When the sun goes TILT

The Heliospheric Current Sheet Tilt Angle and Implications for Friis-Christensen and Lassen Theory

Guest post by David Archibald

The Chairman of NOAA’s Solar Cycle 24 review panel, Douglas Biesecker, said back in March 2007 that the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet was one of the expected signatures of solar minimum (the Solar Cycle 23/24 transition). At times of weak solar activity, the month of transition can be relatively hard to pick, except for the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet, shown following:

This graph of the heliospheric current sheet tilt angle from 1976 shows sharp transitions from one solar cycle to the next. The data is from www.wso.stanford.edu

By comparison, Dr Svalgaard’s plot of four solar parameters from 2008, available at http://www.leif.org/research/TSI-SORCE-2008-now.png , shows a lot of latitude in picking the month of transition:

On top of his graphic I have plotted December 2008 which is commonly accepted as the month of the Solar Cycle 23/24 transition and October 2009, which was Carrington rotation 2089 and the month of transition based on flattening of the heliospheric current sheet. The MF doesn’t change character until this later date.

The big question is,”What are the implications for Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory?” Friis-Christensen and Lassen based their theory on a couple of hundred years of sunspot data, but what if the true relationship between solar cycle length and the Earth’s temperature over the following solar cycle is based on solar cycle length as measured from the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet rather than the rather subjective choice of minimum sunspot number? We will need possibly another hundred years of tilt angle data to get a definitive result, but in the meantime we can calculate the consequences.

Plotting the heliospheric current sheet-based data onto Butler and Johnson’s 1996 graphic for Armagh, Northern Ireland results in having to plot outside their graphic. These solar cycle length conditions are unprecedented in recorded Armagh history. They result in the predicted temperature decline over Solar Cycle 24 at Armagh to be 2.4°C, a full one degree cooler than the result based on commonly accepted solar cycle length data.

Applying heliospheric current sheet-based data to the plot for Hanover, New Hampshire derives a 3.1°C temperature decline, about one degree more than previously calculated. This is more than four times the purported 0.7°C temperature rise of the 20th century.

There is one way to determine whether or not Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory should be based on solar cycle length based on flattening of the heliospheric current sheet. If the average temperature decline at Hanover, New Hampshire over Solar Cycle 24 is 3.1°C rather than the previously predicted 2.2°C, then that will be early confirmation that flattening of the heliospheric current sheet should be used. We will only have to wait until early next decade for that data.

David Archibald

August, 2010

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Rhoda R

Science: States the theory, describes what is expected, and sets the requirements for support of that theory. Refreshing.

Rsq = 0.53 is not particularly significant. In this correlation I have Rsq = 0.8933
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

Brad

dR. sVAALGARD WILL BE HEAR SOON TO TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE WORNG – FOR SOME REASON. hE AGREES WITH NOONE.
That said, this does look interesting…

Sean Peake

Egads! HCS again. Last time I read posts on this and weakening magnetic poles my head hurt for days trying to understand it. I’ll lay in a supply of Tylenol and try and keep up.

Byz

I’ll wait for Dr Svalgaard’s comment 🙂

The flattening of the HCS is but one of the parameters that gives clues to the when the minimum is, and is a particular bad one for this reason: The flatness depends on the ratio between the polar fields and the magnetic field in low-latitude coronal holes. The polar fields ‘belongs’ to the new cycle and the low-latitude field ‘belong’ to the old cycle and have little in common. The top [purple] curve in the graph D.A. shows in his second slide is a measure of the low-latitude fields and it is clear that they peter out almost a year later than the ‘real’ minimum at the end of 2008, and therefore skew the time maximum flatness [least warp-angle, don’t call it ’tilt’ that is a misnomer as the HCS is not tilted, but warped]. You can clearly see the transition from SC23 to SC24 in this plot: http://www.leif.org/research/Active%20Region%20Count.png that shows the number of active regions per month.
Using a single location in New Hampshire as a proxy for global [or even regional] temperature is just bad science.

John D

This is interesting data. I don’t understand much of the terminology, though. If someone has a link for a good layman’s explanation, please post it. (wikipedia defines the heliospheric current sheet, but not in a way that explains its relevance to climate science)

Harold Vance

Anyone know how the CLOUD experiment is progressing?

Michael Penny

Brrrr!!

Adam Gallon

Gods above! What would a 3.1°C reduction do to our world?

