Ian Wilson: A Planetary Spin-Orbit Coupling Model for Solar Activity

Posted: March 18, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in Astrophysics, Energy, Solar physics, solar system dynamics, Tides

A Planetary Spin-Orbit Coupling Model for Solar Activity

Guest post by Ian Wilson

A free download of the published paper this article extends is available in the General 
Science Journal where it was published in 2010 

The General Science Journal paper (above) was written in
order to further investigate the main conclusion of the Wilson
et al. (2008) paper that the Sun’s level of solar activity is
driven by a spin-orbit coupling mechanism between the Sun
and the Jovian planets:

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 2008,
25, 85–93.
Does a Spin–Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and
the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?


The spin-orbit coupling mechanism investigated in the
General Science Journal paper is based on the idea that the
planet that applies the most dominant gravitational force upon
the Sun is Jupiter, and that after Jupiter, the planets that apply
the most dominant tidal forces upon the Sun are Venus and
the Earth.

The spin-orbit coupling mechanism is based upon the idea that
periodic alignments of Venus and the Earth (once every 1.5993
years) produce temporary tidal bulges along the Earth-Venus
-Sun line, on opposite sides of the Sun. When these temporary
tidal bulges occur, Jupiter’s gravitational force tugs on these
bulges and either slows down or speeds up the Sun’s rotation.

What makes this particular spin-orbit coupling mechanism
intriguing, is the time period over which the Jupiter’s
gravitational pull speeds up and slows down the Sun rotation
as Jupiter tugs on the tidal bulges.

 In the above diagram the planets revolving in a clock-wise
direction and the Sun is rotating in a clock-wise direction. Also,
when near-side and far-side tidal bulges on the Sun’s surface
are referred to, is with respect to the aligned planets Earth
and Venus.

The diagram above shows Jupiter, Earth and Venus initially
aligned on the same side of the Sun (position 0). In this
configuration, Jupiter does not apply any lateral torque upon
the tidal bulges (The position of the near side bulge is shown by
the black 0 just above the Sun’s surface).

1.5993 years later, each of the planets move to their respective
position 1′s. At this time, Jupiter has moved 13.000 degree
ahead of the far-side tidal bulge (marked by the red 1 just
above the Sun’s surface) and the component of its
gravitational force that is tangential to the Sun’s surface tugs
on the tidal bulges, slightly increasing the Sun’s rotation rate.

After a second 1.5993 years, each of the planets move to
their respective position 2′s. Now, Jupiter has moved 26.00
degrees ahead of the near-side tidal bulge (marked by the
black 2 just above the Sun’s surface), increasing Sun’s
rotation rate by roughly twice the amount that occurred at
the last alignment.

This pattern continues with Jupiter getting 13.000 degrees
further ahead of the alternating near and far-side tidal bulges,
every 1.5993 years. Eventually, Jupiter will get 90 degrees
ahead of the closest tidal bulge and it will no longer exert a
net torque on these bulges that is tangential to the Sun’s surface
and so it will stop increasing the Sun’s rotation rate.

Interestingly, the Jupiter’s movement of 13.000 degrees per
1.5993 years with respect to closest tidal bulge, means that
Jupiter will get 90 degrees ahead of the closest tidal bulge in
11.07 years. This is almost the same amount of time as to
mean length of the Schwabe Sunspot cycle (11.1 +/- 1.2 years).

In addition, for the next 11.07 years, Jupiter will start to lag
behind the closest tidal bulge by 13.000 degrees every
1.5993 years, and so its gravitational force will pull on the
tidal bulges in such a way as to slow the Sun’s rotation rate

All together there will be four periods of 11.07 years, with
the gravitational force of Jupiter, increasing the Sun’s rotation
rate over the first and third periods of 11.07 years, and
decreasing the Sun’s rotation rate over the second and fourth
periods of 11.07 years.

Hence, the basic unit of change in the Sun’s rotation rate (i.e.
and increase followed by a decrease) is 2 x 11.07 years =
22.14 years. This is essentially equal to the mean length of the
Hale magnetic sunspot cycle of the Sun which is 22.1 +/- 2.0 yrs)

However, the complete planetary tidal cycle is actually
(4 x11.07 years =) 44.28 years.

