Sun's magnetics coming alive again

When I last looked at the Ap geomagnetic index back in January, it looked pretty grim.

Solar geomagnetic index reaches unprecedented low – only “zero” could be lower – in a month when sunspots became more active

Now with the release yesterday of the new Ap data from NOAA, we see the largest jump in 2 years.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/Ap.gif

We’ve had a rash of sunspots lately, and it appears sol is awakening from its magnetic slumber. The question is: “dead cat bounce” or start of an upwards trend?

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Henry chance

Hey, a little hockey stick action there. Take the low point and the freshest high point and you can draw a very steep slope.

Pure layman here…
How does this compare to previous quiet periods of the sun? Dalton etc? Same length? Less?

ShrNfr

The 10.7 flux has been in the 70s for a long time. Its up at 80 today with the 3 spots, but the cosmic ray flux seems to be remaining more or less the same. Slight downturn, but nothing major. It took a big dip when that CME went past the earth on 4/5 but has climbed back to where it was prior, more or less. This is one quiet sun.

Sean Peake

I wouldn’t call the latest sunspots significant, more like sputtering. and I doubt whether they could have been observed during the Dalton

Enneagram

Could you tell us, all the “correlations” that you find with other “meteorological” phenomena?. As Ap refers to “planetary” what your “hunches” are for these interesting times we are living in?.

As I understand it, the low has lasted longer than normal. It’s supposed to be an eleven year cycle and we’re well beyond that.

policyguy

This is the type of post that generates questions.
We know that the sun is becoming more active (about time), but how does that relate to other cycles considering that we have just come through a long minimum?
Thank you

Enneagram

Sean Peake says:
May 5, 2010 at 11:53 am
I wouldn’t call the latest sunspots significant, more like sputtering. and I doubt whether they could have been observed during the Dalton

That is what we could call POST-NORMAL-ASTRONOMY-SUNSPOTS-COUNT, because it really follows PNS principles.

It’s going to be interesting to try and figure out is the spots or the magnets driving earth’s climate. Now that we have some instruments that can measure … fun times ahead.

H.R.

“The question is: “dead cat bounce” or start of an upwards trend?”
I call “dead cat bounce” but that’s only a guess, of course. I’ve hung out here long enough to know that “we don’t know.” Minima like this don’t come along every 23 years or so ;o)
It’s just fantastic that we live in a time where we have the technology to make high quality observations of the sun and the technology to make those observations highly accessible. So we wait and watch and just maybe the younger people amongst us will have quite a story to tell their grandchildren.

rbateman

I like to call the latest rash of spots ‘blinkers’, because that’s mostly what is going on. And, SWPC just has to count them all.
There is a wide discrepancy between the actual number of spotted regions and what SWPC is reporting. The only thing I can see that make sense is Catania’s Active Region Summary on solarcycle24.com. Someone is counting every region that has been active or inactive each day that is still on the visible side of the Sun.
Here is a comparison (active region latitude-wise by eyeball method) with 1998:
http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin9.htm
First 2 images:
1.) The sun in SOHO EIT color with MDI Continuum Luminance overlay 05/04/2010
2.) The same SOHO images from 05/04/1998.
There is a very noticable difference between the Sun in 1998(SC23) and 2010(SC24).
It’s not just the sunpots that are weak.
If Leif will weigh in, maybe he can tell us how much weaker the Magnetics on the Sun are comparing SC23 and SC24 to date.
From the graph above, I’d say that SC24 has finally revved up to the low point of SC23.
What I wonder now is just how much ramp does SC24 have left in it.

CodeTech

Wake up, Sol sister… Rise, awaken from your slumber…
Here comes the Sun, and I say, it’s all right…
Music aside, here’s hoping for a belated but active Solar cycle. Active. Like hugely active. Let’s give the new cameras something spectacular to record. Please.
And I’d agree about a “rash” of sunspots… as long as you define a rash as a few tiny spots of very little significance.

