Solar flare danger – massive sunspot the size of Jupiter takes aim at Earth

The potential for a massive solar flare directed at Earth is looming large.

Sunspot-AR12192-Jupiter-EarthAn SDO/HMI view of the visible sun showing the largest sunspot of solar cycle 24, AR12192. Image via

Since rotating into view, the sunspot group AR12192 has continued to grow in size and complexity, becoming the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle, cycle 24 (SC24.) The region has produced numerous C and M-class flares including an X1 flare.

Xray[1]More at the WUWT Solar Reference Page

Animation of sunspot AR2192:

AR12192-animGIF-fullsunImage via

NASA’s reports:

Solar activity is high. During the past 48 hours, monster sunspot AR2192 has produced a series of seven M-class solar flares of increasing intensity. The eruptions crossed the threshold into X-territory with an X1-class flare on Oct. 22nd. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a powerful flash of extreme UV radiation in the sunspot’s magnetic canopy at 14:30 UT:

Remarkably, not one of the explosions so far has hurled a significant CME toward Earth. The primary effect of the flares has been to ionize Earth’s upper atmosphere, causing a series of short-lived HF radio communications blackouts. Such blackouts may be noticed by amateur radio operators, aviators, and mariners.

Earth-effects could increase in the days ahead. AR2192 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful explosions, and the active region is turning toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate at 65% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

AR2192 is shaping up to be the biggest sunspot in many years. Its area is now approaching that of AR0486, the last great sunspot of the previous solar cycle, which covered 2610 millionths of the solar disc on Oct. 30, 2003. As of 0h UT today AR 2192 is 2410 millionths. (Thanks to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory for this comparison.)

Because the sunspot is so large–now about as wide as the planet Jupiter–people are beginning to notice it at sunset when the sun is dimmed by clouds or haze. Pilot Brian Whittaker took this picture on Oct. 21st while flying 36,000 ft over Resolute, Nunavut, Canada:

“I was impressed to photograph the giant sunspot as the sun set over Arctic Canada,” says Whittaker. “Actually, the sun was temporarily rising because of our great relative speed over the lines of longitude at N75 degrees! Note the green upper rim.”


105 thoughts on “Solar flare danger – massive sunspot the size of Jupiter takes aim at Earth

  1. Yes, it’s big, but at 2410 MH (millionths of the visible solar disk), it’s smaller than the largest in any previous solar cycle, at least since 1900 per NASA and David Hathaway:

  2. I remember seeing sunspots in the late 80s while driving to work on a foggy morning. There were several spots of this size. Just a visual with no magnification, and there seemed to be no repercussions then.
    If this AR 2092 was on the equator on the sun, it might be more of a threat… yes or no?

  3. The Sun appears to be viewing us from the same spot?

    2 X class events in 3 days as it was growing.

    Where is Leif?

      • Dr. Svalgaard,

        You declare Dr. Svensmark’s experimentally confirmed theory, linking Solar activity and temperatures on Earth, to be a “nonsense,” without a further word, as if your word is enough.

        [Rest is snipped, as it is still somewhat personal and offensive, but not quite as far from acceptable this time – mod]

      • May I call attention to the fact that Dr. Svalgaard repeatedly and intentionally uses the German National Socialists’ favorite ant-Semitic concentration camp slogan in his remarks? Is this something approved by Anthony Watts and his moderators?

      • Al Feht;

        You seem to be mistaken.

        Perhaps I should allow Leif to respond on his own, but it’s been about seven hours since your accusation against him, so I’ll take this opportunity to make the easy slam dunk;

        1) You are completely mistaken in the regard that the latin phrase suum cuique was not a favorite of National Socialists. (Perhaps Lief used the German translation of that phrase somewhere but I fail to see it here.)

