How ‘consensus science’ blew the Solar Cycle 24 prediction, which turned out to be the lowest in 100 years

A few years ago, the best solar models predicted that Solar Cycle 24 would be larger than Solar Cycle 23. Here is a plot from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) during those heady days, this one being from April 20th, 2007. Note the predicted ranges in red:

ssn_predict_orig1

 

Now, compare that prediction in 2007, to this plot of actual values today:

 

Sunspot Number Progression

solar-cycle-sunspot-number1

Note that the current values plotted above still fall far short of the updated predictions that were made to account for a much lower Solar Cycle 24.

 

Back then NOAA said:

May 8, 2009 — Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Update The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.

June 27, 2008 During the annual Space Weather Workshop held in Boulder, CO in May, 2008, the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel released an update to the prediction for the next solar cycle. In short, the update is that the panel has not yet made any changes to the prediction issued in April, 2007. The panel expects solar minimum to occur in March, 2008. The panel expects the solar cycle to reach a peak sunspot number of 140 in October, 2011 or a peak of 90 in August, 2012.

April 25, 2008 The official NOAA, NASA, and ISES Solar Cycle 24 prediction was released by the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel on April 25, 2007. The Prediction Panel included members from NOAA, NASA, ISES and other US and International representatives. Press Briefings and presentations at the SEC Space Weather Workshop, plus additional announcements and information from the Panel are linked below. The Panel expects to update this prediction annually.

The Panel considered all Predictions of Solar Cycle 24 they found in the literature or received directly from an author. The May 24, 2007 List shows the predictions considered.

So much for “consensus” based predictions. Not just a basic consensus mind you, but a supermajority, like, ummm 97% or something like that. They even wrote a paper about that consensus, which you can read here.

Our resident solar expert, Dr. Leif Svalgaard was in the 3% that said no.

But even in that super-majority, there wasn’t really a true consensus on the numbers for Cycle 24, as this graphic illustrates:

split-solar-prediction

They wrote then, bold mine:

Cycle 24 Maximum Prediction

• Will peak at a sunspot number of 140(±20) in October, 2011 (F10.7 = 187 sfu) Or

• Will peak at a sunspot number of 90(±10) in August, 2012 (F10.7 = 141 sfu)

The panel is split! – The next cycle will be neither extreme, nor average

Svalgaard presented these graphs in a presentation made in Lund, 20 September 2005:

svalgaard-polarfield-prediction-cycle-24 svalgaard-ssn-prediction-cycle-24

Svalgaard also published a paper in GRL with this title:

Sunspot cycle 24: Smallest cycle in 100 years?

With the exception of Svalgaard, the panel of consensus scientists were all wrong, and Cycle 24 is turning out to be a complete forecast bust, and the the lowest in 100 years, and it was neither extreme, nor average.

So much for consensus based science!

 

References:

April 25, 2007 NOAA Press Release

NOAA’s Press Briefing document: Solar Cycle 24 Consensus Prediction

Svalgaard’s Cycle 24 Prediction Lund.pdf (Lund, 2005)

Svalgaard’s GRL 2005 paper  Cycle 24 Smallest 100 years.pdf


Meanwhile, other indicators besides the sunspot number show cycle 24 remaining in a slump.

F10.7cm Radio Flux Progression

solar-cycle-10-cm-radio-flux1

AP Progression

solar-cycle-planetary-a-index1

At the top is the Sunspot Number, in the middle, the F10.7cm Radio Flux, and at the bottom, the Ap Index (a measure of geomagnetic activity) history.

In all of the plots, the black line represents the monthly averaged data and the blue line represents a 13-month smoothed version of the monthly averaged data.  For the Sunspot Number and F10.7cm, the forecast for the rest of the solar cycle is given by the red line.

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243 thoughts on “How ‘consensus science’ blew the Solar Cycle 24 prediction, which turned out to be the lowest in 100 years

  1. “A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”

    Never again will they predict. All future ‘evidence (model?) based assertions’ henceforth to be known as ‘projections’.

    • Wow. They actually get paid to do stuff they know absolutely nothing about. Green is an industry floating on unicorn farts and sprinkles of pixie dust.

  2. What else is interesting about Svalgaard’s prediction is that Cycles 22 and 23 (and to a point 21) peak then dropped a bit and peak again lower than the first peak. While 24 peak then dropped and peaked again but higher than the first peak, which is pretty dang close to his prediction.

  3. I did start to read this, and wondered what Dr Svalgaard would have to write about a post on sunspot prediction, but the post went on to partially answer that. What was the evidently failed model the concensus used v. Dr Svalgaard?

      • wow,and people here think dr. svalgaard gives them a hard time. can’t fault a man that applies the same standards universally.

      • What a thorough review. While pulling no punches, it’s constructive. Quite by coincidence, I submitted a much slighter review on a much slighter paper, with the same “something like this should be published, but this isn’t it, because X Y and Z” kind of conclusion. But here I see a Master at work. From now on, I believe anything lsvalgaard says about the Sun. Not only does he know a lot of stuff, but he can give serious attention to people he disagrees with, so if he’s wrong, he won’t stay wrong for long.

      • I will not reduce the great scientific success of Dr. Svalgaard’s correct prediction of Solar Cycle 24. And I know that the Solar Barycenter theory is rather questionable and maybe wrong, but still we should not forget that people like Dr. Landscheidt did predict a distinct weakening of Solar Cycles until a minimum around the year 2030 even earlier than 2005.

        For Instance, already in the year 2003 Dr. Landscheidt wrote,

        “It is shown that minima in the 80 to 90-year Gleissberg cycle of solar activity, coinciding with periods of cool climate on Earth, are consistently linked to an 83-year cycle in the change of the rotary force driving the sun’s oscillatory motion about the centre of mass of the solar system. As the future course of this cycle and its amplitudes can be computed, it can be seen that the Gleissberg minimum around 2030 and another one around 2200 will be of the Maunder minimum type accompanied by severe cooling on Earth.”

        And

        “We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago.”

        These Landscheidt-Quotations can be found here:
        http://bourabai.kz/landscheidt/new-e.htm

      • Well it seems that some forbidden names or theories are on a “NoGo” List here on WUWT and therefore my post went into the dustbin. I can understand this policy in part but think it is somewhat overdone in these cases…

        So, I try a second run without the names and theories on the “wuwt index”:

        I will not reduce the great scientific success of Dr. Svalgaard’s correct prediction of Solar Cycle 24. And I know that the XY theory is rather questionable and maybe wrong, but still we should not forget that people like Dr. YZ did predict a distinct weakening of Solar Cycles until a minimum around the year 2030 even earlier than 2005.

        For Instance, already in the year 2003 Dr. YZ wrote,

        “It is shown that minima in the 80 to 90-year Gleissberg cycle of solar activity, coinciding with periods of cool climate on Earth, are consistently linked to an 83-year cycle in the change of the rotary force driving the sun’s oscillatory motion about the centre of mass of the solar system. As the future course of this cycle and its amplitudes can be computed, it can be seen that the Gleissberg minimum around 2030 and another one around 2200 will be of the Maunder minimum type accompanied by severe cooling on Earth.”

        And

        “We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago.”

        These XZ-Quotations can be found in the internet with the key words:
        “Gleissberg minumum” “New Little Iceage” “2030”

      • Hi Gentle

        You must have done something wrong as you will find that wuwt is not so narrow minded as some of the other scientific sites.
        According to my own various calculations we already had the minimum of the Gleissberg (in 2014) and we made the switch,
        hence we reached the minimum of both SSN and the solar polar magnetic field strengths.
        I am interested to find at least one person on this site who realizes, like me, that the planets do have an influence on the centre of gravity of the sun to “throw” the switch.
        If this were not happening, and there may be indications in the past that we missed one or other switch, then earth will overcool [LIA] or overheat [Medieval Warm period]
        The latter is not a problem, [as we know from the past], but the first could give us quite some hassle.
        as it stands, everything is just business as usual, but it will be cooling until 2037, but not so much. We just might lose as much as we gained from 1950.

      • Hi Mod,
        Thank you for fishing my first posting attempt out of the dustbin again, but why then didn’t you remove my second try which is now redundant?
        BTW: Was my guess right and Dr. Landscheidt is on a wuwt “black list” for some reason or other ?

        Hi HenryP,
        I’m not sure about the Solar Barycenter theory. It seems to be a rather elegant and fascinating idea but there are also strong counter-arguments and I think it will be hard to prove or disprove this concept soon. So only time may tell us eventually whether Landscheidt and like-minded investigators were right with their predictions…

        PS
        Why are Saturn and Uranus so important in your version of the Solar Barycenter Idea? What about Jupiter?