John Whitman

David Archibald,
Do you have links to the “Butler and Johnson’s 1996 graphic for Armagh, Northern Ireland” that you mention? Also, do you have a link to “the plot for Hanover, New Hampshire” that you mention?
I do not understand what temperature on the vertical (y) axis is supposed to represent.
Thanks,
John

Schrodinger's Cat

Negative global warming!
Apart from Svensmark’s idea that the solar wind (active sun) prevents neutrons from deep space from seeding cloud formation, are there any other explanations as to why cycle length could affect climate?

Mark Wagner

Thoughts:
1) If the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet provides an “abrupt” marker for the beginning of the new solar cycle, this would certainly make calculating the cycle length easier.
2) Having said that, I don’t think you can apply the most recent cycle length per the heliospheric current sheet to the curve based on sunspot number. If you had enough data for the cycle lengths based on heliospheric current sheet you could calculate a curve to make such a prediction, but the slope of that curve would no doubt be different from the sunspot slope…and therefore the prediction would be different. Perhaps significantly. You just can’t mix the apples and oranges like that.
3) So I’m not putting much credence in the “new” temperature prediction. It may get lucky, but it’s not…ah…uhm…”robust.”
4) And we need to be careful about the mixing of apples and oranges. This is a tactic AGW proponents often use when their facts are weak. Let us not weaken our argument by giving reason to dismiss out of hand what may be good evidence someday.

coaldust

Mr. Archibald,
RE: The last figure (Hannover, NH),
Doesn’t the data to produce the point for the green lines already exist? If so, it would be informative to see where it falls on the plot.

Milwaukee Bob

wso.stanford.edu is correct, NOT www.wso……

Anoneumouse

agh..solar tilt….you mean the sun has it’s own precession (wobble)…I bet they never thought of that

gary gulrud

While having an untrained eye, watching the shape of the sheet near the Sun gave late spring 2009 as an indication of minimum-when the shape had the ‘pushed-down skirt’ appearance. Along with the dual minimum in the SS sum, I agree a date later than 12/2008 seems more sensible.

Gary Pearse

Don’t expect too many comments if one doesn’t give a brief “heliospheric current sheet tilt angle for dummies” paragraph.

We won’t see anything like that fall in temperature, because the oceans are carrying a lot of extra energy accumulated since 1935 and particularly in the 47 years from 1955 to 2002. They will tide us through most of the forthcoming period of low solar activity, with a max drop in temperature globally of around 1.2C assuming a Dalton like minimum. The minimum drop I have calculated from my simple energy model would be around 0.65C over the next 20 years.
I hope to be able to tighten up the spread of this engineer’s estimate as time goes on.
If David Archibald is taking bets I’d like some of the action.

Love your pinball pic, Anthony

Look at the the falling temperatures during the Maunder minimum in the beginning of the CET record: some 1C during 30 years. Our planet has obviously tremendous heat capacity. Good news are, that as soon as the sun cycles went up, temperature quickly followed.
http://blog.sme.sk/blog/560/195013/armaghcetssn.jpg

peterhodges

well that looks like a solid method for determining the turnover for the solar cycle
it’s difficult to make a historical comparison, however
if the method rewrites the current cycle length, would it not also rewrite the historical cycle lengths from which the temperature correlation is derived?

Alan Simpson not from Friends of the Earth

Friis-Christensen and Lassen, based their idea on X measurements , it would be a stretch to use their conclusions to extrapolate a conclusion based on different measurements.

I always find these solar articles interesting, primarily because I know almost next-to-nothing about it.
But the graphic for this post is classic. “Leif-Archibald Edition”. Now *that’s* funny!

CRS, Dr.P.H.

Incoming Lief!

Doug Proctor

Tallblike says: “We won’t see anything like that fall in temperature, because the oceans are carrying a lot of extra energy accumulated since 1935 and particularly in the 47 years from 1955 to 2002.”
Dr. Archibald’s prediction is based on historical records comparing temperature changes in specific areas with sunspot lengt/TILT issues. The state of the ocean energy is a part of whatever temperature change there was previously – perhaps explaining the spread in the data. The -3.1C* (or whatever) is the prediction based on a linear regression. The -0.65C* may be the actual number for Cycle 24, based on the actual conditions of this time. Like the candymint/breathmint, you could be both right.
Initial discussion of global cooling had 2008 as the start of the cooling. Clearly this is not the case. I plotted up a graph of what the temperature drop must look like to cover only -1.6C* drop from 2011 to 2021, plotted on a Cycle 23/24 Effective Sunspot Number (http:/www.nwra.com/spawx/ssno-cyc e23.gif). It is quite a ride if you expect temperature drops to have the same rates (with up-cycles) as regular cycles we experience. Of interest, however, is that a 0.5C* increase coincided with the rise from the beginning of Cycle 24, as if there were a two-variable input phase issue going on. If so, then a sudden drop from this point on might suggest that an in-phase situation is going to kick in (the out-of-phase part preventing both cooling and warming since 2008).
The melding of the temperature anomaly record (UAH rather than GISS) to the last few cycles is very interesting, but the requirement for the Archibald prediction is even more so. (I’m old school, using paper and pencil, so cannot attach a graph. I need an 11-year-old to help me here!)

