Quote of the week #35 Nat Geo bangs the drum for the next solar cycle

I’m having a free day today in Brisbane, after an intensive week of travel and presentations. I feel zorched, but I still hope to catch up on correspondences and posts. If you have not booked into the tour yet, there are two weeks left in the tour. Details here.

qotw_cropped

The other candidate for QOTW via NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze merited its own story here.

National Geographic used to be one of my favorite magazines and television programs. I don’t subscribe anymore and I can hardly bear to watch the TV programs because they have so much alarmism in them. I had an ad popup on my MSN messenger which spieled gloom and doom for us puny humans, so I decided to check it out. While it is certainly true that we could see another “Carrington Event” and given our dependence on i-everythings and satellites in orbit these days, such a disruption could be more globally problematic than in the past.

But the NatGeo quote describing the video made me chuckle, not for the visions of dead iPhones, but for doing the very thing we skeptics get accused of, confusing weather and climate.

Here’s the quote from National Geographic Videos:

Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.

Ummm, confusing weather with climate there guys? From day to night, the atmosphere is anything but stable. In fact it is quite dynamic. Just ask anyone in Kansas about right now.

Plus, cycle 24 so far doesn’t look like a barn burner. That’s not to say we can’t get a big flare/CME, but the likelihood is lower with a quieter sun.

Watch the video by clicking below:

click for video

One of the slides from David Archibald’s presentation during our joint tour suggests a weakening solar cycle 24 and 25. Globally, that could be far more troublesome than some dead iPhones and power outages.

We can do without iPhones, but hungry masses due to declining growing zones tend to get a bit more testy than texters gone wild.

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130 thoughts on “Quote of the week #35 Nat Geo bangs the drum for the next solar cycle

  1. If we are wrongfooted into mitigating a warming that isn’t happening instead of adapting to a cooling that is happening, there’ll be Hell to pay, and it will feature stampedes of apocolyptic horses; hunger, plagues, and war.
    ==========================

  2. Hi Anthony,

    I have been following the solar cycle updates on this blog for a while. It seems like the sun had been quiet for a while now.

    Still the global temps as reported by Dr. Roy for the last few months are still close to the highest on our [limited] records.

    What is going on? When should we expect the global temparatures to be affected? Looking backwards, how long was the lag between the Dalton minimum kicking-in till the tempratures actually dropped?

    REPLY:
    See the next post is a few hours – lag time – A

  3. “I feel zorched,…”

    lol But it beats feeling rorted!

    Hope you are managing to have some fun down there, what with all the travel etc. Lots of nice Sheilas down there I reckon!

  4. Dr. Raymond Stantz:
    What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor. Real wrath of God type stuff! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler:
    Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, and volcanos!
    Winston Zeddemore:
    The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman:
    Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

  5. Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.

    Ummm, confusing weather with climate there guys? From day to night, the atmosphere is anything but stable. In fact it is quite dynamic. Just ask anyone in Kansas about right now.

    Humm. I am thinking it would be good to honour a difference between the terms ‘stable’ and terms for equilibrium and static (not dynamic). One of the marvellous things Ian Stewart taught me about chaos theory is that dynamical systems can be stable but in dis-equilibrium. If we honour this distinction, and recognise something like this in the dynamics of climate systems, then we dont have to make the distinction between weather and climate – which is entirely indistinct anyway.

  6. “One of the slides from David Archibald’s presentation during our joint tour suggests a weakening solar cycle 24 and 25.”

    Dr Leif seems more inclined towards a kind of cycle 14 scenario. After reading more than a few of his papers, I am inclined to agree. Not that I know anything more than the next armchair solar physicist wannabee… However, should Archibald prove correct we will “have some ‘splainin to do”.

    Cheers!

  7. Who will be the first to complain about comparing current solar cycles to past ones?

    ;-)

  8. I feel the same way about NatGeo. Used to like articles and documentaries, but not now. Guess they have gone too far to change now.

  9. Hu Duck Xing says:
    June 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Is your Ghostbusters reference due the fact that the Sta-Puft Marshmallow man was your best friend as a child and is now the destroyer of the world? That’s quite a stream of consciousness you have going there. :b

  10. Here’s the quote from National Geographic Videos:

    “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”
    =============

    Is this a threat ?

  11. It would be very prudent to design expensive and vital electrical equipment to resist damage from such an event. Our existing power delivery infrastruction should be shielded as soon as practical. If a large number of these transformers were destroyed simultaneously it would be months, and could be years until they could be replaced. I don’t think we should scream and runs for the hills, but it is an issue that should be addressed. Of course, our illustrious congress will do nothing because you can’t buy votes spending money that way.

  12. Bruce King says:
    June 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm
    I feel the same way about NatGeo. Used to like articles and documentaries, but not now.

    Me as well, can’t stand it anymore.

  13. I dont have a mobile or any I-things, I grow alot of my own food, I have a woodburner for heat and cooking and trees for fuel, I have a gas cooker and a store of gas, I have a stove kettle and a charcoal BBQ, theres plently of game around, I have a backup rainwater water tank. I think I could manage ok for a few weeks at least- its good to know I am not dependant on others, call me paranoid, but in an earthquake and tsunami prone country living next to a dormant volcanoe, I think its not that bad an idea (civil defence even encourages it).

    To many people today are reliant on technology for day to day living and hence we are suceptible. Dont become to reliant on others!

  14. Hu Duck Xing says:
    June 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm
    Dr. Raymond Stantz:
    What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor. Real wrath of God type stuff! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler:
    Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, and volcanos!
    Winston Zeddemore:
    The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman:
    Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

    So, you were ‘channeling’ Al Gore, then?

  15. I note some comments about a blogger canelling his subscription to National Geographic. In Australia we have a magazine, Australian Geographic, which I once subscribed to. To a small degree it was similar to NG, but was heavily into advertising. It did stories, in many instances about the nuts and bolts of Australian life. It also did stories with international significance.

    Recently it had an article about a Greenland glacier and you can guess the rest. The story was lifted from a Greenpeace article, but it was evident that AG had made some attempt for impartiality, by minor adjustments in the text. However, the “doozie” was that they had to include, in the top right hand corner of the page a picture of a polar bear (mind you the picture of the polar bear had nothing to do with the article) with the caption “Casualty of Change”.

    I sent them a letter telling them that I was not going to renew my subscription. It is a pity, as by and large, the magazine was quite good.

  16. “u.k.(us) says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    Here’s the quote from National Geographic Videos:

    “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”
    =============

    Is this a threat ?”

    The fun thing is, you know, the sun allows our atmosphere to be stable, the sun can also destroy civilization, but what it can’t do is: cause climate change. No. That’s something only humans can do.

  17. Atmosphere is anything but stable here in Kansas tonight. Take it from me–I live here.

  18. So, let’s see. All those Roman I-PADS, version II.0, were the cause of the destruction of the Roman Empire, via an evil Carrington blast?

  19. I have a question for Leif Svalgaard if he checks this thread.

    What is the probability of any single large CME/flare event being pointed close enough to the Earth to actually cause a disruption to our electrical systems/devices? A ball park figure would be sufficient.

  20. If the telegraph stations burst into flame back in 1850, how about today’s windmills? Can you imagine a range of hills at night, with long rows of flaming windmills?

    It will not, however, cause my wood stove to burst into flame. My 1980 Econoline Van (with no computerized parts) will not be seriously effected, as long as it continues to sit in the back yard and annoy the neighbors. Also I have an old tube radio, which ought work fine after the super-solar-storm, especially if it isn’t plugged in and turned on, during the storm. My goats will likely continue to give milk, and my garden will continue to grow.

    In other words, a super-solar-storm will turn me from an anachronism, into a person-ahead-of-the-curve, in the twinkling of an eye.

