M Vukcevic: Apparent relations between solar magnetic cycle, lunar nodal cycle, and ocean surface temperature

Posted: September 22, 2012 by tallbloke in Cycles, data, Ocean dynamics, solar system dynamics

Our good friend Vukcevic has just posted on a WUWT open thread this spectral analysis of the signed sunspot cycle (solar magnetic cycle) compared to land and sea surface temperature, and the Earth’s geomagnetism. I trust he will be along to explain a little further.

 

The red arrow specifies the length of the 18.6 year Lunar nodal cycle.

Vuk offers a possible explanation:

vukcevic says:

This is controversial, highly speculative, possible coincidence, so if any of this is not ‘your cup of tee’ then stop reading here and go to the next person’s comment.
I keep telling myself ‘don’t believe in coincidences, there must be reason for what we observe’.
Some time ago I plotted this graph of various spectral responses:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GSOa.htm
What is unusual here is the spectrum of the ‘Solar Magnetic Cycle’, which is derived from sunspot cycle (odd cycles negative polarity, even cycles positive polarity).
There is the obvious peak at just under 22 years as expected, and again as expected 11 year peak has disappeared.
Problem is the second strongest peak around 18.5 years. Some will recognize this as a luni-solar cycle, very prominent and important in the sea and ocean tides (induces an extra variability of about 7%).
Since moon can not affect sunspot count, question is what is going on here. There is only one possible explanation (excluding sunspot observers mental capacity, being affected by lunar phases) which I put as following:
Sunspot count is affected by the size of a sunspot (larger spots are given higher weighting).
If luni-solar cycles cause hydrosphere tidal distortions it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect same effect on the atmosphere, this could cause kind of ‘lensing’ effect combined with the observing telescope optics resulting in all sunspots appearing a bit larger then normal, enhancing the sunspot count.
This may be totally irrelevant to solar max-min numbers, but may not be irrelevant to the climatic events if the Earth’s atmosphere is pulsating to the tune with 18.5 year period to an extent of 7% of its density. This would not be observed in the atmospheric pressure measurements since column of the air at the ‘high tide’ would increase its height but reduce its density, unlike water which is not ‘stretchable’ .

Comments
  1. vukcevic says:

    Luni-solar tidal oscillations (helpful) illustration you can find here ftp://ftp.flaterco.com/xtide/tidal_datums_and_their_applications.pdf
    page10

  2. vukcevic says:

    Rog put forward an alternative explanation (I admit I didn’ think of it)
    another possibility is that the Moon is semi synchronized with planetary motions which are in turn synchronised with solar activity cycles.

    There is also tenuous possibility ‘magnetosphere effect with its solar link’ on synchronizing the lunar orbit, but I have no idea how it could work, so Roger’s alternative appears to be preferable.
    A magnetic tail or magnetotail is formed by pressure from the solar wind on a planet’s magnetosphere. The magnetotail can extend great distances away from its originating planet. Earth’s magnetic tail extends at least 200 Earth radii in the anti-sunward direction well beyond the orbit of the Moon at about 60 Earth radii, while Jupiter’s magnetic tail extends beyond the orbit of Saturn. On occasion Saturn is immersed inside the Jovian magnetosphere.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetosphere#Magnetic_tails

  3. tallbloke says:

    Vuk:
    I think this plot helps us understand the 66 year AMO cycle.
    If the periodicity of the ocean data is at the Hale cycle frequency, then one solar polarity is more effective than the other in terms of adding heat to the Earth envelope.

    In which case, the ‘positive’ 33 year period will have two more effective and one less effective cycle and the ‘negative 33 year phase will have two less effective and one more effective cycle.

    I’ve been saying this for a while, but your plot strengthens the idea I think.

