NOAA SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction: “weakest since 1928”

The new cycle 24 solar forecast is hot off the press from noon today, published at 12:03 PM from the Space Weather Prediction Center.  It looks like a peak of 90 spots/month in May of 2013 now. SWPC has dropped their “high forecast” and have gone only with the “low forecast” as you can see in the before and after graphs that I’ve overlaid below.  Place your bets on whether that “low forecast” will be an overshooting forecast or not. It has been a lot of work getting this info out as the SWPC has had trouble with their web page today.

The quote of interest is:

A new active period of Earth-threatening solar storms will be the weakest since 1928 and its peak is still four years away, after a slow start last December, predicts an international panel of experts led by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

After over a year of hedging, it looks like NOAA’s SWPC is finally coming around to the reality of a lower than normal solar cycle. – Anthony

UPDATE2: Minutes later @12:15PM. Dammit, they changed the graphs back! Anybody have cache files? – Anthony

UPDATE3: @12:20 PM And now it’s back.

UPDATE4: @ 12:45PM There are some serious problems with the SWPC page, the sunspot graph content keeps changing and the 10.7 flux graph is just plain wrong. They also have no written press release. What a train wreck.

UPDATE5: @1:00PM I called Doug Biesecker, SWPC’s  “media relations” director at both of his numbers, to ask what is going on.  No answer. Left a request for a call-back.

UPDATE6: @1:40PM I heard from Doug Biesecker, he said they are having server issues, he and his webmaster were working to fix the problem. He also said the press conference was recorded and he would be sending an audio link. Look for it here soon.

UPDATE7: @2:10PM looks like SWPC has their web page fixed now. Thanks Doug.

UPDATE8: @2:18PM Found the NOAA SWPC press release (linked at spaceweather.com) and it is reprinted below the “read more” line. I also changed the title of this post to reflect the quote in the spaceweather.com feature story/PR from SWPC.

I was able to capture the new sunspot prediction graph, and combined it with the previous prediction as an overlay, which I have presented below:

click for larger image - note this is an overlay done by WUWT

click for larger image - note this is an overlay done by WUWT

Leif Svalgaard found this explanation:

If one digs a little deeper, there is some ‘explanation’
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/README3

Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update
May 8, 2009 — The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”

Leif  writes:

The ‘90′ was not agreed upon. The only choices the panel members had in the last vote were ‘high’ or ‘low’. I pointed out that the value was important too and that just because 90 was the average number of the ‘low’ group two years does not mean that it a good number now. This was ignored.

This one paragraph below is all we have so far from SWPC web page:

Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update released May 8, 2009

The charts on this page depict the progression of the Solar Cycle. The charts and tables are updated by the Space Weather Prediction Center monthly using the latest ISES predictions. Observed values are initially the preliminary values which are replaced with the final values as they become available.

Here is the “press release” as feature story from spaceweather.com

http://www.spaceweather.com/headlines/y2009/08may_noaaprediction.htm

May 8, 2009: A new active period of Earth-threatening solar storms will be the weakest since 1928 and its peak is still four years away, after a slow start last December, predicts an international panel of experts led by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. Even so, Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time, with potential damages from the most severe level of storm exceeding $1 trillion. NASA funds the prediction panel.

Solar storms are eruptions of energy and matter that escape from the sun and may head toward Earth, where even a weak storm can damage satellites and power grids, disrupting communications, the electric power supply and GPS. A single strong blast of solar wind can threaten national security, transportation, financial services and other essential functions.

The panel predicts the upcoming Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day, averaged over a month. If the prediction proves true, Solar Cycle 24 will be the weakest cycle since number 16, which peaked at 78 daily sunspots in 1928, and ninth weakest since the 1750s, when numbered cycles began.

The most common measure of a solar cycle’s intensity is the number of sunspots—Earth-sized blotches on the sun marking areas of heightened magnetic activity. The more sunspots there are, the more likely it is that solar storms will occur, but a major storm can occur at any time.

“As with hurricanes, whether a cycle is active or weak refers to the number of storms, but everyone needs to remember it only takes one powerful storm to cause expensive problems,” said NOAA scientist Doug Biesecker, who chairs the panel. “The strongest solar storm on record occurred in 1859 during another below-average cycle similar to the one we are predicting.”

The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe, sent readings of Earth’s magnetic field soaring, and produced northern lights so bright that people read newspapers by their light.

A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm that severe occurred today, it could cause $1-2 trillion in damages the first year and require four to ten years for recovery, compared to $80-125 billion that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.

The panel also predicted that the lowest sunspot number between
cycles—or solar minimum—occurred in December 2008, marking the end of Cycle 23 and the start of Cycle 24. If the December prediction holds up, at 12 years and seven months Solar Cycle 23 will be the longest since 1823 and the third longest since 1755. Solar cycles span 11 years on average, from minimum to minimum.

An unusually long, deep lull in sunspots led the panel to revise its 2007 prediction that the next cycle of solar storms would start in March 2008 and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012. The persistence of a quiet sun since the last prediction has led the panel to a consensus that the next cycle will be “moderately weak.”

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) is the nation’s first alert of solar activity and its effects on Earth. The Center’s space weather experts issue outlooks for the next 11-year solar cycle and warn of storms occurring on the Sun that could impact Earth. SWPC is also the world warning agency for the International Space Environment Service, a consortium of 12 member nations.

As the world economy becomes more reliant on satellite-based communications and interlinked power grids, interest in solar activity has grown dramatically. In 2008 alone, SWPC acquired 1,700 new subscription customers for warnings, alerts, reports, and other products. Among the new customers are emergency managers, airlines, state transportation departments, oil companies, and nuclear power stations. SWPC’s customers reside in 150 countries.

“Our customer growth reflects today’s reality that all sectors of society are highly dependent on advanced, space-based technologies,” said SWPC director Tom Bogdan. “Today every hiccup from the sun aimed at Earth has potential consequences.”

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265 thoughts on “NOAA SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction: “weakest since 1928”

  1. I’m sorry, but that’s it?!? “We haven’t been right yet, but there’s always hope”?

    Oh well, you can’t predict what you don’t understand.

  2. Leif, they are coming around to your old prediction of a peak of ~75 !

    You are de man!

  3. Peak of 90, actually.
    Note that there was no press conference and no further explanation for the prediction. The 10.7 graph is just plain wrong. They use an erroneous conversion formula between SSN and F10.7 flux, that among other things gets the minimum value wrong [as is plain by inspection]. Very embarrassing for them [and indirectly for me as I am on the infamous panel].

  4. I have not paid much attention to the sunspot cycles. What is the significance of a delay in the start of the next cycle? Does that portend a less active coming cycle than usual?

  5. Is there an intrinsic changing of the predicted peak (trough) of UV radiation for 2013 as well? Or is the difference between a sunspot number of 90 and 80 yield very little change in UV radiation hitting the earth’s surface?

  6. Sigh… how could you, Leif? /sarcasm

    It does look like their F10.7 prediction curve has a serious discontinuity. It must not be smoothed with any previous values in the mix (else it would continue from where it actually is now).

    Mark

  7. Madman (09:14:25) :
    Leif, they are coming around to your old prediction of a peak of ~75 !
    You are de man!

    They were not brave enough to go all the way…

  8. I think that the maximum in 2013 is misguided. Every cycle with a lower amplitude has a significantly slower beginning – so I guess that the maximum will occur in 2014 if not 2015-2016.

  9. I must be missing something. I cannot find any new press release on the SWPC web site. It still says it is coming even though the 12:00 ET target time has passed. I only find the same information Anthony posted yesterday.

  10. Mark T (09:26:35) :
    It does look like their F10.7 prediction curve has a serious discontinuity. It must not be smoothed with any previous values in the mix (else it would continue from where it actually is now).

    Their curve is just wrong. And they know it, but are not allowed to fix it [as per Doug Biesecker when I pointed that out to him: “Leif, Yes, the f10.7 should not go down to 60. Our forecast minimum limit is 65. However, this requires a change in a product and I’m not ready to take that task on at this time. Changing products within the NWS can be a very time consuming, difficult task. For starters, we need some good analysis to show us definitively how to treat very small SSN data. However, if one were to complain about a product to the proper authorities, one might be able to prompt action. You’ll find a feedback form on our website.”]

    Perhaps if everybody used that feedback form…
    But this is a farce.

  11. I still think they’re rolling the dice. They could be correct… eventually they will be correct but in which decade?

  12. Things like this give m no confidence in NASA.They have the predictive power of the late Johnny Carson’s “Great Karnak..”

  13. George DeBusk (09:21:40) :

    I have not paid much attention to the sunspot cycles. What is the significance of a delay in the start of the next cycle? Does that portend a less active coming cycle than usual?

    George, Go to DavidArchibald.info and read all the publications he’s made over the last 2-3 years. When your done you’ll be current on why there’s so much interest over SSC24. There are differing predictions and depending on who’s right and who’s wrong will determine who’s going to be credited with having and diseminating the best information.

    Welcome aboard!!!

  14. If one digs a little deeper, there is some ‘explanation’
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/README3

    Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update
    May 8, 2009 — The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”

    ——-

    The ‘90′ was not agreed upon. The only choices the panel members had in the last vote were ‘high’ or ‘low’. I pointed out that the value was important too and that just because 90 was the average number of the ‘low’ group two years does not mean that it a good number now. This was ignored.

  15. Why is consensus necessary? All it takes is for one astrophysicist to be contrary and correct and the consensus is wrong. A consensus is a collection of cowards who are afraid to stand for their convictions.

  16. Leif Svalgaard (09:49:21) :
    The ‘90′ was not agreed upon. The only choices the panel members had in the last vote were ‘high’ or ‘low’. I pointed out that the value was important too and that just because 90 was the average number of the ‘low’ group two years does not mean that it a good number now. This was ignored.

    REPLY: add to main post thanks. – A
    Note that the above is NOT part of the README, but was my comment.

    REPLY2: will delineate that – A

  17. Leif Svalgaard
    “However, this requires a change in a product and I’m not ready to take that task on at this time. Changing products within the NWS can be a very time consuming, difficult task.”

    If I understand you they are saying that doing science stuff is too difficult or that they do not have the resources to make the change you described?

    From the post..
    “For every month beyond March 2008 that minimum slips, it is necessary to shift the prediction curves by the same amount.”

    Is there a scientific term for doing this?

  18. I look and I just shake my head.

    I don’t know why, but a line from an old [beloved] cartoon popped into my head: “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”

    That trick never quite worked out for Bullwinkle; the SWPC seems to be having the same run of luck.

  19. Thanks, Leif, for posting that update. I never would have found that. I presume the SWPC will post it to their main web page shortly.

  20. George DeBusk,
    Average solar cycle is about 11 years. The theory is that the shorter the cycles (high solar activity), the warmer the climate gets. The longer the solar cycle (less solar activity), the cooler the climate becomes.
    Right now cycle 24 is long overdue, should have begun a year or a year and half ago.

    This delayed cycle 24, according to theory, should result in a cooler climate ahead. History (last 400 years) has shown a very close correlation between solar activity and global temps – but this is hotly debated.

    DISCLAIMER:
    PLEASE NOTE I’M A JUST A LOW LEVEL LAYMAN ON THIS SUBJECT, AND OTHERS HERE WILL SURELY ADD TO THIS AND/OR CORRECT ME.

    Leif Svaalgard is our solar authority here in this blog.

  21. Lief’s comment:

    “Their curve is just wrong. And they know it, but are not allowed to fix it…” gives some great insight into how government science works. Not pretty insight, but useful.

  22. And as the Sun is delaying his awakening, mammals, birds, insects, herbs and trees are conquering their ancestral habitats. Why to see the new geographical distribution of living beings like something wrong? Living beings are adapting to recurrent climatic conditions. They were there long time ago, and they are getting back there; nothing new, nothing creepy. Study them, investigate how they adapt to cyclical climatic conditions, and do the same as they are doing. Don’t blame humans on what they have not produced and for which nature, the source of those fluctuations, has provided with many routes for running off.

  23. Here is a three-way animation of the latest SWPC predictions for what they are worth, which is not very much. Remember to use the “ESC” and “F5” keys to stop and restart the animation.

    See my latest posts at Solar Cycle 24 for additional information on this topic:

    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=482&page=8#19008

    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=482&page=8#19029

    Mike

  24. Here is another view:
    http://www.spaceweather.com/headlines/y2009/08may_noaaprediction.htm?PHPSESSID=tr1e17uje2eq9bo127eetq8o42

    Note the link to ‘NOAA press release’ . The release has been pulled. Nothing there.

    From the link above:
    “An unusually long, deep lull in sunspots led the panel to revise its 2007 prediction that the next cycle of solar storms would start in March 2008 and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012. The persistence of a quiet sun since the last prediction has led the panel to a consensus that the next cycle will be “moderately weak.””

    Note the ‘moderately week’ nonsense. And the reason for the lower value is NOT that this minimum has been unusually low. Prediction of a low value is several years old. What might be behind that misleading statement is simple damage control in that the high predictions seem dead.

  25. “consensus decision ”

    well there you have it. we all know how good consensus decisions are.

    /sarc

  26. George DeBusk:
    Following link shows the last 400 years of solar activity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sunspot_Numbers.svg
    Note the Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s (cold period) when solar activity was quite low!
    In general solar activity has trended upwards since 1750 or so, which took us out of the Little Ice Age.
    Some scientists now say we may be entering another Dalton Minimum, or worse, another Maunder Minimum like back in the 1600s when it was colder than a witch’s t–.
    If that happened, humanity would be seriously challenged.

  27. Doug Biesecker on F10.7 (as of 5 minutes ago):
    “Leif, You are free to express your embarrassment to whomever you wish. The panel is releasing an opinion that is representative of the whole group, not one individual. As for F10.7 being wrong, that is a more fundamental problem with how NOAA has always converted SSN to F10.7. The only published papers on the topic are wrong and that is what NOAA uses. Given that we finally have an extended period of low SSN and F10.7, there should now be plenty of data points for someone to correctly characterize the SSN to F10.7 relationship for low SSN and publish it.”

  28. Its widely believed around here that sunspots correlate highly with global temperatures.

    If solar activity was well above historical averages, I’d wager dollars to donuts that this would be taken as proof that solar activity drives global temperatures. Instead, we’re well below historical averages, and its nice to see that this is *still* taken as proof that solar activity drives global temperatures (which are currently well above normal almost everywhere). Nice to see the consistency.

    Its also nice to see that increased solar activity is alleged to be causing higher temperatures at night (when, you know, the sun doesn’t shine) and is causing cooler temperatures in the upper atmosphere. Again, lots of consistency on this site.

    Also, of course, this is further proof that NASA is either incompetent, or part of some conspiracy.

  29. I’m amused that ‘the panel has agreed’ on the timing of the minimum, but ‘the panel has decided’ on the maximum sunspot numbers. If only they put as much energy into undeceiving the public as they do into deceiving it.
    ===========================================

  30. Gosh, but I have had a terrible shock! First I clicked on one of those those computer generated links which transported me to http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/05/solarcycle There I learned that Big Solar Flare Portends Sun’s Return to Normal. Kaiser is sure this sunspot is part of the new cycle because it appeared at about 30 degrees of latitude. This is typical early in the solar cycle when sunspots appear closer to the poles.

    I was stunned, so I retraced my steps to the SOHO MDI image and I saw spots all over the sun. Appalling. Thank goodness for Waitrose farmhouse cider. I dipped some paper towel in my restitutional beverage and wiped my monitor. Miracle of miracles, the spots were gone. The old Kaiser was gone in 1919 and the new one may depart 90 years thereafter. Orl t’anks t’ inkerhol.

