Solar to river flow and lake level correlations

Guest post by David Archibald

Colder is drier.

The figure above is after a figure from Maus et al 2010 “Long term solar activity influences on South American rivers”. It shows a very good correlation between solar activity, as measured by sunspot number, and the flow rate of the Parana River, the second largest river in South America. The Parana River now hosts the Itaipu Dam with installed capacity of 14,000 MW.

A recent paper in an engineering journal shows a similar strong solar control on the level of Lake Victoria in East Africa (Mason March 2010): 

As Mason notes, an interesting correlation was noticed in the early 1900s between lake level and solar activity, in the form of the sunspot number. The interest this caused waned when the correlation seemed to disappear after about 1928. The early 1960s saw a dramatic climate anomaly in East Africa. Lake levels rose significantly, including those of Lake Victoria, and flows in the Tana River in Kenya doubled. The sluice gates at the Owen Falls dam were opened to release the additional water required by the Nile waters agreement and they stayed open, almost continuously, until well into the 1990s. This surplus water also led Uganda to invest in a new hydroelectric power station at Kiira. But the lake level starting falling from 1964 with an oscillation around the falling trend. This oscillation, controlled by solar activity, is shown in the following figure from Mason:

The falling trend in the level of Lake Victoria meant that the new hydro dam at Kiira did not produce any long term, additional energy for Uganda.

Back to South America and the Itaipu Dam – it produces 90% of the electric power consumed by Paraguay and 19% of Brazil’s consumption. As Maus et al note, the relationship between smaller solar activity and low Parana’s discharge can also be found in historical records.

For example, low discharges were reported during the period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA). In particular, a traveller of that period recalls in his diary that in the year 1752 the streamflow was so small that the river could not even be navigated by the ships of that time, which were less than 5 ft draft, to be compared with ships up to 18 ft draft that can navigate it at present as far north as Asuncion in Paraguay.

Our prediction for Solar Cycle 24 in terms of F10.7 flux is shown following:

Given the link between East African and central South American rainfall and solar activity, the list of economic impacts from the current solar minimum (Solar Cycles 24 and 25) can be expanded to:

  1. Canadian agricultural will get a severe whacking from a shortened growing season and un-seasonal frosts.
  2. 24 year drought in central South America
  3. 24 year drought in East Africa
  4. Paraguay and Brazil having severe power shortages.

This list is by no means exhaustive. The last time the world witnessed mass starvation was the 1965-67 drought in India which killed 1.5 million people. Things don’t look pretty.

References:

Mauas, P.J..D., A.P.Buccino and E.Flamenco, 2010, Long-term solar activity influences on South American rivers, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics on Space Climate, March 2010.

Mason, P.J., 2010, Climate variability in civil infrastructure planning, Civil Engineering 163, pages 74-80.

David Archibald

July 2010

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123 thoughts on “Solar to river flow and lake level correlations

  1. I live here/there and I tremble if DA predicts anything as he is usually correct. So far though rainfall has been way above average and temps way below average. LOL

  2. The Parana River correlation is impressive, to say the least.

    I notice the work by Mason is from 2010. Was there any indication noted by him that flow on the Parana was decreasing again?

  3. I imagine the reverse would be true for basin and range with no direct outflow to the oceans. As things cooled off, and evaporation rates eased, a return of subsoil moisture and then standing playa lakes would occur. Nevada used to be the land of many lakes until about 6000 years ago. I read a paper a few years ago saying that much of Nevada would return to a more moist regime if irrigation were stopped as inflows were now exceeding evaporation…

  4. Now we wait for someone to want to see the first graph using F10.7 flux rather than sunspots…

  5. I don’t mean this in the usual humorous way, but if true it really is worse than we thought.

    I wonder now how well this correlates to global economic health – that is also a function of climate/weather. The Great Depression and the current depression are certainly well timed.

  6. Hey David

    How do the sunspot numbers stack up against Warrick Hughes’s rain fall trends for Perth, Western Australia?

    Ciao

    John Gorter

  7. Hello Anthony,

    On this site there is frequent discussion of the role of the sun in long-term climate variation, but I haven’t seen any discussion of the role of the moon. The British astronomer, Paul Murdin, has observed that the earth-moon system, a “double-planetary” system, is unique in the solar system. He speculates that the presence of our relatively large moon has stabilized the spin of the earth over billions of years, and this has made possible the evolution of life on the earth. Hansen (NASA) seems to have developed his CO2 “green-house” alarmism out of his early Venus work. Just the absence of a moon for Venus would seem to negate any earth-Venus analogy.

    A better understanding of the cyclical forces that stabilize the earth’s climate would help in rebutting the AGW nonsense about “tipping points” and unique catastrophic events.

    I am a professor of music theory, and have some limited knowledge of acoustics, ie compound wave forms, the harmonic series, noise, resonance etc. These phenomena are significant in Astronomy as well. It has occurred to me that the earth’s climate must be in some kind of long term “dynamic equilibrium”, like the complex wave of a richly timbred musical tone. To understand long-term climate change it is necessary to break down this complex wave into its major components, a kind of Fourier analysis of the climate signal.

    Thank you for making this inspiring and informative site available to the public. I would be most interested in your opinion, and those of your readers concerning the influence of the moon on the earth’s long-term climate stability.

    REPLY: Yep, it is all wave analysis. In fact there’s already a sound that describes GW theory right about now “Mythbusters in C4” ;-)

  8. Is this coincident pattern also observed for other large systems, say the Great Lakes or Mississippi/Missouri or the great Asian or European river systems? Or is this strictly a Southern Hemisphere observation? If you looked at the Columbia/Snake and/or the Fraser system in BC, do they differ from this pattern or from the Great Lakes or the Mississippi/Misouri patterns?

    The article goes from sunspots to F10.7 flux, which may hold a lot of meaning for some and causes confusion in others. A few extra words of explanation would help a lot. Maybe a sticky sidebar or a reference to some other place.

    The Canadian ag difficulties have been noticeable both this year and last.

    Hope we see more of this type of data and observation based post.

  9. It’s funny, well not really, but Lake Superior is supposed to be down significantly compared to normal.

  10. The sunspots seem to be migrating to lower and higher latitudes these days. Is this a cause for concern?

  11. Andrew W says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm (Edit)

    I see sun spot numbers in Africa are different to sun spot numbers in South America.

    This paper was brought to my attention on my blog a fortnight ago. The reason I haven’t done a post on it yet is I’m still trying to work out the full rationale behind the way Maus et al have processed the sunspot data. They say:

    “When plotting together different quantities, the offset and the relative scales
    are free parameters which are usually arbitrarily introduced. To avoid these
    two artificial parameters, as a final step we have standardized the quantities
    by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation of each series
    shown, for the whole period 1909-2003.”

    It seems on the face of it to be a reasonable approach, I think Mr Archibald should have mentioned it to avoid confusion though.

    I had a lot of interest yesterday in a solar graph I created a year ago and put on my blog. I integrated the sunspot data as a cumulative count departing from the long term average which matches global temperature since 1880 well.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  12. There was a recent archaeological report published by Russian scientists that noted that during the Medieval Warm Period the flood planes of certain rivers and lakes in Russia were more extensively occupied than at present (a link can be found at C3 Headlines). Their conclusion was that warm periods were drier. This also seems to be true in the Sierra Nevada in California. I would suggest that in fact, different parts of the globe may respond differently and that there is no simple global correlation between sunspot numbers, temperature and rainfall.

