Long-term Variability in the Length of the Solar Cycle

Posted: July 22, 2011 by tchannon in Astrophysics, Solar physics, solar system dynamics

Figure 1

Rogers, Richards & Richards paper

This 2005 paper from Penn State is a superb work where the authors are astrophysicists and a statistician.

A lot of very interesting items in the paper for those trying to untangle the solar problem and it goes as far as mentioning a forbidden word, barycentre.

If showing the image from the paper is excessive fair use under copyright I apologise and it will be removed on request.

  1. tallbloke says:

    From the paper:
    “no physical mechanism has yet been
    found to link gravitational interactions within the
    solar system with magnetic activity on the Sun
    (Soon & Yaskell 2003).”

    Sounds like we need to alert the authors to Wolff and Patrone.

    Great post Tim!

  2. Gray says:

    Hi tallbloke

    Transits of Venus occur in a pattern that repeat every 243 years.

  3. adolfogiurfa says:

    However, the nature of this cycle is still not understood……
    Pitiful.., is it not good to know or it is just inconvenient?
    Philosophically speaking, all waves,everywhere, are represented as single, as lines are represented as such:mono-dimensional, and circles as “cool” closed circles of course, but, let us do the following mental excercise: Let us zoom in a wave, if it is REAL then it must be a development of energy in space. If Planck was right, not forgetting Pythagoras and music, then there are not circles but a vertical projection of an spiral and not single waves, lonely sinuses or cosines, but actual energy development, of a real current, composed of two opposite charges, which in a eternal loving “dance” describing circles-if seen from the axis of movement-, or waves-if proyected on a plane its movement along its axis of movement- : an alternate current, a Birkeland current. Then, returning to the Sun: It really has two components: One from the southern hemisphere and one from the northern hemisphere; its development: the polar fields, Sin + Cos, modulated, of course, by the other waves around (the planets) according to its power.
    Indeed, love moves the worlds. Here we found the explanation why Dante Aligheri belonged to a group called “I fidelli d´amore” (the lovers of love or the faithful ones to love) and his illuminating force: Beatrix.
    Trouble is that if this old paradigm becomes accepted it would be,very inconvenient,to say the least, for many established beliefs .

  4. Paul Vaughan says:

    The authors make the all-too-common fundamental mistake of treating a spatiotemporal problem as a strictly temporal one. Additionally, there are dozens of methodological &/or interpretative errors &/or oversights in the paper. Nonetheless, articles like this are EXTREMELY VALUABLE in reminding investigators to think about phase (rather than strictly maintaining a blindered focus on amplitude, which guarantees absolute stagnation of exploratory progress via catastrophically blinding ignorance of discrete conditional multivariate relative-phase dependencies which are categorically not reducible to catastrophically culturally-misguided mainstream statistical inference assumptions of contextually patently-untenable i.i.d. & randomness, ensuring spatiotemporal-sampling-&-aggregation-weighting bias – i.e. Simpson’s Paradox). Thanks for pointing out the paper. I hadn’t seen this one. Regards.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Gray.
    I’m not sure looking for a ‘cycle’ to explain the timings of the grand minima is the right approach. It seems from my investigations of the data that it is more of an ‘event’ brought about by tweaks on the solar core when the barycentre passes close to it and jiggles around in a way which disturbs the usual solar rhythm.

    Adolfo, almost poetic.

  6. Gray says:

    Hi tallbloke,
    I’m assuming the barycentre movement consists of the individual planetary components and velocities individually and in combination. This would fit, I am supposing, with any ‘event’ tweaking the solar core. The relatively sudden addition of the fast moving masses of Earth and Venus being perhaps such a tweak. Generally we think of the barycentre motion as being a smooth curve derived mostly from the gas giants, however it might be useful to consider the addition of the inner planets as causing a jitter in this smoothness.

    The difference between 183 and 188, and 243 are 55 years and 60 years respectively. Both periodicities have shown up previously.

  7. bill says:

    have you read the work of the late Timo Niroma on a similar study.

    in “links” on Layman’s Sunspot opening page.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tallbloke: Adolfo, almost poetic.Thanks!, and it´s interesting that:

    Βια = Energy, force Τριχα=Three, in three parts

    Which means a force which is in three parts: Positive,Negative and the space between the two (space, potence, needed for the manifestation of the former two)

  9. bill says:

    Any BC is a point of zero gravity since the gravitational forces are equal in all directions. However, a BC contains the entire mass represented by the gravitational forces acting on it. In total isolation from the universe, any body of mass would have a “BC” at its center of mass. In a “system” like the solar system or the earth moon relation, where the system BC is inside one of the bodies, that BC would usurp the role of the “BC” the body would have if it were in total isolation. eg. the point of zero gravity in that body would be at the system BC rather than at the body “BC”.