  31. So, if I correctly understand this, a government employee has told Leif that this government website, funded presumably with public dollars and intended to provide information to the public, will continue to display incorrect information to the public because fixing it would involve too much red tape.

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

  32. My Mark One eyeball says that the descent to a minimum is much more gradual than the ascent to a maximum. Should the curve be symmetrical like a parabola or is there a reason why the rise is accelerated compared to the fall?

  33. Nasif Nahle (10:08:47) :

    And as the Sun is delaying his awakening, mammals, birds, insects, herbs and trees are conquering their ancestral habitats

    Wise observation!. Hope the NASA and NOAA hires some bird watchers. WUWT already supplies, once in a while, that kind of information ( The Ice Owl post ).
    Back in the 1950′ s or 60″ s if someone should have said that a city like Lima , Peru, located on the dry west coast of SA, relatively too cold in winter for parrots to live, was going to be filled with these birds would have been taken as someone crazy.

  34. Richard deSousa (09:54:43) :

    Why is consensus necessary? All it takes is for one astrophysicist to be contrary and correct and the consensus is wrong. A consensus is a collection of cowards who are afraid to stand for their convictions.
    ———————————————————

    If everyone is thinking the same….THEN SOMEONE ISN’T THINKING.

  35. “… a train wreck.”
    You are too kind in your description. My description would not be appropriate for this blog – and I’ll leave it at that.
    I tried different methods of capturing the screen image and, while my screen image stayed the same, what I kept capturing was different, from the original graphs dated Apr 6 to the updated ones dated May 1 & 8. I even captured (and saved) into Word all three graphs dated May 8.

    They might get it right one of these days.

  36. I love this line from Bisecker: “The only published papers on the topic are wrong.”

    Gee, and I’ll bet they were all peer reviewed, too!!!

  37. Lief,

    Thanks for taking your time on this. It makes the thread very interesting. I’ll just keep coming back and reading.

    J

  38. I think they are consulting which prediction would be more “convenient”…But the old sun follows its own rules (except, of course, when deeply affected by the “Watts effect”)

  39. They dare call this science — What happened with the ‘search for truth’ part?

    A huge dose of honesty would go a long way, but it is clear too much new tax money, and grants, is riding on this hocus-pocus game.

    Science may never recover from this charade. In the end, looks like we are forced to ‘do our own’ science.

  40. It’s interesting to observe that consensus solar cycle predictions are about as accurate as consensus climate model predictions…

  41. Why was it important for them to rush into a press conference to give an update on their prophecy?

    Since when in science do we take an average of what people think? If they do that, maybe they should include error bars in the graph. That at least would represent the lack of understanding amongst solar scientist of how the sun works.

    Did the values from those people that had it wrong on all the previous trials were also included?

    What was the point of all this?

  42. Drudge has a headline link to a Breitbart story that warns that the suspot cycle is beginning to rise and it quotes the 90 per month number.

  43. “Its widely believed around here that sunspots correlate highly with global temperatures”

    Doesn’t this go back to Herschel’s observation that fluctuations in grain priced followed fluctuations in sunspots? Which is to say, haven’t we known this for a long time, even if it is now inconvenient for the theory of AGW?

    “If solar activity was well above historical averages, I’d wager dollars to donuts that this would be taken as proof that solar activity drives global temperatures. Instead, we’re well below historical averages, and its nice to see that this is *still* taken as proof that solar activity drives global temperatures (which are currently well above normal almost everywhere). Nice to see the consistency.”

    As a (sceptical) layman, it is my understanding that a *trend* in sunspots underlies a *trend* in temperature, it’s not an on/off switch. So if temperatures start off high and trend downwards, they’re still high (but declining), and this appears to be what we are actually seeing.

    “Its also nice to see that increased solar activity is alleged to be causing higher temperatures at night (when, you know, the sun doesn’t shine) and is causing cooler temperatures in the upper atmosphere. Again, lots of consistency on this site.”

    I’m not sure that’s inconsistent. If the sun is more active, the solar magnetosphere volume is greater and thus GCR incidence lower, thus low-level cloud formation lower, thus more heat reaches the surface and less is reflected to the upper atmosphere, hence cooler upper atmosphere, based on the notion that low cloud reflects more thermal energy and is linked with a cooler globe, these low clouds being formed in part by GCR collision with atmospheric particles.

    Equally, if the surface warms, we would surely expect to see warmer nights. I live in Scotland, not noted for its balmy evenings, but have worked in tropical Africa, and I have certainly always felt that the difference between diurnal and nocturnal temperature is greater in cooler latitudes. It would not surprise me to discover that warmer temperatures generally lead to a reduced difference between day and night temperatures.

    EG

  44. Leif: You should consider bringing an ouija board and/or dart board and darts to the next meeting of the solar cycle prediction panel. They would add some precision to the panel’s predictive powers.

  45. Madman

    David Archibald predicted this way back before anybody. This person has been consistently correct about nearly everything that has come to pass (sunspot num, temps etc..). He was ridiculed by many here as well as in the AGW camp. If I recall he predicted a possible minimum of 40 and max 70

  46. They can’t just help themselves from doing it… “Even so, Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time”

    At least, this is an event that could be possible at any time and it is true that our infrastructure could get hit hard. This is a much more important issue than trying to cut CO2 emissions that won’t do any harm.

    They have found their new money generator because of course they need to study CMI more and put in place a series of sensors and stuff. But that would be money well spend I think.

  47. Leif Svalgaard (10:19:59) :

    Doug Biesecker on F10.7 (as of 5 minutes ago):
    “Leif, You are free to express your embarrassment to whomever you wish. The panel is releasing an opinion that is representative of the whole group, not one individual.

    I actually have some sympathy for Doug and other legitimate scientists who are “on the other side” in this issue. Surely, they are appalled by idiots like Al Gore — who has absolutely no business being the self-appointed spokesman for the AGW theory. (With friends like that, who needs enemies?) The anger we have towards the alarmists is often directed at everyone who still believes in AGW. The word “embarrassed,” while fair and legit, is still hard for other panel members to read.

    It is those legitimate scientists who will be the key to ending this whole crock — when they start switching sides, en masse. We need to be extra careful to make it easy for them to switch. Everyone is naturally defensive; admitting you’re wrong isn’t easy. The evidence in favor of the AGW theory was, at one time, pretty good. In 1998, a lot of legitimate scientists got honestly worried. Depending on what they published, recanting now may be costly. They have families to feed.

    Even if they said some unreasonable things, we need to hold out an olive branch for the greater good of advancing the truth. Punishment should not be an objective. The politicians will almost surely pay dearly for their fecklessness but scientists are supposed to be allowed to wrong. Open debate works best when being wrong is just part of a healthy process.

    If the winners of a debate are vindictive towards the losers, future debates will be neurotic.

  48. DR Svaalgard may now realize the frustration that many here have with the whole AGW set up included most at NASA whose current situation depends on AGW but which will soon be dismantled due to not happening AGW LOL… I recommend you read Prof. Ian Plimers book “Heaven and Earth” supported by ~400 references.

  49. Mrs Whatsit (10:23:56)
    “So, if I correctly understand this, a government employee has told Leif that this government website, funded presumably with public dollars and intended to provide information to the public, will continue to display incorrect information to the public because fixing it would involve too much red tape.

    Truth is stranger than fiction.”

    Just a routine day at the office: Convenience is priority 1 in the adminaverse. (Truth occasionally plays a role.)


    tarpon (11:13:27)
    “A huge dose of honesty would go a long way, but it is clear too much new tax money, and grants, is riding on this hocus-pocus game.

    Science may never recover from this charade. In the end, looks like we are forced to ‘do our own’ science.”

    Very close to the conclusion at which I arrived.

  50. My use of the term AGW above was sloppy. The solar prediction isn’t really about AGW at all. But, in a stupid way, I made the point — which is that we over-generalize our anger over the deception surrounding the whole climate issue.

    Oops.

  51. That press release is a joke.

    It’s not about science; it’s about funding. Notice that second sentence,”Even so, Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time, with potential damages from the most severe level of storm exceeding $1 trillion.”

    Keep the crisis level up, keep the funding.

  52. WUWT readers:

    Please consider submitting this post to Drudge to counter the “warning sunspot cycle to rise” story from AP so that we have some balance.

    See right hand side of http://www.drudgereport.com for the tip form.

    – Thanks for your consideration, Anthony

  53. Paddy (11:23:46) :
    Leif: You should consider bringing an ouija board and/or dart board and darts to the next meeting of the solar cycle prediction panel. They would add some precision to the panel’s predictive powers.
    We tried that early on. The result was a number too low for many to swallow, so we on to more traditional ways of getting it wrong.

  54. [as per Doug Biesecker when I pointed that out to him: “Leif, Yes, the f10.7 should not go down to 60. Our forecast minimum limit is 65. However, this requires a change in a product and I’m not ready to take that task on at this time. Changing products within the NWS can be a very time consuming, difficult task. For starters, we need some good analysis to show us definitively how to treat very small SSN data. However, if one were to complain about a product to the proper authorities, one might be able to prompt action. You’ll find a feedback form on our website.”]

    So, in other words, Biesecker admits that the product is incorrect, but making it correct is too much work and he doesn’t want to bother? Unbelievable! Is he the head of the panel? Great leadership, just great…

    “Leif, You are free to express your embarrassment to whomever you wish. The panel is releasing an opinion that is representative of the whole group, not one individual. As for F10.7 being wrong, that is a more fundamental problem with how NOAA has always converted SSN to F10.7. The only published papers on the topic are wrong and that is what NOAA uses. Given that we finally have an extended period of low SSN and F10.7, there should now be plenty of data points for someone to correctly characterize the SSN to F10.7 relationship for low SSN and publish it.”

    Biesecker is mis-speaking here. The opinion released was only representative of a supermajority of the group, not the whole group. Perhaps the panel’s decision should be released as they do with US Supreme Court decisions, with the dissenting opinions made public as well.

    Also, I thought that 10.7 cm flux was measured directly, rather than being calculated from SSN. http://www.nwra-az.com/spawx/f10.html Leif, what am I missing?

    Now, where do I find those feedback forms…

  55. Angry Leif makes for a good read. :)

    The thing that jumped out at me was right there in paragraph uno: “Even so, Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time, with potential damages from the most severe level of storm exceeding $1 trillion.”

    We’re here to tell you that the sun will be relatively quiet for the foreseeable but before your limited attention span expires, likely prior the meat, you must know that we “could get hit by a [i]devastating[/i] solar storm at [i]any[/i] time.” The culture of self-served scary stories runs deep.

  56. Leif,

    if you know the charts are wrong, and you have the data to make a new chart, would you post a guest topic on the subject and show the correct chart with a supporting explanation? It might motivate others to “fix the product” and get on board with the newest data… I would think adjusting the product would be part of the learning process, but it seems to me we have a group of people just eyeballing the data and shooting from the hip. It would be nice to see the underlying relationships leading to a chart that makes sense… Thanks

  57. Another appeal,

    Leif or someone. Could a laymans guide to what all this means and why it is important be produced. I have tried Wikipedia and am no wiser.

    Shane

  58. Joseph (11:49:51) :
    Also, I thought that 10.7 cm flux was measured directly, rather than being calculated from SSN. [..] what am I missing?

    We predict SSN for future times. We don’t have future direct measurements of F10.7, but from past relationships we know [if we use the correct ones] how much F10,7 to expect for a given SSN. The recommended [by the international Radio Communication people] formula is F10.7 = 63.7 + 0.728*SSN + 0.00089*SSN*SSN, that gives 65ish for the low numbers we have now and 136 for SSN=90.

  59. Good work NASA! Your May 8 prediction displays a smaller, yet still glaring, discontinuity in sunspot count at the start of May. Accept that as credible, though, because NASA also tells us they actually have a consensus that the peak of cycle 24 will be as high as 90 and will be as early as the start of 2013.

    “Our customer growth reflects today’s reality that all sectors of society are highly dependent on advanced, space-based technologies,” said SWPC director Tom Bogdan.

    We are indeed fortunate to be highly dependent on NASA’s advanced, space-based technology, called committee consensus via frozen legacy software.

  60. “with potential damages from the most severe level of storm exceeding $1 trillion.”

    At least it’s not that much, we could probably print it in a week….. Well if we had power we could.

  61. “If the winners of a debate are vindictive towards the losers, future debates will be neurotic.”

    Given how vindictive some of us have seen the AGW folks behaving toward skeptics for years now, I agree, but probably not as you intend. When your reputation on the intertubes, or your employability, has gotten the metaphorical waterboarding treatment, you have a right to call for war crimes trials.

    AGW zealots need to step back and realize if they are proven wrong, their worst behavior will come back to bite them, and start behaving a lot more collegially.

  62. .

    Am I missing something here?

    If we have had a slow cycle, with a period of 7 or 8 years from the previous peak to the 2008-9 minimum, then will we not have a slow rise to the next maximum??

    If this sedate trend continues, then the maximum for cycle 24 should be in 2016 or 2017, and not 2013.

    .

  63. The Optical orange SOHO image isn’t being updated, although the magnetogram is. There is a faint sign of a magnetic blur where the last CME was, as is visible in teh STEREO behind EUV image. Could be a sunspot; we all await with baited breath :-)

  64. Back in the 1980s, there was this rather sombre ska song. The lyrics started out like this:

    “It’s the dawning, of a new era…”

    No, not a new era as in, something like the Jetsons or Star Trek … something a bit darker.

  65. If others operated like NOAA…

    Your Doctor… “Well you seem to be in good health, however you know you could get cancer or heart disease at any moment…”

    Your lawyer… “Your legal situation looks ok, but you have dealt with literally thousands of people and entities in the last twenty years and any one of them could sue you for millions…”

    Your lawn guy… “The lawn looks great now, but that brown spot is really bad in some places, maybe we need to start a treatment regime…”

    Your wife…

    You get the idea.

  66. Zer0th (11:52:39) :

    you caught that little gem too? It made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.

  67. Anthony, the text of the article title to quote is:

    “Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise.”

    I don’t know if that helps any but I sent the tip.

  68. As a plain Brit could someone tell me what a “supermajority” is and how this differs from a majority. (Is this along the lines of all those people who now say they will give 110%, ie language inflation?)

  69. .
    >>I dipped some paper towel in my restitutional
    >>beverage and wiped my monitor. Miracle of miracles,
    >>>the spots were gone.

    Likewise. Until you start spot-monitoring, you don’t realise how dirty the screen is.

    .

  70. I remember one time I was on a committee that was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of innocent people. Resistance to honesty was firm & enduring. I confronted the deceptive committee-members in front of the innocent people without warning. The result: One crying hysterically and another challenging me to an outside one-on-one fight. Also, I was informed that it was “bad form” to tell the truth.

  71. From the NOAA prediction (above):“The strongest solar storm on record occurred in 1859 during another below-average cycle similar to the one we are predicting.”
    So, our most beloved and naked king Leader (Sieg Heil Al !), has issued a message to all of us, surrendered believers and followers: “My most dear and nasty worms who feed from my darkest and filthiest emanations, arise!!, our time has arrived, let the deniers’ computers break, all their hardwork fail, because of the sunstorms coming, you must faithfully follow my teachings, for my sincere followers will throw away all those dirty machines , you must live the New Age properly, our green world free from stupid artifacts, believing in me and in all gods and goddesses of nature who surround me you will be happy for ever!! “

  72. SWPC: May 8, 2009: …Earth-threatening… devastating… most severe…exceeding $1 trillion…eruptions… damage satellites and power grids…disrupting.. threaten…major storm…at any time…fires…magnetic field soaring… severe…$1-2 trillion in damages… ten years for recovery… storms…impact Earth.

    GLOOM AND DOOM!! GLOOM AND DOOM!! When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout! Oh, we got trouble right here in River City. Pay no attention to that politician behind the curtain!

