Solar Physicists finally get the message: Landscheidt was right after all

Posted: June 14, 2011 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, climate, Solar physics, solar system dynamics

After years of pooh poohing Theodor Landscheidt’s methods, work and predictions, mainstream solar physics has made an announcement of the strong possibility of a protracted solar minimum with consequences for Earth’s climate.

At a workshop in New Mexico today, the AAS brought the work of Livingstone and Penn into the spotlight and said the following, as reported by and posted on WUWT:

Some unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.

The results of the new studies were announced today (June 14) at the annual meeting of the solar physics division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Currently, the sun is in the midst of the period designated as Cycle 24 and is ramping up toward the cycle’s period of maximum activity. However, the recent findings indicate that the activity in the next 11-year solar cycle, Cycle 25, could be greatly reduced. In fact, some scientists are questioning whether this drop in activity could lead to a second Maunder Minimum, which was a 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 when the sun showed virtually no sunspots.

“We expected to see the start of the zonal flow for Cycle 25 by now, but we see no sign of it,” Hill said. “This indicates that the start of Cycle 25 may be delayed to 2021 or 2022, or may not happen at all.”

If the models prove accurate and the trends continue, the implications could be far-reaching.

“If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades,” Hill said. “That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate.”

The implications are enormous, but don’t come as a big surprise to readers of this blog or WUWT’s solar threads, where a group of planetary theorists, including Geoff Sharp M.A. Vukcevic, Patrick Geryl and myself have been trying to tell all who will listen that far from the big solar cycle 24 predicted by the mainstream physicists, the sun was likely going to quieten down for a long spell. Leif Svalgaard’s predictions for a solar cycle 25 bigger than the current low cycle, made as recently as a fortnight ago, now seem to be in doubt.

More detail on the proceedings at the New Mexico workshop here:

More from the New Mexico workshop as it is announced, in the meantime, lets discuss what this means for the climate science community too. All the blandishments about how little changes in solar activity affect Earth’s climate system are now seen for the unsubstantiated nonsense they always were. Just as we’ve been saying here since this blog started in November 2009, and before that on WUWT and

Here is Landscheidt’s  prediction, made in his 2003 paper

New Little Ice Age 

Instead of Global Warming

We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago. As to temperature, only El Niño periods should interrupt the downward trend, but even El Niños should become less frequent and strong. The outcome of this further long-range climate forecast solely based on solar activity may be considered to be a touchstone of the IPCC’s hypothesis of man-made global warming.

Using the barycentric motion data, Landscheidt constructed this graph:

Landscheidt's graph showing changes in Solar Inertial Motion relative to the solar system barycenter with previous grand minima marked

  1. Douglas DC says:

    I first heard about this from the late John Daly, Landscheid and John must be having a good time watching all
    this.-hopefully from above…
    This is real science. Empirical results at it’s best…

  2. Krishna Gans says:

    I’m not alone to like Landscheids work

  3. Stephen Wilde says:

    Now we just need to know for sure HOW the solar changes in activity level convert to a change in the Earth’s energy budget.

    I think my proposals are the most likely so far but more data is needed for verification or rebuttal.

  4. tallbloke says:

    Krishna, welcome.
    Yes, I saw you beat me to it on WUWT. I was busy writing this post. 🙂

    Douglas: The theory is gaining strength, but needs a lot more work. This is why I want to encourage the mainstream physicists to bring their resources to the task.

    Stephen: Good plug! I’ll let you have that one. 😉

  5. Gerry says:

    Interesting chart here:

    “Based on previous solar cycles and the current polar field situation, the maximum for cycle 24 could be reached earlier than expected, probably sometime in 2012.” Finally, the experts are starting to agree with me! Previously, I had also commented that there is an outside chance that cycle 24 could max in 2011. I still believe that is true, and that it is also still somewhat unlikely because of the reluctance of the south solar pole to reverse.

    The very early maximum of cycle 22 when the poles were still +25 and -25 microTeslas strong in early 1989, well in advance of reversal, is apparently related to the rapid and symmetrical decrease in polar field strength of both poles at that time.

    -Gerry Pease

  6. tallbloke says:

    Gerry: yes, the asymmetry is interesting. I commented on this on WUWT a while back when Leif announced solar max. It’s another solar oddity, of which there are plenty just now.

  7. Roy Weiler says:

    Mr. Bloke:
    While I do find this interesting, it is a long way from matching cause to effect. Please, let us not in our haste to kill CAGW make the same mistakes they have, and jump to conclusions before the proof is in.
    I know proposals have been put forth as to the vehicle of effect, but they have not been fully explored and tested. All we have are hypothesis at this point I believe. While they are encouraging and appeal to common sense, let us not form a IPSC (Intergovernmental Panel on Solar Change) and go through this corruption of the scientific process again!