  21. I just went to check on the effect of the Dalton Minimum and saw this graph on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png
    and now I’m totally confused, as I thought the literature says that the MWP was 2 degs warmer than now. This graph shows quite the opposite.

    However, since I came across a Wikipedia entry which was total fiction about my father running drugs across the NZ alps in small aircraft, I have totally lost faith in it.

    Has this bloke Connolley been at this too?

  22. With AGW, we are supposed to cut our carbon dioxide output and pay much higher taxes. What should we do to prevent a massive CME? (apart from paying much higher taxes?) Tin foil hats? For my cell phone?

    I rate the FSM a much greater threat.

  23. Enneagram says:
    June 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm
    A new explanation is needed, and the most logical one is here:
    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=74fgmwne

    No new explanation is needed [and for what?], and the one you refer to is pure nonsense. Its central thesis is that the Sun is powered from the outside rather than from the inside [and that sunspots are dark because we look through the hot exterior to a cold interior – William Hershel thought that too: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1981JRASC..75…46K and even some people today go along with that http://www.luisprada.com/Protected/The_Sun_Is_Cold_II.htm ]. There are too many things wrong with that to even begin to enumerate, so I’ll only name one: the measured neutrino flux.

    Matt says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm
    I have a question for Leif Svalgaard if he checks this thread.
    What is the probability of any single large CME/flare event being pointed close enough to the Earth to actually cause a disruption to our electrical systems/devices? A ball park figure would be sufficient.

    Depends on the size of the event. For another Carrington event the probability is one.

  24. Well, I have my old solid state ham radio gear that runs these funny things that glow in the dark. The gas generator doesn’t have a lot of solid state stuff in it, so I guess I can get some power for a while –… …– — —

  25. Matt says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm
    What is the probability of any single large CME/flare event being pointed close enough to the Earth to […]
    I may have missed the point of your question. CMEs are rather wide-angle, up to 60 degrees = one steradian [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steradian ]. Since there are 4pi steradians on a sphere, the probability that a random event will hit the Earth is 1/4pi = 8%. But CMEs are not random [occur mostly at lower latitudes] so the chance is perhaps double that. If we discount the ones we can’t see on the backside, we can double [roughly] again to about 32% or one-third. If it hits, the probability that it will cause wide-spread disruption is one.

  26. Caleb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm
    Also I have an old tube radio, which ought work fine after the super-solar-storm
    But you may not anybody to listen to as the stations [with up-to-date equipment] will be disrupted and you [and they] may not have electricity…

  27. I can understand how a large power grid could would be affected by a geomagnetic storm, but not how a micro-sized device like an i-Phone would be, other than that the towers that relay its signals might be damaged by being connected to the power grid. Am I missing something or is the emphasis in these articles being misdirected?

  28. Anthony,
    what great weather to be having a free day in Brisbane. Brisbane’s “winter” weather is the envy of southern Australians and now we have the UHI to take the edge off those previous frosty mornings. I don’t know if your hosts told you, but Brisbane is no stranger to Americans, in the 1940s it was a garrison town hosting thousands of U.S. servicemen fighting in the South Pacific. After fleeing the Phillipines, General McCarthur set up his HQ about a block from from where you gave your talk. Sorry I missed your talk, I was impressed by all the reports, even the AGW people had many respectful comments.

  29. Is there any truth to the Carrington event being not subject to any particular level of solar activity?

  30. Before you flail Nat Geo too harshly about alarmism just keep in mind that they are not science. They are entertainment media. They have to get buns in seats, just like any other media. Conflict sells. Status quo does not. As the old adage goes, we don’t read a newspaper to see which banks were not robbed.

    Going back into my Faraday cage now.

  31. DirkH says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm
    “The fun thing is, you know, the sun allows our atmosphere to be stable, the sun can also destroy civilization, but what it can’t do is: cause climate change. No. That’s something only humans can do.”

    We’ve been around awhile then.

  32. Bring it on!

    In Portland, Oregon, we’ve had 4 sunny days since April 1. We’ve had record rainfall. We’ve had record high lows. I might as well live in Alaska or Scotland.

    Bring on the next solar cycle! PLEASE!

  33. Jeff Alberts says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm
    Yeah, we’ve had stable temps 10+f below average here in the PNW. Just lovely weather for mowing 2.5 acres. grumble grumble.

    Yes, and growing tomatoes? Why bother grumble grumble

  34. rbateman says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:34 pm
    Is there any truth to the Carrington event being not subject to any particular level of solar activity?
    One might make the argument that low activity may be important for the undisturbed growth of a region that can give us a Carrington event [or Halloween event in 2003]. Some of the largest events have occurred at low solar activity.

  35. Hey Anthony…

    Since you are in Brisbane…don’t know if you have seen this but check out this footage of a severe thunderstorm and a blinding, wet downburst there in Nov 2008.

    Winds of about 111 MPH. Truly spectacular footage. I have this one bookmarked and I watch it every now and then.

    Misnamed a “cyclone” but other than that….this is one of my favorite videos of big Momma Nature in action.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  36. I see that the World Cup is described as the coldest ever with practice pitches frozen too hard for training. Of course this is ‘weather’ and no indication of long-term climate, but can you imagine the headlines had it been the warmest World Cup ever?

  37. JDN.
    My life and my music are completely “stream of consciousness!” Can’t help myself!

  38. DirkH says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm
    “u.k.(us) says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    Here’s the quote from National Geographic Videos:

    “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”
    =============

    Is this a threat ?”

    The fun thing is, you know, the sun allows our atmosphere to be stable, the sun can also destroy civilization, but what it can’t do is: cause climate change. No. That’s something only humans can do.
    ———————–
    Yep, if you can’t afford to pay for your “sins”, the tax will be collected by other means.

  39. sea ice news-

    New Paper “in-press”, abstract available in:

    “Quaternary Science Reviews”

    Arctic sea-ice cover from the early Holocene: the role of atmospheric circulation patterns by Sarah Dycka, , , L. Bruno Tremblaya and Anne de Vernal

    Someone tell Steve Goddard. There is barely a mention of CO2.

  40. more sea ice news for Steve Goddard

    Also “in press” in “Quaternary Science Reviews”, with abstract available:

    Quaternary Sea-ice history in the Arctic Ocean based on a new Ostracode sea-ice proxy.
    T.M. Cronin, , , L. Gemery, W.M. Briggs Jr., M. Jakobsson, L. Polyak and E.M. Brouwers

  41. Even a Carrington Event will not damage your iPhone or any other hand-held device as long as it isn’t plugged into the power grid. It will probably take down the network, however. Only long conductors, like power lines, undersea and surface cables will be affected. Fiber optics, microwave links, and many satellites, will be OK. Of course the power grid is key to all that stuff working anyway.