        2) “To each his own” is a ubiquitous term. It is used as a colloquialism in at least two dozen languages. The only mention in association with the third reich, to my knowledge, is the posting of its german translation on the gate of one of the more notorious WWII concentration camps. (I could be wrong on that, I only went so-far as wiki for my source.) It seems the german translation of that phrase has been in common usage since at least the Reformation. It remained in common usage even after WWII and has only come to be seen as controversial in the early 21st century. Darn PC gremlins. It’s a perfectly fine phrase in any language and we can’t go around throwing out our best and most easily understood colloquialisms just because some jerk or group of jerks blurted them out or posted them on a wall somewhere. I mean, we still say ‘it’s a good thing’, even though Martha Stewart went to prison . . . but I digress.

        3) You’ve invoked National Socialism, antisemitism and concentration camps in the same sentence. The concentrated usage of those three terms can imply only one thing. Nazi’s. (mod; please ‘x-out’ that term if it is so offensive as to be beyond the rules of the board, thanks) Yes, you very strongly implied that Lief is one of those, to the exclusion of any other inference or intended meaning. That, in and of itself, necessitates the invocation of Godwin’s law and the end of this particular thread of the conversation. Good bye.

        (Leif; if I’ve overstepped here, feel free to tell me so and it will never happen again.)

      • I agree completely with Bob and his analysis. Letting fools and others remove perfectly good bits of language simply because it was used by them deprives us all of perfectly good language. Do not let evil steal our history, language, and traditions and do not let “PC Police” with personal ‘issues’ define what is normal and acceptable.

        From the wiki:

        Suum cuique was the motto of the The Order of the Black Eagle (German: Hoher Orden vom Schwarzen Adler), the highest order of chivalry in King Frederick the Great’s Kingdom of Prussia. The motto is still used by the German military police (the Feldjäger).

        Suum cuique is the motto of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland.

        So note: WELL in advance of that WWII perversion and by honorable people and societies.

        See also Jedem das Seine (“To each what he deserves”) – A German translation of the phrase. It became notorious for its use as a Nazi slogan displayed at the gate of Buchenwald concentration camp.

        So because someone translated a perfectly good phrase into another language, and used it for a perverted thing in WWII, THEY ought to have the power to define who I am and what I can say? THEY ought to have the power to shape our language today and erase long honorable traditional usage?

        Please, do not so easily hand over power like that to exactly the folks who ought to be ridiculed and forgotten. National Socialists (yes, that’s what they were – National Socialist German Workers Party) need to be forgotten and tossed into the dustbin of history; not given power over us today.

        German is a fine (if a bit odd ;-) language, and ascribing special meaning to phrases translated into it shows a weak grasp of context. Learning some wider history would help clarify…

        (BTW, I also resent the demonizing of the ‘bent cross’ as the historical use, still extant in Asia, was as a good luck symbol representing the sun – which is the source of all our lives and energy. Letting a 4 year failed weasel coup steal that fine symbol and trash a couple of thousand years of positive values is itself a sin. IMHO. Better would be to forget their use, and flush their ideals with it. Show them as the perverting force they were, not as one continuing to reach into today… but most folks can’t accept that POV yet.)

        At any rate, please stop trashing Leif for using a language other than yours, and for using a phrase in its proper historical form. It makes you look petty and reactionary. (Oh, and before attempting some rant aimed at me as somehow anti-Semitic, please note: I have Jewish family in the USA. I have Jewish friends. I have a kid in Israel. It will be a very fruitless path of attack.)

      • Quoting, in German, the favorite anti-Semitic slogan of the German National Socialist party in a derogatory fashion in public is an unquestionable and vile attempt to hurt those whose relatives perished in concentration camps. No references to Wikipedia article about the Latin proverb of the same meaning will relieve Dr. Svalgaard from responsibility for this action. He obviously made (three times) an anti-Semitic remark in order to hurt and insult. I detest and despise any obsequious attempts to justify his intentions.

