New Svalgaard paper – reconstructing the heliospheric magnetic field since 1835 – with insight into the peer review process

Leif Svalgaard writes in comments:

We plan to submit tomorrow to JGR the following… (preprint)

…showing the run of the heliospheric magnetic field since 1835 [not a typo]. I plan to discuss the whole peer-review process here on WUWT, complete with nasty comments by the reviewers and our responses. This will be an illustration of the peer-review process as it unfolds. Should be interesting.

I’ll say. I’ve taken some of the most interesting graphics and put them up for WUWT readers, along with the abstract.

Leif's plot for the last century to present is now extended back to 1835

IDV09 and Heliospheric Magnetic field 1835-2009

Leif Svalgaard1 and Edward W. Cliver2

Stanford University, HEPL, Cedar Hall, Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305-4085

Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-3010


We use recently acquired archival data to substantiate and extend the IDV index of long-term geomagnetic activity, particularly for years from 1872-1902 for which the initial version of the index (IDV05) was based on observations from very few stations. The new IDV series (IDV09) now includes the interval from 1835-2009, vs. 1872-2004 for IDV05. The HMF strength derived from IDV09 agrees closely with that based on IDV05 over the period of overlap. Comparison of the IDV09-based HMF strength with other recent reconstructions of solar wind B yields a strong consensus between the series based on geomagnetic data, but significant lack of support for a series based on the 10Be cosmic ray radionuclide.

The reconstructed data in the graphic below, from the paper, is quite interesting. Currently, we appear to be at the lowest point in the record.

Heliospheric magnetic field since 1835 IDV and observerd

Heliospheric magnetic field since 1835 IDV and observerd

Click for larger images.

Here’s the comparison with the Be10 isotope record:

heliospheric_magnetic_to Be10_svalgaard

Heliospheric magneticfield compared to Be10



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Good luck, Lief. I’m looking forward to reading the reviewer comments. Peer review is always an adventure!

I’m enthused. Break a leg, Leif!

Phillip Bratby

“we appear to be at the lowest point in the record”. Now where have I heard that before? At least the record here is nearly 200 years, not the 30 years we are used to.
I too await the peer-review process details with eager anticipation? Will the reviewers be anonymous?


The scientific equivalent of spectator sports. Are you ready to rumble?????

Way to go Lief. But *don’t* break a leg! I’m still recovering from a lower leg fracture I suffered last November.


I am not sure I get the “Tomorrow” on the timeline: is it to be submitted or is it accepted already?

Patrick Davis

Good luck Lief. I don’t hold out much hope TBH, after all the politics, sorry I mean, the science is settled.

“Should be interesting.”
Agree, I will be paying close attention.
As a side note, the shape of the HMF and GCR (10Be) values at SC22 is interesting. It looks to be following the temperature record to some extent, allowing for some lags etc. Independent of sunspots to some degree but perhaps working in unison, the TSI on the overall upswing with the HMF and GCR’s boosting the reduction in clouds to a greater extent around SC22 through extra UV and also reduced cloud nuclei, perhaps increasing the overall TSI at the surface. A combination of TSI and its positive feedback mechanisms, the movement away from the sunspot record being the important point. SC22 and SC19 HMF are both very similar.
This could be bad for the AGW crowd.


Why do so many people mistake “Leif” for “Lief” ??

spangled drongo

O/T but I just sent this to my local news station for reporting. Won’t hold my breath.

UK Sceptic

Very interesting. I always wondered how it was possible to ascertain sunspot activity/solar magnetic field fluctuations from centuries ago. Now I know – or at least have a layman’s basic grasp of the concept.
I’ve always regarded radionuclides as little more than a useful means to date organic and inorganic artefacts and the sediments in which arefacts are found. Not being involved in the scientific side of the equasion, my fleeting relationship with Be10 dating has always begun and ended with analysis reports included in various archaeological papers I’ve read. Other than that istopes have never made much impact on me beyond my school days. Until today. This is why I love sites like WUWT. They expand my knowledge of the world and make me seek information beyond my own sphere of interest.
I know there are a lot of ordinary “Joes” and “Joans” (like me) who could use a brief explanation in plain(ish) English. Here’s an abstract I found at a site called Physics Hypertextbook –
“Sunspot activity can be deduced from beryllium-10 traces in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores. The reasoning is as follows: more sunspots imply a more magnetically active sun which then more effectively repels the galactic cosmic rays, thus reducing their production of Be-10 atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. Be-10 atoms precipitate on Earth and can be traced in polar ice even after centuries. Using this approach, scientists … have reconstructed the sunspot count back to the year 850 ….”
“Beryllium 10 produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays readily attaches to aerosols and gets snowed out onto ice caps, leaving a clear signal in the ice core of variations in the cosmic ray flux …. The decrease in Beryllium 10 since 1900 reflects the decrease in the cosmic ray flux over this period. The reason is that the solar magnetic flux has increased by almost a factor of 2 since 1900, for reasons that are not fully understood.”
“Work done with beryllium-10 shows that the sun goes through prolonged period of anomalous behavior in addition to its regular, 11-year cycle.”
All the fault of AGW no doubt…

