Archive for August, 2011

Contributor ‘Green Sand’ on WUWT offers this useful page on the Met Office site:

Where I grabbed a couple of graphs of annual sunshine hours and annual max temp for the UK:


Some background –

Willis Eschenbach had a guest posting over at WUWT in which he claimed that LWIR could heat Earth’s oceans. Myself and several others on the thread contended that this LWIR was likely to be stopped by the evaporative skin layer and would not slow the exit of heat from the oceans. Numerous requests for empirical evidence to support Willis’s claim only resulted in one inapplicable study used by the “Hockey Team” to support such claims. After several hundred comments without empirical evidence being offered, I gave up reading and designed and conducted an empirical experiment that shows that any effect of backscattered LWIR on the cooling rate of water would be negligible.


This is a quick pointer to news about the CERN CLOUD experiment.

Others have more time to do the topic justice.


Thanks to Tenuc for pointing out the [above] from Nigel Calder’s blog

As some others are saying, don’t go assuming too much just yet.

A good thread on WUWT containing many pointers to elsewhere.

I might add more later.

Delve into Hadcrut at the poles

Posted: August 21, 2011 by tchannon in climate

Figure 1

A previous post was about UAH lower troposphere and polar temperatures, so it is logical to look at Hadcrut3 in the same way.


Emerging sunspots

Posted: August 19, 2011 by tchannon in Solar physics

Figure 1

A new paper (18th Aug) has been published in Science. “Detection of Emerging Sunspot Regions in the Solar Interior” — Stathis Ilonidis*, Junwei Zhao, Alexander Kosovichev from Stanford


Much more information is in the Stanford press release

Polar temperature change during satellite era

Posted: August 18, 2011 by tchannon in climate



Figure 1

A minor fuss has errupted over ERA40 reanalysis data at Arctic latitudes so I thought it would be useful to post how I see some of the data.

[EDIT: SERIOUS ERROR CORRECTED, untested software, mistake by me, had an incorrect weighted mean showing a grossly small temperature range]

WUWT article

This pair of plots were produced here from gridded data for circles +70 latitude to the poles. UAH data does provide what seems reasonable data. Data to July 2011.


Solar cycle 24 is close to peak

Posted: August 13, 2011 by tchannon in Solar physics

Figure 1

Official version here as gif

I have plotted scaled square root ssn with the Sheet data. This suggests solar cycle 24 is already approaching maximum, the Sheet data nearing 70 degrees tilt.


Wikipedia says:
Small body orbiting a central body
In astrodynamics the orbital period T\, (in seconds) of a small body orbiting a central body in a circular or elliptic orbit is:

T = 2\pi\sqrt{a^3/\mu}


Note that for all ellipses with a given semi-major axis the orbital period is the same, regardless of eccentricity.


When the Sun was young the ‘solar wind’ was much stronger than it is now. So strong that it added large amounts of matter to the proto-planets orbiting it. The loss of such substantial amounts of material from the Sun reduced it’s angular momentum, and increased that of the planets. This created a ‘spin-orbit coupling’ between the Sun and its orbiting planets determining the eventual spin rate of the Sun and the mass and orbital distances of the planets. The strong solar wind pushed the planets out to the distances where the attraction of gravity overcame the strength of the radiant emission from the Sun.


From Wikipedia

A number of effects in our solar system cause the perihelions of planets to precess (rotate) around the sun. The principle cause is the presence of other planets which perturb each other’s orbit. Another (much more minor) effect is solar oblateness.

Mercury deviates from the precession predicted from these Newtonian effects. This anomalous rate of precession of the perihelion of Mercury’s orbit was first recognized in 1859 as a problem in celestial mechanics, by Urbain Le Verrier. His re-analysis of available timed observations of transits of Mercury over the Sun’s disk from 1697 to 1848 showed that the actual rate of the precession disagreed from that predicted from Newton’s theory by 38″ (arc seconds) per tropical century (later re-estimated at 43″).[2] A number of ad hoc and ultimately unsuccessful solutions were proposed, but they tended to introduce more problems. In general relativity, this remaining precession, or change of orientation of the orbital ellipse within its orbital plane, is explained by gravitation being mediated by the curvature of spacetime. Einstein showed that general relativity[1]agrees closely with the observed amount of perihelion shift. This was a powerful factor motivating the adoption of general relativity.


Did le Verrier correctly calculate the amount of precession of Mercury’s perihelion due to the perturbation of its orbit by the other planets?  As you can see from the table below, Einstein’s relativity theory plugs the gap between the observed precession and that calculated from Newtonian theory.


