Solar Cycle Update

Guest essay by David Archibald

Two useful things we would like to know are the length of Solar Cycle 24 and the amplitude of Solar Cycle 25. Figure 1 below shows the NOAA version of Solar Cycle 24 progression with the 23/24 transition copied onto the end of their projection. This crude method (we don’t have another) suggests that the 24/25 transition will be at the end of 2021 which would make Solar Cycle 24 twelve years long. Solar physicists have generally given up forecasting Solar Cycle 25 amplitude. The only extant forecast is Livingstone and Penn’s forecast of an amplitude of seven. In the bigger picture, almost a decade after Schatten and Tobiska forecast a return to a Maunder Minimum-like level of activity, another solar physicist, Mark Giampapa of the National Solar Observatory in Tuscon, Arizona, is of the opinion that “we are heading into a Maunder Minimum” that could last until 2080.

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Figure 1: Solar Cycle 24 Progression

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Figure 2: Interplanetary Magnetic Field

While in recent days the surface of the Sun became almost blank of sunspots, some solar activity parameters have taken off. The interplanetary magnetic field reached a peak higher than it reached during Solar Cycle 20.

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Figure 3: Solar Wind Flow Pressure

Similarly, solar wind flow pressure is now higher than it was during most of Solar Cycle 23.

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Figure 4: Oulu Neutron Count

Neutron count generally takes a year to respond to the solar wind flow pressure and the interplanetary magnetic field so we may not have seen the lows in neutron count for this solar cycle. That may be in mid-2016. Solar Cycle 24 may be going stronger for longer, to borrow a term from the financial community.

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Figure 5: Heliospheric Current Sheet Tilt Angle

All we can say at the moment from this figure is that Solar Cycle 24 seems to have had a broader top than any of the previous three cycles.

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Figure 6: Sum of Solar Polar Field Strengths

The magnetic poles of the Sun reverse at solar maximum when the sum of the polar field strengths falls to near zero. Sunspot activity showed a double top for Solar Cycle 24 and this is supported by Figure 6 which shows that the Sun had about a year at solar maximum.

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Figure 7: North America Ex-Greenland Monthly Snow Cover

Onset of an ice age requires snow to survive through the summer and cool the earth due to its higher albedo. Despite the recent cold winters, we have yet to see summer snow survival get back to the levels of the 1970s cooling period.

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Figure 8: Lebanon, New Hampshire Average Monthly Temperatures 2000 – 2015

As a followup to this post on the cold start to the year in Maine, this figure shows average monthly temperature for Lebanon, New Hampshire just to the west of Maine. The years 2000-2014 are used as the reference period as this is the period of the pause and people’s most recent personal reference point. The year 2015 to date is shown as the dark blue smoothed line. February 2015 was 12.1°F colder than the average for the fifteen year of 2000-2014 with an average of 11.6°F. This is the second coldest February back to 1900 with the coldest being 1934 at 8.1°F.

The biggest dispersion in average monthly temperatures is in January and then it tightens up such that the spread in June is only 3°F. The temperature for April was back in the pack though 1.3°F cooler than the average of the prior 15 years. All that can be said is that it will be interesting to see how it goes.

David Archibald, a visiting fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., is the author of Twilight of Abundance (Regnery, 2014)

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266 thoughts on “Solar Cycle Update

  1. So, Brother David. We’ll be watching Lebanon, New Hampshire as the proxy for the onset of the coming global ice age, dependant on the sun plunging into a new Maunder Minimum. Have I got that right?

    • Self-confessed idiot, yes it is all about Lebanon, New Hampshire now. Feel free to do your own work if you wish.

      • I’m assuming, Mr Smith (if that is your real name ;-) ) that you know the tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

        “Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense…”

        For ‘child’ read idiot

  2. Leif’s ‘prediction’ of the size of the next solar cycle is based on the magnitude of the solar large scale magnetic field prior to the start of the next solar cycle. Leif’s ‘prediction’ methodology is take the intensity of the magnetic field and multiple it by a factor that has been determined by observation of past cycles and bingo that is the ‘prediction’ for the size of the next cycle.

    The solar large scale magnetic field has been dropping cycle by cycle. The solar large scale magnetic field for Cycle 24 is on track to be the lowest ever measured. The solar magnetic field in the solar northern hemisphere is currently oscillating around zero.

    The interplanetary magnetic flux was been increased recently due to the astonishing number of coronal holes on the surface of the sun during solar cycle 24. The coronal holes can persist for months and years. The coronal holes create solar wind bursts and strip magnetic flux off of the surface of the sun.

    The solar wind bursts create a space charge differential in the earth’s ionosphere which creates a electrical potential difference from the poles of the planet to the equator of the planet which in turn causes there to be charge movement (electrical current) from the poles to the earth. The return path for the electrical current running is the oceans. The solar wind bursts remove cloud forming ions in the high latitude regions of the planet which reduces the amount of cloud cover in that region. At the equator the movement of charge reduces the albedo and reduces the lifetime of the equatorial clouds. Solar wind bursts are one of the principal forcing facts that cause and modulate the strength of El Niño and La Niña events.

    The effect of each solar wind burst last for 3 to 5 days. So it is number of solar wind bursts in addition to the magnitude of solar wind burst. The parameter to measure is not the smoothed month Ap but rather the number of short term changes to the geomagnetic field using Ak (four hour measurement of the disturbance of geomagnetic field.)

    P.S. The solar cycle 24 coronal holes are starting to shrink in size and move to the polar regions of the sun where they no longer affect the earth’s climate. As solar cycle 24 has been decaying in strength when the coronal hole affect is removed there will be sudden offset of cooling which we are currently observing. Say record sea ice in the Antarctic for every month of the year starting in 2012. There is a physical reason why the cooling in Northern hemisphere lags the change noted in the Southern hemisphere.

    Sunspot ‘count’ is an archaic indirect measurement of what is happening to the sun. Solar cycle 24 is a peculiar anomalous cycle.

    As Livingston and Penn noted the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots has been decaying linearly. The following is a physical explanation of why the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots is decaying linear and how the fact magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots are decaying linearly affects the sunspots and the sun.

    Sunspots are believed to be formed from magnetic flux tubes that are create in the narrow region, the tachocline, which separates the solar convection zone and the solar radiative. The magnetic flux tubes are buoyant. The tachocline provides a region where the flux tubes can build in strength and be held against the buoyant forces.

    Eugene Park calculated that the flux tubes require a field strength of 20,000 to 30,000 gauss to avoid being torn apart from the turbulent forces in the convection zone. The magnetic flux tubes starts its journey from the tachocline with a magnetic field strength above that limit. The flux tubes loss magnetic field strength as they expand and rise through the convection zone. The magnetic field strength of sunspots is between 1400 gauss and 5000 gauss.

    As the magnetic field strength of the flux tubes dropped in solar cycle 24, the flux tubes started to be torn apart so what is formed on the surface of the sun is many tiny short lived sunspots which are called pores. This is the reason for the ‘double’ peak in sunspot number for solar cycle 24. The number of sunspot groups is declining but there are many more tiny pores, rather than large sunspots. The double peak in the case of solar cycle 24 is due to the weakening of the cycle, not due to a sudden increase in power of the cycle.


    The next stage in the process as the magnetic flux tube weakens further is there is insufficient field strength when the flux tube reaches the surface of the sun to form a visible sunspot. What forms is just a large region with slight higher magnetic field strength. The minimum field strength of any sunspot on the sun is 1400 gauss.

    As there are no sunspot on the surface of the sun that have a field strength that is less than 1400 gauss and the field strength of newly formed sunspots is decaying linearly Livingston and Penn used this information to ‘predict’ that the sun would be spotless some time in 2015. Based on observations the sun will be spotless sometime in 2015.

    Solar cycle 24 is leading to a special Maunder minimum that occurs every 2400 years. I will provide additional information to support that assertion in another comment.

