Profiling the Largest Solar Explosions

From NASA JPL Solar flares – they’re big and they’re fast. They can knock out a satellite or create a beautiful aurora. And the jury is still out on what causes these explosions.

Flares, and the related coronal mass ejection, shoot energy, radiation, and magnetic fields out into space that can harm satellites or humans in space. Current observations aren’t precise enough to determine whether the eruptions are driven by energy surging through the sun’s surface, or by the sudden release of energy that has slowly accumulated in the atmosphere.

Aurora over Valkeakoski, Finland Sept. 15, 2000 as a  result from the corresponding Sept. 12 coronal mass ejection. › View larger

This aurora over Valkeakoski, Finland on September 15, 2000 resulted from the September 12 coronal mass ejection featured in the video above.  › Download video Credit: Tom Eklund

Now, a new way of looking at old data has changed all that, but the results have created more mystery: There isn’t enough energy passing through the surface during the eruption to drive the explosion.

“In some sense, the idea that energy from below triggers the eruption is the easiest explanation – like a geyser,” says Peter Schuck, a physicist who studies space weather at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “But if the idea doesn’t agree with what’s observed, then it’s wrong. End of story.”

Schuck’s research indicates that, instead, the trigger occurs in the sun’s atmosphere. “Our result shows that observations are more consistent with a slow accumulation of energy in the atmosphere,” Schuck said, “and then a sudden explosion triggered from above, more like lightning.”

Schuck studies coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, and solar flares at the place where theory and observation overlap. His latest work on CMEs appeared in the Astrophysical Journal on May 1. Schuck constructed a way to test CME and flare observations in order to limit which group of hypotheses fit the data, even when there’s not enough evidence to conclusively pick a single theory.

In the case of CMEs, the data is limited to distant movies captured by spacecraft such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). These movies show that CMEs begin as a gigantic arch, some 50 times larger than Earth, with each of its feet planted on the sun’s surface, or “photosphere.”

Two broad camps of theories have been developed to explain these so-called coronal loops. “The energy is built up by either a twisting motion below the surface or the release of magnetic energy in the solar atmosphere,” says Haimin Wang, a physicist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, whose work focuses on the characteristics of the photosphere before and during solar ejections.

Either way, the energy originally comes from the surface. The question is simply whether it surges through directly before the appearance of the coronal loop or oozes up slowly over time, storing up in the atmosphere until released in a massive explosion of light, plasma, magnetic fields and high energy particles.

Distinguishing between the two options based solely on a distant movie isn’t easy. Imagine trying to figure out what powers a car when all you’ve got to go on is a movie of a highway. Worse, that movie isn’t from above, so you might easily determine the direction and speed of those cars, but from head-on or a side view where you’re not even sure of the angle.

If, however, you can infer the speed of the car, you could at the very least figure out how much energy it has and, in turn, rule out any power source that didn’t jibe with what you saw.

Schuck has done exactly that. “I developed a way to infer magnetic field motion, and therefore energy amounts, from the velocities we observe in the photosphere,” he says.

Imagine the cars again. If the cars were coming directly toward you, you could measure the wavelength of the headlights and by determining how strongly they’d been shifted by the Doppler effect (that same wave-changing effect that causes sirens to sound higher as they come toward you and lower as they move away) you could measure the car’s speed.

Schuck used similar, head-on Doppler measurements to find the velocity of solar material on the surface of the sun. This material moves perpendicular to the magnetic field at the base of the coronal loop — the crux of what Schuck is trying to understand. He can convert those initial velocities of the sun’s surface into information about the motion and energy of the magnetic field. This analysis may not spit out an exact number for the energy, but it does give a precise, accurate range of energy possibilities.

And so, for the first time, one can look at images of the sun and set firm limits on the maximum energy at a given spot – at least if the material was moving directly towards the camera to provide an accurate Doppler measurement.

The next step applies the analysis to an actual coronal mass ejection. Schuck looked at the data from a CME on September 12, 2000. This was an M-class ejection — meaning it was fairly intense, but one step below the strongest X-class — that moved directly towards Earth. Conveniently, this was also a well-studied flare, so other scientists had already examined SOHO images to measure the path, speed, and energy of the CME. This information, in turn, implies how much energy would have come through the photosphere at the start of the process had it indeed initiated from below.

The results were dramatic. The SOHO images showed the photosphere moving at speeds 10,000 times less slowly than would have been expected if it were directly triggering the eruption. “The velocity you’d need to see on the photosphere would be a thousand kilometers per second,” says Shuck. “Not only are these speeds easily detected but they would be greater than the standard measurement range of the instrument. You’d see really weird stuff in the data readouts.”

There is always the slim chance that somehow the instruments didn’t catch the extreme motion, but given how large the velocities would have had to be, Schuck thinks this is unlikely.

This still leaves a variety of theories on just how the energy is stored and what triggers its release in the atmosphere. Distinguishing between those theories will require more detailed data—something scientists hope NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched in February 2010 will be able to provide.

Unlike previous missions, SDO will be able to directly measure the energy in the photosphere – as opposed to Schuck’s present method of inferring that energy from velocity measurements — and it will do so with 20 times the resolution of the data on which Schuck based his current work. Such information will help narrow down what triggers a CME or solar flare even more precisely.

“Now we just need some really big CMEs to work with,” says Schuck.

h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

 

141 thoughts on “Profiling the Largest Solar Explosions

  1. “But if the idea doesn’t agree with what’s observed, then it’s wrong. End of story.”
    Pity those studying terrestrial climate and advocating AGW can’t adopt this maxim.

  2. I rather hope he doesn’t get lots of big CME’s to work with. They could be a “real” problem here where it counts.
    Just my opinion,
    Barry Strayer

  3. “Now we just need some really big CMEs to work with,” says Schuck.
    —————-
    Leif,
    With the predicted relatively low amplitude and (perhaps) longish Solar 24 cycle we are in, are CME’s predicted to be less frequent and/or less large?
    John

  4. But..but..we were told to come over to the dark side where the sun has no effect on weather…or…climate
    …go into the light Nuke Skyhawker and only use the Force for good…

  5. Andrew, please feel free to snip this whole comment if you wish (to stifle honest opinions) just kidding.
    I really feel that we are on the edge of a new age of discovery. I have followed the LHC since 1996 on a 1200 bd dialup connection at the time. I thought it was going to validate Einstein’s theories which I bought into but understood only a little. Now I feel confident that the only thing it can prove is that there is no Higgs Boson, there was no Big Bang and the whole solar consensus is also wrong.
    [[
    Schuck’s research indicates that, instead, the trigger occurs in the sun’s atmosphere. “Our result shows that observations are more consistent with a slow accumulation of energy in the atmosphere,” Schuck said, “and then a sudden explosion triggered from above, more like lightning.”
    ]]
    As much as I hate to say it, the answer is likely to be the unthinkable/unpublishable. There is no nuclear fission inside the sun, the sun is passive.
    I’ll leave it at that, but you know what I wanted to say.

  6. @Phil M2.
    > As much as I hate to say it, the answer is likely to be the unthinkable/unpublishable.
    > There is no nuclear fission inside the sun …
    You’re right. It’s called “fusion”. a process which converts hydrogen to helium. Fission involves splitting apart heavier elements at the other end of the periodic table.

  7. Wouldn’t determining where the source of energy is for a CME be fairly straight forward if we can view it on any angle other than straight on?
    Seems to me that if the source of energy for a CME is the surface of the Sun or below the surface of the Sun, then we should see a volcano type structure of gas rise out of the surface just prior to the CME blasting particles into space.
    If the source of energy for a CME is the atmosphere of the Sun, then we should see a pressure wave push back onto the surface and see reverberations from this pressure wave.
    I’m not a solar physicist, so what have I missed?

  8. [SNIP- I’m not going to have “iron sun” and “electric universe” any more than I’m going to allow chemtrails and truther theories here, take it elsewhere. – Anthony]

  9. PJB says:
    November 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm
    [SNIP- I’m not going to have “iron sun” and “electric universe” any more than I’m going to allow chemtrails and truther theories here, take it elsewhere. – Anthony]
    ======================================================
    Just bein’ th’ court jester an’ runnin’ about beltin’ th’ aristocracy with me inflated pig’s bladder here, Anthony…..
    … But you will allow ” dark energy”, ” dark matter”, “black holes”, “Neutronium”, and other exotic and novel ideas to inhabit th’ conversation, eh?
    *juggles some concepts, does a backflip, whacks a spectator with said pig’s bladder ;-)*

  10. “Now we just need some really big CMEs to work with,” says Schuck.
    No thank you. Having been reading about the Carrington Event, another one of those is the last thing we need. Although they may generate useful data, they’re also rather hard on our infrastructure.

  11. Kudos to NASA’s Solar Research that has to make up for it’s retarded climate science and propaganda thus saving some of the former status and integrity of what once was an incredible organization.

  12. John Whitman says:
    November 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm
    With the predicted relatively low amplitude and (perhaps) longish Solar 24 cycle we are in, are CME’s predicted to be less frequent and/or less large?
    Less frequent, but not less large [sic]. The ‘size’ depends on local conditions on the Sun and the CME blows when the field locally can no longer contain the filament. Here is a plot of the number of strong geomagnetic storms as a function of time and their frequency clearly depends on the strength of each cycle. The bottom panel sows the strongest storm in each year and although there is solar cycle dependence, the strength does not have any clear dependence on the size of each cycle.
    Ben Hillicoss says:
    November 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm
    Phil M2. says:
    November 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    There is no nuclear fission inside the sun, the sun is passive.
    There is [assuming you meant fusion], and we find the neutrinos to prove it.

  13. So if there is not enough energy coming from below. Then that means either :
    1) energy is magically created from nothing in the atmosphere of the sun
    or
    2) the sun gets some of it`s energy from the huge plasma/magnetic/electric fields that connect the Sun to the rest of the solar system ?
    Dont get me wrong, I`m not saying “iron sun” blah blah blah. But the sun does have a huge magnetic field connected to the rest of the solar system. It spews out Plasma, which is an electric conductor. The planets and the sun rotate. Electric conductors (plasma) rotating in a magnetic field generate electricity.
    I know little about the Electric Universe stuff, but the above sounds just as plausible as Dark Energy ? What am I missing ?? Please correct me ?

  14. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm
    “…There is [assuming you meant fusion], and we find the neutrinos to prove it.”
    ======================================================
    But Leif, you must also acknowledge that there is a problem with the amount of neutrinos in the flux… There is a considerable lack of neutrinos which reach the Earth that should, if the Fusion model of the Sun was to be validated by neutrino flux observations……
    Thus a hypothesis heaped upon a hypothesis seems to have been presented which then contended that the neutrinos “changed flavor”( excerpt from SNO results… In summary, the results presented here are the first direct indication of a non-electron flavor component in the solar neutrino flux and enable the first determination of the total flux of 8Bneutrinos generated by the Sun.) somehow between or while exiting the Sun(or rather the mathematical model that represents the Sun) and the instrumentation that measures the neutrinos on Earth(real observations of actual phenomenon complete with the complexity of attempting to measure problematic high speed/energy particles)
    Thus there is now this paper that “solves” the lack of neutrinos in the flux problem…. But for people who still ask questions…. There is still a neutrino problem. Yes?

  15. There is [assuming you meant fusion], and we find the neutrinos to prove it. I was under the impression that the number of neutrinos found so far are short of the number that should be present.

  16. “they’re big and they’re fast. They can knock out a satellite or create a beautiful aurora. And the jury is still out on what causes these explosions.”
    -Burritos!

  17. Maybe its teeny little bits of dark matter hitting the surface. Heck they use it to explain all the other things that dont add up.. why not now?

  18. gg says:
    November 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm
    2) the sun gets some of it`s energy from the huge plasma/magnetic/electric fields that connect the Sun to the rest of the solar system ?
    “Huge” is not the right word here. They may be large-scale, but at some distance form those fields are very weak. E.g. at the Earth the magnetic field of the solar wind is 10,000 times weaker than that of the Earth’s magnetic field [at the surface]. The magnetic field that fills the solar system is drawn out of the Sun by the hot expanding atmosphere of the Sun. There is no electric fields in the expanding solar plasma, but when the plasma [a conductor] moves into [encounters] a magnetic field [e.g. of the Earth] electric currents are generated by induction [a dynamo]. These currents have effects on the Earth’s environment [e.g. the aurorae].
    J.Hansford says:
    November 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm
    But Leif, you must also acknowledge that there is a problem with the amount of neutrinos in the flux
    Only about a third of the expected amount is observed, but that is because neutrinos oscillated between three ‘kinds’ and the early detectors were only sensitive to one of those. Newer detectors observe all three kinds and there is no longer a ‘neutrino problem’. A Nobel prize was issued for the solution of the ‘problem’: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/articles/bahcall/
    Andy Krause says:
    November 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm
    I was under the impression that the number of neutrinos found so far are short of the number that should be present.
    See above

  19. Tom;
    Really? And just who’s been feeding them to the sun? Definitely more research needed, possibly even a RICO investigation!

  20. Andy Krause says:
    November 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm
    “I was under the impression that the number of neutrinos found so far are short of the number that should be present.”
    Were you aware that there are three types of neutrinos, and earlier only one of the types was detected? When all are accounted for the number fits the theory.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_neutrino_problem

  21. Leif Svalgaard says: at 7:27 pm
    We do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moreton_wave
    —————————–
    Thanks for that tip and link. Wow. Even small and in b/w that animation is impressive. I hope they get something better, but then maybe we don’t need any massive solar flares. I’ll be careful what I wish for.

  22. Most interesting!
    I wonder: Am I the first one to think of these CME’s as being not unlike the ‘sprites’ which are generated by lightning storms here on Earth, but are far more energetic?

