Is there a planetary influence on solar activity? It seems so according to this new paper

2-DSun3Mar2007

2-D Sun 3Mar2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest post by David Archibald  

Long suspected, it seems that this has now been confirmed by a paper in Astronomy and Astrophysics with the title “Is there a planetary influence on solar activity?” by Abreu et al that was published on 22nd October, 2012.

From the Discussion and Conclusions section:

The excellent spectral agreement between the planetary tidal effects acting on the tachocline and the solar magnetic activity is

surprising, because until now the tidal coupling has been considered to be negligible. In Appendix A we show that the possibility of an accidental coincidence can be ruled out. We therefore suggest that a planetary modulation of the solar activity does take place on multidecadal to centennial time scales.

The authors note that current solar dynamo models are unable to explain the periodicities in solar activity such as the 88 year (Gleissberg), 104 year, 150 year, 208 year (de Vries), 506 year, 1000 year (Eddy) and 2200 year (Halstatt) cycles. They adopted a different view by regarding the planets and the solar dynamo as two weakly coupled non-linear systems.

The idea that planetary motions may influence solar activity seems to have been initiated by Rudolf Wolf in the 1850s. While energy considerations clearly show that the planets cannot be the direct cause of solar activity, they may perturb the solar dynamo.

Specifically, the authors calculated planetary torque at the tachocline. The tachocline of the sun is a shear layer which represents a sharp transition between two distinct rotational regimes: the differentially rotating convection zone and the almost rigidly rotating radiative interior. The tachocline plays a fundamental role in the generation and storage of the toroidal magnetic flux that eventually gives rise to solar active regions. A net tidal torque is exerted in a small region close to the tachocline due to the buoyancy frequency originating from the convection zone matching the tidal period. The tachocline is thought to be non-spherical – either prolate (watermelon-shaped) or oblate (pumpkin-shaped). The authors’ model describes planetary torques acting on a non-spherical solar tachocline.

Figure 5 from the paper shows the 10Be record, shown as modulation potential, and planetary torque in the frequency domain:

clip_image002

Figure 5: Comparison between solar activity and planetary torque in the frequency domain.

Panel a is the Fourier spectrum of the solar activity quantified by the solar modulation potential. Panel b is the Fourier spectrum of the annually averaged torque modulus. The spectra display significant peaks with very similar periodicities: The 88 year Gleissberg and the 208 year de Vries cycles are the most prominent, but periodicities around 104 years, 150 years, and 506 years are also seen.

The match between theory and the physical evidence is very, very good. As the authors put it,”there is highly statistically significant evidence for a causal relationship between the power spectra of the planetary torque on the Sun and the observed magnetic activity at the solar surface as derived from cosmogenic radionuclides.”

They also advance a plausible mechanism which is that the tachocline, playing a key role in the solar dynamo process, is a layer of strong shear which coincides more or less with the layer of overshooting convection at the bottom of the convection zone. The overshoot layer is thought to be crucial for the storage and amplification of the magnetic flux tubes that eventually erupt at the solar photosphere to form active regions. Small variations in the stratification of the overshoot zone “of about -10-4 may decide whether a flux tube becomes unstable at 2·10-4 G or at 10-5 G. This makes a great difference, because flux tubes that do not reach a strength close to 10-5 G before entering the convection zone cannot reach the solar surface as a coherent structure and therefore cannot form sunspots.” This sounds like an explanation for the Livingstone and Penn effect of fading sunspots.

Figure A.1 from the paper also shows the very good correlation between cosmogenic radionuclides from the period 300-9400 years BP and the model output:

clip_image004

Top panel: 10Be from the GRIP ice core in Greenland
Upper middle panel: 14C production rate derived from the INTCAL09 record
Lower middle panel: solar modulation record based on 10Be records from GRIP
(Greenland) and Dronning Maud Land (Antarctica) and the 14C production rate
Bottom panel: Calculated torque based on planetary positions

If planetary torque modulates solar activity, does solar activity in turn modulate the earth’s climate? Let’s have a look at what the 10Be record is telling us. This is the Dye 3 record from Greenland:

image

All the cold periods of the last six hundred years are associated with spikes in 10Be and thus low solar activity. What is also telling is that the break-over to the Modern Warm Period is associated with much lower radionuclide levels. There is a solar mechanism that explains the warming of the 20th Century. It is also seen in the Central England Temperature record as shown in the following figure:

image

Conclusion

This paper is a major advance in our understanding of how solar activity is modulated and in turn its effect on the earth’s climate. It can be expected that planetary torque will progress to being useful as a tool for climate prediction – for several hundred years ahead.

