MSM finally gets that the sun's magnetic field has flipped

While we’ve known about this for quite some time at WUWT, going back to August 2013, the story is now starting to make the rounds in the MSM.

And, NASA has created a cool visualization of the event. Video follows. From the NASA video description:

This visualization shows the position of the sun’s magnetic fields from January 1997 to December 2013. The field lines swarm with activity: The magenta lines show where the sun’s overall field is negative and the green lines show where it is positive. A region with more electrons is negative, the region with less is labeled positive. Additional gray lines represent areas of local magnetic variation.

The entire sun’s magnetic polarity, flips approximately every 11 years — though sometimes it takes quite a bit longer — and defines what’s known as the solar cycle. The visualization shows how in 1997, the sun shows the positive polarity on the top, and the negative polarity on the bottom. Over the next 12 years, each set of lines is seen to creep toward the opposite pole eventually showing a complete flip. By the end of the movie, each set of lines are working their way back to show a positive polarity on the top to complete the full 22 year magnetic solar cycle.

At the height of each magnetic flip, the sun goes through periods of more solar activity, during which there are more sunspots, and more eruptive events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The point in time with the most sunspots is called solar maximum.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/PFSS

The WUWT solar reference page has this revealing plot from Dr. Leif Svalgaard:

Solar Polar Fields – Mt. Wilson and Wilcox Combined -1966 to Present

Leif Svalgaard – Click the pic to view at source
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Malcolm Miller

I don’t think that the MSM gives a stuff, unless there’s money in it. Alarm stories get the readers; all else is simply padding.

Jim Hodgen

But we’ve been assured by East Anglia and Trenberth that there are no Global-temperature-relevant parameters that are sun related. How can this be? /sarc-off

They haven’t found a way to blame humankind for the sun’s magnetic field flipping, or I’m sure it would be big news, demanding much funding, taxing and cut-backs (for us, of course). Too bad it couldn’t be caused by global warming… although someone somewhere is probably working on the idea.

Bob Weber

Questions for a solar scientist: does the sun’s magnetic flip change TSI any? Do TSI measurements integrate all solar outputs including flares, CMEs, filament eruptions, coronal hole emissions and subsequent electron & proton (solar wind) increases and lump them into this sole parameter? Is TSI an averaged number like SSN or 5-year running temperature averages? If so, what period of time over which TSI is averaged/smoothed?

Bob Weber

Last question was supposed to be: If it is, over what period of time is TSI averaged/smoothed?

Louis

“By the end of the movie, each set of lines are working their way back to show a positive polarity on the top…”
When the movie ends, the positive polarity (green) is still on the bottom. Does the movie cut off too soon, or am I missing something?
The movie starts with green on top and then switches to green on bottom around the year 2000. It then moves around a bit, but stays on the bottom until the end of the movie. What am I missing?

MattN

Sure did take a long time to flip this time. 13-14 years.

Detailed position of the amplitude of polar field (updatred regularly) here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PF.htm

What was wrong with using the standardized color for magnetic polarity? Red = Positive and Blue = Negative. Just saying!
It looks like 15 years of data was modeled for the animation, which suggests there is 7 years left of this solar cycle, putting solar minimum at 2020-2021, which seems just a bit to long.
Louis says:
December 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm
The movie starts with green on top and then switches to green on bottom around the year 2000. It then moves around a bit, but stays on the bottom until the end of the movie. What am I missing?”
When the video begins the positive magnetic polarity (green) is on top and the negative magnetic polarity (pink/purple) is on the bottom, this is also solar minimum, When the magnetic polarities reach the suns equator this is when the solar maximum occurs. The end of the video shows the current solar maximum.

RoHa

I’m sure this means were doomed.

AJB

Slow news day. That NASA vid was uploaded on the 5th of December. Gotta decorate fish and chip wrappers with something.

When magnetic field reversals are mentioned, term is often associated with the Earth’s magnetic field reversals. Fortunately, such events are rare (average 200-300 k years) and are far more sedate affairs :

Last reversal occurred more then 41 k years ago during the last ice age, it is known as the Laschamp event.
In the last 2-3 decades some more ‘rapid ‘ changes are observed; currently (2010) most of the Earth’s magnetic flux emanates from the Eastern Hemisphere:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GMFd.gif
Is this sign of another impending reversal?
Difficult to say, but for a statistician (which I am not) most likely not.