  23. Leif,
    Thanks for your response on my ‘less large’.
    I wish you a very more large merry and happy holidays.
    John

  24. Leif Svalgaard
    There is [assuming you meant fusion], and we find the neutrinos to prove it.
    I did mean fusion but of course the statement would still be correct as was. The lack of neutrinos is just another nail in the coffin of the nuclear Sun theory, pretending that all is OK will not make it so. We have seen the attempts to fudge the missing neutrino problem and it’s about as believable as the missing heat CO2 theories. I’m waiting for the real Solar discoveries to begin.
    Open your mind.

  25. @Leif
    > Another way to approach the problem is to plot the positive and negative
    > averages of the Dst geomagnetic storm index. The positive part is an
    > indication of the effect a CME has when impacting the Earth …
    The positivity of the CME effects is puzzling for me because I thought the solar storm-time disturbances (Dst) were induced ring currents which opposed the Earth’s ring currents due to the solar magnetic Bz having opposite polarity from Earth’s magnetic field. Thus big storms are manifested by big (and sudden) negative dips in Dst.
    If CMEs are part of the solar wind, what makes their effect positive rather than negative?

  26. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 22, 2010 at 7:27 pm
    scott ramsdell says:
    November 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm
    If the source of energy for a CME is the atmosphere of the Sun, then we should see a pressure wave push back onto the surface and see reverberations from this pressure wave.
    We do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moreton_wave
    =========================================================
    Thanks, Leif. Lots of interesting material in this thread.

  27. Phil M2. says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:16 am
    The lack of neutrinos is just another nail in the coffin of the nuclear Sun theory
    There is no lack of neutrinos. We observed precisely what the theory predicts.
    John Day says:
    November 23, 2010 at 3:46 am
    If CMEs are part of the solar wind, what makes their effect positive rather than negative?
    A magnetic storm begins with a compression of the magnetosphere [Dst positive] as the CME hits, followed by a build up of the ring current [Dst negative]. See, e.g. Figure 1 of http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..882M.pdf or http://pluto.space.swri.edu/image/glossary/dst.html

  28. Leif Svalgaard says:
    Read this carefully: http://arxiv.org/abs/1010.0118
    Yes and I’m sure that they will get the result that they require. Meanwhile, other researchers find yet another ‘flavour’ so they had better leave a few percent for this.
    An electron neutrino might become a muon neutrino, and then later an electron neutrino again. Scientists previously believed three flavors of neutrino exist. In this Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment, dubbed MiniBooNE, researchers detected more oscillations than would be possible if there were only three flavors.
    I’ll bet there will be five flavours in a few years or as many are required.

  29. Leif Svalgaard:
    I write to offer you my sincere thanks.
    What I know about the Sun is so little that it would probably not cover a postage stamp, so I am not capable of assessing your responses to points and questions made above.
    But I can see your genuine attempts to present and explain your views together with a real attempt to engage with those who do not share your views. And I am grateful to you and to those who state their disagreements with you.
    I wish your behaviour in response to challenge of your views were a model for ‘climatologists’, and I regret that it is not.
    We learn from sincerely presented disagreements and genuine arguments being strongly and clearly presented by all ‘sides’ so those disagreements can be resolved. Learning is inhibited or prevented by refusal to engage in such arguments.
    So, I thank you for your efforts. And I will continue to read your interactions with your critics in hope that I can remove some of my ignorance of solar science.
    Richard

  30. Those little pebbles of the “Flintstones’ universe” believers are lacking!…Those pebbles that smash one against the other to make fusion fire, ya know…… Fred, Fred, what can I say now?!!

  31. Richard S Courtney says:
    November 23, 2010 at 7:44 am
    But I can see your genuine attempts to present and explain your views
    You might contrast that with:
    Enneagram says:
    November 23, 2010 at 7:48 am
    Fred, Fred, what can I say now?!!

  32. Richard S Courtney says:
    November 23, 2010 at 7:44 am
    John Langdom Davies wrote many years ago about the “Will to believe” and the “Will to disbelieve”: Both are wrong.
    However the Plasma Universe proponents present reproducible LAB TESTS, neither numerology nor nice dreams.

  33. Actually, there is now photographic evidence that solar explosions are caused by Klingons. (3:00)
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvQ4vVM_SGo&fs=1&hl=en_US]

  34. ..”””Schuck’s research indicates that, instead, the trigger occurs in the sun’s atmosphere. “Our result shows that observations are more consistent with a slow accumulation of energy in the atmosphere,” Schuck said, “and then a sudden explosion triggered from above, more like lightning.”..
    ..Two broad camps of theories have been developed to explain these so-called coronal loops. “The energy is built up by either a twisting motion below the surface or the release of magnetic energy in the solar atmosphere,” says Haimin Wang, a physicist at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, whose work focuses on the characteristics of the photosphere before and during solar ejections”””..
    So why can’t both camps or theories be correct here?
    Was recently involved in a game of poker, when one of the players (we’ll call him Roy Rogers) tipped back his hat. I promptly folded, and started to walk away. Whilst I was walking away he shot me in the back four times. Group W picked up the heart and put it back in its locker.
    Either way, the energy originally comes from the surface. The question is simply whether it surges through directly before the appearance of the coronal loop or oozes up slowly over time, storing up in the atmosphere until released in a massive explosion of light, plasma, magnetic fields and high energy particles

  35. “The SOHO images showed the photosphere moving at speeds 10,000 times less slowly than would have been expected if it were directly triggering the eruption. ”
    Isn’t this the wrong way round? 10,000 times more slowly?

  36. tallbloke says:
    November 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm
    Isn’t this the wrong way round? 10,000 times more slowly?
    For once, you are correct 🙂 but often things get mangled in press releases. But the number itself seems suspect. Flows in the photosphere are usually of the order of 1 km/sec and 10,000 km/sec is not credible. What is probably meant is the inflow speed for a magnetic reconnection region, but even there the number does not look reasonable. The real problem seems to be that the photosphere is a very poor plasma and not very conducting at all [only like sea water].

  37. Carla says:
    November 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    So why can’t both camps or theories be correct here?
    Both camps broadly agree that the explosion is caused by release of pent-up magnetic energy. What they are discussing are the precise details of the process. Knowing such details might make it possible to predict the explosions.

  38. The way I read it is they are saying it would have to be moving at 10,000km/sec to be the source of the explosion, but it moves 10,000 times more slowly, your 1km/sec.
    So, if the energy is coming from below, it has to gradually build up in the atmosphere before it arcs it down to the solar surface (photosphere). What sort of energy is being gradually emitted from the photoshpere though? What form is it in?

  39. Leif Svalgaard says:
    “That they require” betrays your anti-science attitude.
    I’m not really sure that never observed hypothetical entities such as Inflation, Dark matter and Dark energy would qualify as science either Leif. All I am really saying is that I was a believer and now I’m a doubter. I’m not anti-science, if you could show me any evidence that any of these hypothetical entities actually exist beyond modeling and supposition then I would return to the fold. Occam’s razor when applied to the big bang theory and nuclear Sun comes up wanting. After 90 years following the big bang theory 96% of all predicted matter is missing or accounted for with these hypothetical entities.
    Which one of us is really anti-science.
    Phil

  40. tallbloke says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    The way I read it is they are saying it would have to be moving at 10,000km/sec to be the source of the explosion, but it moves 10,000 times more slowly, your 1km/sec.
    The escape velocity is 627 km/sec so to blast off does not need 10,000 km/sec, only, say, 1000 km/sec.
    So, if the energy is coming from below, it has to gradually build up in the atmosphere before it arcs it down to the solar surface (photosphere). What sort of energy is being gradually emitted from the photoshpere though? What form is it in?
    Because of the large size of the coronal magnetic arcs anchored in the photosphere [and because of the high-enough electrical conductivity], the plasma is effectively ‘frozen’ or bound to the magnetic field. Normally when you twist a toy magnet in the air you can twist as long as you want, no magnetic energy is built up or stored in the surrounding air. But if the air [solar plasma in the corona] is conducting currents will be induced by the twisting magnet that will oppose the twisting. If you apply more force you can still twist the magnet but now the field lines [that before were free to slip and didn’t twist] would be twisted as well. A magnetic field stores energy given by the square of the field strength. Twisting the field increases the number of field lines per square meter. The field strength is just the number of field lines [the ‘flux’] per unit area, so twisting increases the field strength and thus the energy. As long as you keep twisting the energy [e.g. by moving the plasma at the feet of the arcs, e.g by rotating the sunspot] builds up and up and up. The electrical currents also increase and sooner or later the configuration becomes unstable, a ‘spark’ will fly and the explosion happens and the magnetic field reverts to its lowest energy state with the excess energy converted into heating, expansion, and ejection of the plasma [a CME].

  41. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm
    the magnetic field reverts to its lowest energy state with the excess energy converted into heating, expansion, and ejection of the plasma [a CME].
    To complete the picture, the superheated gas in the corona travels down the field lines to heat the lower chromosphere and even photosphere giving rise to a sharp heating and brightening of those regions and we call it a ‘flare’. The heated lower atmosphere stuff often flows back up along the field lines and we see a set of ‘post-flare’ loops.

  42. Really descriptive, thanks Leif. ISTR these arcs can be so big they loop up through ‘coronal holes’. Is it the high electric field around the arc which ‘punches holes in the corona’?
    If the feet of the arc are located at adjacant sunspots, the spots would be of opposite sign wouldn’t they? So is the arc forming along a ‘field line’ between them?

  43. Phil M2. says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    if you could show me any evidence that any of these hypothetical entities actually exist beyond modeling and supposition
    I think I have shown you already for the neutrinos which have been observed by multiple experiments. The Big Bang has lots of evidence too, but I can see that it will not make any difference to you [and if O/T for this thread – perhaps you could submit an article to WUWT explaining your problems with the BB and the matter can be discussed there]
    tallbloke says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm
    Really descriptive, thanks Leif. ISTR these arcs can be so big they loop up through ‘coronal holes’. Is it the high electric field around the arc which ‘punches holes in the corona’?
    No [there is really no high electric field there – any such would quickly short out]. The coronal holes are simply caused by the lack of active regions within them with closed field lines to keep the corona at home. The polar areas are good examples. The solar wind is simply caused by the high temperature in the corona in combination with [somewhat counterintuitively] gravity [see deLaval nozzle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Laval_nozzle ]
    If the feet of the arc are located at adjacent sunspots, the spots would be of opposite sign wouldn’t they? So is the arc forming along a ‘field line’ between them?
    Yes, that is what directly is observed.

  44. Leif Svalgaard says:
    neutrinos which have been observed by multiple experiments
    No they have not. Just the assumed effects have been observed. This charge-less almost mass-less particle has never been observed.
    Lets call it a day Leif. I’m not doubting your skills in nuclear physics one iota. I just wonder why you are looking at the sun as a source.
    Phil

  45. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm
    sooner or later the configuration becomes unstable, a ‘spark’ will fly and the explosion happens and the magnetic field reverts to its lowest energy state with the excess energy converted into heating, expansion, and ejection of the plasma [a CME].
    There is a great movie of precisely that at http://www.spaceweather.com/
    “STRESS RELIEF: The tension was just too great. On Nov. 21st around 1600 UT, a twisted filament of solar magnetism suddenly untwisted, producing a towering eruption off the sun’s northwestern limb. Click on the image to play a 6-hour time lapse movie from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:
    http://www.spaceweather.com/swpod2010/22nov10/unwind_strip.jpg
    http://www.spaceweather.com/swpod2010/22nov10/unwind512.gif?PHPSESSID=t6145fvftqe3bkljgm5ojndr60
    http://www.spaceweather.com/

  46. Phil M2. says:
    November 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm
    No they have not. Just the assumed effects have been observed. This charge-less almost mass-less particle has never been observed.
    Has gravity been observed? I drop a heavy stone on my foot and it hurts. This is just the assumed effect?
    I just wonder why you are looking at the sun as a source.
    Because we can also measure the direction from where the neutrinos are observed, and that direction is from the Sun.

  47. Leif Svalgaard says:
    Has gravity been observed? I drop a heavy stone on my foot and it hurts. This is just the assumed effect?
    If I place a strong magnet on top of a case and let a ball bearing loose, it will travel upwards. Is this anti-gravity or just an observed effect. Until everything else is ruled out it could be anything. I think comparing gravity to neutrinos is a bit of a push Leif.
    “Because we can also measure the direction from where the neutrinos are observed, and that direction is from the Sun.”
    And on earth, neutrino beams are also generated using nuclear fusion, no that’s not right, they use electromagnetic excitation of elementary subatomic particles…
    Yes the sun is hot, yes it produces ‘something’ we call neutrinos but it does not require the nuclear sun to do this. On planet earth we use just plain old electricity. We see just what we want to see.
    Phil

  48. Electric fields don’t necessarily “short out” quickly when a sustained Electric Double Layer is present.
    This post lends support to Hannnes Alfven’s hypothesis that CME’s are the result of an exploding double layer.
    At any rate, in order to gain a better understanding of the physical dynamics of CME’s, observations & measurements must take into account all the physical perameters: Magetic fields, electric fields, charged particle density, location, direction and points of acceleration.
    A model will never be an accurate reflection of the physical dynamics when it fails to take into account all the physical perameters present in the system where the “event” is happening.
    From the post: “Now, a new way of looking at old data has changed all that, but the results have created more mystery: There isn’t enough energy passing through the surface during the eruption to drive the explosion.”
    Seems to me, dismissal of alternative hypothesis, without scientific investigation, when the present model has failed is the hight of anti-science.
    It’s not the souce of the ideas, but how well the ideas explain all the physical dynamics involved.