    Read “State of Fear,” by Michael Crichton.

  73. It’s to cold and wet
    in North Dakota to seed my wheat.
    So I’m baking a pie. To prevent the crust
    from burning, I’m covering the edges with tin foil,
    the question is, shiny side in or out?

    Don’t tell me it depends on what kind of pie it is!

    Should I call NASA?

  74. This so assinine I have difficulty comprehending, and I am a professional ass. The greatest think tank presumably in the history of man(NASA) and they will not abide certain math and science, because of political will.
    They realize there were wrong, may still be wrong, but will not correct because they beurcratic difficulties?
    DR Svaalgard.. Please clarify for me this one point.

  75. One of the first things I was taught when I started studying Physics was that in areas of controversy the “consensus” is invariably wrong. It’s some kind of law of the nature of science. This Sun spot thingy will turn out to be a perfect illustration of that simple truth. The minimum occured in December 2008 ??? How do they know that? They simply cannot. Nobody can. But I’ll tell you one thing: we have not, more likely than not, have had the minimum yet. And thus, that whole prediction about a maximum in 2013 is pure guess work which will turn out to be totally incorrect.

    Just to cheer you up, I have here some results from a paper by my mentor Cees de Jager who used to be director at the old Observatory at Utrecht, “Sonnenborgh”, and who in his nineties is still active as a solar scientist and publishes regularly. In this recent (with S Duhau) paper he reports that in their considered opinion, the Sun “is presently undergoing a transition from the recent Grand Maximum” (a series of cycles of very high activity, lasting some 50 years) “to another regime. ” (of much lower activity levels, which can last up to 80 years) “This transition started in about 2000 and is expected to end at about the maximum of cycle 24, foreseen for 2014 at a maximum sunspot number of about 70.” The estimate is based on the minimum occurring in December 2008, but the later it is, the lower the maximum sunspot numbers. The cause of the “regime change” is in some magneto-hydrodynamic theories related to a phase transition in the workings of the Solar dynamo, which is reflected in distinctly different sun spot behaviour at times in the past.

    The whole thing can be found in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 71 (2009) 239-245 and references.

  76. What is the rationale for the Minimum to be declared in December, 2008?

    An argument can be made for July, 2008 or to say we may not have seen the minimum yet but I don’t see December in the numbers at all.

  77. I also love Angry Leif, although perhaps “Cranky Leif” would be more accurate.

    My bet: Early 2014, Max SSN 65 +0 / -5
    If anything, I think I’m too high. In the meantime, however, Leif’s estimate looks like the best that I have seen from the solar scientists “with portfolio”.

    Plus:
    Climate Heretic (09:58:40) said:
    From the post..
    “For every month beyond March 2008 that minimum slips, it is necessary to shift the prediction curves by the same amount.”
    Is there a scientific term for doing this?

    IN ENGINEERING, we call this a SWAG. No offense to “science” intended.

  78. Leif,
    Concerning the panel’s “consensus” on the peak SSN for cycle-24; is their unwillingness to lower the prediction to 75 based on who the panel thinks is their only customer, the satellite owners?
    In other words, are they afraid they will get sued if they predict 75, actual ends up being 120, and someone has a fried satellite?

  79. Little noticed in all of this is the fact that NASA’s Dr. David Hathaway has not as yet updated his April 2009 prediction which is still quite high. Could he finally be learning caution or is it that all the reporters are over at NOAA?

    Mike

  80. Frank K. (11:13:52) : “It’s interesting to observe that consensus solar cycle predictions are about as accurate as consensus climate model predictions…”

    Rewording Barnett Cocks’ old definition for a committee: “A consensus is a cul-de-sac down which science is lured and then quietly strangled.”

  81. SteveSadlov (12:14:47) :

    Maunder Minimun brought the age of reason…Landscheit or Jose’ s minimum has brought the age of stupidity(*)

    (*) illness caused by the predominance of the less fitted.

  82. Of course the AP Headline hypes the danger, the article is more balanced. If the wider audience merely reads the headline they think we are in for another catastrophe.

    Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Randolph E. Schmid, Ap Science Writer – 16 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – When the sun sneezes it’s Earth that gets sick. It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.

    Like hurricanes, a weak cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, said scientist Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s space weather prediction center.

    A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm as severe as one in 1859 occurred today, it could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in damage the first year and take four to 10 years to recover

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/ap_on_sc/us_sci_space_weather

  83. HEADLINE:
    Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise (what?!)

    “It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.”

    “The last solar minimum occurred in December, the researchers said.”

    The article above is full of mixed messages. Doug Biesecker contributed to it. I was under the impression that solar minimum had not yet been established.

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98270OO1&show_article=1

  84. Climate Heritic Wrote:
    “For every month beyond March 2008 that minimum slips, it is necessary to shift the prediction curves by the same amount.”

    “Is there a scientific term for doing this?”

    Yes, the scientific term is “backpeddling”.

  85. Gary Plyler (12:38:03) :

    “In other words, are they afraid they will get sued if they predict 75, actual ends up being 120, and someone has a fried satellite?”

    This was also my thought. I’ve been on committees that looked closely at things like this. If they miss high then it’s not much of a problem. If they miss low then then they might look very bad in their customer’s eyes.

  86. Do you know what the UN IPCC, Hanson, Gore, NOAA Space Weather Center and NASA have in common?

    They all make predictions that never happen.

  87. I just hate conscensus. In the context of real science it is just rubbish. Either you have made soem rigorous scientific thinking and come to a conclusion or you just don’t know and are guessing.

    I think the latter. Lief come nearest to the method required

  88. We!

    We will not allow SC 24 forecasts to interfere with the current AGW doctrine.
    We will not provide the Skeptic community with any ammunition.
    We have to think about our reputation.
    We have to be consistent with our predictions.
    We simply make a new one if time proves us wrong
    We predict Solar Cycle 24 will be the weakest cycle since number 16, which peaked at 78 daily sunspots in 1928, and ninth weakest since the 1750s, when numbered cycles began.
    We are NO ALARMISTS!

  89. Seriously, [snip] is the deal with the scare tactics from spaceweather.com? Is this to give the newspapers something scary to report (“Scientists predict evil Sun storm to do more damage than 10 Hurricane Katrinas” ) rather than having to report that the Sun is very quiet and will stay that way? Are they trying to get funding with a Y2K disaster scenario scheme? Do they have a history of these types of press releases? Is there any truth to what they are claiming? If someone with knowledge could elaborate I would appreciate it. It all sounds like a bunch a bovine-hewey to me. I have heard that solar eruptions can affect communications equipment, but I have never heard before that the impact could be $2 trillion and 4 to 10 years to recover. I guess I should Google “The great Sun Storm Disaster of 1859” and read up.

  90. The minimum occurred in 08 but the numbers are still down in 09?

    It appears as if the cycle must start now to make the prediction.

    if the lull extends for any length of time it appears that they will miss the prediction for the new cycle won’t they?

  91. The point of that conference (i.e. CME) was not well received the first time around by the MSM. They did not get good press, radi, tv coverage at the time (like a few weeks ago). The first time they came out with the story, it seems that not enough fear was sowed in people`s minds. Their first trial at it got buried by the H1N1 flu stories. Now that the flu scare has passed, they are trying again. Logical yet not very subtle. Everyone knows that the level of grant money is exponentially proportional to the level of fear injected in people and congress.

  92. Yep – It is [snip]. Below is the Associated Press Story:

    Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID – 54 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — When the sun sneezes it’s Earth that gets sick. It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.

    Like hurricanes, a weak cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, said scientist Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s space weather prediction center.

    A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm as severe as one in 1859 occurred today, it could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in damage the first year and take four to 10 years to recover.

    The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe, sent readings of Earth’s magnetic field soaring, and produced northern lights so bright that people read newspapers by their light.

    Today there’s a lot more than telegraph lines at stake. Vulnerable electrical grids circle the globe, satellites now vital for all forms of communications can be severely disrupted along with the global positioning system. Indeed, the panel warned that a strong blast of solar wind can threaten national security, transportation, financial services and other essential functions.

    The solar prediction center works closely with industry and government agencies to make sure they are prepared with changes in activity and prepared to respond when damage occurs, Biesecker said in a briefing.

    While the most extreme events seem unlikely this time, there will probably be smaller scale disruptions to electrical service, airline flights, GPS signals and television, radio and cell phones.

    On the plus side, the solar storms promote the colorful auroras, known as the northern and southern lights, high in the sky over polar areas.

    An international panel headed by Biesecker said Friday it expects the upcoming solar cycle to be the weakest since 1928.

    The prediction calls for the solar cycle to peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day, averaged over a month. If the prediction proves correct it will be the weakest cycle since a peak of 78 daily sunspots in 1928.

    Measurement of sunspot cycles began in the 1750s.

    The panel described solar storms as eruptions of energy and matter that escape from the sun. At least some of this heads toward the Earth.

    Solar cycles of more and fewer sunspots last several years and the cycle currently building up will be number 24 since counting began.

    It’s only the third time researchers have tried to make such a forecast. In 1989 a panel predicted Cycle 22, which peaked that year. And in 1996 scientists predicted Cycle 23.

    Both earlier groups did better at predicting timing than intensity, according to Biesecker.

    The last solar minimum occurred in December, the researchers said.

    W. Dean Pesnell of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the forecasts are based on such indicators as the strength of the sun’s magnetic field at the poles and the reaction of the Earth’s magnetic field to the sun. Both are weak right now, he said, with only a few sunspots visible since 2007.

    A preliminary forecast issued in 2007 was split over the outlook for the upcoming cycle, Biesecker said the researchers have now reached consensus.

  93. So let me get this straight, we have a record-quiet sun, and suddenly the news story is warning of “Earth-threatening” solar storms because they observed one CME?

    Are we living in opposite-world or something?

  94. Ray (11:27:55) :

    “They can’t just help themselves from doing it… “Even so, Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time”

    At least, this is an event that could be possible at any time and it is true that our infrastructure could get hit hard. This is a much more important issue than trying to cut CO2 emissions that won’t do any harm.

    They have found their new money generator because of course they need to study CMI more and put in place a series of sensors and stuff. But that would be money well spend I think.”

    I agree:
    The scare-mongering announcements that pepper this press release have no place in a scientific description of a physical phenomenon. They are presumably designed to attract attention from the funders.

  95. Leif Svalgaard (10:19:59) :

    Doug Biesecker on F10.7 (as of 5 minutes ago):
    As for F10.7 being wrong, that is a more fundamental problem with how NOAA has always converted SSN to F10.7. The only published papers on the topic are wrong and that is what NOAA uses.

    Aha – the process is more important than the product. A hallmark of many good bureaucracies.

  96. One last rant and I’ll leave it alone. Below is my response to the AP Article: (BTW – can I get away with writing “What The Snip?”)

    This article is a joke. The real story is that the NASA Scientists concluded that the upcoming solar cycle will be one of the weakest in recent times. However, such a story would cast some doubt on global warming claims since fewer Sunspots means less solar irradiance which means some degree of global cooling. Therefore, imbedded in the press release about the very quiet Sun is this fantastic story of potentially trillions of dollars of losses from a future Solar storm.

    I suspect the Author, Mr. Schmidt, knows the real facts and he is playing along for the sake of his global warming agenda. Either he is a fool or he is playing you the reader to be a fool. Take your choice.

    Personally I find it disgusting. If I were in charge of NASA, I would fire whoever wrote this sensationalist press release, and if I were in charge of the Associate Press, I would fire Mr. Schmidt, because he lacks either adequate knowledge or objectivity to be their science writer.

    Being neither, instead, all I can do is get mad and rant…….

  97. Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time,

    OT, but scare-related, yesterday I got my 10 page glossy colour leaflet from the UK’s NHS containing Important Information About Swine Flu that has been rushed out to every house in the country. The front cover has instructive photo showing how not to cover your mouth when you sneeze. The rest of it has next to no useful information at all, particularly about the sorts of things I’d like to know : like: could it kill me? Not a word about that. And what are the symptoms? They include Fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, tiredness, aching muscles, chills, sneezing, runny nose, or loss of appetite. Helpful, that. I should have no trouble at all recognising it then. Other advice includes: if you get it, stay at home. Always carry tissues to sneeze or cough into (and not like the man on the front cover, please!) The back cover advises of ways to get the leaflet in Urdu or Arabic or Gujarati and various other languages.

    What is the point of rushing out a 10-page leaflet titled Important Information that contains no important or useful information whatsoever – except how to get the same leaflet in Urdu?

    Swine flu filled the airwaves a couple of weeks back. But it seems to have vanished without trace since. Is the epidemic over? Did anyone die? Outside of Mexico, that is.

    Hello… Is there anybody there? Hello…

  98. Leif – would it make sense that we could most likely get hit by a CME at a time when the solar activity is in fact at its lowest, from a sunspot area from a dying cycle which show usually near the equator? New and active area are usually away from the equator and closer to the poles. The CME of high/low latitudes would simply pass over/under us.

  99. Leif Svalgaard (10:19:59) :

    Doug Biesecker on F10.7 (as of 5 minutes ago):
    As for F10.7 being wrong, that is a more fundamental problem with how NOAA has always converted SSN to F10.7. The only published papers on the topic are wrong and that is what NOAA uses.

    Aha – the process is more important than the product. A hallmark of many good bureaucracies.

    Thank God these ninnies weren’t in charge of NASA in the 60’s, can you imagine how well the Apollo Project would have worked out.

  100. “Doug Biesecker […]: “Leif, You are free to express […]””

    “In other words, are they afraid they will get sued if they predict 75, actual ends up being 120, and someone has a fried satellite?”

    Doug Biesecker seems pretty bright — he appears to have figured out how to have his cake & eat it too. (The truth is out – but not in a way that compromises admin-objectives.)

  101. Mr. Hathaway fears are still included in the new prediction. He predicted some years ago a huge cycle 24 with super solar storms which especially could damage his satellites. Now they expect a weak cycle with super solar storms. How serious can this be, besides the already mentioned arguments about funding? Or is a super solar storm (statistically) always possible, whatever we have a strong, weak , moderate or not at all a sunpspots(cycle)? Can anybody say something about this?

  102. I’m curious how they’ve “called” the minimum for Dec 2008, when we’ve had so many spotless days so far this year.

  103. Harold Ambler (10:15:23) :

    I predict an SSN of 50 or below.
    But that’s just me.

    Over a year ago (22. April 2008 to be precise) my bet was SSN 42 for SC24 max and date of SC23/24 minimum September 2009.

  104. wattsupwiththat (11:49:02) :

    “WUWT readers:

    Please consider submitting this post to Drudge to counter the “warning sunspot cycle to rise” story from AP so that we have some balance.”

    I can’t find that story on Drudge. Either he took it down or I’m going blind. It’s not in the recent headlines page, either.

  105. “The strongest solar storm on record occurred in 1859 during another below-average cycle similar to the one we are predicting.”

    Correlation does not equal causation.
    In this instance, it’s not even correlation so much as coincidence, yes?

  106. “Aha – the process is more important than the product. A hallmark of many good bureaucracies.”

    One of the more serious vices to which bureaucracies are prone.

    Re: spell checking – “week” is a perfectly spelled word. Spell checkers can’t tell that it’s the wrong word.

  107. idlex (14:04:43) :

    What is the point of rushing out a 10-page leaflet titled Important Information that contains no important or useful information whatsoever – except how to get the same leaflet in Urdu?
    ———————

    It sequesters lots of carbon ?? …. for a while, at least !!

  108. BarryW wrote:
    “It appears as if the cycle must start now to make the prediction. ”

    By now we should all know the template, so just fill in the blanks with a new month and year as necessary:

    “Minimum will now occur no earlier than ‘December 2008.’ For every month beyond ‘December 2008’ that minimum slips, it is necessary to shift the prediction curve by the same amount.

