Archive for July, 2010

The Sun talks to the trees

Posted: July 31, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Hi Tallbloke! Looking at the new study of treering data from Kola, Arctic Russia, I’ve just done a comparison of the treering “temperature” reconstruction, with sunspot cycles. Clearly there is correlation with the Hale cycle. I’d like to know if this suggests magnetic influences. ====================================================

Thanks Lucy. I’ve redone the graph with the signed sunspot number to bring out the relationship a little more clearly by overlaying a flipped copy of Jean-Pierre Desmoulins graph of SSN vs planetary alignments. Treering temp reconstruction vs signed SSN

It would be interesting to compare precipitation data for the area the trees grew in too.

Regarding magnetic data, I think our friend Vukcevic may be able to help with polar data from that side of the world:

We would generally expect to see the sun’s influence on temperature getting stronger as the geomagnetic field weakens, which is indeed what the Siberian data on Vuk’s graph shows!

A nice summary article over at American thinker  starting to ask the right sorts of questions. This is progress.

The Thunder and the Firecracker
Timothy Birdnow

Recently, NASA’s THEMIS spacecraft detected a phenomenon that many astronomers had suspected; the spacequake. A spacequake happens when the Earth’s magnetic field is stretched out by the solar wind – charged particles streaming from the Sun. The magnetic field becomes attenuated, stretching out away from the direction of the solar wind. At some point the field becomes too stretched and snaps back into place, producing quite a bit of energy which goes into the atmosphere and even the Earth’s surface

Some familar names getting a mention there, including Ian WIlson, whose blog is linked left.
This blog got a quiet mention mention by climatologist Tim Ball the other day too, he silently linked it in an article he has on Canada Free Press.

The IPCC, Climate Change and Solar Sophistry
Tim Ball

There are a multitude of other astrophysical relationships causing cycles related to climate not considered by the IPCC.

Finally, there’s the relationship between sunspot and global temperature. The IPCC consistently ignore the relationship though there’s extensive literature beginning with Galileo’s observations of sunspots in 1610. Initially they said there was no explanatory mechanism. This is not a valid reason if you are doing a complete summary of climate science.

John Eggert, who is currently discussing some of the more technical aspects of co2 radiative physics with Nasif Nahle on another thread, has kindly sent me some of the material he has written on the greenhouse effect. This article helps us get an overview on the issues. There is also a detailed maths and physics paper for download.

An Unsettling Look at the Settled Science of Global Warming
Part 2:  Layman’s Discussion
Copyright: John Eggert P.Eng.

This is the second of three papers on the impact of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) on climate. The first paper is a method of determining the total impact of CO2 on climate. This paper provides an overview of that work in terms that people without a strong scientific background can understand. If you are interested in the details surrounding what is being discussed in this paper, please refer to Part 1.

Note that these papers only consider whether increasing CO2 will change climate. No assertions about current or future temperatures are made. No assertions about the possible effects of climate change are made. No assertions about other gases impacting climate are made.

What these papers describe is the engineering method of determining radiant heat absorption by CO2 in an atmosphere (that is, the greenhouse effect). They show that this effect is practically at a maximum at around 200 ppm CO2.


Our friend and regular Gray Stevens has been researching and publishing his observations and ideas on his own site at Jupiters Dance for a long time now. I’m delighted he has asked me to showcase his most recent work here, which investigates planetary harmonics and their possible correlations with solar activity. This is a huge piece of work which has taken a lot of effort and time to concieve and compile. Please show Gray your appreciation by taking time to study and digest the material, and do post your thoughts and observations.

Synodic Cycles of Jupiter and the other planets of the Solar System


Movements of the planets and potential influences on the Solar activity cycle.

The earlier work by P D Jose (1) on a 178.7 year solar activity cycle, and I Charvatova (2) regarding a 2402 year solar activity cycle, showed long term periodicity in the Sun’s movement around the Solar System Barycentre and related cold and warm climate periods. A further 4627 year period consisting of 2402 years and 2225 year periods was also considered (3). This paper is to focus on the influences that may create the 11.171 year Wolf and 22.235 year Hale cycle in solar activity as well as linking with the longer periods.

Each of the planets forms a synodic cycle with Jupiter which contains the largest mass and magnetic field of all of the Solar System planets.

Each of the planets form close to a whole number of synodic cycles around their orbits with a fairly small amount of prograde or retrograde motion.. In each case we are looking at the number of synodic cycles taken to complete a whole orbit. As the synodic cycles are only an average time the variation between each cycle and thus the exactitude of each cycle is not considered here. A figure is included for each cycle to show the average difference.

Neptune and Jupiter have 13 synodic cycles taking 12.782 x 13 = 166.168 years (see diagram).
188 cycles are timed at 2403 years. 13 synodic orbits 166.168.
Neptune’s orbit 164.785


Over on WUWT

Dear all…

I’d like to contribute a little on this issue.

First of all, AGW is based on false conceptions and incomplete information about the physics of heat transfer.

I don’t understand why AGW proponents take the carbon dioxide as the cause of a climate change invoking its absorptive-emissive power because, through experimentation and observation of natureal phenomena, it has been demonstrated the gas is physically incompetent for causing a warming of the atmosphere.

A brief and simple calculation of the emissive power of the carbon dioxide at its current mass fraction, taking into account the results of many experiments done by reputable scientists and engineers like Hottel, Leckner, Sarofim and many others, the total emissivity and absorptiviy of the carbon dioxide is quite insignificant.