    The peculiar solar cycle 24 – where do we stand?
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/440/1/012001/pdf/1742-6596_440_1_012001.pdf

    The peculiar solar cycle 24 – where do we stand?
    Solar cycle 24 has been very weak so far. It was preceded by an extremely quiet and long solar minimum. Data from the solar interior, the solar surface and the heliosphere all show that cycle 24 began from an unusual minimum and is unlike the cycles that preceded it. We begin this review of where solar cycle 24 stands today with a look at the antecedents of this cycle, and examine why the minimum preceding the cycle is considered peculiar (§ 2). We then examine in § 3 whether we missed early signs that the cycle could be unusual. § 4 describes where cycle 24 is at today.
    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 differences between the cycle 24 minimum and the previous ones were not confined to phenomena exterior to the Sun, dynamics of the solar interior showed differences too. For instance, Basu & Antia (2010) showed that the nature of the meridional flow during the cycle 24 minimum was quite different from that during cycle 23. This is significant because meridional flows are believed to play an important role in solar dynamo models (see e.g., Dikpati et al. 2010, Nandy et al. 2011, etc.). The main difference was that the meridional flow in the immediate sub-surface layers at higher latitudes was faster during the cycle 23 minimum that during the cycle 24 minimum. The difference can be seen in Fig. 3 of Basu & Antia (2010). Since the solar cycle is almost certainly driven by a dynamo, the differences in meridional flow between the last two minima, and between cycle 23 and the first part of cycle 24, may be important factors in creating the cycle differences, which extend into the corona and even cosmic rays (Gibson et al. 2009). Differences were also seen in the solar zonal flows (Howe et al. 2009; Antia & Basu 2010 …etc.), and it was found that the equator-ward migration of the prograde mid-latitude flow was slower during the cycle 24 minimum compared with that of cycle 23.

    • take the intensity of the magnetic field and multiply it by a factor that has been determined by observation of past cycles and bingo that is the ‘prediction’ for the size of the next cycle.
      And that has worked quite well for this cycle and for previous cycles. And is what one would expect theoretically from the dynamo mechanism for solar activity.

      The solar large scale magnetic field for Cycle 24 is on track to be the lowest ever measured. The solar magnetic field in the solar northern hemisphere is currently oscillating around zero.
      Nothing is ‘on track’ to anything. The polar fields have both reversed and are both now increasing [also in the northern hemisphere]. It is too early to say what the result will be:

      The rest of your comment is muddled nonsense.

    • “The solar large scale magnetic field for Cycle 24 is on track to be the lowest ever measured. The solar magnetic field in the solar northern hemisphere is currently oscillating around zero.”

    • South Pole is already its place, while the north oscillates around the equator. This will greatly lengthen the cycle, as evidenced by the current jumps activity.

    • “Solar cycle 24 is leading to a special Maunder minimum that occurs every 2400 years. I will provide additional information to support that assertion in another comment.”

      And better explain how the time between MMend and SC24start is only 294 years.

    • Why do you put the word predict or prediction in quotes? You use the words to describe what in fact are predictions.

  3. Ref: “Onset of an ice age requires snow to survive …”

    Using the term “ice age” is a misnomer. We’re currently in an ice age and cycling through glacial periods. Wikipedia has it that we’re in the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation that started some 2.5+ million years ago.
    If one were to use the term correctly, for example, “if CO2 helped end our current ice age…”, etc., it would help those debating the issues with the alarmists.

    • You wage a losing battle. Might as well rail against the use of the term ‘ increasing ocean acidification’ (the ocean is becoming ‘less basic’ or ‘closer to neutral’) or against the idea that Jan 1st, 2000 was the beginning of the ‘new millennium’ and the end of the 20th Century (it wasn’t, that would be Jan 1st, 2001).

      • It’s a political strategy. Imagine calling out the alarmist by saying “Isn’t it good to have the Ice Age finally come to an end?”

      • Yeah I’ve tried correcting that terminology over and over with no luck. But at least it’s fun when you tell the alarmists that we are in an ice age with no end in sight; they typically blow a gasket.

  4. @Leif
    “The rest of your comment is muddled nonsense.”

    What about Penn & Livingston prediction of the decay and disappearance of sunspots? Were they wrong about this?

      • I assume they went with the straight line extrapolation because the previous 15-20 years showed a straight line.

        Without a good understanding about what is behind the effect, it was as good a guess as any.

        I noticed last week the recent averages have left the “pause”, it will be interesting to see if that’s noise or significant.

      • Yes, in the absence of more information, linear is about the best one can do. And L&P did qualify their guess with an ‘if the trend continues…’, I will not discount the general notion that there is a downward trend., and that something like this might have happened during the Maunder Minimum. One could even speculate that with fewer visible sunspots, total solar irradiance might actually go up, rather than down.

      • Thanks for posting this — I was looking for current Umbral Magnetic Field information. It looks like the waning of magnetic-field intensity has stopped, at least for the present. I wonder how many gauss is required to make a sunspot.

  5. ” Mark Giampapa of the National Solar Observatory in Tuscon, Arizona, is of the opinion that “we are heading into a Maunder Minimum” that could last until 2080.”

    I will be publishing a video presentation of the planetary ordering solar cycles and grand minima in the next few months. It shows exactly which sunspot cycles are weaker in every minima in any epoch. This minimum is short like Gleissberg and Dalton, and recovers in SC26, and will bottom out in the same fashion. Which is between the sunspot maxima of the first two weak cycles, +1yr, e.g. 1807-1817 and 1885-1895, and 2015-2025 for this minimum.
    The colder run of years in Dalton in CET (1807-1817) had a sharp increase in frequency and intensity of negative AO/NAO episodes, and a doubling of El Nino episodes, leading to persistent drought in continental interiors.

  6. “Two useful things we would like to know are the length of Solar Cycle 24 and the amplitude of Solar Cycle 25.”

    Heretical wild arsed guess: 10.3 years, 2/3rds of Cycle 24.

    However, dipole asymmetry might produce something more interesting.
    1. SPF
    2. NMS

  7. Here in the Mid-West (Rockford, Illinois) It is unusually warm (80s F) for this time of year. Next week is supposed to be cooler.

  8. Let us admit it : We know absolutely nothing with any certainty about the long-term physical behaviour of our sun. But we are doing what we ought to do by constant observation and recording. In a way, all our theories are slightly amusing as they can really only be described as guesswork. But I nevertheless follow everything with enormous interest!

    • Same here. It is all extremely interesting. One thing that stands out for me is this notion of the “Earth facing quite.” Anybody have any thoughts to this?

  9. Leif, when will you be predicting the amplitude of SC25, or have you already issued such a prediction and I’ve missed it? Can you post your number here? TIA

    • When the polar fields stabilize a couple of years from now, then I can make a confident [educate guess] prediction. Not before. But I can make a lower limit already based on what the fields are now: S25 ≥ 2/3 of SC24

      • It is of interest that the Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] no longer seems to follow the sunspot number. TSI is now significantly higher than it was during SC23 for corresponding sunspot numbers.

      • lsvalgaard

        It is of interest that the Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] no longer seems to follow the sunspot number. TSI is now significantly higher than it was during SC23 for corresponding sunspot numbers.

        Interesting plot.

        TSI across the 2008-2010 period (the 2008.5 – 2009 – 2009.5 period in particular) was significantly more stable (much smaller std deviation between data points at the minimum.)

        1. How far into the past can that plot be extended? You’ve provided several “historical” TSI plots, but they vary strongly by the changes (improvements in accuracy) of the different sources used for each cycle.

        2. There “appear” many more “low” points than “high” – as if the curve displays a very clear maximum TSI all of the time, but the individual minimum points vary widely below that maximum point. During the four recent cycles that occurred across the recent CAGW history (1945-2015), is the same pattern seen?

      • Actually an inverse relationship between SN-based “solar activity” and TSI makes sense because sunspots themselves block solar radiation, thus reducing their input to terrestrial TSI.

        What other solar mechanisms can influence TSI, to make it look like a positive relationship with solar activity?

      • 1. How far into the past can that plot be extended?
        As far as accurate measurements are concerned, this is it.

        2. There “appear” many more “low” points than “high” –
        The low points are when large sunspots are on the disk.

      • They were, but that seems to be changing, possibly because the sunspot is becoming less of an indicator of true solar activity than in the past. It is not clear what this means.

      • Mr. Svalgaard,
        Sir, I am not sure I am following this.
        You first said that:
        “The bright areas surrounding sunspots more than compensates for the darker spots”

        But then said:

        “The low points are when large sunspots are on the disk.”