      • It seems Landscheidt was wrong about the exact time duration of the Gleissberg, which is exactly 86.5 years. The half cycle is 43-44 years and the whole cycle looks like a sine wave. You can best see this by looking at the data for maximum temperature, like I did here in Alaska

        [this graph was produced by me in 2013 and includes the data up to 2012. At the time I was convinced we would reach maximum cooling in 2016 as some other report indicated the length of the Gleissberg at 88 years on average. I can see now from all my other data that it already happened in 2014 and the Gleissberg is indeed 86.5 years.
        still, not too bad an error from looking only at one weather station….]

        Hence, looking at the sun, we are now in 1930.
        .
        What I find, in climate science, is that you can trust no data sets other than the ones you own.
        Like I said, I have determined the turning points from all of my own collected data. But you can also observe it from the graphs of the solar polar field strengths. You can draw bi-nomials that would represent the average field strengths of either pole and note with me that there are little “holes” in the graph 1970-1971 and 2013-2014. It looks like mini solar cycles occurred here…..

        The planet theory was postulated first by William Arnold in 1985, before they started with the CO2 nonsense theory. Apparently the other planets do have an influence as well, but so far I only looked at Saturn and Uranus. My finding is that there is definitely correlation. Whether it is caused or causal is still up for some debate. Dr. No says the forces are too small. I am not so sure, as you have to look at the total centrifugal force, not just the weight of the planets but also their speed. Never mind all of that,[debate], I am already sure I can use the planets’ position to forecast the strength of SC25.

        It will be comparable in strength to SC 17

        Go figure.

      • It seems YZ was wrong about the exact time duration of the Gleissberg, which is exactly 86.5 years. The half cycle is 43-44 years and the whole cycle looks like a sine wave. You can best see this by looking at the data for maximum temperature, like I did here in Alaska

        [this graph was produced by me in 2013 and includes the data up to 2012. At the time I was convinced we would reach maximum cooling in 2016 as some other report indicated the length of the Gleissberg at 88 years on average. I can see now from all my other data that it already happened in 2014 and the Gleissberg is indeed 86.5 years.
        still, not too bad an error from looking only at one weather station….]

        Hence, looking at the sun, we are now in 1930.
        .
        What I find, in climate science, is that you can trust no data sets other than the ones you own.
        Like I said, I have determined the turning points from all of my own collected data. But you can also observe it from the graphs of the solar polar field strengths. You can draw bi-nomials that would represent the average field strengths of either pole and note with me that there are little “holes” in the graph 1970-1971 and 2013-2014. It looks like mini solar cycles occurred here…..

        The planet theory was postulated first by William Arnold in 1985, before they started with the CO2 nonsense theory. Apparently the other planets do have an influence as well, but so far I only looked at Saturn and Uranus. My finding is that there is definitely correlation. Whether it is caused or causal is still up for some debate. Dr. No says the forces are too small. I am not so sure, as you have to look at the total centrifugal force, not just the weight of the planets but also their speed. Never mind all of that,[debate], I am already sure I can use the planets’ position to forecast the strength of SC25.

        It will be comparable in strength to SC 17

        Go figure.

      • @gentle

        sorry I forgot to show you the graph with the ‘holes’

        btw, it seems you are right about the name YZ triggering something.

    • Hi Dr. Svalgaard and HenryP,

      Best thanks for your further information. I think, I will stay open to both possibilities until more evidence will decide this theory finally, but it was interesting to read your points of view.

      Regards, GT

      PS
      Yes HenryP, the name of Dr. YZ is definitely on the wuwt black list, though I don’t quite understand why. He was certainly not a main stream scientist and had a strange interest in astrology but was – so far I know – not a total and hopeless crackpot…

  4. I’ll like to peddle this:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Prediction-of-Solar-Cycles.pdf
    A talk given on my long-time colleague Phil Scherrer’s 70th birthday.
    Although I personally think that we have the problem licked, a large proportion of solar physicists are still groping in the dark. If [when?] we get SC25 right, I think that proportion will dwindle to nothing.

    If we have solved the problem, EVERY cycle must be predicted correctly, both forwards and backwards in time. The prediction must be so good that it is actionable. An example is the Hubble Space Telescope. If SC24 would be a large cycle, the atmosphere would have expanded and brought down the Hubble at an unpredictable time and [more importantly] place. NASA is mandated to de-orbit satellites safely [i.e. to the middle of the ocean] and their problem back in 2007 was: should they deorbit Hubble? The mission to do that would cost some US$200 million plus loss of more good science. Luckily, they believed our low prediction and kept Hubble in orbit, and we got another decade [and more, hopefully] of wonderful science.

    • So, did NASA at least give you a 10% finder’s fee for saving them $200 million and the cost of a replacement space telescope?

      • I wonder how the ether theory of physics petered out in the details of careers, reviewers, former enforcers, and young vs. old academics.

      • Resourceguy,

        As far as I can tell, it was mostly the mass media bloviating, and Mr. Einstein himself later spoke of there being an “ether” in his view too;

        “More careful reflection teaches us, however, that the special theory of relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume the existence of an ether; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it. We shall see later that this point of view, the conceivability of which I shall at once endeavour to make more intelligible by a somewhat halting comparison, is justified by the results of the general theory of relativity …”

    • So a supermajority almost brought down the Hubble. That should be in the science news today, including a memo to the psychology journals reviewing papers on climate consensus and deniers.

    • Is there an accurate way to predict two cycles ahead? I think I read back years ago that NASA solar scientists were predicting cycle 26 to be extremely low.

      • Not that I know of. And I don’t think there will be, as the reversal of the polar fields is a rather random process. In a statistical sense, there is some hint of longer cycles [100 years? and longer?] so extrapolation of such cycles might give you a rough idea, but there is no guarantee and there are cycles that ‘break’ the trend. A good example is cycle 20 peaking in 1969:
        http://www.sidc.be/silso/yearlyssnplot

      • Not that I know of. The rather random generation of the polar fields precludes accurate prediction of more than one cycle. In a statistical sense there are hints of longer cycles [100 years ?]. Extrapolation using those may be useful, but the result is not guaranteed and so are not actionable. A good example is cycle 20 that peaked in 1969, breaking the 100-yr cycle:

    • NASA acted appropriately in taking the consensus solar cycle prediction as one of many inputs and not the sole input at the expense of accuracy or second guessing among other considerations in the risk analysis. I wonder what consensus was telling Neville Chamberlain or maybe he was the consensus at the time.

      • “I wonder what consensus was telling Neville Chamberlain”

        That is the problem, isn’t it? Power tends to attract the type of people that will say what the listener wants to hear. Not mere sycophants, but a like species. It tends to create a climate of self-confirmation, much like happens in “climate science”. Dissenters are pushed to the side, even persecuted as in Communist Russia and China.

      • The consensus had (throughout the 1930s ) been telling Neville Chamberlain NOT to re-arm, and blocking his every move to do so. In those days there was no stomach for a war & the UK had a lot of aristocratic Nazi sympathizers, including in the royal family.
        By slight of hand, he managed to gain Britain a 9 month breathing space for industry & the military to gear up …..the rest is a history, mainly written by master spin-doctor Churchill, who was Chamberlain’s arch rival.

    • lsvalgaard September 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

      ” EVERY cycle must be predicted correctly, both forwards and backwards in time.”

      Is this part of the reason the Sun-Spot Number reconstruct was needed?
      Without it you can’t hind-cast. Hmm, if the reconstruct is flawed the future predictions will also be flawed.
      Cycle 25 will tell you if the reconstruct needs to be tweaked. This is not a bad thing. The alarmists have given any corrections a bad name. We would not treat the fine tuning of a car engine the same way, no one should be critical if it turns out that you have to make changes to the reconstruct
      Oh and the information on the Hubble priceless, thank you.

      michael

      • Is this part of the reason the Sun-Spot Number reconstruct was needed?
        Of course not. The sunspot number was revised because of errors found in the series. The differences are not large enough to substantially change the predictions. And, BTW, the predictions were all made using the old series before the revisions.

      • lsvalgaard September 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm
        Thanks.
        “The differences are not large enough to substantially change the predictions. ”

        Well someone asked, (me) and now it is out of the way.

        “And, BTW, the predictions were all made using the old series before the revisions.”

