Archive for the ‘Solar physics’ Category

Repost from Roger Pielke Sr’s weblog. Important this isn’t lost, because it shows a fatal error in Schmidt and Benestad’s paper. A paper still relied on by the IPCC in AR5 to dismiss solar forcing as an important climate variable, five years after Nicola demolished it. Benestad and Schmidt claim they successfully rebutted Scafetta’s exposure of their fatal error, something Scafetta vigorously disproved. We’ll take a look at that part of the controversy later.

Roger Pielke Sr’s original intro:
On July 22 2009 I posted on the new paper on solar forcing by Lean and Rind 2009. In that post, I also referred to the Benestad and Schmidt 2009 paper on solar forcing which has a conclusion at variance to that in the Lean and Rind paper.

After the publication of my post, Nicola Scafetta asked if he could present a comment (as a guest weblog) on the Benestad and Schmidt paper on my website, since it will take several months for his comment to make it through the review process. In the interests of presenting the perspectives on the issue of solar climate forcing, Nicola’s post appears below. I also invite Benestad and Schmidt to write responses to the Scaftta contribution which I would be glad to post on my website.

Earth proton events as a solar activity measure

Posted: December 4, 2014 by tchannon in Solar physics

A recent Talkshop comment led me to look at a data directory where something tripped a thought

There is an earth affecting proton event dataset running from 1976, named SPE (Solar Proton Event). These are rare and erratic in time.

A very difficult maths problem is pulse density integration, one of the reasons why producing a statistical distribution shape is very hard where the data is sparse and spasmodic.


I’ve faked up  innovated something visual, some kind of meaningful plot. Far from ideal so don’t be misled.

SSN is from SIDC

Taking the natural log of the energy value produces something sane looking, intuitively would be something like that. Added in some missing points for years with no events. Event data is provided to the second via NOAA.


Gerry Pease has sent us a solar cycle 24 update:

It’s all downhill now for solar cycle 24. Cycle 24 Max (smoothed sunspot number 81.9) appears to have occurred in April, 2014:

Cycle 24 progress (last update December 1, 2014

Cycle 23 Solar Max (smoothed sunspot number 120) was in early 2000:

Solar cycles 23-24 (last update December 1, 2014)

Note the progression from cycle 21 to 24:

Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24 (last update December 1, 2014)

Similar cycles 12, 14, and 16 had lower peaks than cycle 24, and similar cycles 10, 12, 13, 14, and 16 all had earlier peaks:

Graphical comparison of cycles 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 24 (last update December 1, 2014)

Smoothed solar activity since April is projected to be successively lower each month.


By Kelly Dickerson for Yahoo News:

ESA-Magnetospheres_600_MThe sun may be partly responsible for lightning strikes on Earth, and scientists think fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict lightning storms weeks in advance.

The sun’s magnetic field can bend Earth’s own magnetic field, and this twisting and turning may be allowing an influx of high-energy particles into the planet’s atmosphere. These particles can cause a buildup of electric charge that can trigger lightning strikes.

From 2001 to 2006, during a period when the sun’s magnetic field was severely skewing the Earth’s magnetic field, the United Kingdom saw 50 percent more lightning strikes than normal, according to the new study. This severe skewing happens regularly as the sun’s magnetic field shifts. Scientists say this suggests the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict the occurrence of lightning.


A new facility here for creating clear air insolation data, without the more involved absorption effects or cloud, etc. needed some testing and so…


This plot appeared during July 2012[1] after Dr. Hans Jelbring made available hourly data from the Koorin Expedition to Daly Waters, Australia during the astral winter of 1974[2]. A new plot trace has been added, computed by a new dynamic language[3] library, a wrapper around an unaltered version of NREL SOLPOS[4]. This produces an output value for one point in time, the plots here were created by a program feeding in different parameters, producing a time series, all very simple.

This result is similar to a result with data from Chilbolton Observatory, England from a Kip & Zonnen CNR4 net pyranometer / pyrgeometer[5]. Around 22% of inward solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere in excess of that computed by SOLPOS.


Nicola Scafetta has emailed me to let us know he has a new paper in press which adresses critiques of our solar-planetary theory. I can’t do justice to presenting this work by illustrating this post with figures from the paper using my cellphone, but this a seriously impressive piece of work which Nicola generously shares with Talkshop readers via a link below the break. Nicola writes:

I just would like to share my latest paper
Nicola Scafetta, 2014. Discussion on the spectral coherence between planetary, solar and climate  oscillations: a reply to some critiques.

Astrophysics and Space Science in press.