        If the bright spots more than compensate for the darker spots, then how are the low points in TSI occurring when there are large spots? I understand that you also said the usual correlations seem to be breaking down, but still, I am wanting to be sure that I am understanding the conversation properly.

        Separately, does the presence of large spots tend to occur when there are more total spots on the disc, or less total spots, or no correlation?

        Thank you,

        -Nick

      • The bright areas last longer than the spots so tend to dominate over time. A big spot will for a short time make a dip in the irradiance, so you have at the same time something that brightens and something that darkens with increasing solar activity. The former being a twice as large effect, so the net is a brightening.

      • The bright areas around sunspots compensate for the darkness of the spots, mostly, often, usually, etc. However the bright rings doing this compensating are much higher in UV than the spotless regions.

        Thus while the spotlessness can see from the whole sun, as shown above, a rise in total TSI of half to one Watt/m2, the UV component drops. It is the UV that has the most variability and variable effects on the upper atmosphere. Is there general agreement on these observations?

        Variable climate effects seem to be variable from UV changes not TSI changes. Sunspots increase the total UV. Do I have that right? What other spectra vary considerably during these conditions?

      • There is general agreement that UV has a large effect in the upper atmosphere, but there is but a tiny effect [if even measurable] on climate, because the energy involved is so small. TSI is where the energy is.
        Sunspots increase TSI much more in energy terms than for UV.

  10. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/10/polar-sea-ice-changes-are-having-a-net-cooling-effect-on-the-climate/

    Leif Svalgaard (18:29:59) :

    Re Allan M R MacRae (18:10:01) :
    So it’s time again to make a comparison looking 210 years back just to the beginning of the Dalton minimum (month spotnumber / month spotnumber)
    With this 210-year cycle, and Jose’s 179-year, and Landscheidt’s 166-year cycle, there should be enough cyclomania to go around to fit anything at all.
    _________________

    Hi Leif, and Happy New Year!

    With all the bases covered, one of these predictions might even be correct! Then we’ll have to decide whether it was just a random shot in the dark, or if there was a scientific basis.

    Of course then same might be said of you and Hathaway re SC24 :-) (Joke – Easy now!)

    I asked Tim Patterson in 2002 when the next cooling cycle would start, and he guessed 2020-2030, based on his paleoclimatology research and the Gleissberg Cycle. Maybe we’re a few years late…

    I’ve tried to make sense of these cyclical analyses, without much success. Others believe they have reached some understanding of the statistics and the processes involved – time will tell.

    All this is of considerable academic interest to me, but my core conclusion remains unchanged: Climate change is natural and cyclical, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.

    I think it is safe to conclude that the sensitivity of Earth’s temperature to CO2 is insignificant.

    Further, we cannot even say for certain that humankind is causing the increase in atmospheric CO2 – it is possible that this too is largely natural.

    The AIRS CO2 animation is worth watching, at
    [video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

    Best, Allan

  11. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/02/nasahathaways-updated-solar-cycle-prediction-smallest-in-100-years/#comment-974555

    Here is a compilation of predictions for SC24. As you can see, there are 45 of them, more than enough to fill a roulette wheel, and they are “all over the map”, so somebody had to be close.

    http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24.html

    Not sure that this supports any conclusion, except fundamental concepts of probability. :-)

    Ladies and Gentlemen, faites vos jeux!

    P.S. I have NO opinion on this subject since I have not studied it.

    Skill Testing Question – How many people were predicting imminent global cooling a decade ago?

    • I published our cooling prediction in an article in 2002, for global cooling to start by 2020-2030.

      It was actually Paleoclimatologist Dr. Tim Patterson’s informal response to my question, but I had seen Tim’s research and continue to have great respect for his work.

      • Landscheidt:
        “It would be interesting to deal with the frequency distribution of Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the diurnal circle related to the birth data of 1,053 lesbians, presented by F. Schneider-Gauquelin (1993). Some of the most outstanding patterns that could explain lesbian inclinations astrologically are not linked to Gauquelin “plus zones” but to golden crosses.”

    • Let’s remember Theodor Landscheidt.

      “In 1989, Landscheidt forecast a period of sunspot minima after 1990, accompanied by increased cold, with a stronger minimum and more intense cold which should peak in 2030.” (wiki)

      Landscheidt Minimum, anyone?

      Leif Svalgaard has suggested the “Eddy Minimum” for Jack Eddy, a solar scientist who discovered the sunspot period known as “Maunder Minimum” in the 1970’s,

      I accept that Jack Eddy was a remarkable man, but I suggest we leave this question open for now.

      Let’s see how well Landscheidt’s prediction stands up – correctly predicting the future is rare and is fraught with reputational risk.

  12. “The Sun emits electromagnetic radiation across a wide spectrum. At the wavelengths
    of visible light, where the solar irradiance is at its maximum, the emission
    is quite constant, but both at shorter wavelengths (ultraviolet) and longer wavelengths
    (radio), the level of emission is related to the level of activity of the Sun’s
    magnetic field, and the interaction of this magnetic field with gases on the solar
    surface, the photosphere, and in its atmosphere, the chromosphere and corona. The
    emissions at the shortest wavelengths, of 170 nm and less, are responsible for
    heating the Earth’s thermosphere. Radiation in this wavelength range is often
    designated Extreme Ultraviolet, or EUV radiation. Note that different publications
    might use slightly different definitions for the wavelength ranges in this
    part of the spectrum. The designations XUV (soft X-rays), EUV and FUV (Far Ultraviolet)
    may be encountered. In the following, we will simply use the term EUV
    for all solar radiation that affects the thermosphere, unless otherwise noted.
    The heating of the thermosphere by EUV radiation occurs through excitation,
    dissociation or ionization of the atoms or molecules (primarily O, O2 and N2).
    The excess energy of each photon is converted into kinetic energy of the reaction
    products [Rees, 1989; Hargreaves, 1992].
    Variations in EUV radiation are wavelength-dependent, as the shortest wavelengths
    are generally formed higher in the Sun’s atmosphere and are more variable
    than shorter wavelengths [Lean, 1991]. They are also generally absorbed at
    higher altitudes in the Earth’s atmosphere [Tobiska et al., 2006]. Ideally, knowledge
    of the variability in irradiance over the entire UV and EUV spectrum is required
    in order to model the heating input in the atmosphere correctly.
    The absorption of EUV radiation in the thermosphere results in a so-called diurnal
    bulge in temperature and density, on the daylight side of the Earth. For this
    reason, density variations in a horizontal plane are usually mapped in a coordinate
    system of local solar time versus latitude (see Section 2.1.3). Local solar time
    (LST) is equivalent to the longitude coordinate on normal maps, but usually expressed
    in hours instead of degrees, and with the defining meridian, at 12h (noon)
    LST, passing through the sub-solar point instead of through Greenwich. Due to
    thermal inertia, the diurnal bulge has its peak at around 14h–15h local solar time.”

    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/EarthObservation/acceldrag_finalreport_compressed.pdf

    • Ok. But, you just predicted our sun is middle age and dying. Do we truly know this though?

    • Since you are thinking of events that run from 10My to 20Gy, how does this say anything to humanity since our entire human history is less than 200 Ky?

  13. Thanks for the Solar Cycle update David.
    Javaraiah (2015) inferred SC25 may be ~31% weaker than SC24:
    “…Implication of these results is discussed in the context of solar activity prediction and predicted 50 ± 10 for the amplitude of solar cycle 25, which is about 31% lower than the amplitude of cycle 24.”

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.0554.pdf

  14. this figure shows average monthly temperature for Lebanon, New Hampshire just to the west of Maine.

    Those of us in New Hampshire generally think of Lebanon as being in walking distance of Vermont. It’s probably easier to get to Massachusetts from there (just go south on I-91) than to cross or avoid the White Mountains to reach Maine.

    • Kancamagus is as you know a pleasant ride to get you across to Maine. Better than I91.

  15. UWA cancels contract for Consensus Centre headed by controversial academic Bjorn Lomborg

    Off Topic but I think that will be of much interest. Eric where are you?

