Oddball solar plage area

Yesterday I lamented that the sun was blank, not only on the SOHO MDI, but also the magnetogram.  Within a couple of hours, one sunspeck appeared. I cited Murphy’s Law. As one commenter put it: ” I think if you check back for the last six months or so whenever you mention the lack of sunspots on here, one shows up.”.

Perhaps if I stop writing about the lack of sunspots, a grand minimum will appear. Such power I wield. ;-)

The plage area now has no characteristics of a classic spot as you can see on the MDI, but it did yesterday ever so faintly as you can see in a previous MDI image here.

solar_mdi_0322

It is rather faint. It is doubtful that pre 20th century astronomers would see it.

NASA’s Dr. Tony Philips, who runs Spaceweather.com also got sucked in by the spotlessness yesterday and wrote this today:

Where have all the sunspots gone? As of yesterday, March 21st, the sun has been blank on 85% of the days of 2009. If this rate of spotlessness continues, 2009 will match 1913 as the blankest year of the past century. A flurry of new-cycle sunspots in Oct. 2008 prompted some observers to declare that solar minimum was ending, but since then the calm has returned. We are still in the pits of a deep solar minimum.

Coincidences and commentary aside, the plage group that appeared shortly after these two posts yesterday is an oddball to be sure. Have a look at the magentogram:

solar_magnetogram_0322

It has the classic high latitude of an SC24 spot, but reversed polarity.

Jan Janssens writes:

” 22 March 09 – New SC24-group has reversed polarity… – The new sunspotgroup that is visible in today’s SOHO-images, has -according to the corresponding magnetogram- a reversed polarity (SC23/25). Though on itself this is not so peculiar (every solar cycle has about hundred such groups, or about 3% of the total), it is already the second SC24-group showing this “aberration”: NOAA 1003, visible for just one day (04 October 2008) on the southern hemisphere (-23°), had a polarity equal to that of a unpair solar cycle too (see slide 4 of my presentation). That makes 2 out of 13 (15%), if this group gets a NOAA-number. ”

http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/Engnieuwtjes.html#Zon

Compare the current magnetogram to one where a true SC24 spot did form on Feb 24th, 2009:

mdi_magnetogram_022409

The real question is: how long will it last? Most of the cycle 24 spots (and disturbances that don’t rise to spots) have very short lifetimes. Will this new one grow and be assigned a number? Or will it wink out?

We live in interesting times.

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112 thoughts on “Oddball solar plage area

  1. Maybe the accidental report of the end of SC24 was correct. Perhaps it has come and gone and no one has noticed yet. Wouldn’t that be odd indeed?

  2. Lol!!! Murphies law has struck again. No sooner did you post this, I looked at solarcycle24.com. Within the last hour Kevin Posted that the Oddball spot has vanished!!

    REPLY: I am the bringer of spots, destroyer of spots. The Battle of Spotsylvania continues. ;-)
    Anthony

  3. Damn you’re fast…

    As I noted on yesterday’s post those twin specks are gone. What was it, twelve hours? So quick that SWPC & Catania never noted it and so the string of {official} spotless days continues; so much for the Watts Effect.

  4. Re: We live in interesting times.

    Nonsense! We’ve long since passed into fascinating times. We’re doubly cursed.

    BTW, why does the south pole look bigger than the north pole area? Perhaps it’s doing a somersault and will wind up with the “right” orientation. Perhaps the sun got a dose of south magnetic monopoles, that might explain all the strange happenings. :-)

  5. “Perhaps if I stop writing about the lack of sunspots, a grand minimum will appear. Such power I wield. ;-)”

    Ok, we need to look at your past writings, and their effects, and calculate a correlation coefficient. Also, we are going to need to create a model around the average amount of time between postings to tell us when to expect sunspots…..

  6. Is it possible that an “External Force” is present – and would like to point out that perhaps It’s in charge? How else might one explain the “Gore Effect”, and now the “Watt/Philips Effect”? The Gore Effect is much more fun to watch, I have to say.

  7. Robert Wykoff (07:47:50) :

    “Lol!!! Murphies law has struck again. No sooner did you post this, I looked at solarcycle24.com. Within the last hour Kevin Posted that the Oddball spot has vanished!!”

    “REPLY: I am the bringer of spots, destroyer of spots. The Battle of Spotsylvania continues. ;-)
    Anthony”

    Oh how I wish you were our Messiah living at 1600 Pensylvania Avenue, Washington DC and not BHO! Praise be to Anthony! Ha Ha!

    Seriously, thank you very much Anthony for all that you do here.

    markm

  8. Anthony is the Al Gore of solar spots! Whenever he says in public that we are in for a low solar activity phase and the proof is the lack of spots, a new spot appears. Of course new solar spots are also due to a low solar activity phase and has been predicted by his models.

    REPLY: I have no models on this – Anthony

  9. Anthony (and others), have you seen this article by Nir Shaviv (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007JA012989.shtml) ?

    abstract: Over the 11-year solar cycle, small changes in the total solar irradiance (TSI) give rise to small variations in the global energy budget. It was suggested, however, that different mechanisms could amplify solar activity variations to give large climatic effects, a possibility which is still a subject of debate. With this in mind, we use the oceans as a calorimeter to measure the radiative forcing variations associated with the solar cycle. This is achieved through the study of three independent records, the net heat flux into the oceans over 5 decades, the sea-level change rate based on tide gauge records over the 20th century, and the sea-surface temperature variations. Each of the records can be used to consistently derive the same oceanic heat flux. We find that the total radiative forcing associated with solar cycles variations is about 5 to 7 times larger than just those associated with the TSI variations, thus implying the necessary existence of an amplification mechanism, although without pointing to which one.

  10. Ric Werme (08:02:51) :
    BTW, why does the south pole look bigger than the north pole area?
    Because the solar axis is not perpendicular to the plane of the Earth’s orbit, but is inclined 7.15 degrees from the right angle. another way of saying this is that the Sun’s equatorial plane makes an angle of 7.15 degrees with the plane of the Earth’s orbit, so for half a year we are below [south] the equatorial plane and see the south pole better [like right now – actually on March 7th we were the most south], and for the other half of the year we are above [north] of the equatorial plane and see the north pole better [best on September 7th].

  11. Anthony replied:
    I am the bringer of spots, destroyer of spots. The Battle of Spotsylvania continues. ;-) Anthony

    HEY my great uncle died at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Spotsylvania_Court_House

    Just kidding. He COULD have been there (from WEST Virginia), but chances are low.
    OTOH, somebody from the OTHER side of the family (in Lee’s Army) might have.
    In any case, I just thought I would practice pushing Political Correctness back a couple of generations. Under the current political “climate”, that could come in handy.