  13. Many European rivers (Danube, Rhine Rhone etc) were used for irrigation and navigation for centuries if not millennia, accurate records are made and kept.
    No such correlation available as yet.

  14. Duster says:
    July 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm (Edit)

    There was a recent archaeological report published by Russian scientists that noted that during the Medieval Warm Period the flood planes of certain rivers and lakes in Russia were more extensively occupied than at present (a link can be found at C3 Headlines). Their conclusion was that warm periods were drier.

    Or maybe the population grew quickly during the warm times? The blossoming of architecture and large building works during the period in Europe indicates there was a lot of surplus labour and plenty to feed them with.

  15. Wait for some bright alarmist to point out that man’s CO2 emissions cause reduced solar activity!

    Gotta scrap that SUV and hand knit yourself a bicycle!

  16. That F10.7 projection looks very pessimistic, given that the current flux is hitting 92, from a single small region of activity. Too early to call if activity will break out of the current level in 6 months time, or stay roughly the same for the next 3-4 years. Look at the very fast rise of some of the other curves once they pass the 100 mark. Agree 10.7 is the best plot to make though (still with a 13 month average)

  17. John Gorter says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Fellow WUWT disciples, John is my neighbour across the road. He was the wretched cripple in a wheelchair that St Anthony could not cure at the dinner party I had while we were in Perth during the lecture tour. But I have seen John walking around with the aid of a walking stick more recently, so perhaps Anthony effected a partial cure. But what I was after was more like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww7WlSPi9gc

  18. This DA post is just silly.

    The sunspot figure for the Parana River has been obviously been adjusted (tortured) to get a better fit with the river flow data, and who knows how the river flow data was adjusted to better fit the sunspot data.
    With the Lake Victoria data there was a huge block of data that didn’t fit the purposes of the authors, so they just disposed of it.
    And what exactly is supposed to be the causation here? The water levels in one lake in Africa and the flow rates of one river in South America supposedly show a correlation with sunspots, whats the mechanism supposed to be, what’s the causal relationship that’s supposedly exists??
    If this sort of vague half arsed manipulated data was being used to promote a theory that didn’t suit the people who follow this site you’d all be quite rightly condemning it as nonsense.
    Correlation (or in this case half a correlation) is not causation.

  19. Duster says:
    July 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Yes, Climate is regional in the short term. Overall, through millenia, that too changes.
    In these cases, we are considering precipitation in river basins. You can sort the data via solar cycle length or height and see what gives. More pieces to the puzzle of Climate.

  20. Terry Jackson says:

    Is this coincident pattern also observed for other large systems, say the Great Lakes or Mississippi/Missouri or the great Asian or European river systems? Or is this strictly a Southern Hemisphere observation? If you looked at the Columbia/Snake and/or the Fraser system in BC, do they differ from this pattern or from the Great Lakes or the Mississippi/Misouri patterns?

    I’m interested in investigating the same question with relation to the Clutha Catchment in New Zealand. I have our river flow data going back 80 years, but I’m having trouble finding the raw sunspot numbers. All the online sites I’ve looked at give graphs but no numbers.

    The methodolgy described in Mauas et al is described clearly enough to attempt to replicate it with New Zealands catchments.

  21. I wonder if sunspots throw particles that pepper over the Earth’s skies, seeding clouds for more rain.

  22. Andrew W says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 am (Edit)

    This DA post is just silly.

    Rather than jumping to a hasty conclusion that Maus et al are silly, and Anthony Watts is silly for posting their work, you might stop to consider what other metric correlates with these streamflows, even just for half the time. You may also stop to consider than Maus et al have spent considerably more time thinking about this stuff than you have.

  23. Very interesting. Another one to file under the “it’s the sun, stupid” category?

  24. It may not be that the WORLD is drier when there are fewer sunspots, but that our weather patterns change (we appear to be having a lowering of the jetstreams towards the equator recently).

    It may just happen that the Parana River is in just the right location to always be drier when these new weather patterns establish themselves. Other rivers on other continents may not be effected, or even get wetter.

    Whatever the case, it is a striking correlation, and I am surprised nobody has noticed it before. Just what are all these climate scientists doing, to have not noticed this? Oh, yes, massaging the data in a darkened room in East Anglia.

    P.S. Can anyone take some core samples from the Prarana River, to see what it was doing over the last 10,000 years??
    What’s that you say? No funding left? Spent it all on massaging the data and propaganda trips to the Arctic??

    .

  25. I think the first of Mason’s two Lake Victoia levels graphs is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly the jump in the sixties lends support to ‘decade later response to solar activity’ noted in David Archibalds last post, following the record high solar cycle in the late 1950’s. Secondly, the decline in lake level since then matches the decline in solar cycle amplitudes (but not overall activity as noted on my blog yesterday – link above).

    This says to me that David Archibalds assertion that cooler is drier is incorrect as a general principle on decadal scales, unless the country tmperature data in Africa shows cooling in the late C20th? My conclusion contingent on that is that there is a non-linear response in the Earth’s feedbacks which is linked to UV, ozone, gomagnetism and rainfall rather than temperature and rainfall.

  26. tallbloke says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Andrew W says:
    July 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm (Edit)

    I see sun spot numbers in Africa are different to sun spot numbers in South America.

    This paper was brought to my attention on my blog a fortnight ago. The reason I haven’t done a post on it yet is I’m still trying to work out the full rationale behind the way Maus et al have processed the sunspot data. They say:

    “When plotting together different quantities, the offset and the relative scalesare free parameters which are usually arbitrarily introduced. To avoid these two artificial parameters, as a final step we have standardized the quantities
    by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation of each series
    shown, for the whole period 1909-2003.”

    It seems on the face of it to be a reasonable approach, I think Mr Archibald should have mentioned it to avoid confusion though.

    ‘Normalising’ the 2 sets of data in this way is a “reasonable approach”. It will result in both sets of data having a distribution with mean=0; SD=1. That’s fine – but it still doesn’t look right. The sunspot plot should still follow the peaks and troughs of the sunspot cycle. Ther doesn’t appear to be a trend (it’s probably been removed) and the south american sunspots have declined to below average since the late 1970s.

    Is here a link to this paper (non-pay)?

  27. Perhaps the key issue is to highlight which parts of the world show INCREASED rainfall as sunspot numbers drop and thus think about how to share resources across the decades in a manner which says that rain falls somewhere on earth all the time, it’s just the place where it falls may oscillate quite a lot?

    Probably the same can be said about agriculture trends…..

  28. Andrew W says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 am
    This DA post is just silly.

    The sunspot figure for the Parana River has been obviously been adjusted (tortured) to get a better fit with the river flow data, and who knows how the river flow data was adjusted to better fit the sunspot data.
    With the Lake Victoria data there was a huge block of data that didn’t fit the purposes of the authors, so they just disposed of it.
    And what exactly is supposed to be the causation here? The water levels in one lake in Africa and the flow rates of one river in South America supposedly show a correlation with sunspots, whats the mechanism supposed to be, what’s the causal relationship that’s supposedly exists??
    If this sort of vague half arsed manipulated data was being used to promote a theory that didn’t suit the people who follow this site you’d all be quite rightly condemning it as nonsense.
    Correlation (or in this case half a correlation) is not causation.

    Perhaps you should go back and review the Journal it was posted in. The complete paper is available at http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1003/1003.0414v1.pdf
    The whole purpose of the paper has nothing to do with climate change, but instead looks at flows in rivers. I am particularly interested as it may assist with flood forecasting, energy management and long term energy policy.