The following formula is for calculating the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide:

ΔE = [[ζ / (10.7 + 101 ζ)] – 0.0089 ζ ^10.4] (log10 [(pH2O + pCO2) L] / (pabsL) 0) ^2.76

Considering the data obtained by many researchers on this matter, the total emissivity of the carbon dioxide is low. It is 0.0017.

This value is very important for calculating the amount of energy that the carbon dioxide absorbs and emits each second. Given the specific heat capacity of the carbon dioxide at its current density and temperature, which is of the order of ~871 J/Kg K, the carbon dioxide is not the cause of any change of the Earth’s climate.

The formula for obtaining the amount of energy transferred by radiation between two thermodynamic systems is as follows:

Φq/s = e σ (A) [(Ts^4 – Tg^4)]

For example, at an atmosphere temperature of 310.4K (27 °C), the usual temperature in Summer at my location, and a surface temperature of 340.65 K (67.5 °C) the energy emitted by the carbon dioxide is 0.403 W*s.

On the contrary, the water vapor emitts 102 W*s.

It is clear what is the main protagonist in the warming of the Earth.

Besides, the oceans, the land and the subsurface materials are the fundamental thermodynamic systems of the Earth that store energy for longer periods than the atmosphere, which, in any case, acts like a conveyor of thermal energy.

On the other hand, the main thermal energy exchange at the boundary layer surface-atmosphere is not by radiation, but by conduction. The energy absorbed by the layer of air above the surface is convected away by the air. The latter happens also with the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere.


Executive summary for policy makers by tallbloke:

For those who boggle at equations, here’s my equivalent qualitative analysis:

The sun heats the ocean, the ocean heats the atmosphere, and the atmosphere loses heat to space while the convection of evaporated ocean water regulates the speed at which the ocean cools. That’s the big picture. Any co2 in excess of around 120 parts per million is pretty much along for the ride, because the window of opportunity it has to do anything exciting is pretty small compared to what water vapour does. Within that bigger picture, what should we estimate the scale of the radiative forcing involving the 0.039% of the atmosphere which is co2, compared to the energy flows outlined above to be?

My ‘back of an envelope’ engineering estimate is that it is somewhere between a fart in the wind and a storm in a teacup.

Quantifying and specifying the solar influence on
terrestrial surface temperature
C. de Jager a, S. Duhau b, B. van Geel c

Abbreviated Abstract:

This investigation is a follow-up of a paper in which we showed that both major magnetic components
of the solar dynamo, viz. the toroidal and the poloidal ones, are correlated with average terrestrial
surface temperatures. Here, we quantify, improve and specify that result and search for their causes.

Full text available from de Jager’s personal site in accordance (I think) with Elsevier’s copyright restrictions. (eek!)

*New* Predictions! Page

Posted: July 24, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Be sure to visit regularly. There won’t be any comments direct on the page, but feel free to place predictions you come across or comment on predictions here. I’ll transfer interesting ones to the Predictions! page which you can find on the top links bar or left side links bar under ‘pages’.

There are four already up there.

We seem to get a lot of astonishment from mainstream astrophysicists and cosmologists these days. Presumably because frequently, new data doesn’t fit the model well.

From the UK Guardian:


Montage-of-the-Tarantual--001 VLT telescope

Visible-light image of the Tarantula nebula (left), zoomed-in image from the Very Large Telescope (centre), and the R136 cluster in near-infrared (right) with the cluster itself lower right. Photograph: ESO/PA

Astronomers say they have discovered the most colossal star on record, in a region of space known as the Tarantula nebula in a neighbouring galaxy to our own.

The record-breaking star has a mass 265 times greater than the sun and is millions of times brighter, they said.

The discovery has astonished scientists, who thought it was impossible for stars to exceed more than 150 times the mass of the sun.

When the star was born it could have been more than twice as massive. Because it is so far away – about 165,000 light-years – it can only be seen with the use of powerful telescopes in the southern hemisphere.

Rest of the story here: Guardian story

So, why were they “Astonished”? Because the standard theory on star formation via accretion discs in a gravity dominated universe such as the Big Bang model won’t allow a star to get that big before it starts losing mass via radiative activity or blows up in a supernova event. Obviously, something else is going on.

The ‘Electric Universe’ folks say stars are formed by ‘z pinch’ events caused by unpredictable field collapses in interstellar plasma flows. The quantitative theoretical side of this is still young, but lab scale experiments and computer simulations are looking good, according to proponents such as Wallace Thornhill, Anthony Perrat, Donald E. Scott and others.

We are frequently told that the Sun can’t be responsible for late C20th warming because temperature has increased while solar activity has dropped from it’s peak in the 1950’s.

What a load of rubbish.

Solar cycle amplitudes are only part of the story. The cycles in the late C20th were short, ~10 years, and high compared to the long term average of ~40 SSN. The minima between them were short too. So although they did reduce in absolute amplitude after the ’50s, they made up for it by kicking out more energy more of the time. Last year to get a handle on this, I integrated the total sunspot areas as a running cumulative total departing from the long term average.


The Sea Surface Temperature graph from with the trend lines added shows how well the sunspot cumulative total works as a proxy for Ocean Heat Content. The SST data is smoothed over 1/3 of the solar cycle length to bring out the solar effect on SST’s. I further developed this idea  in my simple solar-planetary energy model. Looking at the flattening of the rise at cycle 19-20 (1954-1976) and from cycle 22-23 and now the low cycle 24, I would say we are just over the top of the warming curve. The slightly falling OHC data from 2003 onwards measured by ARGO would seem to back this up.