Reference

J.A. Abreu, J. Beer, A. Ferriz-Mas, K.G. McCracken, and F. Steinhilber, Is there a planetary influence on solar activity?” Astronomy and Astrophysics, October 22, 2012

Thanks to Geoff Sharp, the full paper can be downloaded from here.

(Note: This post was edited for title, form, and some content by Anthony Watts prior to publishing)
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temp

But… but but the sun doesn’t effect the earth weather or climate useless research is useless.

There is some preliminary discussion about this paper from last month here.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/j-a-abreu-et-al-is-there-a-planetary-influence-on-solar-activity/

What about a outside influence that synced both over time. Pulsar, binary star…

pat

I have to admit, I had not given this hypothesis any credit what so ever. I suspect a few astrophysicists are now walking around campuses knocking on the doors of Archeology and Meteorology Departments to see if they can come up with a coincidental weather pattern.

By the way, Astronomy and Astrophysics made the paper freely available themselves here:
http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/forth/aa19997-12.pdf

Geoff Sharp’s work gets a mention in this very informative and easy to read paper by an actuary who has been doing some intensive cross-disciplinary research…
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/brent-walker-extra-terrestrial-influences-on-natures-risks/
This covers some of the solar-planetary theory and much else of interest besides.

What did I tell you7

noaaprogrammer

Leif? Comments?

Pamela Gray

I believe that tidal influence has been known. But do these influences change any other solar metric outside of variation noise? That is the question even CO2 enthusiasts deal with. And so far, all these external and anthropogenic influences do not rise above intrinsic natural variation noise.

One may wonder how effective peer-review of this paper has been. “Received 17 Mai 2011 Accepted 17 Mai 2011”. Usually, such instant acceptance is reserved for climate papers from the “Team”.

Jim G

In the 1980’s -90’s it was theorized that solar, lunar and planetary gravitational effects influenced earth’s volcanic activity and subsequently climate. Dr. Iben Browning was a noted supporter of this idea and predicted global cooling as a result.

RockyRoad

So low solar activity causes the climate to cool. Who woulda thunk?

Bloke down the pub

Does that mean I can sell my warm coat or do I need to look out my fur-lined walking stick?

Hoser

Rubbish. They are finding coincidence. Too many peaks, and amplitudes mismatch. Correlation doesn’t prove causation.
If you believe the interpretation, make a prediction. Try to get the right phases to go with the amplitudes. Unfortunately, it will take years to get results, just need to keep up the funding….

J Martin

If they got such a good match then weren’t they just a little bit curious to extend it forward in time ?
204 years ago we had the Dalton, and 500 years ago the Maunder was about to get into its stride. The next few years might be interesting. Presumably the authors felt that we wouldn’t be interested, or perhaps they thought that it would be better if we didn’t know.
Oh, I know why they didn’t, co2 has already saved us.

tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
Geoff Sharp’s work gets a mention in this very informative and easy to read paper
If the Abreu torque-mechanism is working, Geoff’s Angular Momentum [AM] ideas are moot. The AM ‘mechanism’ would not have worked anyway because the Sun is in free fall.

J Martin

My sarc tags disappeared, guess I can’t use ><
/sarc Oh, I know why they didn’t, co2 has already saved us. /sarc

It’s clear the solar specialists do not know what the H they’re talking about.