Now the outer Jovian planets act like a large washing
machine, stirring the inner terrestrial planets with a
gravitational force that varies with a frequency that is the
beat period between two main competing Jovian planetary

The first is that produced by the the retrograde tri-synodic
period of Jupiter/Saturn ( = 59.577 yrs) and the second is
the pro-grade synodic period of Uranus/Neptune (171.41 yrs):

(59.577 x 171.41) / (171.41 + 59.577) = 44.21 yrs

[N.B. This calculation assumes the following sidereal
orbital period for the Jovian planets: Jupiter = 11.862 yrs;
Saturn = 29.457 yrs; Uranus = 84.011 yrs; Neptune = 164.79 yrs.


In addition, there is a remarkable near-resonance condition
that exists between the orbital motions of the three largest
terrestrial planets with:

4 x SVE = 6.3946 years SVE = synodic period of Venus and Earth
3 x SEM = 6.4059 years SEM = synodic period of Earth and Mars
7 x SVM = 6.3995 years SVM = synodic period of Venus and Mars
28 × SVE = 7 x (6.3946 yrs) = 44.763 yrs

This means that these three planets return to the same
relative orbital configuration once every 6.40 years, and
that exactly 7.0 times this re-alignment period is 44.8 years,
close to the 44.2 – 44.3 year period cited above for the
gravitational forcing of the Jovian planets upon the terrestrial

Further evidence for a link between the re-alignment period
of the three largest Terrestrial planets and the period of Jupiter
comes from the fact that:

69 × SVJ = 44.770 yrs SVJ = synodic period of Venus & Jupiter
41 × SEJ = 44.774 yrs SEJ = synodic period of Earth & Jupiter
20 × SMJ = 44.704 yrs S = synodic period of Mars & Jupiter

This means that Venus, Earth and Jupiter, in particular, form
alignments at sub-multiples of Jose cycle 178.72 years i.e.

½ × 178.72 yrs = 89.36 yrs
¼ × 178.72 yrs = 44.68 yrs
1/8 × 178.72 yrs = 22.34 yrs
1/16 × 178.72 yrs = 11.17 yrs

These alignments only change slowly over hundreds of
years and they closely match the well known Schwabe
(~ 11.1 yrs), Hale (~ 22.2 yrs) and Gleissberg (~ 90 years)
solar cycles.


It would appear that a simple spin-orbit coupling mechanism
proposed in this posting would naturally produce a link
between systematic changes in the rotation rate of the Sun
that would be synchronized with the Bary-centric motion of
the Sun about the centre-of-mass of the Solar System as
suggested by Wilson et al. (2008).

APPENDIX – Some additional matches to between
planetary orbital cycles and long term periodicity observed in
the level of Solar activity.


V = 224.70069 days E = 365.356363 days
=> VE = 583.920628 VE = 1.59866 years
J = 11.862 years S = 29.457 years;
JS = 19.9590; 5 x VE = 7.993298 years

Hale cycle (22.1 years)

There is an 8:9 resonance between the Hale and JS cycles

178.73 x 19.859/ (178.73 – 19.859) = 22.341
178.73 = 9 x 19.859
178.73 = 8 x 22.341

Gleissberg Cycle (~ 90 years)

Hale cycle drifts out of phase with the JS cycle by ½ of
JS cycle

4 x Hale = 4 x 22.341 = 89.364 yrs
4 ½ JS = 4 ½ x 19.859 = 89.366 yrs

DeVries Cycle (208 years)

This period is still a bit of a mystery but it is interesting to
note that:

26 x PVE = 26 x 7.993 yrs = 207.826 yrs
10 1/2 JS = 208.509 yrs
3 1/2 TJS = 208.509 yrs

PVE = Penta-Synodic periods of Venus and the Earth
JS = Synodic period of Jupiter/Saturn = 19.859 yrs
TJS = Tri-Synodic period of Jupiter/Saturn = 59.574 yrs

Hallstatt Cycle (~ 2320 years)

A grand alignment of the Jovian planets (Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus, Neptune), with all of the planets arranged in a
line on the same side of the Sun, occurs roughly every
4628 year.

This 26 x 178 years (Jose cycle) = 4628 years.

Half this realignment period is 2314 years which is close
to the long term solar cycle called the Hallstatt cycle.