    Nowhere in the paper is there any hint of a claim of a causal nature, just a correlation. And if such a correlation exists in other rivers as well, then lives and property may be saved; better use made of hydro electric resources, and better planning for new energy infrastructure.

  29. Why do some changes in the flow of the Parana appear to precede changes in the number of sunspots?

  30. John Finn says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:27 am

    ‘Normalising’ the 2 sets of data in this way is a “reasonable approach”. It will result in both sets of data having a distribution with mean=0; SD=1. That’s fine – but it still doesn’t look right. The sunspot plot should still follow the peaks and troughs of the sunspot cycle. Ther doesn’t appear to be a trend (it’s probably been removed) and the south american sunspots have declined to below average since the late 1970s.

    Is here a link to this paper (non-pay)?

    http://www.iafe.uba.ar/httpdocs/reprint_parana.pdf

    I agree the plot looks odd, which is why I hadn’t posted about it yet.
    Replication replication replication!

  31. Yarmy says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:09 am
    There are a lot of river systems in the world. Do they all exhibit the same pattern?

    Some have more confounding variables affecting their catchments than others…

  32. Re: my last post

    John Finn says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:27 am

    “late 1970s” should read “mid 1980s”

  33. Tallbloke,

    Your link is to Mauas et al 2008. I believe this is an earlier attempt at the same work.

    [reply]Quite right, my mistake. RT-mod

  34. tallbloke says:
    July 23, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Thanks for the link.

    [reply] See Jantar’s comment above. RT-mod

  35. Re:
    Sean Houlihane says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:12 am

    That F10.7 projection looks very pessimistic, given that the current flux is hitting 92
    ———–
    Where are you getting that number? I ask because solarcycle24.com (right sidebar) links to NOAA SWPC and shows current f10.7 flux at 72.6 and dropping, with the last smoothed monthly reading of 92 (as you quote) not occurring since 2005.

    Do you have a better data source?

    Cheers,
    BillN

  36. Well, I for one welcome the research. It is very interesting. It’s the Sun stupid!

    At the risk of being a bore, I again recall with fascination the BBC2 Horizon prog 30+ years ago all about Sunspots, you know, that time when the BBC was a trusted, well respected, honourable, & factual public broadcaster. It showed correlations in Sunspot activity, with beatle-mania, heights of hem-lines for mini-skirts, & a whole host of other things that were at times quite peculiar yet astonishing. It may have had many scientific errors in it I don’t know, & correlations can be drawn in almost anything if you look hard enough (except the Sun of course) but it was an honest programme, something the BBC would do well to revisit from time to time to remind them who pays their (large) wages, & what scientific integrity used to be!

    Human beings are simply another ape with an intelligent brain (allegedly, Big-Al). We may have technically moved away from the cave, but mentally we’re still in it, hence all the “cry-witch” hysteria about AGW & some of the more laughable claims about it! We exhibit a broad range of primitive characteristics from herd instincts to mass hysteria & other irrational behaviour. Who knows how & what affects us on a global scale & even solar sytem scales. If cosmic rays & Solar-magnetic flux can affect our climtate, what effects could it have on the human mind or the behaviour of other fauna for that matter? If one wants to study a range of human behavours, study chimps & monkeys in their primitive societies! We’re not much different at times. I sometimes get exasperated at all the papers about Solar correlations & climate, yet some people go on blinkered refusing to acknowledge such things exist. I suspect the Sun affects our home far more than we like to think, & that we could even imagine if the truth were finally known! In the LIA, it was a time of great witch hunting & relegious zealotry in England for example, fiercely pro-protestant & anti-catholic, everyone looking to pin the blame for anything, we even had a Minister for Climate Change, sorry, Witchfinder-General I meant to say, to point out our ancestors’ evil wicked ways & to show them how to atone for their mortal sins. Some poor crone or youthful beauty would be seized & tried as a witch, all because she rubbed a herb on a scratch to heal it, she’d be dunked in a pond until she either drowend or didn’t, if she drowned she was innocent, if she survived, she would be hung or burned at the stake. Sounds reasonable behaviour to me! Nothing like that exists today thank goodness! Sounds not too disimilar to that fellow over here who was recently struck off as a Dr because as a medical expert on Munchausan Syndrome, his expertise was such that if an accused woman publicly protested her innocence, that was apparently even greater proof of her guilt, her denial, according to him, he was that good, & worse still people believed him for some time! I digress, snip away!

  37. Re:
    Sean Houlihane
    and my own prev post
    ——
    Okay, trying to figure out on my own, the solarcycle24.com number I quoted above is the previous month (June in this case) average flux. The Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity SDF Number 202 Issued at 2200Z on 21 Jul 2010 indicates observed flux of 89.0. Above that report on:

    http://www.solarcycle24.com/daily.htm

    the “fluxadjflux” value is 91.9 at 2300fluxtime down from 92.0 at 2000fluxtime.

    So, I withdraw my question and thank you for prompting my further education. :-)

    Cheers,
    BillN

  38. alan says: July 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    On this site there is frequent discussion of the role of the sun in long-term climate variation, but I haven’t seen any discussion of the role of the moon… A better understanding of the cyclical forces that stabilize the earth’s climate would help in rebutting the AGW nonsense about “tipping points” and unique catastrophic events.

    I am a professor of music theory…

    I’d like to recommend you visit the work of Tallbloke and Richard Holle, both of whom work with cycles. Tallbloke is a good starting-point. Richard has taken hold of the lunar nodal cycle in developing weather predictions that years ahead of time work apparently just as well as the normal forecasts made just days ahead.

    Also I’d like to recommend (to all readers here) an extraordinary little book whose tiny size thoroughly belies its beauty and its startling import. It’s like Kepler’s work has enabled the author to find what Kepler sought but failed to find himself, the harmonies of the spheres. It will speak particularly to you as a musician. Best to refer you to Amazon Books. A Little Book of Coincidence. It is about the highly exact geometrical relationships pervading the whole solar system and rich in pi and phi. Only exactitudes over 99% are even reported.

  39. Calling a spade a spade:
    The introductory graph in this post is mislabeled.

    For anyone on the detective’s trail (trying to figure out how when a person stands up in an airplane the elevation of their head increases):

    Mauas, P.J.D.; Buccino, A.P.; & Flamenco, E. (2010). Long-term solar activity influences on South American rivers.
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1003/1003.0414v1.pdf

    The “secular trend” (which oscillates) is what will be of more interest to many folks (i.e. the vertical motion of the airplane, rather than the ripples superposed by the person standing up & sitting down).

    I’ve seen this paper misrepresented too many times. There’s something to it, but it’s not what many are saying. Recommended: more care.

  40. WOW! Stunning!

    If this ain’t just another “WOW!”-signal – indicating that, in the end, it’s the Sun, which is REALLY driving the big steam engine, called Atmosphere – then what is?

    Great find. Much appreciated. Thank you.

    In other news, german news media – If you haven’t noticed yet: I AM a German… – are actually hyping carbonic acid in the oceans leading to mass extinction of the plancton, after hyping CO2 in the atmosphere as the bringer of hellish future temps has failed to gain traction even in my hysterically environmentally friendly homeland.

    “Zu viel Kohlensäure in den Meeren: Seeigel “versauern” auch”
    (Too much carbonic acid in the oceans: Sea urchins suffer from acidification, too)

    http://www.n-tv.de/wissen/weltall/Seeigel-versauern-auch-article679064.html

    This article is from January this year. But yesterday, the “Polarstern” – the reknowned german scientific research vessel – returned from a trip into the Arctic, claiming, that the the Oceans are actualy turning into sparkling water, which madethe headlines in Germany’s mayor network’s primetime-news.