      • Furthermore, my language is not English, it is Russian. Unlike Dr. Svalgaard, I strive to use clear and grammatically correct English, even if it is sometimes difficult for me. Were I to post here deprecatory Stalinist slogans in Russian, it wouldn’t be allowed. For some reason, Dr. Svalgaard gets away with ethnic slurs in German, while German is NOT even his native tongue; he uses German in purpose, to hurt people.

        My objection to Dr. Svalgaard’s patronizing scientific symposiums in China is not based on any “political activism,” it is based on my personal sense of dignity and integrity. I would never visit a totalitarian police state, thereby supporting a false notion that China is, somehow, a “normal” country fit to organize international conferences. It is a country where people are beaten, jailed, and murdered for their opinions.

        The fact that Dr. Svalgaard is totally bereft of any sense of humor and cannot tolerate the slightest criticism without using foul language in his responses is his personal tragedy but by no means a virtue. In my opinion, his disrespect to other scientists and authors, expressed with annoying constancy of a monomaniac, simply litters this site, and doesn’t add anything new, original, or insightful to discussion. All he offers are gadget data graphs and painful textbook explanations of the obvious, without a hint of proposing a better theory that could replace the one he calls “nonsense.”

    • Well, even if the sunspot shoots out a super-X flare, it still has to hit Earth which is an 8000-mile target at a distance of 93,000,000 miles — sort of like shooting at a penny from a distance of a city block. Happy hunting, ol’ Sol.

      • Given the area that is covered by a CME flag, the Sun is using the equivalent of a high power shawn-off shot gun to do it.

      • If the group produces a CME [I don’t think it will – the corona doesn’t look right for that], the CME will be 50 million miles wide when it reaches the Earth so it will hit [if it comes]. Flares are visible by anyone who can see the solar disk.

    • Heh. Only if that famed molecule CO2 can harness the energy RoHa, which is near impossible seeing it’s far too busy already. But watch for more lies from the greenie left trying to use it as a money-grubbing “scenario”.

  4. I’ve got a 48″ sewer pipe that empties into a creek near me, its outlet points away from O’Hare airport and downtown Chicago. (nuke proof ? ).

    Now you want me to worry about this,……. well I won’t.
    Been there, done that, for too long now.

    Hit me with your best shot……………….

  5. The activity of the sunspot depends a lot on its magnetic fields. Generally, a delta type sunspot is much more active than other types. “Delta: A qualifier to magnetic classes(see below) indicating that umbrae separated by less than 2 degrees within one penumbra have opposite polarity.”

    A lot of how CMEs affect the Earth, is based on the way the magnetic fields are oriented. The Earth has a magnetic field that is normally pointed north. If the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) associated with a CME is strong enough, and oriented to interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and cause the Bz component to turn south, it is neutralizing the Earth’s field and allows greater penetration of charged particles, and greater consequences. If it strengthens the Earth’s field (by causing the Bz vector to increase north), it is strengthening the field, and there will be less of an effect. So, IMHO, we could have a major Earthward-directed CME that could cause little magnetic storming.

    Disclaimer: This explanation is my understanding of how this works and may not be an entirely correct scientific explanation.

    And don’t forget the partial eclipse tomorrow.

    • “The years ahead could be especially lively. Raeder explains: “We’re entering Solar Cycle 24. For reasons not fully understood, CMEs in even-numbered solar cycles (like 24) tend to hit Earth with a leading edge that is magnetized north. Such a CME should open a breach and load the magnetosphere with plasma just before the storm gets underway. It’s the perfect sequence for a really big event.”

      • NASA’s expert Sibeck said “This completely overturns our understanding of things.”
        I am in no position to evaluate the balance of accuracy between an opinion of a well known solar scientist, currently engaged in rewriting the solar cycles’ history, and the above claim of the world most advanced techno-science institution

      • I remember that THEMIS announcement. So, Lief, is this still true?

        The size of the breach took researchers by surprise. “We’ve seen things like this before,” says Raeder, “but never on such a large scale. The entire day-side of the magnetosphere was open to the solar wind.”