    To better visualize this, stop the action at any point in time and “glue” the mass represented by the gravitational pull of each external body onto the surface of the sun (or earth) in a direct line with the position of the system BC so that the system BC can appear to be the resultant body “BC”.

    The system BC creates a tide force directly in line with, and proportional to, the the distance between the BC and the “BC”. In other words, the tidal forces can be calculated from the position of the BC since they “appear” to be self induced by the studied body.

  10. bill says:

    here is a study of the “retrograde” actions of the sun.

    In the summary

    “The G-O rule is expected to be violated by the Hale cycle which will include (or end at) the year 2169″

    a sign change after 1945 means that this violation “is expected to be happening near the year 2030, i.e., by the cycles’ pair 26,27″


    search words– sun’s retrograde motion and violation of G-O rule in…

  11. racookpe1978 says:

    I would strongly recommend – while reviewing this particular paper, while thinking about the 11-some-odd-year sunspot cycle in general and its (potential) relationship to any other events, and in looking for or thinking about cyclic trends in the solar system – that one remembers that sunspot counts are only a symptom of the cyclic changes massive circulation of the sun’s plasma currents.

    The slight differences we observe in the sunspot periods and sunspot intensity between otherwise identical times over the past 23 cycles may relate to a single influence, but if you keep trying to “force” some particular solar “average” barycentric change into an idealized single “averaged” sunspot cycle period, you may miss the intelligence behind both events.

    For example, one could easily relate ocean tides with the moon. But then you’d be unable to determine why there are two tidal currents in a period when the moon goes around only once until you look at both “sides” of the spherical under the same gravitational force. You would not be able to explain solar tidal changes in your little pattern until you also include how the the sun’s influence changes over the entire year, and you plot a 365 day pattern into a 28 day lunar pattern. Further, until you relate and reconcile the geographic differences in bay shape, changing river depth and river currents, bay depth and distance of the bay or harbor from the sea, a comparison of tidal gauges over a short period of time over several locations may not “look” like it follows the moon’s position at all.

    Note also changing influences need not be by themselves very large.

    We know that sunspots are symptoms of slightly cooler regions in the sun’s currents of ionized gasses: each molecule of which is very light, moving at high speed under the general attractive pull of gravity towards the center of the sun, the specific pull and twist of electromagnetic currents at far distances and yet very electrostaticly repulsive to its nearest neighbor at close distances. (Ignore the fusion attractiveness at nuclear lengths unless you looking near the center of the sun.) Perturbing these delicate – but massive currents – does NOT require you “move” the whole mass of the sun, as is often assumed as a requirement for a barycentric approach to be valid, but only that you minutely change the already moving currents of very light, already repulsive gasses on the very outside of the sun’s corona.

    So, to change the changing roiling currents of the sun, is it not most effective to change the environment that those plasma currents are evolving inside: So a periodic change in the berycenter moving across and through the surface of the sun, moving to and fro from the interior to the outside of the sun to various depths and at various relative speeds, symptoms that

    To compare, one can measure the very slight effect of the sun’s position on tidal heights of the ocean – but only after you account for the presence of the moon, and remove completely the irregular but very real disruptions of tsunami waves. The moon can lift the earth’s solid mantle only a little bit – and that movement is minute compared to the movement of the liquid water over vast stretches of ocean. Does the sun move the earth by tidal action? Can you measure that effect on the earth’s crust?

    Constrain the ocean (but assume you have no constraints) – as in the Black Sea or Med. or Gulf of Mexico – and you see little tidal changes. Amplify the sea’s movement in smaller regions – as in the Gulf of Fundy – and you empty the bay. Neither case will let you decify the tides across the years. But you can still use the data as is, as it is exactly recorded from the tidal gauge – for each location!

  12. tallbloke says:

    Gray, yes, when the gas giants are aligned such that the barycentre passes close to the solar core, it seems that smaller, closer, faster moving bodies can have a disproportionately large effect. Hidden here are the secrets of the magnitudes and durations of the solar grand minima I suspect.

    Bill, interesting paper from Javaraiah, thanks for the link. The epochs identified in the paper match well with solar grand minima, and the 43 year offset of the drops in rate of change of angular momentum and velocity do seem to potentially or at least partially explain the apparent mis-timing of the Dalton minimum relative to the Maunder and the current solar slowdown.

    RA Cooke, I agree, and Javaraiah’s inclusion of differential solar rotation rates in the paper Bill linked are an important consideration to be included in studies of the effects of the planets on the sun via spin orbit coupling.