rgbatduke

I like the fact that this paper connects (at least arguably) plausible physical mechanisms to observations. What it is basically saying is that things that happen within the thin shell of the thermocline — in particular the formation of defects, convective rolls — are the proximate cause of surface solar activity. Defects that form there nucleate magnetic flux tubes that much later emerge as sunspots and solar surface magnetic activity. Even small degrees of modulation of the nucleation process can make big differences at the surface, just as only micro-droplets of water nucleated around particles or aerosols reach the critical size necessary to grow into actual clouds or raindrops.
In the case of rain, it is surface to volume plus some surface chemistry that largely determines the success of the process initially, but tiny modulation in terms of aerosol concentration makes a big difference in the probability of cloud formation because there are strong positive feedbacks once a cloud reaches the point where it starts reflecting sunlight and differentially cooling the interior and lower layers.
Two things I would like explained in more detail before I completely buy the argument, though, are:
* The forces/torques involved are very, very small — I would like to see some sort of numerical magnetohydrodynamic computation that made plausible assumptions about the viscosity, density, lapse rate and UNinfluenced nucleation process (plausible enough to reproduce at least approximately observed surface phenomena) that, when the very weak planetary tidal torque was turned on altered the flux-tube nucleation rate as is asserted by the paper. Or COULD alter it, for some not unreasonable values of the parameters, across the critical boundary where the grow if the tidal forces are large, fail to grow if they are small. It’s one thing to say “this could be happening”; another to say “when we solve the equations of motion for a plausible model system, we observe that this happens”.
Lacking this, their argument is much weaker.
* I find myself vaguely disturbed by the fourier transforms above. Figure 5 is reasonably plausible — note well that the solar proxy peaks are broad and smeared out, with the long period peaks being much broader than the short period peaks and with a lot of undifferentiated “noise” in the short period high frequency domain. This can be understood very simply — the dataset being fourier transformed has a finite length, a length commensurate with (within an order of magnitude or so) the longest period peak displayed. Consequently those long period peaks are poorly represented in the sample, and the peaks are broad and accompanied by peaks that might well be entirely spurious, artifacts of the length of the dataset and the accidental noise. Basically, the fourier transform itself has artifacts that correspond to (inverse) Gibbs phenomena arising from the de facto decomposition of a Heaviside function representing the length of the data set, which broadens the longer period peaks and introduces irrelevant shorter period peaks both.
The shorter period peaks have many more periods in the integral and hence are much narrower, although they are quite reasonably accompanied by a lot of short period noise because the Sun is a chaotic turbulent magnetohydrodynamic system and probably has internal e.g. breathing mode oscillations with a variety of frequencies that also modulate the phenomenon (if the hypothesis is correct, that small variations in the thermocline can and do produce macroscopically resolvable differences in surface output).
Figure b is similar. Obviously they did a F.T. on the same interval as used in a) so that the peak at e.g. 506 years is similarly broad even though one would rather expect it to be quite sharp given that one is simply doing a fourier decomposition of the vector sum of a set of completely determined torques due to the periodic planetary orbits. If they’d done the F. T. on a much longer time interval (as they easily could have) one would expect the 506 year peak to be much sharper. This also explains why the widths of the 88 year peaks etc scale pretty well between a) and b), and shows that their hypothesis has a very hard time accounting for the largest peaks in the Be proxy in the broad zone between 200 and 500 years. Nor can these peaks in a) be easily explained away as Heaviside/Gibbs artifacts, as the artifacts would be expected to appear in figure b) as well.
Again, perhaps these correspond to breathing mode oscillations, the sun’s internal furnace “chuffing” a bit due to some sort of resonance between gravitational force, fusion rate, and thermal expansion (a feedback loop where the sun contracts slightly, increasing the efficiency of the core fusion process, which heats the core a bit more, which then takes a long time to propagate to the thermocline, which expands the thermocline a bit, which decompresses the furnace so that its output cools/decreases a bit, which propagates outward to cause the thermocline to contract a bit, which recompresses the core a bit, resulting in a wave train of small modulations in output due to coupled breathing mode oscillations of solar density in the “critical” domain of the thermocline). Again, it would be lovely to see a model that reproduces this sort of coupled nonlinear phenomenon even qualitatively.
So figure 5 is moderately convincing. The short period peaks line up very nicely with peaks in Be production, there is at least a peak at 508 years in both (along with a lot of unexplained structure in between), and yes, it could be true that small forces drive relatively big changes if there is any possibility of resonance, where 5a actually provides some evidence of undriven resonances as it is.
What I don’t like so much is figure A.1. To be frank, it looks impossible. The peaks are far too sharp, far too localized, and utterly inconsistent with figure 5. The interval of integration is only around 20x the size of the longest period and yet the 508 year peak is sharp as an arrow in the radionucleotide data. If anything, the SHORT period peaks have widths. I would have rather expected this figure to look a lot more like 5 for all of the proxies, even if they did the FT of the torque over a long enough interval to sharpen up the long period peak(s). This F.T. looks more like a quantum spectrum, where there is actual physics prohibiting most of the possible frequences in the temporal signal, not the FT of a chaotic, noisy process.
Where is all of the noise?
To conclude — it convinces me that planetary tides are a plausible physical mechanism for modulation of the magnetic state, one that is empirically correlated with proxy derived data. Some of the data expressing the correspondence is “reasonable”; other data is rather puzzling although they may have some explanation for it and my intuition of the wrong shape and lack of noise of the FT on a 20x interval in multiple proxies may be wrong. Finally, this is probably not the only important factor — note the other peaks in figure 5 — and the entire argument would be greatly strengthened by even a crude model calculation that can reproduce the result qualitatively and demonstrate that small torques are indeed “capable” of producing the large modulations observed via nucleation and growth in an actual magnetohydrodynamic convective model of the Sun.
rgb