    So now it’s the carbonic acid, we have to avoid like the plague and, therefore, rather tax ourselves into oblivion?

    But, well: What happened to the sealife during the Eocene then – when CO2-levels in the atmospere were 2-3 times higher than they are today?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7267/full/nature08447.html

    “Atmospheric carbon dioxide through the Eocene–Oligocene climate transition”

    Be afraid, be very afraid – of scientists desperately looking for something to tag on the evil CO2, to justify and finance their future scientific life, I mean…

  41. >> A Little Book of Coincidence. It is about the highly exact
    >>geometrical relationships pervading the whole solar system
    >>and rich in pi and phi.

    And don’t forget we have added to those coincidences, by the units of measure we have chosen to use.

    For instance the number of Earth days in one degree of the Precession of the Equinox, is equal to the total number of years in the whole precessionary cycle.

    Why? – because we chose one degree of a circle to be equal to one day of the Earth’s orbit.

    (Anyway, any spinning and precessing body must have a rhythm to it).

  42. Such observations would be accounted for by a change in the position of the observing locations in relation to the nearest rain bearing air circulation systems.

    So what matters most is the latitudinal shifts of the air circulation systems beyond normal seasonal variability.

    This article provides evidence in support of my proposition that the jet stream positions are affected partly by the levels of solar activity and I have proposed a mechanism via an interplay between the solar influenced size, position and intensities of the polar oscillations in the air on the one hand and the varying rates of energy release by the oceans on the other.

  43. While a river and a lake or two of each makes for a nice fit, but a true correlation, if there is one, ought to be between high altitude precipitation and sunspot numbers, the rivers and lakes be damned? :p

  44. Three questions:
    1) How many river systems did they test before they found a correlation this good?
    2) How many different ways of manipulating the sunspot/neutron data did they try?
    3) How did they account for the temporal autocorrelation in the data?

    And a bonus question:
    How do the answers to the above affect the risk of a Type I error?

  45. It appears that the correlations presented are valid for only narrow geographical areas. In order to be significant it should have a wider if not global occurrence.

    Parana River is in the area covered by the South Atlantic Anomaly

    which is highly sensitive to the solar activity, and consequently may be a connection.

    Lake Victoria is in the African rift valley.

    which is geologically highly unstable, and there are some tenuous indications that there may be a link between movements in the Earth crust and solar activity, hence affecting the water levels of Lake Victoria.

    Both are highly speculative:
    Parana river : Svensmark, solar activity-cloud formation ?
    Lake Victoria: Solar activity-earthquakes, volcanoes ?

  46. tallbloke

    yes your cumulative sunspot concept is what I suggested earlier about AP index running above its long term average. I likened the earth to a cooking pot. If the temperature on the stove is ever so slightly warming the pot continues to warm even though the stove temperature is not increased further.

  47. Ed Murphy @9:58. I decided not to renew my Nat Geo subscription after 46 years due to their pro AGW stance. So far they have been following the tribal consensus that all CC effects are bad drifting to catastrophic. The greening of the Sahel is somewhat of a surprise. Not the fact it is happening but that they reported a positive CC story.

  48. tallbloke says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm
    Andrew W says: I see sun spot numbers in Africa are different to sun spot numbers in South America.

    This paper was brought to my attention on my blog a fortnight ago. The reason I haven’t done a post on it yet is I’m still trying to work out the full rationale behind the way Maus et al have processed the sunspot data. They say:

    “When plotting together different quantities, the offset and the relative scales
    are free parameters which are usually arbitrarily introduced. To avoid these
    two artificial parameters, as a final step we have standardized the quantities
    by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation of each series
    shown, for the whole period 1909-2003.”

    It seems on the face of it to be a reasonable approach, I think Mr Archibald should have mentioned it to avoid confusion though.
    _________________________________________________________

    It is a reasonable approach, but it couldn’t change the shape of the curves. Yet the sunspot numbers in the two graphs have noticeably different shapes, not only in the timing and relative heights of their maxima, but also in the little wiggles than amazingly match those in the river flow curve. Of course I’m not suggesting that anyone would deliberately fudge the data to make his theory more plausible … Oh, wait…

  49. alan says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm
    “[…]richly timbred musical tone. To understand long-term climate change it is necessary to break down this complex wave into its major components, a kind of Fourier analysis of the climate signal.[…]”

    It might be a resonance. Lake Victoria is BIG so it influences the local climate in a big way. Consider:
    -Sunspots influence cloud coverage
    -Cloud Coverage influence precipitation and evaporation
    -The lake level influences evaporation (through water temp and size of the lake area)
    and via evaporation, also cloud coverage and precipitation.

    It is a system that could resonate locally, and such a resonance can amplify itself, or it can break down and dissipate quickly.

    Other river/lake topologies do not have to show the same resonant frequency or strength!

    You can say i’m just pulling this out of my arse or you can look at the variables involved and see that there is a possible circular dependancy which would be necessary for a resonance. Turning the data into an audible sound or Fourier-analysing it would surely be revealing. The human ear is very sensitive for detecting repetetive patterns.

  50. Sunspot activity creates the extra warmth the earth needs to separate it from at least a mini-ice age.

    Best estimates:

    Less than> 100 total sunspot mean for a cycle for a 9 cycles in a row = mini-ice age

    Greater than 200, but less than 300 total sunspot mean for a cycle = solar minimum.
    Severe winters and droughts
    Normally 2 of 9 cycles per 100 years

    400 total sunspot mean allows the earth to warm up or cool down quickly at the end and beginning of cycles. We had 4 of these from 1878 to 1933.

    3 to 6 – 600 to 1000 total sunspot mean gives us global warming, melting glaciers and terrifying hurricane seasons.

  51. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:36 am
    “[…]way. Consider:
    -Sunspots influence cloud coverage[…]”

    Hypothetically, i should add. Also applies to the other dependencies, but to a lesser degree.

  52. Odd that in figure 3 that sunspot count is a trailing indicator of lake level rather than a leading indicator.

  53. Andrew W says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 am
    If this sort of vague half arsed manipulated data was being used to promote a theory that didn’t suit the people who follow this site you’d all be quite rightly condemning it as nonsense.

    By “a theory that didn’t suit the people who follow this site” you must be referring to the Alarmists’ idea that our C02 is causing all manner of global disasters, and will, if not curtailed lead to global catastrophe, meaning we must immediately change our sources of energy to far more expensive ones, costing trillions. See the difference? For thinking people, the idea of a strong solar connection to climate is at least an interesting one.

    Correlation (or in this case half a correlation) is not causation.

  54. Paul Birch says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:16 am
    “[…]It is a reasonable approach, but it couldn’t change the shape of the curves. […]”

    An exact shape match might be what the researcher wanted to achieve to improve his correlation coefficient. For a resonant mechanism it would not be very important though; frequency components are more important in that realm. It would be of interest to compare the Fourier transforms of Maus’ processed sunspot data and the standard data series to see whether Maus’ processing introduces strong new frequency components; this does not necessarily have to be the case even if the wave shape looks slightly different.

  55. ShrNfr says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:41 am
    “[…]Odd that in figure 3 that sunspot count is a trailing indicator of lake level rather than a leading indicator.”

    This can happen in a resonance (because there is not a one-way causation even if one of the causative directions is far stronger than the other; in this case phase shifts might lead to the “energy receiving” side seemingly “anticipating” the next period of the “energy delivering” side).