        I “assumed” that the old series would have given you inaccurate results. And I did later find the recommendation for not using sun spot numbers in the link . after I posted (N.T.S., aways read link first)

        michael

      • how very shortsighted of you to change and ‘adapt’ the record, no matter how bad it is.\

        I will give you a certificate of ‘cluelessness”

      • http://www.leif.org/research/Revisiting-the-Sunspot-Number.pdf
        “Our knowledge of the long-term evolution of solar activity and of its primary modulation, the 11-year cycle, largely depends on a single direct observational record: the visual sunspot counts that retrace the last 4 centuries, since the invention of the astronomical telescope. Currently, this activity index is available in two main forms: the International Sunspot Number initiated by R. Wolf in 1849 and the Group Number constructed more recently by Hoyt and Schatten (Sol. Phys. 179:189–219, 1998a, 181:491–512, 1998b). Unfortunately, those two series do not match by various aspects, inducing confusions and contradictions when used in crucial contemporary studies of the solar dynamo or of the solar forcing on the Earth climate. Recently, new efforts have been undertaken to diagnose and correct flaws and biases affecting both sunspot series, in the framework of a series of dedicated Sunspot Number Workshops. Here, we present a global overview of our current understanding of the sunspot number calibration. After retracing the construction of those two composite series, we present the new concepts and methods used to self-consistently re-calibrate the original sunspot series. While the early part of the sunspot record before 1800 is still characterized by large uncertainties due to poorly observed periods, the more recent sunspot numbers are mainly affected by three main inhomogeneities: in 1880–1915 for the Group Number and in 1947 and 1980–2014 for the Sunspot Number. After establishing those new corrections, we then consider the implications on our knowledge of solar activity over the last 400 years. The newly corrected series clearly indicates a progressive decline of solar activity before the onset of the Maunder Minimum, while the slowly rising trend of the activity after the Maunder Minimum is strongly reduced, suggesting that by the mid 18th century, solar activity had already returned to levels equivalent to those observed in recent solar cycles in the 20th century. We finally conclude with future prospects opened by this epochal revision of the Sunspot Number, the first one since Wolf himself, and its reconciliation with the Group Number, a long-awaited modernization that will feed solar cycle research into the 21st century”

    • lsvalgaard September 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Ahem, I could say a lot of things.
      Doc. at 12 yrs old I knew to clean the optics before using my telescope. Well you guys are human.

      “At WSO we also
      measure the rotation
      rate of the Sun. We
      found that the Sun
      rotated slower and
      slower as time went on,
      until we cleaned the
      mirrors and optics
      [arrows]. Dirty optics
      means scattered light.
      In 1976-1977 that was
      particularly bad.”

      michael

      bty thank you for the link. A lot to digest.

      • Cleaning the mirrors also degrades [by scratching] the reflectivity of the very thin layer of aluminium on the glass mirrors. So there is a balance between cleaning and scattered light. It took us some time to find out what that balance was for our specific observatory. It also helped that we paved the access road…

      • lsvalgaard sez: ” It also helped that we paved the access road…”
        ——————
        Listening to: Kansas- “Dust In The Wind”

      • Dirty optics scatter light so that East half of the Sun gets a little light from the West half and vice versa. The light from the East is comes from a area that is rotating towards and is therefore shifted towards the blue [called the Doppler shift] while the light from the West is shifted towards the red. The difference between the two halves is a measure of the speed of rotation. If some light from one half is scattered into the other half of the disk, the difference in wavelength will be less and hence the measured rotation speed too small.

      • Isvalgaard.

        Us amateur astronomers fight the same vicious problem of when to clean our mirrors. The primary mirror on my 10″ Newtonian reflector needs cleaned after 12 years of use. I did my best to keep it clean including building a padded plywood chest to keep it in between uses but dirt will find a way.

      • Aah, I see now.
        Thank you for the reply.

        For some reason I was imagining that the rotation rate was gleaned by simply tracking surface features of the sun.

      • The rate is also determined by tracking, but it turns out that gets slightly different rates depending on what features one tracks. Possibly because the features are at slightly different heights in the atmosphere. Remember that the Sun is a gas and that there is no fixed reference points against which to measure the ‘rotation rate’. What we actually measure is the combination of actual rotation and winds in the atmosphere.

    • Lief,

      Thought that TSI didn’t change enough between solar cycles to affect the global temperature. But it expands the atmosphere enough to cause satellites to fall out of orbit from increased drag?

      • How could an expanded, ie warmer and less dense, atmosphere possibly affect climate?

        I mean, get real! What are you a D$nier or something?

      • The atmosphere at satellite altitude is a billion times thinner than near the surface and even so absorbs the very shortest wavelengths of solar radiation heating the air to 1000 degrees at solar maximum and less at minimum. This is possible because the air is so thin. The same change in incoming energy spread over the much thicker surface air warms it much much less as it has to be spread over a billion times as many molecules as in the upper atmosphere.

      • Dr. S,

        Good explanation.

        Too bad that so few of your tenured academic colleagues lack the guts to comment here. Maybe blog commenting is too much like popularizing. Even if 100 times as many people read it as a specialist journal.

        As our friends from Oz say, “Good on ya, mate!”

      • Re upper atmospheric heating and expansion…Small effects can be magnified by feedback, no?
        Thicker atmosphere can slow heat loss, no?
        And then there is the change in TSI as the cycles vary.
        Add in the changes in cosmic rays…
        Yes, all no doubt tiny influences, but are they additive?

        How much energy enters the Earth’s atmosphere at the poles from the stuff that causes the aurorae?
        How much does this vary by during the solar cycles?
        Does any electric energy reach Earth via this route?
        Questions…so many questions.
        The Earth asks no questions…it just responds to everything it responds to, and leaves us wondering and trying to figure it all out.
        One thing seems for sure…there are reasons for natural variability…reasons why we had a LIA and a MWP…
        Questions.

      • lsvalgaard – September 9, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        The atmosphere at satellite altitude is a billion times thinner than near the surface and even so absorbs the very shortest wavelengths of solar radiation heating the air to 1000 degrees at solar maximum and less at minimum.

        This is possible because the air is so thin. The same change in incoming energy spread over the much thicker surface air warms it much much less as it has to be spread over a billion times as many molecules as in the upper atmosphere.

        Isvalgaard, …… I’m mighty curious, …… just what Law of Physics is responsible for your above claim (explanation) of “the spreading of incoming solar energy”?

        Of course there is no said “Law of Physics” and thus your explanation of said “energy spreading” is utterly FUBAR.

        Satellites CAN detect and record the amount of IR energy being radiated through earth’s atmosphere at various heights or altitudes …… but those satellites CAN NOT detect or record the type, number or quantity of gas molecules at any height or altitude above the earth’s surface …… unless said satellite actually captures a “sample” of air and analyzes its contents.

        If one could somehow remove all GHG(sic) molecules from earth’s upper atmosphere (above 15k feet) ….. those satellites would still detect the same quantity of IR radiation. And GHGs ….. or no GHGs, …… the actual air temperature of the atmosphere is as follows, to wit:

      • but those satellites CAN NOT detect or record the type, number or quantity of gas molecules at any height or altitude above the earth’s surface
        You seem to have a real problem understanding simple science.
        Here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth you can learn more about the structure of the Earth’s atmosphere. To help you out, here is an excerpt about the relevant part of the atmosphere:
        “The thermosphere is the second-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It extends from the mesopause (which separates it from the mesosphere) at an altitude of about 80 km (50 mi; 260,000 ft) up to the thermopause at an altitude range of 500–1000 km (310–620 mi; 1,600,000–3,300,000 ft). The height of the thermopause varies considerably due to changes in solar activity.[8] Because the thermopause lies at the lower boundary of the exosphere, it is also referred to as the exobase. The lower part of the thermosphere, from 80 to 550 kilometres (50 to 342 mi) above Earth’s surface, contains the ionosphere.
        The temperature of the thermosphere gradually increases with height. Unlike the stratosphere beneath it, wherein a temperature inversion is due to the absorption of radiation by ozone, the inversion in the thermosphere occurs due to the extremely low density of its molecules. The temperature of this layer can rise as high as 1500 °C (2700 °F), though the gas molecules are so far apart that its temperature in the usual sense is not very meaningful. The air is so rarefied that an individual molecule (of oxygen, for example) travels an average of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi; 3300 ft) between collisions with other molecules.[10] Although the thermosphere has a high proportion of molecules with high energy, it would not feel hot to a human in direct contact, because its density is too low to conduct a significant amount of energy to or from the skin.
        This layer is completely cloudless and free of water vapor. However non-hydrometeorological phenomena such as the aurora borealis and aurora australis are occasionally seen in the thermosphere. The International Space Station orbits in this layer, between 350 and 420 km (220 and 260 mi).”

      • A mild elaboration, the Total Solar Irradiance didn’t change, but the energy distribution did. Less ultraviolet. We noted here, back when the change happened, that the troposphere crunched as a consequence of the reduced UV.