Bart

In many discussions with planetary perturbation advocates on these pages, especially involving Nicola Scafetta who no doubt will be making an appearance in 5, 4, 3… ;-), I have agreed that there could possibly be a link due to gravitational gradients, but that I doubt the argument can be made compelling enough for widespread acceptance.
I will also go out on the limb a little and make a perhaps novel suggestion that causation could be the reverse – that solar activity, resulting in increased solar radiation pressure, might perturb planetary orbits. Satellites at geosynchronous orbit drift significantly due to this factor, as well as due to gravitational perturbations from the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and their orbits have to be periodically corrected via stationkeeping maneuvers to maintain position. If solar radiation pressure were the primary driver of the correlations between solar activity and planetary motion, it might explain stochastic variation in the phases and amplitudes of the cycles.
In any case, the bottom line is that the cycles exist regardless of the mechanism. The warmist line is that the existence of such cycles must depend on some kind of unknown, and unlikely, deterministic driver, and those pointing to coincidence with planetary cycles are ceding the high ground in the battle to the opposition by accepting this premise. But, the premise is flawed. The danger is that the advocates of planetary influence may find evidence which proves the naysayers wrong, but they may not, and the naysayers will then claim that the hypothesis is disproved when, in fact, the hypothesis of natural cyclical climate behavior does NOT depend on the existence of a deterministic external driver.
Oscillations in natural systems depend only on the ability to store energy in alternating states, e.g., potential to kinetic, and back again. Such oscillations arise frequently and naturally in systems which are governed by partial differential equations on a bounded domain, and can be continuously excited by purely random forcing. Such oscillations are ubiquitous in nature.
The oscillations exist, and we are at the peak of an approximately 60-65 year cycle in the global temperature metric right now. The entire AGW scare was mounted on the back of the preceding upsweep in that cycle, and it is going to fail on the imminent downsweep.

Central to the torque mechanism is that the solar dynamo is working in the overshoot layer just beneath the tachocline. BTW, Abreu et al. accepts that a dynamo is creating the solar cycle.
Central to many dynamo mechanisms is a shear layer across which the solar rotation speed changes. There is such a layer at the tachocline [that is what defines the tachocline which is about 30% of the solar radius below the photosphere]. Another important ingredient is a Meridional circulation that recycle surface magnetic flux back into the interior where it can be amplified for the next cycle. This is the idea of the ‘conveyor belt’. Modern observations seem to indicate that there is no such single large conveyor belt. There is a shallow belt just under the surface where, BTW, there is also a shear layer, so dynamo models may be moving to a shallow dynamo rather than the deep one needed for the torque mechanism to work.

sailboarder

Hoser says:
“Rubbish. They are finding coincidence. Too many peaks, and amplitudes mismatch. Correlation doesn’t prove causation. ”
I read that they developed a theory and a model. and then tested it against the real world data. That in their opinion, is validation of their theory and model. Just where did you get your “coincidence” concept from? Maybe I missed it, please advise.

Kev-in-Uk

To me the title of the paper seems somewhat rhetorical IMHO.
Simply put, if gravity is real (which, of course, it is) – the planetary gravitational exchanges and combinations via elliptical orbits MUST have a corresponding change on the gravitational forces experienced by the sun and its surface (if we are simply considering sunspots for example).
Irrespective of the actual suns ‘burning’ processes – simple logic dictates that if its ‘surface’ is subjected to an external variation in gravity – it must likely affect the way that that ‘surface’ emits its radiation/plasma, etc, etc. The gravitational ‘impacts’ will presumably also affect the magnetic fluxes and so on. Perhaps, the gravitational effects of planetary motions can also affect the ‘spin’ of the sun or some of its component parts (does it have a rotating core?), e.g slowing them down or speeding them up.
Following this through, it is quite obvious that the summary solar output/activity WILL almost certainly be affected in some way by planetary gravitational effects (irrespective of what those effects actually are!). I suppose the argument is then about how much of an effect these gravitational changes are on the (largely unknown?) actual internal processes of the suns ‘workings’.
We know that lunar influences cause tides on earth, what’s to say that ‘jovian’ influences don’t have a similar effect on the actual gas/plasma ‘surface’ of the sun? – albeit on a much ‘longer’ timescale (perhaps a bad analogy, but readily understood I think).
Thence, it is a simple deduction to conclude that if the suns output can vary (for whatever reason) and that solar energy is primarily what drives our climate – then logically, changes in solar output can and will likely result in a change to our climate. (I do largely subscribe to the ‘it’s the sun stupid’ meme, because, in the end, even if TSI only varies by 1% – 1% of a lot of energy, is still a signifcant amount! My secondary view is that earth’s biosphere and atmosphere has the ability of adjusting to such solar changes amidst all its complexity, and thus perhaps to mitigate such minor solar effects)
If gravitational forces are also considered as able to cause an effect on the space betwixt sun and earth and indeed affect the earth itself, altering its magnetosphere/heliosphere, etc – then this is another ‘influence’ of planetary motions which can change the actual solar ‘input’ reaching earth?