  8. @Roy Weiler …you just gave “them” the idea…:
    let us not form a IPSC (Intergovernmental Panel on Solar Change…
    Though I don´t see clearly how they could sell “solar credits”:-)

  9. Tim Channon says:

    I agree Roy. Nothing has actually changed.

    The proclaimers did not see what was coming, Why would they be right now?

    If they are wrong and the sun continues roughly normally we are in extreme trouble.

    I am probably way further out in disbelieving agw on the basis of both information and psychology but no-one really knows.

  10. Dave Smith says:

    Yay Theo! Yay Carl! Yay Geoff!

  11. tallbloke says:

    Roy and Tim: OK, my Daily Mirroresque headline is too bold in scientific terms. I’m pitching for some recognition from the mainstream that they should be taking more notice of his work now, along with that of Carl Smith, Geoff Sharp, and dare I say it, that done here at the talkshop.

    Point is, since the AAS are declaring that there is likely going to be some decades of solar hiatus, it shows that Landscheidts prediction is pretty good, Now the physical basis might be unproven, but neither is the Livingston and Penn effect. Leif Svalgaard admits this. Here is what he said a few hours ago:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 14, 2011 at 8:44 am (Edit)
    John Whitman says:
    June 14, 2011 at 7:10 am
    What nascent thoughts you guys/gals have to bracket the range of potential candidate mechanisms.
    At this point the L&P finding has the nature of numerology in the sense that we do not a mechanism to explain it [or even make it plausible]. We cannot just extrapolate into the future. We can, of course, [as we do] say that IF it continues, then such and such. The main obstacle is that we do not know how a sunspot forms. Once we have one we can simulate or model its development and account for many of its properties. At the other end of the spectrum, we have reasonable theories about how to generate magnetic fields from which spots form, but we are missing how to link the generation of the field and the decay of the spot.
    A century ago, all solar astronomers [the field was not yet physics] knew [because they could directly see it] that a sunspot forms by the coalescence of smaller spots. Then half a century ago came the [considered successful] theories of Babcock, Leighton, and Parker that stipulated that a spot formed when a big ‘rope’ of magnetic flux generated at depth rose to the surface and broke through to form a bipolar spot group. The observations that spots forms by coalescence of smaller spots and pores were somehow forgotten. Today, beautiful movies from Hinode and HMI [SDO] remind us all about what we had forgotten, with an additional twist: like magnetic polarity small elements are assembling into bigger and bigger entities which we call sunspots [rather than doing what naive thought would dictate: repel each other] .
    Central to the issue is whether sunspots are shallow surface phenomena [as would be suggested by the coalescence] or deep-rooted visitors from the bottom of the convection zone. Several solar physicists are now reconsidering this problem [e.g. Brandenburg: and Schatten: ] and suggesting that sunspots are surface phenomena. This is also supported by helioseismology. I’m quoting from Brandenburg’s paper: “local helioseismology suggests a picture quite compatible with sunspots being a shallow surface phenomenon (Kosovichev, Duvall, & Scherrer 2000, Kosovichev 2002). The actual sunspot formation might then be the result of convective collapse of magnetic fibrils (Zwaan 1978, Spruit & Zweibel 1979), possibly facilitated by negative turbulent magnetic pressure effects (Kleeorin, Mond, & Rogachevskii 1996) or by an instability (Kitchatinov & Mazur 2000) causing the vertical flux to concentrate into a tube. It should be noted that the picture of shallow sunspots does not necessarily contradict the idea of strong flux tubes rising to the surface. In fact, as the tube rises to the surface, it must eventually undergo catastrophic expansion (Moreno-Insertis, Caligari, & Schussler 1995). This would detach the forming active region and its sunspots from its roots (Schrijver & Title 1999, Schussler 2005), which might then be compatible with the shallow sunspot picture from local sunspot helioseismology.”
    The L&P effect [if real] might then be the result of a change in the process that causes ‘the convective collapse of magnetic fibrils’. We don’t know at this point. I guess that progress must wait for more observations [helioseismology] and general acceptance of the L&P data [so the effect must persist] to make it attractive for people to seriously look into this, i.e. to move the L&P from the fringe into the mainstream.