  42. in case u hadn’t noticed, the media has forgotten ‘climate change’!!!! DW finds an old study to recycle:

    20 June: Deutsche Welle: Journalists should not forget climate change, say experts
    A British study shows journalists are overlooking the issue of global warming in favor of more sensational stories, an issue that will be discussed at this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum..
    Yet some experts argue that, the occasional scandal aside, climate change is a subject that receives relatively little media attention…
    Today, according to Wormer, (Dortmund University professor of journalism Holger Wormer), climate change is a topic that has fallen from editorial grace…
    Wormer’s concern appears to be backed up by the numbers. Last year, researchers from the University of Liverpool in the UK released the results of an exhaustive study of climate change coverage in British newspapers. They found that between 2000 and 2006, the number of articles addressing climate change was modest: coverage peaked at around 100 articles per month.
    “Just to give you a comparison, the number of stories on health or crime were at about 400 to 500 stories per month the whole way through the period,” said Neil Gavin, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Liverpool and lead researcher of the study…
    Gavin, who has written and researched extensively on the relationship between climate change and the media, said even fewer journalists were attempting to tackle climate change-related topics like emissions trading schemes (ETSs), the market-based approach to controlling pollution that provides big emitters with economic incentives to reduce polluting emissions, or peak oil, the point at which global petroleum discovery will peak, after which production will go into permanent decline…
    What’s more, the Liverpool researchers found that in some newspapers, a significant amount of what little coverage appeared was focused on skeptical reporting. “In the top-selling newspapers like The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun and their Sunday sister papers, 25 percent of the coverage ran along climate skeptic lines,” said Gavin.
    Wormer said that despite recent revelations of mistakes in the IPCC reports, there isn’t necessarily any reason for journalists to give more attention to climate skepticism. “We should also be aware of the huge amount of pressure, the lobbying and the PR that goes into trying to [create] doubts over the science,” he said, citing the similar levels of pressure and skepticism in the last century over whether cigarettes posed a health hazard…
    Hedegaard (EU Commissioner for Climate Action), herself a former television journalist, said while it would be wrong for the media to ignore climate skepticism altogether, it is also wrong to uncritically accept skepticism in the name of balance.
    “The easiest thing in the world is to invite a guest who says that the planet is flat, and somebody who says, no, it’s round. And the reporter’s job there is not just to hold the microphone and say, ‘OK, A says it’s flat, the other one says it’s round,'” she said.
    “It is sometimes also [necessary] to be equipped to say something is factual, something is right and something is wrong;” she said. “That is not being biased; that’s just to help the listeners, the viewers and the readers to orient themselves in a jungle of information.”
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5710039,00.html

  43. how nice!

    Tokyo: Climate Scientists Awarded Prestigious Blue Planet Prize
    Dr. Robert Watson, chief scientific adviser of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and chair of environmental science and science director at Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the University of East Anglia, was named as one awardee in a ceremony in Tokyo on Thursday…
    Dr. James Hansen, director at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where he has worked since 1967, and adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, was named as the other awardee…
    Each recipient is presented with a certificate of merit, a commemorative trophy and an award of 50 million yen (US$550,600 or 372,000 pounds).
    Watson and Hansen will receive their awards on October 26 in Tokyo, where they will each give a commemorative lecture.
    The prize, first awarded in 1992, is sponsored by the Asahi Glass Foundation…
    Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, the former president of the University of Tokyo who headed the selection committee, said both men have extended “basic scientific findings into the realm of public policy.” ….ETC
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2010/2010-06-20-01.html

  44. After reading every issue of National Geographic since I was about 8 years old (since 1965), I allowed my subscription to lapse this year. The magazine has become an unscientific political journal. Of course, Scientific American (also a favorite for most of my youth) was taken over by the propaganda gang a long time ago.

    It is sad to see old friends die.

  45. If we really are heading into another Minimum, maybe, with higher CO2 levels, there won’t be so many “hungry masses due to declining growing zones.”

  46. I understand, I think. The last 450 million solar cycles were but previews to the monster cycle4 now coming. How prescient of the editors.
    I think it is time for a change over at Nat Geo. Let us get people who can address the very real environmental needs and remediation of this world, rather than attempt to prove that once again they are merely Nostradamian idiots.

  47. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Matt says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm
    What is the probability of any single large CME/flare event being pointed close enough to the Earth to […]
    I may have missed the point of your question. CMEs are rather wide-angle, up to 60 degrees = one steradian [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steradian ]. Since there are 4pi steradians on a sphere, the probability that a random event will hit the Earth is 1/4pi = 8%. But CMEs are not random [occur mostly at lower latitudes] so the chance is perhaps double that. If we discount the ones we can’t see on the backside, we can double [roughly] again to about 32% or one-third. If it hits, the probability that it will cause wide-spread disruption is one.

    Leif, do you have a link with numbers for this, for example energy coming in, frequency spectrum estimate, duration?

    Since there will be at least 18 hours warning the intelligent thing to do would be to map the trouble, turn off the grids for the time necessary and warn people with independent power supplies , of the time and places affected. So disruption there will be, but controlled disruption.

    I can see “wide spread disruption” if everything is running, since the logic behind all our electrical equipment now depends on tiny chips with microwatt energy requirements. ( We are not yet into quantum computing. )But the incoming power should be of the order of microwatts per cm^2 in order to have a chance to blanket destroy inert (unactivated) circuits. I would expect such energies when the sun starts turning Nova. (Of course if there is a front of cosmic rays accompanying this CME different numbers enter the game).

    Because the obvious reaction expected is : make a sure warning system, which means more and better satellites, it is possible that the level of alarm expressed aims at that. To stop budget cuts for new satellites.

  48. anna v says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm
    Leif, do you have a link with numbers for this, for example energy coming in, frequency spectrum estimate, duration?
    This is a pretty good source: http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf

    Since there will be at least 18 hours warning the intelligent thing to do would be to map the trouble, turn off the grids for the time…
    There may still be large currents induced that will cause disruption, e.g melt the wires, or corrode pipelines. The currents are not due to direct CME energy flux, but to the rapidly changing magnetic field changes when the magnetosphere responds. An old, but still mostly valid explanation can be found here: http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf
    The Appendix [page 36ff] contains some illustrative calculations of the energetics..

  49. Good to see you get a day off to feel tired.
    Well, I hope you understand what I mean.

    Speaking of getting “tired”; the sun’s cycles were unusually active for about 3 decades, compared to the preceding century. I noted the similarity regarding the cyclic behaviour towards prolonged quiet periods; Dalton and Maunder. Of course the observation records towards the Maunder are more scarce.

    We also need to keep in mind that we’ve been counting sunspots differently for the past 60 years or so, as methods evolved rapidly to incorporate modern technology. Adding to that complication is that increased solar activity is not necessarily related to observable sunspots.

    A prediction would be unwise, IMHO. One can certainly compare rescent with previous observed behaviour, but I understand that we know far too little about our favourite neigbourhood nuclear fusion reactor to draw definitive conclusions, especially during quiet periods.

    I look forward to seeing you and the others in the West.

  50. Nat. Geo. published: “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”

    Sounds to me like they’re talking about the sun turning into a red giant and burning us all to a crisp before leaving us to assume a background temperature of 2.7 Kelvins. I didn’t know this would happen so soon!

  51. Bernd Felsche says:
    June 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm
    We also need to keep in mind that we’ve been counting sunspots differently for the past 60 years or so, as methods evolved rapidly to incorporate modern technology.
    No, not for that reason. The methods have not changed due to technology. Waldmeier did introduce an upwards jump [of 20%] in 1945 because he was ‘new in the job’, so modern values [since 1945] are 20% to high [or older ones ~20% too low – make a choice]. See: http://www.leif.org/research/SOHO23.pdf

  52. “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”

    Profound words. The sun is. We can’t effect the sun. We can only mitigate very slight changes in the sun. Other than measure what the sun is doing, there really isn’t much purpose in commentating about what the sun can do.

  53. Anthony, I look forward to your visit to foggy old Melbourne Town tomorrow. Thanks for coming and hope you manage a few well deserved rest days while your’e downunder.

  54. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Joe Bastardi on the hysteria about “huge space storm” from the sun. He talks too about the forecast for Solar Cycle 24 being revised:

    http://www.accuweather.com/video/96827541001/run-hide-the-sun-is-coming-to-get-you-%28if-you-trust-nasa%29.asp?channel=vbbastaj

    Warning: for those sensitive about Theodor Landscheidt you may not want to watch the video. ;-)

    This particular video doesn’t have much to do with Theodor Landscheidt, but it does give a boost to Geoff Sharp’s website at http://www.landscheidt.info where he has been using a pixel counting method to give us a more realistic ‘laymans’ sunspot count than that coming from the speck counting going on at SIDC. Also, Geoff is one of the people who forecast a big drop in solar activity due to the periodic (~179 year) alignment of the gas giant planets. Landscheidt also considered this alignment in his prediction back in the late 1980’s that the sun would go quiet, but he forecast it one solar cycle too early it seems.