    Re: The Watts Effect
    (a) love the concept. Can we consider it part of the “lexicon”?
    (b) Apparently, your power extends only to “specks”, not actual spots, so I wouldn’t get too proud of yourself quite yet. It is relatively impressive, however. Al Gore can only change the LOCAL climate for a few days; think of the energy you’re pushing around (terajoules?) even if they are only “specks”.

  12. Although if lots of spots are are associated with higher TSI,
    maybe it should be the No-Watts effect….

  13. Doesn’t seem to me that data for the Gore Effect nor the Watt Effect satisfy the demands of normally distributed variables. You folks wanting to test these issues will have to drag out those old stat books and search for the appropriate non-parametric model.

  14. Douglas DC (07:55:35) :

    “This is cheery-as snow files out my window in NE Oregon.”

    Does the snow file in an orderly manner outside your window?
    Where I live, snow always files in a disorderly manner :)

  15. Could someone comment about the heavy tilt of the axis of the dipoles?
    It curently (2009 03 22 13.25) sits at P.A. 140 (Postion Angle of Solar North Pole =0, clockwise to Solar South pole=180)?

  16. Robert Bateman (10:16:07) :
    Could someone comment about the heavy tilt of the axis of the dipoles?
    Here is a study [see their Figure 1] that shows that the tilt can be anything:
    http://www.ias.ac.in/jarch/jaa/21/149-153.pdf

    There is a concentration of tilt towards about 5 degrees, but the tilt can easily go both ways [positive and negative], especially at higher latitudes [other studies show the latitude dependence].

  17. New word: wattage

    Definition: the amount of time (in minutes) that passes between an announcement by Anthony Wattts and the appearance of an opposite effect

    Usage: What was the wattage of the last sun spot appearance? About 180.

  18. There is a concentration of tilt towards about 5 degrees, but the tilt can easily go both ways [positive and negative], especially at higher latitudes [other studies show the latitude dependence]..

    I’ll buy that, Leif. One look at the FWHM depicted by Fig 1 has stellar written all over it.

  19. Omigosh.

    4. Sunspot group tilt angle changes are correlated with polarity separation changes
    (expansion or contraction), and is in the right direction, and of the correct
    magnitude one would expect if Coriolis force is the agency responsible for causing
    the tilt.
    5. The average tilt angle for spot groups varies with solar cycle, being higher during
    solar minimum periods than during maximum periods .

    (If we take the following as true):
    This variation in tilt angles
    can be caused by variation in the field strengths of the sub surface toroidal flux
    tubes, between the two phases of the cycle. A decrease in magnetic tension
    because of the weaker field strengths in the rising flux tubes would offer less
    resistance to the effect of the Coriolis force, which in turn tends to increase the tilt
    angle of the spot groups that appear during the minimum years.

    This is more than just interesting.
    If we can find a highly tilted showing up in the same latitude as a 5degree tilted in a short timeframe , then it might imply a warbling or sputtering of field strengths, leading to temporary less resistance to Coriolis Force.
    Even better, since we are in a very low ebb, it is possible to describe a war of sorts as a hopscotch pattern of 5 degree and heavliy tilted is going on.

  20. Douglas DC (07:55:35) :
    This is cheery – as snow files out my window in NE Oregon.

    Garacka (09:50:55) :
    Does the snow file in an orderly manner outside your window?
    Where I live, snow always files in a disorderly manner :)

    Close your window and turn off your air conditioning !
    ———-

    I’ve seen these bright areas before, and I seem to recall they were usually sitting on the dark S magnetogram pole. Probably faulty memory.

    When we’re talking about polarity in a cycle, is it that one pole is eastward/right/leading, or is the pole equatorward that determines the polarity, or maybe both? The current one shows both right and equatorward for the N pole.

  21. OK, given the Gore effect and the Watts effect, all we need are models to predict where Gore will speak and what Anthony will write.

    It seems fitting that these models should be involve extrapolating the trends. I’m sure I can find some pretty good fits. Anthony’s writings ought to fit a negative-binomial. Predicting Gore’s next location can’t be any harder then predicting where son-of-sam would strike next.

    Should I try a journal first or just present at a conference? I’m sure I can get my employer to send me to the next ORSA/TIMS. If I use simulation, WinterSim is always fun.

  22. The problem with Murphy’s Law

    If you wash your car it will rain, but if you wash your car to make it rain it surely won’t

    Daniel

  23. The Spot (Modified lyrics from The Blob by Burt Bacharach)

    Beware of The spot, it creeps
    And leaps and glides and slides
    Across the floor
    Right through the door
    And all around the wall
    A splotch, a blotch
    Be careful of The spot…

  24. Douglas DC (07:55:35) :
    This is cheery – as snow files out my window in NE Oregon.

    I might call this the Douglas DC effect, as snow flies out my window in NW California (Salmon Mts).
    Brrrr!!!!

  25. Robert Bateman (11:07:37) :
    Omigosh.
    4. Sunspot group tilt angle changes are correlated with polarity separation changes

    What they are saying is just the well-known fact that the smaller the group [or the dipole] is, the larger and more variable the tilt is, for the smallest dipoles the tilt is almost completely random. Just go look at a magnetogram [perhaps find one a little while ago with some stuff on it] and note how disorganized the very smallest bipolar regions are. And this latest speck was small…

  26. Jim G (09:45:13) said:
    Although if lots of spots are are associated with higher TSI,
    maybe it should be the No-Watts effect….

    HOW ABOUT Wattlessness?

    Tom in Florida (10:46:43) said :
    New word: wattage
    Definition: the amount of time (in minutes) that passes between an announcement by Anthony Wattts and the appearance of an opposite effect
    Usage: What was the wattage of the last sun spot appearance? About 180.

    UNFORTUNATELY, THE ORIGINAL CANNY WATT (The Scottish Steam Engine One) has that one sewn-up. Suggest Wattation (Wa-Tay-Shun). e.g. The average Wattation of spots in 2009 was 97.

  27. Lief: I have never paid much attention to magnetograms until just recently.
    2009/03/23 02:16 (SOHO) shows the white portion blown into an arc. Been seeing that a lot lately. Wonder if someone who has animated jpeg or gif skills/software can do one on the recent spate of plages/spots?
    Maybe catch the dipole axis twisting, too.
    Hey, this is a special time. We should expect the unexpected.

  28. The appearance of sunspots and disappearance of sunspots is clearly related to the observer effects of quantum mechanics.

    The act of observing and commenting changes the reality of whether the spot is real or observer transient.

