A look at: Solar Wind Flow Pressure – Another Indication of Solar Downtrend?

I initially wrote this article using data only from David Archibald, but within a couple of minutes I was given some broader data from Leif Svalgaard, so I have rewritten this to include both resources in the interest of  seeing the broader perspective. – Anthony

Last September WUWT covered NASA’s press conference on the state of the sun. One of the announcements was this:

Sept. 23, 2008: In a briefing today at NASA headquarters, solar physicists announced that the solar wind is losing power.

“The average pressure of the solar wind has dropped more than 20% since the mid-1990s,” says Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “This is the weakest it’s been since we began monitoring solar wind almost 50 years ago.”

From Wiki:

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun’s gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed with the passage of time. These particles are able to escape the sun’s gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well-understood.

The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. Other phenomena include geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the sun.

Solar Wind Flow Pressure is something that is tracked daily by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) For example they display a nifty solar wind dashboard gauge on Space Weather Now that shows “dynamic pressure”:

sw_dials

Click dial for an explanation of the readings

Dynamic Pressure Dial:

Ranges from 0.1 to 100 nPa. The scale is log10 over the full range. If the density or speed data are missing, the arrow will not appear. The arrow will move to the location on the scale corresponding to the actual value of the latest 15 minute average of the Dynamic Pressure P of the solar wind. Dynamic Pressure is a function of speed and density.

David Archibald writes:

Robert Bateman’s graphic of the solar wind sent me in search of a longer time series.  I found a longer one, and one that is a more accurate indication of the force that is pushing the galactic cosmic rays out from the inner planets of the solar system.  It is the three month smoothed, 27 day average of the solar wind flow pressure.  The data is from the Omniweb site.

Archibald_solar_wind_pressure2

The narrow downtrend channel that started in 2005 is quite evident.  Before that it was trendless, and didn’t change with solar cycle amplitude.  The volatility within the downtrend is much less than it was prior to 2005.  Also evident is a big oscillation in 2004, which may be an artefact of a switch that changed the mode.

From this chart, solar activity is still falling until the downtrend channel is broken.  As the solar wind takes a year to reach the heliopause, the Oulu neutron count will continue to rise for the next year.  But just as the Earth’s atmosphere has shrunk, the heliopause will also be shrinking.

However this Archibald graph only shows a narrow slice of the entire data picture, Leif Svalgaard has an OMNI2 dataset that tracks back to 1963:

While we can indeed see the current downtrend since 1997, we have had periods before where the solar wind has been almost as low .  Though NASA said last year “This is the weakest it’s been since we began monitoring solar wind almost 50 years ago.”.

There is an overall down trend since 1992, with a short plateau at the last solar max around year 2000-2004, followed by another downtrend starting about 2005.

In terms on the sun’s history (if it were compared to a day) we have about a microsecond worth of data out of that day on display above. So what conclusion, if any, can we draw from it? The only one I can see is it showing reduced solar activity, but nothing profound (in terms of the solar wind data we have) except that. We see a low period of similar amplitude around 1970, but it is noisier. The trend we’ve seen since 2005 is less noisy, which is inline with the quiet sun we have observed recently.

Let’s hope sol gets the magneto revved up again.

UPDATE: I had written to David Archibald, saying  that “the broader data set to 1963 didn’t agree with your conclusions”, and he wrote back within about 15 minutes and provided a new graph:

Anthony, Agreed, and thankyou.

I went back to find the larger data set, as follows:

click for larger image

click for larger image

It is evident that the longer picture is more complicated.  The correlation with solar minima and maxima is quite poor.  Activity did not recover into Solar Cycle 23.

Yours sincerely,

David Archibald

So now we have all the makings of a good debate.

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170 thoughts on “A look at: Solar Wind Flow Pressure – Another Indication of Solar Downtrend?

  1. So what ? , we’re past the science, now , don’t try to tell us that ANYTHING is going to change the coming AGW doom we have modeled !

  2. Please note: Solar Wind = Cosmic Ray Shielding.
    Thus Low Solar Wind = High Cosmic Ray intensity.
    High Cosmic Rays = More Cirrus Clouds. (Svendsmark)
    More Cirrus Clouds = More Cloud Systems.
    More Cloud Systems = More Albedo or reflection of incoming visible AS IT COMES IN.
    Net result: Gorebull Cooling.
    Prediction: Hammer Hard Winter – North America, Russian & Europe, this
    year.
    (Ouch, I live in Minnesocold)

  3. What’s wrong with this logic?
    If the Solar wind is declining the Earth atmosphere should expand.
    Before the declining trend the atmosphere was compressed.
    Compressed gas heat up….

  4. Since this graph barely covers one longish cycle, I am going to assume that nothing unusual is happening and that the solar wind has done this before in cyclic patterns. Besides, the question is, does the solar wind die down or does the Sun’s magnetic field, in concert with our own, prevent us from feeling the full affects of the solar (universal?) wind?

  5. The number of things pointing to a longer period of diminished solar activity keeps mounting.
    What is the data from Voyager 1 and 2 on this? They are both out near the heliopause and so should be getting some confirmation data on any dimunition on the extent.

  6. @Mick,
    It’s not a gas-thing, it’s an electromagnetic-thing.
    Hey, Rbateman or Anaconda–a little help from you, please.

  7. Nothing to see; move along. There is no 800 pound gorilla behind the curtain. Don’t bother to look, the science is settled.

  8. The narrow downtrend channel that started in 2005 is quite evident. Before that it was trendless, and didn’t change with solar cycle amplitude.
    Count on Archibald to make unfounded claims based on cherry picked data. Here is the real record of spacecraft measured flow pressure from 1963 until today: http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Wind-Flow-Pressure.png
    Several things to notice:
    1) The flow pressure [FP] has been as low before
    2) FP is not trend-less and has varied a lot.
    3) FP is usually lowest at solar maximum and highest at solar minimum [there is even a reason for this]
    4) FP is somewhat strange this minimum, in that it is not high. It is not clear what the cause is of this, but instrumental effects are always lurking, although my simple explanation is that the polar fields are so weak that they have not been able to compress the solar wind down into a narrow equatorial belt, which with its higher density would give a higher FP.
    5) The lines on Archibald’s Figure are not founded in any physical process and certainly cannot be extrapolated or even carry any physical meaning
    6) It is a pity that the best science blog carries this worthless piece. The host or moderators should vet stuff from Archibald before stepping in it.
    REPLY: Leif, thanks for your input, I agree and in the interest of the broader view, I’ve included your data also in a quick update of the original post. I’m curious as to your thoughts about the downtrend in 2005. It seems to start about the time of that drop in the Ap Index that I keep referring to:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/solar_ap_index_10062008.png
    I know you don’t think much of that event, but there does seem to be a coincidence that both the Ap Index and the Solar Wind Pressure both started dropping then. I welcome your critical thoughts.

  9. Solar Cycle 25 to end “Man Made Climate Change” myth – with comments by Piers Corbyn
    There have been various emergency economic proposals put forward recently, in that, in order to save Mankind from an overheating Earth, we need to stop runaway greenhouse gases that are apparently warming the planet, namely CO2. The life saving idea is that we should modify our industrial output, by using less of this very poisonous and toxic substance, and then use an even more dramatic accounting method to share the pollution equally with those nations who “have” and those who “have not”. The economic cost or loss involved has little or nothing to do with the outcome, as doing “something” to save Mankind from the destruction of our planet far outweighs doing “nothing”.
    It all sounds fantastic, but in fact it’s just another ideological panacea to keep up the momentum that man is changing the Earth’s climate to such an extent that unless the Human race do something now, we are all going to die. It’s become another version of the Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. The Emperor, or to use this analogy, the principal so called climate scientists, are on display to most of the main stream media, the media in turn misinform the public at large that the Emperor is looking great in his new clothes in spite of being totally naked. Naked being the description used for a complete lack of scientific evidence to support this label of scientific office.
    Science has a history of fighting for the truth, just like good and evil, regretfully this is just another drawn out battle between the respective parties, who are involved to justify their aims and objectives. But now the story has taken an unexpected “twist”, in that, you would have seen far less of an argument for the “Climate Realists” if it was not for the Sun being unexpectedly quiet during the past year and a half, and the implications of this are profound for each and every one of us, at last there is a voice in the crowd saying, why is the Emperor naked!
    The “Climate Realist” have a well deserved lucky break, be it, we are moving out of one scenario and into another, or put another way, we could be jumping from the fictitious frying pan straight into a fridge!
    The IPCC/UN models have failed so many times you would have thought good old “common sense” would have prevailed by now, in that, the “Man Made “ theory does not work. The fact of the matter is, the media are supporting a spurious theory and in turn misleading the public at large, they even go to great lengths’ to report the models are doing what they all expected them to do, I have even known them to say “cooling is a sure sign of warming”!
    The Earth’s history is very revealing on solar activity and our climate, less activity on the Sun results in “Global Cooling” and more activity results in “Global Warming”. Somehow this simple rule of “thumb” has not made an appearance to those people directly involved with “Man Made Climate Change” (MMCC).
    And here is the reason why.
    In times of low solar activity the Earth has more “dust” in its atmosphere, the MMCC analysis show this as a spurious “coincidence”. The principal climate scientists go on to say that volcanic “dust” was the reason behind times of “Global Cooling” and not the coincidental low solar activity.
    This is what they say about the Dalton Minimum period from 1790 to 1839, during this time there was extra volcanic activity, and the dust from the eruptions reduced the effect of the Sun on the Earth.
    At no stage was it put forward that the period of low solar activity was the “cause” of the Earth being more susceptible to tectonic plate movements. It’s another example of the IPCC/UN showing the “Effect being the “Cause”.
    If you now accept that our climate is determined by the activity on the Sun, you must also accept that people can forecast the future from observed solar data rather then from the spurious analysis of “Man Made Climate Change”.
    I recently put this question of low solar activity and tectonic plate movement to Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction, who specialize in Solar wind forecasts, and use their models for climate predictions on the Earth weather system’s, these show a very high accuracy in long range weather forecasts, and here is what he said….
    “Think of a freight train moving, or being “active”, the journey is fairly constant with not too many collisions between the separate carriages, but when the train is stationary or “non active” each carriage will collide as the train starts to move.
    I can forgive anyone for not understanding this analogy for the first time, as it’s the reverse of what you think. In that, a non active Sun affects the Earth more often, but why?
    The answer to that is…
    An “Active” Sun is a healthy Sun, in that, the frequency of “spots” indicates the patient has come through the illness and what you see on the surface of the Sun is just like what you would see after someone has had measles, the condition of the patient with spots is after the virus!
    So, a “quiet” Sun is when you would expect to find far more magnetic disturbances on the Sun, and more tectonic plate movement on the Earth.
    So, what does this all mean for the title of this news blog? It simply means that as we approach Solar Cycle 25 (appx 2019) the Earth will continue to gradually cool from the 1998 peak, due to the lack of solar activity. As far as the “Myth” of “Man Made Climate Change”, the public at large will wake up to the realization of a “cooler” climate in a modern world, in so doing, they will probably disregard any information presented to them by the media that supported the “Man Made” myth.
    The media have a responsibility to report to the public a balanced objectiveness, they also should voice skeptical points of view. We have come through a period in history that has shown this not to be the case; it’s thanks to the World Wide Web that there is now a voice in the crowd.
    http://solarcycle25.com/index.php?id=10

  10. Ron De Haan,
    Are you suggesting the tectonic plate activity suggests gravitational forces are possibly the reason for the Sun’s activity?

  11. Ron de Haan (21:03:01) :
    So, a “quiet” Sun is when you would expect to find far more magnetic disturbances on the Sun, and more tectonic plate movement on the Earth.
    We have direct measurement of solar magnetic field and disturbances for a century and indirect [but very good] indications of these thing another century back and the above premise is simply not what is observed, so the implication wouldn’t follow. [although curiously in symbolic logic any implication from a false premise is true: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_table#Logical_implication ]

  12. re:Power Grab
    I meant the gases in the atmosphere of Earth!
    Sorry, my lack of good English… 🙁

  13. Obama has to push his GW policies through NOW, so that when the cooling is OFFICIALLY recognized, it will be attributed to his policies.

  14. What did happen prior to 1990:
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/ret_14618.gif
    As the solar cycles de-ramped, the plasma pressure arched up…mildly.
    What didn’t happen during SC22 & 23 deramps…the plasma pressure didn’t arch up, instead it fell.
    The trendless line Dr. Archibald referes to is the Maximum portion of SC23.
    All that did was boost the amplitude of pressure changes and keep it from falling.
    Is there any more data prior to 1963 that we can proxy?
    At this point, thank you David for finding that source of data.
    Please, folks, remember, I’m not the scientist here. I do my best to describe what I see, but I can’t do the detailed analysis that others can.
    Paint me curious.

  15. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    REPLY: […] I’m curious as to your thoughts about the downtrend in 2005.
    I know you don’t think much of that event, but there does seem to be a coincidence that both the Ap Index and the Solar Wind Pressure both started dropping then. I welcome your critical thoughts.

    This is not a coincidence. We have known for a long time how the solar wind parameters translate into geomagnetic activity [e.g. see my old paper from 1977: http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf or the more modern version: http://www.leif.org/research/IAGA2008LS-final.pdf ]. To make a long story short, Ap ~ (flow pressure=n*V^2)^(1/3) *( B*V), where n is the density, V is the speed, and B is the magnetic field. So a decrease in flow pressure means a decrease of Ap. This is not the whole story as Ap is also smaller at the solstices by about 25% so October is on its way down towards the December solstice, and lastly and most importantly: there was a huge sporadic solar [and therefore geomagnetic] storm in September that pulled the September value way up. The human mind is for evolutionary reasons very good at false negatives [better be wrong about that tiger lurking there], so we often ascribe meaning to something that is not significant.