TitiXXXX (23:10:49) : I am not sure I get the “Tomorrow” on the timeline: is it to be submitted or is it accepted already?
The “tomorrow’ was in a comment posted ‘yesterday’ since it is now after midnight in California so it is ‘tomorrow’ ‘today’ already, but you will likely be reading this after I go to bed which will be even more ‘tomorrow’ than now, thought it is still technically ‘today’ since now is tomorrow as I type but will be yesterday when you read this unless is it the day after tomorrow when it will be the day before yesterday.
Clearer now? 😉

p.g.sharrow "PG"

Lief; Thank you for allowing us the preview of the “Leif Svalgaard and Edward W. Cliver” paper, I’ve read it once thru and will study the PDF several more times later.
While I don’t know a great deal about your subject I can see quality workmanship in the effort. The stiching together of data bases to extend the length of the total and creation of the visuals is most helpful, and maybe we will all learn a little more.


Thanks Leif and Anthony.
Leif if the heliospheric magnetic field is ~8nT @ Earth distance, how much would be at the Sun. What would be the strength of a theoretical magnet to produce a similar field strength?
What about the magnetic field to produce a sunspot?

John Peter

I wonder when all contributors to WUWT learn to spell Dr Svalgaard’s first name correctly, namely Leif. We have three misspellings in seven contributions above.

Johnny Honda

Good correlation of the heliospheric magnetic field with temperatures!
I’m curious about more information

Chris Schoneveld

Anderson, Pompous and Davis and many before you, is it so difficult to spell Svalgaard’s first name correctly?


Excellent- can’t wait to read. Good luck…


Fascinating stuff Leif, my compliments and thanks to you and Edward Cliver for your lengthy research efforts.
Please could you give us your views on the divergence between your curve and the 10Be curve. It seems to match very well in the post 1955 part of the record and prior to that the inflexion points agree well, but the amplitude gap widens significantly.
Do you think the divergence is primarily due to physical factors which have changed WRT time or some kind of problem with the measurement of 10Be? If the former, please do speculate as to possible contenders for influencing factors and whether you think they are predominantly terrestrial or extra terrestrial.


Interesting Leif , good luck !
And btw people stop maiming his name – it is LEIF and has been this way for more than 1000 years .
At least all americans should know LEIF Erikson 🙂


Most of my questions are answered in the paper which I just read through :o).
Leif, one typo: Line 271 agreement in what a previously contentious field of research.
Should be: agreement in what had previously been a contentious field of research.


147 It is evident that IDV from only a single station (provided not too data is missing because
Bearing in mind I know nothing of which you speak!
There is a hint of the ~100 yearGleissberg cycle
if you are refering to the cyan line then isn’t this a 200year cycle?
229 effect of CMEs, high-speed streams, and solar polar fields [for you to fill in …]

Lief vs Leif
Maybe it’s because we are English speakers. “I” before “E” except after “C” when the sound is “EE”. Sorry Leif.
Wonder when people are going to learn that English plurals do not require an apostrophe before the “S”. Or that “led me to” is not “lead me to”. Or a citation is “cite” nor “sight”. Maybe I’d better stop.


Lief has a paper here,%20SW,%20and%20Solar%20Data.pdf Updated regularly with the same data in it.
Best of luck Lief. You along with SteveMc and A are among the most patient men I have come across.


Sorry about the spelling guys but Leif doesn’t seem to be complaining too much, eh.
Me I’m easy you can call me what you like as long as it isn’t rude like at RC

Patrick Davis

“Chris Schoneveld (01:14:24) :
Anderson, Pompous and Davis and many before you, is it so difficult to spell Svalgaard’s first name correctly?”
I guess it must be because in English we put “i” before “e”, except after “c”. But, you too have an issue with first names. I’d imagine Leif, won’t be too bothered about it. Go figure!


John Peter 01:04: 38 and others:
re: Leif, Lief etc.
It should be Leaf.


Line 147 should be:
“(provided THAT not too MUCH data….”

I think the HMF vs Be10 convergence from the past to present reflects the aerosol pollution record, since Be10 in the atmosphere apparently has to attach to aerosols in order to precipitate and wind up in the ice core record. What say you, Leif?

The byline, spangled drongo (00:22:36) , always brings some comment (particularly from the Yanks), so for the record:
Drongo is an Australian slang term used to describe a ‘fool’, a ‘stupid person’, a ‘simpleton’.
There is also a bird called a drongo.
So what is the true story? There was an Australian racehorse called Drongo during the early 1920s. …
Click here for the full drongo story

E.M.Smith (00:48:30) : “The “tomorrow’ was in a comment posted ‘yesterday’ …
I am having a hard time fitting this with: The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on… E.M. …
Nice post!