    The deeper question is: does observing a spot and causing it to be “real” or “unreal” via entanglement cause spots on other suns to be “real” or “unreal”?

    When we observe a “Climate Warming Gore” on our world, does this cause a “Global Cooling Gore” to occur on another world?

  29. Robert Bateman (20:05:04) :
    I have never paid much attention to magnetograms until just recently. 2009/03/23 02:16 (SOHO) shows the white portion blown into an arc.
    Yes, this is actually quite common as a spot develops. All spots rotate to some degree. There are studies that show that the spots that lead to large flares are the ones with the most rotation and twisting.

  30. Lief said: There are studies that show that the spots that lead to large flares are the ones with the most rotation and twisting.

    Rotation…..twisting…..remind me of supercell thunderstorms. Interesting. The supercells that have the most rotation and twisting with height are the ones that produce the intense tornadoes.

    Interesting parallel. Thanks for that bit of info, Doc.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  31. savethesharks (22:33:51) :
    Rotation…..twisting…..remind me of supercell thunderstorms. Interesting. The supercells that have the most rotation and twisting with height are the ones that produce the …

    Ken Schatten refers to a sunspot as an ‘ion-hurricane’

  32. Would the ion hurricane blow the white portion into an arc?
    Or would it be more like a volcano going off and the twisting wind carring the ash in an arc?
    This looks more like a wave spreading out over a pond.
    Tsunami on the Sun.
    Really neat to watch.
    One last week blew into 2 separate arcs that diverged from a common center and travelled quite some distance. All the while the black portion formed a bar at 90 degrees to the arcs.
    2 kettles with 1 common lid blown off.
    Forget the darn specks, this is where it’s at. Lights, camera, action.

  33. Robert Bateman (20:05:04) :

    ….. I have never paid much attention to magnetograms until just recently…….

    Variable magnetism is in most cases product of electric currents (synchronous movement of charged particles), and there is lot of variable magnetism in the solar activity, and yet we are told there are no electric current flows there. ! ?

  34. “yet we are told there are no electric current flows there. ! ?”

    As with Calcutta’s cooking-fuel dung patties placed on the wall to dry: Some stick, some fall off.

  35. gary gulrud (06:01:35) :

    “yet we are told there are no electric current flows there. ! ?”

    As with Calcutta’s cooking-fuel dung patties placed on the wall to dry: Some stick, some fall off.

    Ones that stick count and for the rest omnia nihil sunt et reliqua minoris

  36. vukcevic (04:40:04) :
    Variable magnetism is in most cases product of electric currents (synchronous movement of charged particles), and there is lot of variable magnetism in the solar activity, and yet we are told there are no electric current flows there. ! ?

    The high conductivity of the Sun and interplanetary medium [combined with the large scale] short circuits electrical currents, resulting in flares and other manifestations of the failure of currents to be sustained. For a current to flow you, paradoxically perhaps, need resistivity [otherwise you just short the circuit. The frozen-in condition that allows the solar wind to drag the sun’s magnetic field out into space is just a consequence of the irrelevance of currents. Currents occur at thin boundaries between magnetic domains and are subordinate to the magnetic field. To drive a current you need an e.m.f. and in the Sun that means a time-dependent magnetic field which can produce a circulating electric field. A time-dependent magnetic field can be produced by motion of magnetic fields. Motions of solar plasma is thermally driven [modified via the Coriolis force by solar rotation].

  37. Leif Svalgaard (09:30:15) :
    vukcevic (04:40:04) :

    ……..For a current to flow you, paradoxically perhaps, need resistivity [otherwise you just short the circuit.

    As an engineer I do not entirely concur. Super conductivity is an example where resistance is not required. Variable magnetic fields and electric currents are inseparable, one cannot exist without the other. If charged particles’ spin is to produce consistent magnetic field, has to be of same orientation, which consequently will result in the particles flow along the resultant or an external magnetic field.
    If the Sun did not have steady currents flow in its interior then its dynamo, or two dynamos (?!) if you whish, could not exist.

  38. Lief wrote: “There are studies that show that the spots that lead to large flares are the ones with the most rotation and twisting.”

    “Motions of solar plasma is thermally driven [modified via the Coriolis force by solar rotation].”

    Forgive me for maybe over-simplifying this to meteorological terms, but the “rotating sunspots produce the MOST solar flares” idea is fascinating.

    Kid in a candy store here, but humor me:

    In supercell thunderstorms, the entire mesocyclone rotates, and that can be easily seen on radar. This rotation helps produce the largest, most destructive and long-lived tornadoes on Earth.

    With the Coriolis Force at work on the Sun > also causing the “supercell” [LOL for lack of a better word] sunspots to twist and rotate > which serve as a mechanism > to help launch giant solar plasma tornadoes > but in the “opposite” direction > out into space.

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/05/28/2258141.htm

    Heh heh like I said forgive me if I am being simplistic in trying to make a connection between the too but this is damn fascinating.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  39. vukcevic (10:16:07) :
    If the Sun did not have steady currents flow in its interior then its dynamo, or two dynamos (?!) if you whish, could not exist.
    You are confusing several things [spin, pairing, …].
    There are plasma flows [not large-scale currents] in the solar interior driving the dynamo, but the plasma is electrically neutral. To drive an electrical current in the solar interior you need a voltage difference [and spin and superconductivity do not apply here], that is a separation of charges and to drive large-scale currents you need one part of the Sun [or even the solar system] to be charged relative to another part with the opposite charge, and you need something to separate the charges to prevent them from shorting immediately [because of the high conductivity]. If you have two magnetic fields of opposite polarity close together and enough charged particles free to move you can get a current by particles gyrating in opposite directions right at the boundary between the fields [like in the heliospheric current sheet and the Earth’s plasmasheet in the magnetospheric tail], but the current is a consequence of the field and the particles present, not the other way around.

  40. CORRECTION: I said “In supercell thunderstorms, the entire mesocyclone rotates.”

    I MEANT to say “In supercell thunderstorms, the entire cell rotates [a mesocyclone]…

    Haha a “rotating mesocyclone” is a little redundant, don’t you think?

  41. Leif Svalgaard (11:02:47) :
    to
    vukcevic (10:16:07) :
    ………to drive an electrical current in the solar interior you need a voltage difference……..

    That is all fine, except plasma is a conductor and it is moving within magnetic fields, hence induced electric currents; fluid dynamo (shallow or deep). A dynamo is another name for an electrical (DC) current generator.