  4. vukcevic says:

    The Moon takes 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.6 seconds or 27.3216 days to orbit the Earth
    Richard Christopher Carrington determined the solar rotation rate from low latitude sunspots in the 1850s and arrived at 25.38 days for the sidereal rotation period. Sidereal rotation is measured relative to the stars, but because the Earth is orbiting the Sun, we see this period as 27.2753 days.
    Coincidence ?
    May be not if magnetosphere synchronizes the lunar orbit. Sun has bump in its magnetic distribution as depicted here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC7.htm
    which will point towards the earth every 27.27 days. On those occasions moon could be partially shielded from the solar wind by the magnetosphere.
    Perhaps moon doesn’t like to be pushed around by solar wind, so every 27 days it tries to hide in the Earth’s magnetic shadow. This would work best at the luni-solar node.
    Too much speculation!

  5. adolfogiurfa says:

    Vuk: If anyone speaks of “magnetosphere” or anything magnetic it cannot be separated from electricity, from electrical currents, because both go together at 90º. Then if our Sun is considered a cathode relative to the Earth, our Moon is “ground” relative to Earth. Of course this is blasphemous, but we can risk inquisition without any fear. There is traditional knowledge about this…..but this is too much.

  6. tjfolkerts says:

    “If luni-solar cycles cause hydrosphere tidal distortions it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect same effect on the atmosphere, this could cause kind of ‘lensing’ effect combined with the observing telescope optics resulting in all sunspots appearing a bit larger then normal, enhancing the sunspot count.”

    That was good for a laugh!

    Yes. It would be unreasonable to expect such a thing, for so many reasons!

    I might imagine some sort of effects from the moon, but this is NOT it!

    “Richard Christopher Carrington determined the solar rotation rate from low latitude sunspots in the 1850s and arrived at 25.38 days for the sidereal rotation period. Sidereal rotation is measured relative to the stars, but because the Earth is orbiting the Sun, we see this period as 27.2753 days.
    Coincidence ?

    Yes, coincidence!
    1) The sun’s rotation varies by latitude — from ~ 24 days at the equator to ~ 36 days at the poles. There is nothing special about the one latitude where the period matches the moon’s orbit.
    2) The moon is slowly drifting farther from the earth, and the period is getting correspondingly longer. A billion years ago the period was significantly less than today. A billion years from now, the period will be period significantly longer than today.

  7. tchannon says:

    As yet I don’t subscribe to the lunisolar idea.

    An alternate answer.

    A dominant and definite period is the primary solar system gravitational period of just over 18.6 years. I suggest the data available is not good enough to be able to distinguish between the two.

    I also suggest the moon is very gradually being captured by the slightly longer gravitational period.

    None of the above suggests the gravitational period is more important than the moon for earth.

    (can’t remember the period, 19.8y?)

  8. Paul Vaughan says:

    For a threshold of 2 weeks tolerance, Chandler wobble alignments with the terrestrial year occasionally occur at 13 year intervals but more often occur at 32 year intervals.

    For a threshold of 2 weeks tolerance, Quasibiennial Oscillation (QBO) alignments with the terrestrial year sometimes occur at 45 year intervals and sometimes occur at 64 year intervals.

    Tsonis’ climate index network synchronization episodes show TIGHT coherence with the solar Hale cycle. The amplitude of the integral of the Indian Ocean Dipole also shows tight coherence with the solar Hale cycle.

    Most conventional data exploration methods are ill-equipped to see the preceding due to the trouble ENSO causes them. They’re not built to be able to “see through” something like ENSO. This has held solar & climate science back and caused “experts” to make confident assertions that are false.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Tim: 19.86 years=Jupiter-Saturn synodic cycle.
    As I recall, the generally accepted theory is that the Moon is gradually receding from Earth as the friction caused by its tidal effect slows Earth down. This is a spin-orbit coupling. However, LOD changes show that Earth both slows down and speeds up in a long term pattern which matches the solar barycentric motion. Until we have accurate observations over a longer period, we can’t be sure we understand what is going on here. Tim F’s arguments by assertion are not well supported.
    Ian Wilson wrote a great paper on the relationship between the Lunar orbit and the solar barycentric motion (mostly caused by Jup/Sat):
    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/synchronization-between-solar-inertial.html
    This article of his is worth a look too
    http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/simple-model-for-186-year-atmospheric.html

    Both these articles are linked in this recent thread which got lost in the flow:
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ian-wilson-lod-precip-temperature-and-atmospheric-angular-momentum/