A long time ago Leif told me that Lief in his countries language is a term of endearment. Lief = Love.
Also ref British-Norse ‘Lief and Liege’


UK Sceptic (00:40:00) :
…. The decrease in Beryllium 10 since 1900 reflects the decrease in the cosmic ray flux over this period. The reason is that the solar magnetic flux has increased by almost a factor of 2 since 1900, for reasons that are not fully understood.”
This is not, as far as I understand it, entirely correct (i.e. solar magnetic flux has increased by almost a factor of 2 since 1900). Using early 1900’s as a reference point is also misleading too. I am sure Dr. S. may have more accurate interpretation, so I shall leave it to doc to elaborate.
Leif Svalgaard (20:03:09) :
If Vuk ever gets his act in gear, he could do the same. Or even nobrainer and Co.
After being crushed and mashed trough the ‘Svalgaard mangle’ anything else could be only an enjoyable experience, but do not bet on yet another public humiliation in the near future.


Shakespear spelled his own name thirteen different ways. Can we just Leif this alone?


I had a good friend named Leif and now work with his son also named Leif. They pronounce it with a long “A” sound. But I always heard Leif Ericson the explorer pronounced “Leaf”. I’m actually kinda curious about the typical pronunciation of the name in English, Swedish, and other languages.
Can you educate us all and help stop cluttering the thread with this?
WRT magnetic fields, how does the position on the earth affect the level of cosmic rays? Certainly the auroras are dramatically different at the poles. Do the measurement stations observe close to the same levels at the same time? Are there short bursts of activity from flares or other activity that get evenly averaged depending on which hemisphere is facing the sun?


Concerning Leifs namne:
Where is Leif from?
At least here in Sweden “Lief” is pronounced something like English speakers would pronounce this combination of letters:
I.e. not “Leef”. 😉 🙂


Hahaha… I ACTUALLY wrote Lief instead of Leif!
Hysterical… Sorry… 😀

In the last graph the lines seem to show a lot more separation in the 19th century than the 20th (particularly the more last fifty).
Is there any explanation for that?

Phillip Bratby

Roger Carr:
Nor all thy pity nor wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line of it.


Jeg ønsk dig tillykke, Leif. 😉
(Wish you good luck, Leif.)

Chris Schoneveld

In the Scandinavian languages Leif is pronounced more or less like the English “Life”. Lief is a Dutch word and means sweet (not sweet like sugar is) or kind and is pronounced like the English leaf.
I’m sure Leif isn’t bothered but I find it careless.


Roger Carr (03:23:07) :
E.M.Smith (00:48:30) : “The “tomorrow’ was in a comment posted ‘yesterday’ …
I am having a hard time fitting this with: The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on… E.M. …
Nice post!

The full verse goes something like:
The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on
Nor all your piety nor wit
Shall call it back to cancel half a line
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.
The Fitzgerald translation of the Rubayat is my favourite.


I should add, the first edition is the best IMO.

Keith Davies

I have followed the gradual dismantling of the edifice of Human caused Global Warming with interest,
The best summer in the UK I can recall was in 1976 which in terms of temperature and extent leaves the others trailing in the dust.
It is noteworthy that the Hadley Centre still clings to its ever more isolated view that global warming is due to the release of stored solar energy from fossil fuels and the release of CO2 and not simply a recovery from the intensely cold period of the London Frost Fairs on the Thames.
Their view seems based on about 20 years of warming [1978-1998] and about 10 years of gently falling temperatures {1999-2009] while the atmospheric CO2 concentration has constantly increased.
Even allowing for El Niño’s and La Niña’s and shifts in the PDO ; 10 years of extra CO2 should have given us another “Barbeque Summer” instead of the one we enjoyed -yes it was mild but damp.
Leif is to be thanked for his wider time scale considerations it seems that he is correct in his analysis and has pulled another brick from the foundations of the Global Warming Alarmists.
We owe our thanks to the many researchers who have tirelessly worked to undermine those foundations with particular thanks to the one tree admirer Steve McIntyre.


The more salient verse for the purpose Roger Carr intended is verse XX
Ah! my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears-
To-morrow?–Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.

“”I” before “E”, except before “C”…and sometimes “L””
Got it…
Now, if someone can train my fingers to differentiate betweet “its” and “it’s”.
I publish a newsletter every morning and I’ll be damned if I don’t get corrected at least once if not twice every day!
BTW, this is really, really interesting stuff. I haven’t learned this much since I started trading and doing TA in earnest.


“At least all americans should know LEIF Erikson.”
Wasn’t he the actor who played Big John Cannon in the High Chapperal?

Rick K

Leif, you misspelled your name! (just kidding!)
Best of luck — and thank you for sharing this with us!

tallbloke (03:25:48) :
> A long time ago Leif told me that Lief in his countries language is a
> term of endearment. Lief = Love.
Oh. I was about to suggest that Lief was Leif’s evil twin. Is Leif the evil twin?


I note the dropping away of the Be from the B nt data. Is there a relationship with temperature and Relative Humidity involved with the Be deposition rate?
That would really gum up the Be records usefulness with the Heliospheric Magnetic Field, but might be more suited to direct climactic indications.