An interview with Ing. Ivanka Charvátová, CSc. from the Geophysical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Prague). The story of one politically incorrect scientific discovery.
(Translation of the original Czech interview published at Osel.cz in May 2011)
Your field of study in the Geophysical Institute is solar inertial motion (SIM). Could you explain what it is?
It is a movement of the Sun around the barycentre (centre of gravity) of our solar system. This motion is due to the varying position of the planets, especially the giant planets.
Already Sir Isaac Newton in his PRINCIPIA (1687) intuitively came to the following conclusion: “… since that centre of gravity (centre of mass of the solar system) is continually at rest, the Sun, according to the various positions of the planets, must continually move every day, but will never recede far from that centre.” This effect is not insignificant. The Sun moves across an area the size of 4.3 solar radiuses, i.e. 0.02 AU or 3×10^6 km. As a coincidence, the average solar speed is around 50 km/hr. Just like the speed of a car driving downtown. The first study about SIM was written by P.D. Jose in year 1965.
You are the author of quite a breakthrough in this field of study. What is it?
First I studied the SIM periodicity and in 1987 I came to survey the geometry of this motion. I discovered the solar motion can be classified into two elementary types. Motion along a trefoil-like trajectory governed by the Jupiter-Saturn order. And another motion type which is chaotic. This gave us a precise homogeneous basis, upon which it became possible to study the solar-terrestrial and climatic variability. You may find it comforting that no matter how the Sun wiggles, every 179 years it comes back to a regular trefoil path. It is important to note, that the periods of chaotic motion coincide with the long-term minima in solar activity such as the Wolf Minimum (1270-1350), Spörer Minimum (~1430-1520), Maunder Minimum (~1620-1710) or Dalton Minimum (~1790-1840). During the trefoil periods the ST-phenomena are stable – the sunspot cycles are 10 years long, volcanic activity is muted and in the middle of the trefoil period there is a temperature maximum down here on Earth.
Later I discovered also a 2402 year long cycle of solar motion. After the lapse of this period the Sun always enters a segment, when for almost 370 years it moves continuously along the trefoil trajectory. This is when the natural conditions are stable, there is a long-term thermal maximum. The latest symmetry of the motion trefoils was around 25 AD. The NASA scientists called this 2402 yr cycle as “Charvatova Cycle”. The prospective solar motion can be calculated in advance (celestial mechanics), which gave us brand new solar-predictive capabilities. So far our predictions exploit the observation that the same solar motion trajectory tends to generate similar phenomena. (I was the only one in the whole world who got the 23rd sunspot cycle prediction right). The physical mechanism is not known yet.
Fig. 1 The trajectory of the Sun centre divided into two basic motion types: trefoil trajectory according to JS-ordering (top) and disordered (chaotic) (bottom). The Sun returns to a trefoil trajectory, which always lasts for 50 years, once every 179 years. The chaotic segments correspond to long-term minima of solar activity (see above). The dark yellow circles in the top images represent the Sun.
What made you study solar motion?
In the 1980s the director of our institute was academic Václav Bucha. At some conference abroad he met the renowned American geologist and climatologist Rhodes W. Fairbridge, who was currently studying solar motion along with J.H. Shirley from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), NASA, Pasadena. Mr. Bucha could smell important topics miles away, so we decided to research this too.
Did the world notice your discovery?
Even before my major discovery came, Prof R.W.Fairbridge contacted me after I published an article about SIM periodicity in Paris. It was published under my former name Jakubcová. He and J.H.Shirley published an article in Solar Physics at the very same time. R.W.Fairbridge wrote me a very friendly letter of praise. There was a communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia in that time, so any post coming from the Capitalist West was inspected by censorship. Surely you can imagine what a fuss there was about this letter. Not only it had NASA on the envelope, but on top of that Prof Fairbridge mentioned in the letter, that he knew Prague because he had been here in 1968 during the Prague Spring at some Geology Conference. And he mentioned to have seen the “eastern visitors”, the tanks of the occupants invading Czechoslovakia. He and Jim Shirley were so excited at my trefoils that when they edited the Encyclopaedia of Planetary Sciences in the early 1990s they invited me to write the main article on “Solar Motion” there. I was the only author from the whole Eastern Block in that very Encyclopaedia. And I was the most cited one.
Did you two meet in person?
No, we did not. But we maintained very lively correspondence. He used to send me articles that were not available in my country. He also invited me to write an article to the Proceedings published on the occasion of his 80th birthday anniversary (published in the Journal of Coastal Research.)
Another well known researcher who studied solar motion is Theodor Landscheidt. Do you know each other?
We do not and I believe he is not alive any more. We agree that in the first half of the 21st century the solar activity might be lower and even the temperatures might go down. But he does not cite me and I cite only one of his studies.
Apparently there are lots of scientists who explain climate change by other factors, not merely by CO2. However in the Czech Republic, where you live, most people know only one climate sceptic. Your president Václav Klaus.
Oh my. I would rather not comment on that. I only browsed through his book “Blue Planet in Green Chains” in the bookshop.
There are many climate sceptics in the world, they have their organisations, especially at the American or Canadian universities. Many professors of theirs have contacted me. For instance Prof. O. Manuel, the former chief researcher of the Apollo project. They even published a book “Slying the Sky Dragon“, where they document the scandals of the climate change research and thus also the uncertainties in the temperature measurements of the last 40 years or so.
The UN climate panel (IPCC), which is so harshly criticised by your president Klaus, has had lots of scandals lately. Have you heard about Climategate?
Of course. The director of CRU (Climatic Research Unit) P.D. Jones had to step down.
What does the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4 2007) say about solar motion?
Nothing at all. They are allergic to SIM. Their whole research fails to consider the solar-terrestrial phenomena (solar, geomagnetic, volcanic activity etc.) and they take into account only temperatures since 1860. However in Europe we have a number of continuous instrumental temperature data sets dating back to mid 18th century. The Jesuits started the measurements. With my colleague we processed these data and we showed their relation to solar motion and published an article on it in the Climatic Change journal, Stanford University. In mid 18th century the temperature was as high as in 1940 (both in the middle of a trefoil). But was there any industry, air pollution? No. They even fail to take into account the climate reconstructions (temperatures, proxy data) derived from tree-ring width 18O or 10Be isotopes in ice cores etc., though they are already available for periods deep in the past and are of good quality at least for the Holocene period.
But how do they explain why every 180 years there is a long-term temperature maximum? How do they explain the significant temperature maximum around 1000 AD, when even Greenland was settled? How do they explain the long-term minima?
They don’t. They pretend it did not happen.
Explaining climate change by other factors, not only by greenhouse gases, it is almost a heresy in our times. Were you aware of this when you discovered the trefoils of yours?
In 1987 when I realised there are trefoils in the solar motion (note: there are trefoil symbols in the gothic cathedrals too), I shivered. I realised immediately, that it is connected with almost everything, that nobody was going to do the work unless I do and that I would have to face unbelievable enmities. I raised my hands to the sky and I almost cried: “Why me?!” On top of that, it was exactly 300 years after Sir Isaac Newton, in his PRINCIPIA, formulated his intuitive conclusion about solar motion.
You are from a Christian family. Did you face any persecution under the communist regime?
My maiden name is Kryšpínová. The brother of my grandfather, a school headmaster, was a famous constructor of steam locomotives and he even became a director of the ČKD company. Unfortunately, we lived in the same house as the family of powerful communist bureaucrats. The mother of Vasil Mohorita was an influential Communist Party secretary in Prague 7. When I was finishing my elementary school, she rang a bell in our place and she yelled at me that a relative of the bourgeoisie ČKD director would never be allowed to study at any secondary school! Times changed, today my uncle Vojta is in the textbooks of the Transport Faculty of the Prague Technical University (ČVUT) as a constructor of world fame. He even has a street named after him, he has his stamps etc.
How did you solve it?
My uncle Vojta advised my parents to send me to the other grandparents to Jilemnice, at the foot of the Krkonoše Mountains. My grandfather was an engraver who printed cloths, almost worker class, so we though this might be acceptable to the communists. It worked, I even had the support of the grammar school headmaster in advance. It was a fine school. It had great teachers, including some scientists who were expelled there from universities for political reasons. This school was established as early as in 1909 when my country was part of the Austrian Empire and it was one of the few secondary schools where lectures were in the Czech language. Many Czech artists studied there such as the song writer Jiří Šlitr, actor Stanislav Zindulka, photograph Zdenko Fejfar or the director Karel Palouš. It is unbelievable, that now some madman wants to close this great school. Only Hitler was so insolent to do that. There are protests, demonstrations, so far in vain.
Yet the communist regime let you study at a university
I went to ČVUT (Czech Technical College), the Faculty of Civil Engineering, since my father was a civil engineer. The communists did not censor technical fields so much. I did not enjoy the first grades much, meliorations, road construction, surveyor work, but in the higher grades we could specialise – higher maths, (early) computers, cartography and others. I chose astronomy. In the building of the old Technical College at Karlovo Square, the magnificent Prof. Emil Buchar chaired the “Institute for Astronomy and Elementary Geophysics”. He always took only a couple of students. I was the first woman among them. This autumn it is the 110th anniversary of his birth.
You work at the Geophysical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. How did you get here?
The end of my studies was coming soon, when suddenly one day, late at night, the telephone rang. Prof Buchar called that the next day I was to go to the Geophysical Institute at 9 AM for an interview. He informed me he had already registered me. So I went there and I passed. I have been working here ever since.
Aren’t you sorry that after 20 years SIM is still not in the elementary school textbooks? That climate changes are still explained only by CO2, as if climate was influenced by no other factors whatsoever?
Publishing of my (our) articles has always been a bad dream. Some editors rejected our article without review, saying their readers would surely not be interested. Another editor told me, that they would not allow having anything about SIM published in their magazine! I even received a “peer review” consisting of a single sentence: “All articles about solar motion should be banned!” In spite of all these enmities, we succeeded to have articles about SIM and ST-relationship published in renowned world journals with high impact factor (e.g. New Astronomy (Harvard University, IF 2.2), Surveys in Geophysics (IF 3.1) or Climatic Change (Stanford University, IF 4.)
And my results are in the prestigious textbook of physics for American universities – “Fundamentals of Physics“.
What welcome did solar motion research get among the scientists in your country?
The enlightened ones, and they are many, support it and help me a lot. The others use this topic for target practice. I was sorry to hear dr. Grygar, Czech astronomer and member of the Czech branch of CSI, compares SIM to some astrology. I wonder when he will grow tired of doing that. And our climatologists? I represent our institute in the Czech National Climate Programme. These people “research” only greenhouse effect vs temperatures. I call them “heaters”. Sometimes I feel like a lone Hussite warrior – myself against all. They deny the existence of solar influence on climate let alone the influence of the whole solar system. Most of them refuse to talk to me, most of them even do not say hello, when we meet. Even now when many world journals publish articles about the influence of the Sun on climate. Probably this requires more time. Many discoveries had to wait, some very long. I do not waste my time fighting windmills. God will sort it out when the right time comes.
And what about the Czech media? What is their attitude to solar motion? Has there been any documentaries on TV about this?
Some two years ago people from the ČT2 television channel came to me and we filmed a half an hour interview for some TV magazine. I was sceptical. Will you really broadcast it? Sure, it’s already in the TV Guide. And then, some 2 hours before the broadcast, some powerful person called them and banned the broadcast.
My only media “presentation” was when I was invited to an entertainment TV contest on the PRIMA TV channel (The “Guess Who I Am” programme). It was fun and I used the opportunity to sneak a short description of the trefoils and solar motion into my speech.
But your work is known and cited abroad
It is. I am very cited in both Americas, Canada, I am cited by the Germans, Italians, Australians, Scandinavians, recently even by the Chinese. I am cited even in other fields of study, for instance in the journals Nuclear Physics, Neutron Repulsion Journal … In 2009 as part of the European Geophysical Union congress there was a Great Panel on Sun and Climate. I had an invited talk there. And I had another invited talk at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Brazil 2010.
I hear you are cited also by the scientists who study exoplanets? How is it related?
Yes, I am cited by the Germans, the astronomers from the Heidelberg University. I suggested that we might expect barycentric motion in the stars, which manifest variable irradiance. Which means such stars probably have planets. I wrote this for CTS (Centre of Theoretical Studies) in year 1995, when no exoplanet was known yet. Now we know over 400 of them.
Figure 2 No, these are not jewel designs. These are four examples of barycentric path of stars with exoplanets (from Perryman and Schulze-Hartung, Astronomy& Astrophysics 525, A65, 2011).
Is there any message you would like to send to the readers?
When you fight for a good cause, you must never give up. I am from a family of keen followers of the Scouting traditions. My father was a founding member of the 5th Group of Water Scouts in my country. As a Boy Scout he had the honour to welcome our first president, the founder of the first independent Czechoslovak Republic, when T.G. Masaryk was returning from emigration. Thanks to his resilience my father succeeded with many things in spite of the communists. And I have a personal example too. To keep sane during the communist era I privately translated the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. My translations could be published only after the end of the communist regime, on the 100th anniversary of her birth (Modrý večer, ODEON, 1990, translated by Ivanka Jakubcová). Ms Anna had a difficult life. In the Stalinist era she was persecuted, she could not publish her poetry for decades, her son was imprisoned in Gulag for almost 20 years. But look now – her poetry is read by the whole world.
Mgr. Vítězslav Kremlík, the founder of the Czech Climate Skeptic website http://www.klimaskeptik.cz
(The Czech text was authorised by ICH)
born 3. 12. 1941 in Jilemnice, Czechoslovakia
education: ČVUT, Faculty of Civil Engineering, subject: geodetic astronomy and geophysics
doctorate: CSc. 1991
current position: Geophysical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences since 1963 (Institute website – link)
List of publications
(note: some of the publications are downloadable from Klimaskeptik.cz – link)
Bucha, V., Jakubcová, I. and Pick, M. 1985 Resonance frequencies in the Sun’s motion, Studia Geophys. et Geod., 29, 107-111.