  42. vukcevic (12:23:11) :
    That is all fine, except plasma is a conductor and it is moving within magnetic fields, hence induced electric currents; fluid dynamo (shallow or deep). A dynamo is another name for an electrical (DC) current generator.
    No, all is not fine. The current is a small-scale current. There is no large-scale [global or hemispherical] electric current driving this. The small-scale current is the result not the driver of the dynamo. External influences [by planets billions of kilometers away] would be large scale. But, back to answering my questions: How does the external influence reverse the polar fields, cause the polarity change of toroidal fields between cycles and between hemispheres? The failure to cope with these questions [the toroidal ones] was the real reason for the immediate downfall of the planetary theory after Hale discovered these reversals. So, educate us.

  43. Leif Svalgaard (11:53:09) :
    to
    vukcevic (11:09:44) :

    I noticed you avoided commenting on the following heresy :
    You will also notice smooth transition (1980 and 2000)

    when external field and dynamo are in polarity synchronism, or alternatively, up to 2-3 year resistance (1970 and 1990) when external enforcement is working against the internal dynamo, I will return to it again.

    and what reverses the polarities of spot pairs from cycle to cycle and from hemisphere to hemisphere. Details please.

    Simple:
    Two major planets with strong magnetic fields of their own, are interacting with the helispheric current sheet and in doing so take energy out of it, consequently change its intensity in the onward intensity. The HCS splits into two constituent components at the outlying reaches of heliosphere, and following magnetic field lines each returns back to the poles as polar current.
    When polar current is rising (positive gradient) it induces secondary currents of a particular polarity, which in turn energise sunspot loops, notice their longitudinal orientation.

    Polar current reaches max, polar fields strongest, (gradient = 0), no induction of secondary current, no sunspot loops, at this point, when gradient changes direction. new rising secondary current will change polarity, and consequently sunspots change their polarity
    Opposite is the case when polar current is falling towards the other extreme (negative value). Secondary current is strongest at the time of steepest gradient of polar current change (reversal of its direction), as the consequence polar fields go through zero, polar fields flip polarity (solar max).
    To this, I may add that the Sun contains a weak internal dynamo of a long term steady polarity (analogous to planetary ones):
    You will also notice smooth transition (1980 and 2000)

    when externally enforced field and dynamo are in polarity synchronism, or alternatively, up to 2 year resistance (1970 and 1990) when external enforcement is working against the internal dynamo.
    Simple if you formulate a consistent hypothesis that does not depend on a chance or 1/1000 of anything.
    This hypothesis shows that Rmax of a cycle has a certain relationship to the strength of polar fields at previous minimum (further apart they are larger gradient change required), so your prediction method is consistent with it, (while polar fields are not related to the past cycle), and B-L theory is not.

  44. Correction

    consequently change its intensity in the onward intensity
    should be:
    consequently change its intensity in the onward direction.

    First paragraph is a follow up from the other thread

    External influences [by planets billions of kilometers away] would be large scale
    Nothing to do with distances involved except six months to a year or more delay.
    The HCS splits into two constituent components at the outlying reaches of heliosphere, and following magnetic field lines each returns back to the poles as polar current.

  45. Leif is there any research that supports the idea I mentioned in my above post about:

    -rotating supercell thunderstorms producing the world’s strongest tornados
    -rotating sunspots producing most of the sun’s flares (some of the flares are solar tornados)

    I realize we are talking about different animals….but the Coriolis Effect influences both,both rotate, both help produce violent vortices [going on what you mentioned “there are studies that show that the spots that lead to large flares are the ones with the most rotation and twisting”]…

    Would be interested to know if that comparison has ever been done scientifically or are the ideas just not possible to compare??

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/05/28/2258141.htm

    Thanks

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  46. Leif Svalgaard (12:42:15) :

    The failure to cope with these questions [the toroidal ones] was the real reason for the immediate downfall of the planetary theory after Hale discovered these reversals. So, educate us.

    Nonsense…the two are not connected. Planetary theory works with a dynamo model, it just does not rely on all the fudge factors and random events that some parts of science substitute for lack of knowledge.

  47. vukcevic (14:08:00) :
    The HCS splits into two constituent components at the outlying reaches of heliosphere, and following magnetic field lines each returns back to the poles as polar current.
    No, it does not. We’ll continue in the other thread.

    23
    03
    2009
    savethesharks (14:13:21) :
    Leif is there any research that supports the idea I mentioned in my above post about:

    -rotating supercell thunderstorms producing the world’s strongest tornados
    -rotating sunspots producing most of the sun’s flares (some of the flares are solar tornados)

    I realize we are talking about different animals….but the Coriolis Effect influences both,both rotate, both help produce violent vortices [going on what you mentioned “there are studies that show that the spots that lead to large flares are the ones with the most rotation and twisting”]…

    Would be interested to know if that comparison has ever been done scientifically or are the ideas just not possible to compare??

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/05/28/2258141.htm

    Thanks

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  48. savethesharks (14:13:21) :
    Would be interested to know if that comparison has ever been done scientifically or are the ideas just not possible to compare??

    Such comparisons have been made informally, although a detailed study is a bit to much as the two are not really that much the same, one taking place in a conductor and the other in a neutral atmosphere. Analogies should not be driven too far.

  49. Geoff Sharp (15:00:53) :
    Nonsense…the two are not connected. Planetary theory works with a dynamo model, it just does not rely on all the fudge factors and random events that some parts of science substitute for lack of knowledge.
    So educate us [and Vuc] how the polarity reversals happen, then we can compare the education we get from Vuc with the education we get from you.

  50. Leif Svalgaard (16:59:56) :

    So educate us [and Vuc] how the polarity reversals happen, then we can compare the education we get from Vuc with the education we get from you.

    I dont have a theory on pole reversal, happy to run with the current theories for now, and I don’t regard it as important either. It obviously a major part of the dynamo, but I doubt it has any influence on cycle modulation, cycle length or grand minimum effects. I dont hold it up as a theory disprover like you and De Jager.

    De Jager also states:

    “Conversely, it must be noted that the present dynamo theories, although well
    describing the periodicities and the polarity reversal of solar activity, are not yet able to quantitatively explain the 11- and 22-year cycles, nor the other observed quasicycles. Therefore quantitative explanations need to be found for the quasi-cyclic behavior of solar activity.”

    Perhaps you can educate us and tell us what date the next polar reversal will happen?

  51. Geoff Sharp (17:47:48) :
    I dont have a theory on pole reversal, happy to run with the current theories for now, and I don’t regard it as important either. It obviously a major part of the dynamo, but I doubt it has any influence on cycle modulation, cycle length or grand minimum effects.
    But you know enough about how the dynamo works to doubt these things? Or do you simply mean that you do not know how they work? A short while ago you stated that the B-L theory had serious flaws, now you are happy to run with it…
    So, to summarize your view, planetary influences do not create or maintain the solar cycle, just modulate it. Correct?