  49. Phil M2. says:
    November 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    I think comparing gravity to neutrinos is a bit of a push Leif.
    The issue is not the comparison, but the definition of an ‘observation’. Everything that we see, touch, feel, hear, etc are effects of something that we consider the cause of the effect. We observe a thunderclap by the effect it has on our ear and the electrical nerve impulses to our brain.
    Yes the sun is hot, yes it produces ‘something’ we call neutrinos but it does not require the nuclear sun to do this. On planet earth we use just plain old electricity. We see just what we want to see.
    No, we calculate from the fusion reaction rates what we should see and when we, in fact, do see what we calculate we are justified to claim that we understand what is going on.
    James F. Evans says:
    November 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm
    Electric fields don’t necessarily “short out” quickly when a sustained Electric Double Layer is present.
    What sustains the Double Layer?
    Seems to me, dismissal of alternative hypothesis, without scientific investigation, when the present model has failed is the height of anti-science.
    The paper did not take into account the alternative hypothesis because it is long discredited and nobody today lends any credence to it. And the ‘present model’ has not failed at all. Most solar scientists believe that the explosion is triggered from above. That is the current ‘dogma’.

  50. “What sustains the Double Layer?”
    The collision of moving bodies of plasma result in Electric Double Layers.
    So, what sustains a Double Layer?
    A consistent collision of moving plasma. Another way to think of it: The intersection where two streams of plasma meet.
    “This still leaves a variety of theories on just how the energy is stored and what triggers its release in the atmosphere. Distinguishing between those theories will require more detailed data—something scientists hope NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched in February 2010 will be able to provide.”
    “Unlike previous missions, SDO will be able to directly measure the energy in the photosphere – as opposed to Schuck’s present method of inferring that energy from velocity measurements — and it will do so with 20 times the resolution of the data on which Schuck based his current work. Such information will help narrow down what triggers a CME or solar flare even more precisely.”
    Anaconda: “At any rate, in order to gain a better understanding of the physical dynamics of CME’s, observations & measurements must take into account all the physical perameters: Magnetic fields, electric fields, charged particle density, location, direction and points of acceleration.”
    I look forward to the results.
    And, Alfven’s hypothesis of exploding double layers is still in the running.

  51. James F. Evans says:
    November 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    A consistent collision of moving plasma. Another way to think of it: The intersection where two streams of plasma meet.
    A double layer is a layer of charges of one sign next to a layer of charges of the opposite sign. A short is precisely when these two layers collide and neutralize each other. To maintain the double layer, the two layers must be prevented from colliding. In a high-conductivity plasma there is no process that does that.
    And, Alfven’s hypothesis of exploding double layers is still in the running.
    Not at all. Show us a recent link that explains CMEs by exploding double layers.

  52. Leif Svalgaard and others
    Thank you for your responses. I was not aware of the multiple types of neutrinos. Thank you for the links, I’ll have some reading to do. It will be facinating to see how this occilation was measured.

  53. “In a high-conductivity plasma there is no process that does that.”
    Oh, on the contrary, your favorite physical force seperates the two layers:
    Magnetic fields.
    Regarding Alfven’s hypothesis of exploding double layers:
    The power of plasma physics is that laboratory experiments can quantify the process of exploding double layers in high resolution (which has already been done).
    With the advent of the SDO, the formation of CME’s can be quantified in high resolution.
    Then compare & contrast the physical dynamics of exploding double layers as observed & measured in the laboratory and the formation of CME’s as observed & measured in the solar environment.
    Once CME’s are resolved, then the comparison between the two processes should be simple enough.

  54. James F. Evans says:
    November 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm
    “In a high-conductivity plasma there is no process that does that.”
    Oh, on the contrary, your favorite physical force seperates the two layers:
    Magnetic fields.

    Not on a sustained basis as you have to remove the magnetic fields to make the layers collide. You cannot have it both ways. What does happen is that when two neutral plasma regimes with oppositely directed magnetic fields are pressed together by movement of the plasma, the magnetic fields can reconnect which does generate an electric field [but no double layer] which can sustain a current, ultimately leading to the explosion. This is the modern paradigm as also demonstrated so clearly in the laboratory, e.g. http://mrx.pppl.gov/

  55. “Not on a sustained basis as you have to remove the magnetic fields to make the layers collide.”
    Of course, if there is no “short” then the magnetic fields are not removed and the double layer process continues unabated. On the other hand, if you want a “short” which releases large amounts of energy, i.e., explosion, as in an exploding double layer, then an increased amount of electromagnetic energy is introduced into the double layer process, which overcomes the “insulator” magnetic fields seperating the two layers.
    Sorry, as discussed many times before, so-called “magnetic reconnection” is a failed paradigm. The proper paradigm is the one that takes into account all the physical forces, in this case all the electromagnetic forces: Magetic fields, electric fields, charged particle density, location, velocity, direction and points of acceleration.
    The electric double layer model takes into account all of the above physical forces and particles, in contrast, the so-called “magnetic reconnection” model does not (although, recent in situ observation & measurement does take all of the above physical forces and particles into account and the results is to confirm the electric double layer process happens in space plasma environments as well as in laboratory plasma environments).
    So, back to the simple process outlined in the above comment, but was ignored:
    “The power of plasma physics is that laboratory experiments can quantify the process of exploding double layers in high resolution (which has already been done).
    With the advent of the SDO, the formation of CME’s can be quantified in high resolution.
    Then compare & contrast the physical dynamics of exploding double layers as observed & measured in the laboratory and the formation of CME’s as observed & measured in the solar environment.
    Once CME’s are resolved, then the comparison between the two processes should be simple enough.”

  56. James F. Evans says:
    November 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm
    then an increased amount of electromagnetic energy is introduced into the double layer process, which overcomes the “insulator” magnetic fields seperating the two layers.
    Is gobbledygook. How do you introduce electromagnetic energy into a process?
    Sorry, as discussed many times before, so-called “magnetic reconnection” is a failed paradigm.
    You have, indeed, not benefited from the extensive discussion on this. The magnetic reconnection paradigm is the currently successful paradigm that underlies numerous experiments and spacecraft measurements. I gave you a link where you can learn more about this: http://mrx.pppl.gov/
    Use it, and learn.

  57. James F. Evans says:
    November 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm
    Sorry, as discussed many times before, so-called “magnetic reconnection” is a failed paradigm.
    On the contrary it is very much alive and dominant and the basis for our understanding of much of the universe. A modern and thorough review of this fundamental, universal process can be found here: http://www.leif.org/EOS/yamada10rmp.pdf
    Study it carefully.

  58. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 23, 2010 at 11:14 pm
    A modern and thorough review of this fundamental, universal process can be found here: http://www.leif.org/EOS/yamada10rmp.pdf
    Study it carefully.

    To help you getting started, here is the abstract:
    “The fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas is reviewed by discussing results from theory, numerical simulations, observations from space satellites, and recent results from laboratory plasma experiments. After a brief review of the well-known early work, representative recent experimental and theoretical works are discussed and the essence of significant modern findings are interpreted. In the area of local reconnection physics, many findings have been made with regard to two-fluid physics and are related to the cause of fast reconnection. Profiles of the neutral sheet, Hall currents, and the effects of guide field, collisions, and microturbulence are discussed to understand the fundamental processes in a local reconnection layer in both space and laboratory plasmas. While the understanding of the global reconnection dynamics is less developed, notable findings have been made on this issue through detailed documentation of magnetic self-organization phenomena in fusion plasmas. Application of magnetic reconnection physics to astrophysical plasmas is also discussed.”
    There is no reference to Electric Double Layers, as is fitting in view of our modern understanding.

  59. “There is no reference to Electric Double Layers, as is fitting in view of our modern understanding.”
    Maybe it’s just modern terminology and you two aren’t as far apart as you seem to think? Magnetism and electricity are two sides of the same coin.

  60. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 12:09 am
    “There is no reference to Electric Double Layers, as is fitting in view of our modern understanding.”
    Maybe it’s just modern terminology and you two aren’t as far apart as you seem to think? Magnetism and electricity are two sides of the same coin.
    ~
    Yeah, exactly Tall Blokes
    Electric double layers to some extent exist all over space and time to some degree, in various sizes and strengths.
    Reconnection is also universal, as is gravitational forces and waves..
    What happened got off the tracks..
    Did the Moscow yes Moscow neutron monitor for 10.31.2000 to 10.31.2010 using 27 day resolution/corrected for pressure and appears we are back to 2007 levels, in terms of cosmic rays at Earth.
    Wondering now about that 20% increase in our cosmic radiation belt now also reducing in its size or not.. just another layer..

  61. Just wanted to add to the chorus. Leif’s willingness to teach is astounding and very much appreciated by this reader.

  62. Carla says:
    November 24, 2010 at 6:47 am
    tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 12:09 am
    Maybe it’s just modern terminology and you two aren’t as far apart as you seem to think? Magnetism and electricity are two sides of the same coin.
    The denial of magnetic reconnection goes much deeper:
    http://homepage.mac.com/cygnusx1/anomalies/electriccosmos.html
    Now, transient electric double layers can form as a result of reconnection and can help in accelerating particles. This happens in the aurorae, for example. But the layers are consequences rather than causes and that is the fundamental difference. The problem with treating EDLs as a cause has to do with ‘sustaining’ the double layer. With what keeps it going. This is discussed e.g. here http://www.tim-thompson.com/electric-sun.html#flares

  63. The problem with the term “reconnection” is that it does not indicate what is really happening. You can argue for magnetic field lines “reconnecting” but thats not what is really happening. The magnetic field follows the flow of electric current in the flux tubes. Reconnection only happens in flux tubes. It is a touching of the filaments that make up the flux tubes. This is from an experimental viewpoint. Notice in the paper referenced by Dr. Svalgaard there is no observational structure attached to the event. Mostly theoretical.
    The first thing to understand is the ubiquity of flux tubes in space and the solar surface.
    And then to understand that all reconnections take place in these flux tubes.
    The reconnection that CLUSTER measures takes place in Flux Transfer events which is a fancy name for the reconnection that takes place in the flux tubes that connect the earth with the sun.
    This paper may help understand what happens. You need to have a current flow through the plasma to form the flux tubes. The when the current becomes too great in the flux tubes, attractive forces take over, the filaments touch, current changes direction and a reconnection happens.
    Three-dimensional current systems generated by plasmas colliding
    in a background magnetoplasma.
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/papers/POP-colliding-plasmas.pdf
    Here is the image galley at The Large Plasma Device at UCLA.
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/pages/gallery.html

  64. brant says:
    November 24, 2010 at 9:43 am
    The magnetic field follows the flow of electric current in the flux tubes. Reconnection only happens in flux tubes.
    No, this is the usual electric universe nonsense. The currents are a consequence of the magnetic field reconnection.
    Notice in the paper referenced by Dr. Svalgaard there is no observational structure attached to the event.
    Apart from the vagueness of this statement, may I point out this from the paper:
    A. Dedicated laboratory experiments on reconnection
    1. Early reconnection experiments
    2. Plasma merging experiments
    a. Todai spheromak-3/4 facility
    b. Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment facility
    3. Controlled driven reconnection experiments
    a. MRX facility
    b. Versatile Toroidal Facility

  65. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “There is no reference to Electric Double Layers, as is fitting in view of our modern understanding.”
    No surprise.
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” was developed in response to ground observations of CME’s, and, in the pre-space age of 1946, only magnetic fields could be observed from ground observatories.
    The early “magnetic reconnection” papers all focussed on magnetic fields, but the magnetic field is only one force among many which also includes electric fields, charged particle density, location, velocity, direction, and points of acceleration.
    As a result, these early papers never quantified the process and many disagreements existed among the scientists studying the process.
    Other scientists applied an electromagnetic framework from the beginning of their analysis & interpretation (which had already been developed in the laboratory), these scientists applied the Electric Double Layer model, which has been qualitatively & quantitatively resolved.
    And, this electromagnetic analysis & interpretation has been validated by in situ satellite probes.
    Of course, Yamada, et al., doesn’t discuss Electric Double Layers or compare & contrast the two processes because if they did, it would be readily apparent the processes are one and the same process, with, albeit, different names.
    It’s simple: The “magnetic reconnection” camp can’t admit the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation was right all along because then the game would be over.
    Clearly, an electromagnetic framework of analysis & interpretation is required to develop a model for the process in question: Formation & propagation of coronal mass ejections (CME’s).
    tallbloke wrote: “Maybe it’s just modern terminology and you two aren’t as far apart as you seem to think? Magnetism and electricity are two sides of the same coin.”
    Yes, exactly!
    The process in question is one and the same.
    Carla responded to tallbloke’s statement: “Yeah, exactly Tall Blokes
    Electric double layers to some extent exist all over space and time to some degree, in various sizes and strengths.
    Reconnection is also universal, as is gravitational forces and waves..
    What happened got off the tracks..”
    Carla, you have the first part right, but the second part is wrong in so far as it suggests there is a seperate process of “reconnection”… there isn’t. Changing magnetic fields are a result of changing charged particle flows and the interaction and positive self-reinforcing feedback relationships of the associated magnetic fields, electric force of charged particles, and the resultant electric fields and electric currents expressed in the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation.
    All of the above is accounted for in the electromagnetic framework.
    Carla wrote: “What happened got off the tracks..”
    Easy, astronomical group think couldn’t admit early “magnetic reconnection” ideas were fundamentally inadequate, so it morphed into the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation without the integrity of acknowledging the pre-existing Electric Double Layer model.
    Why would astronomical physicists do that?
    Because astronomical physicists are fundametally hostile to the electromagnetic analysis & interpretation of astronomical phenomena.
    But in situ satellite probes are rebuking this astronomical group think.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “How do you introduce electromagnetic energy into a process?”
    Simple: One way is to increase the charged particle density flowing into the Electric Double Layer. With an increase of charged particle density a stronger magnetic field is introduced into the system along with an increase in charged particles.
    Twice now already Dr. Svalgaard has ignored this easy proposition for confirming Hannes Alfven’s exploding double layer hypothesis:
    “The power of plasma physics is that laboratory experiments can quantify the process of exploding double layers in high resolution (which has already been done).
    With the advent of the SDO, the formation of CME’s can be quantified in high resolution.
    Then compare & contrast the physical dynamics of exploding double layers as observed & measured in the laboratory and the formation of CME’s as observed & measured in the solar environment.
    Once CME’s are resolved, then the comparison between the two processes should be simple enough.”
    When the interlocutor ignores such a statement (especially when they ignore it more than once) that should queue the reader to question the interlocutor. The interlocutor doesn’t have a meaningful objection or wants to avoid the import of the statement because it damages their position in the argument. Often, other items are then interjected, rapid fire, into the discussion as a distraction from the statement the interlocutor has no answer for and wants readers to ignore.
    As a side note, many astrophysical ideas are now being questioned and out-right contradicted by modern in situ statellite probes because, like so-called “magnetic reconnection”, the ideas were a priori assumptions based on theory, often mathematical abstractions, which are being contradicted by empirical observation & measurements from space.
    One example:
    “Understanding of solar wind structure might be wrong
    Los Alamos scientist suggests new approach to measuring flow from the sun”
    “LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, September 9, 2010—A scientist examining the solar wind suggests that our understanding of its structure may need significant reassessment. The plasma particles flowing from the Sun and blasting past the Earth might be configured more as a network of tubes than a river-like stream, according to Joseph Borovsky of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Space Science and Applications group.”
    “In a paper in this week’s Physical Review Letters, “Contribution of Strong Discontinuities to the Power Spectrum of the Solar Wind,” (Physical Review Letters 105, 111102 [2010]), Borovsky challenges the concept that the solar wind is of fairly uniform structure, and therefore, our entire interpretation of spacecraft data may not be correct.”
    Borovsky identifies a “network of tubes” in the solar wind, also commonly referred to as “magnetic flux tubes”, also referred to as Birkeland currents. If Borovsky is correct, and much more scientific investigation needs to be done to either confirm or falsify Borovsky’s conclusions, then even interplanetary space is cellular in nature, thus being another confirmation of Hannes Alfven’s observation that space is cellular in nature, reflecting the electromagnetic properties of plasma.
    More from the Los Alamos National Laboratory press release:
    “Borovosky argues that the discontinuities are part of a structure to the solar wind that looks like spaghetti, with the discontinuities being the boundaries between adjacent noodles (magnetic tubes). In this concept, the wind plasma is structured rather than being homogeneous. He suggests that the spaghetti structure of the solar-wind plasma reflects the “magnetic carpet” on the surface of the Sun, with the spaghetti in the wind being loose strands of the magnetic carpet.”
    http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/understanding_of_solar_wind_structure_might_be_wrong_newsrelease.html
    Maybe, Dr. Svalgaard could be so good as to provide Borovsky’s peer-reviewed scientific paper?
    Times are a changing, and 1970’s analysis & interpretation, over-reliant on magnetic field observations & measurements, needs to be a historical footnote, to the modern full-spectrum electromagnetic observations & measurements which are being made by today’s in situ satellite probes.
    The Electric Double Layer is the foundational building block of the electromagnetic anaysis & interpretation.
    And, as a corollary, exploding double layers as a mechanism for CME formation & propagation is a valid analytical hypothesis which needs to be scientifically investigated.
    Those that insist such scientific investigation can be ignored reveal their basic ani-science attitude.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)