Mario Lento

Sparks says:
December 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm
What was wrong with using the standardized color for magnetic polarity? Red = Positive and Blue = Negative. Just saying!
++++++++++++++
It’s Christmas time… you know, green and red? Otherwise it’s Fesitvus for the Rest of Us.

Mario Lento

To my untrained eyes, it looks like the poles completed the flip around 2010… and then start edging towards the next cycle soon thereafter.

Carla

Bob Weber says:
December 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm
————-
The following article is not the answers to your questions but does have some relevant information, that you may find useful.
For all of us actually..
And Dr. S., found some newer articles that may make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Call Vera in for back up to smooth them back down. lol So, be prepared.. And Vuks you may be rather surprised or not?
WEAKEST SOLAR WIND OF THE SPACE AGE AND THE CURRENT “MINI” SOLAR MAXIMUM
D. J. McComas et al. 2013 ApJ
The last solar minimum, which extended into 2009, was especially deep and prolonged. Since then, sunspot activity has gone through a very small peak while the heliospheric current sheet achieved large tilt angles similar to prior solar maxima. The solar wind fluid properties and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) have declined through the prolonged solar minimum and continued to be low through the current mini solar maximum. Compared to values typically observed from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s, the following proton parameters are lower on average from 2009 through day 79 of 2013: solar wind speed and beta (~11%), temperature (~40%), thermal pressure (~55%), mass flux (~34%), momentum flux or dynamic pressure (~41%), energy flux (~48%), IMF magnitude (~31%), and radial component of the IMF (~38%). These results have important implications for the solar wind’s interaction with planetary magnetospheres and the heliosphere’s interaction with the local interstellar medium, with the proton dynamic pressure remaining near the lowest values observed in the space age: ~1.4 nPa, compared to ~2.4 nPa typically observed from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s. The combination of lower magnetic flux emergence from the Sun (carried out in the solar wind as the IMF) and associated low power in the solar wind points to the causal relationship between them. Our results indicate that the low solar wind output is driven by an internal trend in the Sun that is longer than the ~11 yr solar cycle, and they suggest that this current weak solar maximum is driven by the same trend.
http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/779/1/2
and I still think the Voyager 1 got shrunk out of the heliosphere.

Carla

Are we ready, set, go…….
This phenomenon can be explained by the occurrence of long-lived magnetic traps extending from the Sun to Jupiter and rotating along with the Sun.
Jovian electrons and the solar wind during the minimum of the 23rd–24th solar activity cycle
E. I. Daibog, K. Kecskemety, Yu. I. Logachev
May 2013
http://link.springer.com/article/10.3103/S1062873813050158
Jovian electrons in Earth orbit can be regarded as probes of the inner heliosphere’s structure. They readily penetrate into the inner heliosphere in periods of the optimum magnetic connection between Earth and Jupiter. Such a penetration is also occasionally observed at arbitrary Earth-Jupiter dispositions. This phenomenon can be explained by the occurrence of long-lived magnetic traps extending from the Sun to Jupiter and rotating along with the Sun.

Carla

2 Ready, set, go….
“”… causing the IMF strength to peak near sunspot minimum rather than near sunspot maximum, …””
The Solar Wind and Interplanetary Field during Very Low Amplitude Sunspot Cycles
http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/764/1/90/pdf/apj_764_1_90.pdf
Y.-M. Wang and N. R. Sheeley, Jr.
2013 ApJ
Cosmogenic isotope records indicate that a solar-cycle modulation persists through extended periods of very low sunspot activity. One immediate implication is that the photospheric field during such grand minima did not consist entirely of ephemeral regions, which produce a negligible amount of open magnetic flux, but continued to have a large-scale component originating from active regions. Present-day solar and heliospheric observations show that the solar wind mass flux and proton density at the coronal base scale almost linearly with the footpoint field strength, whereas the wind speed at Earth is uncorrelated with the latter. Thus a factor of ~4-7 reduction in the total open flux, as deduced from reconstructions of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) during the Maunder Minimum, would lead to a similar decrease in the solar wind densities, while leaving the wind speeds largely unchanged. We also demonstrate that a decrease in the strengths of the largest active regions during grand minima will reduce the amplitude of the Sun’s equatorial dipole relative to the axial component, causing the IMF strength to peak near sunspot minimum rather than near sunspot maximum, a result that is consistent with the phase shift observed in the 10Be record during the Maunder Minimum. Finally, we discuss the origin of the 5 yr periodicity sometimes present in the cosmogenic isotope data during low and medium amplitude cycles