  16. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    Thank you Dr. Svalgaard for your input. Seems this is another indication that something new in our ‘modern’ experience is happening with solar activity. Further evidence that at least this new cycle will prove most interesting and perhaps instructive.
    To the point, what is the shape of the heliosphere. When I read, “The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium …,” the image I at first get is that of a vast spherical shaped thing. But I sense that this is not the case, that the magnetic field helps shape the direction of the solar wind and also the shape of the heliosphere. Any thoughts (speculative though they may be) on the shape of the heliosphere?

  17. Ron de Haan (21:03:01) : The media have a responsibility to report to the public a balanced objectiveness ….
    ——————
    On that note, I read two articles on AOL today (slightly OT, sorry). One was about changing migratory patterns of large-hoofed animals in Africa, and the other about the hearing on the Hudson River plane landing (including a discussion on the increase in Canada Goose populations). Despite ample opportunity to blame or even mention AGW or climate change (as would have been the case a year ago), there was not even a word on the subject. I had to read very closely to believe my own eyes.
    Perhaps “death from natural causes” will be the fitting autopsy report on AGW??
    ……. but with at least a little help from Anthony and friends in hastening an end to the lingering malady.

  18. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    Actually, if can draw lines on something and the activity keeps bouncing off those lines, then they do have meaning. One just has to be curious enough to find out why.

  19. rbateman (22:06:53) :
    Is there any more data prior to 1963 that we can proxy?
    on pages 9-10 of
    http://www.leif.org/research/The%20Solar%20Wind%20During%20Grand%20Minima.pdf
    we show there our proxy-based values of the density since 1890. It based on a very strong relation between the ratio of magnetic pressure to flow pressure that seems to have a solar cycle dependence. so we can say something, and on page 10 we show the average behavior of the density and the solar wind speed through a solar cycle based on cycles 13-23. If you in your mind’s eye multiply the cyan and the red curve [squared] you get the flow pressure. It is easy to see the maximum FP at solar minimum.
    [the data was up though 2004]. The low values at the current minimum is interesting and unusual, so cannot be used as an ‘indicator’ of expected solar behavior.

  20. From Wiki:
    The solar wind is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and

    The paragraph that starts with this sentence is repeated twice…

  21. Leif – while I really appreciate reading your science input in many of the solar discussions that are held on this blog, I do find the personal attacks on Dave Archibald rather unprofessional and unneeded. Might I be so bold as to suggest that at least in public you debate the science only and not slur the man.

  22. It’s the “noise” in the solar pressure I find fascinating to speculate on, the possibility of a rapid change, I mean. Is it possible for a burst of solar activity to ablate the upper atmosphere by “wrapping” up a pocket of atmosphere in a magnetic eddy and then that eddy being blown into space?
    I had heard that some version of this was posited for Martian atmospheric (partial) depletion, but Mars has a very weak magnetic field so that theory may be more possible with Mars. Earth’s magnetic field would change things based on relative field strengths, and somebody would have to do the Math if the theory passed the conceptual phase.

  23. @Ron de Haan (21:03:01) :
    “So, a “quiet” Sun is when you would expect to find far more magnetic disturbances on the Sun, and more tectonic plate movement on the Earth.”
    Seriously?
    Plate tectonics is driven by density. Temperature and compositional density are the only things that matter to PT.

  24. Folks, we’ve got some data and we’ve got some ideas, but so far nothing is making a lot of sense to me. Up to this point we are not far from this: Reindeer fart less when the FP is low. FP is now low. Less methane. Less warming. Earth cools.
    Sorry about that but there is no eureka moment here.

  25. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    The narrow downtrend channel that started in 2005 is quite evident. Before that it was trendless, and didn’t change with solar cycle amplitude.
    “Count on Archibald to make unfounded claims based on cherry picked data. Here is the real record of spacecraft measured flow pressure from 1963 until today:” http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Wind-Flow-Pressure.png
    What unfounded claims? Your own graph confirms no trend associated with solar cycle. Spectators can compare
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/Media/graphics/SolarCycle.gif
    And you own graph also confirms flow pressure being in the longest lasting low event(<2) over the last ~3 years in 40 years, with a definite downtrend over the last 15.

  26. We see a low period of similar amplitude around 1970, but it is noisier. The trend we’ve seen since 2005 is less noisy, which is inline with the quiet sun we have observed recently.
    Sometime in the mid 1970s it snowed near Sacramento (Twice IIRC). Very out of character for the area. I don’t remember any snow since (though I moved out a decade or so later, snow in Sacramento area tends to make news.) From the Channel 10 (local TV) page:
    ” The last time there was an official accumulation of snow came on February 5, 1976, when two inches of snow fell over the capital city.”
    Probably the same event.
    I got to ride a bike through the snow then, so it made an impression… fairly slick and very cold toes (open toes – i.e. nothing covering them. Nobody was expecting snow, since it doesn’t snow there 😉
    So if there is a 6 year lag… that would be snow in 2015 ?
    Mark your calendar and let me know if I called it! (If it doesn’t snow then it was just a rampant speculation… If it does snow then I’m clearly understanding everything 😉

  27. Archibald’s ‘narrow channel’ doesn’t surprise me too much, given the consistently low sunspot count since 2005.

  28. Leif, it all looks biblical to me.
    Tom in Texas (20:23:55) :
    “2012 is zero”
    oh well !!!

  29. Darren Ferdinando (22:45:25) :
    Might I be so bold as to suggest that at least in public you debate the science only and not slur the man.
    I hope I was debating the science and not the man. The claims were unfounded and the graphs picked to back up the claims, first by only showing the last cycle, later by omitting the first cycle of the data with equally low values. I will object to anybody making such claims, not in particular David Archibald.
    Glenn (22:58:13) :
    What unfounded claims? Your own graph confirms no trend associated with solar cycle.
    The solar cycle variation is clear and expected and observed since at least 1890. The latest cycle is unusual in that respect and deserves [and is getting] further study. In an earlier post, I speculated on what the cause might be.

  30. re Voyager:
    San Francisco, CA. – NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has followed its twin Voyager 1 into the solar system’s final frontier, a vast region at the edge of our solar system where the solar wind runs up against the thin gas between the stars.
    However, Voyager 2 took a different path, entering this region, called the heliosheath, on August 30, 2007. Because Voyager 2 crossed the heliosheath boundary, called the solar wind termination shock, about 10 billion miles away from Voyager 1 and almost a billion miles closer to the sun, it confirmed that our solar system is ” squashed” or ” dented”- that the bubble carved into interstellar space by the solar wind is not perfectly round. Where Voyager 2 made its crossing, the bubble is pushed in closer to the sun by the local interstellar magnetic field.
    http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/
    and an interesting paper at http://sd-www.jhuapl.edu/VOYAGER/manuscripts/outer_heliosphere_rlm.pdf

  31. Leon Brozyna (22:15:59) :
    To the point, what is the shape of the heliosphere. When I read, “The solar wind creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium …,”
    To first approximation it is a bubble with a stubby tail trailing the sun’ movement through the interstellar medium. Since the shape is determined by pressure balance between the solar wind and the interstellar medium any inhomogeneities in either will create ‘bumps’ on the boundary. Here http://swoops.lanl.gov/data.html you can see what the Ulysses spacecraft measured as it was going from pole to pole. The ‘momentum flux’ is the flow pressure. It is not quite a circle [or sphere], but also not far from it, perhaps with a waistline. It is interesting to note that the density is VERY asymmetrical as is the speed, but the momentum flux = (density * speed) * speed is much more spherical. The magnetic field is not important in shaping the heliosphere because the plasma flow energy dominates.

  32. Leif Svalgaard (22:34:23) :
    Pg 10 was an average of solar cycles.
    Does anything interesting show up before 1963, as in another instance of what is going on now? By that, I mean if you took the density and multiplied it by the cycle average.

  33. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    my simple explanation is that the polar fields are so weak that they have not been able to compress the solar wind down into a narrow equatorial belt, which with its higher density would give a higher FP.

    Hi Leif,
    not sure if all the graphs presented are 27 day average (one solar rotation), but could your hypothesis be tested by measuring how quickly the earth pass north and south of the heliospheric current sheet? i.e. measure the angle and deduce the amplitude of the ‘folding’ in the HCS to get a handle on the effect of the polar field on the lateral spread of the solar wind.

  34. rbateman (23:43:11) :
    Pg 10 was an average of solar cycles.
    Does anything interesting show up before 1963, as in another instance of what is going on now? By that, I mean if you took the density and multiplied it by the cycle average.

    No, the situation now has not been seen since 1890. Here is the average solar variation of density n, magnetic field B, and speed V:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Space-Climate-n-B-V-Flow.png
    The right-hand panel shows the flow pressure calculated as n*V^2
    In both panels, the red curves are for direct observations since 1965 [1963-1964 has very little data], while the blue curves are calculated over 11 cycles since 1890 from the geomagnetic proxies. They usually agree rather well and makes the current low values at minimum special, since in all the other ones there is a flow pressure maximum on the approach to minimum.
    tallbloke (23:52:31) :
    your hypothesis be tested by measuring how quickly the earth pass north and south of the heliospheric current sheet?
    The HCS is VERY thin and sweeps past the Earth in minutes every week or so, but presumably you mean the size of the ‘warps’ in the HCS. Here is a measure of that since 1976: http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/Tilts.gif
    The size is in degrees, meaning the latitude a spacecraft would have to have to be totally ‘above’ or ‘below’ the HCS. You can see that that latitude is larger for the current cycle, thus meaning a ‘thicker’ region wherein the HCS sweeps.

  35. It is very likely that my introductory statement has an error in fact. It seems that the solar wind plasma flow (and I can rely upon Dr Svalgaard to correct me if I am wrong) doesn’t have much to do with the GCR flux, which is best anti-correlated with the IMF.
    However, Dr Svalgaard states that it is strange that the solar wind flow pressure is declining into solar minimum instead of rising, so the decline I have plotted up is doubly significant.

  36. layne Blanchard (21:43:27) :
    Ron De Haan,
    Are you suggesting the tectonic plate activity suggests gravitational forces are possibly the reason for the Sun’s activity?
    and
    Leif Svalgaard (21:58:44) :
    Ron de Haan (21:03:01) :
    So, a “quiet” Sun is when you would expect to find far more magnetic disturbances on the Sun, and more tectonic plate movement on the Earth.
    We have direct measurement of solar magnetic field and disturbances for a century and indirect [but very good] indications of these thing another century back and the above premise is simply not what is observed, so the implication wouldn’t follow. [although curiously in symbolic logic any implication from a false premise is true: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_table#Logical_implication ]
    and
    Benjamin P. (22:51:09) :
    @Ron de Haan (21:03:01) :
    “So, a “quiet” Sun is when you would expect to find far more magnetic disturbances on the Sun, and more tectonic plate movement on the Earth.”
    Seriously?
    Plate tectonics is driven by density. Temperature and compositional density are the only things that matter to PT.
    I did not write the article but thanks for the comments.
    I have copied the article directly from the link and published the link with it.
    I think the remarks come from Piers Corbijn.

  37. The question that puzzles me is why does the press eagerly print every absurd claim that the believers offer, while at the same time mostly ignoring rational and undeniable evidence that is presented by us [snip (skeptics)]. Can the press no longer be bothered to check, or is it that the doomsday scenario is more attractive and sells newspapers or adverts. We know that, at climate conferences, an increasing number of scientists are declaring that AGW is a fraud but I have yet to actually read this in any newspaper or hear it on television. What is needed is an onslaught, a campaign, to get the message to the public. When anybody tells we the world is warming, I always ask them how much Co2 is in the atmosphere. You would be amazed at the ignorance.

  38. Very interesting graphs there… Has the Ap Index plot been updated for May 2009? Are the values still around 2-4?
    Solar wind has been quite weak this year too.
    The weather here is miserable; snow in the Free State, Berg, and Lesotho; heavy rain in the north and very cold everywhere except the southern Cape; the media has tried to blame it on “global warming” but the public ain’t buying it.
    I’m sorry if this has been asked before, but is there any chance of a correlation between solar activity and volcanic activity?

  39. If we were to propose an 8-year lag between solar flux and resulting global temperatures, would Svalgaard’s solar flux graph not equate very well with the global temperature graph??

  40. Perhaps we could try to see high velocity protons only? I wonder if slow solar winds (less than say 600 km/sec ) can penetrate the atmosphere deep enough to alter the climate?

  41. The sunspot number is 12 and yet the sun is blank? I can’t stand the bias!
    Their predictions are failing to the point where they have to number imaginary sunspots to keep the June number up. As far as I am concerned this is ludicrous.

  42. Dennis Wingo (20:33:36) :
    The number of things pointing to a longer period of diminished solar activity keeps mounting.
    What is the data from Voyager 1 and 2 on this? They are both out near the heliopause and so should be getting some confirmation data on any dimunition on the extent.

    Of greater concern might be the data coming in frm the IBEX (Interstellar Boundry EXplorer) which I guess is due to release i’ts first data sometime late summer to early fall.
    http://www.ibex.swri.edu/

  43. Another point.
    In layman’s terms (in comparison to luminosity), how much energy is the solar wind delivering to the Earth? In direct energy terms, is this reduction in solar flux reducing the net energy effect of the Sun?
    .

  44. Leif Svalgaard (00:28:32) :
    The HCS is VERY thin and sweeps past the Earth in minutes every week or so, but presumably you mean the size of the ‘warps’ in the HCS. Here is a measure of that since 1976: http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/Tilts.gif
    The size is in degrees, meaning the latitude a spacecraft would have to have to be totally ‘above’ or ‘below’ the HCS. You can see that that latitude is larger for the current cycle, thus meaning a ‘thicker’ region wherein the HCS sweeps.

