Archive for March, 2011

Cosmic Rays, Be10 and Ice Cores

Posted: March 22, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Levels of GCRs have been indirectly recorded by their influence on the production of carbon-14 and beryllium-10. The Hallstatt solar cycle length of approximately 2300 years is reflected by climatic Dansgaard-Oeschger events. The 80–90 year solar Gleissberg cycles appear to vary in length depending upon the lengths of the concurrent 11 year solar cycles, and there also appear to be similar climate patterns occurring on this time scale.

Discuss. 🙂

Regular contributor M.A. Vukcevic has kindly given permission to reproduce some ongoing research which will be of interest to people learning about earthquakes and their precursor indicators. Vukcevic states:
“the tb’s talkshop does not take any responsibility either for statements or data presented.
Please note that there are number of the geomag parameters which I have not labelled, in case I decide they are no longer relevant, or if pattern does hold for some time I might be able to publish results.”

This is an ongoing ‘live’ project (started on 02/03/2011, prompted by the N. Zealand earthquake) to establish if there is a link between the geomagnetic activity (magnetic storms) and acceleration of the earthquake’s occurrence. It is not claimed that geomagnetic storm is a primary cause of any earthquake. However if conditions for an earthquake are ‘ripe’, then solar storm could be a trigger (not the cause) for it, and bring it forward for few hours or days.
There is strong evidence of electromagnetic processes responsible for earthquake triggering, that we study extensively. We will focus here on one correlation between power in solar wind compressional fluctuations and power in magnetospheric pulsations and ground H component fluctuations. The variation of the horizontal component H of the geomagnetic field is the crucial parameter in the Magneto-Seismic Effect MSE to be discussed in a companion paper. The connection of earthquake activity to possible solar or solar wind drivers is not well understood; many authors have attempted correlations in the past with mixed results. Geophysical Research Abstracts,Vol.8,01705, 2006;Lab for Solar and Space Physics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt, MD

Scientists have been tracking and studying substorms for more than a century, yet these phenomena remained mostly unknown until THEMIS went into action. Even more impressive was the substorm’s power. Angelopoulos estimates the total energy of the two-hour event at five hundred thousand billion ( 5 x 10^14 ) Joules. That’s approximately equivalent to the energy of a magnitude 5.5 earthquake

It is likely that in the electrical terms any tectonic fault is also the weakest point. Geomagnetic storm of 10-11 March coinciding with the Japan’s mega-quake lasted nearly 24 hours.


NASA release spaceweather app on iTunes

Posted: March 16, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I’ve bever been jealous of iPhone owners, until now.

More nice screenshots at the link above, including SDO images. Grrrr.

As each solar cycle progresses from minimum to sunspot maximum, the magnetic fields near the poles of the Sun weaken and then reverse polarity. Cycle maximum usually follows within six months to a year or so of the fields crossing the zero point, and the polar fields then gain opposite polarity strength until sunspot minimum is reached.

Solar physicist Leif Svalgaard has noted that the strength of the polar fields at solar minimum are a reasonably good indicator of the amplitude of the following cycle, and based his 2004 prediction of a max of monthly sunspot number of around 70 for solar cycle 24 on this metric. Although at the moment this estimate looks a little on the high side, it is a lot closer than the predictions made by solar physicists such as Dikpati and David Hathaway, who based their predition of a very high solar cycle amplitude on models of their conception of a ‘solar dydnamo’ – a self regulating and self regenerating effect of the Sun’s consumption of its fuel in the solar nuclear furnace. Once again, observation and heuristic phenomenological modeling has trumped the Babcock Leighton dynamo theory models.


More bad news…  Looks like a big explosion at the nuclear plant has stripped the outer cladding from one of the buildings.  Many people are trying to flee the area and the authorities have set up a 40 mile exclusion zone to prevent anyone going in.
Here’s hoping that they can prevent a breech of the containment vessel.  The Japanese have suffered more than enough from the quake and tsunami.

H/T Tenuc

This from The Register

After sustaining heavy damage to its cooling systems during Friday’s megaquake, and after problems were encountered when damage mitigators attempted to release pressure that was building up in its reactors, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor may now be toying with emulating a 1970’s potboiler. Athough information is still spotty, the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may be beginning to melt down.