    Regarding big CME’s hitting Earth. Historically, the last two have occured at the top of the upramp of more active solar cycles following on from low periods, though as Leif notes, they can occur at low activity levels too. My intuition is that we are not as likely to get a big CME while the sun is spinning down rather than up, but I may be wrong.

  55. tallbloke says:
    June 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm
    where he has been using a pixel counting method to give us a more realistic ‘laymans’ sunspot count than that coming from the speck counting going on at SIDC.
    How do you know it is ‘more realistic’? By what measure or metric?
    SIDC is not counting any different than everybody else. Everybody is undercounting the sunspot number. Everybody’s count is too low. Are you arguing that we should increase everybody’s count? to make it more realistic?

  56. As soon as i discovered many years ago that National Geographic had been overrun by radical environmentalist(doomers), and had lost most of its scientific basis, I stopped my order on it and told them that their hads becommed to radical politicized.
    I did not and still do not want to support radical environmentalist(doomers) spreading their “doom”.

    They called me a few months ago and wondered if I wanted to order the magazine again.
    I just told him that the magazine is to much radical environmentalistic for my liking. And then he said that it no longer is dominated by radical environmentalist?

    Is that true?

  57. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm
    R. de Haan says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm
    The Forthcoming Grand Minimum of Solar Activity

    Very poor paper. Cyclomania.

    Here I only want to give more attention to the forcast of Duhau and de Jager.
    In 2009,
    – they presented a forecast of solar activity during cycle #24 and foresaw a late (2013.5) and low (Rmax = 67) solar maximum.
    – A regular episode (R-type), starting with a short (about a half of a century), Dalton-type minimum was forecasted.
    We note that in the year 2009 the Gleissberg cycle exactly hit the origin.”
    The new conclusions in 2010 are:
    Solar activity is presently going through a transition period (2000 – 2013). We expect that sunspot maximum #24 will even be weaker than the earlier prediction. The maximum will be late (2013.5), with a sunspot number as low as 55 (Rmax = 55).
    – After the 2009 transition an M-type instead of an R-type episode is expected to occur.
    The new data, though, lead to the prediction of a Grand Minimum.
    Support for the above conclusions about the immanence of a Grand Minimum is found in Makarov et al. (2010) who showed that the rest latitudes of the sunspot bands gradually tended to decrease during the past few decades (cf. Fig. 16 in De Jager and Duhau, 2010). That phenomenon was interpreted by the authors as an indication that a Grand Minimum could start around 2020 ~ 2030. The present situation may be compared with that around 1620, where the Maunder minimum was preceded by increasingly weaker Schwabe cycles.
    These lead us to conclude that solar variability is presently entering into a long Grand Minimum, this being an episode of very low solar activity, not shorter than a century.

    N.B. There is a regrettable printing error in Section 5 (Summary and Conclusions) of http://journalofcosmology.com/ClimateChange111.html .
    The second paragraph should read:
    Solar activity is presently going through a transition period (2000 – 2013). This will be followed by a remarkably low Schwabe cycle, which has started recently. In turn that cycle precedes a forthcoming Grand Minimum, most likely of the long type.
    Will Rmax of SC24 be 55 or 72? Will a Grand Minimum start within a few years? Wait and see and then it will be clear who is right!

  58. “FijiDave says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm
    I just went to check on the effect of the Dalton Minimum and saw this graph on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png
    […]
    Has this bloke Connolley been at this too?”

    Yes, Dave. Look at the discussion page of the graph:

    “[…]Variation. Fair point – but a difficult one. Sometimes they measure different things. Or different methods of reconstruction. There is (ahem) some slight controvery over this issue. And why does the modern data series leave all of the others behind? – for the obvious reason: its got warmer. Error bars: I don’t think they all come with error bars. Some individual series do – MBH for example William M. Connolley 22:56, 4 December 2006 (UTC) […]”

    William M. Connolley actually *IS* the infamous NPOV (neutral point of view) of the Wikipedia.

  59. alcuin says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I can understand how a large power grid could would be affected by a geomagnetic storm, but not how a micro-sized device like an i-Phone would be, other than that the towers that relay its signals might be damaged by being connected to the power grid. Am I missing something or is the emphasis in these articles being misdirected?
    _______________

    Hi Alcuin, here’s some gathered info to you and others:

    To my best understanding, terribly misdirected. Unless someone can provide further data on estimated magnetic field strengths and more importantly the rate of change of these fields to the contrary, any worries are unfounded and misplaced.

    “anna v” is thinking correct on this matter, as it being a rather slow moving (>>1 second) flux events over Earth’s sphere of rather small magnetic intensity to generate electricity. There is simply not enough flux of adequate strength at pulse-like time interval (< 1 second) fluxes.

    Be very careful not to be sucked into these scare stories without learning exactly what has happened in the past, 1859 and 1989 for instance, what and when there were dangers. Once again it was that the telegraph companies used the earth as a “ground” return. Telephone companies today might have the same problem without adequate capacitors to limit the d/c flow, but you would think they should have learned that lesson and corrected it long ago, most local telephone lines do not use the earth as a ground, they carry both wires. There are many articles mentioned in a previous article posted a couple of days ago that will help you get to the bottom of this scare.

    I welcome any corrections or additions if anyone has some first-hand experience with a power company and knows the general equipment and it’s d/c capacities and if I portrayed this basically correct.

    That is the way I understand it so far by piecing together from many sources and memory and it makes sense from what I’ve read in prior years of the grid. Some of the best were power companies documents on how to handle this very type of situation.

  60. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:07 am

    tallbloke says:
    June 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm
    where he [Geoff Sharp] has been using a pixel counting method to give us a more realistic ‘laymans’ sunspot count than that coming from the speck counting going on at SIDC.
    How do you know it is ‘more realistic’? By what measure or metric?
    SIDC is not counting any different than everybody else. Everybody is undercounting the sunspot number. Everybody’s count is too low. Are you arguing that we should increase everybody’s count? to make it more realistic?

    I’m saying that I think Geoff is correct when he says that we won’t get a count comparable to previous periods when solar activity was very low by counting tiny pores and specks as SIDC are currently doing. Whether the latest numbers should be lowered or the older numers raised is a question which should be better defined if you can push your geo-magnetic work back beyond the Dalton Minimum.

    Is this feasible, or are the readings too uncertain in terms of the calibration of the instruments?

  61. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:03 am

    tallbloke says:
    June 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm
    while the sun is spinning down rather than up
    The Sun doesn’t ‘spin up’ or ‘spin down’ like that.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion. As am I. It was a vague term anyway, so its not worth arguing over. Looking at the longterm sunspot record, there have been periods when there have been a few low cycles, followed by a ramping up to a peak in activity, followed by a drop and some more low cycles. I found a puzzling and apparently unphysical coincidence between solar activity levels and the suns predictable motion in the second graph here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/predicting-changes-in-solar-activity/

    Which incidentally lends some support (if it has any meaning) to your contention that sunspot counts in the past may have been on the low side compared to more recent times. In my graph, I arbitrarily plotted the solar activity and motion so that it matched the earlier counts, but this is immaterial.

    I stress that the graph is unphysical on our current understanding. It could only acquire meaning if the rate that the sun spins at and the rate the planets orbit at were influenced by an force external to the solar system which had been acting pretty steadily over an extremely long time.

    About that possibility I as yet frame no hypotheses.

  62. I sent an email to National Geographic while I was watching a program about “climate”. Several times when something negative was said about climate change they cut to a scene that showed water cooling towers with steam rolling out. They did their best to imply this was pollution or CO2 being emitted into the air.