So although we have yet to understand all the mechanisms by which the Sun’s energies get transferred into Earth’s climate system, we can say that the solar data fits the temperature record better than co2 data does, over a longer period too.

Veteran solar researcher Timo Niroma  has an elegant and simple analysis on his main sunspots page which neatly shows the bi-modal nature of the solar cycle lengths using ascii art! It’s common knowledge that the average solar cycle length is just over 11 years. What isn’t so well known is that the actual solar cycle length clusters around two different periods of around 10.38 and 12 years.

In the next table I have drawn lengths of the cycles so that the “official” value gets four points, the nearest value three points, the tenths of years whose distance is 0.2 years get two points and finally one point is given at the distance of 0.3 years. This should compensate for the inaccuracy of the values. For the years 5 and 6 I have used the calibrated values, for the cycle 22 the traditional value. The tentative cycle 0 (10.2 years) is added with a “o” notation.

TABLE 3. A probability distribution of the sunspot lengths.

solar cycle lengths

This Bimodal distribution has been noted by other researchers too. Ray Tomes says:

A good alignment is one where the Earth has a near zero misalignment with J-V. Starting from an assumed perfect alignment, the second J-V period gives a moderate alignment, but the fifth gives a good alignment after an interval of 3.244 years. Multiples of 5 J-V periods thereafter get progressively worse until it becomes necessary to add an extra 2 J-V periods and the alignments then get better every 5 periods. These correspond to periods of 20.76 and 24.00 years. For some unknown reason, the gravitational oscillations reach maxima at intervals of 10.38 and 12.00 years, whereas best alignments take twice as long.

I’ll keep this post short and sweet, as it gets complicated next. I’d just like the bi-modal nature of solar activity to sink in first.

Plasma, magnetic fields, and back EMF

Posted: July 19, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Regulars Adolfo Giurfa and Tenuc drew my attention to a chapter in a discussion paper on NASA’s website which is of great interest I think. This diagram particularly drew my attention.

FIGURE 15.3.4. – a) in a magnetic field which has a downward bend, charged particles shot parallel to the field will follow the bend. If instead a plasma beam is shot, one would expect either that it (b) produces an electric polarization so that it cam continue along a straight line, (c) follows the bend as m (a), or (d) continues to move straight forward bringing the “frozen-in”, field lines with it. (e) in the quoted experiment the plasma does not obey any of these theories; instead, the plasma bends m the opposite direction to that of the magnetic field. In hindsight, this is easily understood as being due to an electric field transmitted backward by fast electrons (Lindberg and Kristoferson, 1971.) (My emphasis)

If you have been following the line of thinking developed on my recent posts concerning the nature of the feedback from the planets to the Sun, you will appreciate why this might be important.The Sun is diffusing plasma outwards into the solar system, and the heliospheric current sheet has bends in it.The Sun is tilted over at ~7 degrees to the planetary orbital plane. I know that the solar wind interacts with the planetary magnetospheres in such a way that ‘plasmoids’ are formed in the magnetotails. Could these form turbulance in the interplanetary magnetic field behind the planets which produces a sunward electro-motive force?

I’ll confess to being out of my depth here, maybe P.G. Sharrow or others could offer to help us understand how we might see a back EMF headed sunwards from the interaction of the plasma and the magnetic fields present in interplanetary space.

Another table presented on the same NASA pag compares two approaches to understanding plasmas, one ‘classical’, the other ‘Alfvenic’:

Maybe this is a neat summation of why the ‘classical’ astophysicists and the ‘Electric Universe’ proponents had a parting of the ways? 🙂

Sun rediscovered by Nature

Posted: July 17, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

A certain degree of bias towards atmospheric science has been detected in august publications such as ‘Nature’ over recent years. Maybe that imbalance is about to be redressed.

Nature will start accepting solar papers again
Sami Solanki
2 Jul 2010
Dear colleagues,
Some months ago we learnt from Hector Socas Navarro that Nature has stopped publishing solar papers because they produce too few citations. According to Nature’s astronomy editor, Leslie Sage, solar papers in Nature get cited less than one tenth as much as papers in other branches of astronomy (based upon a citation analysis they carried out in 2005). Since this number sounded extremely unlikely, Johannes Stecker and I did our own analysis and got rather different results: Solar papers published in Nature between 2000 and 2005 got cited nearly as often as astronomy papers, although it typically took longer before solar papers started getting heavily cited. After learning of this, Nature’s astronomy editor redid the analysis and obtained results consistent with ours. As a consequence, he has decided to revert to Nature’s original policy (prior to 2005) of publishing a few solar papers per year. With this e-mail I would like to pass on this information to the community.
This step cannot undo the damage already done to the field, but hopefully it will help to avoid further damage being done.
Sami Solanki
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

Space weather watch #1 Your help needed

Posted: July 16, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics
Interplanetary Magnetic Field

Interplanetary Magnetic Field

As you can see, today the Earth is crossing between sectors where the magnetic polarity in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF shown by red and blue field lines) reverses. It’s very gusty and windy here too, how is it in everyone elses part of the world?

Just for fun and interest, please would everyone who visits leave a report of their approx location and the wind conditions yesterday and today, plus any observations of unusual weather in the last few days. This request includes the many people who watch this blog but don’t usually post a comment. 🙂

Come on, it’ll only take a minute.


H/T to Ulric Lyons.