    De Jager also states:
    “Conversely, it must be noted that the present dynamo theories, although well describing the periodicities and the polarity reversal of solar activity, are not yet able to quantitatively explain the 11- and 22-year cycles, nor the other observed quasicycles. Therefore quantitative explanations need to be found for the quasi-cyclic behavior of solar activity.”

    This is precisely my statement too in our solar cycle prediction paper. The key word is ‘quantitatively’. What DeJager means is that we cannot do this yet from first principles [I doubt if we ever will], but as Choudhuri has shown, once the polar fields are known, the next cycle can be quantitatively predicted.

    Perhaps you can educate us and tell us what date the next polar reversal will happen?
    since this depends on a nearly random process several years in the future is cannot be ‘predicted’. It can be guesstimated to be about the time of the maximum which in turn can be estimated to occur 5-6 after this minimum just passed based on the average behavior of a small cycle. SC25 cannot be predicted either, only estimated or guessed from past behavior of small cycles [SC24]. Chances are good it will be small too.

  52. Leif wrote: “Such comparisons have been made informally, although a detailed study is a bit to much as the two are not really that much the same, one taking place in a conductor and the other in a neutral atmosphere. Analogies should not be driven too far.”

    Okay….humor me a bit more.

    Supercell thunderstorms [heat convection] and sunspots [“cool” convection]: both areas of convection

    The strongest rotating complexes of both, produce the most violent vortices…

    Both rotating complexes are not vortices like the violent ones they produce.

    But neither are they vortices in the sense of true cyclones (such as hurricanes or “ion hurricanes”)

    Granted I understand the extreme dissimilarity here….but we do have some similarities…..the wind & the solar wind….the Coriolis Force affecting both spheres of sun and earth…

    With the dissimilarities in place, also the informal comparison of magnetic lines (on the sun) to isobars (on earth)….

    I can see why even an informal comparison could be made of the subject at hand.

    So….to recap:
    The strongest rotating complexes of both, produce the most violent vortices…

    Both rotating complexes are not vortices like the violent ones they produce.

    But neither are they vortices in the sense of true cyclones (such as hurricanes or “ion hurricanes”).

    They are both MESOCYCLONES……rotating complexes that produce actual vortices.

    Doesn’t seem to impossible to rule out, no?

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  53. Correction:

    Doesn’t seem to impossible to rule out, no?

    to

    Doesn’t seem TOO impossible to rule out, no?

  54. Enjoy the show, folks, the Sun will do or not do what it pleases irregardless of what we agree or don’t agree upon. She’s breaking up, that microspeck producing magnetic thing, and that’s pretty much along the lines of what it’s been up to for the last 3 months.
    The Sun has been making crank phone calls.

  55. Leif Svalgaard (18:37:42) :
    But you know enough about how the dynamo works to doubt these things? Or do you simply mean that you do not know how they work? A short while ago you stated that the B-L theory had serious flaws, now you are happy to run with it…
    So, to summarize your view, planetary influences do not create or maintain the solar cycle, just modulate it. Correct?

    I probably understand the theory enough to know how it works, my problem with it is not in the pole reversal which I think will still change as we learn more, but with the random nature of how the poles are loaded, and the varying times it takes to flow back to the Tachocline by different theorists. I also do not favor the poles as a major driver, but more a minor player. B-L theory seems to suggest its the return of the poles to the Tachocline which is then broken up by differential rotation as the next cycle’s fodder. I suspect the next cycle arises from the Tachocline from the acceleration/deceleration of the Sun from planetary influence and is then supported by the poles. But thats just my theory, a different type of dynamo.

    This is precisely my statement too in our solar cycle prediction paper. The key word is ‘quantitatively’. What DeJager means is that we cannot do this yet from first principles [I doubt if we ever will], but as Choudhuri has shown, once the polar fields are known, the next cycle can be quantitatively predicted.

    There is still a gaping hole yet to be discovered. As far as predictions go, polar strength theory has only been used on a few cycles, SC20 is in doubt, just as is SC24.

    since this depends on a nearly random process several years in the future is cannot be ‘predicted’. It can be guesstimated to be about the time of the maximum which in turn can be estimated to occur 5-6 after this minimum just passed based on the average behavior of a small cycle. SC25 cannot be predicted either, only estimated or guessed from past behavior of small cycles [SC24]. Chances are good it will be small too.

    This is my point, its all very vague. I can predict whether the cycle will be weak or strong, whether we will have a grand minimum and do so for any point in time in the future. But I cant tell you when the cycle will be at max or when the reversal will happen. There has been a lot uncovered recently and more people are digging, I wouldnt be surprised to see a major break through during the next 1-2 cycles.

  56. savethesharks (19:22:45) :
    They are both MESOCYCLONES……rotating complexes that produce actual vortices.
    Doesn’t seem to impossible to rule out, no?

    I wouldn’t disagree, but cannot follow you [and bold doesn’t help]. I thought a vortex was a rotating ‘complex’.

  57. Geoff Sharp (19:41:38) :
    There is still a gaping hole yet to be discovered. As far as predictions go, polar strength theory has only been used on a few cycles, SC20 is in doubt, just as is SC24.
    I thought [as far as I can tell from the observations and discussions with the observers back then] that SC20 is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for the polar strength theory. And SC24 looks pretty good so far. I would not call it a doubtful call.

    This is my point, its all very vague. I can predict whether the cycle will be weak or strong, whether we will have a grand minimum and do so for any point in time in the future.
    I do not think you have demonstrated anything like this. I have taken a very careful looks at what you have presented [and I don’t think ANY other scientist would have expended as much or even close of his time to do that – if so, let him speak up]. We have a couple of people here who claim that they can predict this at any time in the future and in the past. Yet those ‘predictions’ disagree. The weak arguments from both parties would likely be that more planets have to be incorporated, more research done, this is a work in progress awaiting breakthroughs a few decades down the road, and such. This does not make it in my book. A major reason for this is the lack of viable mechanisms or even just plausible ones. If the correlations are really good one might dispense with a mechanism for now, but, alas, they are marginal at best.

  58. Leif….sorry I just figureed out the effects here….including the bold.

    I know I know one-eyed blind etc etc. Late bloomer here…LOL

    Mesocyclones don’t…I don’t think…in an of themselves have an “eye”…unlike the vortices they produce (tornados)…or like other cyclones such as hurricanes and temperate latitude cyclones.