John F. Hultquist
John F. Hultquist

http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/HCS.html
HCS indicates Heliospheric Current Sheet

Sam'l Bassett

What is “the heliospheric current sheet”?
And how is it measured?

Marcia, Marcia

Full tilt 2 pinball, Leif-Archibald edition.
LOL!
That is truly funny. I laughed. Thank you Anthony Watts! 🙂

vukcevic says:
August 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm
Rsq = 0.53 is not particularly significant. In this correlation I have Rsq = 0.8933
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

Neither one is significant. And yours even breaks down when you include more data back in time.

Sean Peake

Schrodinger’s Cat says:
Apart from Svensmark’s idea that the solar wind (active sun) prevents neutrons from deep space from seeding cloud formation, are there any other explanations as to why cycle length could affect climate?
———-
I thought Svensmark’s idea was based on muons—Nigel Calder has an on-going debate with Prof Terry Sloan about that:
http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/do-clouds-disappear-3/

Ulric Lyons

I would have made the periods on the tilt graph at 9.6yrs and 12.8yrs, we could then see how the two cycles relate directly to the 3.2yr `bashful ballerina`.

wayne

Within your article it mentions “graphic for Armagh, Northern Ireland” and “plot for Hanover, New Hampshire” along with temperature decreases. What are these references to specific locations and temperatures and how do they relate to the solar wind, i.e. assumed interrelation to the heliospheric current sheet tilt angle. I just don’t understand why these local geo references.

DA: The big question is,”What are the implications for Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory?”
The Friis-C and Lassen ‘theory’ has been debunked so many times that it is hardly worth the effort to do it again, but here is one more time: http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%20Length%20Temperature%20Correlation.pdf

Ulric Lyons says:
August 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm
I would have made the periods on the tilt graph at 9.6yrs and 12.8yrs, we could then see how the two cycles relate directly to the 3.2yr `bashful ballerina`.
The bashful ballerina is spurious. There is no such phenomenon, even if you bend the ‘data’.

Ulric Lyons

Archibald;
” but what if the true relationship between solar cycle length and the Earth’s temperature over the following solar cycle is based on solar cycle length as measured from the flattening of the heliospheric current sheet rather than the rather subjective choice of minimum sunspot number? ”
Yes, long spotless day periods can be rather warm often, then there is the matter of all those cold winters cropping up at solar maximum, especially big cycles.

Gary Pearse says:
August 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm
Don’t expect too many comments if one doesn’t give a brief “heliospheric current sheet tilt angle for dummies” paragraph.
Here is an account of its discovery and effects:
http://www.leif.org/research/A%20View%20of%20Solar%20Magnetic%20Fields,%20the%20Solar%20Corona,%20and%20the%20Solar%20Wind%20in%20Three%20Dimensions.pdf

Cam

Here’s how I (crudely) try to describe it to friends and colleagues….
Just think of it as an electric hot plate heating a large pot of soup. Gradually turn the hot plate down, but then crank it to full for a bit, then bring back the temperature down etc etc. and the overall temperature of the soup will be relatively constant – also allowing for lag time due to the latent heat storage of the soup (ie. earth).
But if you delay the return of the hot plate to ‘full’ for a bit longer and the soup will start to cool and it will alow cooler air to fall onto the soup as well (ie. cosmic radiation producing clouds)
This is why the proponents of the solar>global temp have merit, because the past century (barring the 1960s) the Sun has been as active as it has been for the past 1000 years with high sunspot numbers (amplititude) and short cycle durations (frequency), which in turn doesnt allow for the ‘turning down’ of the hot plate as it were.

JG

Since cooling is also a possibility; that’s why they now allow for it with the term “Climate Change”.
Temps go up, temps go down. It just doesn’t matter.
It’s change we can believe in.

John F. Hultquist

David A. implies that the “Friis-Christensen and Lassen theory” is a major pillar of climate science and goes on to suggest more cooling than previously thought if the HCS concept is used. Apparently, though, the “F-C & L” theory is not all that well thought of as indicated here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-cycle-length.htm
Dr. Leif says the HCS idea won’t float and others say the F-C&L proposal is likewise of dubious value.
So now what?