  10. vukcevic says:

    tjfolkerts
    Thanks for your remarks
    operative word is speculation = contemplation or consideration of a subject.
    however:
    Gravity acts on the atmosphere since the atmosphere also has a mass.
    Observe subjective impression of the moon’s size at the zenith and at the horizon
    Carrington number is not a single latitude, it is an average of a belt near equator, where the majority of solar activity takes place during the solar max, when the effect on the earth’s magnetosphere is the strongest. Activity at the high latitudes is small or nonexistent.
    And finally for the 18.6 years effect see NOAA’s publication
    ftp://ftp.flaterco.com/xtide/tidal_datums_and_their_applications.pdf
    pages 8, 9, 10.
    And again: operative word was speculation = contemplation or consideration of a subject

  11. vukcevic says:

    tchannon says:
    As yet I don’t subscribe to the lunisolar idea.

    Hi Tim
    II wouldn’t bet on it either. The magnetic cycle was derived from the SIDC annual number (using year of the lowest count as the sign changeover point). This for 24 cycles would not guaranty high enough accuracy to determine 18.6 years.
    However it does look as there is a high probability of something in there. It is obviously a secondary effect, could be a byproduct of observation methods or a more fundamental reason.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Probably time to revisit Brian Tinsley’s work on the global electrical circuit. The Earth’s magnetic field runs one way for a very long time. The Sun’s surface activity switches every ~11 years. Svalgaard notes the reconnection events between the ‘flux tubes’ and the polar atmosphere are more effective at transferring energy when the field is ‘south’. It seems likely to me that whatever that energy does to the chemistry of the upper atmosphere is connected to the sign of the Arctic anomaly and behaviour of the polar vortex.

    That in turn affects the loopiness of the jet streams and the occurrence of blocking highs. And judging by Vuk’s graph that ends up being visible in the SST spectrum.

    Vuk: the apparent size of the moon at the horizon as opposed to zenith is more to do with our perception of size relative to things we recognise. At the horizon, the moon is seen in relation to trees etc, which can be a long way away. If you measure the apparent diameter with some binoculars with graticule marks, you’ll see it doesn’t change with declination.

  13. vukcevic says:

    Tb, I am not very pleased about that.
    Ah well, my illusion has been rudely ‘shattered’, so it’s my brain failing to process information received correctly, while I thought it was in perfectly good working order.

  14. vukcevic says:
    September 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    There is the obvious peak at just under 22 years as expected, and again as expected 11 year peak has disappeared.

    The frequency of the highest peak of the GISS spectra is about 0.04633 years^-1 or ~21.6 years and can be related to a synodic frequency of the triple Jupiter (f = 0.08431703^y-1), Saturn = 0.03394778 y^-1) and Pluto (f = 0.00403746 y^-1).

    F_0.04633 = 0.08431703 – 0.03394779 – 0.00403746

    The red arrow specifies the length of the 18.6 year Lunar nodal cycle.

    Not really. It is placed at ~18.3 years.

    V.

  15. tallbloke says:
    September 23, 2012 at 11:18 am
    If you measure the apparent diameter with some binoculars with graticule marks, you’ll see it doesn’t change with declination.

    http://epod.usra.edu/.a/6a0105371bb32c970b016300292966970d-750wi

    V.

  16. tallbloke says:

    Hi Volker: The average solar cycle length over the GISS period of record is 10.83 years.
    Double that is 21.66 years. Considering that, the match between that and the spectral frequency of the Giss series which you find to be ~21.6, I’m going with the Sun as a primary cause rather than a planetary combination involving the furthest flung moon sized planet in the system.

  17. Paul Vaughan says:

    vukcevic, I’m going to suggest that if you have time & interest, you next break your exploration down by season. Atmospheric shape & circulatory morphology vary dramatically with the seasons, so seasonal information’s vital to sharpening perception & simplifying speculation.