    Thanks Leif,
    I guess my question is whether this correlates with your hypothesis that the reduction in pressure of the solar wind being due to it emanating over a broader angle and the relationship between that and polar field strength.

  45. “It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV.”
    Kinetic energy.
    “the force that is pushing the galactic cosmic rays out from the inner planets of the solar system”
    Cosmic rays are only partially charged particles.
    “So now we have all the makings of a good debate.”
    Plainly the Schwabe cycle, the secular oscillation of those damned spots, is not a great proxy of solar activity. Activity cycles over multiple solar cycles.

  46. Anthony
    Has anyone suggested or tried to take existing climate computer models, double the coefficient(s) on the solar factor(s) and halve the coefficient on the CO2 factor in one of those models, and see if they get better results and a more reasonable forecast for future climate in the 21st century? Since most of us here think that the effects of solar variances are far more significant than CO2 and the weighting the AGW camp accepts, this might be an interesting exercise. Maybe a little tweaking of the coefficients will produce closer fits to past data and new insights into how much the solar inputs and fluctuations affect our climate.
    Bill

  47. Wonder if these clouds have any effect on temperature?
    “Sky watchers in the northern hemisphere have snapped the first images of this year’s noctilucent clouds – silvery blue structures that are the highest clouds to form in Earth’s atmosphere. This season’s crop of clouds could be the biggest in years due to the lull in the sun’s activity.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17234-mysterious-nightshining-clouds-may-peak-this-year.html

  48. It’s all too late
    Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20090609/sc_mcclatchy/3249010
    The hearing before the oceans subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee was expected to focus on how the degradation of the oceans was affecting marine businesses and coastal communities. Instead, much of the testimony focused on how the waters that cover 70 percent of the planet are already changing because of global warming.
    We are all doomed, the tipping point has been reached and the oceans are all dying and man is doomed. As soon as man dies out, the world can return to normal and the AGW people can be happy. Just one problem, they will gone as well…
    I think God is laughing about all of this……

  49. Bruckner8 (22:05:12) :
    “Obama has to push his GW policies through NOW, so that when the cooling is OFFICIALLY recognized, it will be attributed to his policies.”
    I can see it now; Headlines across the nation:
    LOOK AT US; WE SAVED THE PLANET! YES WE CAN!
    Hey, slightly OT, There is a question that has been nagging at me for a while. Everyone says that 1998 was such a warm year because of a Super El Nino, (and please forgive my ignorance) but how the heck does a change in ocean currents and distribution of heat (which is what I understand that an El Nino is) equate to a warming of the ENTIRE planet?

  50. So, changes in Solar activity presage changes in the average temperature by about 8 years. The oceans serve as a giant sink for heat. Does that 8 year lag relate to the time it takes for the oceans to either cool or heat. We often speak as if the Solar activity and various ocean phenomena (PDO, AMO, etc.) are not connected, but it seems like they have to be and if you are looking for a mechanism to explain a lag in response …

  51. Let me see who is mentioned in the wind report:
    The new study “demonstrates, rather conclusively in my mind, that average and peak wind speeds have decreased over the U.S. in recent decades,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University.
    A naysayer is Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist in New York who said the results conflict with climate models that show no effect from global warming. He also doubts that any decline in the winds that might be occurring has much of an effect on wind power.
    But another expert, Jonathan Miles, of James Madison University, said a 10 percent reduction in wind speeds over a decade “would have an enormous effect on power production.”
    Pryor said a 10 percent change in peak winds would translate into a 30 percent change in how much energy is reaped. But because the research is in such early stages, she said, “at this point it would be premature to modify wind energy development plans.”

    Evidently the AGW folks are of differing opinions. BTW a 10% reduction of wind speed does translate into about a 30% loss of power.

  52. Well Anthony …
    If we figure in the 2-8 year lag that is postulated to exists between solar effects and temperature, I’d say that we have quite a nice picture.
    Solare wind peaked in 1992 …. six years later, we had the super el nino. The solar wind has been decreasing since 1992 .. temp has been decreasing as well. throw in some hypothetical threshold points, and you have a nice hypothetical argument.
    😀

  53. rbateman (22:06:53) :
    What did happen prior to 1990:
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/ret_14618.gif

    In looking at this chart, it would be hard to discern a repeatable pattern in FP per solar cycle. But if I can go out on a limb here — knowing that Leif might well have a saw to cut it off with — what jumps out at me is the strong FP every other solar cycle, i.e. SC20 and SC22, as compared to SC21 and SC23. Could this be evidence — and I know inference is weak with just four cycles to look at, but maybe Leif could posit a physical explanation — for the bidecadal signal we see so often in climate variables?
    Leif has repeatedly scoffed at the notion of a peculiarly “Hale cycle” influence on climate, because nothing varies on a double sunspot cycle that does not vary the same on a single sunspot basis (according to Leif). Well, I can certainly see something different in the FP on a double sunspot basis, that I don’t see on a single sunspot basis. It reminds me, a bit, of the difference in the shapes of cosmic ray flux, between alternating cycles. Is it coincidence, or is there a physical connection, between the even numbered cycles — 20 and 22 — being “flat” peaked CR flux cycles, and 21 and 23 (the latter presumably, if we ever see CR flux begin to fall) being “sharply” peaked CR flux cycles, one the one hand, and the strong(er) FP in the even numbered cycles and weak(er) FP in the odd numbered cycles?
    Incidentally (before I get back to speculating on the sun-climate connection), I’m still waiting for CR flux to begin to show a definite downward trend. Leif says this usually happens about six months after the minimum. Well, Leif’s current candidate for the minimum is last November, so we should be seeing a downtrend by now, or at least soon. But the two sites I monitor, almost daily –Moscow and Oulu — show no sign of the downward trend having started yet. That may prove nothing more than how unusual, or weak, is this particular minimum. But even that would be worth noting.
    Back to the sun-climate connection, and a possible connection to bidecadal/double sunspot mechanism. When Anthony and I posted our paper on the bidecadal signal in temperature, Leif said it was just one more to add to about 2000 papers already showing such. Actually, that wasn’t quite so. There are only a handful of papers dealing with a bidecadal signal in global temperature data. The rest of the “2000” papers chronicle evidence of bidecadal climate variation in other metrics, such as rainfall, sea or lake levels, proxies such as tree rings and varves, etc. But instead of dismissing all this evidence because we do not — supposedly — have a physical explanation for a double sunspot influence on climate, I would say that all this evidence suggests that we just haven’t found it, and should be looking for it.
    Which is why anything I see in solar metrics that appears to vary every other solar cycle, like the shape of the CR flux, or now the spiking of FP, stands out to me.
    As for the evidence of a sun-solar link in global temperatures, when Leif was discussing what Anthony and I posted on this, he suggested a “Chree Analysis.” So I did one. It looks like this:
    http://i43.tinypic.com/qoxhkm.jpg
    There is a noticeable difference between even and odd solar cycles and the rate of change in temperature, especially since solar cycle 17. The warming rate increases noticeably in conjunction with the peak of odd numbered cycles, and falls off sharply after the peak. This pattern is not evident with the even numbered cycles. Is there a “Hale cycle” pattern to FP that might go along with this?
    I’ll end by repeating what rbateman said: “I do my best to describe what I see, but I can’t do the detailed analysis that others can. Paint me curious.” I see evidence of a bidecadal (every other solar cycle) influence of the sun on climate in the temperate data. Will a “detailed analysis” of variations in FP eventually prove to be part of the explanation for this phenomenon?

  54. I read the entire NASA article http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/23sep_solarwind.htm
    One thing that stood out was the statement in response to the question “How unusual is this event?”.
    The NASA scientist Arik Posner responded:
    “It’s hard to say. We’ve only been monitoring solar wind since the early years of the Space Age—from the early 60s to the present,” says Posner. “Over that period of time, it’s unique. How the event stands out over centuries or millennia, however, is anybody’s guess. We don’t have data going back that far.”
    Juxtapose this with the politics of the arctic sea ice. We’ve only been measuring the sea ice extent since the 70’s (shorter amount of time than the solar wind). But, people are so ready and eager to make grand proclamations about how the recent sea ice minimums are not only unique based on 30 years of measurements out of earth’s 4.5 billion year history, but that the minimums are 100% without question due to human activity. As if somehow, the initial ice-extent measurements were the longstanding nominal from the beginning of time.

  55. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    6) It is a pity that the best science blog carries this worthless piece. The host or moderators should vet stuff from Archibald before stepping in it.

    Consider:
    1. The volume of your input to this blog is highly positively correlated with the absurdity of the postings. You rarely, if ever, post “Good Piece”.
    2. The more you post, the more we learn.
    3. Often, these threads stretch forever and WUWT gets exposure.
    Perhaps this is Anthony’s strategy.

  56. Thanks Leif for your input. My initial post to this blog was stated in the null. A very good thing to do in these times of straw grasping. Question: Is there also interstellar wind? Does this mix with solar wind? Or are the two (if indeed the other exists) separate issues?

  57. Leif has said that it is strange that the Solar Wind Force is low at this time of Solar
    Minimum, when it should normaly be high. As we are now starting SC24, and it
    could go even lower ?
    What is the theoretical lowest it could go ? Even if it stays round about the same it
    looks as if we are in for an extended period of low Solar Wind.
    What are the implications of that ? anyone know ?
    Should I invest in a good overcoat ?

  58. @ Ron de Haan (01:02:48) :
    “I did not write the article but thanks for the comments.
    I have copied the article directly from the link and published the link with it.
    I think the remarks come from Piers Corbijn.”
    Well be careful what you copy and paste, because that article is crap.

  59. Bruckner8 (22:05:12) :
    ,,<<Obama has to push his GW policies through NOW, so that when the cooling is OFFICIALLY recognized, it will be attributed to his policies.<<<
    His policies of unemployment and closing factories reduce carbon consumption. More taxes will cause more layoffs and less driving. We could preemptively strike out forests, take out the logs and prevent forest fires.

  60. Benjamin P.:

    Well be careful what you copy and paste, because that article is crap.

    Care to explain exactly why? Or are we, like, supposed to take your word for it?

  61. Leif Svalgaard (20:55:58) :
    Benjamin P. (07:18:34) :
    Never a dull moment on WUWT! Excellent stuff!

  62. Bill Yarber (05:19:09) :
    Has anyone suggested or tried to take existing climate computer models, double the coefficient(s) on the solar factor(s) and halve the coefficient on the CO2 factor in one of those models, and see if they get better results and a more reasonable forecast for future climate in the 21st century?

    Good idea Bill. Now we just need David Hathaway to tell us what the next seven solar cycles are going to do…..
    Oh, wait a minute.

  63. Leif. I, like Anthony, appreciate your input, but please stop the personal attacks. Science will win in the end. I like the data since the 1960s, but wonder about proxy data from 1890. ” Proxy”, to me, brings to mind Mann, Steig, etc. IMHO, the observed data from the 1960s forward, indicate something a little unusual is happening. The general tenor of your remarks, ISTM, has been that the Sun never changes, in any meaningful way. Ever. That may not be accurate, but that is the impression i get. Is it possible the Sun changes in ways we are unaware of and/or can not measure? fm

  64. What is enjoyable to see is rational people trying to explain real physical world events. David and Lief going at it. Tallbloke and Rbateman chiming in. Steven Goddard starting the party. Certainly the science is not settled. Certainly Obama and Lisa are acting out of ignorance or worse. Thank you Anthony for the forum for all to speak.

  65. @ Smokey (07:28:07) :
    You can take my word for it 😛
    Seriously though, the claim that the solar wind has an influence on plate tectonics is absolute crap. As far as I can tell, what the author of that article is saying is when there is low solar activity, there is more tectonic activity and that tectonic activity leads to volcanism and hence dust and ash in the atmosphere and causes the cooling.
    As Leif pointed out, there is no data to support this claim. And not only is there no data, its not even plausible as a mechanism. Plate tectonics is driven by density. Density is controlled by temperature and composition of the materials involved, and its those differences that drive Plate Tectonics.
    When continental crust and oceanic crust met, they don’t just hang out and wait for the solar wind to blow (or not blow). The oceanic crust subducts under the continental crust because the oceanic crust is more dense.
    When older (colder) oceanic crust meets younger (warmer) oceanic crust, the older and colder crust subducts. It does not say hey there is no solar wind, time to subduct!
    So not only does he make a claim that is absurd, the author does not even bother to try and offer any data or evidence to support that claim.
    So yes Smokey, its a crappy article.

  66. How much data do we have on solar neutrino flux?
    I ask because solar neutrino flux ought to be proportional to the rate of energy generation from the nuclear reactions that make the sun shine. In a bit of googling I wasn’t able to find anything as simple as a chart of flux against time; is such a graphic available? If so, is it dense enough (enough measurements over the time period) to superimpose it on the solar-cycle graphs we see here?
    Regards,
    Ric

  67. Benjamin P. (08:01:49) :
    When older (colder) oceanic crust meets younger (warmer) oceanic crust, the older and colder crust subducts. It does not say hey there is no solar wind, time to subduct!
    Note that this is not always the case. Occasionally oceanic crust ‘obducts’ over continental crust. The resulting geological units are termed ‘ophiolite complexes’. Examples are the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus and the Trucial Range in Oman.
    But, like you, I’d take a heck of a lot of convincing that it was because of solar wind…

  68. As a part of research into possibility of a heliospheric feedback I’ve looked into relationship between the solar wind ( ‘interplanetary solar current’) and the Sun’s polar magnetic fields. Polar fields act as a lens focusing SW towards solar equatorial plane. This can be clearly seen from this graph
    http://www.geocities.com/vukcevicu/SWvsPF.gif
    Number of other factors are involved, but relationship between the strength of polar fields and the Solar wind pressure appear to be a significant one.
    To say that the solar wind pressure is trendless is at best misleading.