Doug Proctor

The Central England Dye temperature graph: if the datapoints were coloured to show decade or greater, you might see an unexpected pattern that indicates time as an important factor, that is, something that is time-related.

TRM

Nice theory and observation, now how about some predictions! Yes it will take time to see but we have lots of time.

DAV

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 9:42 am
One may wonder how effective peer-review of this paper has been. “Received 17 Mai 2011 Accepted 17 Mai 2011″. Usually, such instant acceptance is reserved for climate papers from the “Team”.

Not to mention they reference a 2012 paper presumably prior to 17 Mai 2011:
Steinhilber, F., Abreu, J. A., Beer, J., et al. 2012, PNAS, 109, 5967

CRS, Dr.P.H.

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:04 am
The AM ‘mechanism’ would not have worked anyway because the Sun is in free fall.

Thank you for this, Leif, it is a critical distinction to make.
I’ve never found planetary tidal arguments very plausible, you’ve always enlightened us on the facts.

Bart says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:13 am
I will also go out on the limb a little and make a perhaps novel suggestion that causation could be the reverse – that solar activity, resulting in increased solar radiation pressure, might perturb planetary orbits.
That limb is very thin. Solar radiation pressure does have an effect on minute dust particles [basically cleans them out], but is MUCH to week to have any influence on planets or even comets. It was once speculated that radiation pressure was the cause of comet tails pointing away from the Sun. Both theory and the discovery of the real mechanism [the solar wind] showed that radiation pressure was not effective.
Kev-in-Uk says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:21 am
changes in solar output can and will likely result in a change to our climate. (I do largely subscribe to the ‘it’s the sun stupid’ meme, because, in the end, even if TSI only varies by 1% – 1% of a lot of energy
Such changes do occur and do affect the temperature of the order or 0.1 degree. TSI does not vary 1%, but only about 0.1%, ten times less. All the other solar variations involve a lot less energy than TSI, so have a harder time in being effective.

DAV says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:40 am
“One may wonder how effective peer-review of this paper has been. “Received 17 Mai 2011 Accepted 17 Mai 2011″. Usually, such instant acceptance is reserved for climate papers from the “Team”.”
Not to mention they reference a 2012 paper presumably prior to 17 Mai 2011:
Steinhilber, F., Abreu, J. A., Beer, J., et al. 2012, PNAS, 109, 5967

It is not unusual that such references be added during the actual publication copy-editing.
But it does not seem plausible that the paper could be submitted and reviewed and accepted on the same day. The authors’ even say in the acknowledgement session that “We would like to thank the anonymous referee for valuable and constructive suggestions”, indicating that a referee was also involved. The date of ‘May 2011’ is also interesting, because they submitted their paper to Nature [where it was rejected by several referees for a variety of reasons] in July of 2011. Something is not quite right. Even if the year 2011 is wrong, that still makes the acceptance implausibly quick.

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:14 am
dynamo models may be moving to a shallow dynamo rather than the deep one needed for the torque mechanism to work.

Breaking news: Leif Svalgaard throws fifty years of mainstream solar physics under the bus in order to keep the solar-planetary theory at bay.

Dan in Nevada

This is pretty interesting. To the extent this pans out it would appear to bolster Svensmark’s GCR cloud hypothesis if I’m understanding correctly. Leif pointed out the extent to which this would be a “butterfly effect” if true (my paraphrase, apologies if I misunderstood). It’s kind of mind-boggling to imagine planetary influences contributing to perturbations in the sun’s output, which in turn influence temperature and climate on those planets.