        The circumstances were even more surprising. Space physicists have long believed that holes in Earth’s magnetosphere open only in response to solar magnetic fields that point south. The great breach of June 2007, however, opened in response to a solar magnetic field that pointed north.

        “To the lay person, this may sound like a quibble, but to a space physicist, it is almost seismic,” says Sibeck. “When I tell my colleagues, most react with skepticism, as if I’m trying to convince them that the sun rises in the west.”

      • is this still true
        It was never true to begin with. We have known for 40 years that the magnetosphere is always open to the solar wind. There is no ‘breach’. An open magnetosphere allows magnetic reconnection that is always going on. It is true that the reconnection efficiency is larger for southward fields, but it does not go to zero for northward fields.

  6. The setting sun photo is really cool. The green dots are clearly visible. I wonder if there was a flash.

    Is there a ‘best resource’ location to read about the complex magnetic field?

    One of my friends operated NOAA satellites providing warnings to private companies about incoming flares. I’ll bet they are earning their money these days. And nights.

    • From the article, quoting Whitaker

      “I was impressed to photograph the giant sunspot as the sun set over Arctic Canada,” says Whittaker. “Actually, the sun was temporarily rising because of our great relative speed over the lines of longitude at N75 degrees! Note the green upper rim.”

      Nice find, I have only previously heard of the green flash being visible in the tropics at very, very limited number of sunsets! But, have never seen it photographed! (Hornblower, in CS Forester’s first book, is described looking for the green flash at sunsets as his ship sails back from the Eastern Pacific to England …)

      • RACook, the fabulous web site “Astronomy Picture of the Day” has an extraordinary archive of science related photos, and is a resource I have enjoyed for years. (I believe they started in the early 90’s, and you can go all the way back in their archives to 1995.) Put in “green flash” into their search field, and you can see a number of photos on this phenomenon. The web site is operated by NASA, I believe. Here is one on the green flash phenomenon they published recently:

        Always enjoy your comments, BTW.

      • Well the “green flash” is simply a consequence of atmospheric refraction, that acts as a weak prism to separate solar radiation into a “rainbow of colors”, the green part being the most visible, since it is near the spectral peak (on a wavelength scale).

        Actually, there is NO black body Temperature, that produces a thermal spectrum, that has a green dominant wavelength; so there are NO green stars.

    • Crispin in Waterloo but really in New York October 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm
      The setting sun photo is really cool. The green dots are clearly visible. I wonder if there was a flash.

      A Waterloo Sunset? :)

  7. i was looking at the Sun in H-alpha this afternoon. The spot looks impressive after the long dry spell but there were two items of interest off the edge of the disk One was a prominance extending out from the disk which looked cool. To the right of that though was a bit of glowing gas that I could not see if it was still associated with the disk because it was substantially further out than the end of the prominance. I originally thought it might have been a cme (not headed this direction by any stretch of the imagination) but i’ve seen no mention of anything like that. To me it seemed like it was a long way from the disk edge not to have anything visible between it and the disk and if this were associated with the big sunspot, it had to be really far out from the surface to appear that far off the visible disk.

    • No, the satellites are operating fine. The NWS problem is a problem within the NWS network system. The satellites are operated by NESDIS. The satellites then rebroadcast the processed product that the NWS receives, misinterprets & makes a bad forecast from ;-)

  8. Is this why my TV reception (digital, in New Zealand) was rubbish for three or four days earlier this week?

      • Rather sweeping statement, Mr Smith, given that digital TV brings into my living room MLB’s post season and what is shaping up as a cracking World Series between Kansas City (about whose chances I obtained $25 back in August) and San Francisco, last weekend’s hugely entertaining New Zealand-Australia rugby test, Melbourne’s spring racing carnival and a host of other sporting festivals. Rubbish to many people, I know, but important to me and millions more. Are you suggesting I should ditch the TV and perhaps read about these events in a newspaper or even wait for a book to be produced?