    UWA Academic Staff Association vice president Professor Stuart Bunt said the move was not censorship.

    Of course not even if they have to knock back $4 million of funding from the Federal Govt! I didn’t think UWA (Lew’s previous employer) could sink much lower. It does not say much for genuinely addressing the so called “climate catastrophe.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-08/bjorn-lomborg-uwa-consensus-centre-contract-cancelled/6456708

      • Thumbnail sketch: Climate is warming but not catastrophically. Cost and economic damage to reduce human fosile fuel use dramatically exceeds cost to just adapt, so keep using fuels and adapt.

        This, of course, infuriates the catastrophists as they would not get the money… so they attack.

  16. Every single person has a different outlook for what this cycle and future cycles may be doing going forward.

    I am quickly realizing that no one really knows what might be happening with the sun going forward.

    I will continue to monitor solar activity and take it from there. My only observation is the sun post 2005 is behaving differently then it did prior to 2005 thus far. Time will tell.

  17. TSI is an interesting average. Essentially, the satellite device measuring TSI is a “carbon absorber”. It absorbs “all” energy at all frequencies and produces a “relative energy number”. We know that higher frequency energy streams, i.e. Solar XRAY, EUV and UV, have much more energy per intensity than lower frequency infrared per intensity.

    Could it be that the “small change in average TSI” is caused by a massive change in energy in the “higher frequencies”? Do we need to measure the Solar energy at different frequencies to determine what Solar energy is reaching ground level? For instance, 99% of Solar EUV is intercepted by the Troposphere where it is converted to both heat and Ozone. That Solar energy does not reach the ground!

    Constructive suggestions Please…

  18. @Archibald
    “While in recent days the surface of the Sun became almost blank of sunspots, some solar activity parameters have taken off.”

    Are you suggesting the current solar surface activity is extremely low?

    Actually, there are currently six active regions and the indices are SN=131 and SFI=147. That’s still pretty high, for SC24. The fat lady is still singing.


    (Image is from http://www.solarham.net/, where you can get a ton of information and data about the Sun and solar wind.)

    • I am a traditional naked eye solar observer. I look at the yellow blob on the right hand side of the WUWT screen and then move it up and down to make sure I am not mistaking dirt on the screen for sunspots.

  19. In reply to:
    lsvalgaard May 8, 2015 at 4:15 am

    They (Livingston and Penn) were wrong to simply extrapolate linearly [although they do say ‘if …’]. They are possibly right that sunspots are getting smaller and harder to see. The current status of their observations is here:

    William,

    Leif what is the physical, mechanism reason why sunspots are getting smaller and smaller and then disappearing?

    What is the physical, mechanism reason, for the fact that the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots decayed linearly?

    Try to explain what is observed with your convection zone mechanism as compared to the standard mechanism which I described in my above comment that the magnetic flux tubes are formed in the tachocline, the narrow region of the sun that separates the solar convection zone and the solar radiative zone.

    The tachocline mechanism explanation of why the magnetic field strength of the flux tubes are decaying linearly is that the tachocline has changed, possibly due to oscillation in the tachocline region due to the movement of the sun by the planets (the cycles correlate with the change in direction of the sun movement around the baryocenter and occur when there is maximum acceleration change) which explains why there are cycles of solar activity and why there are cycles of climate change on the earth.

    You appear to have no ability to thoughtfully play with new ideas/theories, you appear to have no ability to compare theories, you have not been taught how to think out of the box which is absolutely necessary for breakthroughs, and you appear to have an emotional attachment to certain theories (your comments have an emotion irrational edge, specialists can get stuck one theory, note I have worked almost two decades as a senior specialists, I am assigned to help specialists solve complex problems, thinking out of the box is a standard technique to solving problems, I get paid for solving complex problems not writing papers and attending conferences, I know how to solve complex problems) makes you scientific blind, is the reason why you have failed to even be interested in the most important solar event in human history.

    For those who are interested in what is currently happening to the sun the following is an explanation of Livingston and Penn’s graph.

    The limit as to how low the magnetic field strength of a sunspot can go is 1400 Gauss, that is the dotted line on the above graph. The drop in field strength of a portion of the newly formed sunspots is less than 1400 Gauss.

    As no sunspot forms when the magnetic flux tube is torn apart in the convection zone, there is no sunspot. What forms on the surface of the sun is a large region that has higher magnetic field strength but no visible sunspots.

    If you look at this site there are pictures of the sunspot groups that were number and there pictures of regions that have tiny pores that are no longer visible.

    http://www.solen.info/solar/

    The ‘flattening’ of Livingston and Penn’s straight line (see above graph) occurs because a portion of the magnetic flux tubes are removed from the set. Observationally it is fact that there are no longer any large long lasting sunspot on the surface of the sun. What is forming is groups of tiny short lived sunspot, pores.
    Livingston and Penn’s original prediction that the sun will be spotless by the end of this year is based on observations correct.

    • “What is forming is groups of tiny short lived sunspot, pores.”

      Which seem to go silent and disappear once on the earth facing disc. At least recently. Why is this?

    • Leif what is the physical, mechanism reason why sunspots are getting smaller and smaller and then disappearing?
      We have known for hundreds of years that sunspots form by the coalescence of smaller spots and little pores.

      What is the physical, mechanism reason, for the fact that the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots decayed linearly?
      As you can see from L&P’s plot the decay of the magnetic field of spots has not been linear. For a single spot, the granulation eats away the magnetic field at the edge of the spot, so the flux will decay roughly linearly with time. This needs no further elaboration.

      Try to explain what is observed with your convection zone mechanism as compared to the standard mechanism which I described in my above comment that the magnetic flux tubes are formed in the tachocline
      There is good evidence that the dynamo is shallow rather than as deep as the tachocline, but it really doesn’t matter much as ALL flux tubes ALL the time are completely shredded by the convection and you end up with a spaghetti-like structure of many strands of mini-tubes, which are then assembled at the surface where the convection stops. The reason for the re-assembly is that the strands are still rooted at some depth [not nearly as deep as the tachocline] and the tension in the magnetic field will tend to draw the strands together again. The old idea of rising flux tubes is not supported by observations, see e.g. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.8077.pdf
      “The emergence of the sunspot magnetism progressed in a very complex manner, with small pieces appearing to self-assemble into larger, more coherent structures.”
      Here is a movie of that process

      The rest of your comment is, as before, muddled nonsense [not even entertaining nonsense a la Vuk’s]

      • Leif,

        Read what you have written. You have not answer the question as your theory (which you absurdly assert has been known for hundred of years) that sunspots form by the coalescence of smaller spots and little pores has been falsified by observations.

        What is observed is the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots decayed linearly. When the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots dropped to a certain point the convection forces in the convection zone started to tear the magnetic flux tubes apart, so what formed on the surface of the sun is tiny pores rather than large long lasting sunspots.

        Yes after the sunspots are on the surface of the sun there is coalescence and changes as the magnetic flux tubes connect when possible or cancel. The surface action is not however what creates a sunspot.

        The tachocline theory that the magnetic flux tubes are created at the interface of the convection zone and the radiative zone can explain why the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots is decaying linearly.

        Any way you are an old stubborn man and you are stuck in the past. I am moving on.

      • that sunspots form by the coalescence of smaller spots and little pores has been falsified by observations.
        The respected solar physicist [by now also an old man, thus with experience] Peter Foukal write in this acclaimed textbook “Solar Astrophysics” [2nd rev. Wiley-VCH, ISBN 3-527-40374-4, 2004] page 240: “A spot is born by the darkening and growth of a pore […]. Subsequent growth of spots takes place mainly by coalescence of smaller spots”. The famous American astronomer C.A.Young in his seminal book “The Sun” [Appleton and Co, New York, 1881] writes on page 121 “The solar surface marked by numerous and brilliant faculae, among which pores or minute black dots are scattered. These enlarge […] and at last giving us a completed spot. The pores, some of them, coalesce with the principal spot […]”.