    NOAA Storm Spotters Glossary says this under Mesocyclone:
    Properly used, mesocyclone is a radar term; it is defined as a rotation signature appearing on Doppler radar that meets specific criteria for magnitude, vertical depth, and duration. Therefore, a mesocyclone should not be considered a visually-observable phenomenon (although visual evidence of rotation, such as curved inflow bands, may imply the presence of a mesocyclone).”

    The mesocyclone….I guess in its most legalistic definition, could be called a vortex….but it is is not in the same league as true vortices: whirlpools, dust-devils, waterspouts, fire-tornadoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, temperate latitude lows, solar tornadoes [ :) ]

    That was my point about the rotating sunspots. Its just interesting to note the similarity of these rotating convective complexes as they move across the sun….look remotely like supercell thunderstorms.

    And add to that the fact that both actually eventually produce very violent vortices….got my attention.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  59. We should have a new classification for the sunspecks we have seen lately, we should be calling them ghostspecks. Definition: Here at midnight, gone by morning!

  60. Hey Rob….agreed with you man. One thing though: “irregardless” is not a word.

    It formed as a bastard child of the parents “regardless” and “irrespective”.

    That being said your comments are one of the ones I page down through the gibberish and always stop for.

    Appreciate the intellect man…you are definitely one of the smartest guys on here. Just wanted to make that semantic correction for the record. Please do not take offense.
    :~)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  61. Leif Svalgaard (20:36:55) :

    I do not think you have demonstrated anything like this. I have taken a very careful looks at what you have presented [and I don’t think ANY other scientist would have expended as much or even close of his time to do that – if so, let him speak up]. We have a couple of people here who claim that they can predict this at any time in the future and in the past. Yet those ‘predictions’ disagree. The weak arguments from both parties would likely be that more planets have to be incorporated, more research done, this is a work in progress awaiting breakthroughs a few decades down the road, and such. This does not make it in my book. A major reason for this is the lack of viable mechanisms or even just plausible ones. If the correlations are really good one might dispense with a mechanism for now, but, alas, they are marginal at best.

    You may have spent some time and I am grateful to some degree, our discussions have certainly spurred me on and enabled me to go further than I would solo, but you still dont understand most of it, so perhaps more work is needed? That’s up to you.

    I am not aligning myself with any other theorist on Planetary Influence, many of the B-L theorist’s also disagree wildly on predictions, and blame that on not enough knowledge or different methods etc.

    For prediction purposes there is probably enough work done in my area with a few small details to solve. The causation side is the focus from now on so I dont need any excuses. If you think that 6000 yrs of planetary lineups which correlate with reduced solar activity and their modulation is an example of marginal correlation you have your eyes closed.

  62. Savethesharks: Enjoyed the irregardless. It’s one of those non-words that if used enough eventually gets to be a word. Like this minimum. If it keeps on doing what it likes to do, which is drive us all nuts, then it will become a Grand Minimum.

    What I am really saying is this: Instead of focusing, as most have been, on the nuts and bolts of how to predict the Sun, how about some dialog on WHAT the Sun is doing? It didn’t do what many thought it would. It continued to fall off.
    It used to do this in the 19th Century, and just into the 20th, but then it stopped doing that.
    What was it doing while it fell off?
    And when it got to the bottom, it just stayed there.
    What was it doing when it hit bottom?
    And it has stayed there for a full year.
    What is it doing staying down there?
    There is the obvious.
    A cycle transitions before bottom is hit, and moves on.
    A cycle hits bottom and transitions, but gets right back up.
    A cycle hits bottom and just lays there.
    What is it doing when these things happen?
    Shouldn’t there be something going on in behavior that is different in the 3 cases that tells us what it’s doing?
    I hope so, because all this prediction stuff is getting all of us nowhere in a big hurry.

  63. Robert Bateman (03:16:33) : Savethesharks: “Enjoyed the irregardless. It’s one of those non-words that if used enough eventually gets to be a word. Like this minimum. If it keeps on doing what it likes to do, which is drive us all nuts, then it will become a Grand Minimum.”

    Haha….only YOU could write yourself out of that one, man. Well done.

    Robert Bateman (03:16:33) What I am really saying is this: Instead of focusing, as most have been, on the nuts and bolts of how to predict the Sun, how about some dialog on WHAT the Sun is doing?

    AGREED. And that argument could be carried to the current raging climate forecasting arena too.

    Prediction and reliance on models take on a life of their own it seems….and they shouldn’t. Prediction and models should be subservient to observation, and not the other way around.

    As Rob mentioned in another thread or blog….can’t remember where: “We all need to get out more!”

    And how many daily repetitions is it going to take of the new mantra for 2009 “The Sun is Blank: No Sunspots”…to really get the world’s attention??

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  64. Sorry about the bold. I thought I had figured out to turn it off…

    simple use /b inside the left and right arrows, and then not not add an extra b after it. – Anthony

  65. Thanks Anthony.

    Hey you wanna comment from a meteorologist standpoint on the above posts that were started vis-a-vis this thread “Oddball Solar Plage” where Lief made a comment linking the sunpots with the most rotation with the ones that produce the strongest flares?

    I immediately did a side-by-side in my mind of a rotating, twisting sunspot moving SE along the sun’s surface and I thought of something else it reminded me of….

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  66. Geoff Sharp (23:23:35) :
    If you think that 6000 yrs of planetary lineups which correlate with reduced solar activity and their modulation is an example of marginal correlation you have your eyes closed.

    I have very carefully looked at every single wiggle of that diagram [including making a version of it myself from scratch] and it is my judgment from the ‘lineups’ that there is no significant correlation of the nature you advocate. The is enough ‘slack’ in the timing that you can line anything up. Artful designations of exceptions and missed lineups as different ‘types’ of agreement seems to be just that, art. I know that you will answer that I don’t understand anything about SSB and how to line up wiggles to make them match. If indeed there weresomething there, I would suggest a collaboration and we would publish this and beat all them knuckleheads with it and be famous and change the face of science. Alas, I don’t think we would succeed based on my careful study of your work.

  67. savethesharks:
    We all need to get out, observe nature, not just sit back and take in instrumental readings. Grab your scope, project the spots, take it all in.
    If you have to get in your car and drive to find a place to project the next sunspot, do it.
    Pay attention to flora, fauna and the feel of the climate.
    Note the hues of spring, the crops of acorns, the types of weeds and flowers and how they grow.
    Pay attention to the animals, and remember they can sense things we cannot.
    Pull a William Herschel or two. Keep your eagle-eye trained on things.
    Whatever it is you are contemplating about this Deep Solar Minimum, don’t be the last guy in line to spot what’s going on under your nose.
    Don’t be a non-observer.

  68. It has also changed it’s polarity, by shedding the Red spectral dipole and V-R, and sucking in another one from behind to make a R-V for SC24 spot. Amazing. Didn’t know they could do that.
    You’re on, Leif.