    That’s a pretty fair admission of the uncertainty of all of solar science theory, and I give Leif big props for making it.
    It means that our theory now enjoys the status of being equally uncertain. However, we have some good correlations with predictive ability, which is more than they have had up until they decided to go with L&P despite its lack of physical basis.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Judith Lean’s reaction:

    [This] “cancelled part of the greenhouse gas warming of the period 2000-2008, causing the net global surface temperature to remain approximately flat — and leading to the big debate of why the Earth hadn’t (been) warming in the past decade,”

    A flashback to what Lean’s employers were saying in 2008

  13. vukcevic says:

    I put a rather aggressive post on WUWT regarding L&P effect, got told off by Anthony, so I decided to eat humble pie and apologise with yet another this time more moderate assessment, which may be worth posting here too.

    REPLY: Vuk, before you start another war of words with Dr. Svalgaard (that we all get really weary of), double check your work. Note the main data points in vertical aggregated columns and the average of those columns. You missed a step. – Anthony

    Point taken, my post was obviously too aggressive and I do apologise.
    I accept ‘L&P effect’ as an important discovery, however I think its importance may be a bit overblown.
    I have reproduced Dr. Svalgaard’s distribution diagram
    vuk - l&p

    and added SSN for each period in the same colours.
    What I see is as SSN moves down slope, solar magnetic field does the same, and as the SSN is picking up in 2011, the magnetic field is moving up in intensity as well. This is indicated with colour arrows on the graph.
    Just my personal observation.

  14. tallbloke says:

    Hi Vuk,
    your graph is a bit difficult to decipher at first. Each of the curves represent the distribution of sunspot magnetic strength over a single year – yes?

  15. orkneylad says:

    Great job Talkbloke 🙂 Now watch the MSM wriggle……

    Sunspots, the Market & the Price of Cornflakes:

  16. vukcevic says:

    It is Dr. S’s diagram,

    I just added the SSN bit with all the arrows, and identified 2011, from the recent records. Unfortunately L.S did not identified individual years, if he did than it would become plainly obvious what is happening.
    I do not whish to cause further confrontation, but if you whish please do ask of him to identify individual years.

  17. lateintheday says:

    Stupid but serious question follows . . .
    I think I’m right in saying there is a possible link between low sunspot activity and large (M or X) class solar flare events. The largest of which can disrupt (destroy?) everyday electrical devices and interrupt grid supply.
    So, in the event we get a few hours warning of a potentially damaging flare – what’s to do. Is there a simple way to protect my beloved MAC? Turn it off and cover it with tin foil or throw a duvet over it?

  18. vukcevic says:

    lateintheday hi
    It is a near DC type magnetic disturbance (like moving magnet in and away) , not electromagnetic field (aka radio or microwave). Aluminium foil or Faraday cage reduces effect somewhat but does not eliminate it.
    If you whish to be absolutely certain have a portable drive regularly updated and you need a mu-metal box ( ) to keep it in all the time (to protect its electronics, while more expensive drives disk is screened). You can’t make one yourself since if bend a sheet of mu-metal it looses its properties (you can glue them together, but not solder). For many years I worked in areas where all floors were lined up with mu-metal to prevent under-floor signal (despite double screening) cables from any external magnetic interference.

  19. tallbloke says:

    Vuk, I tried for you, but to no avail.

    tallbloke says:
    June 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm
    Leif Svalgaard says:
    June 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    tallbloke says:
    June 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm
    You’ve presented it in the way which is the most convincing in support of the L&P hypothesis but won’t supply the information which would enable us to get a more accurate view of the L&P effects consistency or otherwise.

    If it is convincing it is because the data is convincing. Every single year is plotted. The first year in each group is marked.

    I’m going to get a wider variety of colours for your christmas crayon box.

  20. Roy Weiler says:

    Adolfo Giurfa says:
    June 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

    @Roy Weiler …you just gave “them” the idea…:
    let us not form a IPSC (Intergovernmental Panel on Solar Change…
    Though I don´t see clearly how they could sell “solar credits”:-)

    No Solar credits needed, they will charge you for not emitting enough CO2!!

  21. Roy Weiler says:

    “Roy and Tim: OK, my Daily Mirroresque headline is too bold in scientific terms. I’m pitching for some recognition from the mainstream that they should be taking more notice of his work now, along with that of Carl Smith, Geoff Sharp, and dare I say it, that done here at the talkshop.”

    I agree with you Tallbloke recognition is needed, but certainly not in the fashion the IPCC and others have attempted to get it for Global Warming. I just do not want to see the pendulum swing so heavily in the opposite direction, that we then become the things we hate. As we have seen, it is easy to get wrapped up in being right and lose sight of the bigger picture.

    Just my two cents.

  22. vukcevic says:

    At least I’ve got by default the 3 last years, which are now marked on the graph (see above), and there is a tentative indication of a U turn on the magnetic field intensity.
    He ain’t stupid and is well aware of it.
    As I said it may be: ‘a bit of a ‘make hay while the sun shines’ since effect may diminish considerably in the intensity, as solar activity picks up during next year or two’.