      • lsvalgaard,
        In your table, where is friction from tidal/wave forces in the ocean, Surface friction from wind on the surface. Bioenergy – chemical energy generated by all lifeforms on earth, Energy from tectonic friction, energy from orbital mechanics/gravity, for example the motion of the bulge in the earths crust that is caused by the earths orbital/rotational energy or the constant motion for water / air from the equator to the poles caused by the bulge in the ocean/atmosphere.
        From ionosphere as excited by the solar wind. Energy from magnetic interations between magnetic field of earth sun, and planets (other than Arorae ). Energy from RF wave bombardment, even Neutrinos.

        It seems your list is a little incomplete.

        The problem for climate seems to me to be that contrary to popular belief by Climatology the earth can’t be considered to be a closed system, it is a open system until account is taken of every one of millions of possible ways energy could be gained or released by the earth, and even then no-one really knows what impact zero-point or dark energy or some other undiscovered energy form might (or might not) have.

        I calculate for example that the energy stored in the earths position above the SUN and it’s velocity (IE the potential / kinetic energy of the earth) is 800 Billion times the ANNUAL Insolation of earth? And yet the assumption is that ZERO of those Joules degrade to heat and leak into the climate system?

      • I calculate for example that the energy stored in the earths position above the SUN and it’s velocity (IE the potential / kinetic energy of the earth) is 800 Billion times the ANNUAL Insolation of earth?
        If you calculate the kinetic energy of the solar system in its orbit around the center of our galaxy and the energy of our galaxy moving through the universe, you will get numbers vastly larger. But none of this matters. Imagine you are sitting in your seat on a transatlantic flight and quietly sipping a drink, the calculate the potential/kinetic energy of the drink in its glass, and ask why that energy does not splatter the whole mess all over you. It is called the Galilean Principle of Relativity.

      • So sayith: lsvalgaard – September 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

        You seem to have a real problem understanding simple science. blockquote>

        HA, it is obvious that you are ignoring the difference between “junk science” and ”simple science” ……. and given your ill-nurtured condescending mindset ….. I have serious doubts that you would ever admit to being wrong or in error about anything that you previously attested to being factual science.

        Sooner or later you will have to accept the FACT that one’s bestowed “Degree status” DOES NOT determine, confirm or stipulate the extent of one’s knowledge and/or expertise of the subject matter in question.

        Anyway, Lsvalgaard, ….. you can believe me, ….. or you can read and believe this cited Wikii article, to wit:

        Satellite temperature measurements

        The temperature of the atmosphere at various altitudes as well as sea and land surface temperatures can be inferred from satellite measurements.

        Weather satellites do not measure temperature instead but measure radiances in various wavelength bands. Since 1978 microwave sounding units (MSUs) on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration polar orbiting satellites have measured the intensity of upwelling microwave radiation from atmospheric oxygen, which is related to the temperature of broad vertical layers of the atmosphere.

        Measurements of infrared radiation pertaining to sea surface temperature have been collected since 1967.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements

        Or, ….. lsvalgaard, …… you can read and believe this cited scholarly abstract, to wit:

        Retrieval of atmospheric temperature and composition from remote measurements of thermal radiation

        C. D. Rodgers
        First published: November 1976
        DOI: 10.1029/RG014i004p00609

        Abstract

        This paper reviews the methods which may be used to estimate the state of the atmosphere, i.e., the distribution of temperature and composition, from measurements of emitted thermal radiation such as are made by remote sounding instruments on satellites.

        The principles of estimation theory are applied to a linear version of the problem, and it is shown that many of the apparently different methods to be found in the literature are particular cases of the same general method.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/RG014i004p00609/full

        Or you can keep on touting your nonsense and/or junk science, …. whatever “turns you crank”.

  5. Thank-you Anthony. I have many times requested a plot such as the error vs time of sunspot etc.

    I knew the predictors were wrong, and biased high but did not have the time to be a technocrat data horder/plot maker.

    Good Job!

  6. My dart-throwing monkey made the correct prediction. :-)

    Experts have to come to terms with the fact that they can’t predict the outcome of chaotic systems. People demand simple clear answers and the MSM goes out of the way to find experts who can provide those answers. The result is that nobody believes scientists and experts any more.

    • The solar cycle has two parts: 1) amplification in the interior of subducted polar fields and 2) generation of new polar fields from debris from decaying sunspots and its transportation to the poles by atmospheric circulation.
      The first part is rather deterministic and not very chaotic. The second part has a large random component that cannot be predicted. We have to wait until the new polar fields have been formed to see what the outcome of that chaotic process turned out to be. Only then, with that in hand, can we make a good prediction.
      That, at least, is the idea.

      • Thank you.

        Only then, with that in hand, can we make a good prediction.

        In most academic fields there is no penalty for failed predictions. Instead, there is a reward for being able to say things that the rich and powerful want to hear. :’-(

      • So Leif, is it your understanding that prediction of two or more cycles in advance is impossible because cycles get determined somewhat randomly in the decay of the previous cycle?

      • Yes. But there is still the statistical way: Several high cycles occur in sequence and several low cycles occur in sequence so that can form the basis for a guess of the cycle, but there is no guarantee.

      • Javier says: September 10, 2016 at 12:04 am

        So Leif, is it your understanding that prediction of two or more cycles in advance is impossible …

        We can make some predictions. Here’s a prediction: January 15 will be cooler than July 15 in Bismarck ND.

        The question is about the details. Will there be a blizzard on January 15? Will there be a thunder storm on July 15?

  7. I don’t really think there is such a thing as consensus physics. There might be consensus around a theory until such time that a brilliant and or costly experimental design comes along to settle the debate, but that amounts to academic standing around.

    • Every class I ever took on the history of science seemed to be making the point there was always consensus and then paradigm shift.
      Or mostly always.
      The question is, is all of that over with now?
      In a hundred, two hundred, five hundred years from now, will the textbooks all say that by 2016 they had it all figured out, and from then on it was just filling in the details?
      Somehow I doubts it.

      • Certain things are known and will not change, e.g. the mass of the Sun, or that there is a sunspot cycle, or a solar wind, or that solar EUV creates the ionosphere, etc. The details will undoubtedly change, but things that are known from observations will endure. Astronomers are still today using data obtained 2000 years ago. Newton’s laws are still valid within their domain. The Universe will still be 13.8 billion years old. The laws of Faraday, Ampere, and Coulomb that are two centuries old will still be valid, etc.

        What we will find centuries from now is that several ‘laws’ of nature that we think today are separate will turn out to be consequences of a deeper common truth, i.e. that the Universe in its working will appear simpler and simpler.

      • Yes, I agree and you are of course correct that lots of things are known to a near certainty and are unlikely to be altered by new information or deeper understanding.
        All paradigms do not shift.
        But I just have a hunch that some will…there will be new insights both large and small.
        I am not saying I know what they will be, but I think we can take a look around and see some likely areas for improved understanding or even complete reversal of what is believed to be so.
        I sure would like to see those textbooks from 2516.

      • lsvaalgard

        “Certain things are known and will not change, e.g. the mass of the Sun,”

        Ooh, loose lips…. Care to qualify that, unless the Sun is somehow creating mass from nothing then the constant particle stream away from the Sun constitutes a Mass loss. The Sun does not have a “constant” mass, it has a mass that is changing very little in comparison to its total mass. It’s relative.

        If my body lost 100 kg then I’d be gone, but if the sun loses 100kg it’s inconsequential – Same mass loss though!

      • Isval gaard’
        “Certain things are known and will not change, e.g. the mass of the Sun, or that there is a sunspot cycle, or a solar wind, or that solar EUV creates the ionosphere, etc”

        Does the Sun not lose mass everytime there is a CME or a Hyder flare etc? Won’t the Sun not change mass when the hydrogen runs out? How, why, when “will” that not change the mass of the Sun, is it a perpetual motion machine? I do not understand your observation.

  8. When will it be possible to estimate some of the parameters of SC 25 with a confidence of, say: 50%? 75%? 90%?

    • Predictions are always made with an error bar [which itself is uncertain]. The current state-of-the-art [the polar field precursor method] quotes error of +/- 10%.

      • +/- 10% doesn’t seem like much of an uncertainty for what we are talking about. I’ve looked around to find a method of puting a confidence interval/error bar on an error estimate. Never heard of such a thing but thought I’d look. Found nothing. Ever heard of an error estimate on an error estimate? I suppose one could use individual opinions and do a confidence interval around the mean of those numbers. How did you get the +/-10%?

      • An error bar has several sources: statistical noise, systematic errors, errors in the assumptions, etc. Most of those are not known, and often only the statistical error is quoted.
        Our way of estimating the error used the deviations from the predicted and observed values. In our 2005 paper we found the average deviation to be 4% [one ‘sigma’ for 68% confidence], which we doubled [to 2 sigma for 95% confidence] to 8% witch is 10% of the 75 we predicted. But that estimate is itself uncertain, based on only a small number of cases.