Solar System Simplified

Posted: July 15, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

For anyone mystified by the preceding post it’s very simple really.  Here is my hypothesis. The sun maintains the orbits of the planets by inputting energy via transfer of angular momentum through the solar wind. The periodic temporal groupings of planetary alignments coincide with the solar cycles which generate changes in the solar wind speed. Dynamic balance between power supply and planetary feedback via the alignments governs the level of the power supply from our Sun.

The Sun is prevented from going into runaway conditions and possibly going supernova by the planets, which control it’s activity levels. The Sun contains 99.85% of all the mass in the system. The planets have 98% of the angular momentum. When the sun follows it’s tendency towards runaway conditions with shorter, higher amplitude cycles, it gets out of phase with the planetary alignments. This causes solar activity to drop to below average levels. Then it slowly builds up a head of steam again. This is why the sun occasionally leads the planetary alignments rather than lagging them.

Planetary alignments: green lines vs sunspot numbers: red curve

You can see this in Jean Pierre Desmoulins graph above. Leading up to tht Dalton minimum in solar activity at the beginning of the 1800’s, the sun was running hot, with a couple of hiogh amplitude cycles which got ahead of the planetary alignment ‘most aligned days’. Afterwards, solar activity fell to a deep low for two cycles. Low cycles tend to be longer, so the phase relationship between solar cycles and planetary alignment cycles was restored, and the solar cycles recovered their strength. There was a less dramatic downturn at the start of the C20th, and we’ll have to wait and see how the current low spell in solar activity develops.

Maunder minimum followed by 100 years of increasing activity. Dalton Minimum, followed by 100 years of increasing activity, the low cycles at the start of the C20th, followed by 100 years of increasing activity. Then the recent long minimum after solar cycle 23 followed by, you guessed it…a low solar cycle 24, probably a low solar cycle 25 too, followed by a gradual recovery during the C21st, with some ups and downs along the way as the system oscillates.

Watt governor

James Watt came up with the invention of the planetary Governor to control the speed of steam engines in 1724. The sliding collar ‘R’ is connected via rod ‘W’ to the valve which controls the amount of steam allowed into the cylinder barrel. As the system speeds up, the spinning weights ‘B’ are thrown outwards by centifugal force, lifting the collar and shutting down the steam valve to slow the engine. The reduced speed allows the spinning weights to fall inwards again, opening the throttle valve once more. This is cybernetic feedback, and it causes the system to oscillate either side of the optimum level. All manmade and natural systems governed by negative feedback loops do this, including Earth’s climate.

I predict it will be discovered that more stars which have no planetary system will go supernova prematurely than those that do.

Luckily for us.

This is the most fundamentally important post I’ve made on this blog. It will underpin my version of the theory of planetary effects on the sun.

I first posited that the Solar system was a true system on Jeff Id’s blog last year. Richard and Vuk have obviously been putting thought into this stuff too. Now our ideas are coalescing into an exciting new vision of the way our Solar System works both in detail, and in the larger holistic view .
Here’s what I said at that time:
Tallbloke said
August 17, 2009 at 5:16 am

Tentative hypothesis:

The level of the suns activity affects the surface temperatures of the planets, which affects their rotation rate, which affects the vertical component of their angular momentum, which affects their obliquity, which feeds back to their insolation and the effect it has on their surface temperature, which further affects their rotation rate, which affects their orbital velocity through the law of conservation of momentum, which further affects affects the vertical component of their angular momentum, which affects the angle of their orbit relative to the solar equatorial plane, and the longitude of perihelion relative to the axis of the suns tilt, which then affects solar activity levels, which then affects the surface temperature of the planets…. and so we go round back to the beginning.

If such a feedback loop exists, this would imply that the sun’s activity level is intimately linked to small changes in the orbital elements and surface temperatures of the planets, and that the planets thereby help maintain the stability of the sun’s output.

I believe looking at the solar system this way will help move the discussion beyond simple cause and effect proceeding from the sun outwards, and help us see its variations as one of the elements of a cybernetic feedback control loop.


Below are a few comments extracted from a long and at times obscure recent thread on WUWT in which we discussed the nature of the relationship between the planets and the sun:

Leif Svalgaard says:
July 14, 2010 at 8:18 am
You shouldn’t take Vuk’s nonsense seriously. [you have your own to tend to 🙂 ].

It must be like herding cats from your point of view Leif. 😉

However, I got another insight today which changes the game. I’ll be posting about it on my blog soon. It goes back to my mention that Newton and Einstein had planetary motion as a given. Now, Leif, if this solar wind of yours is strong enough to blow away anything trying to head upstream, how much drag does it create on planets moving at right angles to it? Over 4 billion years?

Tallbloke (a.2)
Magnetospheric reconnection is kind of ‘short circuit’ releasing huge amount of energy, still not completely understood (I look at it as electric currents short circuit).
J & S each have permanent polar aurora, meaning that they are constant load on the solar magnetic circuit.

It means more than that Vuk, as I just realised. Follow the Right Hand rule and consider the back EMF

And they are big planets with low densities.


Vuk etc. says:

  • Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune , all emit energy as infrared radiation, more than they receive from the sun . It is thought that the energy is due to compression of the planets by high gravity, but scientists are not certain. Not convinced by the gravity theory.
    I wonder what happens to the energy generated by the magnetic short circuiting, called ‘reconnection’, which btw is heat; that would contradict the experts.

  • The total external magnetic fields of the sun extend to the boundaries of the heliopause, closer in than this ~2 light years, the effects of the constant coupling of the slow rate near DC magnetic fields, maintains the angular momentum, measured both by orbital velocity, and LOD for each of the planets. The total power invested in these fields are a result of the total mass of the magnetically susceptible material in each body, balanced back to the sun’s ratio of internal to external fields.