  69. Dr. Svalgaard,
    I really appreciate your objective stance with all of the data presented on this site and on solarcycle24 (the only two sun-and-space-weather-global-warming-blogs-with-comments that I reguarly visit). I can’t figure out why there is such a tendency to run to one corner or the other of the debate. I think it is the fear of the impending economy destroying cap-and-tax that we’re looking for anything to help with our battle against the federal behemoth.
    I think the real question is: based upon the sun’s spot count, magnetic index, speed, and wind pressue are you investing in wheat futures?

  70. speaking of wind, Seth Boringtheme has a new article out about wind slowing across the US….how’s that going to affect the rush to wind power?
    New study in U.S. suggests wind is noticably slowing
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6468341.html
    here was a real laugher in the article….
    Even so, that information doesn’t provide the definitive proof that science requires to connect reduced wind speeds to global warming, the authors said. In climate change science, there is a rigorous and specific method — which looks at all possible causes and charts their specific effects — to attribute an effect to global warming. That should be done eventually with wind, scientists say.

  71. @Jimmy Haigh (08:24:39) :
    Yes. I gave a VERY simplified view of plate tectonics and crustal interactions.
    Its funny you should mention ophiolites because I was hanging out on an ophiolite complex just the other day. I told my friends I was looking at sheeted dykes.
    Oh the puns in geology can not be taken for granite.

  72. [i]Basil (06:36:20) :
    rbateman (22:06:53) :
    What did happen prior to 1990:
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/ret_14618.gif
    In looking at this chart, it would be hard to discern a repeatable pattern in FP per solar cycle. But if I can go out on a limb here — knowing that Leif might well have a saw to cut it off with — what jumps out at me is the strong FP every other solar cycle, i.e. SC20 and SC22, as compared to SC21 and SC23. Could this be evidence — and I know inference is weak with just four cycles to look at, but maybe Leif could posit a physical explanation — for the bidecadal signal we see so often in climate variables? [/i]

    So, then stop trying to make anything – any proxy or any solar wind or solar loop current or cosmic ray intensity or any other relationship – match any single (half-cycle) solar/sunspot 11 year cycle.
    Simply stop looking at the sunspot count as anything but HALF the solar cycle. Choose a “positive” and “negative” solar cycle axis; odd cycle numbers are “positive” and even cycle numbers are “negative” for example. THEN plot all of the other relationships and proxies back on the time axis and look for corelations. Not causes neccesarily, but simple co-relationships at first.
    Instead of sudden positive peaks of simple sunspot counts, this method allows you to compare the solar cycle to an IRREGULAR generator creating an IRREGULAR alternating current (AC) on an up and down cycle that is NOT purely symmetric NOR purely repetitive on a 22 year basis, but instead one that mimics real life.
    Then see where the relationships lead you. Don’t try to MAKE the real universe match some arbitrary but pretty 22.6 year neatly periodic function just because it is easy to calculate. FORCE your theory of causes to match a real-world and down cycle that only “sort of” repeats itself.

  73. Although the structure of the OMNI2 record is complicated, the sharp spike and exponential decline at the beginning of the 90’s really stand out . The spike coincides with the abrupt rise in surface temperatures above long-term means in much of the world.

  74. The Sun really is blank of “Observable Sunpots” for the last 2 days.
    1.) Only SOHO could image them.
    2.) Only Catania could draw them.
    Because:
    1.) SOHO is unmanned and therefore cannot draw sunpots.
    2.) Catania is not out beyond the Earth’s Atmosphere where it can image the sunspots @ a FWHM of less than 1. Only Hubble and SOHO have diffraction limited images.

  75. David Archibald (00:41:05) :
    It is very likely that my introductory statement has an error in fact. It seems that the solar wind plasma flow (and I can rely upon Dr Svalgaard to correct me if I am wrong) doesn’t have much to do with the GCR flux, which is best anti-correlated with the IMF.
    It was once [40 years ago] thought as obvious [“what else can it be” – rings a bell?] that the solar wind plasma flow controlled CGRs. In retrospect it is obvious that it does not, like a riffle bullet passing through a swarm of bees is not influenced much by the bees. The correct [AFAIK] explanation of the solar modulation of GCRs is that solar rotation causes solar wind parcels of different speed to be emitted in the same direction, with the result that fast wind slams into slow wind and the frozen-in magnetic field gets tangled and magnified by the turbulent ‘interaction region’ that develops as a result. Tangled magnetic fields scatter incoming GCRs so some of them will be scattered back out again. These are some very small additional effects that have to do with carged particles [CGRs] dricting in magnetic fields, but these are minor [but do f.ex. explain the curious alternations of peaked and flat variations at solar minima].
    However, Dr Svalgaard states that it is strange that the solar wind flow pressure is declining into solar minimum instead of rising
    The Voyager spacecrafts also measure the flow pressure, and here is a plot of all data since 1977 http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Wind-Dynamic-Pressure-Voyager.png
    The drop at the right-hand edge is caused by the spacecraft passinf through the termination shock and should not enter the discussion. what you see is the same pattern as observed before [either directly or by proxy], namely a minimum at solar maximum and an upward bump between max and min. So the Voyager data does not show any anomaly [although not covering the last two years]. So, it is not clear what to conclude. Perhaps that it matters where we are in latitude and the decline is only an equatorial effect, rather than a global one, which would make it a lot less interesting. Ulysses also found a some [small] diference between equator and polar flows.
    Alex (01:22:47) :
    Very interesting graphs there… Has the Ap Index plot been updated for May 2009? Are the values still around 2-4?
    It never was down to 2. These numbers were errors in what NOAA spews out. The lowest [monthly mean] Ap has ever been is 3.9 and that was for May 2009, but beware that Ap falls 25% going from March to June because of a geometric effect that has to do with the Earth and not the Sun.
    ralph ellis (03:52:56) :
    In layman’s terms (in comparison to luminosity), how much energy is the solar wind delivering to the Earth?
    0.02 W/m2 impacts the magnetosphere, but of that only a small fraction ~0.1 is ‘extracted’ by the Earth, so we are talking about 0.002 W/m2 compared to 1361 W/m2 from luminosity, so of the order of 0.00001 parts of the luminosity [TSI].
    tallbloke (04:18:38) :
    whether this correlates with your hypothesis that the reduction in pressure of the solar wind being due to it emanating over a broader angle and the relationship between that and polar field strength.
    It would seem that way.
    gary gulrud (04:31:45) :
    “It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV.”
    Kinetic energy.

    Which is the only energy they have
    “the force that is pushing the galactic cosmic rays out from the inner planets of the solar system”
    Cosmic rays are only partially charged particles.

    They are ALL charged.
    Basil (06:36:20) :
    In looking at this chart, it would be hard to discern a repeatable pattern in FP per solar cycle.
    It becomes clearer with many more cycles
    Could this be evidence — and I know inference is weak with just four cycles to look at, but maybe Leif could posit a physical explanation — for the bidecadal signal we see so often in climate variables?
    See above
    is there a physical connection, between the even numbered cycles — 20 and 22 — being “flat” peaked CR flux cycles, and 21 and 23 (the latter presumably
    Yes, this is no coincidence.l There is a good physical explanation for this, which has nothing per se to do with the sun, but with how cosmic rays drift in the heliospheric magnetic field [that reverses polarity every solar maimum].
    Leif says this usually happens about six months after the minimum.
    6-12 months. It takes 12 month for the solar wind to reach the termination shock, but we would expect some effect a bit before that [hence the 6 months]
    he suggested a “Chree Analysis.” So I did one. It looks like this: http://i43.tinypic.com/qoxhkm.jpg
    A Chree analysis should not be done on heavily smoothed data [as this seems to be]. Have a data point for each month and calculate the standard error on the data points for each month from the standard deviation divided by the square root of number of cases [minus 1]. Then show again. And keep looking. Although, I get uneasy when you claim effects of a thousandth of a degree.
    Tim Clark (06:46:29) :
    1. The volume of your input to this blog is highly positively correlated with the absurdity of the postings. You rarely, if ever, post “Good Piece”.
    2. The more you post, the more we learn.

    There are so many bad pieces… 🙂
    I feel compelled to post if something is stated that is either not correct [ASAIK] or seems to be aimed at misleading because of agenda pushing.
    Pamela Gray (07:05:41) :
    Is there also interstellar wind? Does this mix with solar wind? Or are the two (if indeed the other exists) separate issues?
    There is a stellar wind, or rather an iterstellar medium through which the solar system moves creating a wind like you would feel if sticking your hand out the open window of a fast-moving car.
    The two winds do not mix as the solar wind is the dominant within the solar system and pushes the interstellar wind away. A small exception is interstellar neutral atoms, molecules, or dust grains. Those can and do penetrate into the solar system, but can then become charged by collisons with solar wind ion. Once they are charged, they are again swept out.
    Ken Sharples (07:13:42) :
    Leif has said that it is strange that the Solar Wind Force is low at this time of Solar Minimum, when it should normaly be high.
    Yes, but see the Voyager data I referred to.
    As we are now starting SC24, and it could go even lower ?
    What is the theoretical lowest it could go ?

    The solar wind speed cannot [and does not] go below ~254 km/sec as otherwise it could not escape the Sun. The escape velocty of 625 km/sec you may see elsewhere is at the surface of the Sun, but the solar wind escapes from high in the corona and the escape velocity [and gravity] falls off with distance.
    Benjamin P. (07:18:34) :
    Well be careful what you copy and paste, because that article is crap.
    I agree
    Frank Mosher (07:48:51) :
    Leif. I, like Anthony, appreciate your input, but please stop the personal attacks.
    I think I attack the posting and not the person. Hereby a personal apology to anybody if they feel they have been attacked because I have said their posting are substandard or wrong. That still does not make their postings any better and I’ll not stop pointing out such.
    I like the data since the 1960s, but wonder about proxy data from 1890. ” Proxy”, to me, brings to mind Mann, Steig, etc.
    Many proxies are good. They are just measurements by other means. We can measure the solar wind by sending out a spacecraft, but we can also use the big spacecraft we are riding on as a measuring device. That was what ‘proxies’ meant in my posting. And we are learning that these proxies are good, because we have figured out how the interaction works and can accurately calibrate that big measuring device: the Earth.
    Is it possible the Sun changes in ways we are unaware of and/or can not measure?
    The sun does change, and I do not disagree with that [in fact, that is the whole subject of my research]. My statement is that these changes are often smaller than previously thought and that they are much too small to have any significant climate effect.
    Ric Locke (08:07:19) :
    How much data do we have on solar neutrino flux?
    If so, is it dense enough (enough measurements over the time period) to superimpose it on the solar-cycle graphs we see here?

    There are some data on that, and no lack of strange claims, but nothing that has been convincing enough to be taken seriously. The latter is, of course, not an obstacle for being discussed in these pages…
    Jack Ketch (08:37:48) :
    I think the real question is: based upon the sun’s spot count, magnetic index, speed, and wind pressue are you investing in wheat futures?
    No, I wouldn’t waste my money on that.

  76. RACookPE1978 (09:30:35) :
    Simply stop looking at the sunspot count as anything but HALF the solar cycle. Choose a “positive” and “negative” solar cycle axis; odd cycle numbers are “positive” and even cycle numbers are “negative” for example.
    This is an old idea and must be rejected simply on the fact that solar cycles overlap significantly. So giving counts from one cycle a sign different from that of the overlapping cycle would simply cancel out both counts and we would think there was no activity at all.

  77. Leif. Many, many thanks for your response. I think i speak for everyone when i say we truly appreciate your input. fm

  78. Sometime ago I read that the earth’s magnetic field was also slowly weakening.
    Anyone know if this weakening has continued, and hve any ideas of the effects of a weakening of the earth/sun magnetic coupling could have on climate?

  79. Anthony, I have done a bit of a background search on David Archibald after his recent prediction which was merely 4.5 degrees off, and now the well-respected Leif Svalgaard’s comments on this article.
    My question to you: Is being anti-AGW theory the sole criterium of having your articles placed here? Are there any AGW sceptics out there whose articles you wouldn’t place on this blog? If so, who are they?

  80. “Which is the only energy they have”
    Actually the distinction between mc^2 and 1/2mv^2 is pertinent in light of current weak magnetic fields(HCS and geomagnetic) and compact Ionosphere(paucity of UV).
    SCR electrons, despite lower velocity, reach further to lower latitudes. By the same token, higher mass SCR protons and alpha particles potentially nucleate minima-correlated noctilucent clouds now visible in Ireland.
    GCRs entering as gamma rays also nucleate clouds at lower levels via their charged interaction products.
    Granted increases in Mesospheric H20 may play a part.

  81. Tenuc (10:56:22) :
    the earth’s magnetic field was also slowly weakening.
    Anyone know if this weakening has continued, and hve any ideas of the effects of a weakening of the earth/sun magnetic coupling could have on climate?

    The Earth’s field has indeed decrease some 20% the last 3 centuries and is decreasing faster now. It may reverse in a few hundred years. A weakening of the Earth’s field increases the coupling to the solar wind and increases the conductivity of the ionosphere, none of which is likely to have much climate effects [unless you are a cosmic ray fan, as a weaker Earth magnetic field should increase the cosmic ray flux – although observations of radioactive nuclei produced by cosmic rays and deposited in ice cores show a slight decline of cosmic ray intensity over recent centuries, possibly because of a genuine decrease of the galactic flux in the solar neighborhood].
    Neven (12:18:43) :
    Archibald after his recent prediction which was merely 4.5 degrees off
    Being wrong is honorable unless you have an agenda. My problem with Archibald [which some people think translates into personal attacks] is that he presents his ideas as if they were gospel truths and extrapolates and characteristically and uncritically goes WAY beyond what the data justifies. Perhaps I should take a phrase from Margaret Thatcher’s phrasebook to avoid having my comments labeled as an attack: “The honorable Gentleman is speaking nonsense”. 🙂
    As I have mentioned before, humans [and I think almost any animal] have a tendency to believe false negatives because this has strong survival benefits [‘better be safe than sorry’]. The problem comes when crowd psychology takes over and we follow the doom sayers over the edge.