  66. brant says:
    November 24, 2010 at 9:43 am
    The magnetic field follows the flow of electric current in the flux tubes. Reconnection only happens in flux tubes.
    From the paper you cite:
    “The collision of the lpps results in an early magnetic reconnection event Fig. 4. This creates a short-lived induced electric field parallel to the background magnetic field and drives a large field aligned current”
    Again: the currents are consequences of reconnection, not causes.

  67. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 10:01 am
    And, as a corollary, exploding double layers as a mechanism for CME formation & propagation is a valid analytical hypothesis which needs to be scientifically investigated.
    You haven’t learned anything from these discussions. Scientists today do not consider it a valid hypothesis.

  68. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 10:01 am
    The Electric Double Layer is the foundational building block of the electromagnetic analysis & interpretation.
    Nobody today believes that. To illustrate where you are coming from, tell us what powers the Sun.

  69. Dr. Svalgaard, that is some data file, the excess values/month, akin to the file for number of days the AA index is above 60, would be far easier to handle.

  70. The timing of brant’s comment couldn’t have been better.
    Put together brant’s comment and Borovsky’s peer-reviewed scientific paper and you have a discussion of “magnetic flux tubes”. Obviously, “magnetic flux tubes”, Birkeland currents, have structure, a specific structure based on electromagnetic dynamics present in plasma envirnoments.
    These magnetic flux tubes are being scientifically resolved, and what is found are magnetic fields, electric fields, charged particle densities, location, velocity, direction and points of acceleration.
    As Irving Langmuir, 1932 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, noted as a result of laboratory experiments, plasma, free electrons & ions, is self-organizing. As opposed to plasma staying homogeneous — the common notion in today’s astro-physics — Langmuir found that plasma organized into heterogeneous bodies of plasma with distinct physical characteristics. And, these bodies of plasma resist “shorting” or “cancelling out” by a self-organization which tends to insulate bodies of plasma with different physical characteristics.
    The Electric Double Layer process is the basic structure by which different bodies of plasma insulate from each other, and interact with each other, when they come into contact.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Langmuir
    “In 1953 Langmuir coined the term “pathological science”, describing research conducted with accordance to the scientific method, but tainted by unconscious bias or subjective effects.”
    Sadly, but quite correctly, Langmuir identified the crisis in today’s astronomical physics.

  71. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 11:36 am
    Obviously, “magnetic flux tubes”, Birkeland currents, have structure, a specific structure based on electromagnetic dynamics present in plasma environments.
    Flux tubes are not Birkeland currents.
    Sadly, but quite correctly, Langmuir identified the crisis in today’s astronomical physics.
    Or rather that in the EU cult. There is no crisis in astronomy, rather we are witnessing a Golden Age.
    plasma, free electrons & ions, is self-organizing. As opposed to plasma staying homogeneous — the common notion in today’s astro-physics
    You do not even know what the ‘common notion’ is. If you could care [a forlorn hope, I know] to actually read or even look at the review paper I cite, you would find this section:
    “VIII. MAGNETIC SELF-ORGANIZATION AND RECONNECTION
    In the previous sections, the physics of magnetic reconnection in the vicinity of the neutral sheet or the diffusion regions has been discussed in detail. Plasma dynamics in these narrow diffusion regions are extremely important in determining the rate at which magnetic fields reconnect and magnetic energy is released. In most cases, however, the cause of magnetic reconnection does not originate in these spatially localized regions. Rather, magnetic reconnection takes place because there is a need for magnetic field to release its excessive energy stored on global scales. When an external force is applied to the plasma, the magnetic configuration gradually changes to a new equilibrium while plasma parameters slowly adjust. When this new state becomes unstable, the plasma reorganizes itself rapidly to a new MHD equilibrium state, through forming current sheets, driving magnetic reconnection, and changing magnetic topology. The excess magnetic energy is converted to plasma kinetic energy, and the plasma magnetically relaxes or self-organizes to a lower magnetic energy state. This global view of magnetic reconnection phenomena, including its causes, dynamics, and consequences, applies to almost all cases covered by this review, i.e., laboratory fusion plasmas, magnetospheric plasmas, solar plasmas, and some of the more distant astrophysical plasmas.”

  72. vukcevic says:
    November 24, 2010 at 11:11 am
    Dr. Svalgaard, that is some data file, the excess values/month, akin to the file for number of days the AA index is above 60, would be far easier to handle.
    Well, you read though the file [of course you have to write a small ten-line program to that] and extract what you want. But what is it you want? “Number of days”? per month, per year, all together [thus a single number]? I have already shown a Figure with the average negative values per year of Dst and with the average positive values. The two have to be kept separate as they are due to different physics: http://www.leif.org/research/Dst-Positive-Negative-1905-now.png

  73. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “You haven’t learned anything from these discussions.”
    On the contrary, I appreciate the socratic method you bring to the discussion as it is critical for refining ideas, and you provide a classic case study in “pathological science”, which sadly reflects much of astronomy today.
    Evans wrote: “The Electric Double Layer is the foundational building block of the electromagnetic analysis & interpretation.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responded: “Nobody today believes that.”
    Tell that to all the scientists who contributed their time, effort, and peer-reviewed scientific papers in building the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    There are 56 footnotes at the end of the above Wikipedia entry for plasma double layers, obviously, not all 56 footnotes are for seperate scientists, but neither is the Wikipedia entry an exhausitve list of scientists who have contributed to the Electric Double Layer paradigm.
    Dr. Svalgaard asked: “To illustrate where you are coming from, tell us what powers the Sun.”
    I don’t know, and as others have pointed out, here, on this comment thread, there are significant problems and anomalies with the “nuclear furnace” Sun model, not withstanding your protests to the contrary.
    And, who knows, just like present historians now marvel that scientific dogma was so stuck on an Earth-centered model before Nicolai Copernicus presented his Sun-centered model of the solar system (which others then demonstrated was correct like Galileo), futrue historians may marvel that 20th century astronomy was so stuck on a “nuclear furnace” model of the Sun.
    “The Earth-centered Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy held sway on Western thinking for almost 2000 years. Then, in the 16th century a new idea was proposed by the Polish astronomer Nicolai Copernicus (1473-1543).”
    Time will tell, and as this post demonstrates, there are numerous questions about the physcial dynamics of the Sun which are yet to be satisfactorily answered.
    The jury is still out — as is proper in issues of scientific discovery.
    Dr. Svalgaard, if Alfven’s hypothesis of exploding double layers is clearly invalid as you assert, then it should be relatively easy to investigate Alfven’s hypothesis and come to a conclusion one way or the other.
    Those who would invalidate a hypothesis without ever investigating the scientific merits of the hypothesis are the inheritors of the mind-set that refused to consider the Copernicus hypothesis.
    Dr. Svalgaard, your 1970’s over-reliant on magnetic fields approach to astro-physics is antiquated and fails to incorporate today’s full-spectrum electromagnetic, plasma physics, approach to astro-physics.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “Flux tubes are not Birkeland currents.”
    Birkeland currents refers to a specific structure which causes the aurora, but further investigation likely will reveal that magnetic flux tubes have the same structure as Birkeland currents, yes, a different location, but similar structural dynamics, never the less.
    In so far as the passage you quoted from the paper, it’s self-serving hand waving offered for the sole purpose of justifying the failed “magnetic reconnection” idea. Yamada, et al., of course, fail to acknowledge this self-organizing dynamic of plasma systems was noted by Langmuir decades ago.
    What the quoted passage does confirm is that the paper is determined not to recongnize the full-spectrum electromagnetic analysis & interpretation:
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” is now, nothing but a dodge to avoid the electromagnatic analysis & interpretation.

  74. Gentlemen, this could become a very productive thread if we can refrain from rudeness. Why argue over the precedance of cause and effect in a system which is clearly self amplifying? If we simply adopt a convention of never referring to ‘magnetic’ or ‘electric’ phenomena, but instead always refer to ‘electromagnetic’ phenomena, then we can overcome this low hurdle and discuss the more interesting issue of whether the chicken or the egg came first.
    By the way Leif, your Dst negative values, when inverted, bear more than a passing resemblance to the sunspot record:
    http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/dst-ssn.jpg

  75. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    always refer to ‘electromagnetic’ phenomena, then we can overcome this low hurdle and discuss the more interesting issue of whether the chicken or the egg came first.
    Except that ‘electromagnetic’ is usually used for photons and not for anything involving charged particles [except by people who do not know any better]. The issue is fundamental, because it is the magnetic field that rules the universe [after gravity]. This is because electric fields depends on the observer, but magnetic fields to not. The violent denial of magnetic reconnection is a consequence of the cult-like belief in an ‘electric’ universe.
    By the way Leif, your Dst negative values, when inverted, bear more than a passing resemblance to the sunspot record: http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/dst-ssn.jpg
    There is a good reason for this. As you can see from http://www.leif.org/research/The%20IDV%20index%20-%20its%20derivation%20and%20use.pdf
    and http://www.leif.org/research/2009JA015069.pdf
    these quantities are related thus: -Dst = 11 +1.57*sqrt(SSN)
    The physics is this:
    The negative part of Dst is determined by how much southward heliospheric magnetic field there is and that is in turn determined by how much magnetic flux on the surface of the Sun there is, which in turn is determined by how many spots there are.

  76. vukcevic says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm
    Thanks. Done it. Using only negative values Abs(Dst)>100 (in this case hourly), will be looking into a cumulative effect on annual basis.
    There is no cumulative effects [unless you simply mean the yearly average] from year to year. The ring current [which is the cause of negative Dst] dies away in a few days.

  77. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    And intriguingly enough, when Love’s Dst positive values are inverted, the curve bears an interesting resemblance to Leif’s solar wind reconstruction.
    Fancy that. Anyone want to share a Nobel prize?

    And there is an equally good physical reason for that. The positive values of Dst come from the compression of the magnetosphere due to the increased flow pressure when a CME hits. The flow pressure increases when the density increases [and that, in turn, varies inversely with solar wind speed – low speed wind is denser], so no wonder the curves look alike [some of the time]. They must and they do, as we have known for a while. You see, when we understand somethings, they make sense.

  78. Thanks for the explanation Leif.
    The Sun’s variation affects the earth so directly!
    I wonder what other gems lurk in the data just needing to be looked at the right way up.

  79. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    There is no cumulative effects [unless you simply mean the yearly average] from year to year. The ring current [which is the cause of negative Dst] dies away in a few days.

    I thought we’d just established that the waxing and waning of the solar cycle was the cause of negative Dst.
    You said:
    The negative part of Dst is determined by how much southward heliospheric magnetic field there is and that is in turn determined by how much magnetic flux on the surface of the Sun there is, which in turn is determined by how many spots there are.
    And I’ve already determined that there is a cumulative effect equivalent to the number of spots on the ocean heat content.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  80. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    I thought we’d just established that the waxing and waning of the solar cycle was the cause of negative Dst. […]
    And I’ve already determined that there is a cumulative effect equivalent to the number of spots on the ocean heat content.