      • If I recall, the student t distribution which approximates a normal distribution with an n of 30 is usually considered a minimum requirement.

      • In about 160 years we’ll have enough sample size to think about a classical statistical confidence interval. And then, of course, there are all of the other sources of error to which you referred. If the gene modification people could get their act together perhaps we could discuss this again when the sample size hits 30. Unlikely at my age.
        Regards,
        Jim

      • In the meantime we can measure the success rate by how well the predictions match the observations. If we can stay within a 10% discrepancy, the prediction is useful and can be acted upon. SC24 was the first real test of our method, SC25 will be interesting as further confirmation [or refutation]. Sample size has little to do with this as it only takes one failed prediction to show that we have not licked the problem yet.

      • So you believe that the mechanism you are attempting to describe will have NO variation over short periods of time? Short being less than geological types of periods.

      • My time horizon is centuries not eons. On the geological scale the sun will change [brighten] and perhaps in a billion years make life on Earth impossible. but that is not my concern. I am interested in a 100 year horizon. Beyond that, who knows. And who cares?

      • Because the polar field reversal is a rather random process there is no reason any cycle should be like any other cycle. After the fact, you can, of course, go back and find cycles that just happened to be similar, but that does not count as a valid prediction. Like: it didn’t rain today, nor a month ago, hence it will not rain a month in the future.

      • I am always amazed at the amount of sun knowledge you have built up over the [past 40?] years, yet you fail to see the internal repetitiveness of the processes that play out there. In actual fact, after a few years of investigations I am already convinced that it is that repetitiveness that prevents earth from being overheated or overcooled.
        hence sc 25 will be more or less equal to sc 17
        you know it will be

        if I look at the sun now, I know we are back where we were in 1930, exactly

        mark my words.

      • dr no:

        “….nothing is so alien to the human mind as the idea of randomness.” –John Cohen

        this is your quote to me

        I am saying that the climate we are having now is the same we had in 1930
        obviously with weather nothing is always exactly the same, e.g. rainfall looks chaotic year to year but it does look like a pendulum of a clock if you put it in 4 Hale Nicholson = 1 Gleissberg

        I noticed you have not come back to me on the correlations between the positions of the planets and the repetitiveness i.e. Gleissberg/De Vries

      • I noticed you have not come back to me on the correlations between the positions of the planets and the repetitiveness i.e. Gleissberg/De Vries
        Why would I? You would not learn from it anyway.

      • I noticed you have not come back to me on the correlations between the positions of the planets and the repetitiveness i.e. Gleissberg/De Vries

        should read:
        I noticed you have not come back to me on the correlations between the positions of the planets and the repetitiveness i.e. Gleissberg/De Vries
        this correlation – whether causal or caused -, does enable us to predict the double solar polar field reversal

      • predict the double solar polar field reversal
        what is the double reversal?
        I don’t know what you are talking about, and I have a strong suspicion that the Sun doesn’t either.

      • HenryP September 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

        “if I look at the sun now, I know we are back where we were in 1930, exactly”

        Ah, No. We have no records for electromagnetic activity for 1930. The guy from “Ma Bell” did not discover in until the later half of the decade.
        There is a saying a little knowledge is dangerous.

        “after a few years of investigations” puts you smack dab in that category. I am not mocking you, we all have this obnoxious tendency of thinking we are the “cats meow” after finding ourselves a new interest. Don’t fall in to that trap.

        michael

  9. There’s another word for the “consensus”… pogrom. They remove anybody who doesn’t concede to their choice.

    • If sunspot number is a proxy for solar activity and if solar activity changes climate then your graph clearly shows that the 50’s and 60’s should be warmer than today.

      • Hi Tom
        it is evident from all my results that the record of T before 1960 is not correct,
        mainly because
        a) the thermometers were not re-calibrated until the late 1950s
        b) the introduction of recorders and computers from that time compared to human observation [4 x times a 24 hour day – you hope]

        which means that, if you do compare today with 60 years ago, you must realize that you are now comparing apples with pears.

        Here are my results showing almost half a Gleissberg period

        hence, with some maths, and the given equation you should be able to work out the zero points which will show you when exactly earth starting warming [from a cooling period] and when it started cooling [from a warming period]. Bear in mind the graph was made in 2015 and included all results of 2014, and
        x= years in the past
        y= speed of warming/cooling

      • sorry
        I should have told you as well that there are turning points in 1971 and 2014
        which makes the calculation of the zero point around the 1950s a little bit more complicated…..

      • yes Andy, and we all know you are clueless about probability theory and regressions and therefore I will stop trying to explain it.
        I do challenge you to look at all the daily data of ten weather stations around, do the 4 regressions, like I did, over 4 periods going not further back in time than 43 or 44 years and you will see that you do get a parabola, like I got here [in South Africa]

        with high correlation

      • Come on Henry, I dare you to show all the intervening years.

        Makes a real mess of your parabola doesn’t it :-)

        Remember that 3 point will ALWAYS lie on a 2nd order curve, so your parabola hangs on just ONE extra specially selected point.

        DOH !!!

    • charles nelson September 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Fortunately for all of us the Sun has no impact whatsoever on our climate.

      Well yes it does. The “impact” is our climate is mostly influenced by other factors, and not a highly variable star. A positive impact is still a impact.

      michael

  10. I am not a solar scientist. Far from it, I have difficulty with some of the physics concepts that go with solar processes and the cyclic variations.

    That said, I have a passing interest because of ham radio. I remember in my early years listening to signals booming in from everywhere on earth on my SW radio. Growing up, University, family etc. etc. kept me out of that for a long time. Now that I have a bit of spare time, and perhaps more importantly, a bit of spare money, I was looking forward to a repeat of the sunspot highs of the 1960s that were being predicted, only this time, I could actively participate in making use of the heavily ionized layers.

    So what happened? I watched the sunspot numbers grow. Slowly. Well below the projected line.
    next timeI looked, the curve had been replaced with a lower one.

    Sunspot numbers continued to lag, and the curve was replaced again, and again and again.
    Never any real explanation, just a new projection curve every few weeks. Every one lower than the one preceding it.

    Well, the peak is past, and it never got anywhere. I probably won’t live to see the next, so even if it did happen to be a record setting event, I will be too decrepit to notice, or pushing up daisies somewhere.

    • Sunspot numbers continued to lag, and the curve was replaced again, and again and again.
      It is like a weather prediction, that is updated all the time as the weather unfolds. As it should be. Who needs a stale forecast that does not take the evolving weather into account?

      • Depends. You have to forecast with a model – that is a given. Also a given is that the further forward you try to forecast (at least with most systems), the larger your error will be as the span between forecast and reality gets larger.

        The problem with a lot of forecasts these days is that the error bar does not stay approximately centered. Temperature forecasts are nearly always higher than the reality – and the difference only grows. This is an indicator that the models are severely biased.

        I don’t know if this is happening in solar activity forecasts. Perhaps not, biasing solar activity forecasts is not a particularly lucrative endeavor, unlike weather forecasting that agrees with the political masters.

      • Depends. You have to forecast with a model – that is a given. Also a given is that the further forward you try to forecast (at least with most systems), the larger your error will be as the span between forecast and reality gets larger.
        For the sun we have a very good model [e.g. http://www.leif.org/EOS/Choudhuri-forecast.pdf ]. Inherent in the physics is that the model can only work for one cycle into the future, so the error does not get larger with time. The forecast instead becomes inapplicable.

      • You are right. The forecast should be updated. The problem was that there was no real forecasting, just revised guesses — Oh, that was too high, we will knock 5% off and call that good … repeated, time after time.

        If they don’t know what is going on, just be honest and say so.

      • But we do know what is going on, but the initial prediction has a certain uncertainty. By updating with ongoing observations, we reduce the uncertainty and get a slightly better and steadily improving forecast.

      • @lsvalgaard – not knocking your model, sir. You have the good sense to acknowledge that at some point, the conditions turn unpredictable, and the model only works when things settle down.

        What the weather forecasters are doing, though, is the equivalent of a solar physicist predicting very high activity cycles (“record heat”) for two centuries into the future – then correcting them down, every time, closer to the real numbers every decade or so. Their error is just about always on the high side – which indicates a seriously biased model, and one that is essentially useless. (Yes, useless. Good for “Do I take an umbrella tomorrow?” The Farmer’s Almanac has been statistically better for “Do I plant corn this year, or rye?” Or, for that matter, “Do I harvest this week, or next?”)

      • Thanks Dr. Svalgaard,
        Love the paper. At first glance it appears to contain lots information to digest and might even help explain a few anomalies I’ve stumbled across in studying such things as radio propagation back in the ’50s to low freq. geophysical imaging in the ’80s.