        If you’re confining your argument to nonsense such as Downton Abbey, The Mentalist, Blacklist, NCIS Wherever and the like, I’d agree with the rubbish tag. But those shows entertain a lot of people and there’s nothing wrong with that.

        Big Jim’s Ghost, I tried Breaking Bad, but gave up when the young crook dissolved the body in the upstairs bath and melted more than he’d bargained for. Surely, when character A tells character B to buy a bath in which to dissolve a body, character B will point out that his house already contains a bath; why not use that. Instead, the writers tried to kid us that a conversation did not follow a logical path so that they could have a carnage scene. Bit like warmists, when you think about it.

  9. Am suddenly remembering the days of candle smoking a piece of glass to “safely” view sun spots. Does anyone still do that?

    • just always used to use a pen hole (rather than pin hole) in a sheet of paper projecting image onto second sheet of paper. That’s the tip of a ballpoint pen sized hole. Tin foil might also work well – possibly with smaller dia. hole. If you want to get fancy – do it with a cardboard box partial enclosure. Never have to worry about some cheap eyepiece filter deciding to overheat and break while watching. Also have seen fairly safe homemade front end filters for binoculars made from several layers of the silver conductive packaging for semiconductors. Those should always be inspected and tested prior to each use.
      for school here we use a Coronado solar telescope with permanently mounted H-alpha double stacked filter. It is basically a $2000 filter built into a $400 telescope. It comes with a finder scope designed to find the Sun that works very well.

      • During an eclipse some years back, I was entertained by a few thousand images of the crescent sun… as the tree in my yard made a few thousand ‘pin holes’ from not quite overlapping leaves… Spectacular effect. Looking around, it was fairly common too. Largely unobserved by all the folks looking at the sun with various ‘instruments’ and boxes and filter plates and… Next time, just observe nature a little bit…

  10. Unlike Dr. Svalgaard, I would never visit China until the most flagrant violations of hunab rights would stop there. They still jail and murder people for their opinions. Perhaps, it is impossible for politicians and corporations not to trade with China (cheap slave labor is too much of a temptation, I guess) but surely a Western gadget techinician from a free country could be more circumspect?

    • The SCOSTEP 13th quadrennial symposium is held in a different country each time. It just happened to be China this time SCOSTEP = Scientific Committee for Solar Terrestrial Physics.
      You are entitled to your opinion, but you could perhaps try to keep it to yourself as it does not seem to be relevant to the topic of this tread, instead of playing political activist.

  11. The large weak magnetic field intensity sunspot group 12192 is disappearing. The very, very, short lifetime of the sunspots is due to the low magnetic field intensity of the sunspots. There are two variables 1) the amount of magnetic flux that forms a sunspot and 2) the magnetic field intensity of the magnetic flux. There was also a large sunspot in the Northern hemisphere as the solar magnetic cycle shut down in the solar magnetic northern hemisphere. The solar southern hemisphere is roughly a year behind the solar northern hemisphere and is repeating what was observed in the solar northern hemisphere. The solar northern hemisphere is now spotless.

    I see there are no comments yet that the solar northern large scale polar field has dropped to and is staying at zero. The large scale polar field normally shoots through zero when the magnetic field reverses during the peak of the solar cycle. The solar magnetic field intensity has never in the space age stayed at zero. It makes sense as that that the large northern scale polar field is zero as the solar northern hemisphere is essentially spotless.

    The solar southern magnetic field intensity is anomalously low though not zero. Based on the current extraordinarily low large scale solar magnetic field, the sun is very, very quickly heading to a Maunder like solar magnetic cycle minimum. The Maunder like solar minimums in the past have lasted from 100 to 150 years.

    Solar polar fields
    The development of the solar polar field strength throughout a solar sunspot cycle can be used to predict the magnitude of the next cycle and the peak of the current cycle. Polar field reversals typically occur within a year of sunspot maximum.