    The ring current [negative Dst] dies away after a few days and your effect is just numerology.
    vukcevic says:
    November 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm
    You may not agree but there is possibility of cumulative ring currents negative pulses during intense and super storms (Dst 0.5%/annum) in the near equatorial regions
    Nonsense, as the ring current dies away after a few days.

  81. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “This is because electric fields depends on the observer, but magnetic fields to not.”
    False.
    Electric fields are the result of an ordered array of charged particles, each of which has an ‘electric force’, this is not dependent on the observer.
    I’ve presented this comparison of Electric Double Layer scientific papers and “magnetic reconnection” papers before (at least four different times), but each and every time I’ve presented these papers and requested Dr. Svalgaard to distinguish the two sets of papers, by analyzing the physical perameters discussed in both sets of papers, Dr. Svalgaard has ignored the request.
    The following scientific papers stand for the proposition that so-called “magnetic reconnection” is actually the Electric Double Layer process.
    Scientific papers presented:
    Filamentary Structures in U-Shaped Double Layers, 2005
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-bib_query?bibcode=2005AGUFMSM41C1202D&db_key=AST&data_type=HTML&format=&high=42ca922c9c05019
    Quote from the above paper:
    “Observations from the Polar and FAST satellites have revealed a host of intriguing features of the auroral accelerations processes in the upward current region (UCR). These features include: (i) large-amplitude parallel and perpendicular fluctuating as well as quasi-static electric fields in density cavities, (ii) fairly large-amplitude unipolar parallel electric fields like in a strong double layer (DL), (iii) variety of wave modes, (iv) counter-streaming of upward going ion beams and downward accelerated electrons, (v) horizontally corrugated bottom region of the potential structures (PS), in which electron and ion accelerations occur, (vi) filamentary ion beams in the corrugated PS, and (vii) both upward and downward moving narrow regions of parallel electric fields, inferred from the frequency drifts of the auroral kilometric radiations.”
    Parallel electric fields in the upward current region of the aurora: Indirect and direct observations, published 2002 Physics of Plasma
    http://www.space.irfu.se/exjobb/2003_erik_bergman/articles/PHP03685_ergun.pdf
    Quote from the above paper:
    “In this article we present electric field, magnetic field, and charged particle observations from the upward current region of the aurora focusing on the structure of electric fields at the boundary between the auroral cavity and the ionosphere…These observations suggest that the parallel electric fields at the boundary between the auroral cavity and the ionosphere are self-consistently supported as oblique double layers.”
    Let’s now compare the above Electric Double Layers papers with the following so-called “magnetic reconnection” scientific papers:
    Magnetopause reconnection impact parameters from multiple spacecraft magnetic field measurements published 30 October 2009
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL040228.pdf
    Quote from the above paper:
    “Discrepancies between the measured components of E [electric field] and the corresponding components of v  B [magnetic field] after a careful error analysis signify a nonideal electric field. We intend to show in a subsequent paper that the Cluster electric field and particle flow data for this event satisfy the criteria for a parallel electric field…
    With the instantaneous coordinate system and the parallel electric field established, one can place particle moments, such as velocities, pressures, and temperatures, as well as magnetic and electric field measurements…
    Sufficiently accurate ion and electron moments and electric field measurements within this coordinate system delineate ion and electron diffusion regions.”
    Recent in-situ observations of magnetic reconnection in near-Earth space, published 11 October 2008
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL035297.pdf
    Quote from the above paper:
    “Figure 1. “(bottom [schematic, page 2 of 7] ) : “Zoom-in on the region around the X-line, with the ion and electron diffusion regions indicated by the shading and the rectangular box, respectively. The quadrupolar Hall magnetic field is pointing in and out of the plane of the figure. The Hall electric field [perpendicular electric field] is shown by the red arrows, while the blue arrows mark the oppositely directed jets in the outflow regions. Note that entry and acceleration occur all the way along the current sheet. Figure courtesy of Marit Oieroset.”
    The “X” cross section discussed in these “magnetic reconnection” papers are where electric and magnetic fields cross, just as Hannes Alfven described in his empirical laboratory work on Electric Double Layers and, is central to the acceleration of the particles in both sets of papers, Electric Double Layers and “magnetic reconnection”, respectively.
    Collisionless Magnetic Field Reconnection From First Principles: What It Can and Cannot Do
    http://solarmuri.ssl.berkeley.edu/~welsch/brian/FSL/2006/mozer_reconn_v4.pdf
    Quote from the above paper:
    “The physics of reconnection depends on the electric field component out of the plane of Fig. 1 at the center of the figure, which is sometimes called the tangential electric field.
    If it is zero [the Electric field], the two plasmas flow around each other into or out of the plane of the figure because there is no ExB/B2 flow in the plane of the figure in this central region.
    On the other hand, if the tangential electric field is non-zero, the plasmas continue flowing towards each other into the central region of the figure and magnetic field reconnection occurs as discussed below.”
    When a reader compares the two sets of scientific papers and then compares the specific physical elements observed & measured, magnetic fields, electric fields & charged particles’ location, motion, direction, and velocity (currents) & charged particles’ location of acceleration, it becomes clear what mainstream astrophysics has labeled “magnetic reconnection” is actually an Electric Double Layer. Obviously, this requires an electromagnetic (charged particles, free electrons & ions) framework of analysis & interpretation as presented in the Electric Double Layer process as stated by Hannes Alfven.
    Perhaps, Dr. Svalgaard will finally attempt to make the physical distinctions between the two papers, but I’m not holding my breath.
    But just to help Dr. Svalgaard out, here is a document:
    Double Layers in Astrophysics
    Edited by
    Alton C. Williams and Tauna W. Moorehead
    NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center
    Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama
    Proceedings of a workshop sponsored by
    the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
    Washington, D.C., and the Universities Space Research
    Association, Washington, D.C., and held at
    George C. Marshall Space Flight Center
    Huntsville, Alabama
    March 17-19, 1986
    I. DOUBLE LAYERS IN THE LABORATORY
    Formation Mechanisms of Laboratory Double Layers (Chung Chan)
    Some Dynamical Properties of Very Strong Double Layers in a Triple
    Plasma Device (T. Carpenter and S. Torvfn)
    Pumping Potential Wells (N. Hershkowitz, C. Forest, E. Y. Wang,
    and T. Intrator)
    A Laboratory Investigation of Potential Double Layers (Philip Leung)
    Experimental Observation of Ion-Acoustic Double Layers in Laboratory
    Plasma (Y. C. Saxena)
    II. THEORY AND SIMULATION OF DOUBLE LAYERS
    A New Hydrodynamic Analysis of Double Layers (Heinrich Hora)
    Ion Phase-Space Vortices and Their Relation to Small Amplitude Double
    Layers (Hans L. P6cseli)
    Effect of Double Layers on Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling
    (Robert L. Lysak and Mary K. Hudson)
    Current Driven Weak Double Layers (G6rard Chanteur)
    Electric Fields and Double Layers in Plasmas (Nagendra Singh,
    H. Thiemann, and R. W. Schunk)
    Electron Acceleration in Stochastic Double Layers (William Lotko)
    Anomalous Transport in Discrete Arcs and Simulation of Double Layers in a
    Model Auroral Circuit (Robert A. Smith)
    Weak Double Layers in the Auroral Ionosphere (M. K. Hudson,
    T. L. Crystal, W. Lotko, and C. Barnes)
    Particle Simulation of Auroral Double Layers (Bruce L. Smith
    and Hideo Okuda)
    III. SPACE APPLICATIONS
    Conditions for Double Layers in the Earth’s Magnetosphere and Perhaps
    in Other Astrophysical Objects (L. R. Lyons)
    Some Aspects of Double Layer Formation in a Plasma Constrained by
    a Magnetic Mirror (W. Lennartsson)
    Electric Potential Distributions at the Interface Between Plasmasheet
    Clouds (D. S. Evans, M. Roth, and J. Lemaire)
    Double Layers Above the Aurora (M. Temerin and F. S. Mozer)
    Beamed Emisssion from Gamma-Ray Burst Sources (R. Epstein)
    Double Layers and Plasma-Wave Resistivity in Extragalactic Jets: Cavity
    Formation and Radio-Wave Emission (Joseph E. Borovsky)
    Accretion onto Neutron Stars with the Presence of a Double Layer
    (A. C. Williams, M. C. Weisskopf, R. F. Eisner, W. Darbro,
    and P. G. Sutherland)
    The Formation of a Double Layer Leading to the Critical Velocity
    Phenomenon (A. C. Williams)
    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19870013880_1987013880.pdf
    Evans wrote: “The Electric Double Layer is the foundational building block of the electromagnetic analysis & interpretation.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responded: “Nobody today believes that.”
    Tell that to all the scientists (including the ones named above) who contributed their time, effort, and peer-reviewed scientific papers in building the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation.
    It’s one thing to disagree with another scientist’s considered opinion, it’s another thing entirely to claim there are no scientists who subscribe to such an opinion.
    (One is left to ask, why would Dr. Svalgaard claim something that is so easily demonstrated to be false?)

  82. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    The ring current [which is the cause of negative Dst]
    But earlier:
    Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm
    The physics is this:
    The negative part of Dst is determined by how much southward heliospheric magnetic field there is and that is in turn determined by how much magnetic flux on the surface of the Sun there is, which in turn is determined by how many spots there are.
    Seems to me the ring current lies nearer the end of the chain of cause and effect than the start. It looks like it fits between the southward heliospheric magnetic field that induces it, and the negative part of the Dst it causes.
    Correct?

  83. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “This is because electric fields depends on the observer, but magnetic fields to not.”
    False.

    If in one reference frame [one observer O] the electric field is E and the magnetic field is B, the electric field E’ and the magnetic field B’ in another reference frame [another observer O’] are given by E’ = E + V x B and B’ = B where V is the velocity of O’ relative to O. Thus the magnetic field does not depend on the observer, but to speak about an electric field without specifying the frame of reference is meaningless. (Alfven and Falthammer, 1963, page 33).
    Tell that to all the scientists (including the ones named above)
    Double layers indeed exist, but have nothing to do with the reconnection process and are not fundamental building blocks.

  84. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm
    Seems to me the ring current lies nearer the end of the chain of cause and effect than the start. It looks like it fits between the southward heliospheric magnetic field that induces it, and the negative part of the Dst it causes.
    Can’t figure out what you mean. The southward component of the HMF controls the amount of energy fed into the Earth’s magnetosphere some of which [in a complicated way] end up as energy of ions [some from the solar wind and some pulled up from the ionosphere] in the [outer] Van Allan belt [the ring current]. Those ions drift around the Earth in its magnetic field while at the same time bouncing between the north and south poles and that constitutes an electrical current around the Earth. The magnetic effect at the surface of the Earth of that current we call Dst [the negative part, because the magnetic effect at the equator is opposite to the horizontal magnetic field there]. Because of collisions with the [way] upper atmosphere the ions are quickly [within hours and days] lost again and Dst reverts to its base level.

  85. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “This is because electric fields depends on the observer, but magnetic fields to not.”
    False.

    If in one reference frame [one observer O] the electric field is E and the magnetic field is B, the electric field E’ and the magnetic field B’ in another reference frame [another observer O’] are given by E’ = E + V x B and B’ = B where V is the velocity of O’ relative to O. Thus the magnetic field does not depend on the observer, but to speak about an electric field without specifying the frame of reference is meaningless. (Alfven and Falthammer, 1963, page 33).
    An example of this is the solar wind hitting the Earth. In the reference frame of the solar wind, the electric field E is zero and the magnetic field is 5 nT, moving towards the Earth at V = 400 km/s = 400,000 m/s. Seen from the Earth [or a spacecraft near the Earth] there is thus an electric field E’ in the solar wind of E’ = 0[E] + 400,000[V] * 0.000,000,005[B] = 0.002 Volt/meter.

  86. Evans wrote: “Tell that to all the scientists (including the ones named above)”
    Dr. Svalgaard responded: “Double layers indeed exist, but have nothing to do with the reconnection process and are not fundamental building blocks.”
    Per the NASA conference on Double Layers in Astrophysics, it’s clear many presenters do subscribe to the idea that double layers are a fundamental building block.
    Apparently, Dr. Svalgaard still can’t bring himself to compare the physical perameters discussed in the two sets of papers, above, double layers and “magnetic reconnection”, respectively.
    Perhaps, I know why.
    Hannes Alfven, NASA conference:
    “B. Magnetic Merging — A Pseudo-Science
    Since then I have stressed in a large number of papers the danger of using the frozen-in concept. For example, in a paper “Electric Current Structure of the Magnetosphere” (Alfv6n, 1975), I made a table showing the difference between the real plasma and “a fictitious medium” called “the pseudo-plasma,” the latter having frozen in magnetic field lines moving with the plasma. The most important criticism of the “merging” mechanism of energy transfer is due to Heikkila (1973) who with increasing strength has demonstrated that it is wrong. In spite of all this, we have witnessed at the same time an enormously voluminous formalism building up based on this obviously erroneous concept. Indeed, we have been burdened with a gigantic pseudo-science which penetrates large parts of cosmic plasma physics. The monograph CP treats the field-line reconnection (merging) concept in I. 3, II. 3, and I1.5. We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.”
    To highlight: “We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.”
    No wonder Yamada, et. al., never mention double layers since they apparently subscribe to the opinion double layers don’t even exist.
    Magnetic merging is simply another name for the concept of “magnetic reconnection”.
    So, there is a great void between the two scientific schools of thought. Each school holds mutually exclusive opinions. I guess we know what school Dr. Svalgaard resides in.

  87. James F. Evans says:
    November 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm
    Dr. Svalgaard responded: “Double layers indeed exist”
    Alfven: To highlight: “We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.”