Richard

has this been attributed to global warming 🙂

Tenuc

The current sun spots are just specks so despite the spike in the Ap index, not much going on.
Good chart on solar terrestrial activity, courtesy of Solen, available here:-
http://www.solen.info/solar/images/solar.gif
Until we understand what’s going on with the sun, predicting future activity levels is is difficult – perhaps the SDO will give us some clues when the real-time data goes live?

Michael

Not to worry. There is a large lag time between when the Sun heats up again and the Earth accumulates the Sun’s additional output. Winter 2011 will still be another one of our worst in history just like last year.

Jason Bair

Any idea why the minimums for both charts are different. First one was down to 1, revised and latest chart goes down to 2.

Jason Bair,
The second chart extends one more day on the x-axis.

So where will that take us with blue line?

Hey Anthony,
The latest temperature set for April 2010 came out- it’s down to .5 degrees Celcius above normal. Just wanted to let you know.
-Snowlover123

PJB

I gather that we are currently going through a change in the planetary magnetic field. Fluctuations since several decades with an eventual reversal in the next century.
What is the relationship (danger) that an (in)active sun would have during such a planetary situation?
Better for it to be quiet (more cosmic rays and clouds) or active (more aurora and perhaps irradiation due to less magnetic protection)?

Enneagram

Tarpon:
Nobody, except for Piers Corbyn, would dare to make such a “correlation”, the Pope , Arch-bishops and bishops of the Climate Change Creed forbids it. It doesn’t matter if on the earth fall 30 million lightnings a day, someone in the high spheres of this church separated magnetism from electricity, solar wind is just a poetical “summer breeze”, the Sun a ball of fire and the earth a big round stone. It all seems a Hanna Barbera flitstones’ cartoon. Cosmic rays, bah!, little pebbles falling from above….and so on.

Michael

OT
Good Glenn Beck videos from last Friday on Cap and Trade at the bottom of this article. I do recommend watching it.
BARACK OBAMA, AL GORE, GOLDMAN SACHS, AND THE GREATEST SWINDLE IN HUMAN HISTORY
““It is the Responsibility of the Patriot to protect his country from its government” ~Thomas Paine
$10,000,000,000,000
Ten trillion dollars. That’s the conservative estimate of the amount of money Barack Obama, Albert Gore Jr., and a whole cast of criminals stand to make (gross) off of the greatest scam in human history: “global warming.”
If you have ever sat back, scratching your head and wondering why the Marxists are pushing for a “cap and trade” bill that would not only make energy costs “necessarily skyrocket,” to quote Barack Obama, but do absolutely nothing to effect fictional “climate change, ” one way or the other, you are about to find out.”
http://www.thecypresstimes.com/article/Columnists/A_Time_For_Choosing/BARACK_OBAMA_AL_GORE_GOLDMAN_SACHS_AND_THE_GREATEST_SWINDLE_IN_HUMAN_HISTORY/29819

the official sunspot counts coming out of noaa, sidc, etc are a joke.
a casual glance at the widget shows a blank sun with sunspot ‘numbers’. you don’t have to be a skeptic to wonder what’s up with that.
so i have been taking a look – most have been ephemeral specks, and one (1068?) turned out to look pretty much blank no matter how you looked at it. this ‘science’ has been clearly politicized, for whatever reasons.
and i guarantee they were not counting invisible, ephemeral specks 24hr a day during the dalton or maunder grand minima. how are we supposed to compare what is happening now in any consistent way?

Ray

After a (unexplained) sudden drop in 2005, there is a sudden rise in 2010…
Could it be a digit problem? A mathematical glitch? A sensor problem?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

We are becoming a permanently wireless society, with people addicted to high-speed error-free digital wireless communications (they love their videos on their iPhones).
Do we really want an active sun, even if that keeps global cooling away? Put on a sweater or give up on videos on demand on their cellphone, which would today’s young people choose? 😉

paullm

“Now with the release yesterday of the new Ap data from NOAA, we see the largest jump in 2 years.”?
It looks to me like the largest jump in over 3 years: Nov. 06 – Jan. 10.