    At synod conjunctions the resistance to electromagnetic conduction of external fields from the sun decreases and coronal holes open to send out lines of magnetic force to maintain the balance. The homopolar generator effects regulate the sum total of the solar systems angular momentum, by accommodating the shifts in magnetic current flux with the short term variances in LOD and / or angular momentum in orbital velocity.

    At 8 light minutes out from the sun the Earth is quite susceptible to these shifts in magnetic fields strength that is continuous, nearly instantaneous, and on going in cyclic patterns that can and have been measured. The composite of the variable component is small compared to the continuous near DC that regulated and is regulated by the back ground Constancy of the composite orbital velocities, and the angular momentum of the whole solar system, sun included.

    What we see as the flux variations is but the noise on top of the elevated voltage of a very clean power supply, run on homopolar generator effects that have come to a harmonic synchronization over the past 4+ billion years, because this back ground level of connection is near DC and steady it is not measurable, as other than the background magnetic flux, seeking a balance with the background fields of the galaxy.

    To see the solar cycle as anything other than the turbulence felt by the solar internal fields to these flexes in the external fields, is not going to very productive. To see the driving effects on the earth’s climate as anything less than the sum of these influences on the energy budget, and ion flux in the atmosphere, transferred through the lunar declinational tidal effects, to the global circulation patterns that result, as a compounding of these cyclic forces, is the way out of the current lack of understanding on how the weather works and turns into climate with time.

    Yes, this is the thought that struck me yesterday. The heliosphere’s rotating interplanetary magnetic field helps maintain and regulate the planetary motion, and this is the reason why we see all the interesting almost whole small number relationships between planetary orbital periods and rotations that link to simple series like the fibonacci series. Then the planets, being in harmonic resonant relationships with each other and the Sun, participate in feedback loops which affect levels of solar activity, which in turn affect the strength of the assistance the IMF gives to maintaining the planetary orbits.

    In this way we can see that the solar system truly is a system, with internal negative feedbacks which regulate the output of the Sun at a steady level. Because all such systems, both natural and manmade, oscillate about a mean, this is why the Sun’s visible sunspot cycles sometimes ‘run ahead’ of the planetary alignments, and sometimes lag behind.

    tallbloke says:
    July 14, 2010 at 11:22 am
    if this solar wind of yours is strong enough to blow away anything trying to head upstream, how much drag does it create on planets moving at right angles to it? Over 4 billion years?

    There is no significant drag. Quite the contrary: the solar wind’s magnetic field is transferring angular momentum from the sun to the planets, moving them to larger orbits, slowing down the Sun in the process. Today this effect is extremely slow and has effectively stopped, but when the sun was young and the solar wind was thousands of time stronger this was a very efficient process.

    I carefully used the word drag to create ambiguity. 😉
    Th rotation of the sun is faster than any of the planetary orbits. Therefore the solar wind sweeping past the planets effectively ‘drags’ them round with it, helping to maintain their orbits against the ‘drag’ of the effects that are trying to slow them down.

    I agree that the strong part of the effect moving the planets to higher orbits has slowed down and effectively stopped, but I contend that this is a dynamic equilibrium, a balance against the forces tending to drag the planets to lower orbits (spin orbit couplings, mutual perturbances etc that end up as heat in planetary cores),

    I disagree that the forces no longer operate, are not significant, and most of all I disagree that they are unimportant.

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 15, 2010 at 8:20 am

    the solar wind transfers angular momentum from the Sun to the planets via the magnetic field, thus causing the planets to recede from the Sun. This effect is at present negligible [but was not in the distant past].

    It appears to be negligible, because the planetary orbits are not getting higher as they were in the past. However, this does not mean that the force is negligible now, rather that the force pushing the planets outwards is in a dynamic equilibrium with the forces tending to take the planets inwards.

    If you look carefully at JPL’s Horizon site, you will see that these forces are not included [too small].

    The net motions are too small for JPL to bother including them, but this does not mean the forces are not there, just that they are in a dynamic equilibrium with opposing forces.

    Everything in the universe oscillates. Why should our corner of the cosmos be any different? You would need some special pleading to claim that. The Sun has 99.87% of the solar system’s mass, the planets have 98% of the solar system’s angular momentum. If the sun was giving up a fraction of it’s energy to opposing the tendency for the orbits of the planets to decay (as they must, see the law of entropy), then the effect on it’s overall spin rate would be infinitesimal, and unmeasurable by JPL or anyone else over a short (space age) timeframe.

    In any case, if the Sun gives energy via magnetic fields to the planets, it seems likely the galactic core is giving some energy to the Sun via magnetic fields too. Once again, you would need to make a special pleading to argue that the Sun isn’t affected by the same forces that affect everything else in the universe.

    On WUWT: Christopher Hanley says:
    July 10, 2010 at 11:31 pm (Edit)

    HADCRUT3 and UAH noticeably diverge between 1980 and 1997 which is mysteriously corrected post 1997:

    Divergence and reconvergence of surface and tropospheric trends.

    Thanks Chris for posing a good question and making a useful graph.

    The first thing to note is that the divergence amounts to around 0.125C. If the oceans were to release enough energy to become 0.125C colder all at once, the tropospheric temperature would increase to over 100C and we would all be instantly prawned. This is not a trivial amount of energy.

    I think there is at least partly, perhaps mainly a physical reason for this divergence/reconvergence in the datasets. It’s mainly to do with cloud cover. ISCCP shows diminishing cloud cover from 1979-1998.The Earthshine Project (Palle et al) shows increasing cloud cover from 1998.