  82. Leif Svalgaard (12:53:27) :
    Neven (12:18:43) :
    “Archibald after his recent prediction which was merely 4.5 degrees off”
    Being wrong is honorable unless you have an agenda.

    I forgot to add that there is something ‘fishy’ or ‘strange’ about the flow pressure [or rather the density as the solar wind speed has not been extraordinarily low – in fact it was very high during the first half of 2008] being so low. This does not seem to be observed by Voyager, so may only be an effect near the solar equator, and as such deserves special attention. Archibald should be given credit for pointing this out here, but without all the other assertions and conjectures, although this is not a surprise as many scientists are well-aware of this. even the OMNI website cautions that there may be a problem with the data, but does not try to suggest a solution. the problem is that densities from 1971-1998 are based on [or calibrated to] the IMP-8 spacecraft which seems to have a different density calibration than other spacecraft. This whole thing may in the end just be a calibration problem, which, if so, would be disappointing as we all love strange an unusual stuff that doesn’t fit. Some discussion of the various problems can bve found here [warning: mucho mumbo-jumbo]:
    http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/html/omni2_doc.html#source

  83. gary gulrud (12:29:34) :
    “Which is the only energy they have”
    Actually the distinction between mc^2 and 1/2mv^2 is pertinent in light of current weak magnetic fields(HCS and geomagnetic) and compact Ionosphere(paucity of UV).

    “The honorable Gentleman is speaking nonsense”. The kinetic energy of the CRs is given by the fully relativistic formula
    Ek = mc^2((1-(v/c)^2)^(-1/2)-1) which approaches infinity as v approaches c and has nothing to do with HCS or the ionosphere.

  84. “Leif Svalgaard (10:12:10) :
    This is an old idea and must be rejected simply on the fact that solar cycles overlap significantly. So giving counts from one cycle a sign different from that of the overlapping cycle would simply cancel out both counts and we would think there was no activity at all.”
    —-
    Am I allowed to disagree? 8<)
    If the sunspots (from an odd or even cycle) overlap on a time axis, so much the BETTER.
    If and when they overlap – and it is an unknown "if" (at least right now (hint, hint)) – knowing which "direction" each sunspot was sourced from "might" (or might not) tell us something about the 22-some-odd year changing sunspot cycle that we don't know now. Including skipped cycles (where opposing cycles cancel each other somehow), overlapping cycles (high intensities?) and the differences between the intervals between cycles.
    Now, unraveling past sunspot cycles that overlapped with another earlier or later cycle might be difficult, might be easy – depends on what written (sketched) observations we have. But one can try.
    On the other hand, if you don't look, you won't find anything other than what you already know you want to see. Or don't want to see. 8<)

  85. Slightly OT
    I notice the SSN has been sitting at 12 for the last 2 days. I’ve viewed every Soho image (MDI) and I can’t see one anywhere. Except the dead pixel, have I missed something?

  86. RACookPE1978 (13:34:25) :
    Am I allowed to disagree? 8<)
    Of course, if you then are willing to learn more about where you disagree.
    If the sunspots (from an odd or even cycle) overlap on a time axis, so much the BETTER.
    Please explain that in detail [that befits CAPITAL letters]
    If and when they overlap – and it is an unknown “if” (at least right now (hint, hint))
    This is not an if as it has been known for centuries that they overlap. A good representation of the overlap can be seen on page 7 of http://www.leif.org/research/Most%20Recent%20IMF,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf where each cycle is given a different color. On page 7 you can see the current minimum in more detail.
    that we don’t know now. Including skipped cycles (where opposing cycles cancel each other somehow), overlapping cycles (high intensities?) and the differences between the intervals between cycles.
    We have measured the polarities directly for a hundred years.
    On the other hand, if you don’t look, you won’t find anything other than what you already know you want to see. Or don’t want to see. 8<)
    Oh, we look, but we also apply a bit of reason, common sense, and wonder [just in case something extraordinary happens].

  87. Dr. Svalgaard
    Leif Svalgaard (13:24:12)
    The kinetic energy of the CRs is given by the fully relativistic formula
    Ek = mc^2((1-(v/c)^2)^(-1/2)-1)
    Using the formula for relativistic kinetic energy
    assuming fast solar wind in corona of 600km/s
    Kinetic energy of proton would be 3*10E-16 Joules
    Kinetic energy of electron would be 1.6*E-19 Joules
    and corona density (somewhere in the middle) of 1*10E-12 kg/m3
    this would give 6*10E14 protons/m3 (neglecting electrons mass ~2000 smaller)
    If it is assumed that corona temperature for that particular region is 1*10E6
    assuming specific heat for proton is same as for hydrogen 1.43*10E-2
    in a collision between proton and electron
    to raise temperature by 1K of 1m3 of corona it is needed energy of 1.43*10E-14 J
    for 1*10E6 K it is required 1.43*10E-8 J
    If amount of kinetic energy loss to heat is equally shared between proton and electron assuming balanced numbers, and electron retains 1/2 of its energy
    then number of collisions required is 4.36*10E4/m3
    Since number of protons is calculated to be 6*10E14 protons/m3
    then only small fraction of 7.3*10E-11 or 70 protons per 10,000,000,000 (70 per American 10 billion) have to be involved in such collisions to heat up corona to 1 million degree Kelvin.
    It is more than likely that there is one or more errors in my calculations but nevertheless principle is there.
    You may dispute possibility of proton electron collisions, but under a specific conditions that could happen in a strong magnetic field, which we may discuss elsewhere or at some other time.
    If you are tempted to redo calculations and change some of the assumptions I would like to see final (and properly calculated) result.

  88. I have had many a great laugh from this series and have learned an unimaginable amount about so many topics. I thank Leif for his dedication to his field (and many others closely associated) and his willingness — sometimes dedication — to teach us, even his peers, his knowledge about the sun. I am so grateful that few “incorrect” statements go unanswered and those about which there is strong disagreement, well, we can do the lady(ish?) and gentlemanly thing by agreeing to disagree. Even though a non-scientist (but someone who has loved science forever), I now have folders of great post-graduate seminar material on solar physics (and assorted other topics). Fools will not be suffered gladly on wuwt. And that is good news from my perspective; forget vinegar and honey; leave in the respect.
    One other contribution of Leif’s that I think is more important than we may understand at this moment is: If we can get off this fixation with the sun or the sun’s spots or whatever as THE CAUSE of Earth’s climate changes, we can turn more attention to the interaction of oceans, atmosphere, earth’s typography and plate tectonics, winds, large ocean and atmospheric waves, modern milankovitch cycles, and many more actors with the insolation (do I have the term right?) from the sun. What drives what when?
    IMO, our biggest thinking task is learning to adjust to cold, inventing ways to prevent glaciers and ice sheets from growing “too large”, and developing crops/trees/grasses that will grow in cooler climes. Worry about melting Arctice sea ice!?!? We worry about the Little Ice Age (Maunder Minimum in sun spots) and the Dalton Minimum (compared to today and our lazy sun) when these were just little blips down in temperature compared to the big picture. It blows my mind everytime I notice that we are in a brief, slightly warm lull in an ice age. The science of climate has many larger issues with which to grapple. Anthropogenic global warming, indeed. Bring it on.

  89. M. Simon (06:12:05) :
    It is not only the solar wind that is reduced. Wind in the USA is declining.
    The culprit of course? Global Warming. We are doomed.

    It’s another Mannistic Hockey Stick… Winds are well, we are not so well… 🙂

  90. I did, a while back, for my own entertainment, a back-of-envelope calculation of how much energy was being dumped on the Earth by the Solar Wind. It turned out to be not much; rather like the Not Much due to TSI variation, or Magnetic variation, or Cosmic Ray variation.
    However, I begin to think that these several “not muches” add up to a great deal, especially when their possible impact on Albedo – which really does not take much change to have a Big Impact on received Solar Output.
    We must spend more effort studying the Sun and the Solar-Earth interaction and the Earth’s Albedo.

  91. vukcevic (15:26:45) :
    “The kinetic energy of the CRs is given by the fully relativistic formula Ek = mc^2((1-(v/c)^2)^(-1/2)-1)”
    Using the formula for relativistic kinetic energy
    assuming fast solar wind in corona of 600km/s
    Kinetic energy of proton would be 3*10E-16 Joules

    For v much smaller than c, the formula reduces to:
    Ek = mc^2(1+v^2/c^2/2-1) = mc^2(v^2/c^2/2) = mv^2/2 (or classical formula) which for m = 1.7E-27 kg and v = 600,000 m/s = 6E5 gives Ek = 3E-16 J. No need to complicate it with relativistic formula.
    For the rest, many of the conditions you invoke do not apply, e.g. the specific heat. Instead of me spending many pages on explaining this I’ll refer you to http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/open?pubNo=lrsp-2006-1&page=articlesu17.html and surrounding text. Collisions are indeed rare in the corona: typically a proton travels 1000 km before colliding with another particle. The proton-electron collision is a red herring. See in particular the following sections:
    3.4 The failure to heat chromosphere or corona by collisions
    4.3 Breakdown of classical electron transport in the corona
    6.9 Plasma heating (cooling) by wave absorption (emission)

  92. Pamela Gray @20:32:24,
    I agree with you. Current Solar activity is business as usual, over long periods of time; it is quite unusuial for the past 100 years – the period over which man-kind has supposedly affected climate.
    Perhaps the tides are turning, Mr. Canute. 🙂

  93. Robert Wood (16:52:39) :
    However, I begin to think that these several “not muches” add up to a great deal, especially when their possible impact on Albedo
    Several ‘nor muches’ still ain’t much. The albedo is the most important parameter in the climate business, but is, of course, a chicken/egg question as the albedo regulates climate which in turn determines the albedo. The various attempts to explain albedo variations from extraterrestrial causes have not been convincing.

  94. vukcevic (15:26:45) :
    In case you don’t want to wade through that highly technical paper [and it must be so, this ain’t easy], I’ll quote an importnat passage:
    “Kinetic processes prevail in the solar corona and solar wind. Since the plasma is tenuous, multi-component, non-uniform, and mostly not at LTE (Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium) or collisional equilibrium conditions, multi-fluid theories or kinetic physics are required for an adequate description of many coronal and solar wind phenomena. The coronal plasma is stratified and turbulent, and strongly driven by the underlying photospheric magnetoconvection, which is continuously pushing around the magnetic field lines reaching out into the corona. Thus the field contains ample free energy for driving plasma macro- and micro-instabilities. Consequently, magnetohydrodynamic as well as kinetic plasma waves and associated wave-particle interactions are expected to play a major role.
    Certainly, Coulomb collisions also matter, which are kinetically described by the Fokker–Planck operator (see, e.g., Montgomery and Tidman, 1964). However, excitation, scattering and absorption of waves, either of fluid or kinetic type, will dominate over collision effects. The consequences for the velocity distribution function (VDFs) are often described by a quasilinear diffusion operator involving the wave spectra. The key problem then is to understand the transport properties of the weakly collisional corona (and solar wind), which requires consideration of multiple scales, spatial non-uniformity and most likely also temporal variability.
    The solar wind consists of electrons, protons, alpha particles and heavy ions. Kinetic plasma physics deals with their collective behaviour as a statistical ensemble. Space-borne particle spectrometers enable us to measure the composition and three-dimensional velocity distribution functions (VDFs) of the particles. The Vlasov/Boltzmann kinetic plasma theory provides the adequate means for their theoretical description. Key issues of kinetic physics are to address the coronal origin and acceleration of the wind and the spatial and temporal evolution of the particles’ VDFs. They are shaped through the forces of the Sun’s gravitational field, the average-macroscale and fluctuating-mesoscale electric and magnetic fields of interplanetary space, and through multiple microscale kinetic processes like binary Coulomb collisions and collective wave-particle interactions. Although, coronal expansion is irreversible, the solar wind microstate carries distinct information about the coronal plasma state in the source region, and thus in situ measurements allow for inferences and provide a kind of remote-sensing diagnosis of the coronal plasma.”

  95. Leif Svalgaard @20:55:58
    I agree with your post mostly … but … we now have low solar (wind) pressure but it is at a solar minimum. There does appear to be several indicators of some kind of change in 2005.

  96. Leif Svalgaard @17:23:48
    The coronal plasma is stratified and turbulent,
    Please explain how it can be calm (stratified) and turbulent at the same time. Sorry, doesn’t work.
    As to the Albedo, it appears we borh agree this is THE MOST important factor for Earth’s climate. Yet it appears to be ignored, or assumed constant, by the AGWERS.l

  97. I’ve never read anything about this, but, obviously, the Sun must be ejecting as many electrons as positive charges, otherwise it would build up a ginormous electrostatic charge.

  98. I have wondered about the type of data we are getting from Voyager I & II leaving the solar system.
    Are either one of them far enough out yet to get a reading on the local Galactic conditions free from the influence of the Sun?
    Your comment Leif: “possibly because of a genuine decrease of the galactic flux in the solar neighborhood” make me wonder if we are in a position to follow which way those conditons are moving…up or down.

  99. Robert Wood (18:08:59) :
    That change began shortly after 1991.
    Coincident to L&P’s finding.
    They both stand independent of the Solar Cycles.
    Do they have a common cause?
    Are they related?
    Does one cause the other, and if so, which one?
    Why these two things, and not three or four?

  100. This is what I have been thinking and suspecting for a while now: some of the things that affect Earth, its climate, and the space we live in have such long cycles that at best our data sets have a “snapshot” view of them, even if they go back for 40 or 50 years. For example: this July 4th, America will be 233 years old. If in 1776 we’d had satellites up in space, and the science to support them, we’d have 20 cycles worth of top-notch data. That sounds impressive, and on one scale would be helpful, but over the life cycle of a star that is billions of years old (and still has a few billion to go) even that is not all too impressive. Or take the PDO (please!) which has a cycle of 20-30 years. Average 25 for that and you have 4 cycles in a century. So in that we’d have 9 cycles of top-notch data if your science in 1776 could compare to now. Again though, nine cycles out of how many thousands of years that it has been around doing its thing while humanity thought it had accomplished something by stacking stones on top of each other in something we call the Pyramids. Makes one reconsider things.

  101. Here is an interesting plot:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Alfvenic-Mach-Number.png
    Just as for sound waves in air, there is a concept of ‘supersonic’ flow [an airplane going at Mach 2, for instance] in the solar wind as well. The speed with with hydrodynamic waves can propagate is called the Alfven speed [after Hannes Alfven who first figured this out]. In the solar wind this speed is about 40 km/s. Since the solar wind is moving at 400 km/s which is 10 times the Alfven speed we can say that its Alfvenic Mach number MA is 400/40 = 10. With the units commonly used in solar wind studies MA can be computed from MA = V * sqrt(n) / (20 * B), with speed V in km/sec, n density in protons per cubic centimeter, and magnetic B in nanoTesla, and is shown in the Figure as the pink curve. As these parameters vary over time and with the solar cycle, the Alfvenic Mach number, MA, will also as shown in the Figure. You can see a clear solar cycle variation, with MA being lowest at solar maximum and largest at solar minimum. One can formalize this relationship as shown by the blue formula: MA = 10/[0.6595 + 0.0539 sqrt(Rz)], where Rz is the [Zurich] Sunspot Number. This relationship is derived from a least squares fit of the data before 2002. The fit during 1993-1994 is less good because of large data gaps [70% of the data missing – due to no satellite being in the solar wind at most of that time interval]. Using the relationship one can with good approximation calculate the Alfvenic Mach Number from the Sunspot number. We do that now for the whole period up tyo present, the blue curve continuing as would expect the observations to ‘cling’ to the blue curve just as the pink curve did. This is clearly not the case, the observation since 2002 being plotted in red and clearly falling below the expected values.
    Several hypotheses can now be made:
    1) the relationship somehow changed. This is unlikely as those things are fundamental plasma properties that eventually are derived from solar magnetism.
    2) since the observed values are too low, it could be that the magnetic field, B, is too high for some reason as it occurs in the denominator. The excellent agreement between B measured by spacecraft and that derived from geomagnetic activity argues against B being wrong.
    3) the solar wind speed V could be too low. The excellent agreement between V measured by spacecraft and that derived from geomagnetic activity argues against V being wrong.
    4) the density, n, [which determines the flow pressure – hence this comment being on topic] could be too low
    5) since the expected MA [blue line] depends on the sunspot number in the denominator, it will appear too large [hence the red curve too low] if the sunspot number is wrong [too low] from 2002 onwards
    6) something completely different or multiple errors just conspiring to fool us
    My assessment is that either (4) or (5) or both are the culprits. The good news is that we are beginning to understand the physics of all this to the point where we can demand that everything must fit, so such discrepancies become important clues rather than just annoying noise.

  102. Robert Wood (18:19:16) :
    “The coronal plasma is stratified and turbulent”
    Please explain how it can be calm (stratified) and turbulent at the same time. Sorry, doesn’t work.

    Does! because these two properties are on different length scales: ordered on large scales and turbulent on small scales, like a stormy sea seen from 40,000 ft.
    Robert Wood (18:25:21) :
    I’ve never read anything about this, but, obviously, the Sun must be ejecting as many electrons as positive charges, otherwise it would build up a ginormous electrostatic charge.
    Yes, this was realized as far back an in 1919 by Lindeman and was is still of fundamental importance: the solar wind is electrically neutral. One argument often used is that electrons are so much lighter than protons that they escape easier from the Sun. This process would set up what is known as a Pannekoek-Rossland electric field which would grow so strong as to pull the protons up too and thereby neutralize the field.
    rbateman (18:41:24) :
    I have wondered about the type of data we are getting from Voyager I & II leaving the solar system.
    Are either one of them far enough out yet to get a reading on the local Galactic conditions free from the influence of the Sun?

    I showed earlier a plot of the flow pressure from the Voyagers http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Wind-Dynamic-Pressure-Voyager.png and you can see that they observe the expected solar cycle variation [smallest pressure at solar max]. Also at the right the pressure after having left the heliosphere. But there is a large region outside the termination shock filled with ‘old’ solar wind so they are not yet in true interstellar medium and will not be so for another 50 years or so, at which time their reactors will have run down and we’ll have lost radio contact.
    Your comment Leif: “possibly because of a genuine decrease of the galactic flux in the solar neighborhood” make me wonder if we are in a position to follow which way those conditons are moving…up or down.
    The argument for a decrease is here: http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu/reprints/2007bieber.pdf and looks good to me.

  103. If I remember correctly, one of the theories regarding the trigger for ice ages is an upsurge in cosmic radiation increasing cloud cover. One counter argument was that there was no known causal factor for a cosmic ray increase that would account for the cyclical regularity seen in ice age periods. The data here makes me wonder; perhaps the cosmic ray theory was correct, but instead of an increase in cosmic rays, it was merely an increase in cosmic rays reaching Earth? We do know that the sun has cycles, though we’ve only seen shorter term ones. Could a decline in solar wind pressure by a cyclical event of roughly 100,000 years, and be the trigger for ice ages?
    Just some wild guesswork on my part.

  104. Leif Svalgaard (12:53:27) :
    “As I have mentioned before, humans [and I think almost any animal] have a tendency to believe false negatives because this has strong survival benefits [‘better be safe than sorry’]. The problem comes when crowd psychology takes over and we follow the doom sayers over the edge.”
    And that in a nutshell sums up the AGW movement perfectly IMHO.
    Nice one Leif!

  105. Dr. Svalgaard
    Thanks for the link, I will follow it up. I have seen number of papers considering heating by wave absorption.
    a) uncertainty about existence of waves of sufficient energy required
    b) energy transfer by wave absorption is proportional to the density, conflict with the corona’s temperature gradient.
    On unrelated topic, I have come across this:
    Average properties of the solar wind at 1 AU. (from ‘Introduction to space physics’ p.93 ch. 4.2 , Kivelson and Russell, 1995, Google books)
    Proton density = 6.6/cm3 , Electron density =7.1/cm3 .
    Since proton count (at various energy levels) varies on any time scale, are these values a reasonable long term representation (electron excess of approx 7.5% ) ?
    There is also a number for protons, but not for the electrons flux, if the speed is same would the electron flux be in the above proportion?
    Any other, more up to date, average numbers for average density or flux?
    Thanks.

  106. Leif:
    After reading the 2007 bieber pdf, the only thing I would consider is that both the detector temp and the increased hit rate in concert led to a higher rate of decline.
    I know that most electronics work much better at lower temps, and it the neutron detector is recording more, it’s degrading faster.
    A new tube would record at a greater rate at such low temps.
    It would get used up faster (as the paper seems to cover).
    Since tubes have been changed over time, that still wouldn’t make the entire record fall at the given rate, UNLESS… the replacement tubes were sitting down there under increased exposure even though not used.
    That’s the last piece I can think of. When are the replacement tubes made?
    At the same time as the 3 originals or on an as-needed basis? Where are they kept?
    I’m trying hard to take a bite out of the 8%, but I know you scientists are like the Silicon Valley Engineers… a rare day when one can out think them.

  107. CJ (23:38:40) :
    Or the Ice Ages are the result of an overwhelming of the Solar Wind etc by a cloud of concentrated GCR’s. Making a mess out of things and polluting the heck out of the Solar System which ionizes and drags a portion of the cloud with it. Smogs it up, but that should leave tattletale signs in the geologic record. As in there’s no such thing as a perfect crime.

  108. “But there is a large region outside the termination shock filled with ‘old’ solar wind so they are not yet in true interstellar medium and will not be so for another 50 years or so, at which time their reactors will have run down and we’ll have lost radio contact.”
    Wouldn’t you know it? Murphy’s Law prevents exiting the Stellar Medium in good order. Good project for an ion engine.

  109. From spaceweather.com, about Noctilucent clouds:
    “Even deeper hypnosis is in the offing. There is a well-known correlation between noctilucent clouds and the solar cycle: NLC activity tends to peak during years of solar minimum, possibly because low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the growth of ice crystals that make up the clouds. With a century-class solar minimum underway, the stage is set for NLCs.”

  110. “The honorable Gentleman is speaking nonsense”.
    The mass of protons is 1000 times that of electrons. Thus at a given velocity the kinetic energy of the former is 1000 times that of the latter.
    GCRs are not uniformly charged particles and the gamma rays comprising therefore are unaffected by magnetic interactions.
    The reduced depth of the atmosphere enhances the effect of both, even with the reduced velocity of solar wind.
    We have multiple effects of solar minimum working together to increase albedo.

  111. As has been pointed out numerous times, there seem to be both cooler temperatures and more earthquakes at times of solar minimums. And low-sunspot periods tend to be cooler. Right now, it’s a co-incidence. The big challenge is coming up with a physical theory that connects cause and effect, “without invoking phlogiston or aether”.
    Here goes. Although it may seem to tread perilously close to “the electric universe”, it’s actually 100% classical electricity and magnetism. However, it’ll probably still be labelled “a crank theory” for other reasons .
    We’ll start with the analogy of a hand-cranked electrical generator, with the usual magnetic field and armatures, etc. Turning the crank generates electricity, and over time the electricity ends up as heat (2nd law thermodynamics). Increasing the magnetic field in the generator means that you generate more electricity with each rotation… or the same cranking force will result in slower turning of the generator.
    A theory is pointless without making any verifiable predictions, so here goes…
    Theory… the earth can be considered as a magnet, with its own magnetic field, rotating in the sun’s magnetic field. As the sun’s magnetic field increases the electrical energy (which eventually “decays” to the form of heat) generated by earth’s rotation increases. The sun’s magnetic field is generally higher when sunspot numbers are higher. This would explain the observed temperature cycle…
    Prediction 1)
    stronger solar magnetic field (usually associated with more sunspots) => more electricity generated by earth’s rotation => more heat => higher temperatures
    weaker solar magnetic field (usually associated with fewer sunspots) => less electricity generated by earth’s rotation => less heat => lower temperatures
    Prediction 2)
    stronger solar magnetic field (usually associated with more sunspots) => stronger resistance to cranking (earth’s rotation) => earth’s rotation is slowed down more
    weaker solar magnetic field (usually associated with fewer sunspots) => weaker resistance to cranking (earth’s rotation) => earth is slowed down less => this release of braking of earth’s rotation results in small release of tensions along faultlines, resulting in more earth quakes.
    Note that I am *NOT* saying that sunspots cause anything. I’m saying that it’s magnetic fields. Sunspots are a co-dependant variable to magnetic fields. A major test of prediction 2 is to check the slowdown of earth’s rotation versus observed solar magnetic field (*NOT* sunspot numbers). I’m not talking about the macro-level of leap-seconds, but more like milliseconds.
    Leif; are such detailed observations of earth’s rotation kept anywhere?

  112. From what I have learned, the major ice ages are a completely different story from what is being discussed here, and are a function of changes in the orbit of the earth from more circular to more eliptical. I have the impression that these changes are in turn caused by gravitational influences of the other planets.
    Also entering into this are regular changes in the tilt of the earth’s axis, and the whole thing is aggravated by the earth’s continental imbalance north to south and the question of which pole is closer to the sun as the distance from the sun varies.
    It gets to the point where snow does not melt as much in the summer, reflects the heat, and there is a feedback effect all around bringing on the ice age.
    Now certainly it is possible for the effects of a solar minimum to trigger an ice age, but this would not be the same as causing one, only a question of the timing.

  113. Walter Dnes (04:56:14) I have been searching my files for an article regarding earth’s rotation rate. All the Google stuff seems to be focusing on the the rate slowing in geologic terms. The article I filed says that it is increasing in the past couple of decades, by virtue of fewer seconds added to the atomic clock. NIST may have this data, but I can’t find it quickly. One implication of the rotation rate increase is more mass being stored at the poles, ie. ice.

  114. gary gulrud (04:30:05) :
    The mass of protons is 1000 times that of electrons. Thus at a given velocity the kinetic energy of the former is 1000 times that of the latter.
    1836 times. And the cosmic ray particles do not have the same energy or the same given velocity. There is a ‘spectrum’ of energies ranging up to 10^20th eV. The electron spectrum peaks at 10^10th eV.
    GCRs are not uniformly charged particles and the gamma rays comprising therefore are unaffected by magnetic interactions.
    All GCRs are charged particles. I don’t know what a non-uniform charge is. And gamma rays are not GCRs. GCRs are particles, not photons. There are photons too in the Universe, but they are distinct from and are not considered cosmic rays.
    The reduced depth of the atmosphere enhances the effect of both, even with the reduced velocity of solar wind.
    The ‘stopping power’ depends on the number of air molecules in a column from the surface to ‘infinity’ and that number is constant for the Earth as a whole. Cosmic ray counts at any given location depends on the atmospheric pressure [=number of molecules overhead] and are routinely corrected for the varying pressure. In fact, the pressure variation can be as large than the solar cycle modulation. A cosmic ray counter is, in fact, a very good barometer.
    We have multiple effects of solar minimum working together to increase albedo.
    There is no evidence that cosmic rays changes the albedo. Whatever measurements we have of the Albedo do not show any solar cycle dependence.
    CJ (23:38:40) :
    Could a decline in solar wind pressure by a cyclical event of roughly 100,000 years, and be the trigger for ice ages?
    A common misconception is that the solar wind has a large influence on the cosmic rays. It does not. The solar modulation of cosmic rays is only a few percent. Take away the solar wind and the cosmic count would change only of the order of 5%, and even less for the higher energy ones that supposedly should have the biggest effect.
    vukcevic (01:41:27) :
    Since proton count (at various energy levels) varies on any time scale, are these values a reasonable long term representation (electron excess of approx 7.5% ) ?
    The solar wind is neutral [sigh]. Since ~4% of the solar wind is helium [with two electrons per nucleus], and thus not protons, the electron density would be 8% higher [as observed]. These numbers vary a bit with the solar cycle, but strict neutrality is conserved. There are not [and cannot be] electric currents in space other than those generated by particles drifting in magnetic fields [where the field changes sign and/or strength].
    The OMNI database is a good source for data. http://omniweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/
    rbateman (01:43:40) :
    After reading the 2007 bieber pdf, the only thing I would consider is that both the detector temp and the increased hit rate in concert led to a higher rate of decline….
    Bieber does a good job of discussing all known issues. I don’t know about the logistics of tubes etc, but I trust that Bieber has considered everything. Other people have reported a similar trend: http://www.leif.org/EOS/1999JA900385.pdf albeit smaller [as the trend is energy dependent and south Pole sees more of its share of low-energy GCRs].
    Walter Dnes (04:56:14) :
    As the sun’s magnetic field increases the electrical energy (which eventually “decays” to the form of heat) generated by earth’s rotation increases.
    This process does not occur. The Sun’s magnetic field does not interact like this with the Earth. Long story….
    are such detailed observations of earth’s rotation kept anywhere?
    http://geology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=geology&cdn=education&tm=13&f=00&su=p897.4.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http://www.iers.org/
    If that doesn’t work because of WordPress mutilation then the data is here: http://www.astro.oma.be/SBC/data.dat
    The table gives time, length of day and its time derivative after removal of atmospheric signal.
    More here: http://geology.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=geology&cdn=education&tm=13&f=00&su=p897.4.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http://www.iers.org/

  115. Walter Dnes (04:56:14) I think what you are looking for may be found through: The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS). The IERS calculates leap seconds. The IERS determines the rotation of the Earth. Data only exists from 1972 to the present. From 1972 thru 1998 (26 years) 21 leap seconds were added. From 1999 to the present (9 years) only 1 leap second has been added. This means since 1999 to the present the Earth’s rate of rotation has increased.

  116. “The ’stopping power’ depends on the number of air molecules in a column from the surface to ‘infinity’ and that number is constant for the Earth as a whole.”
    Beer’s again. Sorry Leif, re: Thermal or Particle Physics, your opinion is a matter of indifference to me.

  117. Walter Dnes (04:56:14) :
    As the sun’s magnetic field increases the electrical energy (which eventually “decays” to the form of heat) generated by earth’s rotation increases.
    This process does not occur. The Sun’s magnetic field does not interact like this with the Earth. Long story….

  118. gary gulrud (07:34:16) :
    “The ’stopping power’ depends on the number of air molecules in a column from the surface to ‘infinity’ and that number is constant for the Earth as a whole.”
    Beer’s again. Sorry Leif, re: Thermal or Particle Physics, your opinion is a matter of indifference to me.

    Luckily for science, the people measuring cosmic rays do know the applicable physical laws and can thus provide us with reliable data, independently of your indifference.

  119. Leif,
    The voyager website says:
    Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock in 2004 at about 94 AU. Voyager 2 crossed it in 2007 at about 84 AU. Both are expected to reach intersetellar space in 5 to 8 years (2014 – 2017).
    What is the difference between what they are referring to and what you are referring to that is going to take 50 years?

  120. Leif Svalgaard (07:16:14) :
    The solar wind is neutral [sigh].
    I do not give up easily.
    http://ulysses-ops.jpl.esa.int/ulysses/ftp/CDROMS/ULS_01_A/Docs/SWOOPS/SWOOPS.HTM
    6.6. COMPARISON OF ELECTRON AND ION RESULTS. (Figure 21)
    If overall number of electrons and ions is nearly equal (Ne/Ni ~ =1), but there is difference in velocities (8% occurrence Ve/Vi = 1.1) this would constitute an extra electric current flow (electron flux > proton flux), or at least I think so.

  121. vukcevic (13:27:28) :
    “The solar wind is neutral [sigh].”
    I do not give up easily.
    6.6. COMPARISON OF ELECTRON AND ION RESULTS. (Figure 21)

    You would not give up no matter what data/theory/reason/whatever was presented to you.
    The small difference is probably instrumental. The experimenters themselves marvel at how close the agreement between electrons and ions is, and ascribe the difference to instrumental issues, and I quote:
    “Inspection of the figure shows that on average the electron and ion densities and flow speeds agree to within about 5%, which is surprisingly good agreement for independent experiments of this nature. The data show that significant deviations of 15% or more can occur; such deviations are probably due principally to inaccuracies in the determination of spacecraft potential.”
    You really should not just go dumpster diving on the Internet, but try to learn and understand some of the physics. I think I have given you enough pointers to get started.

  122. Leif Svalgaard (14:26:52) :
    What’s your opinion of this paper (Which I can’t get from GRL, since I don’t subscribe))
    Jerald W. Harder
    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    The Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) on‐board the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite provides the first multi‐year continuous measurements of solar spectral irradiance (SSI) variability from 200–2400 nm, accounting for about 97% of the total solar irradiance (TSI). In addition to irradiance modulation from active region passage, the SSI values for wavelengths with a brightness temperature greater than 5770 K show a brightening with decreasing solar activity, whereas those with lower brightness temperatures show a dimming. These results demonstrate that different parts of the solar atmosphere contribute differently to the TSI with the behavior in the deep photospheric layers giving an opposing and nearly compensating trend to that in the upper photospheric and lower chromospheric layers. These findings need to be incorporated into Earth‐climate assessments since the solar forcing induced by these differential trends are inherently different from the relatively flat spectral contributions employed in the IPCC assessments.

  123. In the works of Theodor Landscheidt, Dr. Landscheidt makes a good case for a 180/360 year cycle that reflects on a “line-up” of positions of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune and the effect of this line-up on the sun eg. ‘low’ sunspot numbers and ‘longer’ solar minimums. His conclusions were that a solar minimum would occur during Cycle 24 and, or, Cycle 25 lasting until around 2030. When the data is extrapolated backwards, it lays neatly on the Dalton, Maunder and Spoor minimums. It seems the unusual gravitational forces exerted on the inner solar system distort the internal magnetic fields of the sun and inner planets. With the sun you get long, deep, solar minimums and with the earth, an increase in volcanic activity.
    JB

  124. Leif Svalgaard (14:26:52) :
    You would not give up no matter what data/theory/reason/whatever was presented to you.
    ……… I think I have given you enough pointers to get started.
    I do appreciate your help and guidance, but fascination is for unknown.
    I have seen the quote, but they also say:
    “The level of charging is determined from the shapes of the photoelectron and core/halo electron distributions and used to correct for the distortion.”
    If spacecraft is charged negatively (as suggested), would not that indicate the same thing: the excess of electron flux, if the medium is electrostaticly neutral, one would not expect a charge to build up. If craft attracts only one polarity and is not discharged by same density flow of the oposite (“in excess of 5 V with respect to the ambient plasma medium”), wouldn’t that mean that the potential difference would quickly build up to thousands of Volts (e.g. Van de Graaff generator).
    Logic says: there is 33% probability that instruments are accurate, 33% they are inaccurate in one direction, or 33% in the opposite direction, i.e. + – velocity difference is even greater, especially since deviation could be as large as 15%. Hence, probability of the excess electron flux is 66%.
    Concluding that there is an extra current flow, would go against accepted science, and that would not do.
    Thanks.

  125. JB (15:09:07) :
    In the works of Theodor Landscheidt, Dr. Landscheidt makes a good case for a 180/360 year cycle that reflects on a “line-up” of positions of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune and the effect of this line-up on the sun eg. ‘low’ sunspot numbers and ‘longer’ solar minimums. His conclusions were that a solar minimum would occur during Cycle 24 and, or, Cycle 25 lasting until around 2030.
    Here is Landscheidt’s ‘prediction’:
    “SWINGING SUN, 79-YEAR CYCLE AND CLIMATIC CHANGE [PDF 309K] J. interdiscipl. Cycle Res., 1981, vol. 12, number 1, pp. 3-19.
    ABSTRACT. The secular cycle of solar activity is related to the sun’s oscillatory motion about the center of mass of the solar system. Comparatively short periods of revolution with relatively high rates of curvature constitute a potential for crucial values of the time integral of torque AL = J t0 r (t) dt which seem to give rise to a weak but long lasting flow of solar plasma that modulates short-term flow due to the dynamo effect. Relatively strong impulses of the torque A L occur at mean intervals of 19.86 years. Four consecutive impulses respectively define a permanent wave with a quasiperiod of 79.46 years which determines the distribution of positive and negative extrema in activity. Phases of 0° or 90° indicate a potential for peaks and phases of 180° or 270° can lead to troughs. Such potentials are actually released if A L transgresses a definite threshold value. The ensuing interval variations in the secular cycle are verified by records of sunspots and aurorae dating back to the 4th century AD. Rare activity-deficient periods like the Maunder Minimum, which according to Eddy et al. are related to changes in the Earth’s climate, solely occur when AL reaches exceptional values meeting a special criterion. This is confirmed by radiocarbon data going back to the 6th millenimum BC. The next minimum in the 79-year cycle will occur in 1990. It will be more pronounced than the minimum in 1811.”
    —–
    1990 was one of the most active years ever…
    Now, since that didn’t pan out he has, as everybody does when things don’t work – rather than admitting that the theory has been refuted by its prediction being wrong – ‘adjusted’ the theory to fit the facts. Basically, there was no predictive power, and it is easy to go where the wind blows when you turn out to be wrong, and simply say that the previous prediction ‘was early work’, but this time for sure…

  126. vukcevic (15:37:03) :
    As I said, no amount of sound science and meaningful arguments would have any effect on a true ‘believer’.
    If spacecraft is charged negatively (as suggested), would not that indicate the same thing: the excess of electron flux, if the medium is electrostaticly neutral, one would not expect a charge to build up.
    Here is how spacecraft charging occurs: http://www.eas.asu.edu/~holbert/eee460/spacecharge.html
    Logic says: there is 33% probability that instruments are accurate, […]
    By that ‘logic’, there is a 50% chance that I win the lottery tomorrow.

  127. Tim Clark (14:37:24) :
    What’s your opinion of this paper (Which I can’t get from GRL, since I don’t subscribe))
    Jerald W. Harder…

    this is an excellent paper [although it is hard to find the real beef among all the technical mumbo-jumbo]. You can get the paper here: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL036797.pdf
    The bottom line is that the solar cycle variation in one wavelength regions can be different [even opposite] to that in another region, and that that is not taken into account by the IPCC models.

  128. Actually, the solar wind flow pressure
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/ret_14618.gif
    looks to rise since the 1950’s up to 1991/2, then falls, marking out a rather long cycle. Toss the 2 outliers in 1969 out of your mind for a minute.
    Maybe in a hundred more years we will be getting a better reading on what it’s doing.
    In the meantime…..
    Is ANYONE interested in the solar wind flow pressure?

  129. rbateman (18:06:55) :
    the solar wind flow pressure
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/ret_14618.gif
    looks to rise since the 1950’s up to 1991/2, then falls, marking out a rather long cycle.

    From the 1963 on… The long cycle is just following the general rise/fall of solar activity as shown by your bottom graph. Superposed on the long cycle are the dips at solar max and humps just before solar min. This is all as it should be and as observed since the 1890s.

  130. Now that I’m fairly thoroughly disenchanted with solar theories of climate change, I’ve begun to wonder about this:
    The question then is: “just what is that immensely powerful driver that overwrites (hammers) stable-latching-states and causes hugely abrupt major climatic transitions?” I theorize that the answer is very likely the second most profound source of Earthly energy…the central-core nuclear reactor.
    Rather than looking up into the sky, and all that CO2 in the atmosphere, or to the Sun’s radiation, maybe we should think a bit more about what’s under our feet?
    The earth originated in a molten ball, entirely molten, through and through. We strongly believe that heavy elements like iron and nickel gravitationally precipitated to the center. But what about even heavier elements like thorium and uranium. They would have precipitated to the center of the center. And we also we know that sufficient quantity of these radioactive elements, with sufficient proximity-density, will spontaneously chain react. So it seems likely that such a reactor exists. But here is the real leap-of-faith (I think not really): we now know that the Sun has complicated internal weather patterns; that account for many phenomena we observe; we also know that the Earth has complicated internal weather patterns that account for magnetic-flipping; so how hard can it be to imagine that the center of the core of the Earth has internal weather patterns?
    It strikes me as entirely plausible that the underfloor heating of planet Earth might have just as much effect as the sunlight coming through the atmospheric window. At the surface of this planet we’re being toasted by two power sources – one above, and one below.
    Maybe we just focus on one power source – the Sun – because it’s easy to see, while the other one is obscured by thousands of kilometres of opaque basalt. Maybe we hold the Sun to be more important because it superficially looks more important. It’s very bright, after all. And we can put satellites into orbit around it, and measure all sorts of fancy things. But we’ve yet to take Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

  131. rbateman (19:35:26) :
    Then would there be any previous upturn on the way back to 1890?
    On page 22 of
    http://www.leif.org/research/The%20Solar%20Wind%20During%20Grand%20Minima.pdf we show our best estimate of density n and solar wind speed V. In your mind’s eye multiply n and V and V and convince your self that in mid-century the flow pressure was high as well and that before, say, 1920 it was low.
    idlex (19:34:35) :
    Now that I’m fairly thoroughly disenchanted with solar theories of climate change, I’ve begun to wonder about this:
    […] the central-core nuclear reactor.

    Natural reactors have been found [near the surface]. U and Th, although heavy, fit into the crystal structure of minerals that are found in the crust and are therefore not found in the core. So, not much to expect from that corner.

  132. And we should be scientific about that, idflex, and start keeping record worldwide of rock temperature.
    But if you are considering journeying below 13,000 ft into rock, try taking a trip to the Witwaterrand Mine in S. Africa. I doubt you would last more than a minute beyond the air conditioner. It’s 135F down there in the depths.

  133. Lief: I can see that V^2 was lowest in 1901, and so was B, so I would go with 1901 as being the low point.
    What is our current value of B ?

  134. Leif Svalgaard (16:21:35) :
    vukcevic (15:37:03) :
    As I said, no amount of sound science and meaningful arguments would have any effect on a true ‘believer’……..By that ‘logic’, there is a 50% chance that I win the lottery tomorrow.
    Interesting link, confirms that charging is (where +Q = – Q) is function of the velocity differential. Case mentioned is somewhat different, spacecrafts in the Earth’s orbit (within magnetosphere, Van Allen belt etc) to the Ulysses’ orbit electrostatic properties, including absence of ‘night time’. Its spin rate is generally constant at approximately 5 rpm so any (non compensated) charge build up on the dark side should be minimal considering low density at Ulysses 1.5 – 5AU (<and << 7e/cm3) for darks side lasts only 6sec. http://ulysses-ops.jpl.nasa.gov/ulysses/ftp/CDROMS/ULS_04_A/HTML/ORBIT1.GIF
    In this case of solar wind any volume at any time may be neutral (Q1 = Q2 =Q) but that does not prevent excess current flow due to velocity differential:
    I1= nSv1Q , I2= nSv2Q, resultant current I=I1-I2 = nSQ(v1-v2).
    Since the electron flux appear to be greater (moving away from the Sun), then current flow is into the Sun.
    Also the results shown in FIGURE 1. could be of interest (in view of velocity differential)
    http://ulysses-ops.jpl.esa.int/ulysses/ftp/CDROMS/ULS_01_A/Docs/SWOOPS/SWOOPS.HTM
    re probability: p=k/n (ratio of favourable and total outcomes); 2 instruments vs. millions of lottery players, not exactly comparable. The statement thus fractionally reduces probability of your previous qualification being correct.

  135. Leif Svalgaard: Natural reactors have been found [near the surface]. U and Th, although heavy, fit into the crystal structure of minerals that are found in the crust and are therefore not found in the core. So, not much to expect from that corner.
    So where’s all that heat being generated inside the Earth? The crust rather than the core?
    rbateman: And we should be scientific about that, idflex, and start keeping record worldwide of rock temperature.
    So every surface station should have an accompanying undersurface station?
    And would we just measure temperature? Could we not also measure pressure? Use gps to measure ground speed? Is there an undersurface analogue of atmospheric humidity?
    There’d be the same possibilities of heat island effects. If the air above NYC is several degrees higher than in sorrounding places, perhaps the earth beneath it is also several degrees higher too? How far down do you have to go to minimize the surface effects? Surface stations stand on legs a metre or two high. The undersurface stations might need ‘legs’ (pointing downwards) a kilometre long. And then we’s start thinking of hills and mountains as being transient clouds on the surface of the undersurface weather machine, in which everything happens very, very slowly.
    In this manner we could scare the wits out of ourselves in entirely new ways.

  136. Leif Svalgaard (16:47:21) :
    The bottom line is that the solar cycle variation in one wavelength regions can be different [even opposite] to that in another region, and that that is not taken into account by the IPCC models.

    Thanks Leif.

  137. rbateman (22:35:12) :
    What is our current value of B ?
    For the last solar Bartels rotation that just ended yesterday B was 3.9 nT. Because we are now close to aphelion, the corrected to 1 AU value would be 4.1 nT . For the last six rotations B has been 4.1 nT, so it is pretty steady.
    vukcevic (01:15:53) :
    “Interesting link, confirms that” the plasma is neutral.
    re probability: p=k/n of equally probable and independent events. A short course of probability would do you good.
    Particle velocity distributions are highly anisotropic in the solar wind because of its low density. Here http://spc.igpp.ucla.edu/ssc/tutorial/solwind_magsphere_tutorial.pdf is a good tutorial on that. I cite from it [page9]: “A paradox is introduced by this difference in velocity that arises because in the corona the ions and electrons have similar temperatures but very dissimilar masses. In a collisionless gas, like the solar wind over most of its transit from the sun, charged particles do not leave their magnetic field lines. They also maintain quasi charge-neutrality. How can they do this if they are not traveling at the same speed? The answer is trivial if the source regions on the sun are constant in time so that the flux of electrons and ions at the base of a field line is constant. The density is always the same and it does not matter if the protons and ions stream relative to each other along the field. If the solar wind production rate varies in time and the ion density along a flux tube varies with distance, then the electrons have to slow down as they pass through dense regions and then speed up in rarefied regions. This occurs because when there is an over abundance of ions there will be a polarization electric field that attracts the electrons to that region. In regions of under dense ions the electrons will be expelled by the excess negative charge. As a result, charge imbalances are minimal in the solar wind despite the speed differences and time variations. We might expect variations in the electric potential along the magnetic field but no detectable variation in charge neutrality.”
    idlex (02:42:51) :
    So where’s all that heat being generated inside the Earth? The crust rather than the core?
    Some, yes, but the most is coming from two sources: 1) the high pressure [when you compress things they get hot], and 2) left-over heat from the formation of the Earth.

  138. Leif Svalgaard (06:40:59) :
    Thanks for the link for the tutorial. I shall study it, and true to form look for little nuggets of controversy. I have to read your post carefully to avoid being told “H.G. is talking nonsense”. I think both of us understand probability sufficiently enough, so best left alone.
    Thanks

  139. How far down do you have to go to minimize the surface effects?
    It is generally accepted in underground mining industry that 50 feet will do the trick. 100 feet if you want to be really picky.
    I haven’t been in a mine yet that within 50 ft of the surface (horizontal or vertical) you were not confronted with the underground environment.
    It could be 10 below or 110 above outside, and it won’t matter. You are at rock temperature.

  140. vukcevic (10:17:31) :
    I think both of us understand probability sufficiently enough, so best left alone.
    Remember I pay back in same coin, so it is always up to you…

  141. Leif Svalgaard (11:35:37) :
    …….
    Remember I pay back in same coin, so it is always up to you…
    New one to me, I had to look it up in a phrase book, but any transgression I let go by my personal ‘magnetosphere’ at a speed of SW, with no reconnection, unless I find it personally attractive (e.g. ‘cyclomaniac’ or ‘man of superior ignorance’).
    Back to the science; the tutorial on solar wind is very useful and sufficiently informative, but could do with more of up to date info. I am surprised that none of the articles on SW I have come across, have considered the electron’s wave property (lambda=h/mv, ignoring the relativistic part), but always purely as a particle. Have to look into that one. Anything you know of ?

  142. vukcevic (13:15:35) :
    Back to the science; the tutorial on solar wind is very useful and sufficiently informative, but could do with more of up to date info. I am surprised that none of the articles on SW I have come across, have considered the electron’s wave property (lambda=h/mv, ignoring the relativistic part), but always purely as a particle. Have to look into that one. Anything you know of ?
    The fundamental physics does not depend on ‘up-to-date info’. The wave issue is not important or relevant. Nobody looks on purpose at things that are irrelevant. It is also hard to find SW articles discussing the amount of horse manure per cubic meter in the solar wind. The tutorial explains in plain language why the various velocity differences do not lead to charge imbalances or currents. The reason for the neutrality is basically that the electromagnetic forces are 10^39 times as strong as gravity so charges will short out unless the density is high enough that collisions prevents equalization. In solar wind and coronal plasmas the mean-free-path is enormous, so collisions play no role.

  143. Leif Svalgaard: So where’s all that heat being generated inside the Earth? The crust rather than the core?
    Some, yes, but the most is coming from two sources: 1) the high pressure [when you compress things they get hot], and 2) left-over heat from the formation of the Earth.

    Do you not count radioactive decay of Th, U, and K as constituting a ‘nuclear reactor’ because it’s too dispersed? According to one source:
    The present-day heat flow through the surface of the Earth is consistent with energy sources in the interior, including secular cooling, the gravitational contraction associated with cooling, and decline of radioactive abundances.
    It estimates [Table 1b] the radiogenic component of global heat flow at 24-36 terawatts out of a total of 39-66 terawatts. i.e. about half. 39 terawatts works out at an average global surface heat flow of about 0.075 Watts/m^2. Most of the radiogenic heat is suggested to come from the lower mantle.

  144. Leif Svalgaard (13:34:46) :
    The fundamental physics does not depend on ‘up-to-date info’. The wave issue is not important or relevant. Nobody looks on purpose at things that are irrelevant. It is also hard to find SW articles discussing the amount of horse manure per cubic meter in the solar wind. ….. so charges will short out unless the density is high enough that collisions prevents equalization. In solar wind and coronal plasmas the mean-free-path is enormous, so collisions play no role.
    ‘Up to date info’ is a reference to latest data from Ulysses, Pioneer and Voyager. For the wave issue, it is not possible to say if it is relevant or not unless it is thoroughly researched.
    Charges travelling from the same direction will not short or collide in presence of magnetic field (in vacuum space)! Hence, “In solar wind and coronal plasmas the mean-free-path is enormous, so collisions play no role”.
    Tutorial does say “We might expect variations in the electric potential along the magnetic field but no detectable variation in charge neutrality.”
    Electric potential difference in a conductive medium is a result of an electric current flow.
    Definitely “no change in neutrality” nQ2 = – nQ1 but I1= SnQ1* v1 , I2= SnQ2 * v2, and I=I1+I2 = SnQ1*(v1-v2) electric current through cross section S due to the velocity difference so “We might expect variations in the electric potential along the magnetic field”.
    I believe that “horse manure per cubic meter” is highly praised by market gardeners. Thank you again and Good night.

  145. vukcevic (14:57:33) :
    Leif Svalgaard (13:34:46) :
    ‘The fundamental physics does not depend on ‘up-to-date info’
    Well, you have said your mind. I have tried to educate you on these things and I fail every time, so will not try [for a while] any longer as it evidently is quite hopeless. I can refer you to ‘Anaconda’ in another thread as an example of a similar [and equally hopeless] case: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/10/another-scientific-consensus-bites-the-dust/#comment-143706

  146. idlex (14:41:18) :
    Do you not count radioactive decay of Th, U, and K as constituting a ‘nuclear reactor’ because it’s too dispersed?
    Precisely. I’ll prefer to use the words ‘nuclear reactor’ for a controlled chain reaction where the energy production is a coordinated process as different from the independent radioactive decays.

  147. Leif Svalgaard: Precisely.
    I see.
    Then at what point would you concede that a fuzzy collection of decaying Th/U/K atoms around the centre of the Earth might be construed to be a ‘nuclear reactor’?
    Perhaps the word ‘coordinated’ is the key. What happens when it isn’t coordinated, when it isn’t planned?
    From what I know about uncoordinated, unplanned processes – like the orbit of the Earth around the Sun – there is always a cyclicity about them. The uncoordinated and unplanned Sun, as you well know (far better than I do) also has its cyclicities. Why should we suppose that the Earth beneath our feet is unchangingly regular?
    I suspect that I may be pursuing a lost cause here, because the the 0.075 W/m^2 terrestrial surface heat loss from below pales into pallid insignificance beneath the majestic Sun above.
    But I like pursuing lost causes.

  148. idlex (18:58:28) :
    Then at what point would you concede that a fuzzy collection of decaying Th/U/K atoms around the centre of the Earth might be construed to be a ‘nuclear reactor’?
    Perhaps the word ‘coordinated’ is the key. What happens when it isn’t coordinated, when it isn’t planned?

    This is not a question about conceding anything, but about education. The crucial point is that Th/U/K atoms by themselves decay spontaneously. A single U atom in empty space would all by itself some day decay. This is not what I would call a ‘reactor’. In a reactor, things are so arranged [either by us or by Nature] that the decay of one atom triggers the decay of other atoms [‘before its time’] which then trigger the decay of still other atoms, etc, so the decays are not independent [that is what I meant by ‘coordinated’]. This also happens in an atomic bomb [and we don’t really want that], so there are two more elements needed, namely a ‘moderator’ that will slow down the neutrons released to enhance the chain reaction and ‘control rods’ to stop or slow the reaction as we wish. In natural reactors, water plays the role of moderator and control rods are provided by the rock matrix in which the atoms are embedded. Such natural reactors are very rare and do not play any role in heating the Earth and, BTW, cannot any longer exist as the U235 needed for them to work has decayed so much that even chemically pure Uranium does not contain enough U235 for fission to work. So only billions of year ago could [and did] natural reactors exist here and there.
    And finally, as you point out, the heat flow from the interior is totally insignificant.

  149. Oh well. Yet another idea with which to become disenchanted! And it looked quite promising for a day or two.

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