  109. “I actually have some sympathy for Doug and other legitimate scientists who are “on the other side” in this issue. Surely, they are appalled by idiots like Al Gore — who has absolutely no business being the self-appointed spokesman for the AGW theory. (With friends like that, who needs enemies?) The anger we have towards the alarmists is often directed at everyone who still believes in AGW. The word “embarrassed,” while fair and legit, is still hard for other panel members to read.

    It is those legitimate scientists who will be the key to ending this whole crock — when they start switching sides, en masse. We need to be extra careful to make it easy for them to switch. Everyone is naturally defensive; admitting you’re wrong isn’t easy. The evidence in favor of the AGW theory was, at one time, pretty good. In 1998, a lot of legitimate scientists got honestly worried. Depending on what they published, recanting now may be costly. They have families to feed.

    Even if they said some unreasonable things, we need to hold out an olive branch for the greater good of advancing the truth. Punishment should not be an objective. The politicians will almost surely pay dearly for their fecklessness but scientists are supposed to be allowed to wrong. Open debate works best when being wrong is just part of a healthy process.

    If the winners of a debate are vindictive towards the losers, future debates will be neurotic.”

    I have two thoughts on this: We should always be gracious and welcome good science (and scientists!) wherever the chips may fall.

    It is my personal observation that operational meteorologists and geologists, as a group, have been the most skeptical toward AGW from almost day one. If AGW goes “ka-boom,” I am concerned that meteorology especially will suffer from a backlash from the public and, when there is a future real crisis, people will not believe us (“guys said GW was settled science!”). Therefore, expressing doubts about AGW is probably a good thing when based on good science and done constructively because it will — hopefully — lessen that future backlash.

  110. Please correct me if I am wrong, but surely the number 90 is a sunspot number, not the average number of sunspots per day. I thought the maximum was expressed as the maximum smoothed Wolf number. Is this wrong?

  111. Interesting spread on the graph. My question to you Mr. Watts, is about the graphical predictions in red and pink. Not be a betting man, and with a physics background, I might imagine a similar patter of growth prior to solar maximum. If that were the case, I would not need to worry until at least 2017-2018 (maximum at arround 2001, 2009-2001=8)

    Not a consensus kind of guy in anyway, shape, or form. Now if this consensus actually is pushing for a maximum in four years, would not one also assume a veritable turbulent heating/weather dynamo surge about the planet? If it took approx eight years from max (or midpoint WRT secondary max) would not the effects of a very dynamic solar wind and magnetosphere lead to this conclusion?

  112. LarryD (14:39:31) :
    Re: spell checking – “week” is a perfectly spelled word. Spell checkers can’t tell that it’s the
    except that a noun should not follow an adverb: moderately week

  113. Ray (14:07:12) :
    The CME of high/low latitudes would simply pass over/under us.
    CMEs can be pretty broad [50 degrees] in latitude so we might still get hit.

    Gary Plyler (12:38:03) :
    Concerning the panel’s “consensus” on the peak SSN for cycle-24; is their unwillingness to lower the prediction to 75 based on who the panel thinks is their only customer, the satellite owners?
    No, I think more basic. Playing it safe. 75 is too much neck stuck out. They call it ‘moderately weak’, although my general feeling [as I gauge it] was that the panel was split between very high and very low, no ‘moderates’. Just another flawed prediction.

  114. Michael D Smith (12:00:06) :
    if you know the charts are wrong, and you have the data to make a new chart, would you post a guest topic on the subject and show the correct chart with a supporting explanation?
    If Anthony agrees, I could do that for F10.7. ‘Watch this space’

    REPLY: hmmm….let me think….YES! – Anthony

  115. Sam bailey (12:31:41) :
    They realize there were wrong, may still be wrong, but will not correct because they beurcratic difficulties?
    pretty much, yes

  116. I’m almost frightened to ask this question but if the sun is not relevant to life on earth in any meaningful way (which I understand to be Hansen’s position and therefore presumably that of his employers) what is the purpose of guessing the number or yearly distribution of sun spots that are or are not likely to occur during an unknown period which may or may not have started and will continue (or not) for an apparently unknown period of time?
    It’s all starting to hurt my little brain.

  117. Just wondering, who uses these predictions?

    Another way of asking this question: For whom is it important that the prediction might be wrong by 20% (say, if a SSN max of 90 were predicted and the correct answer turned out to be 75)?

  118. idlex (14:04:43) :

    What is the point of rushing out a 10-page leaflet titled Important Information that contains no important or useful information whatsoever – except how to get the same leaflet in Urdu?

    Ah, but you see, the one in Urdu contains vital information on slaughtering your neighbors pigs! Sorry, O/T. Anyways…

    As the world economy becomes more reliant on satellite-based communications and interlinked power grids, interest in solar activity has grown dramatically. In 2008 alone, SWPC acquired 1,700 new subscription customers for warnings, alerts, reports, and other products. Among the new customers are emergency managers, airlines, state transportation departments, oil companies, and nuclear power stations. SWPC’s customers reside in 150 countries.

    “Our customer growth reflects today’s reality that all sectors of society are highly dependent on advanced, space-based technologies,” said SWPC director Tom Bogdan. “Today every hiccup from the sun aimed at Earth has potential consequences.”

    Does the SWPC get paid directly or indirectly for these subscriptions? Having their predictions relayed upon for industry risk assesment would seem to build in a bias to always err on the higher (riskier) side.

  119. “Leif Svalgaard (11:49:10) :

    Paddy (11:23:46) :
    Leif: You should consider bringing an ouija board and/or dart board and darts to the next meeting of the solar cycle prediction panel. They would add some precision to the panel’s predictive powers.
    We tried that early on. The result was a number too low for many to swallow, so we on to more traditional ways of getting it wrong.

    First dart: 25
    Second dart: Treble 16 = 48
    OK guys that’s the number
    Third dart: 5
    OK 5% error rounded down.

    We can’t say 73 +/-3!!!

    DaveE.


  120. Live Psychic Readings
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    Psychic Forecast for 2009
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    http://www.AboutAstro.com/psychic/

    Just a little irony there with the above ads right after the “predictions” [prophecies?] for cycle 24.
    You suppose these people work for NASA?

  121. SteveSadlov (12:14:47) said :
    Maunder Minimun brought the age of reason…Landscheit or Jose’ s minimum has brought the age of stupidity(*)

    Yet another argument for “The Gore Minimum”

    Re: Civilized Reponses To AGW Fanatics
    We poor misbegotten souls who drill for oil & gas have already concocted a polite response to the haranguing propaganda that we’ve endured for the last ten years: Let Them Freeze In The Dark.

    Apparently unbeknownst to the technical dim-wits now in charge, if you over-tax a resource that is global in scope, it will not politely disappear to make way for Magic Obama Alternatives, IT WILL MOVE OVERSEAS to places where politicians can still prefom a basic cost-benefit analysis.
    One of the latest is Transocean (ticker: RIG) the largest offshore drilling company in the world, which has recently moved it’s HQ and place of incorporation to Zug, Switzerland. Gradually, they are moving rigs out of the GOM to places like pristine Norway (still drilling up a storm) and offshore the lovely thinly clad beaches of Brazil and Mexico. Sayonara, boys & girls. Good luck with that WIND thing.

  122. MDR (15:15:29) :

    Just wondering, who uses these predictions?

    Those who insure satellites?

    With a high prediction, they have backing to keep the insurance cost high? With a ‘moderately weak’ prediction, they hurry to mention “potential damages from the most severe level of storm exceeding $1 trillion” to have backing to keep the insurance cost high?

    Maybe they are crying Wolf.

  123. Sam the Skeptic (15:14:34) :
    what is the purpose of guessing the number or yearly distribution of sun spots that are or are not likely to occur during an unknown period which may or may not have started and will continue (or not) for an apparently unknown period of time?
    It’s all starting to hurt my little brain.

    Here is a scenario: the people that operate satellites [TV channels and such] usually borrow money to put up a satellite. The lender demands insurance. The operator asks insurance company for a premium quote. The insurance company wants to know the risk [in an ideal world] and asks the government [who has teams of scientists] what the sunspot number is going to be [higher number = higher risk]. In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government so insurance company cannot be sued for asking for too high premium should solar cycle turn out to be dud.
    Brain stopped hurting? or did it just get worse?

  124. I love this quote from Doug Biesecker:
    “The only published papers on the topic are wrong and that is what NOAA uses.”

    Well, who can argue with that? The only thing that counts is that they have been published. If NOAA knows that all the published papers are wrong, that is clearly irrelevant to the way they do their space-age technology business upon which we are all dependent.

  125. Guys, please connect the dots. This whole episode is a diversion tactic. I have been in public policy arenas, I know what is going on.

    Recall these comments in “The Sun is Oddly Quiet” story:

    “[Global warming] skeptics tend to leap forward,” said Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K.

    He and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call “preemptive denial” of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.”

    Now these “reseachers” need to make a press release on the fact that the Sun is going to continue to be “Oddly Quiet”. So, what to do? Create a diversionary story within a story about Solar Storms. This is easy to accomplish because the friendly media will gladly play along.

    That is all that this is about. It is a clever hoax that will one day bite these “researchers” where it hurts, but in the mean time helps them to perpetuate their agendas.

  126. I suppose this is the way science is done now. Everyone makes a prediction, a forecast or a projection (whatever it is this week) and then they are all averaged and we take a vote on the average.
    If there is a majority, we have consensus and we publish the results! It’s kinda like the 15 or so model runs on the GCMs.

    Is this the way that myths are constructed?

    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. -John F. Kennedy

    A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -John F. Kennedy

  127. Leif Svalgaard (09:54:38) : I pointed out that the value was important too and that just because 90 was the average number of the ‘low’ group two years does not mean that it a good number now. This was ignored.

    Leif, my condolences. I can almost hear the grinding of the grit in your teeth…

    You have more tolerance than biblical Job.

  128. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for an authoritative agency to release information known to be bad or highly flawed information.

    On the matter of the “press release” from spaceweather.com:

    Having read it several times I don’t have a problem with it as a whole. I do think that the phraseology has the potential to deliver an unnecessary level of alarm. It seemingly tends to convey a message that Solar 24 is expected to produce solar storms at an unusual level of intensity.

    I do not intend to imply that the ‘potential’ is not real. It is there, it has been there with every solar cycle, it will continue to be there with every solar cycle in the future. Perhaps the populace would be better served by taking the funds being spent on projects designed to support / promote the concept of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and spending those funds on technology to mitigate the effects of a major solar storm.

  129. It just struck me that here we have doom and gloom about satellites being being put in jeopardy by solar storms…..and the administration is killing the funding for LORAN because the GPS system is so much more effective.

    Someone get me a neckbrace for the cognitive whiplash.

  130. I’m sure some other people have pointed this out, but the new prediction curve looks all wrong too. It should be flatter before rising. That’s just my intuition looking at the graph of course, I have no expert knowledge to draw on here ;).

  131. Reading these press reports based upon NASA’s apress release, it is clear that teh NASA PR boys & girls have succeeded. There is a general confusion of CMEs with sunspot cycles and any potential effect upon the Earth’s climate is ignored. The press is dsitracted by teh Death & Destruction [possibility of a CME.

    Q for Leif:

    Is there any relationship between sunspot cycle and CME magnitudes and frequencies? I don’t recall reading of one, they appear to be different mechanisms.

  132. Leif,

    You have not yet given your opinion regarding the 12/08 minimum. I thought, from other blogs you have contributed to that 8/08 or 9/08 was more likely the minimum since the solar indices have ticked up a bit since then, and were followed by the flurry of cycle 24 activity in the final months of the year.

    How was 12/08 chosen (or proven ?)

    Oh, and KUDOS to you for revealing the candid inner workings of the panel, and your ongoing contributions to this and other blogs.

    GW

  133. Antony – I just made you a little money by clicking on one of the ads up there… it was the one:

    Global Climate Debate
    Voice your opinion before the UN Climate Change Conference 2009
    http://www.cop15.dk/blogs

    But that blog shows that they really think that have it all covered and ready to go… listen to this:

    “Many people ask how sure we are about the science of climate change. The most definitive examination of the scientific evidence is to be found in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its last major report published in 2007. – John Theodore Houghton, former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) scientific assessment working group”

    I won’t read anymore on their blog but at least I made you a little money. People should click on them too if they want WUWT to roll in the doug.

  134. The ‘90′ was not agreed upon. The only choices the panel members had in the last vote were ‘high’ or ‘low’. I pointed out that the value was important too and that just because 90 was the average number of the ‘low’ group two years does not mean that it a good number now. This was ignored.

    So Leif is a denier of the consensus now? Perish the thought!

    Just kiddin Leif, we will watch closely to see how close the real cycle is to your prediction of 71.

  135. Just to add to my last post, read the last phrase of the following text… lots of good scientists won’t get invited to tell the other side of the story that goes against their agenda…

    “In addition to government representatives the press, NGOs and IGOs can become accredited and participate in the COP15 conference.
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
    The sessions (COP 15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is open to Parties of the Convention and Observer States (Governments), the United Nations System and observer organizations duly admitted by the Conference of the Parties. In addition, accredited press is allowed to cover the proceedings of the Convention.

    Parties:
    Governments nominate their respective representatives to participate and negotiate at the sessions of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. This may include ministers, negotiators, and those who the Governments consider are necessary to achieve their goals during the sessions.”

  136. Leif – since it seems that they took the average sunspot number of the members in the panel, maybe you should have given them a number between 0 and 1… that would have brought the number down to a more probable number.

  137. All of this stuff is related. The newspapers are dying. Solution (in their minds) make every article sensational. TV news is also in trouble, and uses the same mentality. Not to be outdone, the Internet world then follows. If it isn’t a crisis, no one will pay the slightest attention.
    We watch the solar predictions for different reasons. Anthony and I and others on here are waiting for high frequency radio propagation, which depends on a highly ionized ionosphere from the x-ray radiation (related to sunspots), to improve. The SWPC customers are concerned about financial loss due to mechanisms previously described. Others just like to follow the solar activity out of curiosity, and there are likely other categories.
    Forecasting any of this is obviously an inexact science. Unfortunately, now it has to be described as an inexact excursion into their version of political correctness, science being long since buried. Fortunately, all my old Physics professors are all dead, but I’ll bet they are spinning in their graves.

  138. F. Ross (15:26:39) :
    Live Psychic Readings
    Issues with Love, Money, Career? Talk to an Expert Psychic. $1/min!

    I called these people. Got recording: “Office closed cue to unforeseen circumstances…”

    Robert Wood (16:01:57) :
    Is there any relationship between sunspot cycle and CME magnitudes and frequencies? I don’t recall reading of one, they appear to be different mechanisms.
    CMEs are more frequent and more violent at solar max. Not a surprise.

    GW (16:05:44) :
    How was 12/08 chosen (or proven ?)
    See for yourself [pink curve] http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png

  139. “Leif Svalgaard (16:28:10) :
    F. Ross (15:26:39) :
    Live Psychic Readings
    Issues with Love, Money, Career? Talk to an Expert Psychic. $1/min!
    I called these people. Got recording: “Office closed due to unforeseen circumstances…”

    Would never have guessed you gift for comedy Leif…
    Mike

  140. Recently I created a solar cycle length pseudo temperature graph. Updated it to use the declared minimum.

    Please, THIS IS JUST A DEMONSTRATION OF THE IDEA, not to be taken particularly seriously, a curiosity.