        “The Hinode observations of emergent sunspot 10926 challenge traditional views of sunspot formation. Before Hinode data came on line, a solar physicist might have described the birth of a sunspot as follows:
        “Sunspots are formed when a ‘rope’ of strong magnetic field beaches the visible surface of the sun (the photosphere). Magnetic ropes develop deep below the photosphere and emerge as an arcade-like structure. When this arcade crosses the surface a pair of sunspots develops. As in a bar-magnet, one footpoint of the arcade has positive (northern) polarity, and the other footpoint has negative (southern) polarity.”
        The trilobite data show a different process at work:
        “The emergence of the sunspot magnetism progressed in a very complex manner, with small pieces appearing to self-assemble into larger, more coherent structures,” says Marc DeRosa, a scientist from Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. “

  20. As I noted there are boatloads of observations (say for example the fact the sunspot magnetic field strength decayed linearly and then there were only tiny short lived sunspots, pores produced, or the cycle by cycle drop in the solar large scale magnetic field or the fact that are cycles of changes to the sun in the record that correlates with cycles of climate change, sometimes abrupt unexplained cooling) that supports the assertion that the sun is entering a special state and that cycle 25 will be a Maunder like minimum.

    Maunder minimums have in the past lasted from 100 to 150 years.

    The following is a review paper by Usoskin and friends that outlines the observations as to how the sun changes during a Maunder minimum. As I noted the observational evidence is that Maunder minimums start abruptly when the sun enters a special state.

    Following the review paper is a subset of the papers that predicted the occurrence of a Maunder minimum based on the movement of the sun by the large planets and by analysis of the cyclic occurrence of past Maunder minimums.

    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/Miyahara_AG06.pdf

    The Solar Cycle at Maunder Minimum Epoch
    The Maunder minimum is considered as an example of occasionally occurring Grand minima, when the solar dynamo was in a special mode. We review available sets of direct and indirect data covering the period during and around the Maunder minimum. The start of the minimum was very abrupt and was followed by a gradual recovery of the activity. The data suggest that while the sunspot activity was greatly suppressed during the deep phase of the minimum, the cyclic dynamo kept working around the sunspot formation threshold level, leading to seemingly sporadic occurrence of sunspots.

    Cosmogenic isotopes provide the most extendable indirect data on the cosmic ray flux, the state of the heliosphere, and hence on the solar magnetic activity during the past. The most commonly used cosmogenic isotopes are radiocarbon (i.e., 14C) and 10Be, which are measured in tree-rings and in ice cores, respectively. Both tree-rings and ice cores form stratified structures and retain the time variations of the abundance of isotopes in each layer.

    14C and 10Be are produced in the atmosphere as a result of nuclear reactions of cosmic rays with the atmospheric nuclei. Then 14C is oxidized to form carbon dioxide and circulates within the carbon cycle between different reservoirs, some of which are very inertial, and it gets eventually absorbed by trees by means of photosynthesis. On the other hand, 10Be becomes attached to aerosols, precipitates with snowfall and is accumulated in the ice in polar regions.

    There were three recent papers published that predicted a movement to a Dalton like minimum, for cycle 24: one noting past solar barycentre motion that correlates with solar minimum, a second based on an analysis of the paleo cosmogenic isotopes, and a third based on a physical model.

    The following is a 2004 paper that predicts the sun is heading towards a Maunder minimum based on an analysis of the paleo record of solar activity.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004ApJ…605L..81B

    This the paper that predicts a solar cycle minimum based on a physical model.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2003SPD….34.0603S

    Solar Activity Heading for a Maunder Minimum
    Long-range (few years to decades) solar activity prediction techniques vary greatly in their methods. They range from examining planetary orbits, to spectral analyses (e.g. Fourier, wavelet and spectral analyses), to artificial intelligence methods, to simply using general statistical techniques. Rather than concentrate on statistical/mathematical/numerical methods, we discuss a class of methods which appears to have a “physical basis.” Not only does it have a physical basis, but this basis is rooted in both “basic” physics (dynamo theory), but also solar physics (Babcock dynamo theory). The class we discuss is referred to as “precursor methods,” originally developed by Ohl, Brown and Williams and others, using geomagnetic observations.

    My colleagues and I have developed some understanding for how these methods work and have expanded the prediction methods using “solar dynamo precursor” methods, notably a “SODA” index (SOlar Dynamo Amplitude). These methods are now based upon an understanding of the Sun’s dynamo processes- to explain a connection between how the Sun’s fields are generated and how the Sun broadcasts its future activity levels to Earth. This has led to better monitoring of the Sun’s dynamo fields and is leading to more accurate prediction techniques. Related to the Sun’s polar and toroidal magnetic fields, we explain how these methods work, past predictions, the current cycle, and predictions of future of solar activity levels for the next few solar cycles.

    The surprising result of these long-range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a “Maunder” type of solar activity minimum – an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w57236105034h657/

    Solar barycentre motion paper: Prolonged minima and the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion by R.Fairbridge and J. Shirley

    We employ the JPL long ephemeris DE-102 to study the inertial motion of the Sun for the period A.D. 760–2100. Defining solar orbits with reference to the Sun’s successive close approaches to the solar system barycenter, occurring at mean intervals of 19.86 yr, we find simple relationships linking the inertial orientation of the solar orbit and the amplitude of the precessional rotation of the orbit with the occurrence of the principal prolonged solar activity minima of the current millenium (the Wolf, Spörer, and Maunder minima). The progression of the inertial orientation parameter is controlled by the 900-yr ‘great inequality’ of the motion of Jupiter and Saturn, while the precessional rotation parameter is linked with the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion previously identified by Jose (1965). A new prolonged minimum of solar activity may be imminent.

    http://www.ann-geophys.net/20/115/2002/angeo-20-115-2002.pdf
    A 2400-year cycle in atmospheric radiocarbon concentration: bispectrum of 14C data over the last 8000 years.

  21. The magnetic poles of the Sun reverse at solar maximum when the sum of the polar field strengths falls to near zero.

    Leif, I mentioned this the other day, I’m planning on doing some magnetic simulations, but, what if as the poles switch and the field drops to near zero, the magnetic field from the planets presents a template field into the poles, and just modulates the coming cycle, this as say a second order effect as compared to your existing method?

    • People have tried to use the planets to predict solar cycles, usually with poor results [although the claim is for perfect correlations…]

      • Yes, the people in question predicted a sudden drop in solar activity based on an analysis of past solar cycle and correlation to movement of the sun by the large planets.

        As I have stated the change in direction of the sun by the large planets (the change in direction of the sun, the acceleration of the sun is dependent on past motion of the sun and the relative position of the planets) likely creates a disturbance in the narrow region of that separates the convection zone and radiative zone which in causes the magnetic flux tubes to be released before they have built up strength. That is the reason why the magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots is decaying linearly.

        You completely ignore the observational evidence and theoretical logic that support the assertion the magnetic flux tubes are formed at the tachocline.

        You do not even bother to carry two theories and continue to compare theory to theory. Your are silly stubborn. In pure science people are allowed to be silly stubborn and are not forced to come up with alternative theories and to objectively compare theory to theory without emotion.

        In private industry you would lose your job.

      • You completely ignore the observational evidence and theoretical logic that support the assertion the magnetic flux tubes are formed at the tachocline.
        As I have documented, that view has gone with the Dodo.

      • William, our prediction of the solar cycle based on dynamo theory and the polar fields was used by NASA as the basis for keeping the Hubble spacecraft in orbit, thus saving hundreds of millions of dollars in controlled de-orbit cost and getting a lot more science out of the spacecraft. Thus a real-life ‘job’ well done.

  22. What do you get when you cross a weak cycle 25 with a rapidly falling AMO? Answer: You get a blend of “Who could have known” mixed with populist leaders attacking food companies and food hoarding, maybe even a windfall food profits tax a la Jimmy Carter.

  23. I think that there is a good chance for the minimum to set in around 2018/20. If this does become a double dip drop that forms a Maunder type event then the cold will last till 2066, approximately. Otherwise, if this is only going to be a Dalton level of cold then the cold will break around 2035/36

  24. “Onset of an ice age requires snow to survive through the summer and cool the earth due to its higher albedo.”??????????

    Or a cooler earth allowing snow to survive through the summer????????????

  25. Kudos to lsvalgaard and William Astley for providing us with the spirited debate. Always interesting. Always something to learn.