Policyguy says:
May 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm
We know that the sun is becoming more active (about time), but how does that relate to other cycles considering that we have just come through a long minimum?
Here is the ‘ramp up’ for the the last three minima: http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png
It seems the sun is on track to the predicted low maximum. BTW, the dashed line is Hathaway’s latest prediction [it has now come down to match mine].
Here is Ap since the 1840s: http://www.leif.org/research/Ap-Monthly-Averages-1844-Now.png
It is not unusual that after the low values at minimum there is a jump up, e.g. 1902 and 1880.

stephen richards

In recent weeks they have been counting every little mark they could including what they described as a microspot and another that was forming but had no sunspot no. because it wasn’t a sunspot but they still counted at 12.

You’ve done it at last – you’ve made contact with your inner hockey-stick! I demand that Al Gore now call for a stop to all carbon-creating activities on the Sun. You know it makes sense…

Don’t be fastidious, they are specs, but visible. This cycle may be your last chance for couple of decades to come.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC14.htm
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GandF.htm

Larry T

I too wonder if we are comparing apples with oranges like we are doing both with surface temperature readings and hurricaine strengths where changes in methodology, technology or siting issues give readings that reinforce AGW myths but may be really not occuring.
For an apples to apples sunspot comparision I like this site
http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

frederik wisse

Why is the layman sunspot count not mentioned here ? What would be the reaction of the guys operating the landscheidt heritage site on this statement from american government institution(s) apparently biassed by the agw proponents as a consequence of their huge financial interests in a taxation of combustion products ?
Please do not blame the burocrats or mr mann , being puppets in the hands of large manipulators or financials interests like goldman sachs . A little clearer picture here would be appreciated . The truth and not the devil is in the details .

fynney

Leif,
I would love to hear your thoughts/predictions.

R. Craigen

Mr Peake raises a point that has been nagging at my mind for some time: are the spots we’re counting really comparable to spots seen at the time of Maunder and Dalton? These tiny pimples we’re getting on the solar images are surely only seen because of our instrumentation — how many spots would an astronomer 100 or 200 years ago have identified on the sun during the recent activity? We’ve seen the sunspot number go as high as 70 lately. Would this even register on primitive instruments?
Are the graphs of sunspot counts going back to the Maunder minimum normalized to remove this “instrumentation bias”? If not then we should regard all numbers in the 20th century to be progressively inflated relative to earlier numbers.
If you look at prior spikes similar to the current one, you’ll see that they tend to be shortlived. Seems old Sol is prone to giving brief magnetic bursts that register, but are followed by reduced activity. Expect the smoothed curve to gradually follow the usual pattern.
One last note: NOAA’s sunspot count was down for April due to a 13-day period with no spots, so the solar cycle 24 may be under way, but sputteringly so, and below even their modest prediction curve.

pkatt

Were back to counting specks

Henry Chance is right about the hockey stick action. If this trend continues, then the sun could be completely covered in spots in less than a decade. If we truly love our planet, we must make whatever sacrifice necessary to stop this from happening. Perhaps we could ship all that hidden heat off to the sun. That may not actually stop the sunspots from forming, but whether it works or not isn’t the point: the point is to do something, and fast. And preferably something which involves lots and lots of money.
Perhaps the time has come to bring back the sale of Indulgences?

rbateman

vukcevic says:
May 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Don’t be fastidious, they are specs, but visible. This cycle may be your last chance for couple of decades to come.

I tried about an hour ago. All I can see are the 4 spots of the high latitude group. Even they are a mid-grayish tone, not dark at all. Your advice to get out there and see some spots while you can is good, though. L&P is wreaking havoc despite the confusion on the part of SWPC/NOAA and others.
btw… I came across a reference that Rudolf Wolf would have preferred to base the Sunspot Index on area, not depending on group or spot counts. Anybody know anything more about that?