Jakubcová, I. and Pick, M., 1986a The planetary system and solar-terrestrial phenomena, Studia Geophys. et Geod., 30, 224-235.
Jakubcová, I. and Pick, M., 1986b Is there any relation between the Sun´s motion and global seismic activity? Studia Geophys. et Geod., 30, 148-152.
Jakubcová, I. and Pick, M.: 1987 Correlation between solar motion, earthquakes and other geophysical phenomena, Annales Geophysicae, B, 135-142.
Charvátová-Jakubcová, I., Křivský, L. and Střeštík, J., 1988 The periodicity of aurorae in the years 1001-1900, Studia Geophys. et Geod., 32, 70-77.
Charvátová, I., 1988 The solar motion and the variability of solar activity, Adv. Space Res., 8, 7, 147-150.
Charvátová, I. 1989 On the relation between solar motion and the long term variability of solar activity, Studia Geophys. et Geod. 33, 230-241.
Charvátová, I., 1990a The relations between solar motion and solar variability, Bull. Astr. Inst. Czech., 41, 56-59.
Charvátová, I., 1990b On the relation between solar motion and solar activity in the years 1730-1780 and 1910-60, Bull. Astr. Inst. Czech., 41, 200-204.
Charvátová, I., 1995a Solar-terrestrial and climatic variability during the last several millennia in relation to solar inertial motion, J. Coastal Res., 17, 343-354.
Charvátová, I., 1995b Solar-terrestrial variability in relation to solar inertial motion, Center for Theoretical Study, CTS-95-04, March 1995.
Charvátová, I., 1995c Solar-terrestrial variability in relation to solar inertial motion, Center for Theoretical Study, CTS-95-08, 2nd Edition, November 1995.
Charvátová, I., 1997a Solar-terrestrial and climatic phenomena in relation to solar inertial motion, Surveys in Geophys., 18, 131-146.
Charvátová, I., 1997b Solar motion (main article), in: Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences, (Eds. J.H. Shirley and R.W. Fairbridge), Chapman & Hall, New York, 748-751.
Charvátová, I., 2006 Solar motion (main article), in: Encyclopedia of Planetary Sciences, (Eds. J.H. Shirley and R.W. Fairbridge), Springer, Berlin, 748-751.
Charvátová, I., 2000 Can origin of the 2400-year cycle of solar activity be caused by solar inertial motion?, Annales Geophysicae, 18, 399-405.
Charvátová, I., 2000 The cycle of 2402 years in solar motion and its response in proxy records, Geolines, 11, 12-14.
Charvátová, I., 2007 The prominent 1.6-year periodicity in solar motion due to the inner planets, Annales Geophysicae, 25, 1-6.
Charvátová, I., 2009 Long-trm predictive assessments of solar and geomagnetic activities made on the basis of the close similarity between the solar inertial motions in the intervals 1840-1905 and 1980-2045, New Astronomy 14, 25-30, doi: 10.1016/j.newast.2008.04.005.
Charvátová, I. and Střeštík, J., 1991 Solar variability as a manifestation of the Sun’s motion, J. Atmos.Terr. Phys., 53, 1019-1025.
Charvátová, I. and Střeštík, J., 1995 Long-term changes of the surface air temperature in relation to solar inertial motion, Climatic Change, 29, 333-352.
Charvátová, I. and Střeštík, J., 2004 Periodicities between 6 and 16 years in surface air temperature in possible relation to solar inertial motion, J. Atmos. Solar-Terr. Phys., 66, 219-227
Charvátová, I. and Střeštík, J., 2007 Relations between the solar inertial motion, solar activity and geomagnetic index aa since the year 1844, Adv. Space Res., 40, 7, 1026-1031, doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2007.05.086.
Paluš, M., Kurths, J., Schwarz, U., Novotná, D. and Charvátová, I., 2000 Is the solar activity cycle synchronized with the solar inertial motion?, Int. J. Bifurcation and Chaos, 10, 2519-2526.
Paluš, M., Kurths, J., Schwarz, U., Seehafer, N., Novotná, D. and Charvátová, I., 2007 The solar activity cycle is weakly synchronized with the solar inertial motion, Physics Letters A, 365, 421-428, doi: 10.1016/j.physleta.2007.01.039.
Charvátová, I., Klokočník, J., Kolmaš, J. and Kostelecký, J., 2011 Chinese tombs oriented by a compass: evidence from paleomagnetic changes versus the age of tombs, Studia Geophys. et Geod. 55, 159-174.