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:48 am
TSI does not vary 1%, but only about 0.1%, ten times less. All the other solar variations involve a lot less energy than TSI, so have a harder time in being effective.

Earth’s average surface temperature has only increased around 0.5% since the end of the little ice age. The increase in solar activity and TSI over the same period could easily account for global warming, because the ocean builds up, retains and dissipates heat on centennial timescales as Leif himself pointed out recently.
The other solar variations affect upper atmospheric chemistry in poorly understood ways, and may have an effect well beyond the variation of their energies in raw W/m^2 terms.

Kev-in-Uk

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:48 am
re your comment – I fully accept that may well be the case. However, we still have a large number of Earth events to ‘explain’ – e.g. Ice Ages, etc. It is not logical to consider that in a ‘generically’ static climate system (over periods of millenia, say) relatively sudden changes occur to cause things like Ice Ages, WITHOUT some form of external influence. As I said, given that the biosphere and climate is primarily driven by solar energy – it would logically follow that such events may be derived as a result of changes in solar activity. The issue then becomes – is it possible for solar activity to change significantly, and along with other changes, (such as biospheric derived albedo changes)? – could this lead to sufficient loss of incoming solar energy to result in Ice Ages?
Whether its a direct cause and effect issue is of course, difficult to derive without clear mechanisms and feedbakc effects, etc – but the summary idea that solar changes do occur would suggest these will most likely be the prime ‘initiator’ of major climatic changes…..

CRS, Dr.P.H. says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:42 am
Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:04 am
The AM ‘mechanism’ would not have worked anyway because the Sun is in free fall.
Thank you for this, Leif, it is a critical distinction to make.
I’ve never found planetary tidal arguments very plausible, you’ve always enlightened us on the facts.

The Sun is not in perfect freefall because of the quadrupolar moments which arise due to it’s irregular shape. However, The hybrid Tidal-Torque theory of Ian Wilson and Abreu et al seems to be ascendant at the moment. Mechanism is ultimately important, but we shouldn’t let consideration of it over-ride the quality of the correlations on display in this paper.
Plenty of scientific theories are well developed and of practical use long before mechanism is finally satisfactorily explained.

richardscourtney

Friends:
I agree the excellent review – with all its doubts and caveats – of rgbatduke at November 10, 2012 at 10:13 am, and I commend everyone to read all of it.
However, I am concerned by the observation of Leif Svalgaard at November 10, 2012 at 9:42 am which says

One may wonder how effective peer-review of this paper has been. “Received 17 Mai 2011 Accepted 17 Mai 2011″. Usually, such instant acceptance is reserved for climate papers from the “Team”.

And the addendum to it from DAV at November 10, 2012 at 10:40 am which says

Not to mention they reference a 2012 paper presumably prior to 17 Mai 2011:
Steinhilber, F., Abreu, J. A., Beer, J., et al. 2012, PNAS, 109, 5967

These observations imply there may have been an ‘agenda’ for rushing publication. And history indicates that such ‘rushed’ publications often contain significant – but not immediately obvious – flaws.
Richard

tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:01 am
Breaking news: Leif Svalgaard throws fifty years of mainstream solar physics under the bus in order to keep the solar-planetary theory at bay.
One might have hoped that the discussion could be on a scientific and civil level, but apparently that is not going to happen.
The ‘conveyor belt’ goes under the bus because of recent observations of the Meridional Circulation, so theories depending on a deep circulation go under the bus as well. And theories that depend on a torque on the tachocline as well.
tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:14 am
Earth’s average surface temperature has only increased around 0.5% since the end of the little ice age. The increase in solar activity and TSI over the same period could easily account for global warming
A 0.5% increase in temperature requires a four times as large increase in TSI, 2%, and that has not happened.
Kev-in-Uk says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:14 am
However, we still have a large number of Earth events to ‘explain’ – e.g. Ice Ages, etc
Ice Ages are not caused by solar activity, but by changes in the Earth’s orbit, mainly caused by Jupiter, so in a sense planets do control the climate.
tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:19 am
The Sun is not in perfect freefall because of the quadrupolar moments which arise due to it’s irregular shape.
The quadrupole moment is exceedingly small and does not make the sun deviate from free fall. An astronaut in orbit has a very irregular shape and is still in free fall.
but we shouldn’t let consideration of it over-ride the quality of the correlations on display in this paper.
Correlations are just that

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 9:42 am
One may wonder how effective peer-review of this paper has been. “Received 17 Mai 2011 Accepted 17 Mai 2011″. Usually, such instant acceptance is reserved for climate papers from the “Team”.