    Are you not a bit inconsistent here?
    So, there is a great void between the two scientific schools of thought. Each school holds mutually exclusive opinions.
    There is no two schools of thought. No scientist doubts that magnetic reconnection is the fundamental process. And no scientists subscribes to the EU.
    Tell us now what powers the Sun. Or are you afraid to do that?

  88. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm
    The southward component of the HMF controls the amount of energy fed into the Earth’s magnetosphere

    There was a NASA article on WUWT a while back that which said a new discovery had been made that the rate of reconnections (and thus energy flow) between the Sun and Earth’s magnetosphere wasn’t just just down to the southward component but depends on the rate of fluctuation between southward and northward polarity. I can’t find it at the moment, can you remember it?
    I fully accept what you are saying about the ring current dropping to a lower base level between these bouts of fluctuation, but it seems clear the average level of the ring current is proportional to the level of solar activity indicated by sunspot numbers, as you earlier statement in response to my graph showing the close correlation between negative Dst and sunspot numbers shows.
    You said:
    The physics is this:
    The negative part of Dst is determined by how much southward heliospheric magnetic field there is and that is in turn determined by how much magnetic flux on the surface of the Sun there is, which in turn is determined by how many spots there are.

  89. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 11:50 pm
    There was a NASA article on WUWT a while back that which said a new discovery had been made that the rate of reconnections (and thus energy flow) between the Sun and Earth’s magnetosphere wasn’t just just down to the southward component but depends on the rate of fluctuation between southward and northward polarity.
    That ‘new’ discovery was just usual NASA hype. This is not new at all. The issue is that since the magnetosphere has a certain size cross section, the amount of southward field varies across the magnetosphere and the will be patches where the reconnection is good and other patches where it is bad. See page 32 of http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf
    I fully accept what you are saying about the ring current dropping to a lower base level between these bouts of fluctuation, but it seems clear the average level of the ring current is proportional to the level of solar activity indicated by sunspot numbers, as you earlier statement in response to my graph showing the close correlation between negative Dst and sunspot numbers shows.
    My ‘complaint’ was about your statement that there would be a cumulative effect on Dst. There isn’t as the ring current returns to its base level after a few days.

  90. Thanks for the document Leif. So Dst relates to the Am index too, which is used in reconstructing solar wind, hence the relationship. Good match at the modern instrumental end in places. I wonder what the residual will look like between DST pos and neg when subtracted out from SSN and solar wind instumental. I’ll play with that when I get the chance.
    Re your ‘complainr’. I didn’t say there was a cumulative effect on Dst. I think there is a cumulative effect on the oceans from something that covaries with SSN. Whether that is electromagnetic effects on cloud cover level I’m not sure yet.
    Regarding cumulative effects on Earth’s magnetic field; something causes it to change over the centuries in ways related to longer term solar variation if the 10Be record is telling us anything. Maybe changing solar activity levels and the related repeated rising and falling of the ring currents in the Van Allen belts have an effect analogous to stroking a pin with a magnet repeatedly in the same direction, causing ‘field lines’ to align and strengthen the field. Then at other times the ‘stroking’ works the opposite way to de-magnetise the field a bit.

  91. tallbloke says:
    November 25, 2010 at 3:41 am
    So Dst relates to the Am index too, which is used in reconstructing solar wind, hence the relationship.
    No, Dst and Am [and aa and ap] are different animals. Am depends strongly on solar wind speed while Dst does not. It is precisely that difference that makes it possible to separate the effect of the magnetic field and the solar wind speed and thus determine both.
    Regarding cumulative effects on Earth’s magnetic field; something causes it to change over the centuries in ways related to longer term solar variation if the 10Be record is telling us anything.
    The solar wind magnetic field does not have any effect on the Earth’s main field [generated in the core]. For one, the Earth’s field is 10,000 times stronger, and secondly there is something called the skin effect that prevents changes to penetrate a conductor [which the upper mantle is]. The 10Be record depends on the Earth’s field [and on climate too, BTW], not the other way around.

  92. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 25, 2010 at 3:48 am
    Dst and Am [and aa and ap] are different animals. Am depends strongly on solar wind speed while Dst does not.

    Yet there seems to be quite close covariance at times, but not at times when neg Dst isn’t covarying with SSN very closely either. Which is interesting, and maybe worth investigating a bit to see if one effect tending to take Dst values strongly towards one sign gets ‘robbed’ by a competing force from the other variable. e.g. strong solar wind when SSN is high.

  93. tallbloke says:
    November 25, 2010 at 6:27 am
    Yet there seems to be quite close covariance at times, but not at times when neg Dst isn’t covarying with SSN very closely either.
    The real relations are with the magnetic field [B] for Dst and with the product of B and the square of the solar wind speed [V] for am ( am = 1/6*B[nT]*(V[km/s]/100)^2 ). B varies closely with SSN, but not perfectly [e.g. cycle 20]. All this is reasonably well understood [to the point where we can derive B and V from Dst and am].

  94. Dr. Svalgaard responded: “Double layers indeed exist”
    Alfven: To highlight: “We may conclude that anyone who uses the merging concepts states by implication that no double layers exist.”
    Dr. Svalgaard commented: “Are you not a bit inconsistent here?”
    It’s not about consistency, and not about my consistency in any event.
    It’s about Dr. Svalgaard’s credibility.
    The reason Dr. Svalgaard states that, “Double layers indeed exist”, is because the scientific evidence for the existence of double layers is overwhelming. To out-right deny the existence of double layers in the face of the overwhelming evidence for their existence would damage Dr. Svalgaard’s credibility as an objective scientist.
    So, Dr. Svalgaard acknowledges the existence of double layers.
    But what does that mean?
    The issue isn’t whether double layers exist or not (although, hard-core “reconnection” specialists likely do reject DL’s existence, but since they never write about DL’s in their published papers, it’s hard to get their denial on record), rather, the issue is where do double layers exist and under what physical circumstances and what is the result of double layers where they do exist.
    Do double layers do anything?
    In that context, you realize Dr. Svalgaard’s acknowledgment of double layers existence is just a “throw away line” with little meaning.
    The following questions try to put Dr. Svalgaard’s acknowledgment in proper context:
    Dr. Svalgaard, do double layers exist in space? And, if so, under what circumstances do double layers exist in space? What parts of space do double layers exist in? Are there limitations on what parts of space double layers exist in? And, what is the result of the presence of double layers in space?
    So, the issue isn’t about my consistency, the issue is the extent of Dr. Svalgaard’s acknowledgment of the existence of double layers: In the laboratory only? In the ionosphere in association with auroral processes only? In interplanetary space only?
    Remember, Dr. Svalgaard won’t repond to the two sets of papers, double layer and “magnetic reconnection”, that I presented.
    Evans wrote: “So, there is a great void between the two scientific schools of thought. Each school holds mutually exclusive opinions.”
    Dr. Svalgaard responded: “There is no two schools of thought. No scientist doubts that magnetic reconnection is the fundamental process. And no scientists subscribes to the EU. Tell us now what powers the Sun. Or are you afraid to do that?”
    Dr. Svalgaard’s statement is really a series of statements and when you break it down you realize how silly his statements are.
    “There is no two schools of thought.”
    Obviously, there are two schools of thought with irreconcilable views. The NASA conference on Double Layers in Astrophysics demonstrates that reality.
    Why would Dr. Svalgaard make such an obvously false statement?
    Because Dr. Svalgaard wants to maintain the edifice of one monolithic body of scientists when in fact scientists are divided on this issue into rival camps. Also, Dr. Svalgaard doesn’t want to be placed into the “reconnection” camp because then his numerous obfiscations are easy to understand and his opinion can be written off.
    “No scientist doubts that magnetic reconnection is the fundamental process.”
    Again, obviously there are scientists who doubt “magnetic reconection” is a fundamental process, or even a process at all. But once it’s acknowledged that there are numerous doubters in scientific circles, then Dr. Svalgaard can’t act as the “gatekeeper” of scientific wisdom on this website regarding the issues discussed in this comment thread — rather, Dr. Svalgaard is only one of many scientists in a field with various opinions — his opinion carries no special weight.
    “And no scientists subscribes to the EU.”
    All of the arguments I’ve presented, here, on this comment thread are independent of EU. Rather, all the arguments are based on basic plasma physics — all demonstrated & verified in the laboratory and/or in situ satellite probes.
    Dr. Svalgaard rolled out a guilt by association ploy, which is a type of smear.
    “Tell us now what powers the Sun. Or are you afraid to do that?”
    I already answered your question. I don’t know.
    What I do know is that there are unexplained anomolies.
    “Or are you afraid to do that?””
    This response, considering I already answered the question is the hight of hypocrisy.
    Why? Because Dr. Svalgaard has repeatedly refused to specifically compare & contrast the two sets of paper I previously presented.
    Dr. Svalgaard knows Double Layers and “magnetic reconnection” are the same physical phenomena, but the Double Layer analysis & interpretation has been qualitativley & quantitatively fully resolved into a robust formalism (mathematical equations), while “magnetic reconnection” hasn’t and never will be fully quantitized because it is a failed concept that doesn’t have a basis in reality.
    Dr. Svalgaard, are you afraid to compare & contrast the two sets of papers I presented which stand for the proposition that Double Layers and so-called “magnetic reconnection” are actually the same physical phenomena?
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” fails because historically it omited discussion of charged particle currents — this is changing by necessity — but as charged particle flows have been observed & measured by “reconnection” proponents, it’s apparent double layers and “magnetic reconnection” have the exact same charged particle flows.
    This is where the rubber meets the road:
    Electric double layers and “magnetic reconnection” have the same charged particle movements.
    Dr. Svalgaard knows this to be true so he refuses to compare & contrast the two sets of papers.
    Dr. Svalgaard, if the charged particle current flows are not the same, please explain how the charged particle currents are different.
    A passage from Hannes Alfven’s NASA presentation:
    “Phenomena which can not be understood without explicitly accounting for the current [movement of charged particles] are:
    1. Formation of double layers.
    2. Energy transfer from one region to another.
    3.The occurrence of explosive events such as solar flares , magnetic substorms, possibly also “internal ionization” phenomena in comets (Wurmet et al., 1963; Mendis, 1978), and stellar flares.
    4. Double layer violation of the Ferraro corotation. Establishing “partial corotation” is essential for the understanding of somefeatures of the solar system.
    5. Formation of filaments in the solar atmosphere in,the ionosphere of Venus, and in the tails of comets and in interstellar nebulae.
    6. Formation of current sheets which may give space a “cellular structure.”
    Exploration of those plasma properties which can be described by the magnetic field concept has in general been successful. However, this is not the case for those phenomena whch can not be understood by [mapping the magnetic field] this approach.”
    Mapping charged particle movement is the key to understanding this phenomena.
    The double layer analysis & interpretation explicitly maps charged particle movements.
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” does not. That is why “magnetic reconnection” is a failed paradigm.

  95. James F. Evans says:
    November 25, 2010 at 9:58 am
    So-called “magnetic reconnection” does not. That is why “magnetic reconnection” is a failed paradigm.
    I give up. It is like trying to get somebody off the fixation that the Earth is only 6000 years old.

  96. Dr. Svalgaard, you should give up — because the scientific evidence demonstrates your opinion is wrong — that’s why you can’t respond to specific questions about specific physical phenomena.
    But more important, the empirical observations & measurements will decide who’s opinion is valid.
    Getting back to the question at hand:
    What causes coronal mass ejections to form & propagate?
    Where does the energy come from for CME formation & propagation?
    The power of plasma physics is that laboratory experiments can quantify the process of exploding double layers in high resolution as expressed in mathematical formalism, i.e., mathematical equations.
    Thus, the mapped profile of the movement of charged particles per the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation can be predicted — the exploding double layer hypothesis, then, can be TESTED — and if the prediction and the actual observations & measurements of the motions of charged particles are the same, then the hypothesis of exploding double layers has been verified.
    With the advent of the SDO, the formation of CME’s can be quantified in high resolution. In other words, magnetic fields, electric fields & charged particles’ location, direction, and velocity (currents) & charged particles’ location of acceleration can be mapped to a high degree of resolution.
    The movement of the charged particles can be mapped.
    Compare & contrast the physical dynamics of exploding double layers as observed & measured in the laboratory and predicted for the formation and propagation of CME’s with the actual observed & measured formation and propagation of CME’s.
    Once CME’s are resolved, then the comparison between the two processes should be simple enough.
    My prediction: The movement of charged particles, the magnetic fields & electric fields will be the same for the predicted exploding double layer model and the actual observations & measurements of the formation & propagation of CME’s.
    If my prediction turns out to be right:
    Then what is your opinion going to be, Dr. Svalgaard?
    REPLY: Sheesh, it’s Thanksgiving, lighten up. – Anthony

  97. James F. Evans says:
    November 25, 2010 at 11:10 am
    Dr. Svalgaard, you should give up — because the scientific evidence demonstrates your opinion is wrong — that’s why you can’t respond to specific questions about specific physical phenomena.
    OK, you then have earned the right to get your nose rubbed in it.
    If magnetic reconnection is a failed paradigm show us a list of authors and their papers that say specifically that. Since in the last ten years we have obtained so much high-quality in situ data, you can limit yourself [eases your work finding all these references] to the last ten years.
    The specific issues are lost on you as we have seen so often.