Bob Weber says:
December 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm
Questions for a solar scientist: does the sun’s magnetic flip change TSI any?
Not per se. But as the ‘fip’ happens at maximum, from now on TSI will decrease slightly [by some 0l.1% for another ~six years]
Do TSI measurements integrate all solar outputs including flares, CMEs, filament eruptions, coronal hole emissions and subsequent electron & proton (solar wind) increases and lump them into this sole parameter?
All the things you mention have a total energy that is absolutely minuscule compared to TSI, so whether they are included or not is hardly measurable. In principle, everything is included: one measures TSI by letting raw sunlight fall on an absorbing surface and measuring how much it heats up [actually, the real measurement is how much we have to heat (by a well-calibrated electric current) that surface to keep its temperature constant – but that amounts to the same thing].
Is TSI an averaged number like SSN or 5-year running temperature averages? If so, what period of time over which TSI is averaged/smoothed?
TSI is measured every few minutes and usually a 6-hour or a 1-day average is reported [no smoothing].
Carla says:
December 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm
found some newer articles that may make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up…
WEAKEST SOLAR WIND OF THE SPACE AGE AND THE CURRENT “MINI” SOLAR MAXIMUM

Not at all. The solar wind [as predicted] is just down to what it was 108 years ago. Our data goes back to the 1830s and the Sun has been before where it is now.

Carla

lsvalgaard says:
December 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm
——-
Your missed the two articles after the first one..
Good night

Carla

Just one more,
…”””The observed UT variation of AKR frequency means that the acceleration altitude changes periodically with planetary rotation. The observations indicate that the diurnal wobble of the tilted geomagnetic field in the solar wind flow alters the magnetosphere-ionosphere (M-I) coupling state in the polar magnetosphere, giving rise to periodic variation of auroral particle acceleration altitude. “””…
Universal time control of AKR: Earth is a spin-modulated variable radio source
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgra.50180/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
Akira Morioka1, Yoshizumi Miyoshi2, Satoshi Kurita1, Yasumasa Kasaba3,
Vassilis Angelopoulos4, Hiroaki Misawa1, Hirotsugu Kojima5, James P. McFadden6
19 MAR 2013
[1] Auroral kilometric radiation (AKR) is known to be transient emissions generated by rapidly accelerated electrons together with sudden auroral activation in the polar magnetosphere. In contrast, the characteristics and relationship with the auroral acceleration of rather continuous AKR emissions are not well understood. We examine the emission using long-term data and report that the continuous AKR emission frequency changes with universal time (UT) as the Earth rotates, indicating that the Earth is a spin-modulated variable radio source. The observed UT variation of AKR frequency means that the acceleration altitude changes periodically with planetary rotation. The observations indicate that the diurnal wobble of the tilted geomagnetic field in the solar wind flow alters the magnetosphere-ionosphere (M-I) coupling state in the polar magnetosphere, giving rise to periodic variation of auroral particle acceleration altitude. These observations of planetary radio wave properties provide insight into the physics of planetary particle acceleration.

Carla says:
December 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Your missed the two articles after the first one..
Neither one is particularly earth-shaking [nor unknown to me].

Carla says:
December 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm
The observed UT variation of AKR frequency …
The UT variation of auroral and geomagnetic activity was discovered long ago and has been investigated intensively, in particular by me: http://www.leif.org/research/Semiannual-Comment.pdf

Tobias Smit

That’s what my stomach felt like after a copious Christmas dinner with a great red wine and the family, interesting video I just wish I could slow it down, 5 days after the dinner it still makes me a bit “ill”. So a Happy and a great New Year to all of you.. (also spend a few minutes watching Suzuki’s interview on A(ussie)BC. now that really made me smile), (SUN NEWS Canada).