    A very interesting time is coming in the next few years with the declining days of solar cycle 24 and start of solar cycle 25 when predictions of the strength of cycle 25 become robust. Some ideas/theories/views may as Leif put it be, “gone with the Dodo.”

    • Maybe they will do away with the science by committee this time in solar cycle predictions. That should have gone out with the Dodo.

  26. Another indicator of the level of solar activity is the flux of radio emission from the Sun at a wavelength of 10.7 cm (2.8 GHz frequency). This flux has been measured daily since 1947. It is an important indicator of solar activity because it tends to follow the changes in the solar ultraviolet that influence the Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Many models of the upper atmosphere use the 10.7 cm flux (F10.7) as input to determine atmospheric densities and satellite drag. F10.7 has been shown to follow the sunspot number quite closely and similar prediction techniques can be used. Our predictions for F10.7 are available in a text file, as a GIF image, and as a pdf-file. Current values for F10.7 can be found at: ftp://ftp.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/data/solar_flux/daily_flux_values/fluxtable.txt.

  27. Reblogged this on The Next Grand Minimum and commented:
    I am reposting David Archibald’s post, but I recommend that readers look at the comments. As expected Leif Lsvalgaard does not agree, but he provides some useful information. I found most of thoughtful comments to be interesting.

    • The difference is that William firmly believes and mercilessly boasts that he does know. The certitude of such people is touching, naive, and a bit sad, but he is in good company with all the other know-it-alls [including you :-) ]

      • Since we don’t have modern data, the definition of “strange” is … lacking. Now, since we have predicted SC25, it can not be “strange”.

        Let’s just look at the amount of energy under the curve [assuming that increased/decreased energy will somehow affect the Earth]. It will be an interesting “future”.

      • We don’t need ‘modern data’ for that. We have 400 years of sunspot observations, and the ‘modern’ observations of sunspots are deliberately made using technology centuries old, even to the point of using the physically very same instruments:

      • Again, are Sunspots a proxy for Solar energy?? Or is the 10.7cm Flux a better indication for the Solar energy reaching the Earth??

        Sunspots are great, kind of like a great drink; but they do not measure the energy reaching the Earth!

      • They are a good proxy for that measure. What you are saying is like the length of the string of mercury in an old-fashioned thermometer does not measure your temperature [it does not], but the length is a good proxy for the temperatire.

      • Based on the extreme solar lull that took place 2008-2010 for a start.

        The predictions for solar are not there if they were you would be able to give us a month by month solar flux /AP index prediction which would be spot on, which you can not do , which no one can do, because are present knowledge and understanding of solar dynamics is not adequate.

        If you disagree, prove it by giving a solar flux/AP index prediction for each month from this point forward.

        No one will be able to do this with any sense of accomplishment.

  28. what are the chances of a complete ice age ? we have 2 unknowns colliding .we have a cooling sun so less heat for the planet .we also have a earth magnetic flip going on .
    so greater cosmic radiation penetrating. creating more cloud more water ..
    at the same time you have weather patterns that look like those of the last ice age .cold in eastern usa warmth in Greenland cold in northern eu .
    you have a massive southern pole pushing cold northward every yr on the melt with such extensive cooling and 2 unknowns is it time to worry ?

    • Again, we will not know the result until after it happens!! Prediction is almost “anti-science”!!! All that we can do is use the “proper input variables”, and hope to determine the result [with verification; after it happens].

      If we had a perfect model, we could be “reasonable certain of the future”, given no extreme changes. I am hunting for that “perfect model”.

      I feel that the extensive increase in Antarctic Sea Ice is an indications that “cooling” is upon us. The Arctic lags behind due to the blocking of ocean flow into the Arctic Ocean [via land masses].

      • Not all predictions. I can fairly predict the temperature where I live for this day in 2016 to a few degrees, say five, which will be within 2% of the correct value. I can predict TSI to much better than 1%, etc.

      • your question is ill posed and don’t deserve an equally ill-considered answer. The prediction in itself show if it is good or important: did it work or not? Did it work in enough cases in the past? If so, there is grounds to believe it will in the future, don’t you think? Certainly, it holds in reverse: if it didn’t work in the past, why should it work in the future?

      • You choose, after the fact, which predictions are valid and worth considering. List your predictions NOW! On anything you choose [must after 2016] [SC25, Earth Global Temperature 2016, May 8th, 2016]. Let us decide which ones are successful.

    • I am an old man and I have worried about many things, most of which never happened – Old Chinese Saying

    • Cold in northern EU isn’t correct. At least Scandinavia has been unusually warm for the last two winters. Instead, there seems to be interesting pattern of rainy seasons and dry seasons during that time. Pattern has around 1-1,5 month interval in switching the modes. Regards, a man from Finland.

  29. This is exactly what I said above, and you disagreed with.

    “Again, we will not know the result until after it happens!! Prediction is almost “anti-science”!!! All that we can do is use the “proper input variables”, and hope to determine the result [with verification; after it happens].”, jlurtz.

    Enough of playing your game! Sunspots do not predict Solar energy or Solar energy reaching the Earth. If you disagree -> Prove it!

    • Sunspots monitor the variation of the energy output of the Sun. This is well established, perhaps you need to read up on this? Here is a comparison:

      Note how the sunspot number SSN (top) matches that of the total energy (bottom) falling on a square meter at the Earth. You drive-by-comment betrays your ignorance about this, so take this opportunity to learn.

      • Typical Isvalgaard, if you don’t agree, attack the person with “ignorance” and the “ability to learn”. Again, are Sunspots a proxy for Solar energy?? Or is the 10.7cm Flux a better indication for the Solar energy reaching the Earth??

        “Sunspots are great, kind of like a great drink; but they do not measure the energy reaching the Earth!”, jlurtz.

        Don’t change the subject, Prove that Sunspots directly affect the “total energy falling on a square meter of the Earth”. If you do, then you have proven that the Sun affects the Earth’s energy input!

      • Sunspots and F10.7 are both good proxies for the energy output of the sun. I don’t need to prove that, because that is generally accepted.
        Equations are easy: Total energy (actually power W/m2) = 1360.5 + 0.083 * Sunspot number
        Relative Change in Temperature = one forth the relative change of Total energy received

      • A bunch of graphs are not proof. Show me your equations of Earth’s temperature verses Sunspots! Then show me 400 years of equations to temperature!

      • I think the sunspot number is a very bad measure of what the activity of the sun is. I think it is a terrible metric to use.

        I will take solar flux over sunspot number, which corresponds much more closely to sunspot area rather then sunspot number.

        Likewise sunspot number and sunspot area do not correspond to one another.

      • Leif,
        If 24 isn’t abnormal, just different, historically what’s the cycle after that one like? Are there any patterns to series of cycles?

      • Likewise sunspot number and sunspot area do not correspond to one another
        But they do:

        The red is sunspot areas, the blue is sunspot numbers. The reason the blue is above the red after 1846 is that the solar observers in Zurich [and Locarno] started to count big spots more than once [a really big one would be counted as five spots] which artificially inflates the sunspot number. But we can correct for that and restore the excellent correspondence between sunspot area and sunspot number.
        BTW, here is the Sun a few days ago:

        at the upper right is a table. The column marked f is the inflated count, and the column marked LW is the real, actual count of spots.

      • micro6500 May 9, 2015 at 8:42 am
        If 24 isn’t abnormal, just different, historically what’s the cycle after that one like? Are there any patterns to series of cycles?

        http://www.leif.org/EOS/SC23-not-as-Deep.pdf
        “We find that when hemispheres are treated separately, almost every one of the past 12 solar minima reaches a point where the main contribution to magnetism comes from the small-scale component. However, due to asymmetries in cycle phase, this state is very rarely reached by both hemispheres at the same time. From this we infer that even though each hemisphere did reach the magnetic baseline, from a heliospheric point of view the minimum of cycle 23 was not as deep as it could have been.”

  30. Great story here from Parkes observatory Alien radio bursts over the last several years turn out to be the microwave in the kitchen, I love it.

  31. “Many models of the upper atmosphere use the 10.7 cm flux (F10.7) as input to determine atmospheric densities and satellite drag.”
    Is it important in order to rocket was on the proper orbit?
    Is the density changes cause in the winter waves in the stratosphere?