  141. Leif Svalgaard (15:35:00) :

    Here is a scenario: the people that operate satellites [TV channels and such] usually borrow money to put up a satellite. The lender demands insurance. The operator asks insurance company for a premium quote. The insurance company wants to know the risk [in an ideal world] and asks the government [who has teams of scientists] what the sunspot number is going to be [higher number = higher risk]. In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government so insurance company cannot be sued for asking for too high premium should solar cycle turn out to be dud.
    Brain stopped hurting? or did it just get worse?

    So, the largest consumers of max SSN data are satellite insurers?

    Can one estimate the cost to society if the max SSN is 75 instead of 90? This means that insurance premiums are set too high relative to the actual risk by some amount. How much does this cost?

    Can one estimate the cost to society if the max SSN turns out to be 120 instead of 90? This means that more satellites are lost than were planned for, and the insurance company must cover these losses somehow, either by raising premiums on other things they insure or getting a government bailout or whatever. How much does this cost?

    I guess I’m thinking that, say, compared to the US GDP ($10trillion?) that these amounts would not be very much, in the grand scheme of things. And if this is the case, then these predictions are mostly a scientific exercise to see how well various theories of solar activity actually work. Am I wrong here?

  142. Leif Svalgaard (15:35:00) :
    [Here is a scenario: the people that operate satellites [TV channels and such] usually borrow money to put up a satellite. The lender demands insurance. The operator asks insurance company for a premium quote. The insurance company wants to know the risk [in an ideal world] and asks the government [who has teams of scientists] what the sunspot number is going to be [higher number = higher risk]. In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government so insurance company cannot be sued for asking for too high premium should solar cycle turn out to be dud.]

    This makes me wonder about US military satellites (KH-12’s and others). Do they (read: the American taxpayers) also pay for insurance on their satellites? Greater SSN prediction would then = greater taxpayer expense.

  143. Joseph (17:10:34) :

    This makes me wonder about US military satellites (KH-12’s and others). Do they (read: the American taxpayers) also pay for insurance on their satellites? Greater SSN prediction would then = greater taxpayer expense.

    Aren’t there redundant GOES weather satellites? In case one breaks down, there is another already in orbit to replace it. Presumably the military also puts up more satellites than are needed to perform whatever task they are designed to do. (Putting up redundant satellites is a form of insurance, of course.)

  144. Based on NASA’s record to date this prediction is worthless. This current minimum has no scientific basis to allow a prediction. NASA should have just said we are in uncharted territory and said we have no ability to predict future sun activity except to say “some day it should increase”.

  145. Adolfo Giurfa said:
    “Back in the 1950′ s or 60″ s if someone should have said that a city like Lima , Peru, located on the dry west coast of SA, relatively too cold in winter for parrots to live, was going to be filled with these birds would have been taken as someone crazy.”
    Commenting:
    Please enlighten me. I was in Lima last (SH) summer and did not notice any abundance of parrots. I did see a lot of really cool hang gliders, though. I talked to dozens – nay hundreds – of people while there (and had a really good time – I recommend Lima to travelers) and nobody even mentioned parrots. And – in case it crosses your mind – I speak Spanish fluently, so it wasn’t a communications problem. I just asked my wife, a native Lime̖ña, who makes several trips there a year, and she didn’t notice either.

  146. OT:
    Hey Alan Chappell,
    Just an odd coincidence: I once worked with a guy named Chappell Alan.

  147. Gee, if I get a PHD can I become such an IDIOT that I can’t decide between
    a “fantasy” curve fit and a real one.

    Sorry, but my “untrained” eye tells me SOMETHING MORE THAN A DEEP
    MINIMUM..

    With the Svendmark results regarding cosmic ray cirrus seeding..and the
    attendant solar wind/sunspot/cosmic ray connection…as the saying goes,
    spookier and spookier.

    Can I be so bold as to point out that I found a fellow with a “Phd” who whined
    about someone correlating terrestrial neutron counts with cosmic rays?

    I found this HILARIOUS as two contract jobs ago, I was working on the “induced radiation” in cardiac pacemakers…caused by ambient neutron flux. The source of said flux? High energy cosmic rays and “cascade” results after collisions with atoms in the atmosphere. OF COURSE the terrestrial neutron flux correlates with cosmic rays!

    I guess this explains the “hard sell” on the concept, “The sunspots will return, the sunspots will return..they always have!”.

    Really.

    Joe Papp

  148. MDR said:
    “Just wondering, who uses these predictions?”
    Commenting:
    Someone (I think it might have been Dr. S.) pointed out that the people who insure satellites use these data to set their rates. There are huge amounts of money involved and thus a great interest. And potential for fraud, I suspect…

  149. Re: MDR (17:17:36) :
    [Aren’t there redundant GOES weather satellites? In case one breaks down, there is another already in orbit to replace it. Presumably the military also puts up more satellites than are needed to perform whatever task they are designed to do. (Putting up redundant satellites is a form of insurance, of course.)]

    There may be “extra” satellites up there, MDR, but then they would all be put out of commission at once by the same large CME. That’s crummy insurance.

  150. Lief’s comment: “Their curve is just wrong. And they know it, but are not allowed to fix it…”

    Previous question : “Do we need a National Climate Service?”

    Answer: see above.

  151. Now I look back over the comments, it WAS Dr. Svalgaard and he did it again back at 15:35:00
    ;-)

  152. Mike Abbott (14:29:41) :

    wattsupwiththat (11:49:02) :

    “WUWT readers:

    Please consider submitting this post to Drudge to counter the “warning sunspot cycle to rise” story from AP so that we have some balance.”

    I can’t find that story on Drudge. Either he took it down or I’m going blind. It’s not in the recent headlines page, either.

    Dear Mike… It’s a small blank square at the end of the page, just at right hand, below two lines for writing your name and E-mail, where you can write your suggestions.

  153. “The politicians will almost surely pay dearly for their fecklessness but scientists are supposed to be allowed to wrong. Open debate works best when being wrong is just part of a healthy process.” – Mike Smith @14:50:38

    I’m in agreement with your statement. I co-authored a perinatology study a few years back that taught me an important lesson. We set off with a particular hypothesis that favored prevailing wisdom (you could insert ‘consensus’ here) on treatment of a poorly understood condition. I expected to find evidence in support of the hypothesis but at the conclusion of the study we found there was no evidence to support it at all. Following our publishing the study in the AJOG, our study drew intense review. Fortunately, in my field you don’t get burned at the stake for proving the alternate hypothesis. Subsequent independent studies confirmed our conclusion which ultimately resulted in improving patient care today.

    The lesson I learned was sometimes it’s not what you think you will find but what you don’t find that is more important. As scientists jump the sinking AGW ship, we should respect that theirs was an intellectually honest journey in proving their former position wrong. In doing so, they’re being good scientists. Unfortunately, the proponents of AGW hold regular witch burnings, making it difficult for scientists to openly decry the AGW inquisitors.

  154. Just in case no one posted this previously, and you all are wondering why the SOHO image has not been updated: This from Spaceweather.com:

    NOTE: SOHO is passing through a telemetry keyhole and this is delaying transmission of Daily Sun images. Updates will be posted as soon as they are available

    The latest image is from May 6

  155. Leif 15:35:00

    When is a bright insurance company going to figure out that they should hire their own experts in order to truly quantify the risk? They are more likely to prevail in the market the more accurately they ascertain the risk. It sounds almost like negligence to take a ‘government’ finding and to depend upon it simply because it has the stamp of ‘government’ work.

    Hint, hire yourself out to the insurance companies, and show them your past work.
    ===========================================

  156. “It wasn’t Plato’s Hummer, after all.”
    …-

    “Ancient Greece’s ‘global warming’
    American Thinker ^ | May 08, 2009 | Ben-Peter Terpstra

    Posted on Friday, May 08, 2009 9:39:00 PM by neverdem

    In Heaven + Earth (Global Warming: The Missing Science), Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at The University of Adelaide, Australia, asks us to embrace big-picture science views; for to recognize our limits is a sign of maturity. “Climate science lacks scientific discipline,” says the pro-amalgamation Professor, and in order to see more clearly we need to adopt an interdisciplinary approach. This requires humbleness.
    In Chapter 2: History, Plimer travels back in time, thousands of years, in fact, to debunk Gore’s catastrophic global warming myths. I particularly like his research on the ancient Greeks. For Plato (427-347 BC) advanced the position that global warming occurs at regular intervals in Timaeus, and his famous pupil Aristotle (382-322 BC), referred to climate changes in Meteorologica.

    Plimer’s research points are fascinating:

    “Theophrastus (374-287 BC), in turn a student of Aristotle, followed the tradition with De ventis and observed that Crete’s mountains had previously produced fruit and grain whereas at the time he wrote, the winters were more severe and had more snow falls. In De causis plantarum, Theophrastus also noted that the Greek city of Larissus once had plentiful olive trees but falling temperatures killed them.”

    It wasn’t Plato’s Hummer, after all.

    The Holocene Warming a (11,600-8,500bp). The Egyptian Cooling (8,500-8,000bp). The Holocene Warming b (8,000-5,600bp). The Akkadian Cooling (5,600-3,500AD). The Minoan Warming (3,500-3,200bp). The Bronze Age Cooling (3,200-2,500bp). The Roman Warming (500BC-535AD). The Dark Ages (535-900AD). The Medieval Warming (900AD-1300 AD). The Little Ice Age (1300AD-1850AD). Recall that the Greeks survived the warmings without air-conditioners. “History,” writes Plimer, “cannot be rewritten just because it does not fit a computer model with a pre-ordained conclusion.”

    We‘re not the “special generation,” and we don’t have special powers to control the earth’s temperature through special one-world government plans and cap-and-trade tax scams. Indeed, the ancients, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, these “enlightened pagans,” as I call them, were far more level-headed than today’s tree-first Democrats.

    There are many reasons why civilisations rise and fall, and in my view, thousands of stories to be told. But let’s be real because certain patterns stand out more than others, from droughts and floods, to broken sexual norms and dangerously low-birth rates. ” (more)
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2247336/posts

  157. I’ve been tracking the NOAA and NASA press releases for cycle 24. Some history:

    NASA May 20, 2003
    Hathaway predicts cycle 24 to begin Dec 2006

    NASA Oct 2004
    “Hathaway and colleague Bob Wilson, both working at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, believe they’ve found a simple way to predict the date of the next solar minimum. “So, using Hathaway and Wilson’s simple rule, solar minimum should arrive in late 2006. That’s about a year earlier than previously thought. It’ll give us a chance to see if our ‘spotless sun’ method for predicting solar minimum really works.””

    September 15, 2005
    “Actually, solar minimum, the lowest point of the sun’s 11-year activity cycle, isn’t due until 2006….. Hathaway is waiting for 2006 when solar minimum finally arrives.”

    NOAA Jan 6, 2006
    The next sunspot minimum is forecast to occur in late 2006 through mid 2007.

    March 6, 2006
    For almost the entire month of February 2006 the sun was utterly blank. What’s going on? NASA solar physicist David Hathaway explains: “Solar minimum has arrived.”

    NASA March 10, 2006
    March 10, 2006: It’s official: Solar minimum has arrived.
    “This week researchers announced that a storm is coming–the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). “The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one,” she says. If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.”
    “Like most experts in the field, Hathaway has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Dikpati’s forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.”
    “he says. “I expect to see the first sunspots of the next cycle appear in late 2006 or 2007—and Solar Max to be underway by 2010 or 2011.””

    March 2006
    That forecast is what provoked Dr. Hathaway at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to bet Dr. Gilman that solar cycle 24 was going to come on quickly in 2006 because it was going to be so strong – perhaps the strongest solar cycle on record.

    NASA August 15, 2006
    “We’ve been waiting for this,” says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the Marshall Space Flight in Huntsville, Alabama. “A backward sunspot is a sign that the next solar cycle is beginning.” The next cycle, Solar Cycle 24, should begin “any time now,” returning the sun to a stormy state.

    NASA Dec 21, 2006
    “Dec. 21, 2006: Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.”
    “Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 “looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago,” says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.”

    “According to their analysis, the next Solar Maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160 plus or minus 25. This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the past fifty years—which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded history.”

    Dec 14, 2007 NASA
    It may not look like much, but “this patch of magnetism could be a sign of the next solar cycle,” says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. For more than a year, the sun has been experiencing a lull in activity, marking the end of Solar Cycle 23, which peaked with many furious storms in 2000–2003. “Solar minimum is upon us,” he says.

    NOAA April 25, 2007
    “The next 11-year cycle of solar storms will most likely start next March [2008] and peak in late 2011 or mid-2012 – up to a year later than expected – according to a forecast issued today by NOAA’s Space Environment Center in coordination with an international panel of solar experts”

    NOAA April 27, 2007
    NEXT SOLAR STORM CYCLE WILL START LATE
    “Expected to start last fall [2007], the delayed onset of Solar Cycle 24 stymied the panel and left them evenly split on whether a weak or strong period of solar storms lies ahead, but neither group predicts a record-breaker.”
    “The Space Environment Center’s space weather alerts, warnings, and forecasts are a critical component of NOAA’s seamless stewardship of the Earth’s total environment, from the Sun to the sea,” said retired Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.”

    Jan 2008; First sunspot of Cycle 24 – “Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.”
    With the appearance of Sunspot 981 — a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot — on Friday, January 4, experts at NASA and NOAA said that Cycle 24 is now here. “This sunspot is like the first robin of spring,” said solar physicist Douglas Biesecker of the Space Weather Prediction Center, part of NOAA. “In this case, it’s an early omen of solar storms that will gradually increase over the next few years.”
    “NASA’s Hathaway, along with colleague Robert Wilson at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last month, said that Solar Cycle 24 “looks like it’s going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago.”

    NASA March 28, 2008
    “Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned.”

    NOAA & NASA June 27, 2008
    “The panel expects solar minimum to occur in March, 2008. The panel expects the solar cycle to reach a peak sunspot number of 140 in October, 2011 or a peak of 90 in August, 2012.”

    NASA July 11, 2008
    “The sun is behaving normally. So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway.”
    “There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That’s not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle.”
    “some observers are questioning the length of the ongoing minimum, now slogging through its 3rd year.”

    “It does seem like it’s taking a long time,” allows Hathaway, “but I think we’re just forgetting how long a solar minimum can last.”

    November 7, 2008, NASA
    “After two-plus years of few sunspots, even fewer solar flares, and a generally eerie calm, the sun is finally showing signs of life. “I think solar minimum is behind us,” says sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.”

    “From January to September, the sun produced a total of 22 sunspot groups; 82% of them belonged to old Cycle 23. October added five more; but this time 80% belonged to Cycle 24. The tables have turned. Even with its flurry of sunspots,the October sun was mostly blank, with zero sunspots on 20 of the month’s 31 days.”

  158. Nasif Nahle (10:08:47) : Living beings are adapting to recurrent climatic conditions. They were there long time ago, and they are getting back there; nothing new, nothing creepy. Study them, investigate how they adapt to cyclical climatic conditions, and do the same as they are doing.

    Very well put, Nasif.

    One creepy comment: I’ve been observing that my “fur” is a bit thicker than usual this year. Never happened before. Places where the knee, calf, and arm hair were just barely worn off by cloths rubbing are instead slowly filling in. Overall the leg hairs are a bit heavier and darker. Not much, but definitely there.

