of the SSN table, the Staudacher counts were low [as the GSN]. In 1861 he realized that the Staudacher counts were much too low and summarily doubled them. Later, in 1875 Wolf bumped all the numbers before 1849 up by another 25%, and sometime after 1880 Wolf took 50% off cycle 5. Finally about half of the monthly data for cycles 4 and 5 were simply made up.

  160. Leif Svalgaard (08:08:43) :
    Geoff Sharp (07:18:16) :
    “The pattern matching is spot on, clearly showing the relationship.”
    you are off by half a cycle [at least as rendered by my browser]. Try again.

    Either my browser has changed its rendering or you have corrected the match-up. Now you can see that the sunspots appear on the poleward boundary of the yellow high zonal flow as was pointed out by Rachel Howe [and many others long ago].

  161. Geoff Sharp (07:18:16) :
    “The pattern matching is spot on, clearly showing the relationship.”
    In your longer write-up you state
    each flow will accommodate 2 cycles.
    This is incorrect; each flow is for one cycle only. As Rachel points out [and has been known for a long time] the solar cycle is actually eighteen years long [makes playing with the lengths between statistical ‘minima’ rather meaningless].

  162. Peter Taylor (04:54:47) :

    To my uninitiated mind. there are no obvious causes in all this slow-changing dynamo dynamic. It looks as if something delivered a ’shock’ to the Sun’s system. Are there any electric currents out there sufficient to shock that system?

    I thought I was only one interesting in current rather than flux, after all most of the magnetic fields are product of current flows. My hypothesis (declared as a nonsense, you have been warned) can be found on:
    http://www.vukcevic.co.uk solar current link.

  163. Robert Bateman (06:14:23) :
    From DIGITIZATION OF SUNSPOT DRAWINGS BY STAUDACHER
    The vertical lines are an indication for the error margin in that they are taken from the square root of the number of individual data points entering the average.

    You [and or Arlt] are not understanding the meaning of ‘error’ here. ‘Error’ does not mean that the numbers can be wrong by that amount, but rather that there is variation within the interval [as you can see from a plot of the monthly data – or even more from plots of daily data]. The total area over a year would be exact with no error while still have a large variation from month to month within the year. The standard deviation of a count over an interval is approximated by the count itself [if the events are rare and independent – a so-called Poisson distribution], and the standard ‘error’ is customarily calculated as the standard deviation divided by the square root of the number of cases [minus 1 for the nit pickers]. Staudacher’s data are areas and not counts, but a ‘count’ can be approximated by assuming that each case has the same area. But a total area or count is always exactly what it is and has no error. You could as well calculate the ‘error margin’ of the standard SIDC yearly number by dividing by the square root of 365.
    The Staudacher data is probably the very best data we have on what solar activity was back then. And, in fact the GSN and the SIDC/Wolf numbers are largely in a crude way based on the Staudacher data anyway.

  164. “and I’ll go with David’s comparison
    of SC23 with SC4, not because I agree with him, but because I found it independently, and nobody put the idea in my head.”

    Again, you have company. The recognition has met congruent circumstances and been apprehended, independently, by very many.

    What is surprising are the alternately contrived and vacuous arguments against. Clearly they protest too much.

  165. “It looks as if something delivered a ’shock’ to the Sun’s system. ”

    More apt: the shock abruptly abated.

  166. from The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
    “Solar activity before 1882 is lower than generally assumed, and consequently solar activity in the last few decades is higher than it has been for several centuries.
    “There was a solar activity peak in 1801 and not in 1805, so there is no long anomalous cycle of 17 years as reported in the Wolf Sunspot Numbers. The longest cycle [in the record] now lasts no more than 15 years.
    “The Wolf Sunspot Numbers have many inhomogeneities in them arising from observer noise, and this noise affects the daily, monthly, and yearly means. The Group Sunspot Numbers also have observer noise, but it is considerably less than the noise in the Wolf Sunspot Numbers.”