  1. tallbloke says:

    I think it’s fair to say that Ian Wilson, AKA, Ninderthana, has done more to advance the area of research into solar system dynamics over the last few years than anyone else. Not only by his remarkable insight and discovery of numerical relationships between the orbital parameters of solar system bodies, but also by his perseverance in getting his work published in recognised journals.

    The inter-relations set out here take the whole issue of possible planetary-solar couplings and feedback to a higher level of credibility and will, I hope, generate a lot of interest beyond the relatively small community which has been working on these matters up until now.

  2. Brian H says:

    Small noodges, rhythmically applied, will have their way …

  3. Ninderthana says:

    Thank you for the kind words Tallbloke but I think that there are quite a few people involved in the development of a model(s) of what might be driving the solar cycle. Its just great we have blog sites like yours where people can bounce ideas of each other so that we muddle towards a clearer view of what might be happening.

    I have withdrawn my possible explanation for the 208 year deVries cycle as it was full of logical flaws. I have replaced it with:

    DeVries Cycle (208 years)

    This period is still a bit of a mystery but it is interesting to
    note that:

    26 x PVE = 26 x 7.993 yrs = 207.826 yrs
    10 1/2 JS = 208.509 yrs
    3 1/2 TJS = 208.509 yrs

    PVE = Penta-Synodic periods of Venus and the Earth
    JS = Synodic period of Jupiter/Saturn = 19.859 yrs
    TJS = Tri-Synodic period of Jupiter/Saturn = 59.574 yrs

  4. It is highly plausible that Jupiter and to a lesser extent the other planets modulate the sun’s core activity through gravitational interaction. That poses an interesting question. How long would it take for that modulation to show up at the sun’s surface or here on Earth?

    Imagine that there is a change in the activity of the sun’s core. One would expect a change in the flux of a wide range of thermo-nuclear reaction products. Atoms, nuclei and photons will take tens of thousands of years to make their way to the surface so we won’t observe any immediate direct effect from them.

    Are there any processes with shorter time constants? First there will be a change in nuetrino flux that will be detectable within a matter of minutes so in principle we have a way to measure changes in the sun’s core. However, nuetrinos interact very weakly with matter so don’t expect them to have any effect on our climate.

    What about acoustic waves? Unlike photons they are not slowed down by the conditions at the sun’s core. A disturbance at the sun’s core should create an acoustic wave that reaches the sun’s surface within a matter of days. What effect would such waves have? One might expect some effect on the solar wind which might in turn affect cloud cover on Earth. Take a look at the ripples in this sunspot video. They sure look like acoustic waves.

    OK, it is a long chain of conjecture but the planets are modulating our climate as noted by Nicola Scafetta and many others. Let’s stop calling them “Climate Astrologers” and start looking for a mechanism to explain what can hardly be a coincidence.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Ian, entirely justified IMO, but yes, between we will get there. Faster if we can all chat together productively.

    I’ve edited the top post with your de Vries changes.

    I’m still chewing on this post and will have more to say later.

  6. Ninderthana says:


    It takes anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000 years for changes in the Sun’s core to propagate to the surface of the Sun, so no it is not very likely for today’s planetary configurations to affect current levels of solar surface activity by acting upon the central nuclear furnace of the Sun.
    The idea of acoustic waves could be interesting if they could be shown to take only a few days to
    propagate to the surface.

  7. Truthseeker says:

    The surprising thing for me is the relatively small effect that Saturn has. I know that gravity effect is inversly proportional to distance, but I did not think that the relative sizes and distances between Jupiter and Saturn would relate to that sort of dramatic difference in gravitational effect on the Sun.

  8. tallbloke says:

    galloping camel says:
    Imagine that there is a change in the activity of the sun’s core. One would expect a change in the flux of a wide range of thermo-nuclear reaction products. Atoms, nuclei and photons will take tens of thousands of years to make their way to the surface so we won’t observe any immediate direct effect from them.

    What I think could be happening is that since the planets keep repeating similar patterns (taken over long timescales) We might be seeing resonances between gravitational effects on the core, and tidal/electromagnetic effects more immediately on the surface.

    For gravitational effects acting at various depths in the solar body, see the paper we featured by NASA scientists Wolff and Patrone.

