Sol is finally waking up

Let’s hope he does get out of the wrong side of the bed.

The current sunspot count and 10.7 cm radio flux have increased in the latest NOAA SWPC graphs, shown below. but curiously, the Ap magnetic index remains low.

Current solar status:

Status

Geomagnetic conditions:

Status

From Spaceweather.com : X-FLARE: March 9th ended with a powerful solar flare. Earth-orbiting satellites detected an X1.5-class explosion from behemoth sunspot 1166 around 2323 UT. A movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a bright flash of UV radiation plus some material being hurled away from the blast site:

Movie formats: 4 MB gif, 1.2 MB iPad, 0.3 MB iPhone

A first look at coronagraph images from NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft suggests that the explosion did propel a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. This conclusion is preliminary, however, so check back later for updates.

After four years without any X-flares, the sun has produced two of the powerful blasts in less than one month: Feb. 15th and March 9th. This continues the recent trend of increasing solar activity, and shows that Solar Cycle 24 is heating up. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours.

Here’s sunspot group 1166 visible in this SDO image:

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_512_4500.jpg

Here’s the X-ray flux, the flare was just barely and x-class:

3-day GOES X-ray Plot

Here’s the latest monthly data from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC):

 

 

Note that the Ap Index did not show similar gains.

As always, complete solar coverage at WUWT’s solar reference page

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Chuck

Being we are nearing the middle of the solar minimum cycle, it is time to see just how a solar minimum conducts itself and take good notes.

amicus curiae

so do we duck n cover yet:-)?

Chuck says:
March 10, 2011 at 6:50 am
Being we are nearing the middle of the solar minimum cycle, it is time to see just how a solar minimum conducts itself and take good notes.
Depends on what you mean by ‘minimum cycle’. Solar minimum was more than two years ago, so it is about time Sol wakes up. In fact, the north polar fields have already reversed [which they do near solar max].

Phineas Fahrquar

Or is the sun just grumbling in its sleep before rolling over and going back to snoring? 🙂

Steve Keohane

Looks like Hathaway’s latest, adjusted, prediction in January for SSN of 58 at the maximum is likely. If one takes the ISES graph above and moves the prediction curve down to where it might likely join with reality, and one gets this:
http://i51.tinypic.com/20uqqh4.jpg

FergalR

It takes a few days for coronal mass ejections to reach as far as the Earth.
Since it’s still rotating as fast as the Sun’s surface I predict it will miss us.
Just don’t send me bills for any damage if I’m wrong.

BobW in NC

So, Leif, are you saying that the sun is now at or near the solar max? If so, what happens next? That does not sound good at all…and would appear to auger for a very quiet sun for a long time.
Could you clarify and expand, please.
Thanks!

Baa Humbug

This may well be further confirmation of a solar minimum.
I recall reading somewhere that CMEs increase during solar minimums. I had asked this of Leif S but he couldn’t confirm as there just isn’t (enough) evidence.
It will also be interesting to see how extreme weather events develop this month. More cyclones and earthquakes anyone?

Sean Peake

@Dr. Svalgaard
Are we near the peak of this cycle, then? Will it match the predicted values or will it edge higher?

wayne

Leif, you were saying the north pole fields have already reversed. Any chance at all this is near 24’s maximum? The butterfly plots sure don’t look like it’s possible, but also I’ve never seen a weird formed one either. Wonder what they would have looked like back in the 1600’s.

BobW in NC says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:26 am
Could you clarify and expand, please.
Recycled from anothr thread:
“There is a fair amount of activity, so the Sun is out of the minimum phase. If this much activity is still only in the ascending phase, then maximum will be rather higher [not what we would expect fro the polar fields during the past minimum]. The polar fields at the North pole have already reversed, and the South polar fields have decreased considerably. The reversal is ‘usually’ [but has only been observed for about eight cycles] timed near maximum. So, these things together seem to justify a ‘welcome’ [although the maximum might be a protracted affair like in cycle 14 with wild swings up and down]. Since after the reversal there ‘usually’ are several more ‘surges’ of new polarity flux arriving in the polar caps, there is the possibility that the polar fields might build to be stronger’ than at the recent minimum, leading to the prediction that solar cycle 25 might not be an extremely low cycle, but of moderate size [a tad larger than SC24], a la cycle 15 after 14. This is, of course, only [well-founded] speculation, but makes life interesting.”

Sean Peake says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:32 am
Are we near the peak of this cycle, then? Will it match the predicted values or will it edge higher?
Too early to tell. Other weak cycles, e.g. cycle 14 http://www.leif.org/research/SC14.png also had large swings up and down.

Fly me to the Moon

Given the stench of bad science that pervades AGWism, it won’t be long before the CO2 nutters claim that the Sun’s extended solar minimum is due to global warming.

Chuck

Dear Leif Svalgaard,
Thank you for writing.
There are two minimums I observed in the last 300 years of SIDC data. One is the numeric minimums as the end of cycles that might stretch, if the sunspot cycles are robust such as 1934 to 1953, into the first year of following cycles.
However, Joseph D’Aleo points out that the first part of each century tends to begin with a two-cycle minimum, one being we are familiar with, the Dalton Minimum. Presently, this cycle is falling numerically in between the 1700 minimum and the 1798 to 1823 minimum.
If Mr. D’Aleo is correct in his Observations, this minimum will stretch out into 2030.
Chuck

I fear this ‘re-awakening’ may be old Sol having a grumble and a scratch before rolling over for another nap. Another two to six months should tell us.
I’m going to keep a close eye on solar windspeeds as we approach Jupiter perigree on the 19th.
Dr David Hathaway has reduced his forecast again.

Edim

The SC 24 will be very long. No maximum before 2014/15

Malaga View

BobW in NC says: what happens next?

Ancient astronomers established that the sun is under the influence of a diurnal cycle that ensures the solar disc returns to an inclination above the oriental visual horizon… based upon these historical observations astrophysicists have managed to develop a complex computer model that predicts the solar disc will then proceed to traverse the illuminated hemisphere until such time as it declines below the occidental horizon.
The astrophysicists have stressed their confidence in the predictive powers of their computer model. However, should additional funding be forthcoming they will establish a worldwide network of observatories to measure and validate their predictions. However, this is not easy to achieve in the modern urban environment so it is proposed that these observatories will be established on calm equatorial beaches that support unimpeded visual access to the either the oriental or occidental horizon.

Dave Springer

If the GCR/cloud hypothesis has any merit and we’re near solar maximum for this cycle there’s trouble ahead both for the GHG warming hypothesis and for civilization. People are going to figure out real fast (if they don’t already know) that a warming is good for us and cooling is bad for us.

Dave Springer

tallbloke says:
March 10, 2011 at 8:41 am
“I fear this ‘re-awakening’ may be old Sol having a grumble and a scratch before rolling over for another nap.”
Sol’s going on five billion years old. He’s just getting up in the middle of the night to take a leak. I can sympathize with that.

MarkW

Fergal: Why would a flare continue to rotate as fast as the sun’s surface, once it had left the sun? For it to do that, it would have to be accelerating at an enormous rate.
(The further away from the sun a particle gets, the more miles it has to cover in order to traverse the same number of arc seconds.) This means that in terms of miles per hour, it has to continue to accelerate as it gets further from the sun. Where does the energy for this acceleration come from?

Currently geomagnetic field is getting seriously shaken:
http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/plotgeodata.cgi?Last24&site=tro2a&

Geoff

what is most interesting is that that Sun’s magnetic field, the AP index, is not budging, still staying at 5 or less, and solar winds remain very low. Flux has moved up considerably. Will the AP index similarly increase?

Please ignore – just wanting to follow comments

JamesS

@Malaga View:
Ancient astronomers established that the sun is under the influence of a diurnal cycle that ensures the solar disc returns to an inclination above the oriental visual horizon…
it is proposed that… observatories will be established on calm equatorial beaches that support unimpeded visual access to the either the oriental or occidental horizon.”

Well played. Do you write grant proposals by any chance?

Malaga View

JamesS says: Do you write grant proposals by any chance?

No… but I do try to read NASA Press Releases….

Richard

Baa Humbug says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:26 am
It will also be interesting to see how extreme weather events develop this month. More cyclones and earthquakes anyone?
Please don’t suggest that. Where I am we have had about 10 tremors in the last 2 days, the first for some years. They are small <3 Richter, but the very shallow depth of 2Km is a bit worrying especially as they are centred at <5Km distance.

Hoser

Looking back, do we see the monthly averaged SSN curves looking smooth like a Hathaway centerline? Up and down, up and down. Take your dramamine.

Feb and March has seen Sol begin a new level of activity that is producing many SC24 records. The L&P effect is no where to be found with most regions recording high contrast values as expected when approaching cycle max. SC24 is still on track to follow SC5 with SC25 expected to follow SC6, the northern hemisphere is edging toward reversal but when looking at the smoothed values there is some way to go. The southern hemisphere continues to show overall reluctance to fire up and the wimpy return from 1158 in the south (last months record breaking region) may be a warning sign that the south might struggle to perform a polarity reversal.

Geoff says:
March 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm
what is most interesting is that that Sun’s magnetic field, the AP index, is not budging, still staying at 5 or less
Geoff Sharp says:
March 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm
The L&P effect is nowhere to be found
The L&P effect is a weakening of the magnetic field….
warning sign that the south might struggle to perform a polarity reversal.
The southern polar fields have weakened a lot and is thus well on its way to a reversal.

Leif Svalgaard says: March 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm
“warning sign that the south might struggle to perform a polarity reversal.”
The southern polar fields have weakened a lot and is thus well on its way to a reversal.
Yes, this seems apparent from looking at the plots:
http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now.png
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/Polar.gif
which can both be found towards the bottom of WUWT’s increasingly robust Solar Reference Page:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/solar/

Sun’s polar fields in the early 1960s were HIGH
In the paper:
MODELING THE SUN’S MAGNETIC FIELD AND IRRADIANCE SINCE 1713
Y.-M. Wang, J. L. Lean, and N. R. Sheeley, Jr.
Code 7670, E. O. Hulburt Center for Space Research, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375-5352;
The Astrophysical Journal, 625:522–538, 2005 May 20
# 2005. Copyright is not claimed for this article. Printed in U.S.A.
http://ihy2007.org/WHI/WHIDMAW_POSTERS/WHIVSWSM/MM_TSI_Wang_ApJ_2005.pdf
page 525 (5/17)
there is a reconstruction of the Sun’s polar fields.
I have copied and pasted an inset over the graph of my formula of polar field.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2a.htm
It can be clearly seen that polar field in the early 1960’s was not low as Dr. Svalgaard maintains. (formula can be seen clearly here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm)
This should once for all resolve our perennial disagreement on the matter. I shall only consider Dr. Svalgaards pronouncements on this mater only if he can produce an alternative graphic representation of polar fields, supporting his view, from a source of an equal authority as the above.

Nice post Anthony.
As a side note, NASA just recently released a article entitled:
Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Missing Sunspots
Probably the only reason I bring this up is that with all the talk about the Sun starting to wake up, I think it’s just as important to inform the rest of us that most scientists predicted poorly on solar cycle 24. Except for one man, Dibyendu Nandi.
If you’re out there Nandi and listening, please chime in on this current issue here at WUWT.
I think we would all welcome your input here.
Where does Nandi go from here?

Just The Facts says:
March 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm
The southern polar fields have weakened a lot and is thus well on its way to a reversal.
——————
Yes, this seems apparent from looking at the plots:

Not so apparent if you look at the individual hemisphere graphs.
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/south.gif

rbateman

Leif Svalgaard says:
March 10, 2011 at 2:14 pm
Leif: On March 7th at around 20:00 UT, there was recorded a surge in F10.7 exceeding 900 units for Penticon and well over 300 for Nobeyama. Can we tell where the surge originated? I don’t recall seeing anything in the data from previous years being that high, but memory is a tricky thing.
Thanks.

vukcevic says:
March 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Sun’s polar fields in the early 1960s were HIGH
there is a reconstruction of the Sun’s polar fields.

I’m talking about the measurements we have.
They are talking about a simulated field based on several assumptions, e.g. “Polar field reversals are maintained by varying the meridional flow speed between 11 and
20 m s1, with the poleward-directed surface flow being slower during low-amplitude cycles”
from a source of an equal authority as the above.
I am the authority on polar fields, if you need one.
Geoff Sharp says:
March 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm
Not so apparent if you look at the individual hemisphere graphs.
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/south.gif

Amazing how prejudice makes blind. It is clear from your graph that the last wiggle is only half the size of the several ones before that. Amazing.
rbateman says:
March 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm
Leif: On March 7th at around 20:00 UT, there was recorded a surge in F10.7 exceeding 900 units for Penticon and well over 300 for Nobeyama.
If you observe during or shortly after a large flare you often get a very large spike in the F10.7 flux. Previously, the spikes were removed manually, but due to ever-present lack of manpower, the data is raw [not filtered through a person] and the spikes are not removed. They should be in order that the record be compatible with the historical record. NOAA [and I] have removed the spike from our respective data bases.

Larry Sheldon

http://www.n3kl.org/sun/noaa.html sez X-CLASS FLARE! (complete wit the surprise sign.
I’ve learned enough to read the graphs under the widgets.

Geoff Sharp says: March 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm
Not so apparent if you look at the individual hemisphere graphs.
But there are two poles…
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/north.gif
You don’t see any apparent signs of a forthcoming polar field reversal in the chart above?

Just The Facts says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm
You don’t see any apparent signs of a forthcoming polar field reversal in the chart above?
The north is moving more rapidly than the south. The south will be the one to watch near cycle max, we may learn something new. If one pole fails to flip, it’s a new ball game.

Just The Facts says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm
But there are two poles…
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/north.gif

You don’t see any apparent signs of a forthcoming polar field reversal in the chart above?
Geoff: “Not so apparent if you look at the individual hemisphere graphs.
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/south.gif
Amazing how prejudice makes blind. It is clear from your graph that the last wiggle is only half the size of the several ones before that. Amazing.

Geoff Sharp says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm
The south will be the one to watch near cycle max, we may learn something new. If one pole fails to flip, it’s a new ball game.
The south has already lost half of its strength [as shown so clearly in the link you provided]. There is no reason to believe it will not continue.

Brian H

Edit note for Post:
just barely and x-class: an x-class

Leif
Per a conversation from a while ago;
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/earthly-cloud-similarities-seen-solar-cmes/#comment-592638
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/earthly-cloud-similarities-seen-solar-cmes/#comment-592657
I am thinking that North and South versions might be valuable additions to the page, as they are somewhat obscured in the combined chart. Given the current conversation, would you reconsider your prior position?

Just The Facts says:
March 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Given the current conversation, would you reconsider your prior position?
What would that be?
I am thinking that North and South versions might be valuable additions to the page,
For the recent data, this page http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-Polar-Fields-since-2003.png also separates by hemisphere.

a jones

Well maybe it is time for the lazy so and so to get out of bed.
If of course these quick kicks are evidence it is or merely reflexive of a deeper slumber.
Frankly I do not want to freeze to death to prove AGW wrong: I would rather old Sol woke up and warmed us all up again.
Kindest Regards

Leif Svalgaard says: March 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm
What would that be?
Excluding these graphs;
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/north.gif
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/south.gif
from the WUWT Solar Reference Pages. I can either add them as graphics, or as links under the combined WSO graphic.
For the recent data, this page http://www.leif.org/research/WSO-Polar-Fields-since-2003.png also separates by hemisphere.
Added, thanks.

Latest geomagnetic storm is still going on 23 hours after it started.
Japan earthquake just a coincidence?
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/gms.htm

Rik Gheysens

Leif,
I don’t understand why the latest monthly data graph from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) (ISES Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression – updated 2011 March 9) is still showing the prediction of a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 90 for the next sunspot cycle maximum .
See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/09/nasa-revises-the-sunspot-prediction-down-again/
I thought that David Hathaway had made a revision with a predicted maximum of about 58? Why is the latest graph not adapted?

Peter_pan

Is S903 (N11E85) reversed its polarity?

Just The Facts says:
March 10, 2011 at 9:54 pm
I can either add them as graphics, or as links under the combined WSO graphic.
Links would be fine.
Rik Gheysens says:
March 11, 2011 at 12:43 am
is still showing the prediction of a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 90 for the next sunspot cycle maximum .[…] I thought that David Hathaway had made a revision with a predicted maximum of about 58? Why is the latest graph not adapted?
Because Hathaway’s prediction is his own, private one. Not ‘official’ NASA or NOAA.
Peter_pan says:
March 11, 2011 at 3:50 am
Is S903 (N11E85) reversed its polarity?
Looks normal to me.