  69. Robert Bateman (22:17:33) :
    It has also changed it’s polarity, by shedding the Red spectral dipole and V-R, and sucking in another one from behind to make a R-V for SC24 spot. Amazing. Didn’t know they could do that.
    You’re on, Leif.

    Spots grow by collecting magnetic flux from the neighborhood…

  70. That they do, and this one has literally changed it’s spots. Or al least 50% of them.
    Can’t be a leopard.
    Must be a chamelion.
    Should be projectable if it’s still there at noon.
    Are you up for this, Dr. Svalgaard?

  71. Leif you are omitting a few simple bits about plasmas and magnetic fields of which the other readers may not be familiar

    So — Here’s a bit of plasma 101:

    Plasma is electrically neutral only because of a balance of the density of ions and electrons

    However despite neutrality because the particles are free to move as in a gas — plasmas can carry currents very easily — in fact easily created and relatively cold plasmas can be extremely good conductors — ions go left electrons go right
    (try a neon sign tube or a florescent light as an example)

    Things get more complicated when you introduce magnetic fields then you have ions and electrons “gyrating” around the “magnetic field lines” but currents still flow — however they now flow in a helical fashion

    If you look at a solar prominence arcing from one point to another what you are in fact seeing is plasma carrying currents along magnetic field lines (think bar magnet inserted tangent to the sun’s surface with iron filings sprinkled on a piece of paper extending out to the location of the prominence arc) with a big neon sign

    If you move the plasma due to thermally driven or density gradients — the field lines are essentially going to mostly go with the plasma due to its conductivity (frozen field lines)

    Except that you might have some extra resistivity due to plasma waves and instabilities (outside of this Plasma 101 lecture – see Hans Alfven’s Nobel Lecture for example). The enhanced resisitivity (not predicted by simple thermal models) then allows the field lines to move in such a way as to minimize the total energy of the system (think winding up a rubber band and then cutting it) — this process is known as magnetic reconnection, and the released energy can dramatically locally heats the plasma and even accelerate particles to very high energy– voila a Solar Flare (x-rays are an indication of a lot of particle energy) and then as the released energy propagates outward as a shock-like wave coronal heating and ultimately– a CME

    All of the above exists on and just under the “surface” and in the atmosphere of the sun. It also occurs in the earth’s magnetosphere and most unfortunately in the very expensive vacuum chambers, etc., involved in magnetically confined thermonuclear fusion experiments (one of the main reasons that unfortunately we are still decades from having thermonuclear fusion power plants). However all of the above can also be safely and conveniently demonstrated with the equipment in the average high school physics lab – and its very educational and even entertaining!

    Westy

  72. WestHighlander (07:49:32) :
    If you look at a solar prominence arcing from one point to another what you are in fact seeing is plasma carrying currents along magnetic field lines
    Here is where the ‘current’ picture becomes confusing [or even breaks]. It is not the plasma carrying a current that creates the arching magnetic field, rather the magnetic field causes protons and electrons to gyrate around the field giving rise to a current around the field, not along the field. There are other effects that happen when the magnetic field is not uniform [it is stronger near the footpoints of the prominence] and the particles will then bounce up and down the curved field lines, like charges in the radiation belts of the Earth. One has to be VERY careful with the ‘current’ picture and think about what drives what.

  73. Rats, foiled again. No spots. Throws solar lottery ticket in trash. Some fella in the ME got the lucky ticket.

  74. Leif Svalgaard (22:27:36) :

    Robert Bateman (22:17:33) :
    It has also changed it’s polarity, by shedding the Red spectral dipole and V-R, and sucking in another one from behind to make a R-V for SC24 spot. Amazing. Didn’t know they could do that.
    You’re on, Leif.

    “Spots grow by collecting magnetic flux from the neighborhood…”

    Did you know this last year?

    Leif Svalgaard // January 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm
    “we don’t even know what a sunspot is and how it forms – we can describe it, but that is not understanding it.”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/solar-cycle-24/

  75. Glenn (10:53:12) :
    “Spots grow by collecting magnetic flux from the neighborhood…”
    Did you know this last year?
    Leif Svalgaard // January 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm
    “we don’t even know what a sunspot is and how it forms – we can describe it, but that is not understanding it.”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/solar-cycle-24/

    ‘grow by collecting…’ is a description [and has been known for a century]. We do not, however, understand how that process works. Of course, there are ideas [ http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf ], but most solar physicists would agree that those do not rise to the level of ‘understanding’.

  76. Leif,
    How does the external influence reverse the polar fields, cause the polarity change of toroidal fields between cycles and between hemispheres?

    If the core rotates faster than the outer parts for a while and then switch to the opposite, would that explain it?

  77. lgl (12:53:10) :
    “How does the external influence reverse the polar fields, cause the polarity change of toroidal fields between cycles and between hemispheres?”
    If the core rotates faster than the outer parts for a while and then switch to the opposite, would that explain it?

    (1) what would make the core do that?
    (2) the polarity changes across the equator, so the core would have to rotate differently in the North compared to the South
    (3) we have measured the core’s rotation precisely with helioseismology, and it does not seem to change with time [in fact does rotate slower than the equatorial outer parts]
    (4) any change of the core’s rotation would change the oblateness of the Sun, which would change the orbit of Mercury and destroy the agreement of the observed changes due to general relativity, and no such changes have been observed,

    So, all in all, the answer seems to be no. But, I’m always willing to listen to a well-reasoned theory. Present one here for our consideration.

  78. Leif,
    (3) we have measured the core’s rotation precisely with helioseismology, and it does not seem to change with time [in fact does rotate slower than the equatorial outer parts]

    For how long period was it measured (or how long between)? How big is the difference?

  79. Leif Svalgaard (12:03:46) :

    Glenn (10:53:12) :
    “Spots grow by collecting magnetic flux from the neighborhood…”
    Did you know this last year?
    Leif Svalgaard // January 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm
    “we don’t even know what a sunspot is and how it forms – we can describe it, but that is not understanding it.”
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/solar-cycle-24/

    “‘grow by collecting…’ is a description [and has been known for a century]. We do not, however, understand how that process works. Of course, there are ideas [ http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf ], but most solar physicists would agree that those do not rise to the level of ‘understanding’.”

    A statement that includes “by” certainly is an explanation, not a “description”. Sounds like you are saying that it has been known for a century that sunspots themselves have some ability to “collect” magnetic flux. Are you saying that this is a *correlation* of observations of multiple events that describes the process that “grows” sunspots?