      • Thanks Leif, an interesting insite into what I was doing in the 60s and early 70s in HF radio. We had ionosphere charts for all our radio comms targets which told us the frequencies and antennae angles we needed depending on what the ionosphere was doing at any given time. Our biggest bounce, if memory still works, was Melbourne Aust to Fort Davis Texas.

  11. Statistician George Box: “Essentially all models are wrong, but some are useful.” Seems Svalgaard’s is useful.
    The great climate question is whether any of the 32 GCMs in CMIP5 are useful despite manifestly being wrong. Probably not. 2x wrong in ECS versus several observational methods is too wrong to be useful. A second great climate question is whether solar cycles actually affect climate–and if so, how? The claimed Dalton and Maunder correllations (to the extent real) are not causation. Without a plausible causal mechanism, mere coincidence.
    Zarkova’s stuff doesn’t hindcast properly. Evan’s stuff leads to sensitivity implications that are observationally incorrect (far too low). And there is lots of evidence like temperature ~1920-1945 up, then 1945-1975 downish, 1975-2000 up, now half way through no up and maybe a downish phase that there is some 60-70 year full cycle natural variation. Also detectible qualitatively in Arctic summer ice extent. NWP was open for Larsens 88 day 1944 transit, and it is open again now. Wyatt and Curry’s stadium wave paper has it, phased differently by longitude. A weak solar 25 could merely be coincident with that natural variation.

    • “A second great climate question is whether solar cycles actually affect climate–and if so, how?”

      Rud, I will be sending a post/article to Climate Etc within the next days. If Judith publishes it I believe it can shed some light into this issue.

      “The claimed Dalton and Maunder correlations (to the extent real) are not causation. Without a plausible causal mechanism, mere coincidence.”

      The mechanism was proposed based on models by Joanna Haigh in her landmark 1996 article:
      Haigh, J. D. (1996) “The impact of solar variability on climate.” Science 272, 5264, 981-984.

      It has since been supported by paleoclimatic evidence and meteorological data reanalysis.

    • ristvan, “The claimed Dalton and Maunder correllations (to the extent real) are not causation. Without a plausible causal mechanism, mere coincidence.”

      Statements like the one you wrote bother me as they are muddled thinking. Either the solar minimums like Dalton and Maunder cause cooling or they don’t. It does not matter to that “fact” whether you think there is a plausible causal mechanism. It does not mean that something is a coincidence if something does not seem plausible to you. If solar minimums such as Dalton or Maunder do cause some significant cooling, then with more data, this may be confirmed along with the mechanism. If the solar minimum does not cause significant cooling or only a very tiny amount of cooling, then with more data, this may also be confirmed.

  12. Seems this thread is turning into an appreciation of Dr. Svalgaard. On the evidence presented, seems well deserved. Not that I can add anything useful – if Leif spent a fortnight explaining to me how his team comes up with these assessments, I doubt that I’d be much the wiser.
    What I do think, however, is that his postings deserve a little bit more respect than they receive from a section of the WUWT community. He does have our thanks for persevering here, and politely enduring some of the dismissive comments that he gets from the ‘it’s the sun wot did it’ fundamentalists/

  13. There’s another angle here. My recollection was that the dual predictions back in 2008-2009 were each based on competing models that each claimed to accurately hind-cast past sunspot numbers. Yet both were wrong. Today’s climate modelers ask us to judge the reliability of their models based solely on how well their models fit past data. That’s a fallacy. That their models with high climate sensitivities can fit past data doesn’t disprove the existence of other possible models with much lower climate sensitivities that also fit the past data.

      • As you can see here:

        The arrows point from the Polar Field estimate [red] to the observed Cycle maxima [blue]. For SC24, the last point is the prediction [now validated].

      • “No, the low one did accurately hind-cast the past.”

        What I meant was that the two modeled forecasts in 2008 (maybe late 2007) for solar cycle 24 turned out to be wrong – both too low on sunspot number and quite a bit off on the month of the peak. Both of them accurately hind-cast the past, but both couldn’t be right and in fact neither was. My recollection was that the higher of the two modeled predictions claimed well over 90% conformity with past solar cycles – I think it was this one: http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml. The lower model – not yours – was closer but still off and again claimed 85-90% conformity with past cycles. I was assuming that it was this divergence that led the U.S. government panel to throw up their hands and offer up two competing forecasts, but I’m not sure that the government forecast strictly adhered to the two computer model predictions. I read these models right around the time that everyone was waiting an interminable time for solar cycle 23 to end instead of just dragging on like it did.

        After I read the article contrasting these two different models, and as the sun went on for a long time just not doing anything, I noticed that everyone’s predictions for sunspots in cycle 24 kept going down, then down again, and down again.

      • I was assuming that it was this divergence that led the U.S. government panel to throw up their hands and offer up two competing forecasts,
        I was a member of that panel. The story is much simpler: part of the panel were advocating a high value 140-160. The rest of the panel eventually settled on about half that: 70-80. Neither camp could convince the other one and the chair of the panel suggested 90 as a compromise. Nobody was happy with that number, which had no basis in theory, but since the government wanted a single number, we eventually succumbed to politics and went with 90. My own prediction was 75+/-8 and the 90 had an error bar of +/-10, so at least the two intervals were overlapping.
        My point is that the prediction must have a 100% success rate to be actionable.

  14. “Not just a basic consensus mind you, but a supermajority, like, ummm 97% or something like that.”
    Actually nothing like that.
    A quick google search of supermajority reveals it be the same as qualified majority. Common thresholds are 55%, 60% 2/3 and 75%. No reference to 97% at all. I do not know exactly what the thresholds used with this panel are, but it is certainly not 97%. That figure is totally bogus.

    • That figure is totally bogus
      I was a member of that panel. There was only one member [out of 13] that did not go along with the final prediction, although many [incl. myself] thought it was a bit too high. But with a large enough error bar [10-20%] it would probably squeeze by.

  15. Clearly Prof Svalgaard has come up with a model which is standing up reasonably well in the crucible of real-time measurements. Obviously it will need to go a few more cycles before completely confidence in it emerges.

    What interested citizens would now ask is whether the physics is such that it is pretty pointless to ever try and predict more than 1 cycle ahead, even in general terms, or whether models exist yet where e.g. 30 year predictions 3 cycles ahead can be even put forward as worthy of validating/refutuing in the years ahead?

    For example, if you posited that 30 years of stasis/cooling would result from 2 – 3 weak solar cycles, then politicians would be in a position to sanction the development of technology in that period which might be relevant to climate adaptation should future strong cycles indicate significant warming periods again. On the other hand, if the window prior to future warming is much shorter, they might sanction more concentrated and parallel programmes to prepare the world for what might come due to the effects of strong cycles in future……

    • What interested citizens would now ask is whether the physics is such that it is pretty pointless to ever try and predict more than 1 cycle ahead
      The physics is indeed such that we cannot predict more than one cycle with confidence [actually only half a cycle…]. If we drop the requirement that the prediction be good enough that it is actionable [i.e. that one can bet lives and treasure on it], then, of course, you can guess anything you like.

  16. Leif had the best predictions, which are always difficult, especially about the future.

    What fascinates me, more, is the apparent gradual separation of the sunspots into two peaks. Are they related to the polar magnetic discrepencies?

  17. Hi Doc back again.
    From link

    “The F10.7 flux is what we should predict because we find that the Sunspot Number
    may be undergoing a qualitative secular change as we seem to be losing the small
    spots (either not present or less visible)”

    Okay I will ask, is it S.C. 24, or have you encountered this in 23 & 22 respectively
    Next it states “The Group Number is not affected by the loss of the small spots”
    again I’ll bite, are sun spot groupings staying in the relative numbers of sun spots but with only fewer small ones?
    Has this been encountered before? If it has not do you have thoughts on the change?

    A new puzzle perhaps.

    michael

    • I don’t understand the reasoning behind the sequence of videos in the above, perhaps weeding out the non-interested, but I think the 6th episode will have the most impact on why you should learn more about space weather:

      It’s very compelling!

  18. ““I wonder what consensus was telling Neville Chamberlain””

    Consensus from a population that endured WW! was that war is a tragic business with wide reaching, unpredictable consequences and no happy ending, and is best avoided… Experience of WW2? war is a tragic business with wide reaching, unpredictable consequences and no happy ending, and is best avoided…. What was the question again….

    • One of Churchill’s hidden problems was that the vast majority of England’s elites supported Hitler and argued that he didn’t mean what he said about jews – and if that seems familiar, it should: that’s the concensus the Obama people claim about Iran’s intentions toward Israel and the entire non muslim world.