    Cautionary note for everyone: One of the problems that arises from sticking to a single exploratory method is that the method will never see things it can’t see by design. Methodological work can be tremendously tedious, excruciatingly mind-straining, and excessively demanding of time that’s already way beyond overtaxed, but at the end of the day it’s indispensable.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Volker: Nice images. I Wonder what the focal length of the lens is on the ship-horizon shot.

  19. vukcevic says:

    For sunspot count there are two standard telescopes:
    early Wolf 37mm 40x
    later Wolfer 80mm 64x.

    Click to access Reconstruction%20of%20Sunspot%20Number.pdf


    page 41

  20. tchannon says:

    Vuk,
    I’ve looked many ways at producing a magnetic dataset from the optical without ever being satisfied so I expect you are much the same over this problem.

    Not staying in this subject, got to let Rog have his blog back while I continue plodding on the met stations. (fun starts later,most have high res data, tying site features to dataset effects is a hope)

    I have taken five though.

    Producing a pseudo magnetic using previously produced cycle length data for switching original ssn data seemed a fair enough thing to try for a very quick new look. Whack that though some software, see if it separates 18/6/19.8

    What came out is more perplexing, does neither. Very strangely there is a pair with very close amplitude match, very different phase. As a pair this produces a beat pattern with a thought provoking timing. On doing sum/difference, more curious 9.6y and 162y, question might be is 162y really 178y, 9%?
    21.9998304147 20.4171656539 18.1301245416

    The beat peaks look as though they align with alternate activity features, eg. 1790, 1950, etc.
    Phase reversals seem to be everywhere with this stuff.

    I’d pop in a couple of plots but I need to revert some software (hissing sound about kiddies and so called security patches, again)

  21. tallbloke says:
    September 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm
    Hi Volker: The average solar cycle length over the GISS period of record is 10.83 years.
    Double that is 21.66 years. Considering that, the match between that and the spectral frequency of the Giss series which you find to be ~21.6, I’m going with the Sun as a primary cause rather than a planetary combination involving the furthest flung moon sized planet in the system.

    Hi Rog,

    Talking about the dynamics of the sun spot number oscillations there is a specific shifting of the average frequency (f = 11.196 years^-1) since 400 years up to years.

    http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/shift_ssn_comp1.gif (It can be seen that the frequency shift and polarity is coupled to the reconstructed global temperatures.)

    This means that there is no real stable frequency of the sun spot number, and this means that an FFT analysis of the Sun spot spectrum exhibit no clear peak, but a broaden peak also because of the limited numbers of GISS data for the FFT for that time interval.

    There must be a cause for the frequency shift of the Sun spot frequency. One possible reason could be that there is radial mass moving in the Sun that accelerates and deaccelerate the visible surface velocity. I do not know. There is also an effect that the negative frequency shift is coupled to lower Suns spot numbers (3 times in the upper graph).

    Because of the geometry of the Sun the frequency of the stable frequency oscillator is probably an internal Sun process, but the outer process could be related to the outer planets in the solar system.

    A single frequency of without any relation to geometry but a suggested relation to a global temperature frequency of about ~21.6 years is still speculation on twice the time function of the Sun spot number, not more.

    In the GISS specta, but also in the other spectra from hadcrut3 are a lot of FFT analysed peaks which must be related to real nonsinusoid functions in the solar system, if we talk about a connection of the solar system and the global temperatures.

    Occams method is only helpful if all facts are known.

    V.

  22. Paul Vaughan says:

    tchannon (September 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm)
    “Phase reversals seem to be everywhere with this stuff.”

    This is the expected observational evidence that nonuniform spatial dimensions exist. Exploration cannot be sensibly treated as strictly temporal for all geophysical variables. (This is a big part of what makes geophysical time series analysis so interesting.)

    Regards.

  23. tallbloke says:
    September 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    Volker: Nice images. I Wonder what the focal length of the lens is on the ship-horizon shot.

    Rog: If the distance of the fourier plane in the camera to the film is 50 mm, and the length of the film is 36 mm, and the length of the picture on my monitor is 340 mm, then the focal length f is = 340/36 x 50 = ~472 mm.

    The fourier plane is the focus (http://www.volker-doormann.org/images/vh_1978w.jpg),

    The main point is that the vertical angle diameter of the Moon at the horizon depends on the different refractive index n of the air on the top of the moon to the bottom of the moon.

