Svalgaard goes squirrel fishing: Hooks own trousers

Posted: June 22, 2011 by Rog Tallbloke in flames, Solar physics

Solar physicist and full time blog contributor Leif Svalgaard has for years had solar data on his ironing board. Now he has gone a step further than usual with the following statement.

Leif Svalgaard says:
June 18, 2011 at 6:51 am
The Far Ultraviolet [between EUV and UV] creates and maintains the ionosphere and solar tides move the ions during the day and night cycle giving rise to an varying electric current whose effect we can easily measure on the ground [it was discovered in 1722]. This effect is a very good measure of the FUV flux and follows the solar cycle very closely, e.g. slide 9 of , and shows no long-term drift of change.
Claus Froehlich notes: “The Ca II K index from Mt. Wilson observatory shows no secular trend of the minima since the start of these observations (Foukal et al., 2009; Bertello et al., 2010). This confirms also the result of a recent study of the long-term behaviour of solar like stars by Judge & Saar (2007), which shows that non-cycling stars have a HK index similar to the one observed on the sun during recent minima.” So, there is good evidence that the UV and TSI was not significantly lower during the Maunder Minimum.

  1. Stephen Wilde says:
    June 18, 2011 at 9:15 am
    “So, there is good evidence that the UV and TSI was not significantly lower during the Maunder Minimum.”
    I note the word ‘significantly’ which rather neatly avoids the issue.

    It means that there is no significant difference, and we therefore can’t even say if it is lower or higher. It could even be a tad higher during the MM [e.g. with no sunspots to take a bite out of TSI].

    I see no assessments as to what would be ‘significant’ in such a scenario.
    If TSI and UV were higher during MM, what would that do to your model

  2. tallbloke says:

    I thought you said that the bright faculae around sunspots more than made up for the ‘bite that sunspots take out of TSI’
    Therefore, no sunspots>no bright faculae> less TSI. QED

  3. Geez, how simplistic can one get?
    Faculae develop long before a sunspot becomes visible and stay around long after. There doesn’t even ever need to be any sunspot in a facula area.

  4. tallbloke says:
    June 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm
    The recent solar minimum ‘baseline’ TSI fell well below the last few cycles at minimum. But of course when the data doesn’t fit your pet unvarying sun hypothesis, the data are wrong and Claus has outlived his usefulness to you.TSI is lower now while there are less spots than it was when there were more spots in cycle 23. Not many bright faculae around. I’ll stick with real observations and you can keep your ever changing F10.7-sunspot ratio and your idle speculation about TSI levels in the Maunder Minimum where they belong.

    Leif Svalgaardsays:

    1. Again, you are not cognizant of the data. The PMOD data has severe problems. The instrument is rapidly degrading more than is corrected for by Claus, as I show in In addition there are other systematic errors, such as the pikes at times when SOHO is in a keyhole. The principal investigator on SORCE/TIM Greg Kopp agrees with me [quote on slide 5] that “Sadly, this probably does mean we don’t have good knowledge of how this current minimum relates to the prior one” [Greg Kopp]. Here is another view of the degradation of the PMOD series: . The PMOD curve has been shifted down 4.51 W/m2 to match SORCE in 2004. Since then the degradation has been 0.023 W/m2/yr. Assuming that the degradation did not start just when SORCE was launched, but is ongoing [which we know it is], that means that in the 12 years between the minima in 1996 and 2008, PMOD has drifted dwon by 0.27 W/m2 which is just what Froelich claims the recent minimum is lower than the previous. The conclusion is clear: There has been no decrease in TSI from minimum to minimum

      TSI is lower now while there are less spots than it was when there were more spots in cycle 23.
      Of course, because TSI is larger when there are more spots and associated faculae.
      I’ll stick with real observations
      SORCE makes real observations. The other TSI instrument on SOHO, DIARAD also does not show that the recent minimum was lower than the previous one: This is real data.

      and you can keep your ever changing F10.7-sunspot ratio
      That is an observational fact as well, so can’t do much about that.

      and your idle speculation about TSI levels in the Maunder Minimum where they belong.
      This is, indeed, speculation [and was clearly labeled as such] and [just] might come to pass. Such speculation is often useful in suggesting new pathways. Idle? [you have slipped into insult mode again].


    2. tallbloke says:
      June 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm
      Frohlich is fond of adjustments, as we know from the ACRIM debacle. If the sensor was degrading at a known rate, he would have adjusted for it. Something else is going on. Maybe Frohlich has jumped the reservation fence.

    3. June 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm
      He knows about it. I have told him many times, and he acknowledges that he has degradation, but still doesn’t do anything about it. I’ve been gentle with him. I told him about the degradation years ago. Here is an old plot of that:

      Bottom line: there is no evidence that TSI was any lower in 2008-2009 than at any other minimum in the past.

    4. Stephen Wilde says:

      Leif said:

      “He knows about it. I have told him many times, and he acknowledges that he has degradation, but still doesn’t do anything about it. I’ve been gentle with him. I told him about the degradation years ago.”


      Hey, Leif, nice to see that you are as robust with your colleagues as you are with the rest of us :)



There is a lot more on that thread, I’ve just clipped a few highlights.

  1. vukcevic says:

    Svalgaard 30% 19th century revision

    a b s t r a c t: It has been suggested recently that early sunspot numbers should be re-calibrated and significantly corrected using the observed daily range of the geomagnetic declination (so-called rY values). The suggested ‘‘correction’’ method makes an a priori detrending of the rY series and then extends the linear regression between rY and sunspot numbers established for the last 25 years to earlier times. The suggested ‘‘correction’’ of sunspot numbers by roughly 30% goes far beyond the traditional estimates of observational uncertainties of sunspots.
    Rather, the results obtained by Svalgaard (2007) are largely induced by the arbitrary and erroneous detrending of the rY series, which enhances the sunspot activity based on the rY series in the 19th century relative to more recent times (page2)

  2. Tenuc says:

    On the one hand we know Source is 100% correct as it is giving the numbers we expect to see with regard to the accepted solar model. It is obvious that PMOD is wrong, but the SOB who knows most about the instrument and how it performs is just too stubborn to change the degradation rate to match the Source satellite data.

    Life’s a bitch… :)

  3. tallbloke says:

    It is interesting to note that while PMOD showed no trend across the minima of the last three cycles Leif liked PMOD. Now that it shows a marked decline in TSI since the onset of a serious solar minimum Leif suddenly likes a different dataset which shows an increase in the base level of TSI across the last three cycles. However, two years ago, Leif didn’t like the ACRIM team whose dataset said pretty much the same thing as the dataset he now likes, because their back extrapolation was indicating a secular increase from the Maunder Minimum. Leif wants to have his cake and eat it too.

    Of course, the truth is, there is more uncertainty to all solar reconstruction than he will admit, because that would diminish the importance of his field. I’m sticking with good old SIDC for sunspot number up until the speck counting started.

    Vuk, I have a copy of the Svalgaard 30% data. It actually increases some early cycles by 100% over the old group sunspot numbers. I found a webpage on climate realists yesterday which claims contact with a NASA ‘whistleblower’ who allegedly informs them that there has been a deliberate effort to fudge the numbers recently. Well, we knew that already with the speck counting to bust record spotless day counts etc. The F10.7 – sunspot ratio is under constant revision too. Svalgaard’s contention that this is ‘observation’ is contentious. It could be interpreted as an inflated spot count taking the ratio out of whack, so requiring a ‘recalibration’. However, this leaves Leif between a rock and a hard place, because if it needs recalibration, it puts in doubt all back extrapolation based on geomagnetic readings.

    Interesting and illogical times.

  4. tallbloke says:

    It’s also noticeable that Leif mis-spells Claus Frohlich’s name. Two different ways in that thread.I don’t think he wants what he has been saying about him to turn up in Frohlich’s google searches. :)

    It can be spelt with an oe in the middle, but turns up about an order of magnitude less search results.

  5. Gerry says:

    The SORCE website,,
    also contains the notice,
    NOTICE: Due to technical problems, SORCE data products have not been updated since 2 June 2011.

    Also interesting is the last sentence in the following:
    Data Quality Description (updated 13 December 2005)
    On-orbit instrument characterization is an on-going effort, as the TIM team regularly tracks instrument degradation and calibrates the instrument servo system on-orbit, periodically updating the data processing system with new calibration values. Only minor corrections are anticipated at this phase in the SORCE/TIM mission. To date the TIM is proving very stable with usage and solar exposure, and long-term relative uncertainties are estimated to be less than 0.014 W/m2/yr (10 ppm/yr). Present absolute accuracy is estimated to be 0.48 W/m^2 (350 ppm), largely determined by the agreement between all four TIM radiometers. There remains an unresolved 4.5 W/m^2 difference between the TIM and other space-borne radiometers, and this difference is being studied by the TSI and radiometry communities.

    An apparently consistent 4.5 W/m^2 difference from other space-borne radiometers over the last six years!

  6. tallbloke says:

    Gerry, yes. Leif claims the 4.5W/m^2 difference is due to the aperture the TIM sensor is set in. A problem akin to ‘lens flare’ that the previous sensors had, but TIM doesn’t Personally, I think it unlikely that the SORCE team didn’t allow for that and calibrate accordingly…

  7. vukcevic says:

    L&P is heavily promoted all over the place, giving it not only widest possible publicity but much overblown importance. Why? In a round about way, to eliminate sunspot number and activity from TSI.
    L.Svalgaard: If L&P are correct, the sunspot number is no longer a good measure. We can, however, calculate an ‘equivalent’ sunspot number from the solar flux.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Vuk, yes. If Svalgaard can succeed in marginalising sunspot data, it opens the path for his geomagnetic based solar measure, as calibrated by regression from TSI data. It’s bad science though, because of the gaps and calibration problems in the TSI data.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Solar wind is strong today.

  10. Tenuc says:

    Perhaps the sudden increase in solar wind speed will produce some geophysical effects here?

    “A high speed stream from CH457 became the dominant solar wind source after noon. There was a sudden change in solar wind parameters at SOHO at 02:18 GMT on June 23, maybe the arrival of the CME observed on June 21″
    (thanks to

    CH459 is now Earth-facing…

  11. Michele Casati says:


    My Crystal Ball…I have a question !?!?!

    The solar wind and protons charge Geology
    stop solar wind
    First hypothesis:
    impact CME —> instantaneous earthquake or volcano (remember M9 Nippon)


    Second hypothesis:
    pause 3 days —-> earthquake or eruption volcano


    Third hypothesis:
    no earthquakes and eruptions
    Please respond

    Stop morse code :smile:

  12. Tenuc says:

    Michele Casati says:
    June 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm
    “…I have a question !?!?!…”

    The trigger only causes the discharge if the cartridge is primed… ;-)

  13. vukcevic says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    The solar input can be likened to a little boy peeing into the canal upstream.

    Svalgaard goes squirrel fishing: Hooks own trousers
    or perhaps Svalgaard p……. own trousers

    His colleagues may not be amused …

  14. “Observed data do not support a measureable TSI trend between the minima in 1996 and 2008 !”
    From slide 33 of where they finally admit that PMOD was wrong as I told them long ago.

  15. tallbloke says:

    Well, not on your ironed out dataset anyway. ;)
    The ACRIM team has something different to say.

  16. lsvalgaard says:

    The ACRIM Team at that same meeting admitted severe problems with their instruments:
    • Significant scattered light signal from ACRIM3 view-limiter (~ 5000 – 6000 ppm)
    • ACRIM3_EM precision apertures does not conform to ACRIM3 flight spec.’s
    Primary aperture surface below quality spec.’s for flight apertures

    As Werner Schmutz pointed out:
    “Observed data do not support a measureable TSI trend between the minima in 1996 and 2008″
    This is independent of my opinion

  17. tallbloke says:

    Banzai! Hooked one. :)

    Leif has sent a reply, which I hope to be able to publish soon

  18. lsvalgaard says:

    Banzai! Hooked one.
    Leif has sent a reply, which I hope to be able to publish soon
    You even show bad behaviour on your own blog.

    [Reply] It’s called humour Leif. You should try it. Ask Anthony.

  19. vukcevic says:

    Hi doc
    We are all of exemplary behaviour, and our science is even better, with a touch of humour of course:
    :) :)