  19. “How do the Earth and Heliosphere respond?
    Our planet is immersed in this seemingly invisible yet exotic and inherently dangerous environment. Above the protective cocoon of Earth’s lower atmosphere is a plasma soup composed of electrified and magnetized matter entwined with penetrating radiation and energetic particles. The Earth’s magnetic field interacts with the Sun’s outer atmosphere to create this extraordinary environment.
    Our Sun’s explosive energy output forms an immense, complex magnetic fields structure. Hugely inflated by the solar wind, this colossal bubble of magnetism known as the heliosphere stretches far beyond the orbit of Pluto, from where it controls the entry of cosmic rays into the solar system. On its way through the Milky Way this extended atmosphere of the Sun affects all planetary bodies in the solar system. It is itself influenced by slowly changing interstellar conditions that in turn can affect Earth’s habitability. In fact, the Sun’s extended atmosphere drives some of the greatest changes in the near-Earth space environment affecting our magnetosphere, atmosphere, ionosphere, and potentially our climate.”
    http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/big-questions/what-are-the-fundamental-physical-processes-of-the-space-environment/

    • plasma soup composed of electrified …
      This is a misrepresentation [although often found] of the facts. The solar wind plasma [or any plasma for that matter] is not ‘electrified’ or ‘charged’ but is electrically neutral, like a copper wire you can hold in your hand.

      • @v

        seems to me like William Arnold was right
        there is a correlation between the position of the planets and solar activity
        I am not sure if it is causal or caused
        but it would help in predicting the next solar cycles
        do you agree with me?

  20. The 11 year solar cycle signature on wave-driven dynamics in WACCM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cullens, Chihoko Y.; England, Scott L.; Garcia, Rolando R.

    2016-04-01

    This study describes the influence of the 11 year solar cycle on gravity waves and the wave-driven circulation, using an ensemble of six simulations of the period from 1955 to 2005 along with fixed solar maximum and minimum simulations of the Whole Atmospheric Community Climate Model (WACCM). Solar cycle signals are estimated by calculating the difference between solar maximum and minimum conditions. Simulations under both time-varying and fixed solar inputs show statistically significant responses in temperatures and winds in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) during austral winter and spring. At solar maximum, the monthly mean, zonal mean temperature in the SH from July to October is cooler (~1-3 K) in the stratosphere and warmer (~1-4 K) in the mesosphere and the lower thermosphere (MLT). In solar maximum years, the SH polar vortex is more stable and its eastward speed is about 5-8 m s-1 greater than during solar minimum. The increase in the eastward wind propagates downward and poleward from July to October in the SH. Because of increase in the eastward wind, the propagation of eastward gravity waves to the MLT is reduced. This results in a net westward response in gravity wave drag, peaking at ~10 m s-1 d-1 in the SH high-latitude MLT. These changes in gravity wave drag modify the wave-induced residual circulation, and this contributes to the warming of ~1-4 K in the MLT.
    http://www.science.gov/topicpages/y/year+solar+cycle.html

  21. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/19/a-dalton-like-amplitude-for-solar-cycle-25/#comment-2075866

    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!

  22. Ah, come on. A 97% versus 3% split suggests there are at least 33 of these “solar physicists”. Only one comes to mind. I am unconvinced that the 97% are real…

  23. henry said

    hence you could also argue that sc 25 will be more or less sc 22

    sorry again

    must be the brandy again

    should be:
    hence you could also argue that sc 25 will be more or less sc 23

  24. Alan says

    I also say that two consecutive low SC’s will probably cause measurable global cooling, starting by 2020-2030.

    Henry says

    It is not going to happen this time around. Two consecutive lows, I mean.

    We already had the switch [in 2014] that puts the sun in its reverse [from cooling to warming]
    Sadly, most of the experts did not even notice.

    However, there are indications [from the SSN record] that would suggest that it sometimes can happen that the switch [some electromagnetic force induced by gravity/centrifugal power?] does not happen leaving us in either a double warming period [no problem] or a double cooling period [e.g. LIA]

    [every Gleissberg is divided into two halves of 44 and 43 years respectively]

  25. Besides my prediction that solar cycle 24 would be the smallest in the past 100 years, I also predicted that solar cycle 25 will be virtually non existent and anecdotal evidence is pointing towards another Dalton Minimum. A Dalton Minimum is a miniature version of the infamous Maunder Minimum, where the number of sunspot groups drop to a below normal level and corresponding total energy output of the Sun also drops. This would bring on a mini ice age for a period of 30-50 years.

    I made both predictions on February 1, 2008 at http://www.wcflunatall.com/propagation4.htm but the web page is no longer up.

    • Geomagnetic activity is only a predictor during [or just prior to] solar minimum, and 2003 was 5 years before the minimum, and sure enough the prediction was wrong.

      • “All four of these predictions are based on different
        methods. The prediction of a small cycle 24 by Svalgaard et
        al. [2005] is based on a correlation observed between
        directly measured polar fields and sunspot number for the
        last three cycles, following the method of Schatten et al.
        [1978].”

  26. Allan MacRae September 11, 2016 at 11:29 am
    The SC25 roulette wheel is filling up…

    While there is still space and time…
    Ladies and germs, faites vos jeux!
    ——————————————————————

    Dr. S., is the 5th bar from the left. Was a total newbie to the sunspot cycle or any cycles when I first saw the graph below. (2009)
    They coined it the piano plot. lol

    Magnetic flux transport.
    Changes in pressures, affecting magnetic flux transport?
    But there is an absence of magnetic flux?
    Or the magnetic flux can’t emerge due to irregular hemispheric pressure changes?
    Or an evolving change in hemispheric pressure?
    Which changes meridional wind flows affecting magnetic flux transport?

    You got me under pressure.. under pressure…

    Of course these pressure changes couldn’t be interstellar in nature.

    • Magnetic flux transport.
      Much simpler. The flux is transported by plasma moving from equator towards to polar much like air is moved in the Earth’s atmosphere. The cause being a small difference in temperature between equator and poles.

  27. There were many, many predictions of Sunspot Cycle 24. Some right. Some wrong.
    I’m convinced that no person alive yet knows what lies ahead(at least not for a few years).

    If you want to be embarrassed, bet for or against future solar activity. Nature bats last.

  28. lsvalgaard says
    Unfortunately, those two series do not match by various aspects, inducing confusions and contradictions when used in crucial contemporary studies of the solar dynamo or of the solar forcing on the Earth climate.
    henry says
    that would be a good reason not to fiddle around with it.
    What you have done now is mess everything up, just like they did with the T records.
    Like I said before: you cannot compare the T data from the past 40 years with those from before that time because of different recording and calibration techniques.

    The same applies to SSN. As the technology changed, so did the numbers change. I can see from my own results that this did happen like that. You must understand the results from the way they were measured.
    This is similar to an argument that I had the other day. You must read and understand the bible in the time where it was written, given the knowledge that was available at the time. Moses put the creation of the sun only at the 4th day. Obviously, we know different, and I am sure he did this because the Egyptians believed that Ra was God and that all power and life came from Ra. In a way, they were right [about that]. However, Moses had understood that there was a power behind Ra putting it at a lower scale of importance.

    hence, better to keep the weights of scale as they are and understand them from the time where they came from.

    • As the technology changed, so did the numbers change.
      You clearly have not even read the paper carefully. If you had, you would know that the technology has not changed. Sunspots are counted by eye using small telescopes [even the original ones used by Wolf in the 1840s].

      • I will study the relevant reports when I get the time for it and be sure to get back to wuwt to give you my explanations as to why we have differing SSN records that “do not match by various aspects”

      • the last two links are rubbish
        the wolff schwabe info is useful
        Seems to me an extraordinary low SSN was measured at the beginning of 1843 {lowest SSN by my count}
        exactly like we had now, at the beginning of 2016.
        do the maths
        2016-86.5-86.5=1843
        Here we are.
        The Gleissberg is real and we are now in 1930.
        Only 2 years before the big drought coming up and every climate scientist in the USA is fast asleep.

        It would be nice to hear your opinion on Gleissberg. Seems to me you never denied its existence?

      • It would be nice to hear your opinion on Gleissberg. Seems to me you never denied its existence?

        The last 400 years, there has been a quasi-cycle of length about 100 years. No sign of the Gleissberg.

      • your SSN results do not even, by far, correspond with the wolf schwabe paper that you quoted to me
        i.e. you say the max. in 1837 was almost 250
        wolf said is was ca. 160
        you said SSN max. in 1849 was ca. 210
        in fact, according to wolf schwabe it was scarcely 140

        some ‘correction’ you guys made. Unbelievable.

        what a disaster…

        I hold you and all who made these corrections responsible for the fact that no precautions were taken for the drought time coming up to the great plains of america

      • You have not understood [or even read] the revision paper. When Wolfer in 1893 took over the sunspot record maintenance he changed the counting rule, resulting in a reduction factor of 0.6, that is: Wolf and Schwabe did not count the smallest spots. Wolfer and modern observers count all they can see. The difference is a factor of 0.6. The revision does away with this artificial factor, basically dividing the earlier values by 0.6 to make them compatible with modern counts. Hence the difference. You should read and understand the paper before you put your foot in your mouth again.