    For an oddity which leads me to think there may be resonances from previous planetary cycles operating see this graph. The Dalton minimum collapse in solar activity is obvious around 1800. The oddity is that here, the sunspot series is leading the planetary motion data by 50 years or so, unless the effective planetary motion is from a previous planetary cycle, acting on a deeper layer of the Sun?? I had misgivings about publishing this graph, but the puzzle is there to see.

    Svalgaard says sunspots in the period from 1950-1990 or so were over-counted by Waldmeier.

  9. Ninderthana says:


    Saturn has about 1/3 the Mass of Jupiter and it is twice as far from the Sun as Jupiter, so by Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation, it’s [Saturn's] gravitational influence on the Sun should be (1/3) divided by (2)^2 times as much as that of Jupiter’s i.e.

    (1/3) / (2)^2 = 1/12 = 0.0833′ = 8.3 % of that of Jupiter gravitational effect.

  10. Ninderthana says:


    Sorry, you are right. My first graph exaggerates the difference between Jupiter and the other planets. It was a graph that I quickly pulled and used without thinking. It was intended for my junior high school students and so it uses the radius of the circle to provide scale.
    This is an old tick used to exaggerate differences.

    If you regard the gravitational force of Jupiter as being 1.0, the relative strength of the gravitational forces of the other planets are:

    Jupiter = 1.0 = 100.0 %
    Venus = (0.815/317.8) / (0.718/5.20)^2 = 0.1345 = 13.45 %
    Saturn = (95.2/317.8) / (9.58/5.20)^2 = 0.0883 = 8.83 %
    Earth = (1.0/317.8) / (1.0/5.20)^2 = 0.0851 = 8.51 %
    Mars = (0.107/317.8) / (1.524/5.20)^2 = 0.0039 = 0.39 %

  11. Truthseeker says:


    Thank you for the calculations of the various gravitational impacts. That list sits better with me.

    It does go to show that Jupiter is definitely the elephant in the room if you are talking about the planets in a gravational sense.

  12. There is observational data on several types of acoustic waves propagating in the sun particularly around 5 mHz. These waves cause observable eigenstates (cf. standing waves):

    Waves associated with oscillations driven by planetary motions will be at frequencies of the order of 1 nHz. Today mHz “p-waves” are studied using the doppler shift from small areas of the photosphere. This technique does not work for really slow oscillations, so we need some genius to figure out something that works well at truly low frequencies.

  13. Ninderthana says:

    A word of caution about the planetary Spin-orbit coupling model:


  14. tallbloke says:

    GC: please could you repost the harvard abstract url without the http:// bit. WordPress is misinterpreting the dots near the end of the URL.


    Regarding the inability of current methods to find long term slow frequency signals in solar observation, I think we’ll need to go with ‘proxy data’ for the time being. i.e. planetary motion, and calculation of changes in angular velocity and spin momentum.

  15. Hans says:

    tallbloke says: March 19, 2012 at 7:59 am

    “Regarding the inability of current methods to find long term slow frequency signals in solar observation, I think we’ll need to go with ‘proxy data’ for the time being. i.e. planetary motion, and calculation of changes in angular velocity and spin momentum.”

    What! Tallbloke, you have to turn to geology. It is all written down in sediments since earth crust was formed. See especially Luc beaufort, “Climate importance of the modulation of the 100 ky cycle inferred from 16 million year long Miocen record” (eastern US), Paleoceanography, 9, 821-834, 1994 as an example. That signal was actually 111000 years which is very similar to the siderial period of earth´s perihelium rotation around sun. Personally I am quite persuaded it is.

    An interesting article is John Sanders and Rhodes W. Fairbridge, “Selected biography of short term cycles, Journal of coastal Research, special issue No. 17, 1995. There you can find hundreds of cycles mentioned.

    There are many examples of cyclicity in limestone structure in the French Alps which can be seen when roads have been cut straight through the sediments in many places not far from Nice and the scenery is fantastic.

  16. Hans says:

    gallopingcamel says: March 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    “OK, it is a long chain of conjecture but the planets are modulating our climate as noted by Nicola Scafetta and many others. Let’s stop calling them “Climate Astrologers” and start looking for a mechanism to explain what can hardly be a coincidence.”

    Agree, and it will help to understand that sunpots are caused by external agents (induced by planetary dynamics) separated from the nuclear reactions happening inside sun.