  167. gary gulrud (09:20:52) :

    Again, you have company. The recognition has met congruent circumstances and been apprehended, independently, by very many.

    What is surprising are the alternately contrived and vacuous arguments against. Clearly they protest too much.

    Ain’t that something, Gary?
    We are not alone.
    I’m just the layman here, paddling my own boat. I don’t have supercomputers or fancy models or spiffy equations ( I don’t understand that stuff anyways-I barely made it through pre-calculus).
    Therefore, I cannot understand why I’m being shot at, I can only see what the official records show me.
    I’m told don’t cherry pick. Ok. I’ll look at ALL of the neutron monitors.
    I have gone out and visually verified L&P’s assertion of fading spots.
    I pay attention to what is going on around me, like William Hershel the observer was want to do.
    I didn’t change anybody’s records, though I am sorely tempted to use my Image processing skills to demonstrate that 30-45% of the microspots being used to pad todays SSN’s are SOHO only bogeys.
    SIDC isn’t going to listen to a commoner like myself. Why should they?
    I have no credentials to stand on.

    So, I merely join the company of all those who see the pattern I do.
    Others see it differently, I’m ok with that, let them protest.
    I’ll do my protesting by saving my nickels & dimes and buy David’s book.

  168. vukcevic (09:32:58) :
    from The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
    “There was a solar activity peak in 1801 and not in 1805, so there is no long anomalous cycle of 17 years as reported in the Wolf Sunspot Numbers.”

    I’m sure that several folks here with disagree with that [including me, but for other reasons].

  169. “I pay attention to what is going on around me, like William Hershel the observer was want to do.”

    Good work, friend. You are undoubtedly on the cusp of a Kuhnian ‘scientific revolution’ via the overturning of a current paradigm, the conveyor recycling.

  170. Robert Bateman (10:16:23) :
    I am sorely tempted to use my Image processing skills to demonstrate that 30-45% of the microspots being used to pad todays SSN’s are SOHO only bogeys.
    You are very likely correct on this and there is work underway to rectify this [we hope], but it is a hard uphill slug, because of the widespread misconception that solar activity the past 70 years or so is the highest ever [well, the last 11,000 years]. Correcting the malpractice would reduce that level of activity to what it was in the 19th and even late 18th centuries [making cycles 3 and 4 among the highest observed], and that seems to be hard to swallow for all the people whose pet ideas are based on a current exceptional Sun.

  171. erlhapp – on Pacific and clouds –

    When the PDO changes into its negative mode, there is a major shift in the jetstream – all I am able to do is follow the clouds tracks from Intelliweather – everything seems to shift south, and the ENSO goes into a neutral mode – my impression from the pattern is that in the southern hemisphere summer, there is a larger band of clear ocean from the equator to the first of the cloud bands in the southern oceans about level with the tip of South America. The southern jetstream seems now to have more cloud (insulating those waters).

    I don’t know if you can get better resolution data. I have been concerned that the overall percentage measures of cloud cover from ISCCP don’t tell us about spatial change and this is just as important for heat budgets.

    I don’t know what drives what – does the PDO alter the jetstream, or is the PDO set up by the jetstream – but we do know the jetstream is affected by the solar cycle and that that some specialists have found a 22year signal in Pacific Ocean cycles. I need to look in more detail and get you the links to papers.

    How about a little working group on ocean cycle links to solar cycles?

  172. I like to use CuSUM to alert me to a change to investigate in a monitored parameter. I will then ask “what things changed” a the levels of first through fifth orders of potential causality. I will use tools such as FMEA and FTA to come up with reasonable lists of the underlying 5 levels of causality. Would make an interesting (but admittedly time consuming) study of this instance. Of course I would imagine most of the causals are unknown and are themselves areas of future exploration and monitoring. Simply going through the preliminary exercise of attempting to sketch out the causals would help to determine worthy areas for future solar and astronomical research.

  173. Leif Svalgaard (08:24:54) :

    In your longer write-up you state
    each flow will accommodate 2 cycles.
    This is incorrect; each flow is for one cycle only. As Rachel points out [and has been known for a long time] the solar cycle is actually eighteen years long [makes playing with the lengths between statistical ‘minima’ rather meaningless].