Bob Weber

Solar Enthusiasts Unite! This stuff is very interesting!
Carla thank you for those iopscience links – added them to my electric weather and solar favorites folders. Thanks Dr. Svalgaard for those answers. I’m still in learning mode, and I might be there for a while, giving me something to do during our long winter here in N. Michigan.
I was thinking maybe the 6-hour to 1-day TSI average may miss short-term peaks that occur during earth-directed solar flares. Are you aware of anamolous TSI readings during flaring events?
After asking the first set of questions earlier, I found out TSI means “all wavelengths of light that fall on a 1 sq. meter area outside the Earth’s atmosphere”, and from the same source, “This radiant solar energy is known to influence the earth’s weather and climate, although the exact relationships between solar irradiance and long-term climatological changes, such as global warming, are not well understood.” Also, “Total means that the solar flux has been integrated over all wavelengths to include the contributions from ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation.”
That raises another question: are seperate measurements made for ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation? Also, perhaps TSI at ground level would vary considerably depending on cloud cover. Is that measured anywhere? Also, wouldn’t TSI vary considerably depending on location at either ground level or at the top of the atmosphere (equator vs 45th parallel vs poles)? Is TSI measured at various places globally and then averaged for those periods?
So for me, TSI means photons of light. Did anyone notice two days ago how incredibly bright the sun was? Coincidently most of the continental US experienced quite a warm-up for that day. Some days it seems like sunlight is much more intense than usual. I’m trying to fact check that.
If TSI is strictly defined as “light” (photons), then irregular solar proton and electron (particle) emissions are probably doing things that are not picked up in TSI measurements, and even if “particle power” is not as cumulatively powerful as the light itself, particle electric and magnetic interaction with the magnetosphere may well be that “not well understood” aspect of weather and climate. This is a contention of mine and others that I am trying to parse out. What do you think?
In addition to reading the papers cited above, I see I’m going to have absorb Dr. Svalgaard’s research page list too… oh boy…

Bob Weber says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm
I was thinking maybe the 6-hour to 1-day TSI average may miss short-term peaks that occur during earth-directed solar flares. Are you aware of anomalous TSI readings during flaring events?
Only the very largest flares add a little bit to TSI. Only one or two flares have ever been seen adding directly to TSI. http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/nuggets/?page=article&article_id=10
That raises another question: are separate measurements made for ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation?
Yes, but those are not added up to get TSI. TSI is measured ‘whole’.
Also, perhaps TSI at ground level would vary considerably depending on cloud cover. Is that measured anywhere? Also, wouldn’t TSI vary considerably depending on location at either ground level or at the top of the atmosphere (equator vs 45th parallel vs poles)? Is TSI measured at various places globally and then averaged for those periods?
More less ‘no’ to all.
If TSI is strictly defined as “light” (photons), then irregular solar proton and electron (particle) emissions are probably doing things that are not picked up in TSI measurements
These non-photon emissions are FAR less energetic and carry almost no energy compared to TSI itself. And the definition is not ‘strict’. TSI measures everything that falls upon the instrument, no matter what it is: photons, particles, magnetic fields, etc.
particle electric and magnetic interaction with the magnetosphere may well be that “not well understood” aspect of weather and climate. This is a contention of mine and others that I am trying to parse out. What do you think?
I think there is no strong case for any significant interaction.

Bob Weber says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm
I was thinking maybe the 6-hour to 1-day TSI average may miss short-term peaks that occur during earth-directed solar flares. Are you aware of anomalous TSI readings during flaring events?
From this link http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/wiki/index.php/At_last,_the_EUV_Spectrum “New “Sun-as-a-star” observations of solar visible and EUV emission have revolutionized our understanding of the energetics of solar flares. Figure 1 of an earlier Nugget shows the breakthrough observations (from the SORCE satellite) of the flare SOL2003-10-28, a GOES X17.2 “superflare.” Viewing the Sun as a star (i.e., measuring the total solar irradiance or solar constant), the SORCE radiometer found a trifling 0.03% increase for this huge flare. “

Mario Lento

Leif writes: “the SORCE radiometer found a trifling 0.03% increase for this huge flare. ”
I’m curious if theer is an guestimate of how many solar flares are missed. If they miss 3 such flares in a year, that would be equal to the approximate % change from solar min to max. Not insignificant, I think.