Paul Vaughan

I request Dr. Svalgaard’s professional opinion of the following claims:
“This is really exciting. […] improved the correlation in a big way […] has come up with this stunning result […] shows the planetary alignments relating to small changes such as secondary peaks on the downslope of the solar cycles put the link between the production of sunspots and the motion of the planets beyond doubt”
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/roy-martin-venus-earth-jupiter-solar-cycle-analysis/
“[…] amazing new Venus Earth Jupiter – Solar cycle analysis” – (August 11, 2010)

pyromancer76

Most enjoyable discussion, but I think the reputation for science goes to Leif.

rbateman

I don’t know about sorting according to the HCS periods, but using the SIDC accounts of solar cycle lengths and years, my precipitation data back to 1870 sorts fairly well:
http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/TempGr/WvPrecipSC.GIF
Perhaps I will find the times of the HCS periods and try another sort.

Earle Williams

Leif Svalgaard,
FYI, linking to a document does not constitute a second debunking. It constitutes linking to a document. I know it is a lot of work to copy and paste a URL and I appreciate your noble efforts. But do please keep a sense of perspective.

Harold Vance says:
August 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm
Anyone know how the CLOUD experiment is progressing?

The results of the 2009 CLOUD run is to be announced at the end of this month:

The results of the 2009 run will be presented at the International Aerosol Conference, IAC2010, Helsinki, 29 August – 3 September 2010, http://www.iac2010.fi . Fifteen abstracts have been submitted, and are attached in Appendix A.
In addition, we are preparing a journal paper on the key new results from the 2009 run, for expected publication later this year.

http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1257940/files/SPSC-SR-061.pdf

Feet2theFire

“@ Rhoda R says August 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm:
Science: States the theory, describes what is expected, and sets the requirements for support of that theory. Refreshing.”
Rhoda, about 20 years ago I read a sourced statement about C14 testing. I have long since lost trak of what book it was in, but I will never forget what it said:
85% of all C14 test results are discarded when the results fall outside of expected values. The rejected results – without specific basis – are said to have been contaminated.
This put a huge ? in my head about any published C14 dates. I have no idea whether those published dates are correct or if they were pre-selected from cherry picked C14 tests.
I DO recall writing down the source, but lost track of it before I ever had a reason to refer to it.

I can tell the magnetic field strength must be picking up around the Pacific Ocean. Certain individuals seem high on something!

James F. Evans

Dr. Svalgaard presented this explanation of the helio current sheet:
Here is an account of its discovery and effects:
http://www.leif.org/research/A%20View%20of%20Solar%20Magnetic%20Fields,%20the%20Solar%20Corona,%20and%20the%20Solar%20Wind%20in%20Three%20Dimensions.pdf
This is an excellent account of the solar magnetic fields.
In 1978, this was state of the art.
And, it is still very good in terms of presenting solar magnetic fields.
But today, 2010, Science can also observe & measure, in addition to magnetic fields, the flow of electrified particles, plasma, free electrons & ions, their configuration & structure, and any attendant electric fields and resultant electric currents:
The Wikipedia entry for Helio current sheet:
“The heliospheric current sheet (HCS) is the surface within the Solar System where the polarity of the Sun’s magnetic field changes from north to south. This field extends throughout the Sun’s equatorial plane in the heliosphere. The shape of the current sheet results from the influence of the Sun’s rotating magnetic field on the plasma in the interplanetary medium (Solar Wind). A small electrical current flows within the sheet, about 10−10 A/m². The thickness of the current sheet is about 10,000 km.
The underlying magnetic field is called the interplanetary magnetic field, and the resulting electric current forms part of the heliospheric current circuit. The heliospheric current sheet is also sometimes called the interplanetary current sheet.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliospheric_current_sheet

Paul Vaughan says:
August 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm
production of sunspots and the motion of the planets beyond doubt
“[…] amazing new Venus Earth Jupiter – Solar cycle analysis”

I’m in principle suspicious of claims that are ‘beyond doubt’. The phase differences shoots down the idea. since we have sunspot data back to ~1700 and planetary data much further back, one wonders why the analysis begins in the 1840s. The ‘analysis’ seems to be standard fare, nothing new there, move on 🙂 Introducing ever more planets and tweaking ever more knobs can help any purported correlation. One can even introduce an ‘anomaly’ formula that will take care of any differences and try to find some correlation with something to explain the errors. In the end, it is a question of energy. If the planets were 100 times more massive and 10 times closer, they would exert a strong tidal influence. We see that for other stars, but for today’s solar system there is not enough energy in the planetary influences to have any effect. To overcome that hurdle the correlation has to be MUCH better. Another stumbling block is that the Sun rotates and any planetary influence ‘sweeps’ over the surface [and interior] every 27 days.