    V.

  24. tallbloke says:

    Volker Says:
    Because of the geometry of the Sun the frequency of the stable frequency oscillator is probably an internal Sun process, but the outer process could be related to the outer planets in the solar system.

    I completely agree that the outer process could be related to the outer planets. Without recourse to Occam, we see that the barycentric path of the Sun (99% dictated by the 4 gas giants) does relate to its activity level. However, although Pluto might well be following a path dictated by the gas giants, and so be in sympathetic relation to solar motion and activity levels too, it is a small (vanishingly small) player in gravitational terms.

    We already determined that the motions of Jupiter and Saturn are intimately related to the spectral peaks found around the solar cycle length in MEM spectragraphic analysis, and these findings were published this year in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics by Nicola Scafetta.

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/jackpot-jupiter-and-saturn-solar-cycle-link-confirmed/
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/bart-modeling-the-historical-sunspot-record-from-planetary-periods/
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/nicola-scafetta-major-new-paper-on-solar-planetary-theory/

  25. vukcevic says:

    Hi Tim
    Thanks for the info. I discussed SSN spectrum with Dr. L.S. and at the time we agreed that it is best to split into 1810 -1910 and then 1910-2010, using non-smoothed monthly numbers from SIDC. This also gives two distinct peaks for each centenary 11.05 and 10.43, with an average of 10.74.
    Then there is also a separate problem: should be this doubled for the magnetic cycle?
    Polar fields data has just about two full cycles, not really long enough to make any definitive statements.
    In final analysis an ‘educated guess’ is the best we can hope for, so I am not going to split any hairs, if lunisolar cycle is 18.6 and solar spectrum shows 18.3 or 18,4 that comes within 1-2%, which is I think is close enough, considering much larger uncertainties in the SSN count.
    To end on a cheerful note, I would happily assume that the authorized SS count persons are more enthusiastic about their numbers at the times of lunisolar nodes, but that is not to say that they are a ‘lunatic’ fringe.
    But who is to say it is not all of us, just look the DJ index since great depression

    from 1928-2000, the average is 18.25.
    Hey, does anyone know when is the next new moon? 🙂

  26. tallbloke says:

    Vuk: Next new moon.
    2012 Oct 15 12:03

    Of more interest in the December new moon which will occur within 9 hours of Perigee at one of the closest approaches of the year.

    Dec 12 23:15 357073 km – N- 9h

    Some spectacular planetary alignments around that time too, and Earth is coming towards perihelion.

    Bring a telescope to the party.
    Tinfoil hats optional.

  27. tallbloke says:

    Volker: Strongly turbulent atmosphere near sunset in the tropics. Full dark Moon rise at my latitude is calmer. But we are straying from Vuk’s point. No-one counts sunspots at sunrise or sunset.

  28. adolfogiurfa says:

    Glenn Miller´s “Moonlight Serenade”:

  29. tallbloke says:
    September 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I completely agree that the outer process could be related to the outer planets. Without recourse to Occam, we see that the barycentric path of the Sun (99% dictated by the 4 gas giants) does relate to its activity level.

    We already determined that the motions of Jupiter and Saturn are intimately related to the spectral peaks found around the solar cycle length in MEM spectragraphic analysis, and these findings were published this year in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics by Nicola Scafetta.

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/jackpot-jupiter-and-saturn-solar-cycle-link-confirmed/

    … Jackpot! Jupiter and Saturn – Solar cycle link confirmed
    Posted: August 5, 2011 by

    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. 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.

    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?
    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.

    The 11.8 year period is very close to 11.86 years, the orbital period of Jupiter.
    The 10 year period is very close to 9.93 years, half the synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

    (Conjunction and opposition of these two planets are both effective tidally)

    So if we hypothesise that these are the two planetary frequencies which are combining to govern the solar cycle, we are left with the 10.8 year period and 131 year period to explain in terms of their appearance in the spectral analysis.