    I knew that critters got furrier when cold was coming. I’d somehow managed to think that that was them and we were not them… Then again, I’ve got several “primitive traits” (from extra cusp surfaces on the teeth that my dentist commented on, to a faint sagittal crest, prehensile toes, thick heavy finger bones and hips built like a Neanderthal) so maybe I’m just a “throwback”… My sleep cycle tracks the moon (I’m awake when the moon is full and up). Every fall I get a rather intense “wanderlust” when the season starts to change. I really want to go somewhere. Similar thing in spring, but a bit less strong. It’s that migration thing, I think. This spring? No desire to leave the warm place…

    I seem to be destined to “do the same as they are doing”, like it or not…

    I just hope it’s not a Grand Minimum 8-)

  159. Dr Svalgaard @ 15:39 “…Brain stopped hurting? or did it just get worse?”

    Much worse. Truth be told, I find I am just plain tired. Cripes…

  160. ———————————————————————
    Leif’s comment: “Their curve is just wrong. And they know it, but are not allowed to fix it…”

    Previous question : “Do we need a National Climate Service?”

    Answer: see above.
    ——————————————————————-

    Priceless.

  161. For new readers who have scrolled down this far you may be wondering why so much talk of the sun. This video is one reason why :

  162. Mike Lorrey (12:08:39) :

    “If the winners of a debate are vindictive towards the losers, future debates will be neurotic.”

    Given how vindictive some of us have seen the AGW folks behaving toward skeptics for years now, I agree, but probably not as you intend. When your reputation on the intertubes, or your employability, has gotten the metaphorical waterboarding treatment, you have a right to call for war crimes trials.

    I am arguing that we should not exercise that right. History will be totally harsh on the AGW fanatics anyway and it’ll take them by surprise. We have much to gain by being super congenial, and almost nothing to lose.

    We have not long lived in an age where everything you say is retained. Eventually, people will adjust to the idea that you just can’t get away with things the way you used to. But, for now, people like Al Gore are saying breathtakingly dumb things under the assumption that they can deny it all later. That used to work but no longer. I pity them. The internet is, in a sense, the beginning of recorded history. It will set new standards of truth.

  163. the model still does not start at zero!!!!!!
    they can not be more wrong.
    Thanks Leif for the “voice”
    Hard heads will not listen, lol
    We argue HERE, but WE do listen to you Leif.

  164. Are we living in opposite-world or something?
    According to Steven Hawking, it wouldn’t matter. If you lived in a universe where anti-matter was prevalent, it would still be matter to your point of view.
    At least NOAA/SWPC made one graph look more palatable.
    On the downside, since they have it superglued to the latest trend, it will most likely get undercut in 30 days.
    On the upside, we are not talking about a prediction of a big meteor coming straight at Earth.
    You tried, Leif !

  165. Here we go again: science done not by rigorous scientific methods, but by speculative consensus. Perhaps such bureaucratic inanity would cease if every consensus projection that failed to materialize would precipitate a 10% cut in the issuing agency’s budget–and the firing of the chief consensus-maker.

  166. It would be nice if we could get a guest post from Penn and Livingston.

    Or how about one from Lief?

  167. E.M.Smith (19:09:18) :

    Speaking of humans adapting to climate…

    I live in the San Fransisco area but am originally from the U.P. of Michigan (there’s two parts to Michigan, I’m a Yooper ;) ). And I can definitely see a difference between girls in California and in Michigan. It’s not in how pretty they are, because there are some very good looking girls in the U.P.! It’s not in the hair–girls don’t get hairier. But, one can note a general difference in pants size. Long, cold winters in the U.P. make for indoor, sedentary lifestyles, thus decreasing calorie burning and increasing the amount of jean material needed in Levi’s sizes—an adapting mechanism at work! … I’ll [snip] myself right here.

  168. “Harold Vance (20:29:23) :

    It would be nice if we could get a guest post from Penn and Livingston.

    Or how about one from Lief? ”

    Or, how about Piers Corbyn!

  169. Just Want Truth… (20:33:59) :

    I’ll finish what I meant : the girls there have extra ‘insulation’ to the cold, and some are really…. ok, the [snip] here

  170. skeptic (10:20:34) : Its widely believed around here that sunspots correlate highly with global temperatures.

    Unfortunately, no. A few of us think that there may be a (moderate) correlation of sunspots (as a proxy for solar output) with 200 year weather cycles (“30 year climate” is an oxymoron) but the dominant paradigm here is that of Leif (who regularly lets me see where the data do not support my wishes… in public … with my consent…) and that paradigm is that the data do not support the conclusion of sun as driver.

    Unfortunately, he’s right (dang it!). Best I can do is point to a paper purporting to show a correlation between the PDO flips and the solar cycle (but we all know that Pirates correlate nicely with the warming pattern, so the best that a correlation can do is tell you “Look here, might be interesting or might be crap”.) I can still hope that the mag field ozone modulation theory might go somewhere (though everyone seems to politely ignore it every time I bring it up…)

    So your basic thesis is broken.

    taken as proof that solar activity drives global temperatures (which are currently well above normal almost everywhere).

    Well, as mentioned above, there is no such proof. There isn’t even a hit of a proof (though some of us, like me, hold out some hope of a hint of some weak support…)

    But again you have a broken assertion. Since we have no idea what “normal” is, there is no way that tempertures can be above it. Using a 30 year baseline is very broken (there are 30 ish year weather cycles, so that just gives you a broken rubber ruler).

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/so_many_thermometers_so_little_time/

    Basing the start of your baseline, as GIStemp does, at the bottom of a cold period is simply deception.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/picking-cherries-in-sweden/

    Temperatures have been going down since 1998, so the present trend is clearly to colder. Yeah, two can harvest fruit… but it’s a 10 year baseline.

    I prefere to use a baseline of about 6000 years long that includes things like the Roman Warm Period, the Little Ice age, the Iron Age Cold Period, the Medeaval warm period, etc.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/bond-event-zero/

    So in my opinion, nothing at all unusual is happening either to the warm side or to the cold side. We’ve been both warmer and colder before.

    There is a small chance that we might have a Bond Event “soon” (one is “due” -/+ a bunch of years and we’ve done nothing to be prepared; but even though we’ve had 8 in a row, we might skip one, or it might take another 500 years…) So the most supported position is that nothing at all unusual is happening.

    Its also nice to see that increased solar activity is alleged to be causing higher temperatures at night

    Don’t know where that came from. By the time GIStemp gets the data it’s already been munged by NOAA into a monthly average. Daily high / lows averaged, then a month of those averaged into a single number. Nightime temperatures disappeared long ago.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/gistemp/

    Looks to me like your just making stuff up here.

    Also, of course, this is further proof that NASA is either incompetent, or part of some conspiracy.

    No conspiracy needed.

    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

    Given that they’ve had trouble telling feet from metres and don’t “get it” that you can’t get 1/10th degree precision (and sometimes even 1/100th degree!) out of 1 F data, I think there is sufficient evidence for “stupidity” to make the conspiracy theory “over the top”. That, and the quality of the code in GIStemp clearly is a testemony to limited skill…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/mr-mcguire-would-not-approve/

  171. Leif Svalgaard (14:59:24) :

    LarryD (14:39:31) :
    Re: spell checking – “week” is a perfectly spelled word. Spell checkers can’t tell that it’s the
    except that a noun should not follow an adverb: moderately week

    …..

    I am confused: What happens to a moderately week when the period is 7.5 days longs and Wednesday takes a vacation? Is Tuesday stronger or weeker than Thursday? 8<)

  172. >First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. >This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only >valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle >will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90.

    Has anybody notified El Sol of the panel’s decisions in this regard?

  173. Solar Chaos (19:04:51) :

    I’ve been tracking the NOAA and NASA press releases for cycle 24. Some history:

    NASA May 20, 2003
    Hathaway predicts cycle 24 to begin Dec 2006

    ….

    Thank you!

  174. I love watching science develop in real-time. I truely admire Dr. Svalgaard for providing us insights into the process as well as his highly informative comments and article links. I also think that we must appreciate all the involved scientists, even those who defend othodoxy. Science has followed false leads before. In the end, it does get sorted out, and science advances.

  175. It is hilarious how Randolph Schmidt from AP is able to spin an alarmist tale out of nothing: everything is there, from international panel to consensus. And of course the forecast of weakest cycle since 1928 is buried inside the paper…

    “Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise
    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
    Randolph E. Schmid, Ap Science Writer – Fri May 8, 3:31 pm ET
    WASHINGTON – When the sun sneezes it’s Earth that gets sick. It’s time for the sun to move into a busier period for sunspots, and while forecasters expect a relatively mild outbreak by historical standards, one major solar storm can cause havoc with satellites and electrical systems here.

    Like hurricanes, a weak cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, said scientist Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s space weather prediction center.

    A report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a storm as severe as one in 1859 occurred today, it could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in damage the first year and take four to 10 years to recover.

    The 1859 storm shorted out telegraph wires, causing fires in North America and Europe, sent readings of Earth’s magnetic field soaring, and produced northern lights so bright that people read newspapers by their light.

    Today there’s a lot more than telegraph lines at stake. Vulnerable electrical grids circle the globe, satellites now vital for all forms of communications can be severely disrupted along with the global positioning system. Indeed, the panel warned that a strong blast of solar wind can threaten national security, transportation, financial services and other essential functions.

    The solar prediction center works closely with industry and government agencies to make sure they are prepared with changes in activity and prepared to respond when damage occurs, Biesecker said in a briefing.

    While the most extreme events seem unlikely this time, there will probably be smaller scale disruptions to electrical service, airline flights, GPS signals and television, radio and cell phones.

    On the plus side, the solar storms promote the colorful auroras, known as the northern and southern lights, high in the sky over polar areas.

    An international panel headed by Biesecker said Friday it expects the upcoming solar cycle to be the weakest since 1928.

    The prediction calls for the solar cycle to peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day, averaged over a month. If the prediction proves correct it will be the weakest cycle since a peak of 78 daily sunspots in 1928.

    Measurement of sunspot cycles began in the 1750s.

    The panel described solar storms as eruptions of energy and matter that escape from the sun. At least some of this heads toward the Earth.

    Solar cycles of more and fewer sunspots last several years and the cycle currently building up will be number 24 since counting began.

    It’s only the third time researchers have tried to make such a forecast. In 1989 a panel predicted Cycle 22, which peaked that year. And in 1996 scientists predicted Cycle 23.

    Both earlier groups did better at predicting timing than intensity, according to Biesecker.

    The last solar minimum occurred in December, the researchers said.

    W. Dean Pesnell of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the forecasts are based on such indicators as the strength of the sun’s magnetic field at the poles and the reaction of the Earth’s magnetic field to the sun. Both are weak right now, he said, with only a few sunspots visible since 2007.

    A preliminary forecast issued in 2007 was split over the outlook for the upcoming cycle, Biesecker said the researchers have now reached consensus.”

  176. Shane (12:00:08) : Leif or someone. Could a laymans guide to what all this means and why it is important be produced. I have tried Wikipedia and am no wiser.

    The “nickel tour” is that sunspot number doesn’t matter much to the average joe. You can live your whole life happily and never care about sun spots.

    There are a few folks where it does matter. They tend to be fairly focused small groups, but there are a few that are more diffuse.

    1) Folk managing satellites. The solar output changes how much air drag there is (it’s tiny, but matters) and predicts how strong solar flares can be (that can cook electronics or just cause your TV to blank because the satellite feed got disrupted.)

    2) Folks managing the power grid. More spots means more flares and they can cause the grid to destabilize. Mostly nothing happens, but at least once it’s taken down a large chunk of the North East. (flare causes surge causes breakers to pop causes cascade of plants to shut down… very rare, though).

    3) Some grain and stock traders think that prices track sunspots (I’m one). This was first observed by Herschel, but he couldn’t prove it. Later on Stanley Jevon’s showed it to be true. Some later folks have claimed to “prove” this isn’t the case, but it looks to me like “PC Gone Wild” rather than real proof. Then again, the whole field is speculative (as are most stock prediction systems – “nutty” is a polite description of most of them…)

    4) Solar scientists care. Hey, it’s the focus of their field!

    5) Amature (HAM) radio operators. Sunspots are a very good indicator of what “propagation” will be like. Lots of sunspots you can reach further away since the ionosphere is more ionized. To a lesser extent, professional broadcasters as well. Less now that Shortwave Radio has largely been replaced by the internet and we don’t often listing to AM radio from 1500 miles away via ionospheric bounce…

    6) The military (for the same radio communications and satellite reasons).

    7) I suppose that to some extent Alaskan travel agencies care. Lot of spots give a great Aurora and that’s what a lot of folks want to see!

    8) Some meteorologists (The Old Farmers Almanac, for example) use sunspot strength in their weather predictions. It’s a divided field with a lot of folks thinking this is bogus, but with TOFA being rather spooky in their accuracy months in advance.

    9) Farmers (a few) who subscribe to TOFA thesis or to the Jevon’s thesis.

    10) Bloggers and their camp followers who think sunspots mean something (be it weather sites, radio sites, climate theorists, Landscheidt supporters, etc.)

    After that, it starts to get a bit thin… well, really it was already a bit thin at about #7 …

    I’m sure I’ve missed a few; this was just “off the top of my head” and lord knows I’m no expert on it. Hope it helps explain why folks care about spots…

  177. Dang it. One Missing “/” … Everything after “(which are currently well above normal almost everywhere).” ought to NOT be in italics since it is my stuff, down until you reach ” Its also nice to see that increased solar activity”…

  178. E.M.Smith (20:57:43) :

    You have seen the video above in Just Want Truth… (19:20:46) : ?

  179. Dave Andrews (12:21:31) : As a plain Brit could someone tell me what a “supermajority” is and how this differs from a majority. (Is this along the lines of all those people who now say they will give 110%, ie language inflation?)

    The rules of an organization determine how many folks can pass a motion. A simple majority is 50% + anything.

    Sometimes there is a rule that says that it takes a “significant” excess, a “supermajority” to pass some motions. It might be defined as 2/3 or 60% or 75% or … the bylaws can even define different levels of supermajority for different classes of motion. So you might have 50% to decided when to take tea, but 66% needed to change the budget and 75% to rewrite the bylaws.

  180. farmersteve (12:29:09) : the question is, shiny side in or out?

    The answer is: Yes.

  181. Its all a bit of a storm in a teacup really. Lots of experts beating their chests on what the next cycle will bring, as it looks gloomier by the week. Revisions going on all over the place because they got it wrong basically. The new revisions from Hathaway, SWPC and Leif are probably still too high, this is because none are working off a theory that actually can predict anything long term. A theory that relies on a “crap shoot” principle which is also unable to be disproved because of randomness built in, will eventually come undone. I would hate to see the results if insurance companies wanted a prediction over a longer term.

    All you need to predict the future solar activity is this graph:

    If there is anyone from the insurance industry reading feel free to contact me, there is a special discount to WUWT readers :)

  182. “E.M.Smith (20:57:43) : correlation of sunspots”

    Not that I want to sound like I’m stuck on a Piers Corbyn merry-go-round, but I did see him say that he also tried to use sunspots but they didn’t correlate well with weather on the earth. So he kept looking down other avenues from the sun. And apparently he has developed a formula that is more accurate than any other I’ve heard of. And again, I don’t, and wouldn’t, expect him to reveal it. If others want to find out what he does they are completely free to begin their own search. They can develop a method that is more accurate than his. They would have the same sun to work with that Piers Corbyn has had—unless they are in some quantum physics space parallel.

  183. Let me see If I’ve got this right. The Sun is pretty quiet, but a quiet Sun sometimes means more solar events that might be catastrophic for our vital,but vulnerable infrastructure, Presumably, we should investing large sums to protect us from such an eventuality,[Is this even possible at this point?] but of course we don’t have the money because we have to buy lots of nonfunctional windmills and solar panels, bury millions of tons of CO2, invest in a bundle of Ponzi-grade carbon credits, which, of course, will cause our ability to make more money disappear. And we also have to provide health insurance, even to people who could well afford to purchase their own, especially if the government quit inflating the cost of health care like the price of a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe. Oops, I almost forgot we need to provide free college education to our 20 million permanent visitors from Mexico, ’cause after all they’re just looking for a better life. Then again, so are about 5 or 6 billion other people on the planet, so we probably should invite them too. If we promise to put them on the government’s nickel as soon as they get here, I’m sure they’d be glad to come. They say if you think everybody in the world is crazy except you, it’s a sure sign of mental illness. Maybe I should just check into the laughing academy for the duration, and hope that the Mayan’s were right.