  63. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:07 am

    tallbloke says:
    June 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm
    where he [Geoff Sharp] has been using a pixel counting method to give us a more realistic ‘laymans’ sunspot count than that coming from the speck counting going on at SIDC.
    How do you know it is ‘more realistic’? By what measure or metric?

    A fuller discussion between Leif and Geoff is in progress from this post:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/17/nasa-warns-solar-flares-from-huge-space-storm-will-cause-devastation/#comment-413495

  64. As I understand things, the probability of a Carrington event in any one year is about 1:500, and perhaps higher when the solar cycle is low, as it is now – maybe 1:200. The chances of this seriosuly damaging the northern hemisphere electrical grids through induced currents in long power lines is as Leif supposes, one – ie a certainty. Transformers might be saved by being disconnected in advance, but the lines would be renedered inoperative and with the grid down, large scale repairs would be problematic. Civil order would be threatened within days – no water in the taps, no sewage pumps and no replenishment of supermarket food stocks. Starvation is a real threat.

    Whats odd about this is that in similar scale threats – such a s a nuclear reactor meltdown, systems are engineered not to fail at 1:10,000 years or more!

    Here ‘we’ have built a system that can be destroyed by a relatively common natural event. Is that hubris or what? Or plain ignorance? It has been amazing to watch the world begin to wake up to this reality.

    And also to realise that the ‘science’ that built this fragile system still holds sway in the calculations of probability. Other sources of knowledge – from indigenous tribal shamans for example, have been warning about this for some time – but of course, they get dismissed as unscientific and primitive.

    It is worth taking a few minutes and pausing – going deep into intuition territory, and ask, ‘do I sense something coming?’ – from that sixth sense that even simple animals can use in advance of earthquakes or tsunamis. All those shamans and yogis I know, as well as – deep breath – astrologers, are expecting something big this summer! Is it not odd that the media are now talking about Carrington events?

  65. wayne says: (June 21, 2010 at 1:41 am) :   To my best understanding…
        Thanks, Wayne. A calming caution (I’ve had enough gee-whiz-golly-wow! to last me a long, long time).

  66. Frank says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm
    Bring it on!
    In Portland, Oregon, we’ve had 4 sunny days since April 1. We’ve had record rainfall. We’ve had record high lows. I might as well live in Alaska or Scotland.
    Bring on the next solar cycle! PLEASE!

    Frank, sorry to hear you are having a poor Spring/Summer. But we in Scotland apart from an odd wet week in March and May, we have had dry weather and sunshine for many months now. May was still cold but there has been hardly any rain, and the rivers are all very low. I assume the AO is still predominently negative, which gives us the cold dry winters and warm dry summers. It is certainly nothing to do with CO2 induced climate change.

  67. Peter Taylor says: (June 21, 2010 at 3:40 am)  All those shamans and yogis I know, as well as – deep breath – astrologers, are expecting something big this summer!
         Dunno if such expectations really count for much, Peter. Whenever life gets a bit slow we humans tend to look for some earth-shattering event which will justify our keeping on going. Either that or a feeling that this week we will definitely win the lottery. Something hard-wired into our brains, I suspect, to stop the tedium killing us. (Think of the old journo saying: If it bleeds it leads.)

  68. OK, I perused http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf link provided by Leif.

    Not very carefully, but looking specifically about damage with power on or off.
    It seems that the problem is ground currents induced by the magnetic storm, that go through the grounding cables into the grid system, and any electrical system.

    Power off is not considered. It is of course off in the “oil and gas pipelines” section, where corrosion is put forth as a danger.

    GICs ( geomagnetic induced current) reaching 57 amps were measured in a Finnish natural gas pipeline in November 1998.
    Well these are quite large pipes in crossection. In any case, corrosion is bad, but not trigger alarm bad. Extensive checks after a Carrington type event would catch these in time.

    So from this write up, whence all the alarms must have come, there is no obvious reason why, if the grids go inert, (and all the large transformers etc), the rise in ground voltage ( which is the main reason things get cook while on line) should destroy this expensive equipment. Particularly when they are not underground. Optical lines as hardware should also be immune, but the electronics should be turned off.

    The rational decision is to produce maps and time tables of areas in danger and turn off the circuits. Better have power outs for a day or three and all the hardware intact, than chance it and have big burn outs that need years to replace. Elementary.

  69. @anthony

    I dinged you guys several weeks ago for trying to downplay the BP oil leak. It was not only far worse than you thought it turned out to be worse than I thought and I had thought it would be ten times as bad as you did.

    You’re now guilty of playing down a large CME and apparently have put in little due diligence before commenting on it. Ipods and personal electronics are not generally at risk. As others have pointed out it’s long conductors (miles) that collect up the energy as a magnetic field traverses them. The national power grid is at risk. Big time. A Carrington event today would be an epic catastrophe of biblical proportion. Worse, there’s no reason to think the Carrington event represents any sort of maximum intensity limit. Before there were millions of miles of metal wire and pipes strung about the world these CME’s had no more effect on humans than some pretty lights in the sky at night.

    @anna

    The 18 hour warning you mention is very misleading. There are two classes of CME’s one which produces a visible halo and one which does not. In the case of the halo we get up to a few days between the halo and when the particle storm arrives. Where there is no halo the ejection might or might not be spotted. The problem with both of these instant observations is that most of them don’t later result in a big particle storm intercepting the earth – they might miss the earth entirely or fizzle out along the way. An advance warning system based on those observations would soon become as dull and non-threatening as the dubious US color-coded terrorist threat level.

    The reliable warning system we have is solar observation satellites positioned at the LaGrange point between the earth and sun which is a mere 1,500,000 kilometers from the earth. When a CME hits those satellites it will hit the earth 30-90 minutes later and we can judge its intensity. That’s not much time to react. Decision makers all over the world have to order their bits of the power grid shut down and then workers have to trip circuit breakers to protect big power transformers. That’s a pretty big decision and not a small amount of work.

    Big power transformers like almost everyone has seen at various electrical power substations take a long time to build (1-2 years from order to delivery) and there is no stockpile of them. Imagine a million of them getting fried all at the same time. It would take weeks to months just to get critical power restored to hospitals, water pumps, sewer pumps, and gas station fuel pumps. In the meantime you’ll have no water, no sewer, no fuel for vehicles, no heating or air conditioning, no refrigeration, no telephones or other electronic communications. Distrubution of just about everything from food to water to goods and services will grind to a quick and almost immediate halt everywhere. The end-result is probably many millions of deaths in the United States. Nations where people don’t rely so much on a working electrical power grid will fare better.

  70. dave Harrison says:{June 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm}
    “I see that the World Cup is described as the coldest ever with practice pitches frozen too hard for training. Of course this is ‘weather’ and no indication of long-term climate, but can you imagine the headlines had it been the warmest World Cup ever?”

    It is being played in the southern hemisphere where it is winter.

  71. Caleb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm
    If the telegraph stations burst into flame back in 1850, how about today’s windmills? Can you imagine a range of hills at night, with long rows of flaming windmills?

    It will not, however, cause my wood stove to burst into flame. My 1980 Econoline Van (with no computerized parts) will not be seriously effected, as long as it continues to sit in the back yard and annoy the neighbors. Also I have an old tube radio, which ought work fine after the super-solar-storm, especially if it isn’t plugged in and turned on, during the storm. My goats will likely continue to give milk, and my garden will continue to grow.

    In other words, a super-solar-storm will turn me from an anachronism, into a person-ahead-of-the-curve, in the twinkling of an eye.

    The reason the telegraph stations back then caught fire is because of the energy potential generated by the very long lengths of unshielded wire. The longer the length of wire exposed to a large electromagnetic effect, the more the induced current along its length.