  17. Ninderthana says:

    An intriguing link between the terrestrial planetary cycles, the lunar orbit and solar activity:

    11.07 years = the average time for Jupiter to move 90 degrees ahead of the tidal bulges
    on the Sun’s surface that are produced by the alignments of Venus/Earth
    ( a prograde motion)
    11.15 years = the average length of the Schwabe sunspot cycle
    7.9965 years = the pent-synodic period for Venus/Earth ( a retrograde motion)

    4 x [(11.15 x 7.9965) / (11.15 + 7.9965)] = 18.62 years

    (Note; Using 11.07 years would give 18.57 years
    11.10 years would give 18.59 years
    11.20 years would give 18.66 years – giving an estimate of error)

    This is close to time for the lunar nodes to precess once with respect to the stars

    = 18.613 years.

    Just a thought.

  18. Here is that Carl Sagan link location:

    Just in case it still does not work, I got it from “Nullius in Verba” on Roy Spencer’s blog. Nullius’ comments are well worth reading:

    [A working link here
    Ouch, needs to be a proper href link --Tim]

  19. There will be a post on the AR5 ZODs later this week. While working on them I noticed a 60 year cycle that pops up in sea surface temperature, rate of sea level rise and average surface temperature. You don’t need a Fourier analysis to see it.

    Is there any planetary effect with a period of 60 years?

  20. tchannon says:

    Some will argue yes. I don’t know of a mechanism, is so weak it makes no sense: if that does things then why do large things do nothing?

    An answer is it looks locally like 60y but is other things. Could do a quick hindcast from a dataset if you suggest one.

  21. Ninderthana says:

    gallopingcamel and tchannon,

    I hate to sound like a broken record [I wonder if there is a modern day equivalent to this old catch-phrase?] but it’s the Moon!

    Here is a reason why a lunar 62 year cycle could be the cause of the 60 year climate cycle:

    There are enhanced spring tides caused by a New/Full Moon taking place at closest perigee, that re-occur on roughly the same day of the year once every 4 or 5 years. These enhanced tides occur in a sequence that repeats itself every once 31 years so that

    (5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 4 + 4)/7 = 4.429 years.

    This is half the 8.86 years it takes for the line-of-apse of the Lunar orbit to circle the Earth once with respect to the star.

    The underlying reason for the 31.00686 tropical year repetition period is that:

    383.5 synodic lunar months = 11324.980825 days
    411.0 anomalistic lunar months = 11324.92000 days.

    The difference between these two cycles is very small, amounting to only 1.46 hours over the 31 years.


    27.5 anomalistic lunar years = 11324.071832 days

    This ensures that if a New Moon occurs at closest perigee, 31.00686 Tropical years later,
    at almost exactly the same time of the year, a Full Moon will occur at closest

    Hence, the full cycle – if a New Moon occurs at closest perigee, 62.01372 Tropical years later
    at almost exactly the same time of the year, a New Moon will again take place at closest perigee.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Hans: yes, the terrestrial proxies are of great interest. I was referring to direct solar observation, where there isn’t much headway yet.

    GC, Ian, Tim: 60 year cycle coincidences:

    1) 62 year lunar cycle as noted by Ian

    2) Every third J-S conjuction is 60 years apart, at almost the same place in the sky. The location may be important, and related to the ~980 year cycle noted by Ian, and P.A. Semi, due to the slow precession (or is it a procession Ian?) of the location of the conjnction.

    3) As I noted before, alternating triplets of solar cycles have 2 south, 1 north polarity cycles, followed by 1 south 2 north cycles. This is important, because ‘south’ polarity magnetic flux from the Sun reconnects and transfers energy into Earth’s upper atmosphere. It’s not simple, and the polarities of reconnection events wag about, but there seems to be an overall effect.

  23. vukcevic says:

    Ninderthana says:
    March 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm
    I have withdrawn my possible explanation for the 208 year deVries cycle as it was full of logical flaws. I have replaced it with: …..
    DeVries Cycle (208 years)
    This period is still a bit of a mystery

    You could try this:
    2×2 x S =118.628 and
    2x2x2 x J = 94.896
    Amplitude modulation gives:
    Fo= (F1+F2)/2 or To = 2(1/4S + 1/8J) = ~2*52.7 =105 years
    or 210 for a ‘DeVries Cycle’.
    Svalgaard’s SSN spectrum shows something very close

    This is a ‘destructive’ cycle, i.e. causes anomalies in the sunspot cycle as shown here:
    and also controls N/S sunspot asymmetry (the second graph)
    (note: on some of my old graphs there is 96 printed instead of 95, due to wrong calculation in the original paper, I get attacked for the error regularly by the certain Dr.S, so I hope the above numbers are near enough).