  56. Oh, now i see. Yes, the sunspot number in Mauas’ paper looks strange. I understand tallblokes reservations.

    Found Mauas’ paper
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.0414

    Found the reason for the different shape of the sunspot data in Mauas’ paper; tallbloke has left out an important sentence:
    “The data were
    smoothed with an 11-year running mean,
    detrended by substracting the long term
    component. All series were standardized
    by subtracting the mean and dividing
    by the standard deviation of each series
    shown for the period 1971-2000.”

    It’s the 11 year running mean that changes the shapes! tallbloke, this is entirely legitimate IMHO. It just dampens high frequencies a little and, yes, changes the waveform severely, but entirely legit.

    [reply] I was looking at the 2008 version of the paper. RT-mod

  57. LightRain says:
    July 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm
    “It’s funny, well not really, but Lake Superior is supposed to be down significantly compared to normal.”

    Ah but if it were true, I was sat on the shore of Lake Superior less than 3 weeks ago busily grilling hot dogs and cooking S’Mores and the Lake level is “normal”

    In 2007, in the midst of a four year drought, it was trending lower versus recorded levels but it did not passed the record low level which was set in 1926. Then in October 2007 the lake level increased almost overnight by about 4″ after one major rain event, I haven’t calculated the amount of water involved there but given the Lake’s surface area of 31,700 sq miles it was substantial.

    There are many reasons why the lake level might fluctuate year to year. Precip is of course a key factor but it’s by no means the only one. The dredging of a new deeper shipping channel on the St Mary’s River near Sault Ste Marie has also reputedly increased the amount of water leaving the lake which would also impact lake levels.

  58. Correlation is not causation.

    But in this case I’ll make an exception!

    That’s impressive evidence that solar magnetic activity has some profound unexpected influences on the earth. I wonder what other correlations are out there waiting to be discovered.

  59. Nice to see the inclusive nature of this blog site. Where humans with open minds can discuss the “possibles” that can have an effect upon the climate rather than the singular approach that C02 is the only driving force, (and wonder of wonders that is lucky coincidence!! -because the patent cure is trading the stuff to make millionaires Billionaires and beyond and allow control the masses of humanity to the will of said Billionaires even if it turns out that it is not the culprit!!) to a changing climate.

    I am sure that there are many different influences that have an effect upon our environment and planet. Inclusive discussion is one way of identifying ways to unravel the mystery of it all.

    The only “trick” that should be insisted upon is that before any theory becomes fact it is subjected to scientific validation/falsification.

    Publication these days is really only a means of recording research and data archiving as theories are explored, in the hope that great minds might find that elusive idea to advance our understanding of the complexity of our climate.

    No one scientific discipline has the right to ignore the existence of another competing theory until the science is proven one way or the other.

    Keep the discussion alive, we all learn something. Thanks Anthony!

  60. ShrNfr says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:41 am
    Odd that in figure 3 that sunspot count is a trailing indicator of lake level rather than a leading indicator.

    More than odd unless one can come up with an hypothesis explaining how Parana River flow could effect the number of sunspots.

    The lag must certainly be an artifact of the methods used to generate the plot.

  61. Funny what you find when you are trawling about isn’t it ?

    Here’s a 2007 paper concerning water level fluctuation in the Great Lakes published by the US Geological Survey

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2007/1311/

    While it’s a complex subject here’s a paragraph from the Summary page that caught my eye :

    “The reconstructed water-level history of Lake Michigan-Huron over the past 4,700 years shows three major high phases from 2,300 to 3,300, 1,100 to 2,000, and 0 to 800 years ago. Within that record is a quasi-periodic rise and fall of about 160 ± 40 years in duration and a shorter fluctuation of 32 ± 6 years that is superimposed on the 160-year fluctuation. Recorded lake-level history from 1860 to the present falls within the longer-term pattern and appears to be a single 160-year quasi-periodic fluctuation. Independent investigations of past climate change in the basin over the long-term period of record confirm that most of these changes in lake level were responses to climatically driven changes in water balance, including lake-level highstands commonly associated with cooler climatic conditions and lows with warm climate periods. The mechanisms underlying these large hydroclimatic anomalies are not clear, but they may be related to internal dynamics of the ocean-atmosphere system or dynamical responses of the ocean-atmosphere system to variability in solar radiation or volcanic activity.”

  62. I actually saw an article on this by the BBC of all people. It was part of a natural history broadcast and may therefore have slipped past the NGOs at the BBC. The presenter was on the river with a local scientist as he explained that the flow was decreasing again having been high for several years.

  63. @shrnfr

    Ahem. Sorry. I see you were referring to a lake levels not Parana River level.

    Sunspots are a proxy for solar magnetic field strength (SMFS). Think of them as weather events on the surface of the sun which are driven by cyclical fluctuations in SMFS. Magnetic fields propagate at the speed of light while their consequences, such as eddy currents within the fluid mass of the sun , propagate at much slower speeds.

    So when SMFS fluctuates it effects the sun’s weather and the earth’s weather simultaneously. The earth’s atmosphere likely responds much faster than eddy currents within the sun due to differences like pressure, density, viscosity, and so forth.

    Therefore it shouldn’t come as any great surprise if sunspots are a lagging indicator of SMFS-driven atmospheric changes on the earth.

  64. I will take the opportunity to thank you Anthony Watt for visiting Perth. Australia. I enjoyed the speaches you, Bob Carter , David Archibald and Jo Nova, gave. It was nice to meet, hear and see you. Thank You.
    In 1973 I was working in Argentina and had the possibility to see the Paraná river
    and the waterfalls , Cataratas del Iguazú on the border between Argentina and Brazil. I stayed a week in Eldorado, Missiones. I spoke to a man who told me that some years ago there had been so little water in the river Iguazú a tributary to the Paraná so it was possible to walk over to Brazil´. When I saw the falls i did not believe him. I don’t do it to day, but . . . David, could it have been possible in 1963-1965 ?

  65. Hi David, let me start out by thanking you for supplying this excellent information in your post.

    As a previous blogger noted, at the beginning of this year the BBC showed a five part series ‘The World of Wonders’ and it was presented by Prof. Brian Cox. (Prof Cox is from the North – Manchester – and maybe the programme will be shown with sub-titles in the USofA?) Whilst studying and in his spare time Prof Cox was a popstar with a reasonable successful pop group here in the UK. Currently Prof. Cox is the popstar of BBC science!

    In part 3 of the series WoW Prof Cox visited Iguazu and on the banks of that spectacular waterfall he discussed this very same graph with his Argentinian counterpart. Since watching that series I’ve been trying to get hold of the raw data, and you kindly supplied it.

    A plausable explanation of why the energy from the sun would effect the rainfall is given in the programme.

    Lastly, the work done by Prof Alexander in South Africa also showed the solar cycle and rainfall correlation.

  66. What the sun triggers climate trends? You guys are nuts, the sun is only the source of energy and life on Earth. It couldn’t possibly effect climate. Only more taxes on CO2 can regulate climate sir. Trust in politicians, when do they ever lie? Come on folks, use some common sense.

  67. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 6:28 am
    Oh, now i see. Yes, the sunspot number in Mauas’ paper looks strange. I understand tallblokes reservations.
    Found the reason for the different shape of the sunspot data in Mauas’ paper; tallbloke has left out an important sentence:
    “The data were smoothed with an 11-year running mean, detrended by substracting the long term component …”

    It’s the 11 year running mean that changes the shapes! tallbloke, this is entirely legitimate IMHO. It just dampens high frequencies a little and, yes, changes the waveform severely, but entirely legit.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Absent severe caveats, the legitimacy of such harsh and arbitrary filters would be borderline. More important, I don’t see how they could by themselves generate the difference in shapes we observe between the two graphs (Parana & Victoria), unless what we have is simply noise left after the main solar cycle has been averaged out. A running average and detrending should tend to equalise the peaks and drastically smooth the curve; but they shouldn’t create the differing patterns of maxima, still less introduce artefacts like the short-period wiggles matched between the sunspot and river flow curves (if they did it would prove these data processing methods misleading and inappropriate).