    And since wire also exhibits inductive reactance, there arrives a boost in voltage which very likely caused arcing between closely spaced conductors at the endpoint facility.

    If the insulation material was primitive —paper and varnished woven cloth were used in the day— that merely increased the conflagration potential.

    Your Ford van is made of metal, and the wiring for the most part isn’t exposed. BUT, the instrument panel —via the windows— and the running lights are, and they could well serve as a conduit to the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system if the flare is sufficiently powerful.

    Further, should you touch the van —which is insulated via the tires— when the storm hits, you would likely get ‘bitten.’

    For those people using fluorescent lights, there’s likely a real danger of those exploding from an over-voltage condition should those be turned on at the time.

    If your tube radio set is plugged in at the time, it’s entirely possible that an electrical arc could jump the contacts of the power switch. But then, the house wiring would also be a liability as well, if the insulation breaks down.

    Houses and abodes with underground power feeders will likely fair better, as long as the roof —and maybe the siding— are made of metal …

  72. Dave Springer says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Big power transformers like almost everyone has seen at various electrical power substations take a long time to build (1-2 years from order to delivery)

    It’s worse than that. Nearly all big transformers are being built in the far east. They will be busy for years fixing their own systems if there is a big event. The west has no capability for large scale production at the moment.

  73. u.k.(us) says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm
    “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”
    =============

    Is this a threat ?
    …But not through Solar Flares, but most probably through the next CANCUN CLIMATE FAIR (not flare) in november, as a consequence of that you will have to live like in the Dark Ages.

  74. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    Caleb says:
    June 20, 2010 at 6:41 pm
    Also I have an old tube radio, which ought work fine after the super-solar-storm
    But you may not anybody to listen to as the stations [with up-to-date equipment] will be disrupted and you [and they] may not have electricity…

    Bummer. However I will have my wife to listen to. She can be electric without electricity.

    I wonder if the airwaves would be utterly dead, or whether there are some back-up stations, perhaps created by the Army for after nuclear blasts.

  75. Dave Springer says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I think you are singing in tune in with the unnecessary alarmism about these putative CME events.

    I have been following the CME events the past year or so over at http://solarcycle24.com and I can guarantee that the CMEs are registered and it is easy to calculate if they are pointing on earth. I have not seen such an alert during this time. A large CME would not go undetected, even by amateurs, and in addition there will be signals in the Xray and magnetic field that have travelled close to the speed of light, before the main body comes. ( read the link provided above).

    When a CME hits those satellites it will hit the earth 30-90 minutes later and we can judge its intensity. That’s not much time to react. Decision makers all over the world have to order their bits of the power grid shut down and then workers have to trip circuit breakers to protect big power transformers. That’s a pretty big decision and not a small amount of work.

    This 30 minute information would be the second level alarm. The first alarm would give ample time to have personnel ready in case it will be necessary to shut down everything . I am sure emergency planners can handle such scenaria with ease.

    Big power transformers like almost everyone has seen at various electrical power substations take a long time to build (1-2 years from order to delivery) and there is no stockpile of them. Imagine a million of them getting fried all at the same time. It would take weeks to months just to get critical power restored to hospitals, water pumps, sewer pumps, and gas station fuel pumps.

    Of course, of course the sky will surely fall, if we ignore the available technology that can easily help us to keep it in place.

  76. 899 says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

    On the contrary

    Houses and abodes with underground power feeders will likely fair better, as long as the roof —and maybe the siding— are made of metal …

    The currents come from the grounding connections, because the currents are in the ground, so underground might be worse than surface lines. The telegraph and phone lines were under tension during the Carrington event, there is always current going on that is modulated by the signals.
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf

    Induce electric fields in the Earth create potential differences in voltage
    between grounding points—which causes Geomagnetic Induced Currents (GICs) to flow through transformers,
    power system lines, and grounding points.

  77. Anyone watched the Russian produced “War and Peace” from the ’60’s recently? 10 hours of excruciating pain watching the EVIL Napoleon make war for no reason except his ego! However you also realize: WINTER WINTER WINTER…

    And HARD, cold, LONG winters throughout Europe, in 1812..the middle of the Dalton minimum. Is Svensmark right?

    Max

  78. As potentially “annoying” as a Carrington event might be, I still would be more concerned with an impact by an asteroid which may have a slightly lower probability but definitely more serious devastating consequences.

    The CME we could “harden” our systems against (perhaps) but the rapid sea-level rise (sorry, couldn’t resist…;-) of a impact generated tsunami not to mention the increase in atmospheric water vapor as well as particulates would be far more problematic.

    Scanning the skies seems like a reasonable precaution and highly cost- effective as well.

  79. @ Leif Svalgaard

    Regarding the “continuity” in sunspot activity measurement between old manual observations and current technologically adept ones, is this considered a “problem” by the scientific community?

    If so, is there a current dialog on just how to go about normalizing the method?

    Thanks.

  80. “Just as the sun allows our atmosphere to remain stable, so too can it destroy civilization.”

    I wonder what part oceans, biosphere, bacteria etc., have in allowing our atmosphere to remain stable or otherwise?

  81. I found this measurement during an actual event:
    http://www.ann-geophys.net/23/3089/2005/angeo-23-3089-2005.pdf

    The volts are from 2 to mvolts, the magnetic fields are in nanotesla/s in the various plots.

    OK, corrosion is insidious and might be accelerated by induced currents. But 57amps measured in the finnish line times 1 volt give an energy of 77 voltamps ( watts) for large pipes, so, I would think that the induced currents on the electricity transmission lines, would not be enough to melt them if they are not powered to become unbalanced and pushed into oscillations.

  82. alcuin says:
    June 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm
    I can understand how a large power grid could would be affected by a geomagnetic storm, but not how a micro-sized device like an i-Phone would be, other than that the towers that relay its signals might be damaged by being connected to the power grid. Am I missing something or is the emphasis in these articles being misdirected?

    What you’re missing is the fact that the energy in a flare is of such a broad electromagnetic spectrum that it could easily overwhelm the relatively weakly protected components in a cellphone. Certainly the design of modern communications devices is ‘robust’ enough to handle the more common electrical fields experienced daily.

    But a solar flare is animal of a different color. That energy could be sufficient to easily overwhelm the device with the right level of exposure. The spacing of the elements in integrated circuits is so close that arcing would take place and essentially destroy them. Your wee timorous beastie would become past tense with a high enough blast of energy.

    Those with the knowledge of proper handling of those components will know the term as ESD sensitive devices. ESD = Electrostatic Sensitive Device. It doesn’t take much of an electrical field to play havoc with them.

  83. PJB says:
    June 21, 2010 at 6:37 am
    Regarding the “continuity” in sunspot activity measurement between old manual observations and current technologically adept ones, is this considered a “problem” by the scientific community?
    If so, is there a current dialog on just how to go about normalizing the method?

    Yes, this is a problem and, yes, there is debate about it.
    http://www.leif.org/research/Rudolf%20Wolf%20Was%20Right.pdf

    Wolf was right about the calibration of the sunspot number. There was a ‘mini-debate’ in the 1890s about how to count spots [whether to count the tiniest ones, pores and ‘specks’]. The better way is to count everything you can see no matter how small, and that has prevailed to the present day.

  84. 899 says:
    June 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Those with the knowledge of proper handling of those components will know the term as ESD sensitive devices. ESD = Electrostatic Sensitive Device. It doesn’t take much of an electrical field to play havoc with them.

    If there is power in the device, then the small induced currents might push it to overload, and the devise has enough power to destroy itself. In the air ( in contrast to ground currents induced by the magnetic disturbance high up, coming through the grounding wires) the power of the incoming electromagnetic pulse is very small. If the device operates with microwatt power for the chips, then the incoming energy would have to be higher than that to destroy an inert ( not powered) device. milliwatts per cm^2(10watts/m^2) would mean large electric or magnetic energy induced directly.
    This is not the case. Have a look at fig 7 of the second reference given by Leif http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf.
    We are talking of millivolts per meter electric fields .