    During the less cloudy years, the ocean and land absorbed higher levels of surface insolation and the surface temperature datasets showed an increase at a higher rate than the tropospheric temp, mainly because the ocean sequestered a lot of the heat in it’s absorption phase and therefore had an increased surface temperature. The troposphere lost heat more readily through less cloud cover, hence the lower UAH trend.

    Then after 1998 it got cloudier, the land and ocean absorbed less heat so surface measurements slowed their rate of increase. But the ocean has started releasing the sequestered heat now cloud has increased and the less active sun isn’t forcing more energy in and downwards. This is in part why we got the big el nino in 1998 and another one this last year. The ocean is releasing heat it has held for a long time, as evidenced by the decline since 2003 in ocean heat content which had been rising since the ’60’s. Increased cloud also means more warmth retained in the troposphere during the night-time.

    But although increased low cloud cover should increase the amount of downwelling longwave radiation (greenhouse effect), it doesn’t penetrate the ocean beyond it’s own wavelength, so it doesn’t warm it. It just increases evaporation at the surface.

    This is why the tropospheric trend has outstripped the surface trend in recent years.
    I see this as further backing for my simple Sun-Ocean energy model.

    In closing, a look at the UAH and HADsst2GL trends:

    You can’t push a pin between the overall 1980-2010 trends for UAH and HADsst2GL. Which I think is probably a testimony to the quality of work from both Hadley and UAH. Well done guys and girls! But then, wait a minute. If the ocean had heated up 0.4C on its surface and was radiating more, wouldn’t we expect the troposphere to rise in temp by more than that, given its lower heat capacity? Expert opinions please.

    Discuss! 🙂

    Something is brewing

    Posted: July 10, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

    I don’t usually make astrological predictions in public, but keep an eye on the last week of August and the end of the first week in September this year. Volcanic eruptions are more frequent when the sun is quiet. They are often coincident with times when Lunar apogee or perigree is near full or new Moon.

    On August 25 at 5:52am an apogee at 406389 km will occur 12 hours after full moon. At the same time, Mercury and Venus are coming into conjunction between the Earth and the Sun. This is all caught in a line with Saturn on the far side of the Sun, and Jupiter and Uranus outside us. A fortnight later, on Sept  8  4:02am there is perigee at 357191km coinciding within 6 hours of new Moon. The conjunction between Earth, Jupiter and Uranus will be on the 17th September. Venus will make closest approach to Earth on October 26th. It could be a creaky couple of months for Earth’s crust.

    I may well be wrong, but bear in mind Katla is starting to rumble. This is the neighbour of the Volcano which caused the airlines to be grounded earlier this year. It’s eruption occurs every century, and is often presaged by the smaller neighbour.

    Wikipedia says:

    The eruption of this nearby long-dormant volcano in March and April 2010 prompted fears among some geophysicists that it might trigger an eruption at the larger and more dangerous Katla.[11][12][13] In the past 1,000 years, all three known eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have triggered subsequent Katla eruptions.[14] Following the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions, on 20 April 2010 Icelandic President Ólafur Grímsson said “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close … we [Iceland] have prepared … it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption”.[15]

    Katla 1918 Erruption

    Katla 1918 Eruption

    Interview with David Hathaway

    Posted: July 9, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

    Gotta love David Hathaway. A candid admission of the inability of his take on the solar dynamo theory to make successful predictions is refreshing. Good to see such honesty from the dynamologist in Cheif.


    You’re listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. I’m Ira Flatow.

    Up next, a look at the action on the sun. Scientists who study the sun say it’s been acting a little bit strange lately. The sun has cycles, periods of high activity, when it has lots of sunspots, or low activity when things on the surface seem pretty calm. And based on previous sun activity, researchers expected that the sun would soon be entering a stretch of high activity, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    The next peak, expected in 2013, seems to be off to a weak start, and scientists are not sure why. Predicting the sun’s activity has never been a precise science. It’s more like predicting the weather. And you can be pretty sure about some of the basics, but the devil, as they say, is in the details.

    Joining me now to tell us more about it is my guest, David H. Hathaway. He’s a solar astronomer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Welcome to SCIENCE FRIDAY, Dr. Hathaway.

    Dr. DAVID H. HATHAWAY (Marshall Space Flight Center): Oh, thank you, Ira. That was well-put for the intro.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    FLATOW: I usually get them wrong.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: No, no. That was quite on target.

    FLATOW: Tell us what the – what – is it just sunspot activity that creates, you know, the cycles or is there other activity going on?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Oh, there’s other activity. It’s just the sunspots are the most obvious manifestation, and we’ve been able to observe sunspots reliably and almost on a daily basis since Galileo’s time in 1610. But with the sunspots comes the various things that we call space weather. There are solar flares, which are huge explosions on the surface of the sun, energy equivalent at the million megatons of TNT. And there are coronal mass ejections, where literally a billion tons of matter are blown off the sun and thrown to the solar system at a million miles an hour.

    And that stuff impacts us – in particular our assets in space, but even does things here on the ground. It helps produce the aurora borealis, which is kind of nice but can do nasty things like sending a surge of current from power lines that takes out transformers and flips circuit breakers so people are without power.

    FLATOW: Yeah, I hate it when that happens.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Yeah, yeah. So do I, especially in the summer.

    FLATOW: So are there really set cycles the sun goes through? Why does it go through these cycles? Why isn’t it just stable?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Oh, yeah, great question. I wish I knew the answer. It goes through a cycle of about 11 years with sunspots, but again, about 11 years, it varies by, give or take, about one year. And the thing that really surprised us this time is that the last cycle, it took 12 years and three months before the next cycle really got started. And that’s -the late start is indicative of a small cycle, but it’s all related to magnetism, magnetic fields generated within the sun. That much we know for sure. The precise details on how it does that or – is, again, where the devil is. But we’re learning more about it.

    We’re sure of some aspects as far as how flows within the sun take the magnetic fields and drag them around and stretch them out and twist them up. But for the last decade, I thought we had it figured out, until this sunspot cycle minimum came around and there were a number of unexpected things that makes me believe that at least my understanding of how it worked, that I thought was correct for the last 10 years, is in error. So we were – it’s…

    FLATOW: So we thought we knew how the sun works, but we’re not quite sure.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Yeah, certainly I’m not.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    Dr. HATHAWAY: It’s job security in some sense.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    FLATOW: Time for another sun probe or something.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Oh, well, we just launched, in fact, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which comes at a great time, and certainly as far as the sun misbehaving like this. And again, we’re seeing low levels of activity that we have not seen in about 100 years.

    FLATOW: In a hundred years, really, that long?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: That’s right, yeah. And the sun tends to go through these longer cycles like that. Again, there’s an 11-year cycle of activity, but there are big cycles and small cycles, and they tend to grow and then get small again. There’s about 100-year periodicity in that, that at the beginning of the 20th century we had a couple of small sunspots cycles. And at the beginning of the 19th century we had two really small cycles.

    The beginning of the 18th century, we were just coming out the period of 70 years without sunspots, where it’s been called the Maunder Minimum.

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: So it – we have times like that, but as far as what we’re seeing for recent activity, what we’re expecting for the peak of activity in 2013 is you got to go back about 100 years to find similar sorts of activity from the sun.

    FLATOW: When the sun is quiet like this, does it come back with a vengeance, or just normal?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Well, it’ll take another 50 years, apparently. But it may be longer. In fact, a number of my colleagues have suggested that perhaps, or certainly there’s the possibility that we are heading into another one of these long, grand minima like the Maunder Minimum. You know, the Maunder Minimum from the year 1645 to 1715, and it was 70 years, virtually, without sunspots. There were a few that started taking up near the end. But, basically, as far as sun spots, the sun stopped doing it for 70 years.

    FLATOW: Did it affect the Earth any way we could tell?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Yeah. It comes at the end of what is called the Little Ice Age for climate. And both that minimum and the minimum at the beginning of the 19th century correspond to cool times in Earth’s climate. It has led us to believe that the sun does – the solar variability, I should say, this, you know, coming and going of sunspot cycles – does influence climate to some extent. And the big question is to how big an extent. And there’s a wide range of feelings on what that is.

    The best analyses I’ve seen suggest that the sun’s still a minor player, that it’s really the anthropogenic forcing that’s overwhelming things now, and that even if the sun did go into one of these long, extended periods of no activity, it wouldn’t save us from global warming.

    FLATOW: Shucks.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Yeah. Yeah. There’s people that were betting on it, but I wouldn’t.

    FLATOW: Are they related to space junk? I heard that they are. Is that right?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Well, space – well, a big cycle is good for space junk, because when the sun is particularly active, it puts out a lot of excess ultraviolet light and x-rays. And that heats up the Earth’s uppermost atmosphere. In fact, spacecraft altitudes makes the atmosphere, you know, expand, and so the density at the altitude where a lot of space junk is will go up when the sun’s most activity. And that helps to clear out the space junk as far as it causes drag on the space junk and it slowly spirals in and burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere. So, a small cycle isn’t good news for getting rid of space junk, but it is good news as far as the damage that solar activity does to electronics in space…

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY:…and the possibility of power outages and communication outages here on the ground.

    FLATOW: Well, that’s also good news to ham radio operators and people like that because the sun spots…

    Dr. HATHAWAY: The ham radio operators like a big cycle. In fact, they’re really upset with me that – well, because I went out on a limb back in 2006 using a solar cycle prediction technique that relied on us being near sunspot cycle minimum. And I thought, well, the last few cycles were 10-year cycles. Chances are the next one will be a 10-year cycle. So I went out on a limb and made a prediction in 2006 that I have long since regretted, but it was a prediction there was going to be a big cycle coming up. I’ve now, at every opportunity, recant that prediction, but the ham radio operators, they’re saying you promised us.

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Well, sorry guys.

    FLATOW: Yeah. Well, you know, now, just stand in line with all the weather forecasters.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: I know how they feel. I really do, as far as, you know, when you – in fact, there’s a great quote that, you know, prediction is difficult, especially about the future, that – and it is. When you’re really making a prediction about something that’s, you know, hasn’t happened yet and people are depending upon that prediction, yeah.

    FLATOW: Well, lets put you on the record again. What are you going to predict now for…

    Dr. HATHAWAY: I’m predicting that the sunspot number, which is basically the number of sunspots on an average day in about June or July of 2013, will only be about 65 or so. And that’s about half as big a cycle as what we had that peaked back in the year 2000, and only about a third of what we had for two cycles before that. So, much smaller than recent activity that we’ve seen in the last – well, during the Space Age. I mean, this is…

    FLATOW: Yeah.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: …tiny compared to what we’ve – we’re used to with the Space Age.