    The solar large scale magnetic field is created by and modified by the sunspots that are produced in a solar magnetic cycle. The magnetic flux tubes that rise up to the surface of the sun to form sunspots on the surface of the sun are believed to be create in the narrow region, the solar’ tachocline’ which separates the solar convection zone and the solar radiative zone. As the magnetic flux tubes are buoyant, the tachocline has a barrier that holds the magnetic flux in the tachocline region until it reaches sufficient magnetic field intensity to break the barrier, at which time the magnetic flux leaves the tachocline. The magnetic flux tube requires a calculated minimum field strength of 20,000 to 30,000 gauss to avoid being torn apart by the turbulent force of the solar convection zone.

    The magnetic flux tube expands as it rises up through the convection zone, as it expands the magnetic field intensity of the magnetic flux tube declines. The magnetic field strength of a sunspot on the surface of the sun ranges from 1500 gauss to 5000 gauss. There are no sunspots on the surface of the sun that have a magnetic field intensity that is less than 1500 gauss.

    For some unexplained reason the magnetic field strength of sunspots has been declining linearly. As the magnetic field strength of the sunspot declined large long life sunspots were replaced by tiny short lived sunspots. The next stage in the process was the magnetic flux tube was torn apart as it rose in the solar convection zone such that there was no longer sufficient field strength to form a sunspot. There was only a region of higher field intensity in a large region of the sun.

    The peculiar solar cycle 24 — where do we stand?
    The minimum that preceded solar cycle 24 was unusual in its depth and duration. It was the quietest minimum recorded in the era of detailed data. Cycle 24 started off extremely slow and has continued to be weak. We review the conditions of the minimum that preceded cycle 24. We discuss ignored or missed signs that cycle 24 would not be normal, and finally comment on the behaviour of the cycle thus far.

    The minimum that preceded solar cycle 24 was unusual in its depth — the 10.7 cm flux was the lowest recorded, while there were sunspot free days than have been recorded among recent cycles. The minimum was also of a much longer duration than any other minimum in recent history.

    The minimum preceding the cycle showed other unusual characteristics. For instance, the polar fields were lower than those of previous cycles. In Fig. 1 we show the polar fields as observed by the Wilcox Solar Observatory. It is very clear that the fields were much lower than those at the minimum before cycle 22 and also smaller than the fields during the minimum before cycle 23. Unfortunately, the data do not cover a period much before cycle 21 maximum so we cannot compare the polar fields during the last minimum with those of even earlier minima.

    Other, more recent data sets, such as the Kitt Peak and MDI magnetograms, and they too also show that the polar fields were weak during the cycle 24 minimum compared with the cycle 23 minimum (de Toma 2011; Gopalswamy et al. 2012). The structure of the solar corona was also quite different from what is expected during a normal minimum. As can be seen from the LASCO images shown in Fig. 2 the solar corona has the canonical solar-minimum structure during the cycle 23 minimum, but the coronal did not have a simple configuration of streamers in an equatorial belt as it was during the previous minimum in 1996.

    4. Cycle 24 thus far…
    The dynamics of the solar interior is quite different (William, solar cycle 24 from other solar cycles observed) from what has been seen before. Of course one has to keep in mind that we only have 16 years of data on solar interior dynamics, and this allows us to compare this cycle only with cycle 23. As can be seen in Antia & Basu (this volume), the latitude independent part of the solar rotation rate s slower during this cycle than it was in cycle 23. The zonal flows are different too, in particular, the poleward flow is very weak. Plots of the zonal flow seen at different latitudes plotted at a function of radius and time show other differences between the flows during cycles 23 and 24, as can be seen in Fig. 3 of Antia & Basu (this volume). In fact the poleward flow is so weak, it was at first believed to be absent and led to the speculation that cycle 25 may not occur at all and that we may be delayed or that we may be headed towards a Maunder-type minimum (Hill et al. 2011). What Antia &Basu (this volume ) also find is that while the zonal flows at all latitudes in cycle 23 can be fitted with three harmonics of an 11.7 year period, one cannot simultaneously fit the mid-latitudes of cycle 24.