  24. Ninderthana says:


    un. According to Wikipedia: Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotation axis of a rotating body. In physics, there are two types of precession: torque-free and torque-induced. In astronomy, “precession” refers to any of several slow changes in an astronomical body’s rotational or orbital parameters, and especially to the Earth’s precession of the equinoxes.

    The problem is which of these explanations is the most physically plausible.

    There is no known physical reason for giving explanation 2) the gong. Note that, I said no known physical plausible reason. The only reason it has appeal is the fact that length of these two
    periods coincide – which may be enough to convince some but it leaves most scientists
    reserving their judgement until an underlying explanation can be provided.

    Alternating triplets of solar cycle would be ~ 66 (3 x 11) years long, with large variations
    around this value given that the solar cycle can range from about 8 to 14 years in length.
    This puts a cloud over explanation 3).

    This leaves the most physically plausible which is explanation 1). All it requires is that
    shape and tilt of the Lunar orbit be synchronized with the solar barycentric motion.

    A long standing problem for those who propose that variations eminnating from the
    Sun are responsible for recent climate change is a plausible physical mechanism
    linking the changes on the Sun with changes here on Earth. Other than Svenmarks
    cosmic ray cloud seeding idea, most other proposals fall short of giving a believable
    explanation for a definite link.

    However, if the shape and tilt of the Lunar obit is synchronized with the Barycentric motion
    then two natural logic trains arise by default:

    Cycles in planetary motion
    => cycles in the shape and tilt of Lunar orbit
    => cycles in climate via affects of lunar tides on the oceans, atmosphere and Earth’s rotation

    Cycle in planetary motion
    => cycle in barycentric motion
    => cycle in the level of solar activity

    This creates an apparent synchronization between the observed variations in
    orbital periods of the Jovian planets, the level of solar activity, and the Earth’s
    climate that does not necessarily require a strong link between the level of
    solar activity and the variations in the Earth’s climate.

    [Note: It does not rule out a link between the Sun and the Earth’s climate
    but it may amplify an already existing link, leaving the observer with
    the false perception that this link is stronger than it is in reality.

    In my model the Earth’s climate and the level of solar activity are dancing
    to the same tune i.e. the cycles of the Jovian planets, but the Jovian planets
    are using a whip (called the Moon) to get the Earth’s climate to do the same
    dance as that being done by the Sun.

  25. Tenuc says:

    ~60 year temp quasi-cycle, courtesy Margaret Wilkinson, appinsys.com…


    Cycle minima around 1910 and 1972 – next minima due around 2032??? How does this fit to lunar orbital timing?

    Full post here…

  26. Tenuc,
    That fits nicely with a 180 degree phase shift (anti-phase).

    Check out Figure 3.12a here:

  27. tchannon says:

    I’m not keen on Scafetta after I noticed some serious mistakes and lack of knowledge on his part (not his field, nor likely to be so with reviewers).

    The “60y” in gravitational solar barycentre data is an artefact of incorrect signal processing is aliasing. I made this mistake but realised fast and fixed it.

    I’ve seen others claiming to have found this but when I pressed very hard for a coherent explanation of what they had done, eventually getting handwaving I concluded they didn’t know.

    If there is an effect it is either some kind of differential gravitational force or to do with something other than gravity.

    Consider this: the hugely dominant gravitational period is about 20 years and that does not appear in solar data nor terrestrial data. Talking about something orders of magnitude smaller having a large effect is unreasonable.

  28. Tenuc says:

    tchannon says:
    March 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm
    “…If there is an effect it is either some kind of differential gravitational force or to do with something other than gravity…

    Tend to agree ,Tim. The sun is estimated to have 99.86% of total solar system mass, with Jupiter having only 0.1% – the remaining 0.04 going to all the other planets and debris.

    Hard to see how gravity can have a significant effect, so we’re left with some or all of the following – tidal action, EM charge field, solar wind, electric field and magnetic field, or unknown unknown(s).