Different journals work in different ways. It might have been accepted in May 2011 on submission, but it wasn’t published until October 2012. Plenty of time for peer review and suggested alterations and various to-ing and fro-ing. Those of us who have been aware of the progress of this paper throughout that time know how rigorously it has been vetted prior to publication.

richardscourtney says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:35 am
And the addendum to it from DAV at November 10, 2012 at 10:40 am which says
Not to mention they reference a 2012 paper presumably prior to 17 Mai 2011:
Steinhilber, F., Abreu, J. A., Beer, J., et al. 2012, PNAS, 109, 5967
These observations imply there may have been an ‘agenda’ for rushing publication.

On the contrary it indicates there has been a year and a half long process of re-iteration culminating in successful publication in October 2012.
17 months between submission and publication hardly looks like an
“‘agenda’ for rushing publication”

Hoser

Ed_B says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

I backed up my position by asking for a prediction. My opinion is the proposed mechanism is rubbish, and the results are simply coincidence. Just because you happen to get a correlation, it doesn’t mean you have anything understood or otherwise of value. Show us the beef by making predictions. I’ve seen plenty of data having been a lab rat for over 25 years. After a while, you develop a BS detector. I now deal with billions of DB records, building analysis tools. Data management and analysis is the rate limiting step in many fields of science these days.
From the paper, it is hard to have confidence in the statistical analysis performed to support their conclusions. They mention ‘monte carlo tests’ and tell us “the probablilty of finding the same five spectral lines by chance is is about 10^-7 to 10^-11”. They don’t tell us how these numbers are calculated, perhaps something like: make 4 to 25 year bins across the 600 year period, and see if 5 peaks randomly fall into them, so (25/600)^5 = 1.3×10^-7 and (4/600)^5 = 1.3×10^-11. Wow, I’m impressed. We already expect the solar activity represented by Φ to correlate with cosmogenic 14C and 10Be. If one fourier analysis matches the torque produced by the planets, they all will.
What wasn’t tested was whether the observed real data can be matched by different sets of hypothetical planets producing different torques. Looking at Fig 5, it seems likely a set of five peaks will line up easily. Furthermore, although the amplitudes are shown, do the phases match? That is critically important for the analysis. And will the results hold up for longer than the 9400 year period studied? Will it work with cosmogenic 26Al?
Until questions like these are answered, I’m going to remain very skeptical.

tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:46 am
Different journals work in different ways. It might have been accepted in May 2011 on submission, but it wasn’t published until October 2012.
No papers are ‘accepted on submission’.

phlogiston

They adopted a different view by regarding the planets and the solar dynamo as two weakly coupled non-linear systems.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9: 2

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Dear Moderators:
Title error: Is there is a…
Freudian slippage, thinking about a statement instead of a question?
[Thanks, fixed. — mod.]

The paper by Abreu et al. is surely interesting and important.
The only complain is that they do not reference most of the litterature on the issue that has already found related and similar resuts (eg the works of Charvatova, Landscheidt, Fairbridge etc.).
More issues are discussed in my two papers
1) Scafetta N., 2012. Does the Sun work as a nuclear fusion amplifier of planetary tidal forcing? A proposal for a physical mechanism based on the mass-luminosity relation. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 81-82, 27-40.
2) Scafetta N., 2012. Multi-scale harmonic model for solar and climate cyclical variation throughout the Holocene based on Jupiter-Saturn tidal frequencies plus the 11-year solar dynamo cycle. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 80, 296-311.
In particular in (2) I study explicitly Steinhilber TSI proxy model (fig. 4B) and as well as other solar proxy models (Bard, Bond) and paleoclimatic records during the holocene.
About Steinhilber TSI proxy model I noted the same major cycles (e.g. ~87 yr and ~207 yr) which in Ref. (1) and they are associated to the Jupiter/Saturn/Uranus system. As I write inmy papers, it is easy to get these cycles:
 ~60 year is the great conjunction cycle of Jupiter and Saturn (which is made of three J/S conjunction periods);  ~85-year is the 1/7 resonance of Jupiter and Uranus; and  ~205 year is the beat resonance between the 60-year and the 85-year cycles.
The physical issue remains the same and not addressed in the paper. The tides are too weak to influence solar dynamo. The only way the mechanism may work is through a solar nuclear fusion amplification mechanism, which is actually calculated in my paper (1) above. The things work well.
And in my paper I built the major solar cycles from the 11-year to the millennial oscillation.
Hoping that Anthony realizes that Leif’s comments are based only on his prejudices, not on real science, and his past behavior is highly unprofessional. As all solar scientists who reject the planetary theory of solar variation, Leif too has no idea of what causes the solar dynamics to behave as it behaves, beginning with the origin of the 11-year solar cycle.
Only the planetary theory of solar variation has the potentiality to explain solar dynamics, and also climate change as argued in my papers.