  184. E.M.Smith (21:50:49) :
    […]
    10) Bloggers […]

    To add to your list:
    11) Racing pigeon fanciers [no kidding]. They don’t race their birds if the Kp geomagnetic index is above 4 [on a scale from 0 to 9]
    12) Aircraft on polar routes don’t fly over the poles during strong solar storms [due to bad radio communications], but divert to a longer and more costly non-polar route
    13) Pipeline operators, as solar activity-induced electrical currents in the pipes increase corrosion dramatically
    14) GPS navigation becomes increasingly inaccurate as solar activity picks up.
    and more…

  185. Leif Svalgaard (22:48:17) :
    E.M.Smith (21:50:49) :
    “[…]
    10) Bloggers […]”

    To add to your list:
    11) Racing pigeon fanciers [no kidding]. They don’t race their birds if the Kp geomagnetic index is above 4 [on a scale from 0 to 9]

    I forgot to include a link:
    http://calpigeon.homestead.com/

    look for the Kp link in the list on the left.

  186. “E.M.Smith (21:50:49) : …(The Old Farmers Almanac, for example) … but with TOFA being rather spooky in their accuracy months in advance.”

    Bingo!

    He shoots, he scores!

    It’s hard to argue that the sun doesn’t do to the earth what some it say it doesn’t do to the earth when others use what the sun has been doing to the earth to predict what it is going to be doing to the earth and we then observe it doing it to the earth.

  187. hareynolds (12:35:06) : IN ENGINEERING, we call this a SWAG. No offense to “science” intended.

    In computer management we called it “iteration”. As in “This is the present iteration of the budget.”

    In computer grunt circles we called it WAG (no S…) “Boss wants to know when I’ll be done. My WAG is 2 months.” (Which usually took 4+10%)

    In my first “professional” job shoving product out the door for a chip maker we called it “quarter end” sometimes followed by a hushed “they can ship it back later for re-work…”

    As much as I’d have hoped they would be above such things at NASA, they are just doing what every “grunt” in every industry does. It’s quarter end, you ship the product and you don’t make waves.

    You’ve got a boss with a schedule to meet and you have a deliverable to check off the check list. So the spec has changed, OK, they can ship it back for replacement or rework. That’s not your department and it will be during another month (or quarter) anyway. For now you ship what’s in inventory and by next week the new SKU and new product will be in stock and the complaint department can ship them a replacement.

    SOP for grunts in a commodity business like NASA … /sarcoff>

    (And yes, I got in trouble for making waves about it. A good friend got fired for refusing to “pencil WIP” a batch of mil spec parts. Wore it as a badge of courage in subsequent job interviews. – WIP is “work in progress”. To “pencil WIP” was to have all the paperwork signed SAYING that all the right QA and inspections had been done even though the product had not actually gone through those steps. His bosses-boss wanted his bonus and “nobody making waves or missing shipments”. He refused to commit fraud… I only lasted 9 months in the job. Didn’t get fired, but didn’t pencil WIP; though I saw the writing on the wall and moved on…)

    Science, wires, chips, what’s the difference…

    “You want fries with that data?”…

  188. Re: Hank (18:21:08)
    Thank you for sharing this note Hank.

    Frederick Michael (19:34:20) “The internet is, in a sense, the beginning of recorded history. It will set new standards of truth.”
    ….& new standards of mistruth.

  189. Just Want Truth… (22:11:42) :
    E.M.Smith (20:57:43) :
    You have seen the video above in Just Want Truth… (19:20:46) : ?

    Haven’t reached that time stamp yet. Still working through earlier stuff…

  190. Clarity2009 (13:33:53) :

    So let me get this straight, we have a record-quiet sun, and suddenly the news story is warning of “Earth-threatening” solar storms because they observed one CME?

    Are we living in opposite-world or something?

    Bizzaro-World
    – Jerry Seinfeld

  191. If there’s one thing that the overwhelming majority of WUWT readers can agree on, I think it would likely be “Appeals to authority suck!”. Have we gotten anything *but* that from these so-called solar experts? How many times do they have to be wrong before somebody says “Show us your work and what factors you took into account in making this latest prediction!” If you’re going to speak ex-cathedra, you need to be right once in awhile, and you guys haven’t been lately!

  192. Dont forget geologists. Some geologists have used sunspot/solar storm warnings to predict earthquakes.

  193. Richard M (13:01:40) :
    Gary Plyler (12:38:03) :

    “In other words, are they afraid they will get sued if they predict 75, actual ends up being 120, and someone has a fried satellite?”

    This was also my thought. I’ve been on committees that looked closely at things like this.

    Given the quotes about changing product: My guess would be that there are some group / management approved standards for the “product” (such as min SSN based on prior experience) that WERE valid as QA limits (as in “Don’t ship milk if quart has less than 31 ounces” but instead “Min will be at least 50 at QA check 3 step”. ) but have been overrun by the exceptionally low solar output.

    You can’t just go changing that kind of “signed off by everyone” standard. There may well be signed contracts with the consumers of the data saying that all reports “Will conform with quality control standard FOO”. You have to go back and get wavers or new contracts… or at least get a few levels of the management “food chain” above to sign off. You do it, but you can’t stop shipping for 6 months while you do it…

    So you end up with a bit of “quarter end” “ship it” mentality. You ship something “good enough” NOW while you work the paper chain to get approval to do the right thing.

    Sadly, that is how a large number of formal organizations work. I’ve even heard of snipers on the “new electronic battlefield” with target in sights waiting for the “OK” from the lawyer (back in the states on the other end of the the headset) checking all the current rules of engagement… the more decision making is rule based and centralized, the more you get this kind of hyper regulated irrationality.

  194. Report quote:
    >>It’s time for the sun to move into a
    >>busier period for sunspots

    I love this snippet. What they mean is it is the start of the next clcle (24) and the Sun will get more spotty.

    Yes, chaps, that’s why it is called a Sunspot cycle. How many Phds do you need to predict that!!

    .

  195. >>>I think solar minimum is behind us,” says
    >>>sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA

    How much is Prof Hathaway getting paid to make wild guesses that are wrong on each and every occasion? Just what is the point of employing this guy?

  196. idlex (14:04:43) : OT, but scare-related,

    I did a post about it (mostly for my kids and friends to get some decent information quickly). It’s at:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/swine-flue-will-not-end-well/

    like: could it kill me?

    yes. Early lethality was reported at 6% in Mexico. It’s now down at 2% (but this was after business came to a halt and we were talking about closing the border and they decided to call the epidemic off..). In the USA the early lethality was 1% but we don’t know what it is now.

    And what are the symptoms?

    Same as any flu in the early stages. More lung involvement in the later stages especially if you get in the cytokine storm lethality process. (Take lots of antioxidants to reduce the risk prior to illness) If you get a flu like disease, take tamiflu or relenza (antivirals that have been shown to work).

    Is the epidemic over? Did anyone die? Outside of Mexico, that is.

    It isn’t over and won’t be over for at least a year. Folks have died in other countries including the USA. It is likely to take a ‘summer break’ then return next ‘season’. Mexico as declared “never mind” and the US declared “it is just like any other flu” (both right after travel and business dried up… and countries started to talk about banning U.S. pork imports…)

    It won’t be “over” until we’ve all had vaccinations that work against it (6 months to a year from now) or we’ve all been exposed (6 months to a year from now …) No immunity build up, then it isn’t over. It has alternate reservoir populations in pigs and birds. Migratory birds (like all flu).

    Hello… Is there anybody there? Hello… CQD CQD .-.-.- ;-)

    IFF we’re very lucky, there will be partial immunity from the other H1 and N1 components of other variants (both in the older vaccines and in the population at large). While H1N1 matches the 1918 Spanish flu and nothing recent, we have had other H1Nx and HxN1 flu strains.

    IFF we’re very lucky, there will be reasonable protection from the much better diet today (especially VitC and VitE and other antioxidants). This is not just some “touchy feely” vitamins are good thing. Antioxidants specifically soak up the excess oxygen free radicals released in a cytokine storm and damp it.)

    IFF we’re very lucky, a new vaccine for H1N1 will be ‘cooked up’ and delivered over the summer and the virus will take a summer off.

    If any of those things is not true, we’re right back at global pandemic Real Soon Now. Cases are continuing, but at a slower pace (IMHO, probably due to the initial PROPER response of semi-quarantine, closing public gathering, handing out masks, etc.)

    There is also a small dismal point (but potentially good):

    In the 1918 Spanish flu it is estimated that 5% or so of the total population died. It is possible that we, as a species, have not got a higher innate resistance to H1N1 flu lethality due to this selective pressure having removed the sensitive parts of the population. Something similar has demonstrably happened from the Black Death Plagues. (The gene maps of survivor populations show an increase in particular identified protective genes and the genes in burried victims show it lacking). We, too, evolve…

    So don’t panic! but continue caution…

    FWIW, I do find it interesting that solar significant minima tend to have associated pandemics… like the flu of 1918 (that stared a couple of years earlier and lasted a bit later) and the Black Death of the Dark Ages.

  197. hareynolds (15:30:56) : Apparently unbeknownst to the technical dim-wits now in charge, if you over-tax a resource that is global in scope, it will not politely disappear to make way for Magic Obama Alternatives, IT WILL MOVE OVERSEAS to places where politicians can still prefom a basic cost-benefit analysis.

    One of the latest is Transocean (ticker: RIG) the largest offshore drilling company in the world, which has recently moved it’s HQ and place of incorporation to Zug, Switzerland. Gradually, they are moving rigs out of the GOM to places like pristine Norway (still drilling up a storm) and offshore the lovely thinly clad beaches of Brazil and Mexico. Sayonara, boys & girls. Good luck with that WIND thing.

    “See how they distance themselves, Kohai?” …

    BTW, if you need anybody to do tech / manager stuff in Brazil, give a holler! My neighbor is headed to the middle of Latin America (closed on land buy!) and now I have Tropical Paradise Envy ;-) along with a standing invite to move on down… My money is already moved (it takes all of 5 minutes and a couple of mouse clicks these days…) and I’m invested in Latin / OOTUS* oils … Love what Petrobras PBR is doing off the coast… And Saudi is reputed to be leasing a lot of rigs to explore some of the smaller fields that ought to be around their monster field (though probably not from Transocean, being shallow water and land ).

    Given that folks have started finding oil in depths greater than prior theory allowed, there’s a whole lot of new depths to drill in old places.

    Drill baby drill ;-)

    *OOTUS Out Of The US. It’s now an important enough part of my trading strategies that I’ve got an acronym for it! When possible, I’m long OOTUS!

  198. Must be time for bed… typo rate too high.

    In the 1918 Spanish flu it is estimated that 5% or so of the total population died. It is possible that we, as a species, have not got a higher innate resistance to H1N1 flu lethality due to this selective pressure having removed the sensitive parts of the population.

    That ought to be: HAVE GOT HIGHER INNATE RESISTANCE

  199. Leif,
    Thanks a lot for the excellent link to your paper.
    I read it completely.
    Many excellent points that I had not realised earlier.

  200. Lets have some fun, lets set up a lottery like the Nenana ice classic. Everyone can put 2 Dollars on the time and peak of SC 24 and the winner takes ist all.

    The debate is interresting now as it is, but the lottery would add a bit fun to it?!

    Regards to all of you guys, Freddie, Davos, Switzerland

  201. Sorry, I forgot:

    Mr. Svalgaard, Mr. Mc Intyre and Mr. Watts would have to be the Jury to decide the time and peak and the winner!

    Re Fred

  202. E.M.Smith (00:37:28) :

    This is one of the few posts you have put up I tend to disagree with, on most points.

    Take the lethality from Mexico. To know that number you have to know the number infected. Do you really believe numbers coming out of Mexico on the numbers infected?
    Judging by the low mortality in the US and all the other places, where it has been found because people are looking for it, one should correct upwards the total infections in Mexico appreciably, imo.

    Doctors are not in a conspiracy theory, but they tend to be people who see the world through the glasses of diseases. I have a very good friend who is a great doctor specializing in detecting melanoma. That is what she sees all around :) and takes part in large information crusades to the general public. Now that she is getting older, she is mellowing a bit. She used to grab me every summer, when my plethora of “beauty marks” would shine on the beach and carefully check me :).

    I agree on the good natural diet the ” a measure for everything”, nothing in excess school, and am an adherent of vitamin C mega doses if necessary to stop the sniffles. Alternative methods are fine by me, since I believe :) it is the belief system that works the healing more than the specific medicine. Unfortunately as a society we have delegated the common sense of our health to experts and their consensus, and you see where it leads in climate :).

    I agree with “no panic”. As for every flu that can turn into pneumonia, one has to be alert to the symptoms of pneumonia, difficulty in breathing paramount.

    I wonder if the joke goingon e-mails has not reached you.:

    “In the US there was a saying that a black person would be elected president when pigs would fly.
    And lo and behold, pigs’ flu.”

  203. That disturbed area we’ve been anticipating has finally shown itself — no spot, just another plage. Perhaps the disturbed area that follows it will be more productive. Then again, maybe cycle 24 will be known as the plage cycle.

  204. ralph ellis (00:07:53) :
    >>All you need to predict the future solar activity
    >>is this graph:
    >> http://users.beagle.com.au/geoffsharp/jensm1.jpg

    You will have to explain more, for I see no correlation. Why do some solar momentum peaks create Sunspot minimums, and others do not?

    Its all about angular momentum disturbance, the background peaks with green dots are the disturbances. These come along in a set pattern and if invoked override the next few cycles. A little difficult to explain all on here and this sort of talk is frowned upon on this site. Can I suggest you visit Carl’s blog for more info…allow yourself some time.

    http://landscheidt.auditblogs.com/

  205. Well, the CME site turned out not to be a Sun spot. There’s a second opportunity for one coming round the corner, see STEREO behind.

  206. “The panel predicts the upcoming Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day, averaged over a month.”

    Jim Cripwell (14:50:56) wrote :

    “Please correct me if I am wrong, but surely the number 90 is a sunspot number, not the average number of sunspots per day. I thought the maximum was expressed as the maximum smoothed Wolf number. Is this wrong?”

    I have the same question. Is this (“90 sunspots per day”) a scientific way of expressing the activity of the sun? For me, it is rather misleading.

  207. Rik Gheysens (06:15:51) :

    I have the same question. Is this (”90 sunspots per day”) a scientific way of expressing the activity of the sun? For me, it is rather misleading.

    Don’t confuse the maximum smoothed sunspot number (Rmax) with number of sunspots. The relative sunspot number (also called Wolf number) is computed from the formula R = k(10g+s), where ‘s’ is the number of spots, ‘g’ is the number of groups and ‘k’ is an observatory calibration factor. R is the relative sunspot number.

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

  208. “E.M.Smith (23:22:27) : Haven’t reached that time stamp yet. Still working through earlier stuff…”

    How do you have time?

  209. “wattsupwiththat (11:49:02) : WUWT readers:… Drudge… the tip form… Thanks for your consideration,”

    I did send, will send more from here in future… hope one day to see link from Drudge direct to WUWT!

  210. “The prediction calls for the solar cycle to peak in May 2013 with 90 sunspots per day, averaged over a month. If the prediction proves correct it will be the weakest cycle since a peak of 78 daily sunspots in 1928.”