    I’m also still not sure that the planets drive solar activity. It could be that over billions of years planetary orbits have become entrained to solar activity instead through one or more of the mechanisms noted above?

  29. Ninderthana says:


    Two big problems.

    First: There is no gravitational force acting between the centre-of-mass of the Solar System and the Sun. All of the gravitational forces involved act directly between Sun and the planets.

    Second: The presence or absence of a 60 year signal in a Fourier-Transform of a time series critically depends upon the time series you choose.

    I agree with you that the 60 year cycle in Scafetta data is most likely an artifact of the way he processes the data. However, that said, only someone who has no knowledge of the physics involved would doubt that there is a ~60 (actually a 3 x 19.859 = 59.58) year periodicity in the motion of the Sun about the bary-centre. This is where you have to be careful about the time series you choose.

    If you choose the VELOCITY of the Sun about the barycentre, which contains information about BOTH the speed and direction of the Sun’s motion, and you DID NOT get a 60 year repetition pattern in this variable, then you would be doing yourself a great disservice. Since
    the Sun’s velocity about the bary-centre incorporates the Sun’s direction as well as its speed, a simple two dimensional plot of the velocity visually shows you that there is a 60 repetition pattern
    that must be picked up by any decent spectral analysis package. If you do not pick this 60 year
    repetition pattern up you are doing something wrong.

    However, if you choose the SPEED of the Sun with respect to the barycentre – the picture becomes abit more complicated. In this case spectral analysis will probably be dominated by a ~ 20 (i.e the Jupiter/Saturn synodic period =19.859) year periodicity that is amplitude modulated by
    60 year periodicity, among others.

  30. tchannon says:

    Oops… I am lost with that stuff. To me speed and velocity are the same which hints at why I keep out of certain discussions: there is no common frame of understanding. I don’t know what is being discussed because no-one says. (they are arguing because they do not understand each others frame of reference)

    Put it another way, the problem is underspecified.

    I have no knowledge of physics from your point of view.
    Those individual terms linearly sum, cannot be distinguished from the outside and will only mix if there is non-linearity. (aliasing will do)

    Think I’d better drop out.

  31. tchannon,
    I hope you have not gone for good. Give Scafetta another chance. You have to like his latest paper given its undeniable hindcast skill.

    Turning to prediction, Nicola has also refined his model to include a 115 year cycle so there is an even more pronounced divergence from the IPCC’s model based predictions. By September 2013 when the AR5 report is published it will be easy to see which model(s) have predictive skills.

  32. Tenuc says:

    Possible link between variation in global temperature Earth and strength of solar wind, which varies with total solar activity level. The solar wind has an effect on our planets magnetic field, perhaps bringing on long-term climate change?

    Theodor Landscheidt

    Near-Earth variations in the solar wind, measured by the geomagnetic aa index since 1868, are closely correlated with global temperature ( r = 0.96; P < 10-7). Geomagnetic activity leads temperature by 4 to 8 years. Allowing for this temperature lag, an outstanding AA peak around 1990 could explain the high global temperature in 1998. After 1990 the geomagnetic AA data show a steep decline comparable to the decrease between 1955 and 1967, followed by falling temperatures from 1961 through 1973 in spite of growing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This points to decreasing global temperature during the next 10 years.

    Full paper here…

  33. Roger Andrews says:

    Hi Tenuc:

    The problem I’ve found with comparisons like the one you link to above is that they compare solar activity with NH temperatures. The match in the SH is nowhere near as good.

    And when you look at the results in more detail you find that the good NH matches are in fact largely confined to the Arctic (Arctic temperature changes figure prominently in the NH record because of their high amplitude). The match in the Arctic is quite spectacular according to Soon (2005):


    But south of the Arctic the good solar-temperature match begins to go away – or maybe I should say it becomes progressively weaker and more regionalized (a match in the Mediterranean but not in Nova Scotia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia etc.)

    Yet one thing I’ve always wondered about is why temperatures should track solar activity in the Arctic but nowhere else. Is there something special about the Arctic that we’re (I’m) missing?

  34. Tenuc says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    March 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm
    “…Yet one thing I’ve always wondered about is why temperatures should track solar activity in the Arctic but nowhere else. Is there something special about the Arctic that we’re (I’m) missing?”