  85. As I expected, after the cold winter in the NH, we now have one of the coldest winters here in South Africa (for the last 15 years). However, just as improbable as global warming is (because earth is a giant water cooling plant), so I also doubt that we will ever fall back into an ice age – mainly because I think that people are clever enough to understand that if they see ice and snow around them, it will not help them to stand around and not do something about it. Remember, it is mainly the reflection of light from the snow that caused earth to fall in ice ages in the past.
    However, according to a recent poll here, 80% of the people here believe (or have been made to believe) that global warming is real and it is a big problem. gosh. Can you believe this? I am doing the best I can here but it seems I am all alone. I also think that global cooling is for real now, and I think we should start give out warnings. You know, become a bit more alarmist….???

  86. jorgekafkazar says; Wankapedia has drunk the KoolAid and then some. It’s so heavily politicized, I no longer use it.

    It is true. Don’t trust everything you read on Wikipedia. I could not believe my own eyes when I found that a definition (from Wikipedia), about the interpretation of the greenhouse effect, was changed after I had used it in an argument.

  87. Can’t think why anyone would believe that this absurdity will not occur. Isn’t it already possible for windmill owners to draw electricity from the grid to generate power to sell to the grid at higher prices? LMAO. Let’s have some more Government! Politicians and bureaucrats are so smart. Big Oil never got paid to not fill my tank. Okay, so they slowed production to raise prices.

  88. Roger Carr says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:32 am
    Peter Taylor says: (June 21, 2010 at 3:40 am) All those shamans and yogis I know, as well as – deep breath – astrologers, are expecting something big this summer!
    Dunno if such expectations really count for much, Peter. Whenever life gets a bit slow we humans tend to look for some earth-shattering event which will justify our keeping on going. Either that or a feeling that this week we will definitely win the lottery. Something hard-wired into our brains, I suspect, to stop the tedium killing us. (Think of the old journo saying: If it bleeds it leads.)

    Kinda reminds me of this quote:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Menchen

  89. Grant Hillemeyer says:
    June 20, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    It would be very prudent to design expensive and vital electrical equipment to resist damage from such an event. Our existing power delivery infrastruction should be shielded as soon as practical. If a large number of these transformers were destroyed simultaneously it would be months, and could be years until they could be replaced. I don’t think we should scream and runs for the hills, but it is an issue that should be addressed. Of course, our illustrious congress will do nothing because you can’t buy votes spending money that way.
    ____________________________________________________
    I rather see that than a 1.5 million dollar grant for Mann to study mosquitoes.

  90. anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 6:16 am
    899 says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

    On the contrary
    The currents come from the grounding connections, because the currents are in the ground, so underground might be worse than surface lines. The telegraph and phone lines were under tension during the Carrington event, there is always current going on that is modulated by the signals.
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf

    Induce electric fields in the Earth create potential differences in voltage
    between grounding points—which causes Geomagnetic Induced Currents (GICs) to flow through transformers,
    power system lines, and grounding points.

    Propagated EM fields have but two components: And ‘E’ field, and an ‘H’ field.
    The E field is voltage related, and the H field is entirely magnetic in nature.

    The E field component is incapable of penetrating moist soil, and so would dissipate with a few short inches. The H field can penetrate wet soil, but with a highly attenuated E field component, the chances of significant damage is very questionable.

    Finally, regardless of a ‘ground’ connection, the damage was NOT a result of any ground mechanism. The telegraphs of the day were TWO WIRE devices, which required a supply and return line for proper operation. The ground lead is merely to dissipate collected static from the atmosphere and from wind generated static.

    The whole purpose of a ‘ground’ lead is to neutralize LOCALLY accumulated static electrical buildup, such as to place the wires at a neutral potential relative to the Earth itself.

  91. anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Dave Springer says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

    When a CME hits those satellites it will hit the earth 30-90 minutes later and we can judge its intensity. That’s not much time to react. Decision makers all over the world have to order their bits of the power grid shut down and then workers have to trip circuit breakers to protect big power transformers. That’s a pretty big decision and not a small amount of work.

    This 30 minute information would be the second level alarm. The first alarm would give ample time to have personnel ready in case it will be necessary to shut down everything . I am sure emergency planners can handle such scenaria with ease.

    Such hubris. There was plenty of people sounding the alarm well ahead of New Orleans Anna. 10 years in fact. How well did the emergency planners handle it?

  92. anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 9:03 am
    If there is power in the device, then the small induced currents might push it to overload, and the devise has enough power to destroy itself. In the air ( in contrast to ground currents induced by the magnetic disturbance high up, coming through the grounding wires) the power of the incoming electromagnetic pulse is very small. If the device operates with microwatt power for the chips, then the incoming energy would have to be higher than that to destroy an inert ( not powered) device. milliwatts per cm^2(10watts/m^2) would mean large electric or magnetic energy induced directly.
    This is not the case. Have a look at fig 7 of the second reference given by Leif http://www.leif.org/research/Geomagnetic-Response-to-Solar-Wind.pdf.
    We are talking of millivolts per meter electric fields .

    You’re fixated on that matter of ‘grounding.’

    IF and EM field is able to generate a potential difference in a conducting surface, such as cause sufficient current to flow in that surface, then damage is possible, and it doesn’t matter a whit whether it’s grounded.

  93. Leif,

    Thanks, I’m throwing that chart out in favor of yours. I didn’t like that it ended twenty years ago anyway.

  94. Smokey says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm
    Thanks, I’m throwing that chart out in favor of yours. I didn’t like that it ended twenty years ago anyway.
    If you do so, don’t forget to include my conclusion:
    3. the scatter plot below the first Figure shows how the pink points correlate with the blue points [pink open circles]. The square of the correlation coefficient is R^2 = 0.0324, thus NO correlation.

  95. tallbloke says:
    June 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

    New Orleans is a different story.
    An alarm system is not expensive to implement. The cost will come if there has to be a three day power shut down. I do not see any hubris in this.

    To avoid the New Orleans flooding a lot of money should have been spent and usually such decisions are always put off until too late.

  96. 899 says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I was quoting from the report, that the damage seen happened because the ground, instead of being neutral had a surge of current that destabilized the transformers that were destroyed: there is a whole list of them. page 8 http://www.leif.org/EOS/SSTA.pdf
    They were all under power.

  97. 899 says:
    June 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

    alcuin says: […]

    What you’re missing is the fact that the energy in a flare is of such a broad electromagnetic spectrum that it could easily overwhelm the relatively weakly protected components in a cellphone. Certainly the design of modern communications devices is ‘robust’ enough to handle the more common electrical fields experienced daily.

    But a solar flare is animal of a different color. That energy could be sufficient to easily overwhelm the device with the right level of exposure. The spacing of the elements in integrated circuits is so close that arcing would take place and essentially destroy them. Your wee timorous beastie would become past tense with a high enough blast of energy.
    899, this is not against you, just what you are saying:

    Sorry to say you don’t know what you are talking about, but, seems you don’t know what you are talking about. You must be conjuring up something in your mind that is not actually real. We are speaking of at most 1 µT/s flux and I would love for you to explain how this is to “destroy” your cell phone or i-pad.

    However, rub your feet on the carpet and touch your cell phone while it is grounded, then yes, you run the risk of some real damage depending on whether the internal circuit boards are well grounded themselves. But that is an electrostatic high voltage/low current situation. A solar flare creates the opposite, low voltage/high current and not local (not enough meters).