    Maybe we are not comparing apples again. When I talk about a “V” I mean in this > shape and the body of the “V” is the green and blue sections (predominately). SC23 jumps off the old “V” (started off the chart on the left) at cycle max and changes polarity in the process. Once on the new “V” (flow started around 1995) SC23 runs down to minimum with SC24 hopefully taking over up to Rmax before once again jumping ship at polarity change, so we have 2 cycles on one flow (not full cycles of course). The initial flows are starting way before polarity change and the timing and strength of the solar cycles look dependent on the position and strength of the flows (or rotation speed). From what I can see, the “V” flows as a product of differential rotation explain most of the missing links in the dynamo theory, except what produces and modulates them of course, but certainly explains the 11 year avg cycle, it is simply where the 2 V’s overlap. If this is common scientific knowledge it has certainly been hidden from mainstream knowledge.

    My graphic demonstrates that the latitude position of the sunspot is not dependent on the sheer position between fast and slow areas, but more on the timing within the cycle (unless they drift very quickly).

  174. Peter Taylor
    Count me in to your working group.

    “in the southern hemisphere summer, there is a larger band of clear ocean from the equator to the first of the cloud bands in the southern oceans about level with the tip of South America”

    Yes, ozone levels increase June to December at 20-40°S Lat. and this causes a temperature response in the upper troposphere that reduces ice cloud levels. If UV intensity increases the Hadley circulation in the southern hemisphere expands variably with a southward shift in the ozone rich area where the high pressure cells travel west to East. The warming seems to begin north of the margins of these high pressure cells and can be seen in current sea surface temperature maps. This movement of the subtropical highs also moves the jets. If you can relate movement in the jets to ENSO you have the solar connection to climate change.

    Surface UV intensity between the Equator and 30°S is up strongly 2009 over 2008. See the Temis site. This drives an increase in temperature in the upper troposphere between the equator and 30°S which is several times the increase in temperature a the surface. Hence the change in ice cloud density is extensive.

    The increase in sea surface temperature in the tropics is tied in with the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings in the Arctic. The interesting thing is that a cooling of the equatorial stratosphere is conjunctional with sudden stratospheric warmings in the Arctic. I suggest that this is related to the solar induced heating of the stratosphere in the northern half of the northern hemisphere and a bulk shift in the atmosphere increasing its depth (absorbing UV at a higher level) over the tropics.

    30hPa temperature over the Arctic varies with sea surface temperature in the tropics. 30hPa temperature seems to be a function of ozone content and solar activity. Heating begins at 1hPa and progresses downward. The temperature response to the SSW that began a month ago (both in the Arctic and the tropics) is still progressing downward and extending in time suggesting an extended change in the atmospheric profile that far outlasts the period of activity of the initial solar stimulus. This suggests an enduring change in the plasmasphere.

    If Leif has another idea of how or the stratosphere cools over the equator as the Arctic warms perhaps he can help me out here.

  175. Geoff Sharp (14:59:56) :
    Maybe we are not comparing apples again.
    Having read over the text five times, I give up. I cannot follow you. You leave me in the dust. Perhaps you can make a graph and mark on the graph what goes with what.

  176. Geoff Sharp (17:51:21) :

    “Ron de Haan (15:49:29) :

    I certainly wouldnt like to see Leif depart this fine Blog, he certainly keeps us in line….but that was not my point”.

    Geoff, I ‘ve understood your point.

    Thanks for posting the links and pdf files about Solar Differential Rotation, Geoff Sharp (15:15:22) :
    .

  177. I spent some time today thinking about how to compensate for the overcounting that is Satellite-aided. Then I got to thinking about the padding that went on filling in the observational gaps and conversion of the old group data.