    [“Is it important in order to rocket was on the proper orbit?” ?? .mod]

  32. Satellite accelerometers, such as those carried on the CHAMP and GRACE satellites, can provide
    valuable data for improving our knowledge of thermosphere density and winds. These data are now
    available over a wide range of the defining conditions, including more than half a solar cycle. Continuity
    and enhancement of this multi-satellite accelerometer data set will be provided by ESA’s Swarm mission.
    This investigation covers the processing steps required for accurately converting accelerometer data into
    density and wind data, and the subsequent use of this data for improving the understanding of the
    thermosphere.
    The investigation of the data processing is based on data from the CHAMP and GRACE accelerometers,
    star cameras and GPS receivers and equivalent simulated data that has been created for Swarm. The
    investigation encompasses the calibration of the accelerometer instrument, accurate aerodynamic and
    radiation pressure force modelling and the enhancement of processing algorithms. This has resulted in
    improved accuracy of the data and increased insight in the possible sources of error.
    The largest remaining error sources in the density derivation are the gas-surface interaction modelling,
    modelling of the satellite geometry, the calibration scale factor for the in-track accelerometer component,
    and the knowledge of the atmospheric in-track wind speed, composition and temperature. These sources
    lead to density errors which are largely systematic in nature and are estimated at about 15% of the density
    signal for CHAMP, GRACE and Swarm.
    The crosswind determination accuracy is very much dependent on the strength of the aerodynamic drag
    signal, compared to solar radiation pressure modelling errors and accelerometer cross-track calibration
    errors. Therefore, reliable results can only be obtained for a combination of a sufficiently low altitude, high
    enough solar activity and a favourable orbit geometry in terms of radiation pressure accelerations. For
    CHAMP, a multi-year time series of crosswind speeds has been obtained that is within the statistical
    uncertainty of current empirical thermosphere wind models. However, for the higher altitude GRACE
    satellites, radiation pressure modelling errors dominate.
    The CHAMP- and GRACE-derived density and wind data has subsequently been used in extensive
    evaluations using empirical and physical models of the thermosphere, and geophysical studies of large
    scale structures and patterns in the data. Experiments with an accelerometer-calibrated empirical density
    model indicate that improvements in the standard deviation of data/model ratios of at least 30% are
    possible. The work concludes with recommendations for Swarm and other possible future thermosphere
    missions.
    http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/EarthObservation/acceldrag_finalreport_compressed.pdf

  33. Hi Leif,

    Do you have any update on the following from 2013 re SC 25?

    Eagerly awaiting 2016…

    Best, Allan

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/28/bbc-real-risk-of-a-maunder-minimum-little-ice-age/#comment-1461494

    Allan MacRae says: October 30, 2013 at 11:38 am
    Have you made any prediction for SC25?

    lsvalgaard says: October 30, 2013 at 11:43 am

    A highly speculative one is here: http://www.leif.org/research/apjl2012-Liv-Penn-Svalg.pdf

    Come 2016 we should see the new polar field build and from then on I think we can predict with some confidence, not before.

    • As we now have seen the polar fields grow, we can give a lower limit for SC25, namely 2/3 of SC24. But there is an important issue: which index or measure should be use. The index I would prefer is F10.7. In another wild speculation it might be that sunspots will become harder to see [but still be there] such that the sunspot number will be progressively too low: http://www.leif.org/research/Another-Maunder-Minimum.pdf
      If so, that would be really news and exciting.

      • A ‘possible’ change, that if it happens will be great news, but this is just wild speculation. There is very little that indicates in a compelling way that it is actually happening. In science it is sometimes interesting to suggest what to look for [minimizes surprises].

      • I think you are saying that the polar fields thus far are relatively flat and this is why at this point in time you are expecting solar cycle 25, to likely be weaker then solar cycle 24 which is rather weak.

      • No, the polar fields are not ‘rather flat’, but are increasingly sharply after their reversal. So far, they are about 2/3 of what they were prior to the 2008-2009 minimum, but they are still increasing, so SC25 will be AT LEAST 2/3 of SC24. Probably more. Whether or not the sunspot number will behave is uncertain. The number of spots per sunspot group [active region] has been decreasing the past three cycles and is now only half of what it used to be for at least a century. If this decrease continues [and we don’t know if it will] be may get cycles with very low sunspot numbers, but not so low F10.7, EUV, magnetic field, and TSI. Perhaps the Maunder Minimum was like this.

      • In addition I think your view of solar activity going forward is it is likely to be weaker rather then stronger, but thus far nothing that unusual has happened. Still you expect further weakening at least through the end of solar cycle 25.

      • weak solar cycles often come in bunches [but not always: SC20] so just on that ground a weak SC25 [and even SC26] will not be a surprise. But we CANNOT [as yet] predict with confidence that far ahead. Accurate solar cycle prediction is of large societal importance as it strongly influences planning for space assets [even insurance premiums for satellites].

  34. Why is there little mention of coronal hole streams, filament eruptions, coronal mass ejections, solar flares and our weaking magnetosphere in relation to Earths climate. If any of the Suns phenomenons that I listed are Earth facing when they occur, they can put tremendous amounts of energy into Earths atmosphere above and beyond what TSI or sunspot number can account for. If these solar phenomenon can effect Earths electrical transmission grid, which it can and does, wouldn’t it be possible that it effects weather? ex. High/ Low pressure systems, Toradoes, Cyclones and Earthquakes, Cloud formations.

      • On average yes but not per occurance. A CME or Filimentry eruption that’s Earth directed can wreak havoc on Earths upper atmosphere( ozone), Troposphere ( electrical transmission grid) It really depends on the frequency of these phenomena that determines how much energy they put into Earths climate system. With the Earths weaking Magnetosphere, the more likely these phenomena directed towards Earth occur, the more likely they will effect Earth.

  35. On average yes but not per occurance. A CME or Filimentry eruption that’s Earth directed can wreak havoc on Earths upper atmosphere( ozone), Troposphere ( electrical transmission grid) It really depends on the frequency of these phenomena that determines how much energy they put into Earths climate system. With the Earths weaking Magnetosphere, the more likely these phenomena directed towards Earth occur, the more likely they will effect Earth.

    • Climate is average weather, so it is the average that counts. The energy released in a single hurricane exceeds that of all power stations in the world…
      The energy in the climate system is many orders of magnitude greater than that of all the solar manifestations you mentioned. You seem to think the tail wags the dog.

  36. So are you saying that Earth is the dog and the Sun is the tail in your metaphor?

  37. Are you trying to tell me that a coronal mass ejection or a filimentary ejection five times the size of the Earth colliding with the earths magnetosphere and inducing a current into the polar regions creating the aurora has very little to do with weather patterns on earth and that it is less energy than what a hurricane produces.

    • yes, by far. NASA says that “during its life cycle a hurricane can expend as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs!” And we’re just talking about average hurricanes here, not Katrina.

  38. When the watering hole has been spiked with koolaid I can understand why the horse would not want to drink. It seems science has become to specialized/compartmentilized to see the light beyond the lamppost.

    • Ignorance is one thing [and perfectly excusable: we can’t all know everything], but willful [as in your case] is an abomination.

    • But you do! Good for you, but that does not the mustard for me. Refusing to believe something in the face of scientific evidence is not skepticism, it is the height of credulity.

  39. We know that solar eruptions can cause geomagnetic storms that effect large portions of earth at a time. A hurricane is only regional and even possibly influenced by solar phenomena. A hurricanes power may seem impressive to mans power, but the Suns power, due to an ejection, dwarfs that to infinity.

    • No, not at all. Geomagnetic storms are rare too. You are correct that the Sun’s power [that is: plain sunlight] dwarfs man’s power [but not to infinity, of course], but the Earth intercept only a tiny, tiny part of that, less than one billionth. And the energy in the solar eruptions that hit the earth is about one millionths of that in the ordinary sunlight falling on the Earth during the eruption. So, the effect of all the things you mentioned don’t amount to much compared to the energy already present in the climate system.

      • So, the effect of all the things you mentioned don’t amount to much compared to the energy already present in the climate system.

        What Leif says in the above (and others ) is the fatal flaw for those who do not accept solar/climate relationships.