    I sit with a 1 Tesla super magnet in my hand and pass it quickly (< 1/4 second) 1 cm over my cell phone, any orientation, that's a big magnetic field flux. Know what happens, nothing, no damage. Having to do with solar flares we are speaking of micro-Tesla fields at best, usually nano-Tesla. So once again, why do you think a flare is going to destroy you cell phone’s electronics?

    But please stop mixing and hyping in relation to someone’s personal electronics compared to this very real concern in relation to the electricity grid. Even NASA said “disrupt” (loss of power), not “destroy”. It’s not the wires at fault in this case per se, it’s the connections to the physical ground between two points separated by many kilometers that is where voltage and currents are formed.

    Drive a stake into the ground in New York and drive a stake into the ground in north Canada and connect these stakes with a wire, then you have d/c flowing during a solar event when even feeble magnetic fluxes are present. It’s that simple. The voltages are not that high but the currents can be huge (because the Earth is so large) in the wire you used to connect the stakes is very thick (low resistance). If that thick wire between the two stakes then actually goes through a huge transformer, you can have problems. This is actually what happens on the grid. See?

    I’m sure the electric companies also have huge capacitors between to prevent this d/c flow but if the capacitor should short, the d/c then goes directly through the transformer and it can burn that out due to the d/c current, not the normal high a/c voltage and a/c current, self inductance protects them but not if d/c.

    You seem to be more describing a nuclear device designed to generate an e/m pulse. That is also a rather weak magnetic field but it fluxes in a picosecond or so, the dWb/dt flux is then large because dt is very tiny. Once again, if the net area is small, lets say a tiny transformer in your cell phone, there still is not enough area exposed to burn out the circuits. Those pulse devices were created to bring grids down over many kilometers (large x distance, large current and the contention is that even they don’t have enough power to work).

    Or possibly you think a solar flare is like a giant radio broadcasting device spewing E/M waves that are to be picked up by any wire and the energy used to burn electronic device out.

    If you have the numbers to counter my complains above, please provide them, but please stop worrying people over something they actually have nothing to worry about. Listen more to “anna v” and I'm sure Leif, they are correctly saying basically the same thing and have the data.

    And just read something else you claim, where did you get the idea that telegraph transmission lines were two wires over long distance hauls? Give a reference please. Yes a telegraph device uses two wires locally of course but if the telegraph company used two wires when they could just as easily use one wire I would like the actual reference. Maybe I am wrong.

  98. anna v – Tall Bloke is right to question the ability of the utility managers to heed warnings and shut down the system in time (even if they can). I have a family connection to someone high up in one of the Scottish electricity utilities, and have made him aware of the risk presented to the grid infrastructure from a Carrington type event, but to no avail; these utilities are no longer run by engineers (who knew how to manage the grid very well), but by managers from retail and business backgrounds. Their main consideration is profit, not security of supply, or anything that might or might not happen in the next 5 or 10 years.

  99. Andrew P. says:
    June 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    anna v – Tall Bloke is right to question the ability of the utility managers to heed warnings and shut down the system in time (even if they can). I have a family connection to someone high up in one of the Scottish electricity utilities, and have made him aware of the risk presented to the grid infrastructure from a Carrington type event, but to no avail; these utilities are no longer run by engineers (who knew how to manage the grid very well), but by managers from retail and business backgrounds. Their main consideration is profit, not security of supply, or anything that might or might not happen in the next 5 or 10 years.

    That is just so intellectually wrong on so many levels as to be criminal.

    So then, the bottom line is that of the essence of the drug pusher and the addict?

    The Scottish utilities ‘hook’ the consumer with the promise of a constant ‘fix’ of power, but then don’t care about the security of the supply?

  100. Andrew P. says:
    June 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    anna v – Tall Bloke is right to question the ability of the utility managers to heed warnings and shut down the system in time (even if they can). I have a family connection to someone high up in one of the Scottish electricity utilities, and have made him aware of the risk presented to the grid infrastructure from a Carrington type event, but to no avail; these utilities are no longer run by engineers (who knew how to manage the grid very well), but by managers from retail and business backgrounds. Their main consideration is profit, not security of supply, or anything that might or might not happen in the next 5 or 10 years.

    Sadly, I get that feeling. Reading many articles lately I get the same idea that they just wait until failure, hopefully the systems “trips” and automatically disconnects in time but if the sequence is too slow, well, some toasted capacitors and transformers. Reminds me a bit of BP and the oil industry I have learned of late, no ultimate backup procedures or equipment if the ultimate disaster hits… heaven forbid… that would cut into their immediate profits and the holy stock price!

  101. anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    To avoid the New Orleans flooding a lot of money should have been spent and usually such decisions are always put off until too late.

    I suspect quite a lot need to be spent on remote controlled power circuit breakers here too. Will it be put off until it’s too late?

  102. wayne says:
    So once again, why do you think a flare is going to destroy you cell phone’s electronics?
    Because there is not only a magnetic effect, but also a SEP [solar Energetic Particle] effect. We have all seen how a big flare upsets the detectors at SOHO, e.g. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/gallery/images/c2c3protons.html
    At rare times [we know about 70+ events the last 70 years] such energetic protons [or muons caused by them] can reach the ground [a Ground Level Event] and cause ‘upsets’ in computer memory causing software to fail [e.g. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.117.5936&rep=rep1&type=pdf ]. Not to speak about effects on orbiting satellites.

  103. Sure Scientific American, Nat Geo, New Scientist and others aren’t worth subscribing to, but they still have ones and twozees articles barely worth reading. So have a Coffee @ a Barnes & Noble StarBucks & peruse what they do have free (as there is some justice in this).

  104. tallbloke says:
    June 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    “anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    To avoid the New Orleans flooding a lot of money should have been spent and usually such decisions are always put off until too late.”I suspect quite a lot need to be spent on remote controlled power circuit breakers here too. Will it be put off until it’s too late?

    If you notice I am proposing to use the humans on shift there anyway to do all the circuit breaking once there is an alarm. Costs mush less.

    In general, if things are off power, damage is drastically diminished, even from a cosmic ray shower.

    Cosmic rays will riddle electronics but if there is no power when they pass the damage is limited to the pathways, which is of the order of microns in width at most, and we are not into quantum computing yet.

  105. Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Enough to erase or corrupt a BIOS (EEPROM) chip?

  106. rbateman says:
    June 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Enough to erase or corrupt a BIOS (EEPROM) chip?

    This happens all the time. That is why there are the parity checks and the redundant programmings. The computer is not destroyed though, because this damage is isolated and incoherent. If the computer is powered and a coherent cosmic ray pulse arrived it could well set up instabilities that would damage it. That is why I would recommend the sensitive devices to be off power if a Carrington event is expected.

    We used to have the rule of thumb that there is “1 muon per cm^2 per second” coming down at sea level, to be counted as background. So including the normal neutron background this level of cosmics is livable.

  107. anna v says:
    June 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    If you notice I am proposing to use the humans on shift there anyway to do all the circuit breaking once there is an alarm. Costs mush less.

    “Joe, I know it’s four in the morning and the snowplough didn’t pass your way yet, but could you please try to get to unmanned transformer substations in areas 4356 a, d, g and h within the next thirty minutes and throw the big contact levers because Fred is off sick right now. … What’s that? Fred has the keys??? Damn!”

  108. Posted on June 20, 2010 by Anthony Watts
    Ummm, confusing weather with climate there guys? From day to night, the atmosphere is anything but stable. In fact it is quite dynamic. Just ask anyone in Kansas about right now.

    Well, it was about 101 F yesterday in South Central Kansas with a heat index well, so high it scares me to admit it. I’m taking potassium tablets to keep from passing out. All this after a much colder than average winter and spring, which makes it difficult to acclimate. Thanks for reminding me this is just weather. I was thinking of blaming CO2….not!

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