    … they also found a negative correlation between the numbers of small and large sunspots and that during the period of 1998-2011, the number of large sunspots gradually decreased, while the number of small sunspots steadily increased. Of course, since it is believed that sunspots need a minimum strength to emerge, the question will be whether the trend of decreasing numbers of large sunspots will continue over the current cycle, and hence make a spotless cycle possible. The long-term trends in the strength and size of sunspots will perhaps be a better indicator than solar flows as to whether the Sun is moving towards a magnetically quiet phase.

  12. When the last large sunspot occurred in October 2003 there was another 5 years of declining sunspot numbers to the 2008-2009 solar minimum, If these Large spots which occur during the second half of the polar field reversal were an indicator of anything it would suggest that the coming solar minimum will be around 2021 after approximately 5 years of declining spot activity, it may be that the sun will be void of sunspots some years before 2021 because of how weak this cycle has been, therefore another extended solar minimum is coming up.

    We will be seeing weaker solar activity similar to the turn of the last century, it will be interesting to see if temperatures follow, which to me it seems logical that they will.

    Overall Solar Activity will follow this forecasting template. This is based on the orientation and timing of the Suns polar field reversal.

  13. Turns out that sunspots are not the only thing on the sun that can cause solar disturbances on earth. Is there a new count for magnetic disturbances that are not sunspot originated?

  14. has anyone else here seen the vid clip of comet siding springs passing Mars?
    the tail seems to have entered Mars atmosphere and bits? impacted a HUGE flash and what appeared to be a shockwave whooshed out into space
    dunno how Maven coped?
    you would NOT wanna be a mars tourist anywhere near it from what I saw.

    • never trust natural phenomena to mean much of anything unless it is very well understood. A lot of people think a maunder minimum would result in an extremely cold time with lots of famine and suffering as that was going on last time. It would appear from the records that we are standing on the precipice of a new glaciation phase and that our little 10000 years of warmth is going to be traded in for 100000 years of a half frozen world. These are both examples of potential catastrophes that happen periodically but by no means are the only catastrophes nor are either of these guaranteed to be the next big civilization destroying one. When you look at the graphs of these things you should note the massive amount of ‘noise’ in what is being measured. Right now we do not know whether these dire predictions are being made on noise or whether things are going to go this way or that way.

      Personally, I fear the consequences of wrong actions being taken by those who ‘care’ (but not enough to learn about the potential consequences of their actions before taking action).

      • ” It would appear from the records that we are standing on the precipice of a new glaciation phase and that our little 10000 years of warmth is going to be traded in for 100000 years of a half frozen world. ”

        But the tropics will remain the tropics, Humans, plants and animals have survived and evolved over many periods of glaciation because of this. But it has been pointed out on another thread that eccentricity will remain low for many more thousands of years and that will preclude any major changes for hundreds of generations. Beside I still think government officials are hiding the fact that Apophis will destroy us in 2036. (Imagine the chaos if they told us the truth about this)

      • Tom, a new glaciation will do more than decimate the human population. It will essentially destroy civilization as we know it and a whole lot more than 10% of the populace will not survive the lack of infrastructure. Some won’t survive the demise of their smartphones. Tropics will probably remain free of ice. However, I think that the eccentricity has less effect than obliquity and other factors. At present, most land is in NH and ocean on SH and our average solar flux difference between NH and SH is around 4W/m^2 (average over the year). Because of our rotation, you’ll find there is relatively little crossover of energy between hemispheres yet SH is cooler than NH and the surface albedo for SH is less than NH.

      • oops, forgot to say that aphelion is NH summer and perihelion in NH winter – giving SH more power for less warming.

      • ” Some won’t survive the demise of their smartphones.”

        A true but very sad commentary on current civilization.
        “I think that the eccentricity has less effect than obliquity and other factors.”