  68. On the issue raised by Duster of the flood plains in Russia, It may be that the authors of the paper were suggesting that it was specifically the spring snow melt that caused the floods, rather than steady all year round rainfall. So low temperatures might play a direct role in increasing flooding, even if they also decreased yearly average rainfall.
    I haven’t read the paper, but that was how I understood the digest.

  69. Loodt Pretorius says:July 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

    … the work done by Prof Alexander in South Africa also showed the solar cycle and rainfall correlation.

    W.J.R. Alexander (Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria; Member, United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994 – 2000) is a very important cross-reference here. Here’s two excerpts from his paper A critical assessment of current climate change science

    The classical attitude, viz. that drought is purely a chance occurrence in the climatic history of the country does not appear to be correct. In an objective approach the possible influence exerted by fluctuations in the sun’s radiant energy on the incidence of drought is stressed. Some of South Africa’s most severe and prolonged droughts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have without doubt coincided with troughs of minimum sun-spot activity. The sun thus appears to be either directly or indirectly responsible for abnormal weather. As the exact mechanism is not yet clear, research in this field should evidently receive earnest attention. [Prof Alexander’s emphasis.] (From the report of the Commission of Enquiry into Water Matters, 1970.)

    and

    The water resources of South Africa and in many other semiarid regions of the world are rapidly approaching the limits of exploitation. The IPCC in its Summary for Policymakers (IPCC 2001), Tyson and Gatebe (2001), Schulze, Meigh and Horan (2001) and New (2002) predicted that global warming resulting from increasing greenhouse gas emissions, will have serious, adverse effects on water supplies, and that floods and droughts will increase in magnitude and frequency. It appears that little credence was given to the role of variations in solar activity and the poleward redistribution of solar energy on climate variability. South African experience demonstrated that these are the dominant causes of the variability and extremes in the hydrometeorological processes. There was therefore an urgent need to quantify the effects of variation in solar activity and the redistribution of solar energy on the variability of rainfall, river flow, floods and droughts in South Africa, and possibly elsewhere in the world where similar conditions prevail…

    There is an almost three-fold, sudden increase in the annual flows in the Vaal River from the three previous years to the three subsequent years. This is directly associated with a six-fold increase in sunspot numbers…

  70. Terry Jackson says: July 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm
    Is this coincident pattern also observed for other large systems, say the Great Lakes or Mississippi/Missouri or the great Asian or European river systems? Or is this strictly a Southern Hemisphere observation? If you looked at the Columbia/Snake and/or the Fraser system in BC, do they differ from this pattern or from the Great Lakes or the Mississippi/Misouri patterns?

    We discussed this before on WUWT, but I can’t find the thread. Maybe you can. This was the paper under discussion:

    http://ks.water.usgs.gov/waterdata/climate/homepage.ijc.html

    Abstract
    Changes in total solar irradiance can be linked to changes in regional precipitation. A possible mechanism responsible for this linkage begins with the absorption of varying amounts of solar energy by the tropical oceans which creates ocean temperature anomalies. These anomalies are then transported by major ocean currents to locations where the stored energy is released into the atmosphere, altering atmospheric pressure and moisture patterns that can ultimately affect regional precipitation.

    Correlation coefficients between annual differences in empirically modeled solar-irradiance variations and annual state-divisional precipitation in the United States for the period 1950-88 were computed with lag times of 0 to 7 years. The most significant correlations occur in the Pacific Northwest with a lag time of 4 years, which is approximately equal to the travel time of water within the Pacific Gyre from the western tropical Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Alaska. Precipitation in the Desert Southwest correlates significantly with solar irradiance lagged 3 and 5 years, which suggests a link with ocean-water temperature anomalies transported by the Equatorial Countercurrent as well as the North Pacific Gyre. With the correlations obtained, droughts coincide with periods of negative irradiance differences (dry high-pressure development), and wet periods coincidewith periods of positive differences (moist low-pressure development).

  71. Perry, C.A., 1992, A Correlation between precipitation in the Western United States and solar-irradiance variations, in Proceedings of the American Water Resources Association Conference Managing Water Resources During Climate Change, Reno, Nevada, November 1-6, p. 721-729.

  72. @gareth

    I tried a little experiment to see what happens to a lower density pocket of fluid in higher density body of water. Motor oil is lower density than water and immiscible so I put a drop of it into a bucket of water. If your hypothesis is correct it should have floated a bit above the rest of the water and since it is immiscible and the water was still it should have remained a droplet floating a bit higher. Instead it very quickly formed a uniformly thin film across the top of the bucket. Why did that happen?

  73. Martin Brumby says:
    July 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Wait for some bright alarmist to point out that man’s CO2 emissions cause reduced solar activity!

    Well… CO2 emission decline preceded sunspot decline, so, clearly it’s causal
    8^)
    (… It may actually be true, but, I wouldn’t count on it).

  74. Paul Birch says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:52 am
    “[…]Absent severe caveats, the legitimacy of such harsh and arbitrary filters would be borderline. […]”

    So the sole justification for science is to find proportional relationships? ;-)

  75. This is all standard fare. But one thing is of interest:
    DA: Our prediction for Solar Cycle 24 in terms of F10.7 flux is shown following:
    Explain how this ‘prediction’ is arrived at.

  76. Ralph said:
    ‘Why? – because we chose one degree of a circle to be equal to one day of the Earth’s orbit.’

    I prefer the ancient theory that one degree was the portion of the circle occupied by an index finger held up at arm’s length to the horizon. It goes in 360 times from start to finish. Geometry is the mother of the sciences.

  77. Pelke Sr. believes the IPPC conclusions are flawed. Regional models are combined together to produce the “global” data, and the resulting trends illustrate only the regions with a great disparity between highs and lows. Someone should compile the papers on this thread and others of a regional nature and associate the regional affects with both ocean oscillations and solar cycle. Some places get more, some less. For example, a negative ENSO is associated with cooler wetter conditions in Californicate but hot and dry in the desert southwest up into the lower Midwest in the USA. Whereas during the preceding El Nino it was cold and wet here in Kansas and the opposite in CA. These observations are in agreement. The papers I see coming from the alarmist team (real data, not modeled) are painted with a broad brush.

  78. Correlations and suggested connective routes between the Sun and our climate are not mechanisms. Saying that the Sun affects jet stream positions is not a mechanism. I would prefer comments be more thorough if connective routes are being proposed, by including your hypothesized solar and atmospheric physics behind the suggested connection. To say that this information is yet to be discovered means you still have no mechanism.

  79. DirkH says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:46 am
    Paul Birch says:
    July 23, 2010 at 8:52 am
    “[…]Absent severe caveats, the legitimacy of such harsh and arbitrary filters would be borderline. […]”

    So the sole justification for science is to find proportional relationships? ;-)
    ______________________________________________________

    What? It’s to find relationships that are real, not introduced as an artefact of the data processing. Take two sets of random data, put them through the same heavy filtering, and lo and behold you’ll get a correlation. But the causal connection is merely the arbitrary filter you chose, nothing deeper than that. This may not be quite as bad as that, but it’s definitely dodgy.