  23. tallbloke says:

    Roy: wise words, we must stand by our scientific principles.

    Vuk: That’s if solar activity picks up in the next two years.

  24. Roy Weiler says:

    “Roy: wise words, we must stand by our scientific principles.”

    And this is not an insult to you. Leif and you have really good arguments. The IPCC appears to have (sort of) good arguments. The truth always lies somewhere in between. It could be a combination of events that are determining the “climate” of OUR planet right now.

    I told you I would watch you work with interest. We do not know quite enough to attribute everything right now. PLEASE do not become ‘Them’ in the process! There are things to be learned on both sides, even if “They” are structurally incorrect right now.

    I have seen a whole host of things that can make these things on Earth happen. We are silly to think we know with 100% certainty how they all work. We will learn as long as we keep politics and egos out of the process.

    You are the only one I can appeal too, to keep this in mind. Please do. I am a layman with a tad of scientific training, only you can have the influence to keep the science in science.

    Thank you. 🙂

  25. vukcevic says:

    Vuk: That’s if solar activity picks up in the next two years.
    Highest SIDC weighted SSN daily numbers of just above 80 (NOAA 115+) were reached on 2,3,4 of June. I think there is enough solar capacity to get monthly (non smoothed) to that level sometime within a year.

    ( p.s. the WUWT ban will give me some time to do a bit of writing without the outside destructions. )

  26. tallbloke says:

    Vuk, I just saw what went down on WUWT and you got a raw deal. It’s ugly when Dr Svalgaard starts impugning people who disagree with him by making reference to the writings of psychologists. One of them the same psychologist who is invoked by John Cook and his coterie on a regular basis when describing those whose opinions differ from their own.

    As someone else on that thread commented:
    “I think Leif and his solar scientist counterparts need to take a good hard look in the mirror.”

    Someone else pointed out:
    “From NASA’s Solar Physics Glossary
    Magnetic Field Lines
    Imaginary lines that indicate the strength and direction of a magnetic field. ….. Charged particles move freely along magnetic field lines, but are inhibited by the magnetic force from moving across field lines.

    Chin up and stand proud. You have a voice here.

  27. vukcevic says:

    TB & Co.
    Forget WUWT, it’s only a game.
    Today is amongst the best days of my life. My younger daughter has just (14.30-15.30 pm) successfully completed presentation of her MSc (Master of Science) thesis at Oxford University.
    Onward and forward !

  28. tallbloke says:

    Congrats to your daughter Vuk!
    Pass on our best wishes for a bright future to her.



  29. lateintheday says:

    I’ll add my congrats to that Vuk – chip off the old block by the sound of it.
    Thanks also for the advice re the tin foil or duvet question.

    And Tallbloke – any chance of a dumb questions page for those who, like me, find your blog fascinating but somewhat difficult to understand at times. Well…most of the time actually.
    I suspect that there are quite a few who read your blog, have a question or two, but don’t feel it appropriate to break into the evolving discussions on complex threads.

  30. tallbloke says:

    LITD: Good suggestion. I strive to write clearly, but inevitably find it too time consuming to explain things from first principles each time a topic comes up. We’ll have a thread open to everyone to suggest which topics they want clarifying. I wrote a number of ‘introductory’ posts already, so I’ll think about a permanent page where we can link them from with a title on the top menu bar. Hopefully, others will contribute extra points in comments which I can paste into the articles.

  31. Roger Andrews says:

    Stimulating discussion on the climatic impacts of the forthcoming solar minimum now in progress at RC.

    A couple of excerpts: “a new Maunder Minimum would lead to a cooling of 0.3°C in the year 2100 at most – relative to an expected anthropogenic warming of around 4°C.” And: “It is clear that if a grand minimum were to happen it would be a tremendously exciting opportunity for solar physicists, however it is unlikely to be very exciting for anyone else.”

  32. tallbloke says:

    One to screenshot for the not so distant future I think.

  33. shane says:

    So is Patrick Geryl right about the solar reversal in dec 2012 – with the magnectic field dropping so low?.All this is spooky to say the least ! Thanks.

  34. tallbloke says:

    Hi Shane, and welcome to the talkshop.

    I think the Sun is entering one of its periodic lulls and this has happened many times in recorded history. I personally don’t subscribe to apocalyptic theories. The Sun reverses magnetic poles every 11 years anyway, so nothing dramatic there. Solar cycle 24 is very low, but so were the cycles at the start of the 1800’s. We have been doing some studies which might help explain what is happening, take a look around the site. Here’s a starter: