Astronomers: World may be entering period of global cooling

From the National Astronomical Observatory Of Japan (via Dr. Benny Peiser of The GWPF)

World May Be Entering Period Of Global Cooling:

The sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers.

Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto.

In that era, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century. The Japanese study found that the trend of current sunspot activity is similar to records from that period.

The researchers also found signs of unusual magnetic changes in the sun. Normally, the sun’s magnetic field flips about once every 11 years. In 2001, the sun’s magnetic north pole, which was in the northern hemisphere, flipped to the south.

While scientists had predicted that the next flip would begin from May 2013, the solar observation satellite Hinode found that the north pole of the sun had started flipping about a year earlier than expected. There was no noticeable change in the south pole.

If that trend continues, the north pole could complete its flip in May 2012 but create a four-pole magnetic structure in the sun, with two new poles created in the vicinity of the equator of our closest star.

Source:The Asahi Shimbun, 20 April 2012

==============================================================

While there’s some hype in the article, there is this graph from Dr. Leif Svalgaard that shows the current solar polar fields rather weak in comparison to the previous cycles,  and not quite flipped yet:

http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Polar-Fields-1966-now.png

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And what happens when these changes in the magnetic poles occur? Yes I noticed the part about sun spots and resemblance to the Maunder minimum, 2.5 degrees lower temperature etc. but there seems that there is something missing from the explanations on why and how.

There are curious differences between the Japanese and English versions of the press release. The Japanese versions abounds with incorrect claims of priority and the usual ‘never seen before’ stuff. The fact is that it is quite normal that the polar fields reverse at different times. This was noted in the very first observations of a polar field reversal http://www.leif.org/EOS/Babcock1959.pdf
We have seen the North pole reversal coming for some time, e.g. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 5-9 December, 2011, Early Reversal of the Sun’s Polar Field – Is Solar Cycle 24 Already Peaking?, J T. Hoeksema, SH33A-2044.
The Japanese data is just confirmation of what has been known for a long time and does not call for any revisions of current theories. Currently, the two poles have the same polarity and there are two equatorial patches with the opposite polarity: http://www.leif.org/research/April2012-Solar-Magn-Field.png but this is nothing new. Science by press release is bad style.

Daniel Vogler

Does a four-pole magnetic field indicate the beginning of a pole reversal? It does make you wonder if that is a precursor to a complete reversal. (At least from my layman mind, lol)

F. Ross

We live in interesting times indeed.

Paul Westhaver

I have my doubts about this.

Lisa Tauxe at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
She is a haphazard speaker but she brings a great deal of doubt to the climatological results of the field movements. I am unhappy with my doubts so that its why I keep reading up on this subject. It seems reasonable that the earth fields would impact the climate but the historical data suggest otherwise.
Nevertheless this is very interesting as is the video above.
See time stamp 23:00 onward… The discussion is focused on not just the “sense” of the field, but also the intensity of the field. It seems that the earth’s intensity is relatively low despite that there is multiple poles forming…. seems contradictory doesn’t it?
Good video and a complement to the Japanese paper.

beesaman

Scientist, especially climate ones can be so touchy!
It would seem that the ‘team” do most of their climate science via press release, hell they even do peer reviews by it now!
Still interesting stuff, it begs the question, just how long can the sham of ignoring the sun’s influence on climate change continue?

Hoser

This is interesting. I posted here months ago that it seemed the solar north was moving faster through SC24 than the south. The faster pace is also visible in SC23. Finally there is some discussion of the topic. Is there any way to test whether a magnetic quadrupole existed during the Maunder or Dalton minima? How long might it persist? Butterfly diagrams don’t seem to show anything odd. Are there any unusual sunspot structures expected, such as unusual bipolar sunspot orientations? Do any sunspot drawings dating from times near solar minima that perhaps show unusual sunspot structures? If they exist and were passed over as mere curiosities, perhaps they might be explained now.

The switch to quadri-pole magnetic is understandable, based on the “fluid” dynamo that exists within the sun (and likely the earth). There has been much research into the potential for a terrestrial quadri-pole during some periods of magnetic field flipping. No reason to believe it can’t happen on the sun, nor that such scenarios are particularly uncommon (in celestial timescales). What we don’t know is whether such a scenario has any effect on the Earth. The dearth of data from the Maunder period doesn’t allow us to make reliable predictions of the current and near future. Yes, we see fewer sunspots – but we have no data from past events that link this to a quadripole phase. The next 20 years will be very important in the evaluation of the data.

Hoser

Oh! Leif already posted. Thanks.

pat

Well the Arctic sure is cold. Ice extent above the running average in spite of NOAA’s attempt to change the rules so it would not graph out.

Hoser says:
April 21, 2012 at 11:00 am
Oh! Leif already posted. Thanks.
Spent most of yesterday with Japanese colleagues on this topic. Most agree that the claims are overblown and indeed shameful [big issue in Japan]. As one of them said: “The average people including me thought, in reading the article published in the most prestigious newspaper, that Shiota found the reversal of the polarity for the first time in the world.” and ” that is worse than I thought, because both [Japanese and English versions] are official and they try to lie [in] japanese version”. Sad story, actually.

P Wilson

Agree that science by press release is bad style, since the popular press is no place for objectivity. However, it would be appropriate for those who do have an impartial knowledge and understanding to nevertheless attempt conveying the facts without a drama.
This is what separates alarmists and armageddonists from scientists

Paul Westhaver

Let me modify my last comment: Lisa Tauxe brings into doubt “cataclysmic” climate effects due to pole reversal. Since this pole reversal that we are currently observing is long overdue and coincidentally occurring at the 2012 modern myth time period, catastrophe is popularly associated with it. A cataclysm being denied does not suggest that small nuances may not affect long term weather behavior or localized climate behaviors. I think it might. Certainly so in telecommunications…. and cosmic rays… Otherwise I don’t understand the variables.

Hoser says:
April 21, 2012 at 10:58 am
Is there any way to test whether a magnetic quadrupole existed during the Maunder or Dalton minima?
We don’t need to go that far back. Here is a similar situation in 1980:
http://wso.stanford.edu/synoptic/WSO-R250.1691.gif
Here are the dipole, quadrupole, and even hexapole components for the past several solar cycles:
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/MultipoleR.gif

Yea, because the sun’s acitivity is going acording to plan. when in actual fact they’re clue less.

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 21, 2012 at 11:18 am
Here are the dipole, quadrupole, and even hexapole components for the past several solar cycles:
http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/MultipoleR.gif

There is really no mystery here. The large-scale field is dominated by the lowest multipole orders. At times when the dipole [the lowest order] is weakening [polar field reversal], the next-lowest [the quadrupole] becomes dominant. Simple as that. To a certain extent one might call that a bit of mathematical ‘trick’ that nature is playing on us…

The Asahi group’s main business is the brewing of adult beverages.
http://www.asahigroup-holdings.com/en/company/index.html
They have good reason to keep an eye on matters solar, given their need for raw materials strongly affected by solar variation from year to year.

Sparks says:
April 21, 2012 at 11:29 am
Yea, because the sun’s acitivity is going acording to plan. when in actual fact they’re clue less.
What clues do you have as to how clueless other people are?

beesaman

In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with such things being put out into public view. What we need to ask is why is the public unaware of such events, why are academics good at publishing in academic circles but so poor at communicating their findings to a wider audience.

SasjaL

Daniel Vogler says:
April 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

The has been some computer modelling (successfull, in contrast to climate modelling) on the Earths pole flips, with multiple poles occurring.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal
Auroras above each pole and associated effects are not mentioned in this particulal article om Wiki …
According to NASA we are long due for a flip here on Earth …
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-poleReversal.html

Legatus

There is really only one way to tell for sure what the sun will do in the future, and that is, wait and see. Currently, people keep making predictions of what the sun will do or not do, and then it does something else. There are predictions that it will go about Dalton Minimum quiet starting next cycle, however, considering how many past predictions have been shown wong, I think I will just wait and see. Until we have positive evidence that we know why the sun does what it does when it does it, past and present, predictions are not much help. This is pretty much true both on predictiong whether the sun will go into a Grand Minimum, or whether it will not. That includes such things as whether the planets effect what the sun does, since we do not know what does cause major changes in the sun, we cannot either rule this out or say that it is yet true.
Still…at least we are now getting from unknown unknowns to known unknowns and even maybe a bit of known knowns around the edges. The problem may be getting some scientists to admit the unknown knowns are, in fact, unknown. it probably has to do with their grant money being based on their knowing something.

Paul Westhaver

It does not seem obvious to me that intensity of the magnetic field is related to the number of poles. Imagine a dodecahedral pole structure. It would seem that at a distance that there is no field, yet close to the surface of the earth, there is abundant field strength.
For example, consider a tuning fork. In this case we have a dipole and at a distance it is difficult to hear it. But between the forks it is very loud indeed.
To me, intensity of the field, depends on where you measure it, radially from the earth’s surface and where on the surged in logitude and latitude. I believe, that the efects on climate may be more related to intensity than polarity.
Also,
It is difficult to get a historical record of terrestrial field vectors since they can only be recorded as minerals pass through their curie temperatures as they cool. That happens in volcanicly active locations. With out that record, it is impssible to correlate historical temperature data to pole reversal data or intensity data.

Legatus

Leif Svalgaard says:
Sparks says:
April 21, 2012 at 11:29 am
Yea, because the sun’s acitivity is going acording to plan. when in actual fact they’re clue less.
What clues do you have as to how clueless other people are?
Well, I have one here http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/13dec_globaleruption/
“Global Eruption Rocks the Sun
It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity
Much remains to be done. “We’re still sorting out cause and effect,” says Schrijver. “Was the event one big chain reaction, in which one eruption triggered another–bang, bang, bang–in sequence? Or did everything go off together as a consequence of some greater change in the sun’s global magnetic field?”
Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger”
When someone can tell me what DID cause the, say, Maunder Minimum (not to metnion the above), well, then we can say whether we are about to enter one or not. Untill then, we have a few theories, which will only have any credibility IF the sun actually follows the script this time.
At keast now, while we may not know what the sun will do tomarrow, we at least have a start, by knowing a lot more about what it does today.

son of mulder

So if the temperature falls by 2.5 deg c aargh. But if it stays reasonable because of anthropogenic CO2 would that be good or bad? And if it falls by 2.5 deg what effect has anthropogenic CO2 had?

u.k.(us)

@ Leif,
What is with the paired-up sunspots on the Earth facing solar disk, seems to be an unusual lay-out to my untrained eye ?

Legatus

There may be a simple reason the Japanese have overblown their press release. If you don’t get noticed, you don’t get grant money. If your finding is not big enough to be noticed, the money will go to someone with a sexier finding. We often see this in paleontology, if you discover what you claim is an ancient fossil (a few fragments of bone connected with a lot of imagination), you often see claims that it is older than that other guys fossil, the guy with the oldest fossil wins.

According to Real Science, Steve Goddard has died.
http://www.real-science.com

John Whitman

SEIJI TANAKA/ Staff Writer for the Asahi Shimbun said:
The sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers.
Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto.
In that era, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century.
The Japanese study found that the trend of current sunspot activity is similar to records from that period.

– – – – – –
In the newspaper article I did not see any specific cite or link to any specifically named scientists involved in the Japanese ‘study’ nor to any specific paper or study.
Does anyone have the names of the Japanese scientists or papers/studies that support the Asahi Shimbun article?
John

Brian

It says that he was 81 years old and new management will be taking over. Seems strange because I never got the impression that he was 81 years old. I figured he ran the blog on his also so I ask: New management?? Something seems strange or off.
If it’s real and not part of some joke or something, then RIP.

Paul Westhaver says:
April 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm
It is difficult to get a historical record of terrestrial field vectors since they can only be recorded as minerals pass through their curie temperatures as they cool. That happens in volcanicly active locations. With out that record, it is impssible to correlate historical temperature data to pole reversal data or intensity data.
We have a better record of the magnetic field than of temperature. Without the latter it is impossible to correlate…
Legatus says:
April 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm
It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity
And what would those old ideas be?
Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger”
It takes a lot of clues to even be able to pose that question.
u.k.(us) says:
April 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm
@ Leif, What is with the paired-up sunspots on the Earth facing solar disk, seems to be an unusual lay-out to my untrained eye ?
The untrained eye is very good at finding patterns where there is none. This is a simple consequence of evolution: “is that a tiger in the grass? better run away”. 99% of the time that is a false positive, but it pays to run away in any case.

DocMartyn

Leif, what do you think of measuring the magnetic properties of tree rings, as a proxy for magnetic fields during deposition?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1851700/

John Whitman says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm
In the newspaper article I did not see any specific cite or link to any specifically named scientists involved in the Japanese ‘study’ nor to any specific paper or study.
Tsuneta at NAOJ and Shiota at Riken

Too much speculative and unsubstantiated stuff.
It is well known fact that the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field in the Arctic and Antarctica as functions of time are very different. Long term solar connection is only obvious in the Arctic, while the effect in the Antarctica is negligible.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC9.htm
However, the long term changes in the Arctic’s magnetic field are several orders of magnitude greater, microTesla against nanoTesla.
It can be easily calculated that neither the solar iradiative (TSI) or the magnetic (Ap) output at the impact have enough energy to account for the major temperature changes during the Holocene epoch.
There is also good correlation between the Holocene temperature change and change in the Arctic field
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GMF-7Kyr.htm
So is the earth magnetic field a driver of temperature variability?
No; it is a less visible side of the same coin.
North Atlantic oceanic currents circulation also mirrors the solar activity
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-NAP.htm
but again the solar power is orders of magnitude to small.
Is there a mechanism with sufficient power to account for the MWP, LIA etc. ?
Definitely yes.
Details ? Available on request from any imperative enquirer.

DocMartyn says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm
Leif, what do you think of measuring the magnetic properties of tree rings, as a proxy for magnetic fields during deposition?
If it works in general it might be yet another weapon in the arsenal. It is a bit bothersome that “the remanent component in this tree may be thermal in origin and was controlled by local thermal condition” making it a bit hard to disentangle thermal and magnetic effects.

vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm
Long term solar connection is only obvious in the Arctic
Your spurious correlation only works with cherry-picked data in the Arctic. There is no real connection.

Leif Svalgaard says: April 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm
Your spurious correlation only works with cherry-picked data in the Arctic. There is no real connection.
………………..
There are 3 graphs there showing various correlations, could you be more specific, so I can identify data for you to plot graphs for yourself.

vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm
There are 3 graphs there showing various correlations, could you be more specific, so I can identify data for you to plot graphs for yourself.
Re-plotting a graph does not turn a spurious correlation into a real one.

vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm
There are 3 graphs there showing various correlations, could you be more specific, so I can identify data for you to plot graphs for yourself.
All of them are spurious. ‘spurious’ here means with no physical connection, just selective wiggle matching.

Leif Svalgaard says: April 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm
…………..
I was expecting more specific reply, the offer still stands.

vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm
I was expecting more specific reply
Number 1 is spurious
Number 2 is spurious
Number 3 is spurious

eric1skeptic

While #2 and #3 do not appear to be correlated, it looks like #1 is correlated, but also that the “Arctic geomagnetic field” and the solar cycle ought to be correlated.

jorgekafkazar

Sparks says: “Yea, because the sun’s acitivity is going acording to plan. when in actual fact they’re clue less.”
Leif Svalgaard says: “What clues do you have as to how clueless other people are?”
I’d have asked, What was your first clue that they were clueless?”

Steve from Rockwood

Leif Svalgaard says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm
vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm
I was expecting more specific reply
Number 1 is spurious
Number 2 is spurious
Number 3 is spurious
—————————————-
Now that was funny. Leif, I know almost nothing about the sun. Can you provide a link so that some of us can get up to speed? Specifically the poles, the changes of the poles and its influence on climate if any. Thanks.

eric1skeptic says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm
While #2 and #3 do not appear to be correlated, it looks like #1 is correlated, but also that the “Arctic geomagnetic field” and the solar cycle ought to be correlated.
Look correlated is not the same as is causally related. In fact, they cannot be such for several reasons: e.g. 1) The geomagnetic field is generated deep in the core and solar activity does not penetrate that deep, 2) going back in time, the geomagnetic field was much stronger [like double], but solar activity was not.
This nonsense is a sad comment on the general state of scientific literacy. In addition, Vuk has been shown this several time, but is learning resistant, and never misses a chance to hijack a thread peddling his personal pet theory.

Leif Svalgaard, eric1skeptic & Steve from Rockwood
It is not the roar of an avalanche that demolishes alpine villages; it is volume and weight of the snow rolling the mountain side.
While we may not always come up with a breakthrough discovery, the questions we ask will move science forward, running away from the unknown is unlikely to do the same.
Tanks for your attention.

Steve from Rockwood says:
April 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm
Now that was funny. Leif, I know almost nothing about the sun. Can you provide a link so that some of us can get up to speed? Specifically the poles, the changes of the poles and its influence on climate if any. Thanks.
Not sure which poles you mean, but assuming you mean the solar poles, here is a short run-down:
Sunspots are magnetic. When they decay, their magnetic field does not completely disappear. Instead, the field remnants are carried by a circulation of matter from the equator to the poles [somewhat similar to the Hadley cells in the Earth’s atmosphere]. There they concentrate and collect [can’t get further up in latitude] and become measurable by our instruments on Earth [the ‘polar fields’]. The circulation now caries the field into the sun; it is also possible that some of the field sinks on its way to the poles. In any event, the field continues with the circulation and is now amplified by something called a ‘dynamo’ process. The dynamo is a form of induction: a magnetic field moved in a conductor [the solar matter] induces an electric current that creates its own magnetic field, which is turn induces more current and more field, and so on. In this way the weak polar fields become amplified a thousand times. Such a strong magnetic field has a pressure of its own which means that to maintain pressure equilibrium, less hot matter is needed, so a ‘parcel’ of the sun with a strong field has less matter, is less dense, and is thus buoyant and rises [in a few weeks] to the surface. On its way up, the field is shredded by the roiling convection into many ‘strands’ that when arriving at the surface as a lot of small field elements again assemble into the sunspots we see, and the whole process repeats.
Only a very small part of the total magnetic flux [perhaps 1/100th of the total] survives the trip to the poles, so the field up there is much weaker than in a sunspot [like 300 times weaker]. This means that the magnetic field [which normally traps matter in the lower atmosphere [the beautiful loops you see in images from SDO] is not strong enough to prevent the super hot atmosphere to escape the sun. The result is that the polar fields are dragged out with the escaping wind and forms the magnetic field in interplanetary space [the Heliosphere]. That magnetic field is by wind speed differences and solar rotation compacted into tangled shocks which turns away a small fraction [some 10%] of the cosmic rays that comes to us from the Galaxy [generated in supernova explosions].
The magnetic fields on the surface cause a slight brightening and thus a very small variation [1 in 1000] of the solar output of heat and light. That variation in turn causes a variation of the Earth’s temperature of about 0.1 degree over the solar cycle of varying sunspots. This variation is too small to affect the climate, so many people invent creative ‘feed backs’, ‘triggers’, and other fanciful mechanism to help the sun modulate our climate to their satisfaction.

vukcevic says:
April 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm
While we may not always come up with a breakthrough discovery, the questions we ask will move science forward
Not at all. Rather divert attention from the real science.

Gail Combs

Legatus says:
April 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm
There is really only one way to tell for sure what the sun will do in the future, and that is, wait and see. Currently, people keep making predictions of what the sun will do or not do, and then it does something else….
_______________________________________
Predictions are part of doing science. If we think we understand something ( form a hypothesis) we use that understanding to predict the future. If the prediction does not come true then our hypothesis has been falsified. Lief, based on his knowledge of solar physics, predicted cycle 24 would be a weak cycle. So far he has been correct. Hathaway (NASA) did not do nearly as well. http://i55.tinypic.com/2dj2fc9.jpg
WUWT on the subject back in 2008: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/03/20/new-solar-cycle-24-goalpost-established/

Bruce Cobb

The arguments against the idea of the sun having a big influence on Earth’s climate bring to mind those against the idea of heliocentrism in Galileo’s time. Heliocentrism eventually won out, as will the sun’s large influence on climate. Meanwhile, those with a vested interest against it will continue to fight it, as their livelihoods and reputations are at stake.

Richard G

Dr. Svalgaard, I have been following the SDO HMI magnetograms for a couple of years now. http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/hmi_mag/512/
In comparing them to the continuum images of visible sunspots,
http://spaceweather.com/images2012/21apr12/hmi4096_blank.jpg?PHPSESSID=28t6cu2922230gc5i58u7d67b3
the magnetic polarity of some of the spots seems to be changing from a distinct polarity to a bracketed or confused polarity with +-+ or -+-.
#1460, #1462, and #1463 are examples of what I am describing.
http://spaceweather.com/
Is this the normal manifestation of the pole reversal?
Today’s Spaceweather has a photo of #1465 that shows the field lines vividly. What type of photo is this?