  80. Dr.Archibald: This deserves also your attention:
    The known Argentinian geologist Miguel Gonzales, in his studies in the “Salinas del bebedero”, a salt lake in Argentina, http://www.springerlink.com/content/m11m129238u61484/
    all these weather changes coincide with solar minimums like the Maunder minimum, which produced drought in the Argentinian “pampa” (plains), and which it is happening again now. So, in general, we have different weather systems: one west of the andes and the other east of the andes.
    He studied a dried salt lake called “Salinas del Bebedero”, he found that this salt lake filled with water during solar minimums.

  81. Also this one: Of S. M. Yousef et Al.
    Several years of drought conditions similar to those that happened around 1900 (When swum south of the Sobat connection to the Nile were dried, similar dryness were also observed in Bahr – El-Zaraf) are expected to prevail over Uganda and other Equatorial Lake countries at 2009±2-3 years,2021± 2-3 and perhaps 2033± 2-3 years.

    http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvirtualacademia.com%2Fpdf%2Fcli222_234.pdf&ei=AehJTIrgJILlnAflxMzjDQ&usg=AFQjCNFIlPLQPxVf9Lqj1V5lGrywTfhB4A

  82. 24 year drought in central South America
    As shown above, Geologist Miguel Gonzales says:
    So, in general, we have different weather systems: one west of the andes and the other east of the andes.

  83. Lucy Skywalker says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:29 am (Edit)

    alan says: July 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    On this site there is frequent discussion of the role of the sun in long-term climate variation, but I haven’t seen any discussion of the role of the moon… A better understanding of the cyclical forces that stabilize the earth’s climate would help in rebutting the AGW nonsense about “tipping points” and unique catastrophic events.

    I am a professor of music theory…

    I’d like to recommend you visit the work of Tallbloke and Richard Holle, both of whom work with cycles. Tallbloke is a good starting-point. Richard has taken hold of the lunar nodal cycle in developing weather predictions that years ahead of time work apparently just as well as the normal forecasts made just days ahead.

    Also I’d like to recommend (to all readers here) an extraordinary little book whose tiny size thoroughly belies its beauty and its startling import. It’s like Kepler’s work has enabled the author to find what Kepler sought but failed to find himself, the harmonies of the spheres. It will speak particularly to you as a musician. Best to refer you to Amazon Books. A Little Book of Coincidence. It is about the highly exact geometrical relationships pervading the whole solar system and rich in pi and phi. Only exactitudes over 99% are even reported.

    Thanks for the props Lucy-Anne, and thanks for the book recommndation, I’ve ordered a copy. Richard Holle is a very, very bright bloke, and is a semi-rgular contributor on my blog as well as here. Paul Vaughan too has given a couple of clues that the Moon is hiding behind the Sun’s tails, having a sometimes concurrent, sometimes distinct effect on the atmosphere and ocean. Progress is being made understanding this stuff, and the fundamental ratios and harmonic series which show up in everything from electron orbital shells to snail shells and from orbits to orrerys are keys to the puzzle.

  84. Pamela Gray says:
    July 23, 2010 at 11:35 am
    There are thousands of peoples on this earth who know the mechanisms that others won’t accept. Knowledge defends itself, it is not neither hidden nor esoteric, it is usually rejected by those who “have not eyes to see” or “ears to hear”.

  85. Lucy Skywalker says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:29 am
    This is for you:

  86. To Professor Alan of music theory:

    The most important word in the universe is “resonance”. Tesla understood the power of resonance and developed most of his inventions around this principle. Resonance is ultimately where we will find our energy salvation by harnassing the vast plasma of the electric universe.

    And when cycles interfere and refract, things happen, sometimes suddenly and violently. Climate change is solely dictated by planetary mechanics. The 11-year Sun spot cycles driven by Jupiter and Saturn. Then there are the miriad other cycles, such as, Gleisberg, Juno, Mayewski, Hallstatt, etc. Neptune and Uranus drive solar flare and intensity cycles. The moon drives tidal cycles as does the Earth, Venus and Jupiter. The magnetic giants Jupiter and Uranus trigger the Sun’s 18,000 year magnetic reversal. The Earth’s own precession cycle drives its own 11,500 year magnetic reversal. Everything is driven by cycles. It is the elephant in the room of climate change. CO2 is but the flea on the elephant’s ass, and is just coming along for the ride.

  87. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Now sounds like the solar system rules the Galactic Wheel it is riding on, in and around.
    Smotes chest, raises sheild and sword.

  88. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    More like the solar system is a flea on the Galactic arse.

  89. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Leif: Have you seen the new pfss images from SDO?

    The trailing large spot in SN1089 that has the black leading white (it’s a sandwhich) magnetics on the spot itself.
    This trailing white mag. part of the spot traces it’s magnetic lines to the S. Solar Pole.
    Does this tell you anything about what’s going on with SC24?

  90. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    July 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    Everything is driven by cycles.
    I don’t think this throwback to pre-medieval mysticism is a very fruitful idea, instead it is just plain nonsense. And there can be no resonances, unless cycles are physically coupled by [known] forces.

    REPLY: Leif, I’ll point out that our solar system orbits are cycles, our Earthly seasons are cycles, and our ices ages are driven by cycles. I hardly think these are mysticisms. Other cycles of rotation are galaxy sized. – Anthony

  91. Andrew W says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 am

    This DA post is just silly.

    The sunspot figure for the Parana River has been obviously been adjusted (tortured) to get a better fit with the river flow data….
    _______________________________________________
    Perhaps you would prefer a peer reviewed report from NASA on river – sun correlation?

    NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records (title and link are from NASA)

    or perhaps this?
    Linkages Between Solar Activity, Climate Predictability and Water Resource Development: Journal of the South African Institute of Civil Engineering

    More peer-reviewed Solar variability drought links:
    Is solar variability reflected in the Nile River?
    (Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 111, Issue D21, November 2006)
    – Alexander Ruzmaikin, Joan Feynman, Yuk L. Yung

    Palaeoclimatic and archaeological evidence for a 200-yr recurrence of floods and droughts linking California, Mesoamerica and South America over the past 2000 years
    (The Holocene, Volume 13, Number 5, pp. 763-778, 2003)
    – Amdt Schimmelmann et al.

    Possible solar forcing of century-scale drought frequency in the northern Great Plains
    (Geology, Volume 27, Number 3, pp. 263-266, Mar 1999)
    – Zicheng Yu, Emi Ito

    Rainfall and drought in equatorial east Africa during the past 1,100 years
    (Nature, Volume 403, Number 6768, pp. 410-414, January 2000)
    – Dirk Verschuren et al.

    Solar Forcing of Drought Frequency in the Maya Lowlands
    (Science, Volume 292, Number 5520, pp. 1367-1370, May 2001)
    – David A. Hodell et al.

    Solar forcing of Holocene droughts in a stalagmite record from West Virginia in east-central North America
    (Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 35, Issue 17, September 2008)
    – Gregory S. Springer et al.

    Solar variability and the levels of Lake Victoria, East Africa, during the last millenium
    (Journal of Paleolimnology, Volume 33, Number 2, pp. 243-251, February, 2005)
    – J. Curt Stager et al.

    (Thanks to Poptech for many of these references) http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

  92. rbateman says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm
    This trailing white mag. part of the spot traces it’s magnetic lines to the S. Solar Pole. Does this tell you anything about what’s going on with SC24?
    The magnetic field will connect wherever it can. Such large-scale connection are quite common.