Japan’s Kyodo News reported on Saturday afternoon, Japan time, in an article entitled “URGENT: Concerns of core partially melting at Fukushima nuke plant,” that there are indications that a reactor core at Fukushima No. 1 is, indeed, beginning to melt down.

“The core at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 1 reactor may be partially melting, the nuclear safety agency said Saturday,” Kyodo News reports. “Radioactive substance cesium was detected around the reactor,” they quoted that agency as admitting.

The Fukushima No. 1’s reactor No. 1 is only one of five Japanese reactors reeling after the megaquake: three at Fukushima No. 1, two at Fukushima No. 2.


Kyodo News has now reported that an “explosion was heard at 3:36 p.m. [Japan time] following large tremors and white smoke” at Fukushima No. 1’s reactor No. 1.

“Four people have been injured in an explosion that occurred at the No. 1 reactor of the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant,” Kyodo News said they had been told by Tokyo Electric Power Company.

P.O. Box 607841

Orlando, Fl 32860

Research Report 1-2010 (Preliminary)

Correlation of Solar Activity Minimums

and Large Magnitude Geophysical Events

John L. Casey1

Released for world wide web (www) distribution on Monday, March 1, 2010.

[1] An independent review of historical records was performed for 350 years of global volcanic activity

(1650-2009) and seismic (earthquake) activity for the past 300 years (1700 to 2009) within the continental United States and then compared to the Sun’s record of sunspots as a measure of solar activity. All three data sets were examined to determine whether a relationship existed between them and if the results of such a study could be used to develop methodology for identifying future geophysical events. The preliminary results from the study have shown that there exists a strong correlation between the solar activity that causes climate changes and the Earth’s largest seismic and volcanic events. The impressive degree of correlation for global volcanic activity (>80.6%) and for the largest USA earthquakes (100% of the top 7 most powerful) vs. solar activity lows provides a basis for future estimates of the time periods and magnitudes for the largest volcanic and seismic events many decades in advance. Finally, the coincidence of the Centennial and Bi-Centennial cycles of the RC Theory showed unmistakable relationships to these largest geophysical events. The use of such a tool may provide a new and valuable method for protection of people and property located in and around high risk geologic zones. Further, a significantly increased risk is indicated during the next 20 years for volcanic and earthquake events of historic scale. Citation: Casey, John. L. (2010), Correlation of Solar Activity Minimums and Large Magnitude Geophysical Events, Research Report 1-2010 (Premiminary), March 1, 2010, Space and Science Research Center, (SSRC).


UPDATE 20-3-2012 New thread:

UPDATE 2-1-2012. New thread:

UPDATE 13-6-2011. New thread with links to all seismic related posts on this blog here:

New Zealand’s Herald Sun newspaper has this item:

A NEW Zealand mathematician who predicted the deadly Christchurch quake has terrified Kiwis with news another will strike the city in two weeks.

Popular long-range weather forecaster Ken Ring is warning that a second jolt will hit the already-devastated South Island city on March 20.

Mr Ring, who lives in Auckland, uses the moon, sun and tidal activity for the basis of his theories, which have been dismissed by scientists.

His warning is clear.

If I lived in Christchurch, I’d get out for a few days over that time, go camping, visit friends, just get out and keep safe…And if you don’t live there, stay away.


Building a Virtual Observatory for Heliophysics
R.D. Bentley, University College London


Heliophysics explores the Sun-Solar System Connection and is a relatively new discipline.It generalizes of the study of “space weather” to the whole Solar System and spans several existing disciplines – solar physics, heliospheric physics, and planetary magnetospheric and ionospheric physics. The desire to solve science problems that span the disciplinary boundaries is now driving the need to provide integrated access to data from all the communities that constitute heliophysics.

To facilitate this we need to find ways to select related data through searches of metadata across the different domains. We also need to ensure that any results are presented in aform that does not require detailed understanding of each of disciplines involved. The virtual observatory paradigm is designed to meet these needs.