    Hi Roger. The climate in the SH is more dominated by ocean effects (less land mass than NH) and having a massive chunk of solid ice around the pole also must have a stabilising effect. It also has a more stable magnetic pole than NH and seems less connected to solar events, such as reconnection events, CME’s and flares. Perhaps these are areas worthy of investigation?

  35. tchannon says:

    Where exactly do magnetics connect to earth?

  36. Tenuc says:

    tchannon says:
    March 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm
    “…Where exactly do magnetics connect to earth?”

    NASA Spacecraft Make New Discoveries About Northern Lights
    “…The satellites have found evidence of magnetic ropes connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the sun,” said David Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras…”


    HTH, Tim. There were a couple of other NASA press releases on these events, but I can’t find them on the NASA site? Will try The Wayback Machine tomorrow if I get the time.

  37. [...] Ian Wilson: A Planetary Spin-Orbit Coupling Model for Solar Activity [...]

  38. tallbloke says:

    Ian, I like your stuff on the synchronicity of solar, Earth-Venus and lunar timings.

    It reminded me of something Semi said on my breakthrough thread:

    “I’m now quite convinced, that the Sunspot cycle timing IS caused by planetary alignments and that the influence-path is mainly electro-magnetical, but it goes through the EARTH planet mainly… (I thought about this earlier, but only recently I found a proof – the “Butterfly diagram” itself) :

    The Earth pulses at 27.3 (or 29.5) days due to Moon orbit. When the Earth orbital energy (angular momentum) is well stable for some time (this happens during Sunspot minima), the Sunspots start to occur at the high-latitude layer, which is synchronous with the Earth pulse (27-29 days). (Also: during Sunspot minima, the energy of p-modes (width and height) – the waves on the Sun – is largest.) They further move toward ecliptic (not equator?!), being dragged there by magnetical planets. When the Earth orbital energy is more chaotic (due to drags mainly by Jupiter and Venus planets – this is the “planetary-alignment” influence), the synchronization is not that well to cause high-latitude Sunspots… The Jupiter, although it is magnetically more powerful, does not pulse anywhere near the Sun-spin frequency, having only cca 9hour frequency due to Jupiter spin and 12-year frequency of a very slow change due to Jupiter orbit.

    The changes in Angular Speed of the Sun are most dominantly caused by the Venus planet with similar timing (due to same alignments). Again, although the large planets make the Sun swing more far from the center, the change is very slow, too far from any Solar frequency… Although the path curvature, caused by large planets, have some influence also: when the curvature is highest (during PTCs), there are deeper Sunspot cycle minima…

    These 2 effects combined cause the Sunspot cycle…

    One more note: the SC23 started really soon, and so we had to wait for SC24 “unexpectedly” long – to get in sync with the E-V-J cycle…

    The 27.3-day latitude layer (423nHz) on Sun is at cca 40°, the 29.5-day latitude layer (391nHz) is at cca 50°, on the surface (this is little different at lower depths)… The core is believed to be rotating arround 430nHz, just below the 27-days…”

    Now, add to this my discovery of the relationship between solar spin rate and J-S-E timings

    I think we have the makings of yet another forcing set to add to the others.

  39. Bart Leplae says:

    Shouldn’t we expect that the most signicant tidal bulge on the Sun would be caused by the centripetal force (as a consequence of the Sun rotating around the Solar System barycenter, rather then rotating precisely around its own axis)? The effect of Saturn in relation to this centripetal force would be proportionally larger than for Venus because Saturn has a larger impact on the velocity of the Sun (because its direction is more from a consistent direction as compared to Venus).

  40. Brian H says:

    Two cars, one eastbound at 70mph, one westbound at 70mph. they have identical speeds, but opposite velocities (vectors).

    Note the difference between these two dictionary meanings;
    Noun: velocity
    1. Distance travelled per unit time
    2. (technical) the speed in a given direction; a vector giving the rate of change of position with time

    You’ll almost never hear the second (technical) usage in daily speech or writing, just in engineering or physics contexts.

  41. Brian H says:

    Did this mean something to you when you wrote it?
    because its direction is more from a consistent direction

    If so, what?

  42. [...] in any simple way to planetary frequencies, and this has been a puzzle. However, there have been some attempts to find combinations which fit the [...]