    Maybe we should be concerned. If they are predicting what is stated above, 90 sun spots per day, that would be 2,700 for the month, right? In a month with 2,700 sun spots, a massive CME would not be that much of a stretch. A 2,700 month would pretty much be an ongoing CME, wouldn’t it?

    More seriously, I am not sure if this is a blatant error, or a CYA..

  211. As some of you know from my earlier posts, our company provides point-to-point satellite-based communications, spacecraft telemetry downlinks and terrestrial transport of telemetry services for various customers, among them NASA, NOAA, USGS, and other alphabet agencies. When talking with the individual NASA scientists and technicians that are actually doing the work they are as competent and conscientious as any other collection of people. They are, However, almost uniformly appalled at the doings of their highly-politicized Hqs twinkies (less polite terms are usually used.)

    They also feel their own professional reputations are regularly hazarded by the perceived need to “pre-massage” their data to make sure it is “consistent” with “Headquarters Guidance.” Contrary opinions are not welcomed and any inconvenient data is not included in the approved final reports. While I haven’t heard anybody saying the data itself is changed, any data “outliers” are just left out. Of course whomsoever gets to determine what constitutes outliers is the key driver of the data that is used to reach the conclusions.

    Regards to all.

  212. Leif Svalgaard (15:35:00)
    Sam the Skeptic (15:14:34) :
    what is the purpose of guessing the number or yearly distribution of sun spots that are or are not likely to occur during an unknown period which may or may not have started and will continue (or not) for an apparently unknown period of time?
    It’s all starting to hurt my little brain.

    Here is a scenario: the people that operate satellites [TV channels and such] usually borrow money to put up a satellite. The lender demands insurance. The operator asks insurance company for a premium quote. The insurance company wants to know the risk [in an ideal world] and asks the government [who has teams of scientists] what the sunspot number is going to be [higher number = higher risk]. In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government so insurance company cannot be sued for asking for too high premium should solar cycle turn out to be dud.
    Brain stopped hurting? or did it just get worse?

    I think the answer to your question is “yes”, Lief, but I’m in two minds! :-(

  213. Just to elaborate on the sunspot number and why the minimum date is expected to be 12/08:

    Sunspots tend to form in groups or clusters. You give a ’10’ to each group, and add ‘1’ for every sunspot within that group. The total for the sun on a give day is then multiplied by ‘k’, a fudge factor to try to even-out the different capabilities of the various observatories. So if the sun had 8 independent sunspots (none in a cluster with each other), the sunspot number would be about 88 (8 groups x 10 + 8 actual spots) x 1. If all 8 spots were in one big cluster, the SSN would be 18 (1 group x 10 + 8 actual spots x 1). Typically, you’ll get something like 2, 4, or 6 spots in a group.

    Why are they proposing 12/08 for the minimum? The official minimum is a slight variation of 12 month averaging. It is NOT a reflection of how many spots were in that particular month. The formula goes like this:
    To determine the value for a month, count back six months and divide that month’s SSN by 2. Add to that the monthly SSNs for the previous five months, the month in question, and the five months following that month. Finally, add one-half of the SSN of the month 6 months following, and divide it all by 12.
    So for 12/08 you start by adding 1/2 of 6/08’s SSN to the SSNs of 7/08 through 5/09 plus 1/2 of 6/09 and divide by 12.
    The SSNs have been as follows:
    4/08 2.9
    5/08 3.2
    6/08 3.5
    7/08 0.5
    8/08 0.5
    9/08 1.1
    10/08 2.9
    11/08 4.1
    12/08 0.8
    1/09 1.5
    2/09 1.4
    3/09 0.8
    4/09 1.2

    Because of how it’s calcultated, the last ‘official’ running average SSN that can be determined is 10/08, and it is lower than all the previous monthly numbers in this cycle.

    Why the 12/08 prediction? You will notice that the LOWEST monthly SSNs were 0.5s recorded in July and August 08. Those are extremely low numbers. These values fall out of the monthly average calculations after 12/08. Once those low numbers fall out, it is difficult for the average to go down. They are just betting that we will not continue seeing such low values during this summer. The average SSNs of the next three months would have to be less than 2 for the minimum to occur after 12/08. They’re just betting the odds are in their favor that that won’t happen. I suspect the prediction is more pragmatic than scientific (there’s no specific scientific reason why it won’t happen, it’s simply statisically more unlikely).

    Hope that helps. Someone please correct me if I have said anything wrong.

  214. One thing that interests me as a lay reader is this:

    Of those who predicted a weak cycle 24, did any also predict a delayed cycle 24 and, if so, on what basis?

    Any indications that any particular prediction methodology is yet able to capture what has happened at the 23/24 change-over or is this still an empirical science of measuring parameters, making up models and seeing what gives?

  215. RayB: If they are predicting what is stated above, 90 sun spots per day, that would be 2,700 for the month, right?

    No, a single (normal) sunspot lasts anywhere from 4 to 12 days. Some are longer – so a single count of sunspots on a single “day” will include some spots that are fading, a bunch that are continuing, and a few that are starting. Not 2700 spots in total.

  216. Rhys Jaggar (12:28:01) :
    Of those who predicted a weak cycle 24, did any also predict a delayed cycle 24 and, if so, on what basis?

    There a physical reasons for the delay. It is believed that the magnetic field is formed at some depth within the Sun [still some debate about how deep, but that is not so important for the argument]. A parcel of solar plasma with an embedded strong magnetic field is buoyant because the magnetic field has a pressure too in addition to the surrounding gas pressure. The pressure inside and outside the parcel will be the same, otherwise they will quickly equalize, but since there is magnetic pressure the gas pressure inside will be less. This means that less gas is needed to maintain pressure balance. Less gas means that the parcel weighs less and like a cork under water will rise to the surface. So if the next cycle were to be large one would expect a lot of already formed spots to be at depth working their way up, so we would have seen some already. That they aren’t here may mean that they aren’t there either. In any event, looking back to previous cycles, the minima in front of large cycles confirm that; they are short.

  217. If SC24 every gets going, my prediction is around 70 – 75 for SC24 and around 30 for SC25. This is based on historic data using the 100 year cycle.

    There is a lot at stake here. If the temperatures anomalies continue to rise, whilst sunspot activity declines. The skeptics will at worst have a bit of egg on their face. On the other hand it will be catastrophic for the global warming groups if the temperature anomalies start to decline in line with low sunspot activity. Newly formed global warming (climate change) government departments could undergo massive job cuts. Dare we mention the peace prize.

  218. jtom (11:52:00) :

    Yes! Great analysis; this same trick is useful for “predicting” year-over-year inflation numbers too.

    The super-low July and August numbers will be hard to “replace.” The sun needs to stay quiet into fall for the December “average” to be beat.

  219. Interesting release by Spaceweather (Thanks to Dr. Svalgaard for the reference and posted copy :
    NOAA Predicts Solar Cycle 24, May 8, 2009
    http://www.spaceweather.com/headlines/y2009/08may_noaaprediction.htm

    Perhaps the reason for delay and confusion is that the management needed to dose the spaceweather release with the obligatory catastrophe. Six of the twelve paragraphs (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7) are devoted to fearful consequences of an extreme solar storm. No paragraph mentions the possibility of significantly cooler weather.

    Laws Of Fear: #2: Probability Neglect: “…leading people to focus on the worst case, even if it is highly improbable:”
    Sunstein, Cass R. Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=134&page=1 Reply #3

    Preliminary paper on-line:
    Sunstein, Cass R. Beyond The Precautionary Principle. Working Paper #38. Public Law and Legal Theory. University of Chicago, January 2003. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/academics/publiclaw/resources/38.crs.precautionary.pl-lt.pdf.

    And kudos to Antonio San (5/8/09 21:35:57)
    “Warning: Sunspot cycle beginning to rise”
    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
    Randolph E. Schmid, Ap Science Writer – Fri May 8, 3:31 pm ET

  220. Here is a scenario: the people that operate satellites [TV channels and such] usually borrow money to put up a satellite. The lender demands insurance. The operator asks insurance company for a premium quote. The insurance company wants to know the risk [in an ideal world] and asks the government [who has teams of scientists] what the sunspot number is going to be [higher number = higher risk]. In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government so insurance company cannot be sued for asking for too high premium should solar cycle turn out to be dud.
    Brain stopped hurting? or did it just get worse?

    Leif

    As a professional in the sat biz I can 100% confirm your reading here.

  221. jtom (11:52:00) :

    The SSNs have been as follows:
    4/08 2.9
    5/08 3.2
    6/08 3.5
    7/08 0.5
    8/08 0.5
    9/08 1.1
    10/08 2.9
    11/08 4.1
    12/08 0.8
    1/09 1.5
    2/09 1.4
    3/09 0.8
    4/09 1.2

    I thought 8/08 was a perfect zero. Please link.

  222. Dennis Wingo (19:53:08) :
    “[…]In real world, insurance company doesn’t care about real risk, just wants high number sanctioned by government[…]”
    As a professional in the sat biz I can 100% confirm your reading here.

    And this is, perhaps, the real reason that the official prediction is ‘moderately weak’, instead of ‘really weak = low, low premium’.

  223. Anyway the much expected new areas are just plages, no spots at the moment. Maybe one of them will get enough oomph to eject a tiny tim.

  224. The NOAA press release provides a good example of why “consensus science” is not only a bad idea – it is an oxymoron. The NOAA badly needs some new spin doctors – preferably ones who know something about the scientific method.

  225. Leif Svalgaard (11:49:10) :

    Paddy (11:23:46) :
    Leif: You should consider bringing an ouija board and/or dart board and darts to the next meeting of the solar cycle prediction panel. They would add some precision to the panel’s predictive powers.

    Leif responded in what should be the quote of the week (sorry if it’s already been nominated):

    We tried that early on. The result was a number too low for many to swallow, so we(‘re) on to more traditional ways of getting it wrong.

  226. Just Want Truth… (23:13:15) :

    “E.M.Smith (21:50:49) : …(The Old Farmers Almanac, for example) … but with TOFA being rather spooky in their accuracy months in advance.”

    Bingo!

    I think two years ago their forecast wasn’t that great, so they called in help for last year and the result was accurate, at least for the parts of the country I was paying attention to. Their help was Joe D’Aleo, and he relied on the cool PDO. So, impressive results, but no surprise. They are calling for a couple decades of cooling. The only surprise is that they printed that part.

    See http://www.almanac.com/timeline/ for an article from Joe, probably the most scientific item ever printed in the OFA.

  227. From earlier: “From January to September, the sun produced a total of 22 sunspot groups; 82% of them belonged to old Cycle 23. October added five more; but this time 80% belonged to Cycle 24. The tables have turned. Even with its flurry of sunspots,the October sun was mostly blank, with zero sunspots on 20 of the month’s 31 days.”

    I’d like to update this with a compare-and-contrast between the beginning of November, 2008 and now.

    Does anyone know of a handy resource which breaks out the sunspot groups + spots by date and (most importantly) identifies for each whether it was a SC23 or a SC24 group?

  228. Thanks for the link, Leif, but I was looking for some kind of tabular data, if only to be able to match the type of observation offered earlier. In that case, each group was counted once, without respect to the number of days it lasted.

    What I’m hoping to find somewhere is a list of sunspot groups, with the day they appeared, and whether they were SC23 or SC24. I can do the tabulation from there to provide a contrast with the type of observation offered before (which was creating the distinct impression that it would be almost all SC24 spots from then forward).

  229. Barry Kearns (15:19:08) :
    list of sunspot groups, with the day they appeared, and whether they were SC23 or SC24.
    No such list exists, although it is on my [long[ to-do list to make one…

  230. Barry Kearns (15:19:08) :
    list of sunspot groups, with the day they appeared, and whether they were SC23 or SC24.
    No such list exists, although it is on my [long[ to-do list to make one…

    But you welcome to play with the data behind the graph:
    http//www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20-%20count%20of%20new%20and%20old.xls

  231. Thanks, Leif! Between that spreadsheet and the Solar Region Summary archives (one file per day, ugh), I should be able to put together what I’m looking for.

    At first glance, it looks like about 13 lookups through the archives is all it should take to round out the data for Nov 1, 2008 through today. One of the upsides of so very few spots in the last six months!

  232. Does shape of the preceding min offer a clue to the height of the next max?

    The slowly forming bottom shape of sunspot cycle 23 (observing the May 8 NOAA/SWPC ISES chart) appears to have a somewhat hyperbolic shape (as though approaching zero asymptotically) rather than the usual, more parabolic shape that may be resumed after cycle 24 begins.

    Using an enlarged version of a famous sunspot graph, I examined seven similarly shaped minimums from about 1750 to 1902, and the results are tabulated below:

    Following the slowly forming minimums that I identified approximately by date in Table A, the succeeding sunspot maximums were unusually low, as scaled approximately from the chart, and they are identified in Table B:

    Table A Table B
    ________ _______

    1755 < 85
    1797 < 50
    1810 < 50
    1822 < 70
    1878 < 60
    1890 < 85
    1902 < 60

    I am a novice with this stuff, but based on the bottoming shape of cycle 23, I believe the next max will be less than 85, perhaps even 50. I also noticed that minimums exhibiting sharper bottoms appeared to be followed by much higher maximums.

    I would invite comments, or a more exacting examination of this concept by anyone having better data than I was able to derive from my crude chart measurements.

    Bob Paglee, P.E. (Ret.)

  233. “The average SSNs of the next three months would have to be less than 2 for the minimum to occur after 12/08.”

    Thanks for the explication. Actually 12/08 looks like the earliest date we can now give the prize.

  234. MattE says:
    MattE (17:16:06) :

    I just happened across this old press release from NASA and Hathaway and got a belly-laugh.

    The first line says it all: Dec. 21, 2006: Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one. Then he goes on to predict a cycle of 160 +/- 25 sunspot peak.

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/21dec_cycle24.htm

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thanks Matt for the link — I was looking for Hathaway’s paper ! But Hathaway based his prediction concept on prior peaks, my concept is based on the shape of the prior minimums. So I did some more study, looking at some much more detailed shapes of my selected minimums that I was able to find on the Sunspot Plotter at spaceweather.com.

    I’ve tentatively concluded that the best match for the shape of the current minimum, when compared to the shapes of my seven previously selected minimums, is for the minimum of 1879, and this has now led me to pridict a max averaged peak amplitude for Cycle 24 of less than 65.

    Try it yourself — go to the Sunspot Plotter, insert 2009 and print out the graph. Then, one after another, insert the dates from my selected list of minimums (corrected as follows: 1755, 1798, 1810, 1823, 1879, 1889, and 1901). Compare the left half of each graph with the 2009 graph and see which one fits best.

    Bob

  235. Frankly, I have not the time to read all of the many comments, but can anyone tell me if there is someone, someplace who is tracking these various “predictions” of sunspot cycles? The overlay that we have above in this article is great. Can we create one that just shows each of the prior (and future) “predictions” over time, just as a means to keep everyone honest about how many attempts were made and how many were not anything close to reality?

    After all, didn’t they start making such “predictions” more than a year ago. Could be an interesting presentation. Another option might be to create a powerpoint or other “slideshow” that only shows a few “predictions” at at time. Thanks!

  236. Gene L

    I agree. It’s a bit like changing your bet during a horse race right up to a few metres before the finish line.

    Our hi profile experts have proved that they know as much about the sun as Bart Simpson. Looking back at history patern even us dummies can say that the next few cycles will have low amplitudes. To say that SC24 “will be a big one” is inconsistent with the 100 year cycle.

  237. That is pretty scary that a solar storm could hit the earth with devastating damages!
    It is amazing that stuff like this is kept from the public, and it takes people like you to inform people of the truth.

    I do not understand all the language you use, such as SSN’s, but I now want to investigate this further.

    Thanks for the info.

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