For anyone looking for the solar cycles analysis prediction thread, it is here:
The ever shrinking solar cycle 24 prediction from the MSFC Solar Physics Branch members Wilson, Hathaway, and Reichmann has, unsurprisingly, shrunk again. Here’s the March 2011 ‘prediction’


These nicely dug plots just in from Tim Channon. I hope this will become a regular monthly feature, as they give great information in addition to the time series plots provided elsewhere. Click on the images for the full size versions as WordPress compression makes a bit of a mess of them – Sorry Tim.

Lower Troposphere


Anthony Watts: The BEST surface temperature dataset

Posted: March 6, 2011 by tallbloke in climate

Reposted with permission from WUWT – My thanks to Anthony Watts

I have some quiet time this Sunday morning in my hotel room after a hectic week on the road, so it seems like a good time and place to bring up statistician William Briggs’ recent essay and to add some thoughts of my own. Briggs has taken a look at what he thinks will be going on with the Berekeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST).  He points out the work of David Brillinger whom I met with for about an hour during my visit. Briggs isn’t far off.

Brillinger, another affable Canadian from Toronto, with an office covered in posters to remind him of his roots, has not even a hint of the arrogance and advance certainty that we’ve seen from people like Dr. Kevin Trenberth. He’s much more like Steve McIntyre in his demeanor and approach. In fact, the entire team seems dedicated to providing an open source, fully transparent, and replicable method no matter whether their new metric shows a trend of warming, cooling, or no trend at all, which is how it should be. I’ve seen some of the methodology, and I’m pleased to say that their design handles many of the issues skeptics have raised and has done so in ways that are unique to the problem.

Mind you, these scientists at LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Labs) are used to working with huge particle accelerator datasets to find minute signals in the midst of seas of noise. Another person on the team, Dr. Robert Jacobsen, is an expert in analysis of large data sets. His expertise in managing reams of noisy data is being applied to the problem of the very noisy and very sporadic station data. The approaches that I’ve seen during my visit give me far more confidence than the “homogenization solves all” claims from NOAA and NASA GISS, and that the BEST result will be closer to the ground truth that anything we’ve seen.

But as the famous saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Different methods yield different results. In science, sometimes methods are tried, published, and then discarded when superior methods become known and accepted. I think, based on what I’ve seen, that BEST has a superior method. Of course that is just my opinion, with all of it’s baggage; it remains to be seen how the rest of the scientific community will react when they publish.


WordPress hit by DDOS attack

Posted: March 4, 2011 by tallbloke in Uncategorized

If anyone noticed the severe connectivity issues affecting this site yesterday, here’s the reason:

Blog host was the target of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack earlier today described by the company as the largest in its history.

As a result, a number of blogs–including those that are a part of WordPress’ VIP service–suffered connectivity issues. That includes the Financial Post, the National Post, TechCrunch, along with the service’s nearly 18 million hosted blogs.

According to a post by Automattic employee Sara Rosso on the company’s VIP Lobby (which had been down at the time of the attacks, though was archived by Graham Cluley over at Naked Security), the size of the attack reached “multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.” Rosso had also said putting a stop to the attack was “proving rather difficult.”

Read more:
These guys might have some good advice:
Good cartoon too.
The blog daily viewing figures were badly affected, and the total for the day involved the number of the beast. Yikes!

Polar bears observe another deadline floating by, face down

Mark Serreze, NSIDC’s doom sayer, seems to have realized that the impending failure of his prediciton of an ice free arctic as soon as 2012[Wrong, see comments] is getting a bit too close for comfort, and has back-pedalled. Now the ice free arctic may be a few decades rather than years away. This is a much safer prediction for Mark, he’ll have long retired by the time this one gets proved wrong. Just five months ago in September 2010 Serreze said:

“I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover…I hate to say it but I think we are committed to a four- to six-degree warmer Arctic.”

In this week’s ‘Nature’ he says:

“Although the paper by Tietsche and colleagues brings a more optimistic view of the Arctic’s future….”


Here we are again. Some readers will be mighty tired of this subject, but evidently there is still a lot of uncertainty of measurement, doubt about the validity of concepts and unwarranted certainty in statements around the question of the ability of infrared ‘back radiation’ from the atmosphere to warm the world’s oceans. It’s an important issue, because it forms the backbone of a lot of claims about the effects of the anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’.