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:45 am
The ‘conveyor belt’ goes under the bus because of recent observations of the Meridional Circulation, so theories depending on a deep circulation go under the bus as well.

Fine with me. It’s bout tie we hd a fundamental paradigm shift in solar physics.
So, what have you got to offer us in the way of a “well grounded in solid physics” shallow dynamo theory? Who has been publishing a broad overview we can read?
tallbloke says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:14 am
Earth’s average surface temperature has only increased around 0.5% since the end of the little ice age. The increase in solar activity and TSI over the same period could easily account for global warming
Leif responds:
A 0.5% increase in temperature requires a four times as large increase in TSI, 2%, and that has not happened.

The answer to this apparent conundrum was already published in JGR several years ago.
http://sciencebits.com/calorimeter

Bart

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:48 am
That limb is very thin.
I do not claim it isn’t.
“Solar radiation pressure does have an effect on minute dust particles [basically cleans them out], but is MUCH [too weak] to have any influence on planets or even comets. It was once speculated that radiation pressure was the cause of comet tails pointing away from the Sun. Both theory and the discovery of the real mechanism [the solar wind] showed that radiation pressure was not effective.”
Solar radiation momentum flux is up to three orders of magnitude greater than that of the solar wind. I agree it appears a stretch that, e.g., the orbit of Jupiter could be significantly affected as the flux density falls off as 1/R^2 but, on the other hand, Jupiter presents a LOT of area to intercept the momentum flux. I have not done any calculations, and so can only speculate that it might prove significant. It does have a very significant effect on Earth-bound satellites, so I would not blithely discount the possibility.
Comet tails require a differential force, which results from ionization and magnetism. As the solar radiation pressure is largely uniform in the neighborhood of the comet, it cannot do that job. But, that does not mean it does not have a significant effect on the orbit of the overall mass.

Hoser says:
November 10, 2012 at 11:55 am
Ed_B says:
November 10, 2012 at 10:19 am
I backed up my position by asking for a prediction.

And because the authors didn’t comply with your demands within 15 minutes:
My opinion is the proposed mechanism is rubbish, and the results are simply coincidence.
Your opinion is noted, even though I think it’s rubbish. 😉
What wasn’t tested was whether the observed real data can be matched by different sets of hypothetical planets producing different torques. Looking at Fig 5, it seems likely a set of five peaks will line up easily.
Seems likely? Is this a scientific approach? Maybe if you want to rebut what these scientists have successfully published, you need to do this test yourself and present the results. At the moment, they are the ones with a published result, and you are standing around waving your arms while you badmouth them.

With Dr RGB and Dr. LS both around, perhaps it might be wise to stay on the sidelines….er, for time being, unless I hear …. or could be this a polite prompt for rgbatduke .

Martin Lewitt

No extended body is in “free fall” under general relativity (even a human is a space suit), however this paper is only using Newtonian tidal quadrature effects. Has anyone figured out what this projects for the Sun’s immediate future, a Dalton or Maunder type minimum?

Carsten Arnholm, Norway

Re Figure A.1: It isn’t “Drowning Maud Land” unless you believe the Antarctica is melting. The name is “Dronning Maud Land”, which is Norwegian for “Queen Maud Land”.
Reply: Fixed. Thanks. -ModE

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From tallbloke on November 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm:

Maybe if you want to rebut what these scientists have successfully published, you need to do this test yourself and present the results. At the moment, they are the ones with a published result, and you are standing around waving your arms while you badmouth them.

Ah, if I had a nickel for every time a minion of the (C)AGW-pushers said that to climate skeptics, whether it was a published paper by Hansen, Menne, Mann… “If you have any proof then write up a paper and submit it for peer-review! Until you do and it gets published, you got nothing! You’re just harassing honest scientists who did great work and got published!”
I await the claims of Leif and his cronies being paid shills of Big Solar…