      • you have not understood the message I was trying to convey…
        so here we are again
        arguing
        “how big is a spot”
        “what magnification do we use’
        ‘how good is the eyesight of X compared to Y or Z?’

        better to stick with some exact measurement only….
        like the solar polar magnetic field strengths

        even if it goes back only 50 years!

      • you have not understood the message I was trying to convey
        The message you are conveying is that you have not [will not] study the literature on the revision. Your motive may be that it destroys your delusion. If you think that you can deduce an 86-year cycle from 50 years of data, then there is no hope for you.

      • ‘how good is the eyesight of X compared to Y or Z?’
        Today we measure that with this kind of chart:

        It is called a Snellen chart. Instead of The Es, any collection of figures will do, e.g. sunspots of different sizes. So by comparing how many spots Observer A sees compared to Observer X, we actually measure how good his eyesight is [when looking though his – possibly different – telescope].

      • your arguments actually prove my point
        we cannot rely too much on SSN if we take it too far back in the past.
        this is just like the global T record which has similar problems if we take it back too far to the past.
        the wolf schwabe paper that you quoted to me does however point to a min. of SSN at 1843 which proves the Gleissberg at 86.5 years.
        there are several sources that I can quote again in support of Gleissberg at 86.5
        I suggest you go back to the thread under henryp to find them.
        as for me, I have data for the half cycle [43 years] both on maxima and minima and on the solar polar magnetic field strengths and other factors, like ozone [increasing since 1995] , planets, etc., I think I counted 6 separate factors in total supporting the Gleissberg at 86.5
        I am sad you do not see what I am seeing
        best wishes
        henry

      • the wolf schwabe paper that you quoted to me does however point to a min. of SSN at 1843 which proves the Gleissberg at 86.5 years.
        The 1840s were actually a period of high solar activity, so no Gleissberg minimum there:

      • The original data are one a different scale than the modern data. It is as if you want to argue that if some early data were in Fahrenheit and the modern data are in Centigrade, that we should not convert the early data to Centigrade. Such is the power of your ‘logic’.

      • That is exactly your logic. Not mine. I am an independant non profit non biased investigator who is looking at the results as reported.

      • there is no ssn continuous daily/monthly record going back to the times you say or quote
        In his notes (1985) W.Arnold said:
        In 1844 Heinrich Schwabe demonstrated periodicity in sunspot numbers with a laborious 19-year record, concluding “the sunspots have a period of about ten years.” This half-wave alternation of the sunspot cycle was during maximum years when a lower average is consistent with cycle lengths which tend to lengthen during minimums. It was not until 1848 that Rudolf Wolf organized a number of European astronomical observatories into recording monthly “Wolf” sunspot numbers. In 1887 Gustav Sporer noted the amplitude or number of spots during maximum years varied sharply. He noted particularly the 1600s which exhibited historically low amplitudes but a persistent periodicity. He also noted the 1400s and the 1600s were times in which world temperatures experienced a “severe dip of cold.” In 1890 E. W. Maunder published a summary of Sporer’s analysis, entitled “A Prolonged Sunspot Minimum.” In astronomical circles these respective eras are known as “Minimum Periods” for their dual nature of minimum temperatures and also minimum sunspot activity.
        end quote
        What I understand from this discussion is that Schwabe only discovered the 10-11 year solar cycle in 1844 after 19 years of observation.
        The paper from Wolf [that you quoted to me and then I quoted to you] builds on this by reporting the complete solar cycle with min. in 1843. His daily data ran from 1826-1848. It clearly shows the GB minimum exactly where I expect it to be.
        What puzzles me how he could have observed this even on days when it was overcast?

      • there is no ssn continuous daily/monthly record going back to the times you say
        Continuous daily records go back to 1818 and month;y records to 1749.

        It clearly shows the GB minimum exactly where I expect it to be.
        As I showed, the 1840s was a GB maximum.

        What puzzles me how he could have observed this even on days when it was overcast?
        The record is a composite of several observers’ data. Perhaps you didn’t read Wolf’s paper after all.

      • that seems difficult to believe
        namely different observers in different cities, and even so, the weather in Europe is almost always overcast.

      • not at all if we go by the original data
        First of all: why would we? as they are on different scale.
        But here is a plot of Wolf’s original data for 1770-1882:

        Made you Young in his 1882 book ‘The Sun’.
        The sunspot curve is the full-drawn line. As you can see the 1840s were not at all a low-activity period, but rather one of the most active in the 19th Century.
        Again: no sign of your Gleissberg, with or without old/revised SSNs.

      • I am sure we will find that 2016 was the year with the lowest ssn, just like 1843.
        You being ‘sure’ does not mean anything.
        And the 1840s were years of maximum solar activity. No sign of your GB cycle.

      • well you being sure does not mean anything [to me either]

        anyway, I have added overcast conditions to my list of problems with ssn observations [in the past] and your explanation of filling in missing data from data from other cities does not really wash with me. W-Europe is usually overcast 80% of the time no matter where you go…..

        I think the 1845 USA drought exactly corresponding with the 1932 drought time is just too much of a co-incidence.
        there is in fact a possibility, like I explained before, that somehow we missed a switch, from cooling to warming or vice versa which might go some way to explain the gaps [that I am trying to explain to myself]
        If the correlation I find with the position of the planets is not caused [by the sun] but causal to [some of] the manifestations of the sun it means that if for some or other reason the planets do not arrive in time, or if the barycenter of the sun was too heavy [at the time], we could easily miss a switch.

        Could I ask you a favor. You seem to have the ability to easily put two solar graphs together – I would like to see the scissors graph of both the solar polar magnetic field strengths overlain together with ssn [from 1969 is good enough for me, as it is exactly half the GB cycle]

      • W-Europe is usually overcast 80% of the time no matter where you go
        I have lived in W-Europe for 40 years and can tell you that you are wrong, but it is simpler than that: if you just look at the Wolf paper I referred you to, you can see how many days there were observations [generally 250 per year per observer, and with multiple observers you get almost continuous coverage]. You see, it only takes a few minutes of clear sky to make an observation.

        I would like to see the scissors graph of both the solar polar magnetic field strengths overlain together with ssn
        Perhaps you mean something like slide 20 of http://www.leif.org/research/On-Becoming-a-Scientist.pdf

      • well, I lived my first 20 years in Holland and would not go back to live there because of the bad weather….
        Thanks for that link.
        There is a strong correlation there.

      • There is a strong correlation there.
        Of course there is. That is the basis for our prediction of the solar cycle which is not based on extrapolation of trends, or parabolas, but on the physics behind the cycle.

        I lived my first 20 years in Holland and would not go back to live there because of the bad weather
        https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/Netherlands/sunshine-annual-average.php
        shows that they have 300 days per year with sunshine. It only takes a few minutes each day to count the sunspots.

      • The physical theory says that the polar fields are the seed for the next cycle. It takes about 5 years for the sun to process the polar fields and produce sunspots, hence the delay. This is not controversial nor odd. That is how the sun works. At sunspot maximum, the polar fields reverse and thus go to zero [you have to go through zero to get from +5 to -5].

    • No it doesn’t as you apparently did not read the entire story…”… Are we headed for La Niña toward the end of 2016? Looks that way. Will it be a big one? Not sure….”. You eyes somehow missed this… “Will it be a big one? Not sure….”.

  29. All forms of action concerning the determination of the sunspot cycle, Cycle 25 and in particular, who do not know how it will end, means the “target shooting blindly” .No there is no proof of the order, and devices shooting were not appropriate and unfamiliar objects with which aims to hit an invisible and unknown target.
    In this kind of conundrum, it is a phenomena that are visible in the sun.
    Everyone must know that the planets are an integral part of the solar system and that they are the main causes of changes in the sun, just be logical to conclude that these cycles take place and why.
    I am offering my proof of that now do not give up
    Cycle sun spots and all you can see in this diagram depends on the four planets and the sun on which they operate. The basic cycle of about 11.2 years, which can be used to form a butterfly diagrams of about 123 years (11×11), where the cycles are much bolder effects can be defined as 17.5 years, 44do 46 years, and strict about 1300 and even 13000 years,
    I do not have enough of astronomical data and techniques and these are only approximate data.
    If an institution has accepted that this is a detailed treatment, we get all the information for all times and past and future.
    Gentlemen, your guesses are accurate, such as when blind chicken key grain.

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