    Seems to me that they cancel each other out. Both are padded.
    Why bother?
    Leaves only the data in the middle, a big sag. Oh well.
    Maybe some poor unemployed solar scientists can get themselves a nice grant awarded.
    NSF surely isn’t going to give me a dime, though I am pretty sure I can get the satellite compensation part done.

  178. Leif Svalgaard (15:52:23) :

    Having read over the text five times, I give up. I cannot follow you. You leave me in the dust. Perhaps you can make a graph and mark on the graph what goes with what.

    We seem to have that problem….hopefully this graphic may help.

  179. Geoff Sharp (19:57:03) :
    hopefully this graphic may help.
    I can now see why I didn’t understand what you meant. I have indicated on this graphic http://www.leif.org/research/V-flows.png how the flows map to the cycles: SC23 is green, SC24 is pink, and the polar branch of SC23 is blue. The polar branch only lasts half as long as the low-latitude branch [9 yrs vs. 18 yrs according to Rachel]. The polarity change has nothing to do with the zonal flows. The reversal is a near random event: more and more new cycle flux makes it to the poles in a random walk or by the meridional circulation. As it arrives the new flux erodes the old polar fields at at some point the erosion is complete and the new flux accumulates.

  180. One of the most interesting discussions I have had the pleasure of reading.

    Keep up the good work, contentious though it may be from time to time.

  181. Leif Svalgaard (20:33:01)

    Yes…I forgot about the poles need to reverse in polarity, not the flow. By looking at the butterfly pattern it also shows the step function I was proposing is very unlikely. But the overlay I did still makes me think the slower rotating area’s might induce sunspot activity. I also wonder if there is a lag between the sunspot at the surface and the differential flow beneath ( I think the Doppler measuring is 1000K from the surface)…if so, if I am thinking correctly, that might align the slower moving flows even more with the sunspots?

  182. Ron de Haan (17:01:52)
    Thanks for posting the links and pdf files about Solar Differential Rotation

    My pleasure Ron….I can smell something in this rotation stuff :)

  183. “in spite of the numerological and astrological musings [“ordinal position in its quintet”]. ”

    Neither rocket science nor numerology. The simple recognition that cycles in sequence tend to rise or fall with respect to their predecessor, and that they occur like this in sets of four or five generally, however one groups them–trough to trough or peak to peak.

    Apart from Rmax, sun spot numerology, flaring has, for example, tended to peak on the rising or falling cycles not the ‘peak’ cycle, and with flaring UV bursts up to twice the background level.

    Cycle 23 sits on the falling margin of a symmetric grouping, cycle 13 is in a non-similar position however one selects its group. This may mean nothing, but we are at issue, simply comparing patterns of effects where the cause is implicitly not understood.

    Waxing on at length about the ‘facts’ doesn’t hide this paucity of synthesis.

  184. gary gulrud (08:41:27) :
    Neither rocket science nor numerology.
    Certainly not science either. There is no physical reasons [unless you can demonstrate otherwise] that any symmetries are involved.

    Apart from Rmax, sun spot numerology, flaring has, for example, tended to peak on the rising or falling cycles not the ‘peak’ cycle, and with flaring UV bursts up to twice the background level.
    As we have said earlier: “Average space weather might be ‘‘milder’’ with decreased solar activity, but the extreme events that dominate technological effects are not expected to disappear. In fact, they may become more common. Two of the eight strongest storms in the last 150 years occurred during solar cycle 14 (Rmax = 64) [Cliver and Svalgaard, 2004], while three of the five largest 30 MeV solar energetic proton events since 1859 [McCracken et al., 2001] occurred during cycle 13 (Rmax = 88).

    Waxing on at length about the ‘facts’ doesn’t hide this paucity of synthesis.
    Then why do you wax on then. Facts beats poor speculation every time.

  185. “while three of the five largest 30 MeV solar energetic proton events since 1859 [McCracken et al., 2001] occurred during cycle 13 (Rmax = 88).”

    So the similarity exists because the scientist thinks it so, via an incommunicable solipsism.