        Also their bogus theory that the upper atmosphere because it is thin somehow does not translate to an effect in the lower atmosphere. Another fatal flaw.

        Evidence suggest otherwise, as shown by the atmospheric circulation responses to solar activity and cloud responses to strong CME events..

      • Evidence suggest otherwise, as shown by the atmospheric circulation responses to solar activity and cloud responses to strong CME events..
        There is no evidence of any of that.

  40. Did the Carrington event actually occur? If so, how many nuclear bombs did that equat to?

  41. How much plasma is ejected out of the sun( on average) that hits earth compared to TSI average?

  42. Maybe that’s the reason for the hurricane, to release that sudden surge of energy from the Sun?

  43. I don’t believe that. Because the only thing anybody talks about is TSI or Sunspot numbers. This to me sounds ludicrous! Let’s just forget about TSI and sunspots for a second. TSI is determined to be fairly constant. Sunspots fluctuate. So what! The thing that matters the most is whether Suns ejected is sent our way or not, that is what matters the most. We are talking about greater than Earth sized ejections of pure energy coming from the Sun and smashing into our planet. It happens a lot! To pretend it doesn’t have an effect on Earths system sounds unbelievable.

    • The solar ejecta are extremely tenuous: 5 protons per cubic centimeter [and it not pure energy]. The air you breathe has 30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules per cubic centimeter. The impact of the solar ejecta on the the Earth corresponds to one good-sized turkey per second.

  44. Are you serious? Tenuous? I would say that galactic cosmic ray might be considered tenuous but to say solar phenomena is tenuous makes me wonder what the hell you are studying?

    • Perhaps you could expend some energy reading this:
      http://www.windows2universe.org/sun/wind_character.html
      “At the orbit of the Earth, the solar wind has an average density of about 6 ions/cm3. This is not very dense at all! Take a look at this picture for comparison with Earth’s atmosphere. So even though the solar wind moves incredibly fast (normally in the range from 300 to 600 km/s), it wouldn’t even ruffle your hair if you were to stand directly in the midst of a solar wind breeze…”

  45. So let me get this straight. You are saying that a gigantic cloud of energy five times the size of Earth has little to no impact on what happens here on earth?

    • Yes. But you must be more precise. There is an impact in the upper atmosphere, which is about a billion times thinner that the air you breathe, but that is about it. It has been very difficult to establish whether there is any impact on weather and climate, although people have been looking for 400 years. Now, there are thousands of paper that CLAIM they have found such influence, but none of them compelling enough to be taken seriously.

  46. How certain are you? You seem to be regurgitating what you have been taught. It seems to me that we are rotating around our star which is our solar system which is rotating around the Galaxy( Milky Way) which is rotating around what? The universe? Who knows what possibilities may occur. There’s nobody that can predict what may happen. Let’s just enjoy life the best we can. [snip] all this nonsense!

  47. If it can effect our electical transmission grid than I suspect it can effect our weather!

    • “If it can effect our electical transmission grid than I suspect it can effect our weather!”
      The energy required to affect 19th century telegraphs isn’t going to be a lot of energy, it was electromagnetic energy coupling to a really long antenna. Which probably had no surge protection. I believe it would impact satellites, but they are much more sensitive than telegraphic equipment, and with a lot less shielding.

    • The transmission grid is influenced by currents induced in them by another electric currents a hundred miles up in the air. The induction works because the grid consists of good electric conductors. The air is not a good conductor so is not influenced.

    • Lightning requires an electric field exceeding the dielectric strength of air which is 3 million Volt per meter. Thunderstorms generate electric fields that large, so we get a lightning discharge. The Electric fields generated by the interaction with the solar wind is of the order 0.01 Volt per meter so cannot produce lightning. It seems you did not get the memo.

    • Dr Matt Owens of Reading University has done research into the causes of lightning, and it seems as if the Sun plays a role in generating lighting by bending the Earth’s mag field. Why am I not surprised?

      • Owens also said that “Because of good quality records, the scientists confined their work to the UK. They believe that the same effect is playing out over the globe but with different results, so while lightning might increase over Britain, it may have decreased over Canada or Siberia.”
        The data only covers the years 2001-2006 in the UK, so the statistics is poor.

        Owens is also on record for claiming that there was no little ice age during the Maunder Minimum:

        Are you surprised? or not.

    • I’m actually in communication with Matt Owens, and I asked him whether he had indeed claimed that there was no LIA during the MM. As it turns out, he’s not claiming that there was not a period of prolonged cold during that time; it’s just that he prefers not to use the term ‘Little Ice Age’, as he finds it potentially misleading. As he said, it’s a a matter of semantics. As for the quality of his research – well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?

  48. Evidence suggest otherwise, as shown by the atmospheric circulation responses to solar activity and cloud responses to strong CME events..
    There is no evidence of any of that.

    But there is evidence of this.

    • If the above were not true the discussions we are currently having would not be taking place.
      There are always people who believe things that are not true.

  49. Some are saying his is how the sun presently is different then prior times.

    Very briefly below do you agree?

    TSI and SSN showing signs if a divergence.

    Solar equatorial rotation slower then it was during solar cycle 23.

    Magnetic strength of solar poles at this point in the solar cycle extremely low.

    Polar solar flows needed to generate sunspots for solar cycle 25 not present as of now.

    • TSI and SSN showing signs if a divergence.
      Only for a brief time, and the problem is probably with the SSN not being quite correct.

      Solar equatorial rotation slower then it was during solar cycle 23.
      No evidence of that

      Magnetic strength of solar poles at this point in the solar cycle extremely low.
      At every solar maximum the polar fields fall to zero

      Polar solar flows needed to generate sunspots for solar cycle 25 not present as of now.
      The meridional circulation is still present

    • sure there are couplings between the upper layers, but they don’t influence the climate system measurably.
      If they did, we would not have this discussion :-)

      • You are keeping me on the fence as far as what future solar activity may or may not be, and or how different it may or may not be.

        This is good because it brings things into a proper perspective.

        You could very well be correct, while others are wrong or maybe not.

        I will let the data dictate which view to believe as time goes on which is the only sensible approach.

    • Salvatore, don’t waste your time debating with this guy, you might as well be talking to a brick wall!

      • .

        I like to hear someone with opposite views (LEIF) if I feel they have the knowledge in the area they are talking about which he does.

        I may not agree especially when it comes to solar /climate relationships with him but I still like his input.

        I am never going to get personal in this ,but just try to stick to the scientific approach as much as possible.

  50. Dr. S, would you care to comment on this? (see article below)

    Or maybe William Astley can tell us what causes the the solar hemispheres to rotate at different speeds and how a speeding up of solar rotation might interfere with the formation of sunspots by a shearing of magnetic fields.
    Not an interruption in solar cycle but a speeding up of solar rotation…interfering with formation of fields geometry.

    “Solar surface rotation: N-S asymmetry and recent speed-up”

    L. Zhang1;2, K. Mursula1, and I. Usoskin1;3
    Accepted 20 January 2015

    “””Conclusions. The rotation of both hemispheres has been speeding up at roughly the same rate since the late 1990s, with the southern
    hemisphere rotating slightly faster than the northern hemisphere.

    This period coincides with the start of a significant weakening of the
    solar activity, as observed in sunspots and several other solar, interplanetary, and geomagnetic parameters.”””

    Not finished with the Solar Sectors Structure, article yet Dr. S. trouble with relaxation at the new location………….

  51. Jay Hope

    May 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Salvatore, don’t waste your time debating with this guy, you might as well be talking to a brick wall!
    ___________________________

    “Another brick in the wall,” maybe. But not a brick wall.
    More like a foundational cornerstone brick. eh

  52. If Leif’s opinion should change (if he should conclude as time goes along at some point that the sun is not acting normal) would zoom my confidence on what the sun may or may not do going forward.

    For now the diversity of opinions leaves me in a wait and see mode.

    As long as Leif says the sun is acting normal makes me doubt if the sun is not acting normal.

  53. Leif a question. What if the sun had a triple peak of activity ? Would that not be the first time? if it did what would that suggest if anything. I do not think it will happen but for fun if it did what would that suggest?

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