Rob R

Frank L M, indulgences are already on sale. Its called cap & trade, but no doubt you knew that already.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From Frank Lee MeiDere on May 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm:

Perhaps the time has come to bring back the sale of Indulgences?

These days they are called political campaign contributions. Pay enough to the right people and you can even get a Presidential pardon.

Pascvaks

Ref – Frank Lee MeiDere says:
May 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm
“..If this trend continues, then the sun could be completely covered in spots in less than a decade. If we truly love our planet, we must make whatever sacrifice necessary to stop this from happening…”
_______________________________
As I recall the Aztec’s had a wonderful ceremony to appease the Sun. We need a pure heart. Will Fat Albert’s do? I understand he has a very, very big heart; and he says he’s pure. I understand too, that he is much in favor with the Sun; that he only hates people who make things hot. If his family is permitted to retain his Nobel Prize, I’ll bet they’d agree too. Do you think we could get the Pope to bypass all the rigamarole about miracles and just make him a saint when he blasts off like Tonny Lee Jones and slams into the Sun? “Saint Albert The Great”, why just the sound of it sounds so cooling.
PS: On “Ap” spikes, watching the Sun is a lot like watching paint dry. That said, my money is on quirky behavior and gradual cooling for Planet Earth; ups and downs, cool years, hot years, wet years, dry years, rising polar ice, falling polar ice, rising seas, fallings seas, but longterm down, cool, wet, rising polar ice, falling seas, less people.

Of course you realise, this makes Anthony “Martin Luther,” and WUWT “The 95 Thesis,” right?

Ian Holton

Leif, can you please tell me what the date numbers on the bottom of your TSI, etc graph are (likely something quite simple), ie. it ends 2010.54 what does the 54 mean?
Thanks Lief.

fynney says:
May 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Leif, I would love to hear your thoughts/predictions.
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle.pdf
R. Craigen says:
May 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm
how many spots would an astronomer 100 or 200 years ago have identified on the sun during the recent activity?
http://www.leif.org/research/Rudolf%20Wolf%20Was%20Right.pdf
rbateman says:
May 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm
btw… I came across a reference that Rudolf Wolf would have preferred to base the Sunspot Index on area, not depending on group or spot counts. Anybody know anything more about that?
It is correct. Wolf wanted to use areas, but found that the older data was not amenable to determine the areas, so came up with the next-best thing: the Wold number.

Leif Svalgaard says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
May 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm
the Wolf number.

JinOH

As an amateur (ham) radio operator, I can only hope that the sunspots are finally on the rise. It’s been really boring on the air for the past few years & I was looking forward to cycle 24 coming on strong. Been very disappointing indeed so far. For anyone interested in the solar cycle regarding communication, this guy does an excellent job.
http://www.arrl.org/news/the-k7ra-solar-update-109

Ian Holton says:
May 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm
it ends 2010.54 what does the 54 mean?
It means that the fraction of the year is 0.54, i.e. that the number of days into the year is 0.54 x 365.2422 = 197 days. 2010.5 means halfway through 2010. 2005.3333 means a third of the way through 2010, etc.

tom

This ought to be of considerable interest here.
A team from UCLA have discovered a previously unknown basic mode of energy transfer from the solar wind to the Earth’s magnetosphere.
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/scientists-discover-surprise-in-101025.aspx
Anthony/Mods: Perhaps this important discovery merits a thread of its own?
REPLY: Sure, here it is: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/10/solar-wind-suprise-this-discovery-is-like-finding-it-got-hotter-when-the-sun-went-down/

jinki

Going by the method NOAA use to count sunspots, can we trust their accuracy with the Ap values?

rbateman

For some unknown reason, everytime I try to post the Layman’s Spot Count site, my post evaporates.
Yesterday it was 10.

jinki says:
May 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm
Going by the method NOAA use to count sunspots, can we trust their accuracy with the Ap values?
No, because they round down, so that 2.99 is reported as 2, not three. The official Ap number comes from here: http://www-app3.gfz-potsdam.de/kp_index/kptab.html