Mario Lento

Galene: No, let’s not forget about it. 0.03% is what it is. It provides the proportion needed to comprehend the scale of the affect of any energy missed or over sampled. The sampling methodology probably does not miss anything as it may over sample solar flares and under sample non flare irradiance as often as the converse. Statistically, my bet is that it’s a wash.
By your thinking, 1000 pounds of meat is a lot. But if that 1000 pounds it’s insignificant towards ending hunger in a small country where they need to consume 1000,000 pounds per day to keep from being hungry.

TSI average may miss short-term peaks that occur during earth-directed solar flares. Are you aware of anomalous TSI readings during flaring events?
It is interesting to note that the Ap index’s maximum daily values, reflecting the impact of the geomagnetic storms (related to solar flares & CMEs) , have a clearly pronounced 365 day component
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ApMax.htm
According to the Ap index definition perhaps it shouldn’t be so prominent, the origin of the other two components are less obvious, but the sum coincides with another known Earth’s orbital property.

Mario Lento says:
December 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm
I’m curious if theer is an guestimate of how many solar flares are missed. If they miss 3 such flares in a year, that would be equal to the approximate % change from solar min to max.
This was the biggest flare in the space age, and no flares are missed. Furthermore the trifling increase only lasted a few minutes.

Mario Lento

Thank you Leif: I posted earlier that I’d be pretty confident that not much of anything was lost in the sampling. Again, thank you for educating me.

dan

Leif, TSI still does not seem like a comprehensive representation of that which it is attempting to describe. If IR flux is low and UV high being the “same” TSI as a higher IR flux and lower UV flux, it would seem such a description lacks rigor and predictive capability.

geran

“…one measures TSI by letting raw sunlight fall on an absorbing surface and measuring how much it heats up [actually, the real measurement is how much we have to heat (by a well-calibrated electric current) that surface to keep its temperature constant”
>>>>
GREAT info!
!) TOA is sometimes considered to be about 200 miles above Earth’s surface. Are the satellites measuring TSI that low, or is there some “calibration” of satellite data?
2) For purposes of TSI measurement, what is the altitude of TOA considered?
3) Does the satellite average include all the orbital measurements, including when it is “shadowed” by the Earth, or does it only record “snapshots” when it is directly “in-line” between Earth and Sun?
TIA

As much as I am loathe to extrapolate and talk about ‘trends’ in empirical data, it seems to me that the evolution of the peak amplitude (as seen in Dr. Svalgaard’s chart) of the solar magnetic field deserves scrutiny.

dan says:
December 31, 2013 at 6:51 am
Leif, TSI still does not seem like a comprehensive representation of that which it is attempting to describe. If IR flux is low and UV high being the “same” TSI as a higher IR flux and lower UV flux, it would seem such a description lacks rigor and predictive capability.
What is important is how much TSI can heat the Earth. As TSI is deduced by directly measuring how much it heats the instrument it would seem that TSI is a rigorously determined quantity.

geran says:
December 31, 2013 at 7:37 am
!) TOA is sometimes considered to be about 200 miles above Earth’s surface. Are the satellites measuring TSI that low, or is there some “calibration” of satellite data?
The satellites are higher, one is at 645 km another one at 1,500,000 km. The measurements are calibrated three ways: 1) adjusted for changing distance to the Sun, 2) adjusted for sensor degradation [by having multiple sensors with different exposure times], 3) by comparison with radiation standards in the laboratory.
2) For purposes of TSI measurement, what is the altitude of TOA considered?
The TOA is a concept not used nor relevant for TSI measurements as the satellites simply are high enough above the atmosphere.
3) Does the satellite average include all the orbital measurements, including when it is “shadowed” by the Earth, or does it only record “snapshots” when it is directly “in-line” between Earth and Sun?
No data is taken when in shadow [some satellites are never shadowed] otherwise all observations are included.

geran

lsvalgaard says:
December 31, 2013 at 9:30 am
>>>>>
Cool! That helps my understanding immensely. Thanks again.