        Eccentricity has a period of 100,000 years and when the orbit is most elliptical the difference in the amount of solar energy received at perihelion is about 20-25 % more than at aphelion. Obliquity has a period of 41,000 years which doesn’t show up in the glacial/inter-glacial cycles. Also precession has a period of 23,000 years and that does not show up in the glacial/inter-glacial cycles either. Only when you have these three orbital conditions combine so that you have maximum obliquity coinciding with NH summer at perihelion and low eccentricity does the Earth come out of a glacial period. That combination began to come together about 18,000 years ago and that is what started the current inter-glacial. Now we are moving away from that combination however eccentricity will remain low for some time delaying the onset of the next glaciation. But I’m not taking any chances and that is why I already moved to Florida which, by the way, is full so everyone should think of going somewhere else.

  15. Guys,

    I am just a Simple Red Neck and I depend on WUWT, both the posts AND the comments, to understand the issues discussed here. Gratuitous invective troubles me and gets in the way. Please, please, can’t we all just get along??


    “You might consider, on the other hand” has ten times the power of “you damned fool!”.

    Yes, there is an occasional troll, but they add spice to what may otherwise be a dry discussion. And humor is a better defense for a troll than anger. However, most commenters are serious, even though there are frequent disagreements. And I value the disagreements as an enforced consensus here would be a total waste of my time.

    Please, play nice.

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  16. Has anyone worked out what proportion of the sun’s radiation strikes the earth and how much heads off into space?
    And does the answer prove that God had no interest in energy conservation?

  17. Thanks to Lief for this:

    “If the group produces a CME [I don’t think it will – the corona doesn’t look right for that], the CME will be 50 million miles wide when it reaches the Earth so it will hit [if it comes]. Flares are visible by anyone who can see the solar disk.”

    Answers my earlier question.

  18. Well, I’ve now read all the opinions on how big or how strong this particular SS or group of them is/or is not and all I can say is that I have been tracking it most of the day in preparation for the partial solar eclipse we will experience here and just looking through my filter without using the telescope it is quite visible. I am impressed.

  19. There is a bit of a ‘private war’ going on further up the thread.
    Some people take themselves too seriously, blog-science should be fun,
    Solar polar fields according to data from Stanford are moving in right direction, albeit very slowly,
    so where is the fun in that, you might ask:
    You see, the formula in the above link has its roots in the Greek mythology:
    Helios (Sun) is son of Zeus (J-upiter) who in turn is son of Chronos (S-aturn)
    Most of us are greatly influenced by our fathers, and through them in smaller extent by our grandfathers.
    Translate the above into numbers and you get:
    Solar Activity = 2xJ +1x J-S

      • Sorry.. I don’t understand the reference. just out of curiosity, how would I go about replicating your graph? obviously the equation is orbital related, but where are your corrections coming from for orbital changes? the other thing I’m curious about is, are you only using Jupiter and Saturn’s orbital period for the sine wave within a certain time constraint?

      • Here is the Excel entry
        = -152*(COS(2*PI()*(Y1000-1943.5)/19.859)+COS(PI()/3+2*PI()*(Y1000-1943.5)/23.724))
        where Y is time column in 10 day steps
        23.724=2 x J orbits + 1 x J-S synodic period

      • I would like to test this, What data was used? Do you have an excel example? If you like I can send you my address and you can send it through e-mail.

  20. From what I learned over the years is sun spot activity can mean less sub atomic particles hitting the earth, and subsequently less cloud formation and of course rain. Anyone here heard that too?

  21. In March 2012, there was a major solar event that impacted on Earth’s atmosphere. Thanks to the work undertaken by NASA, using its SABER instrument on its TIMED satellite, NASA observed that 95% of the energy that entered the atmosphere was radiated back into space, thanks to carbon dioxide and nitric oxide … two gases described by NASA as acting as a natural atmospheric thermostat, and identified as the two most efficient atmospheric coolants. Watch this NASA science video for yourself:

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