We have found really good evidence that the orbits of planets  are intimately linked with the solar cycle and influence solar activity levels. Jupiter and Saturn are the two biggest planets in the solar system. They both have strong magnetospheres which exhibit immense aurorae at their poles. Their orbital distances and velocities are such that the timings generated by their interaction match timings derived from spectrographic analysis of the Sun’s activity as demonstrated below. What is the probability that these relationships are due to mere chance or coincidence? In our view – vanishingly small. So are we claiming that the planets cause the Sun’s activity cycles? We believe this is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is:

What are the feedback mechanisms which bring about these relationships,  how are they maintained, and what is their physical basis?

But first things first, what have we found?

Over on Bart’s thread, we’ve been looking at a Power Spectral Density (PSD) analysis of the Sunspot data from 1749. After the application of some clever signal processing techniques, Bart says:

The sunspot count appears to reflect the energy of these combined processes at around 20 and 23.6 years, which necessarily has apparent periods of 0.5*T1, 0.5*T2, T1*T2/(T2+T1), and T1*T2/(T2-T1) years, or 10 years, 11.8 years, 10.8 years, and 131 years.


Danger, protons , three CME !

H/T Michele Casati

Image courtesy of


August 5th is launch day for a new NASA probe; Juno.

Earth Sky has the full story

Juno will achieve mission science goals with a spinning, solar-powered spacecraft that’ll go into a unique polar orbit around Jupiter, one whose perijove – or closest point to Jupiter – is extremely close. From this close vantage point on the largest planet in our solar system, scientists will conduct two key experiments designed to understand Jupiter’s origin. Bolton said that what scientists want to know is how much water lies inside Jupiter, and to get that they’ll measure the abundance of oxygen they find.

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe and in the sun. So it’s a big missing piece if we don’t understand it.

The second experiment will determine whether Jupiter has a core of heavy elements at the center, or whether it’s just gas all the way down. “So Juno’s prepared to constrain those questions and provide the answers so that we can discriminate among models of how Jupiter formed and what the history of our early solar system was,” said Bolton.



Figure 4 in paper

Secular variation of hemispheric phase differences in the solar cycle

N.V. Zolotova, D.I. Ponyavin, R. Arlt2, and I. Tuominen

Published online 2010 Oct 1

We investigate the phase difference of the sunspot cycles in the two hemispheres and compare it with the latitudinal sunspot distribution. If the north-south phase difference exhibits a long-term tendency, it should not be regarded as a stochastic phenomenon. We use datasets of historical sunspot records and drawings made by Staudacher, Hamilton, Gimingham, Carrington, Spörer, and Greenwich observers, as well as the sunspot activity during the Maunder minimum reconstructed by Ribes and Nesme-Ribes. We employ cross-recurrence plots to analyse north-south phase differences. We show that during the last 300 years, the persistence of phase-leading in one of the hemispheres exhibits a secular variation. Changes from one hemisphere to the other leading in phase were registered near 1928 and 1968 as well as two historical ones near 1783 and 1875. A long-term anticorrelation between the hemispheric phase differences in the sunspot cycles and the latitudinal distribution of sunspots was traced since 1750.

tallbloke says:
August 1, 2011 at 11:29 am
Leif Svalgaard says:
August 1, 2011 at 6:50 am
Newton’s laws are universal, it doesn’t matter if the stuff is in bulk or is just an atom. To obtain the gravity from a piece [or effect] of bulk matter you just sum over the constituents.

You still don’t get it. When we consider the effects of one body exerting gravitation on another, we need to consider not only the “bulk of the constituents” in mass terms defining how much gravitational pull it exerts but also the Newtonian properties of the material. I pointed out on the Loehle and Scafetta thread That:
“Newton knew his equations of motion and kinematics applied to idealised bodies with perfect elasticity. The Sun is not a perfectly elastic body, the layer which we see has differential speeds of rotation which vary both from each other and with respect to time. There are peer reviewed papers in the literature which empirically derive a linkage between the variations in the speed of rotation of various latitudinal bands and the motion of the Sun with respect to the SSB. These observations are indicative of a spin-orbit coupling caused by planetary motion.”

You responded with this:
“The Sun is a gas and Newton’s law apply to every atom of the gas.” and this:
“BTW, I don’t think you know what ‘elastic’ means.
“In physics, elasticity is the physical property of a material that returns to its original shape after the stress (e.g. external forces) that made it deform or distort is removed.”
Since the Sun is a gas, when you remove any stress it will revert to its original spherical shape, so it is perfectly elastic.


Here’s an old 1989 article from New Scientist showing a correlation between the ‘double sunspot cycle’ – the Hale cycle, and night time marine air temperatures in the southern hemisphere.