Lief , so the northern hemisphere of the sun ‘flipped’ a while back , has the southern hemisphere ‘flipped’ yet…also, is it possible for one of the hemisphere’s to ‘slip’ into a neutral phase ? I would like to thank you for sharing with us your immense knowledge of the sun and it’s workings.

Dominic Manginell says:
December 31, 2013 at 10:57 am
Lief , so the northern hemisphere of the sun ‘flipped’ a while back , has the southern hemisphere ‘flipped’ yet…also, is it possible for one of the hemisphere’s to ‘slip’ into a neutral phase ? I would like to thank you for sharing with us your immense knowledge of the sun and it’s workings.
I dislike the dumbing down that NASA et al. are doing with the ‘flipping’ business. The reversal of the poles is a slow, drawn out process that can take a year or more with at time multiple reversals of the Reversal. To add to the problem, the poles ‘hide’ behind the limb of the Sun because of a 7 degree tilt of the sun’s axis. We see the South pole best in March [and not at all in September]. If the Southpole looks reversed in three month I would say that the poles have finally reversed.

Leif,
I have written a wire frame modeling program in order to simulate the reversal of the poles, and I am able to model this process very precisely by manipulating the animation xyz variables to control the rotation, time and oscillation of a wire frame sphere.
I think it is possible to get an exact formula for the timing of future solar cycles with this model as simulations of past cycles lead into future cycles. The program itself is very basic looking as all the work is done in the coding.
This is the program.
http://thetempestspark.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/wiremodel.jpeg
And this (I hope) will give a better idea of the model.
http://thetempestspark.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/swapwire.png
BTW Have happy new year..

RS

That’s a pretty scary graph.
Time to buy snow shoe manufacturer futures.

Bob Weber

I’ve been wondering today what those electrons are doing. Since NASA didn’t really say, I suppose they have the “choice” to go inwards, outwards, or just hang around in the photosphere and corona. Do they always do the same thing all the time? As NASA said:
“… The field lines swarm with activity: The magenta lines show where the sun’s overall field is negative and the green lines show where it is positive. A region with more electrons is negative, the region with less is labeled positive. Additional gray lines represent areas of local magnetic variation.”
What are the measurable difference(s) in electron speed, flow direction, density, and energy parameters between the magenta negative and positive green “field lines”.
I timestretched this video twice by 4X ea (to 1:44 & 6:54 min) in 1080 HD. Both are useful. If anyone asks to see both versions, I’ll happily upload them to my channel. You can easily see the same features with your video player by moving the player time index slider fast or slow with your device pointer (mouse).
The first thing I noticed watching this video was how the overall magnetic field direction angle rocked and rolled all over the place as time went on, except during solar minimum, when the imagery appeared “stable” with a “balanced” magnetic dipoles, as, for example, during the several hundred day spotless period that defined the last minimum. Also the number of magnetic poles changed frequently from dipole to quadrapole, to a crazed multipole configuration and back again.
It would be beyond fabulous if NASA could make the same visualization with DAILY frames, where we could really see what all the Earth-facing active regions were doing, and going one step further, include the other side of the sun in a different video with both sides “side-by-side”. Then the next step is obviously a realtime image viewable online, clearly followed by a live 3D hologram for your smartphone/TV.
One thing I noticed years ago was how it appears that the sunspot areas tend to pull the plasma away from coronal hole areas. The lack of plasma cover over the coronal hole probably facilitates the higher speed particle streams regularly seen from coronal holes (no interference?)
Finally, from memory, I noticed a strong correspondence between the “crazed multipole configuration” periods, and some of the more outstanding solar activity periods that also corresponded to times on earth when we had some rather memorable extreme weather events. I have records, so it won’t be hard to corroborate, just time-consuming.
Happy New Year all.

Bob Weber says:
December 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm
The magenta lines show where the sun’s overall field is negative and the green lines show where it is positive. A region with more electrons is negative, the region with less is labeled positive.
The NASA PR-people got this wrong. There are not any more electrons in a ‘negative region’. The statement is complete nonsense.

Bob Weber

No wonder… you’d think they’d try a little harder to better explain what we’re seeing. There’s always next year.