  186. gary gulrud (12:32:04) :
    So the similarity exists because the scientist thinks it so, via an incommunicable solipsism.
    No similarity [you just don’t get it – like so many other things – clueless again, it seems], just pointing out that large flares [that you referred to, presumably because cycle 23 had some, otherwise your comment would be just fluff] can occur in smallish cycles and not always during the largest.

  187. There is one area where cycle 23 and 4 are very similar, both cycles entered the retrograde motion in “chaotic mode”. Normal retrograde motions last approx nine years, both SC23 & SC4 lasting just over 11 years because of the influence from Neptune & Uranus altering the path of the Sun.

    SC13 is on a completely different path as can be seen with some imagination.

    This also has an impact on the torsional oscillations on the Sun as seen by Doppler imaging. Notice the “yellow flows” are much longer in SC23.

    I am betting on SC4 to be the closest to SC23 in recent times.

  188. On further review, the “scientific” argument for 13 is ellipitically articulated at:

    Leif Svalgaard (21:17:26) :

    supplemented by a paper that we’ve discussed before. I retract my crack about solipsism.

    The technique rescales the SS cycles(disposing of differences in length and Rmax) and uses a reconstruction of geomagnetic activity to establish the heliomagnetic field strengths that must have induced this activity. This is possible because the correlation is ‘strong’ in data available since 1959.

    Two, also regurgitated, thoughts: Hathaway’s original 24 prediction of Rmax 145 relied on geomagnetic storm activity following 23 Rmax of strong correlation.
    The more recent post “When you can’t believe the model” centers on the failure of history to repeat itself as the source of failure in statistics-based forecasting.

    I’m trying to find a dime’s worth of difference between “science” defined by scientists (versus, e.g., philosophers of science) and mere SWAG pattern matching and finding myself a nickel shy.

  189. Leif Svalgaard (08:19:55) : It is quite amazing that a 100 line program suffices.

    The better the programmer, the more compact the code.

    (Or, more elaborated: A clear mind leaves out the fluff and junk that a muddled mind leaves strewn about in bad code; cutting straight to the core of the solution.)

    The GIStemp code, in contrast, is about 75%+ “fluff” and nonsense.

    As an extreme counter example to GIStemp, a programmer friend once was writing ‘diagnostic microcode’. This runs at a level of the machine most folks don’t even know exists. He needed to test the 64 CPU hardware registers (the code is only run when the hardware is thought defective) so every resource you use is another chance to fail (due to using and depending on the ‘failed hardware’ you are looking for…).

    He wrote a bit of code that sets the “register increment counter” to either one at the “top” or negative one at the “bottom”. If you enter from the “top” the code increments to the “bottom”, turns around and decrements back to the “top” and is done. If you enter from the bottom, it counts upward to the top, turns around and increments to the bottom and is done.

    The net result was 32 lines of code rather than 64, and 1/2 the odds of hitting the bad hardware (registers) on first code loading. Nice side effect was that you could run the code forward or backward with the same outcome and could choose which registers to start with (top or bottom) by entry point.

    It took more text to describe here than the length of the code. Now that’s elegance!

  190. Leif Svalgaard (09:07:11) : [minus 1 for the nit pickers].

    Someone call for a nit harvester? ;-)

    You could as well calculate the ‘error margin’ of the standard SIDC yearly number by dividing by the square root of 365.

    Would that be sidereal, tropical, equinox or solar year [-1] ? I presume equinox (366 -1 = 365). And what happened to the fractional part of 36x.2xxx….

    So many nits, so little time ;-)

    At the bottom of:

    http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/calendar/

    is an interesting example of what folks using MS Excel must put up with due to untidy calendaring…

  191. Robert Bateman (10:16:23) : I have no credentials to stand on.

    Truth is its own credential and beauty is its sword.

  192. E.M.Smith (13:47:52) :

    Truth is its own credential and beauty is its sword.

    In addition to a blank Sun, we currently have a very blank Magnetogram.
    So much for tracking spots dead or alive under the radar.
    Good grief. What’s next, spotless Magnetogram graphs?

Comments are closed.