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    REPLY: Leif, I’ll point out that our solar system orbits are cycles, our Earthly seasons are cycles, and our ices ages are driven by cycles. I hardly think these are mysticisms. Other cycles of rotation are galaxy sized. – Anthony
    The mysticism is not in the cycles as there are all over the place, but the notion that the cycles are connected as such. Only when there are forces that connect the cycles can they resonate and couple. The seasonal variation is not a ‘cycle’, but just a result of the varying geometry. It is not the ‘cycle’ that drives that variation.

  93. Tommy says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:58 am

    I wonder if sunspots throw particles that pepper over the Earth’s skies, seeding clouds for more rain.
    ______________________________________
    The theory closest to that is the solar wind changes with the sunspots. The amount of cosmic rays hitting earth changes with the solar wind. An increase in cosmic rays helps seed clouds and increase rain. (

    NASA: Solar Wind Loses Power, Hits 50-year Low: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/23sep_solarwind/

    Svensmark Cloud – Cosmic Ray Experiment: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/10/svensmark-global-warming-stopped-and-a-cooling-is-beginning-enjoy-global-warming-while-it-lasts/

    CERN Latest news on the Cloud Experiment: http://the-daily-politics.blogspot.com/2010/01/cern-latest-news-on-cloud.html

    Spencer: Clouds Dominate CO2 as a Climate Driver Since 2000
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/13/spencer-clouds-dominate-co2-as-a-climate-driver-since-2000/

    Spencer on solar geomagnetic to earth climate connections
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/10/spencer-on-solar-geomagnetic-to-earth-climate-connections/

  94. I was expecting to see Lief show up and put someon in a headlock and give them nuggies. ;-)

  95. I am confused, and have a hard time differentiating between sarcastic comments and serious ones… sigh. I am not a native Anglophone… sigh.

    If the sunspot correlates with cooling through sun magnetosphere shrinking, and increased cloud nucleation from increased cosmic rays from the shrank protection from the solar magnetosphere, how come we won’ t get more rain?

    Maybe the rain effect is different near the equator? Here in Montreal, lattitude 45N, the weather gets darn wet or snowy in the winter… We did have dry spells, however.

    Could it be that the devil is in the water vapor circulation details?

  96. Leif Svalgaard:

    At July 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm you assert;

    “The seasonal variation is not a ‘cycle’, but just a result of the varying geometry. It is not the ‘cycle’ that drives that variation.”

    Say what!?

    You think the Earth orbitting the Sun is not a cycle?

    The fact that the geometry varies because the Earth orbits the Sun causes the seasons. You think the seasons do not cycle?

    The fact that the orbit is eliptical causes the distance from the Earth to the Sun to vary throughout the year. You think this does not cause the solar flux to the Earth to cycle?

    The fact that the SH has more ocean cover than the NH induces global temperature to rise by 3.8 deg.C from June to January and then to fall by similar amount from January to June each year. You think this is not a global temperature cycle?

    Clearly, few things can “cycle” if you define that every “result of the varying geometry” is not a cycle.

    Your assertion is pure sophistry.

    Richard

  97. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm (Edit)

    The mysticism is not in the cycles as there are all over the place, but the notion that the cycles are connected as such. Only when there are forces that connect the cycles can they resonate and couple. The seasonal variation is not a ‘cycle’, but just a result of the varying geometry. It is not the ‘cycle’ that drives that variation.

    There are harmonic/numerical relationships which exist between many periodicities and cycles on Earth, in the solar system and beyond. That we don’t yet understand the causes linking them doesn’t mean we should choose to remain ignorant of them. Especially when they help us understand things like climate.

  98. The music of the spheres, and the inter play of perhaps hundreds sineodic cycles periodically in and out of resonance. Will in the long term be understood to control all things, not just the climate. The harmonic waves that create matter are understood by some but rejected by the consensus of quantum mechanics, a one hundred year failure of ever increasing complexity and more theories than you can poke a stick at.

    The climate science of co2 and the thousands of things that it causes in their minds, is becoming the same complexity, until recently spiraling outwards. Both in scope and cost, my joy of recent times has seen the spiral halted and turned back on itself. I am reminded here of the woop woop bird, that flies in ever decreasing circles to disappear up its own fundamental orifice. One can only hope that this occurs soon.

  99. “And there can be no resonances, unless cycles are physically coupled by [known] forces.”

    Or coupled by known forces in unknown [as yet] waves.

  100. >> The seasonal variation is not a ‘cycle’, but just a result
    >>of the varying geometry. It is not the ‘cycle’ that drives
    >>that variation.

    Que?

    A cycle is “a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order” – err, like the seasons. And the seasons are regulated by the Earth’s orbital cycle. And longer term climatic cycles may well be influenced by the Moons 19-year cycle (and the Sun’s 11-year cycle). And the much longer term ice-age and magnetic cycles may well be regulated by the Earth’s precessional cycle (and this is not simply an effect of ‘geometry’).

    And the connection between many of the cycles of the Solar System, is gravity. As you know a small tug on a spinning/precessing body can produce wild swings and oscillations (cycles), and every body in the Solar System feels the influence of the others to some degree or other. A Sun that is not even allowed to rotate about its own Solar System center has to be a prime candidate for gravitationally induced cycles.

    .

  101. Jantar says:
    July 23, 2010 at 12:56 am (Edit)
    I’m having trouble finding the raw sunspot numbers. All the online sites I’ve looked at give graphs but no numbers.

    Another source for sunspot data is the Royal Observatory of Belgium, at the Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). http://sidc.oma.be/
    They provide daily and monthly data starting in the year 1818.

  102. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    ..Only when there are forces that connect the cycles can they resonate and couple. The seasonal variation is not a ‘cycle’, but just a result of the varying geometry. It is not the ‘cycle’ that drives that variation

    Thanks Dr. S

  103. Beautifully done. Simple. Elegant. Clear.

    And it captures the “heat” aspect of climate that “temperatures” ignore. It’s all that heat in the mass flow of water that matters, not the temperature at which it flows.

    As we get hotter, more megatons of water evaporate and rise to the top of the air column, then condense dumping their heat high above the CO2 blocking level letting it rush to space. That cold water then falls as rain and the process repeats.

    Moving vast quantities of HEAT, even if the temperatures don’t change much.

    And this posting shows how we can see that heat flow in the mass flow of the water that falls from the sky.

    Nice, very nice.

  104. @JFA in Montreal:

    It is all about mass flow of water as a way to move heat. A hot ocean dumps that heat via water evaporating, rising to the top of the air column, and condensing back to water (liberating heat high up in the sky, to radiate into space).

    A cold ocean does not do this nearly so much, so less mass flow of water moving less heat.

    That water falls as rain and snow after dumping the heat up high.

    Notice that the Infrared Radiation and CO2 “blocking” mechanisms are bypassed by this mass transport.

    So in a colder global climate, you get less rainfall, in a warmer one, you get more.

    Yes, this can be counter to the seasonal pattern you are used to. The warm tropical air hitting cold northern air makes a lot of water condense and fall. But with a cooler Gulf of Mexico, there would be less water in that warm air running in to a northern cold air mass, so less rain during that cold season.

    The seasonal change to cold air is the trigger for the date of the rain, but the decade long average ocean temperature is the engine that drives the quantity.

  105. Leif,

    you take the statement “correlation is not causation” to an unhealthy level.

  106. Peat bogs colder-dryer or warmer-wetter depending on what the sun does

    Part 1

  107. Peat bogs colder-dryer or warmer-wetter depending on what the sun does

    Part 2

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