Bob Weber

BTW, the Oct/Nov 2003 flares, especially the X17, with subsequent observable effects was my wake-up call to solar activity. Right then. That’s a story for another day.
Food for thought: here’s a comment from Piers’ blog today that echoes what I’ve said here myself:
On 31 Dec 2013, Rohan (subscriber), London wrote:
hmmm… well from what I can see on spaceweather, the solar activity is being a bit tardy with its escalation so Piers forecast may come a bit late. Nonetheless, it has been noticeably colder here where I live for the past couple of days, not mild at all. Also I have noticed (again past 2 or 3 days) that the sun has been most unbearably bright, even brighter than on a clear hot summers day! I believe in Piers methods and even if by a couple of days, his forecast will happen. Keep the faith

Brian H

Bob;
Surely Sun brightness has to do with atmospheric clarity, possibly with decreased scattering of blue wavelengths, rather than any perceptible solar variation.

Mario Lento

lsvalgaard says:
December 31, 2013 at 7:04 pm
Bob Weber says:
December 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm
The magenta lines show where the sun’s overall field is negative and the green lines show where it is positive. A region with more electrons is negative, the region with less is labeled positive.
The NASA PR-people got this wrong. There are not any more electrons in a ‘negative region’. The statement is complete nonsense.
+++++++++++
Thank you for pointing this out. I glossed over it originally, and sort of scratched my head. It’s good to know for sure that the sun is not a big hot battery tumbling anode over cathode.

Bob Weber

Brian H – thanks for that. I see that Piers mentioned the same in so many words to Rohan’s observation. Maybe the right question is “do any solar activity increases contribute in any way to atmospheric clarity, and the subjectively perceived solar intensity (brightness) at ground level?”
From the “solar constant” page by the often-bashed but still useful wikipedia :
“Solar irradiance[edit]
The actual direct solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere fluctuates by about 6.9% during a year (from 1.412 kW/m² in early January to 1.321 kW/m² in early July) due to the Earth’s varying distance from the Sun, and typically by much less than 0.1% from day to day. Thus, for the whole Earth (which has a cross section of 127,400,000 km²), the power is 1.740×1017 W, plus or minus 3.5%. The solar constant does not remain constant over long periods of time (see Solar variation), but over a year the solar constant varies much less than the solar irradiance measured at the top of the atmosphere. This is because the solar constant is measured at a fixed distance of 1 AU while the solar irradiance will be affected by the ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit.
The Earth receives a total amount of radiation determined by its cross section (π·RE²), but as it rotates this energy is distributed across the entire surface area (4·π·RE²). Hence the average incoming solar radiation, taking into account the angle at which the rays strike and that at any one moment half the planet does not receive any solar radiation, is one-fourth the solar constant (approximately 340 W/m²). At any given moment, the amount of solar radiation received at a location on the Earth’s surface depends on the state of the atmosphere, the location’s latitude, and the time of day.
Apparent magnitude[edit]
The solar constant includes all wavelengths of solar electromagnetic radiation, not just the visible light (see Electromagnetic spectrum). It is positively correlated with the apparent magnitude of the Sun which is −26.8. The solar constant and the magnitude of the Sun are two methods of describing the apparent brightness of the Sun, though the magnitude is based on the Sun’s visual output only.
The Sun’s total radiation[edit]
The angular diameter of the Earth as seen from the Sun is approximately 1/11,700 radians (about 18 arc-seconds), meaning the solid angle of the Earth as seen from the Sun is approximately 1/175,000,000 of a steradian. Thus the Sun emits about 2.2 billion times the amount of radiation that is caught by Earth, in other words about 3.86×1026 watts.[7]
Past variations in solar irradiance[edit]
Space-based observations of solar irradiance started in 1978. These measurements show that the solar constant is not constant. It varies with the 11-year sunspot solar cycle. When going further back in time, one has to rely on irradiance reconstructions, using sunspots for the past 400 years or cosmogenic radionuclides for going back 10,000 years. Such reconstructions show that solar irradiance varies with distinct periodicities. These cycles are: 11 years (Schwabe), 88 years (Gleisberg cycle), 208 years (DeVries cycle) and 1,000 years (Eddy cycle)…”

SIDC sunspot number for December 2013 is a bit higher than expected at 90.3
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN.htm
second highest of the SC24 (96.7 for Nov 2011). It is possible that SC24 hasn’t peaked yet.