For those who followed this research, the paper strongly rebuts some interesting critiques of the planetary theory of solar and climate variation made by Holm andCauquoin et al. that emerged in the literature during the first months of the 2014. (It also rebuts the very improper and unprofessional criticism made by Anthony Watts)



Fig.14. 361-day moving average of the integrated flux in the reconstruction and in UARS and SORCE SSI between a) 120 and 180 nm, b) 180 and 250 nm, c) 250 and 300 nm, and d) 300 and 410 nm. The UARS and SORCE time series are normalized to the reconstruction at the 1996 and 2008 solar cycle minima, respectively. The dashed lines indicate the uncertainty range of the reconstruction.


Reconstruction of total and spectral solar irradiance from 1974 to 2013 based on KPVT, SoHO/MDI, and SDO/HMI observations
K. L. Yeo, N. A. Krivova, S. K. Solanki, and K. H. Glassmeier

18 page PDF available on registration with Astronomy & Astrophysics


  • Context. Total and spectral solar irradiance are key parameters in the assessment of solar influence on changes in the Earth’s climate.
  • Aims. We present a reconstruction of daily solar irradiance obtained using the SATIRE-S model spanning 1974 to 2013 based on full-disc observations from the KPVT, SoHO/MDI, and SDO/HMI.




Milivoje A. Vukcevic M.Sc

Abstract: Number of factors ranging from global atmospheric and oceans circulation to the plate tectonic movements affects the length of day (LOD) on different time scales. Existence of a coincidental or causal correlation between the solar magnetic oscillations and the secular LOD changes is demonstrated.



Michele left a comment on suggestions but the surprise came later

Big Ar 2192 and flare X1.1 + CME


Note the Solex date: 14th October 2014, today is the 19th.

I looked at the Spaceweather archive for the 14th and of course the authors did not know what was about to happen

SOLAR SECTOR BOUNDARY CROSSING: High-latitude auroras are possible on Oct. 14th when Earth crosses through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet. This is called a “solar sector boundary crossing,” and NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when it occurs.


This not going to please a certain name.


Modelling total solar irradiance since 1878 from simulated magnetograms
M. Dasi-Espuig, J. Jiang, N. A. Krivova, and S. K. Solanki
Received 27 May 2014 / Accepted 5 August 2014

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 570, October 2014

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201424290
(access with registration)


Aims. We present a new model of total solar irradiance (TSI) based on magnetograms simulated with a surface flux transport model (SFTM) and the Spectral And Total Irradiance REconstructions (SATIRE) model. Our model provides daily maps of the distribution of the photospheric field and the TSI starting from 1878.


The size of the sun is of critical importance to solar studies yet this is poorly known, let alone if and how the size varies over time. Paper published this week in Astronomy & Astrophysics.


Fig.1. Left: solar radius measurements (red symbols) made since the seventeenth century (Rozelot & Damiani 2012). The mean value of all these measurements is close to 960 arcsec. Right: focus on solar radius measurements made since 1970. …

Fig.2. Evolution of the solar radius variations over time for ground instruments (Solar Astrolabe, DORAYSOL and SODISMII monthly mean at 782.2 nm), balloon experiment (SDS), and space instrument (MDI) vs. daily sunspot number time-series. For each series, the mean has been taken as reference value.

Fig.2. Evolution of the solar radius variations over time for ground instruments (Solar Astrolabe, DORAYSOL and SODISMII monthly mean at 782.2 nm), balloon experiment (SDS), and space instrument (MDI) vs. daily sunspot number time-series. For each series, the mean has been
taken as reference value.


Ground-based measurements of the solar diameter during the rising phase of solar cycle 24
M. Meftah, T. Corbard, A. Irbah, R. Ikhlef, F. Morand, C. Renaud, A. Hauchecorne, P. Assus, J. Borgnino, B. Chauvineau, M. Crepel, F. Dalaudier, L. Damé, D. Djafer, M. Fodil, P. Lesueur, G. Poiet, M. Rouzé, A. Sarkissian, A.Ziad, and F. Laclare

Paper access is available with registration.


Solar timeline [image credit: Wikipedia]

Solar timeline
[image credit: Wikipedia]

This is a follow-on from another recent Talkshop post:

The principal cause of bi-decadal climatic variation – The Hale cycle, or something else?

The subject is a paper that appeared in 2009 which relates to the discussion.
Hopefully the following abstract of it speaks for itself.


Solar cycle forecasts

Posted: September 21, 2014 by tchannon in Solar physics



This is based on the data provided from the “Solar Cycle Progression” web page, “Provided by the NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center” except substantial data post processing has been done.

The datasets have been heavily normalised but the F10.7 earth distance problem (or something of a similar origin) has been partially compensated before normalisation.