    FLATOW: I wonder if the British bookies make bets on these.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: I actually had a guy who got upset when I didn’t put out my sunspot number stuff on a daily basis, because he was using it to predict the stock market. And he kept coming to me for couple years, and I haven’t heard from him in a long time. So I don’t think it worked.

    FLATOW: To predict – well, it’s as good as anything else, throwing darts, right?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: It may be. But like I said, he stopped calling me, so I’m assuming that he realized this didn’t work. I lost a bunch of money on this guy.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    FLATOW: All right. Well, at least we have you on the record with a new prediction. You’re saying it’s going to be about half the number.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: It’ll be about half what it was for the last sunspot cycle, the one that peaked in the year 2000. About July of 2000 was the last sunspot number peak, and that was 120, 121 or so for sunspot number. And it – you know, my prediction, as of this morning, is – I think a 64 is what it came out at. And it’s actually – it’s been declining. Someone…

    FLATOW: Yeah. Well, it’s not a safe thing for us ourselves to look at the sun to try to count them. But I’m sure on…

    Dr. HATHAWAY: No. No.

    FLATOW: …on the Web…

    Dr. HATHAWAY: In fact, the people that do it actually project – use a telescope, but project it onto a sheet of paper…

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: …project the image onto a sheet of paper and actually draw on the sheet of paper. And that was the way it was done, you know, back in Galileo’s time…

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: …that it was by projection.

    FLATOW: Is there a sunspot place on the Web to keep the number changes every day, you could watch it?

    Dr. HATHAWAY: There’s – does sunspot numbers every day.

    FLATOW: Right.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: The problem is that the people who have the official international sunspot number only come out once a month with it.

    FLATOW: All right. We’ll have to do it on a monthly basis, then. I want to thank you for taking time to be with us. And we’re going to be watching your prediction, David.

    Dr. HATHAWAY: Oh, I’m planning on it.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    Read the rest at

    Help needed with global warming maths

    Posted: July 6, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

    Help me please, I just posted this on WUWT and I’d like to know if I’m right or wrong:

    Another question it would be nice to have an answer to is what the total ocean ‘heat’ content is. Then we could get some idea of how much it has heated up in percentage terms over the period of record. If we make the assumption that heat content is related to sea surface temperature, and take the SST at some arbitrary time to be the ideal climate temperature that fluctuations from are to be regarded as ‘anomalies’, then we can see how much things have warmed up.

    Let’s say we take the zero line of HADcru’s SST’s, which match dates around 1940 and 1980. According to their measurements, the ocean surface has warmed about 0.3C from there to the peak of global warming. The average SST is around 17C or 289K. So taking a roughly linear dropoff in temperature down to the thermocline, we get an approx 0.15K warming of the upper 700m of the worlds oceans on average.

    TSI varies around 0.1% over the solar cycle, and maybe by around that over the 1930-2000 period? And it is amplified at the surface by a drop in cloud cover from 1980-1998 according to ISCCP data. Those empirical observations are backed up by Nir Shaviv’s work on using the oceans as a colorimeter.

    0.15K is approximately 0.05% of 289K

    There’s your solar/albedo caused global warming.

    It’s so simple I must have made a big mistake somewhere, so please correct me, I’m always ready to learn.

    I got one response from a solar physicist called Dr Leif Svalgaard, but it doesn’t get me much further forward…

    Since your ‘calculation’ doesn’t make sense as it does not use the same time intervals for your various inputs, it cannot be corrected, so you will [again] learn nothing.

    Nigel Calder on CERN CLOUD experiment.

    Posted: July 5, 2010 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

    This from Nigel Calder, co-author of ‘The Chilling Stars’ along with Henrik Svensmark:

    Svensmark - Forbush data

    At issue are the Svensmark team’s results on aerosols (see right). These show fine aerosols disappearing from the sky, because the shortage of cosmic rays lessens the chemical production of the  clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules that seed the aerosols.

    According to the people in Leeds, that can’t be right because they have a computer model that contradicts it.

    The GLOMAP model was developed by Ken Carslaw, and the unlucky person named as lead author is a graduate student, Eimear Dunne.

    An open letter to the lead author

    Dear Eimear,

    In any other branch of physics, if a model and observations are at odds, there’s almost certainly something wrong with the model. But you’ve evidently been encouraged to think that doesn’t apply in climate research.

    I must admit that you have a dreadful role model in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It keeps shrugging off glaring mismatches between real-world data and the models used to predict man-made global warming.

    As for your new association with the CLOUD experiment at CERN, you may not know that the project was conceived as a direct result of a lecture that I gave at CERN in December 1997, reporting Henrik Svensmark’s discovery of the influence of cosmic rays on cloud cover.

    But you should also be aware that, although Henrik inspired the project, some people in CLOUD team now try to disparage his research whenever they can.

    Why? Because Henrik keeps insisting, in a politically incorrect manner, that the Svensmark effect is important. Crucial, in fact, for understanding past, present and future climate change.

    Fainter hearts would like the link between cosmic rays and clouds to be just a technical footnote to the climate debate. Not so trivial, mind you, as to undermine the case for spending public money on CLOUD. But not so significant, either, as to alarm the politically correct funding agencies.

    It grieves me, Eimear, that your mentors have launched you into such a difficult balancing act. It’s bound to produce wobbly results.

    But in any case I know that you, together with Prof. Carslaw, signed a declaration in December saying, ‘As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations’.

    So you’re not exactly open-minded about the Svensmark hypothesis. You really don’t want to find an important effect of cosmic rays, do you?

    Best wishes

    Nigel Calder

    See the rest of the post here:

    H/T to Kenneth Wikeroy