  98. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm
    If magnetic reconnection is a failed paradigm show us a list of authors and their papers that say specifically that. Since in the last ten years we have obtained so much high-quality in situ data, you can limit yourself [eases your work finding all these references] to the last ten years.
    The specific issues are lost on you as we have seen so often.
    If you are a scientist then you should have no problem going to the LAPD plasma experiments and looking at the aforementioned paper, and tracing from first cause the reason for the formation of flux tubes.
    In a laboratory Flux tubes form because the local plasma cannot carry the current required to equalize the charge differences between two areas(anode, cathode).
    The evolution is very interesting because what happens in the high current discharge is first the flux tube or filament pair forms following the right hand rule.
    Next when the current exceeds a certain threshold the Biot-Savart forces change(gyroradius) and attraction between the filaments allows them to touch.
    You then have a changes in current direction where the current now returns along the adjacent filament. This causes a double layer to form at the junction of the return current between the 2 filaments. Bam! reconnection as you call it. I call it a filamental pinch…. Jets out.
    Now this section of the filament is cut from the rest of the filaments leading to “multiple reconnection sites”.
    Looking at one small section. What happens is the magnetic field now collapses leading to a field aligned current being driven allowing the reformation? of the filament and the dissipation of current into the load.
    This is exactly what CLUSTER sees if you read all of the papers especially on FTE’s.
    Process starts over.
    So how does that fit with the MHD 2D viewpoint?

  99. BRANT says:
    November 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm
    In a laboratory Flux tubes form because the local plasma cannot carry the current required to equalize the charge differences between two areas(anode, cathode).
    But since in space there are no anodes or cathodes the comparison limbs badly.
    The currents in space plasma are caused by neutral plasma moving across magnetic fields. Your cite says “Results are presented from an experiment in which two plasmas, initially far denser than a background magnetoplasma, collide as they move across the magnetic field. […] A reconnection event is triggered by the collision and the electric field induced in this event generates a field-aligned current, which is the first step in the development of a fully three-dimensional current system”
    So, pressing neutral, magnetized plasmas together leads to reconnection which in turn induce electric currents, etc. This is how everything fits nicely into the reconnection paradigm.

  100. BRANT says:
    November 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm
    So how does that fit with the MHD 2D viewpoint?
    As the paper says: “An intense current channel generated by magnetic field reconnection occurs when the plasmas collide”.

  101. My mistake. Here is the paper before that one.
    You can see the experimental setup. The laser hits the target producing lpp.
    Streams of electrons are electric currents which produce the flux tubes.
    I dont think you can produce flux tubes with induction in space because the magnetic fields involved are too weak to induce the required current. Actually, I would like to see that experiment on earth. Any references??
    Visualizing Three-Dimensional Reconnection in a
    Colliding Laser Plasma Experiment
    EXPERIMENTS on the dense laser-produced plasmas (lpp) expanding into a background magnetoplasma trigger a rich variety of phenomena including the formation of magnetic bubbles [1] and the generation of Alfvén waves [2], [3]. The lpp
    emit streams of field-aligned electrons, which, in turn, generate return currents in the background plasma. Within several microseconds, these become the current systems of shear Alfvén waves. The currents merge and split in space and time and are
    peppered with regions in which magnetic fields that point in opposite directions are forced together. The data indicate that they are likely the sites of magnetic field-line reconnection.”
    We stress that this is a reconnection mediated by the current systems of Alfvén waves. It is the motion of these currents/waves that force magnetic field lines together and trigger local reconnection.
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/papers/Gekelman_Recon_IEEE2008.pdf
    And here is the Galley of experimental data.
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/pages/gallery.html
    The sun is emitting flux tubes of all sorts. There are flux tubes that connect the sun and the earth. The amount of power transferred by any of these events must have a effect on the earth’s climate.

  102. brant says:
    November 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm
    We stress that this is a reconnection mediated by the current systems of Alfvén waves. It is the motion of these currents/waves that force magnetic field lines together and trigger local reconnection.
    Sure, it is hard in the lab to force magnetic field lines together. It helps to have some currents. Even to produce the plasma in the first place.
    The sun is emitting flux tubes of all sorts. There are flux tubes that connect the sun and the earth. The amount of power transferred by any of these events must have a effect on the earth’s climate.
    This is not quite what happens. The Sun emits hot magnetized plasma. The solar wind has here and there what is known as a tangential discontinuity where the magnetic field changes direction. Such places are ‘neutral sheets’ and drift currents [that do not transfer power] occur there. The mother of all such current is the heliospheric current sheet: http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/helio.gif
    The power of the solar wind is less than a millionth of that of the ordinary heat and light emitted by the Sun, on par with the power in moonlight, which scarcely have much climate impact.

  103. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm
    The power of the solar wind is less than a millionth of that of the ordinary heat and light emitted by the Sun

    Leif, thinking back to our discussion where you said the solar wind was much stronger at the earlier stages of development of the solar system. Has there been any effort to model the effects of the spin-orbit couplings in that early regime? I’m wondering if the planets and sun have the odd ‘coincidences’ in their orbits and periodicities because of the left over coupling effects from the time when the strong coupling existed. My hypothesis is that the rhythm the planets and sun settled down into regulated the rate of solar output, and that stars without big Jovian type planets are more likely to go runaway and have shorter lives ending in supernovae.
    Who would be a good person to ask about this stuff?
    Thanks

  104. tallbloke says:
    November 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm
    Leif, thinking back to our discussion where you said the solar wind was much stronger at the earlier stages of development of the solar system. Has there been any effort to model the effects of the spin-orbit couplings in that early regime?
    There is no spin-orbit coupling except that due to tidal interactions and they have always been much too small in case of the sun. There is, however, a very strong magnetic coupling which brakes the sun from rotating in a day to 25 days and transfer the angular momentum to the planets with the result that they end up with some 98% of the total angular momentum of the solar system. This took place very early on and the process is not operating any more.
    I’m wondering if the planets and sun have the odd ‘coincidences’ in their orbits and periodicities because of the left over coupling effects from the time when the strong coupling existed.
    The planets likely ‘migrated’ all over the place in the early solar system, but that has now stopped [except perhaps for Pluto].
    My hypothesis is that the rhythm the planets and sun settled down into regulated the rate of solar output, and that stars without big Jovian type planets are more likely to go runaway and have shorter lives ending in supernovae.
    The planets have never regulated anything since the early days. The supernovae are not caused by any planetary action or lack thereof, but either by a large star [several times more massive than the Sun] running out of fuel and losing the inner furnace once the interior has been burned into iron, or by a smaller star in a binary system swelling to become a red giant and then the other star [already burned out to a white dwarf] siphoning off gas from the swelling star. Since there is an upper limit to the mass of a white dwarf [the more massive it gets, the smaller it becomes until reaching zero size for a mass of 1.4 times the Sun’s – the Chandrasekhar limit] this process [stealing the other star’s gas] causes the star to explode as a supernovae. This type of supernova is thus always of the same ‘strength’ and can be used as a ‘standard candle’ for determining the distance to the galaxy in which it occurs.
    Who would be a good person to ask about this stuff?
    Any astronomer would know. All this is textbook stuff. You could even ask me 🙂

  105. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm
    There is, however, a very strong magnetic coupling which brakes the sun from rotating in a day to 25 days and transfer the angular momentum to the planets with the result that they end up with some 98% of the total angular momentum of the solar system. This took place very early on and the process is not operating any more.
    The planets have never regulated anything since the early days.

    Yes, I want to Work this one through as the null hypothesis. I’m interested to discover if any effort has gone into modeling the early solar system to recreate this process of EM coupling which transferred the energy from the sun to the planets, to see if that process develops a resonance amplified rhythm.
    Your comment further upthread that the solar wind is denser when slower is interesting too.
    The flow pressure increases when the density increases [and that, in turn, varies inversely with solar wind speed – low speed wind is denser]
    In the early solar system would periods of low windspeed have increased the EM entrainment and angular momentum transfer?

  106. tallbloke says:
    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    Yes, I want to Work this one through as the null hypothesis. I’m interested to discover if any effort has gone into modeling the early solar system to recreate this process of EM coupling which transferred the energy from the sun to the planets, to see if that process develops a resonance amplified rhythm.
    This has been modeled many times. One would not expect [and therefore not model or find] any resonance effects as the transfer takes place so early that the planets are not even formed yet [it is the gas they condense from that is being pushed out]. To call this ‘EM’ is really a bad idea. Electromagnetic is usually [and reasonably] used for photon effects. The coupling was magnetic. Magnetic field lines have tension in them: try to pull two magnets apart and feel the tugging.
    Would low windspeed have increased the EM entrainment and angular momentum transfer in the early solar system?
    The main agent was the magnetic field. The speed is not so important and tend to vary a lot less: the plasma just has to escape the Sun and the escape speed depends largely on gravity, thus the mass of the Sun.

  107. tallbloke says:
    November 25, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    to see if that process develops a resonance amplified rhythm.
    Once the planets were formed some migrated inwards and some outwards. This is actually quite complicated business:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formation_and_evolution_of_the_Solar_System#Planetary_migration
    During their migration they can pass points were they are in resonance and once there the migration might stop. Again, this has no influence on the Sun or solar activity as the planets then already were too far away for tidal interactions.

  108. brant:
    Thank you for providing the UCLA paper and the UCLA photo gallery. I have read and viewed both and appreciate the authors’ discussion.
    The paper employs the study of magnetic fields to, in part, derive a resolution of the charged particle current flows. As the authors contend resolution of the current flow is important for understanding the larger system. This fits well with what I’ve been pointing out: Mapping the movement of charged particles is critical for understanding the dynamics when two bodies of plasma collide. brant, as you point out, the authors conducted the experiment where bodies of magnetized plasma were collided within a background magnetized plasma. This is a laboratory experiment which offers a rough approximation of space plasma dynamics.
    Space plasma environments tend to be “rivers within larger rivers of plasma”. Or distinct, structured flows of plasma within larger flows of plasma. In numerous instances, these structured flows of plasma take the form of magnetic flux tubes.
    And colliding bodies of plasma are ubiquitous in space plasma environments.
    According to Alfven, there are two basic approaches to understanding the dynamics of plasma environments: From the observation & measurement of magnetic fields or from the explicit observation & measurement of charged particles currents, both neutral plasma currents, such as they exist, and segregated currents of charged particles, electric currents.
    As Alfven noted, each approach has value, but there are some processes or dynamics which the study of magnetic fields, alone, can not fully resolve, while it is Alfven’s contention that an explicit identification & resolution of charged particle current flows is necessary before these processes and dynamics can be fully resolved.
    brant, wouldn’t it be more informative if all the images of magnetic fields in the UCLA photo gallery, also included detailed resolution of the charged particle flows, too?
    In essence, that’s what the authors of the paper are attempting to do.
    Alfven simply contends there is a direct way to determine the currents, through electrical circuit theory — yes, Hannes Alfven considered himself an electrical engineer, although, he taught physics and was a professor of electromagnetic theory and electrical measurements. It’s an electrical engineer’s business to map electrical current flows and understand all the instabilities, discontinuities, and dynamics along the current flow. Double layers are often a dynamic along the current flow.
    One of the processes or dynamics which can be fully resolved by mapping current flows is what happens at the “X” point often discussed in “magnetic reconnection” papers.
    The “X” point discussed in “magnetic reconnection” papers is where charged particles’ electric force and magnetic fields cross, or interact, just as Hannes Alfven described in his empirical laboratory work on Electric Double Layers and, is central to the acceleration of charged particles in both sets of papers, Electric Double Layers and “magnetic reconnection”, respectively, I provided previously in the comment thread.
    The interaction of magnetic fields and charged particles’ electric force results in the formation of arrays of oppositely charged particles, thus, an electric field which causes charged particle acceleration with electrons being jetted out one current channel and ions being jetted out the opposite direction in a current channel.
    It is the interaction of charged particles and magnetic force which animates this “X” point’s dynamic processes.
    The study of magnetic fields indirectly accounts for current flow by way of curl, this, Alfven contends, is imprecise, rather Alfven asserts that current flow can be directly accounted for and this will provide higher resolution and understanding of the overall system in all its facets.
    Isn’t that what everybody is striving for, no matter what side the question they approach from?

  109. James F. Evans says:
    November 26, 2010 at 10:33 am
    The study of magnetic fields indirectly accounts for current flow by way of curl, this, Alfven contends, is imprecise, rather Alfven asserts that current flow can be directly accounted for and this will provide higher resolution and understanding of the overall system in all its facets.
    The current flows as dictated by the magnetic field. This is the precise behavior of space plasmas.
    Isn’t that what everybody is striving for, no matter what side the question they approach from?
    I don’t think so. The EU crew has an agenda and that dictates what they strive for.
    You have not yet provided the list of authors and papers that explicitly state that reconnection is a failed paradigm, and you have not yet [repeated] reminded us of what powers the Sun. The answer to that exposes the agenda, so show us that you don’t have any.

  110. Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “The current flows as dictated by the magnetic field. This is the precise behavior of space plasmas.”
    The issue is the mathematical treatment of “i”, current, and correctly identifying particle behaviour, when describing electromagnetic phenomena via mathematical equations focussed on magnetic field “B”.
    According to Alfven, Cosmic Plasma, Electric Currents in Space Plasmas, II.1. Dualism in Physics, the magnetic centered mathematical equation “gives a poor and often misleading representation of the particle phenomena.”
    http://books.google.dk/books?id=ZjwoGlIxvLUC&pg=PA11&dq=alfven+cosmic+plasma&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q=alfven%20cosmic%20plasma&f=false
    See the above link for a more complete explanation for why explicit mathematical equations focussed on “i”, current, is more precise for resovling the particle behavior within a plasma system. (first page of the link)
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “You have not yet provided the list of authors and papers that explicitly state that reconnection is a failed paradigm…”
    First, as you have already noted, scientists in these two opposing schools tend not to discuss the other school’s theories in their own published works. Rather, they focus on aspects of their own approach to the question at hand.
    But Hannes Alfven did address this issue in his NASA presentation:
    “I sincerely hope that the increased interest in the study of double layers — which is fatal to this pseudoscience [“magnetic reconnection”] — will change the situation. Whenever we find a double layer (or any other E does not equal zero) we hammer a nail into the coffin of the ‘merging’ pseudo-science.”
    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19870013880_1987013880.pdf
    (Interested readers should link and read Alfven’s introductory presenation.)
    So, according to Alfven, implicitly, every scientist who studies double layers states that reconnection is a failed paradigm. (See lists of scientists who study double layers in the above link and in the Wikipedia entry for Double layers (plasma)).
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “…you have not yet [repeated] reminded us of what powers the Sun.”
    I’ve answered your question twice, already: I don’t know.
    What I do know is that there are unexplained anomalies.
    But considering how many direct questions you have ignored, are you sure you aren’t the one with an agenda in this discussion.
    Dr. Svalgaard acknowledges the existence of double layers.
    Dr. Svalgaard stated: ““Double layers indeed exist”
    But what does that mean?
    The following questions try to put Dr. Svalgaard’s acknowledgment in proper context:
    Evans (November 25, 2010 at 9:58 am) asked, “Dr. Svalgaard, do double layers exist in space? And, if so, under what circumstances do double layers exist in space? What parts of space do double layers exist in? Are there limitations on what parts of space double layers exist in? And, what is the result of the presence of double layers in space?”
    I never got an anwer from Dr. Svalgaard — is that because he has an agenda?
    Dr. Svalgaard, you are refusing to compare & contrast the two sets of papers I presented, which stand for the proposition that Double Layers and so-called “magnetic reconnection” are actually the same physical phenomena, is that because you have an agenda?
    My agenda is to understand the physical processes & dynamics of the world around me. In that quest I will follow the facts & evidence to wherever it leads me.
    I will not ignore facts or evidence because of some pre-existing dogma which has been eclipsed by new observations & measurements.