Normalising brought the three datasets closer to the same.

Two sunspot data r2 > 0.98, SWO/F10.7 r2 > 0.93


Active solar regions [image credit: NASA/Goddard]

Active solar regions
[image credit: NASA/Goddard]

New research claims to offer ‘a new set of observations to explore the drivers of solar activity beyond only sunspots.’

The researchers say they have found ‘a new marker to track the course of the solar cycle — brightpoints, little bright spots in the solar atmosphere that allow us to observe the constant roiling of material inside the sun.’

“Thus, the 11-year solar cycle can be viewed as the overlap between two much longer cycles,” said Robert Leamon, co-author on the paper at Montana State University in Bozeman and NASA Headquarters in Washington.

More here: 'Brightpoints': New clues to determining the solar cycle — ScienceDaily.

An important new(ish) paper from a team including Ken McCracken looks at the likely continuing slowdown in solar activity:


CharlesW. Smith1,2, K. G. McCracken3, Nathan A. Schwadron1,2, and Molly L. Goelzer2,4
1Physics Department, Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 2Institute for
the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 3Institute of Physical
Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA, 4Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA

Recent papers have linked the heliospheric magnetic flux to the sunspot cycle with good
correlation observed between prediction and observation. Other papers have shown a strong correlation
between magnetic flux and solar wind proton flux from coronal holes. We combine these efforts with
an expectation that the sunspot activity of the approaching solar minimum will resemble the Dalton or
Gleissberg Minimum and predict that the magnetic flux and solar wind proton flux over the coming decade
will be lower than at any time during the space age. Using these predictions and established theory, we
also predict record high galactic cosmic ray intensities over the same years. The analysis shown here is a
prediction of global space climate change within which space weather operates. It predicts a new parameter
regime for the transient space weather behavior that can be expected during the coming decade.


[credit: BBC]

[credit: BBC]

‘What correlates with what’ may well be one of the key questions in climate matters.
Let’s see if any of this can shed light on any mysteries…

‘Solar physicist Dr. Leif Svalgaard has revised his reconstruction of sunspot observations over the past 400 years from 1611-2013.’


New paper: Gleissberg Cycle minimum ahead?

Posted: August 5, 2014 by oldbrew in climate, Solar physics

Quiet sun {credit: NASA]

Quiet sun [credit: NASA]

As The Hockeyshtick reports:

‘A paper published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics finds that recent low solar activity “mirrors” extended solar minimums in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as other periods over the past 1000 years consistent with the Centennial Gleissberg Cycle of solar activity. Such periods have also been associated with global cooling.’

The co-authors of the paper are (quoting The Hockeyshtick):
‘Joan Feynman [sister of famed physicist Richard Feynman] and A. Ruzmaikin’


Heatwave time [image credit: BBC]

Heatwave time [image credit: BBC]

Piers Corbyn has made a weather forecast. Nothing new there, that’s his line of work. But this one has caught the attention of at least one organ of the UK national press [warning: loud headline ahead]…
Daily Express report

Reading the forecast, it clearly states the behaviour of the jet stream is the key factor. So what are the chances of showing any significant link between the behaviour of jet streams and small variations in atmospheric trace gases? They appear to be remote at present.


Matt Ridley article for the Times, reposted from the GWPF, because as many people as possible need to read it and think. Then act by using your vote sensibly.

Date: 28/07/14 Matt Ridley, The Times

wind-costsIf wood-burning power stations are less eco-friendly than coal, we are getting the search for clean energy all wrong
On Saturday my train was diverted by engineering works near Doncaster. We trundled past some shiny new freight wagons decorated with a slogan: “Drax — powering tomorrow: carrying sustainable biomass for cost-effective renewable power”. Serendipitously, I was at that moment reading a report by the chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the burning of wood in Yorkshire power stations such as Drax. And I was feeling vindicated.

A year ago I wrote in these pages that it made no sense for the consumer to subsidise the burning of American wood in place of coal, since wood produces more carbon dioxide for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. The forests being harvested would take four to ten decades to regrow, and this is the precise period over which we are supposed to expect dangerous global warming to emerge. It makes no sense to steal beetles’ lunch, transport it halfway round the world, burning diesel as you do so, and charge hard-pressed consumers double the price for the power it generates.


I’m of the opinion that before getting into the complexity of numerical modelling, it’s wise to put considerable effort into trying to understand the physical processes at work in the climate system, and the origins of the energy flows that drive them. David Evans’ recent series of posts over at Jo Nova’s site have generated a lot of interesting discussion (despite being roundly ignored by Anthony Watts at WUWT), and I think we can shed some light on the ‘mysterious 11yr lag’ between solar input and climate response.