  80. If a magnetic can attract from the neighborhood from any direction (like this one did), that makes it hard to determine which cycle it belongs to.
    There must be a reason why most of the spots formed would follow the correct polarity, otherwise it would be a statistical draw (pure random).

  81. No official designation of a spot yet.
    The poor thing doesn’t know which magnetic to marry up with, comes home empty-handed.
    Torn between two magnetics.

  82. Glenn (16:36:06) :
    A statement that includes “by” certainly is an explanation, not a “description”.
    It seems that you think I understand this better than I would give myself credit for. Thanks for your confidence in me [that is undeserved].

    Robert Bateman (16:43:56) :
    There must be a reason why most of the spots formed would follow the correct polarity, otherwise it would be a statistical draw (pure random).
    There is. Look for “Hale’s law” in
    http://www.leif.org/research/Percolation%20and%20the%20Solar%20Dynamo.pdf

  83. Leif Svalgaard (19:29:21) :

    Glenn (16:36:06) :
    A statement that includes “by” certainly is an explanation, not a “description”.

    “It seems that you think I understand this better than I would give myself credit for. Thanks for your confidence in me [that is undeserved].”

    Think nothing of it. Your predictions of maximum sunspots you claim is based on physics, rather than on correlations. Yet with respect to sunspots, you say that we don’t know what they are or how they occur, but you also claim “spots grow by collecting magnetic flux from the neighborhood”.

    So I will ask again:

    Are you saying that this is a *correlation* of observations of multiple events that describes the process that “grows” sunspots?

  84. Glenn (20:15:40) :
    Are you saying that this is a *correlation* of observations of multiple events that describes the process that “grows” sunspots?
    I have no idea what you are talking about. Perhaps you could explain where you want to go with this question or what information you are seeking. I can refer you to a book by C. A. Young [The Sun; D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1896] where he describes [or is it ‘explains’] what he observed.

  85. Glenn (20:15:40) :
    Are you saying that this is a *correlation* of observations of multiple events that describes the process that “grows” sunspots?
    I note that you had emphasized *correlation*, so perhaps you are unsure what it means and need clarification. Let me give you an example of a *correlation*: In darkest Africa there is a tribe that claim that beating of tam-tam drums during a solar eclipse will restore the Sun. They claim, also, that the *correlation* has never failed. This is a *correlation* rather than physics.
    This link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_(disambiguation) allows you to explore different kinds of *correlation*. Perhaps the one you seek is listed there.

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

    Glenn (20:15:40) :
    Are you saying that this is a *correlation* of observations of multiple events that describes the process that “grows” sunspots?

    “I have no idea what you are talking about. Perhaps you could explain where you want to go with this question or what information you are seeking.”

    Well, I’ll rephrase the question.

    Are your predictions of solar cycle sunspots “rooted in solid physics” or based on a correlation of observations?

    From your example of a correlation I will assume you understand what I mean by correlation in context. Remember you have said that you don’t know what sunspots are or how they are formed. Reply to the above question.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_causation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality

  87. Glenn (21:42:22) :
    Are your predictions of solar cycle sunspots “rooted in solid physics” or based on a correlation of observations?
    Why didn’t you say that in the beginning. Rooted in solid physics, of course, as you well know as I have explained to you in the past. What we predict is the amount of magnetic flux to expect. The process by which such flux concentrates into visible sunspots is not understood [although some people have ideas, e.g. Ken Schatten that I referred you to] and how the spots connect to flux in the interior is also not known, neither is the process the holds the spot together, is a spot one big flux tube or perhaps hundreds of thins ‘strands’ instead, etc, lots of unknowns. To go from magnetic flux to the [arbitrary] sunspot number a calibration point is needed. In our paper we use two such calibration points: cycle 22 and cycle 23.
    I hope this helps you in your quest for knowledge, but please do not hesitate to ask further specific questions. I’ll [as is my wont] will do my best to answer them.

  88. Leif,
    Thanks, interesting.
    “a rotation profile with much of the radiative interior rotating at or below the surface rate, but with a modest increase in the interior.”
    Just what I wanted to see. To get a dynamo you need something moving relative to something else, and this opens up for the outer parts moving in one direction and later move in the other direction (relative to the inner parts of course)
    and it’s logical to assume that when changing direction the polar field will also reverse. Am I close?
    For the “(1) what would make the core do that?” I see all the fun is taking place in that other solar thread so I’ll continue there, but it’s the same old story you will still call nonsense.

  89. lgl (09:24:49) :
    “a rotation profile with much of the radiative interior rotating at or below the surface rate, but with a modest increase in the interior.”
    Just what I wanted to see.

    but you may be cherry picking, the radiative interior rotates markedly slower than the surface rate. Read it carefully. The [synodic] rotation period at low latitudes is about 27 days, in the interior about 28.5 days.

    As far as we know the interior rate does not vary [nothing to make it do so on a timescale of solar cycles or even centuries]. The surface does because the magnetic field of solar activity interferes with the rotation [not the other way around]. It is believed that the differential rotation in the convective zone or near the surface [there is no differential rotation in the interior] is important for the dynamo.

  90. Leif,
    The [synodic] rotation period at low latitudes is about 27 days, in the interior about 28.5 days.
    which means at some latitude the interior and convective zone have the same rotation. Is that where the sunspots are found?

  91. lgl (12:52:51) :
    which means at some latitude the interior and convective zone have the same rotation. Is that where the sunspots are found?
    That is where many of the spots [but not all] of a new cycle start to form, later on in the cycle the spots move almost to the equator, so at some point early in the cycle the two latitudes are the same.

  92. Hale’s Law. I’m reading along and immediately came across the MMF’s. So perhaps the bright areas I saw today in shreds are MMF’s tearing up the magnetic flux. Still more to read, but I’ll keep an eye on these bright shreds to see where they are going.

  93. Leif: I take it from reading that paper that the bright areas I saw today on the Limb are a bad sign for growing activity in this spot. It’s decaying.
    The good news is that the detail I observed is much superior to the MDI image. I don’t know why that would be, but there it was. Jagged bright shreds parallel with the limb. You wouldn’t know it from looking at the MDI Magnetogram or Continuum.
    You’ve got to see one of these for yourself.

  94. Robert Bateman (19:35:07) :
    You’ve got to see one of these for yourself.
    I’ll come one day and visit you. I have seen such things on the projected 4 foot wide image at Kitt Peak. Impressive.

  95. The Polar strength graph at WSO has been updated, showing a possible change in direction?

    I saved a graph from late last year, is it my imagination or have they revised the Dec 2008 figures?

  96. the plague area is back at the same place as when this blog started, but the polarity has reversed.
    any thoughts?

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