  111. James F. Evans says:
    November 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm
    the magnetic centered mathematical equation “gives a poor and often misleading representation of the particle phenomena.”
    Modern treatment of the problem included both the magnetic, electric, and particle aspects. There are no ‘magnetic centered equations’.
    First, as you have already noted, scientists in these two opposing schools tend not to discuss the other school’s theories in their own published works. Rather, they focus on aspects of their own approach to the question at hand.
    There are no modern scientists in the EDL-school. Show us a list of them and some of their publications from the last ten years.
    Dr. Svalgaard wrote: “…you have not yet [repeated] reminded us of what powers the Sun.” I’ve answered your question twice, already: I don’t know.
    Or you will not admit. So, you acknowledge that the presentation of this in for ex. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/electric_universe/electric_sun02.htm#The Electric Glow of the Sun if faulty [or not convincing to you].
    Evans (November 25, 2010 at 9:58 am) asked, “Dr. Svalgaard, do double layers exist in space? And, if so, under what circumstances do double layers exist in space? What parts of space do double layers exist in? Are there limitations on what parts of space double layers exist in? And, what is the result of the presence of double layers in space?” I never got an anwer from Dr. Svalgaard — is that because he has an agenda?
    As I have said many times, magnetic reconnection can create electric fields and currents and lead to separation of charges into transient current sheets, which at rare times resemble EDLs.
    I will not ignore facts or evidence because of some pre-existing dogma which has been eclipsed by new observations & measurements.
    Show us some of those new observations which are contradicting the successful paradigm of magnetic reconnection.

  112. James F. Evans says:
    November 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm
    Evans (November 25, 2010 at 9:58 am) asked, “Dr. Svalgaard, do double layers exist in space? And, if so, under what circumstances do double layers exist in space?…
    Let me explain a bit more what the difference between magnetic reconnection and electric double layers is. First some general information about EDLs:
    An EDL is very thin. About 10 Debye lengths. Some typical thicknesses:
    In the lab: 0.1 cm. In the ionosphere 1 cm. In the magnetosphere 1 km. In the solar wind 100 m. An EDL cannot form in many places. The Bohm Criterion for formation of an EDL is that the electric field vanishes at the boundaries of the EDL.
    Let us consider the case of the ionosphere [where we have good in situ data] during time of an active aurora. The aurora is the result of a ‘substorm’ which is triggered by magnetic reconnection far out in the tail [typically 50,000 km out]. The resulting Birkeland currents create an EDL in the ionosphere at 100-300 km height. Thus at a very different place and after the reconnection event. On the day-side where the solar wind directly connects to the Earth’s magnetic field there is steady reconnection with no explosive effects and no EDLs. These processes are discussed in several papers, e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/2006JA012007.pdf which you are cordially invited to study.
    An older [but still good] discussion of what an EDL is and when it can form is given by Raadu and Rasmussen in http://www.leif.org/EOS/1988ApSS-144.pdf [which BTW is a paper dedicated to Hannes Alfven on occasion of his 80th birthday]. Note, that there is no mention of magnetic fields at all in the paper. This is because EDLs are created in current carrying plasmas [and have nothing to do as such with any magnetic field]. So the next question comes up: how does one create a current in a cosmical plasma? The answer is, of course, by moving a neutral plasma into a magnetic field, or by pressing together [by plasma movements] magnetic fields of opposite polarity resulting in magnetic reconnection.
    On the same occasion a paper by deJager discussed the merits/problems of the Alfven-Carlquist idea of ‘exploding’ EDLs as causes of solar flares. At the time [1987] it was not conclusive which way the answer would tilt. A big negative for the exploding EDL model was the time scale involved: flares happened must faster than the EDLs would allow. Since then, this problem has resulted in the reconnection mechanism becoming the dominant paradigm [last man standing]. There was also the problem of how to drive the currents in the first place. Reconnection elegantly takes take of that. The exploding EDL theory is by now quite dead.

  113. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm
    I forgot one important place:
    Some typical thicknesses:
    In the lab: 0.1 cm. In the ionosphere 1 cm. In the magnetosphere 1 km. In the solar wind 100 m. In the solar corona above an active region [where flares and CMEs come from] 1 cm. The general formula for the thickness T is T = 700 meter * sqrt (temperature in K / density in particles per cubic meter).

  114. James F. Evans says:
    November 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm
    scientists in these two opposing schools tend not to discuss the other school’s theories in their own published works.
    Even at Alfven’s old institute, the researchers have embraced the magnetic reconnection paradigm: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2010GL044611.pdf
    “[2] Magnetic reconnection is a major mechanism in space and astrophysical plasmas for converting energy stored in magnetic fields into particle kinetic energy and for exchange of mass, energy and momentum between differently magnetized plasma regions. In near‐earth space many properties of reconnection can be studied by spacecraft [Paschmann, 2008]. We use observations at the magnetopause by the Cluster spacecraft with multi‐scale separation. The point of this investigation is to study both the properties of the magnetopause, including plasma composition, and the fundamentals of reconnection, including the origin of the electric fields accelerating particles.”
    Needless to say, there is no mention of Double Layers [as they don’t form out there at the magnetopause].

  115. Leif Svalgaard says:
    November 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm
    Note, that there is no mention of magnetic fields at all in the paper. This is because EDLs are created in current carrying plasmas [and have nothing to do as such with any magnetic field]. So the next question comes up: how does one create a current in a cosmical plasma? The answer is, of course, by moving a neutral plasma into a magnetic field, or by pressing together [by plasma movements] magnetic fields of opposite polarity resulting in magnetic reconnection.

    Leif, forgive the naieve qustion. How do plasma fields push magnetic fields about unless they are themselves carrying magnetic fields?
    Thanks.

  116. Dr. Svalgaard stated: “Note, that there is no mention of magnetic fields at all in the [Raadu and Rasmussen double layer] paper.”
    Dr. Svalgaard goes on to state: “This is because EDLs are created in current carrying plasmas [and have nothing to do as such with any magnetic field]. ”
    Both statements are false.
    From the Raadu paper presented by Dr. Svalgaard:
    “Double layers are of interest in astrophsics as a direct means of accelerating particles (Alfven, 1981, 1986). They can sustain a local region of parallel electric field leading to the magnetohydrodynamic relaxation of a large-scale magnetic field. The globally stored magnetic energy is then released both as accelerated particles and in mass motions set up by the untwisting motions of magnetized plasma (Raadu, 1984).
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/1988ApSS-144.pdf
    Dr. Svalgaard claimed: “…[double layers] have nothing to do as such with any magnetic field…”
    Dr. Svalgaard, with misrepresentations such as yours…readers should treat your statements caution.
    From the UCLA photo gallery:
    Caption for first image: “Three dimensional field lines taken from a volumetric data set in an experiment in which two laser produced plasmas collide. Data was acquired at 30,000 locations in a 3D volume in the LAPD device. Shown are the magnetic fields due to Alfven wave currents. The two Carbon targets that the lpp plasmas originate at are seen in the background. The “sparkles” are the induced electric field calculated from -dA/dt. Note that the induced field is largest in the reconnection region at the center of the image. The data is acquired 5 us after the targets are struck and 6.56 meters and 65.6 cm away. There is a background He plasma (n = 2X10^12 cm-3, B0z (not shown) = 600G)”
    To highlight: “The “sparkles” are the induced electric field calculated from -dA/dt.”
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/pages/gallery.html
    And a close up on the image:
    http://plasma.physics.ucla.edu/images/gallery/BEz656-t512.jpg
    The outbreaking of electric fields, mini- parallel electric fields, is due to the charged particles’ electric force interacting with the magnetic field. The maximum electric field breakout is in regions of highest magnetic field stress and maximum charged particle density.
    The higher the charged density & magnetic field stress, the greater the formation of electric fields (arrayed mini-parallel electric fields).
    It’s important to examine the UCLA image of the breakout of electric fields in relation to magnetic fields — the two forces are inter-related as Maxwell’s equations amply demonstrate.
    One of the processes or dynamics which can be fully resolved by mapping current flows is what happens at the “X” point often discussed in the relevant scientific literature.
    The interaction of magnetic fields and charged particles’ electric force results in the formation of arrays of oppositely charged particles, thus, an electric field which causes charged particle acceleration with electrons being jetted out one current channel and ions being jetted out the opposite direction in a current channel.
    It is the interaction of charged particles & magnetic force which animates this “X” point’s dynamic processes.
    Every charged particle in a plasma physical state has an electric force as denoted with a negative or positive charge, the Coulomb force.
    The electric force of charged particles interacts with the magnetic force resulting in electric fields, which, thus, then accelerate charged particles.
    Charged particle density is a significant determinant of the magnetic fields and resultant formation of electric fields.
    The process is a positive self-reinforcing feedback loop. This suggests the potential of rapid build-up of electric potential drop, voltage, and upon discharge, rapid dispersal of energy as expressed by charged particle kinetic acceleration and radiation.
    This is all part of the Electric Double Layer analysis & interpretation:
    “A double layer is a structure in a plasma and consists of two parallel layers with opposite electrical charge. The sheets of charge cause a strong electric field and a correspondingly sharp change in voltage (electrical potential) across the double layer. Ions and electrons which enter the double layer are accelerated, decelerated, or reflected by the electric field. In general, double layers (which may be curved rather than flat) separate regions of plasma with quite different characteristics. Double layers are found in a wide variety of plasmas, from discharge tubes to space plasmas to the Birkeland currents supplying the Earth’s aurora, and are especially common in current-carrying plasmas.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_layer_(plasma)
    Here is the other double layer paper presented by Dr. Svalgaard:
    Large parallel electric fields, currents, and density cavities in
    dispersive Alfve´n waves above the aurora
    C. C. Chaston,1 A. J. Hull,1 J. W. Bonnell,1 C. W. Carlson,1 R. E. Ergun,2
    R. J. Strangeway,3 and J. P. McFadden1
    Received 7 August 2006; revised 22 November 2006; accepted 15 January 2007; published 24 May 2007
    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2006JA012007.pdf.
    It’s a fairly recent 2007 paper with a number of author scientists — the double layer approach, based on circuit theory of charged particles is healthy and advancing.
    By the way, magnetic fields are also discussed in this paper, as well.
    The integration of the magnetic field and electric field and charged particle’ electric force analysis & interpretation and the predictability such particle and energy behavior is robust with quantitative mathematical formalism fully expressed in the Double Layer approach.
    Compare & contrast the physical dynamics of exploding double layers as observed & measured in the laboratory and predicted for the formation and propagation of CME’s with the actual observed & measured formation and propagation of CME’s.
    Once CME’s are resolved, then the comparison between the two processes should be simple enough.
    My prediction: The movement of charged particles, the magnetic fields & electric fields will be the same for the predicted exploding double layer model and the actual observations & measurements of the formation & propagation of CME’s.
    If my prediction turns out to be right:
    Then what is your opinion going to be, Dr. Svalgaard?
    Satellite in situ probes will provide empirical observation & measurement.
    That’s where the rubber meets the road and I look forward to the data as it is reported.

  117. tallbloke says:
    November 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm
    Leif, forgive the naive qustion. How do plasma fields push magnetic fields about unless they are themselves carrying magnetic fields?
    Normally if you shoot neutral, non-magnetic plasma into a magnetic field, the plasma would flow around the field [called diamagnetism], but the exclusion is not perfect because the charges at the boundary will begin to gyrate around the external magnetic field [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guiding_center ]. So can penetrate bit for bit, especially if the the kinetic energy of the plasma is high. There is more on page 3 and 4 of http://www.leif.org/research/suipr699.pdf for the specific case of the Earth’s magnetosphere.

  118. James F. Evans says:
    November 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm
    Satellite in situ probes will provide empirical observation & measurement.
    That’s where the rubber meets the road and I look forward to the data as it is reported.

    I think you are confusing two things: Do double layers exist? is magnetic reconnection the same as exploding double layers?
    The answer to the first is obvious. Of course, they exist. They have been observed and there is good theory about them. I know of no scientists who doubt their existence.
    The answer to the second is also obvious. Of course magnetic reconnection is not the same as a double layers. I know of no scientist who doubt that. Find me some who do.
    BTW, how thick do you think a double layer would be in the solar atmosphere where a flare or CME happens?

  119. James F. Evans says:
    November 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm
    My prediction: The movement of charged particles, the magnetic fields & electric fields will be the same for the predicted exploding double layer model and the actual observations & measurements of the formation & propagation of CME’s.
    And what, specifically are those predictions? How would you know that you would be right? E.g. how thick do you think those exploding double layers would be?

Comments are closed.