    But our solar physicist disputant Leif Svalgaard says the opposite. He maintains the 10.8 year period is the fundamental oscillation period of the so called ‘Solar Dynamo’ theory still favoured by the mainstream solar scientists, and coupled with the longer period, can then reproduce the periods which only coincidentally tally with the orbits and conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. Both interpretations are equivalent, and so we are left needing more evidence to settle the matter one way or the other.

    There are two major peaks in the FFT spectrum of the sun spot number. One peak is related to a cycle of ~11.2 or (11.196) years, and the other is related to a cycle of 9.93 years.

    No wonder that the strongest peak is related to the Sun spot cycle frequency. But the peak for the cycle of 9,936 years is the tide like function of the couple of Jupiter and Saturn

    F tide = 2 x (0.0843170 – 0.033947788) = 0.100738 years^-1 or 9.9266 years.

    This behaviour is identical to my discovery on the global climate spectra, because of tide like functions of a synodic couple of objects, and NOT the true synodic time function.

    A sun spot frequency of 1/10.8 year^-1 is wrong as the above FFT graph shows.

    V.

  30. tallbloke says:

    Hi Volker. Your Fast Fourier transform is one way of looking at the data. It is not the only way. I suggest you read Bart’s thread which uses the Maximum Entropy Method in order to understand the calculations which were made in the Jupiter Jackpot thread, rather than attempting to falsify our findings with a different spectral analysis technique.

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/bart-modeling-the-historical-sunspot-record-from-planetary-periods/

  31. Tim Cullen says:

    @vukcevic

    I view the Geocorona as an “atmospheric bubble” with a charged surface [probably negatively charged].

    If that is the case then:

    1) Increasing the negative charge in the Solar Wind [and surrounding ambient environment] will tend to compress the Geocorona [“atmospheric bubble”] and compressing the atmosphere increases the temperature.

    2) Increasing the positive charge in the Solar Wind [and surrounding ambient environment] will tend to expand the Geocorona [“atmospheric bubble”] and expanding the atmosphere decreases the temperature.

    Overall, the 22 year magnetic cycle could well influence surface temperatures and the electromagnetic positioning of the jet streams… but there are potentially many “lags” built into the system because charged atmospheric layers tend to “buffer” short term atmospheric compression [or expansion].

    In many ways: all roads lead to Nikolov and Zeller.

  32. Tim Cullen says:

    tjfolkerts says: Yes, coincidence!

    The orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon hang together… so definitely not coincidence… the current Moon orbit should be viewed in the context of “thousands of years” NOT billions.

  33. tallbloke says:

    Tim: Not only do we have charged atmospheric layers but those layers have opposing temperature gradients in them. And when the Stratosphere cools, the lower troposphere warms…

    Hmmm….

  34. tallbloke says:
    September 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm
    Hi Volker. Your Fast Fourier transform is one way of looking at the data. It is not the only way.

    Hi Rog,

    Thank you and off.

    V.

  35. Tim Cullen says:

    Rog:
    For sure… adjacent layers can have different charges… or the same charge… and there are neutral layers… so there are differing rates of compression [attraction] and expansion [repulsion]… this causes a “buffering” effect… but the system can holistically adjust to a new solar wind regime.

  36. tallbloke says:

    Tim, with you. It’s a breathtakingly broad way of looking at the whole system, thank you.

  37. tjfolkerts says:

    I recognize that the piece was speculation. But there is semi-plausible speculation, and then there is wild speculation.

    * The illusion that the moon is bigger near the horizon that near the zenith is just that — an illusion. In fact, the moon is slightly closer at the zenith (by an amount equal to the radius of the earth) so it is actually BIGGER higher in the sky.

    * The atmosphere changes so little and has such a small index of refraction, that it would not make an effective lens, and any small “lens effect” would not change perceptibly due to slightly lunar effects. (You are welcome to come up with any sort of approximate numbers and calculate the magnifying power of the atmosphere. My trained intuition says it will not amount to a hill of beans).

    * If there were changes due to the moon’s gravity, the effect would be most strong during the course of a single month. You are speculating that the monthly effect is small, but some smaller 18 year solar-lunar cycles has a more significant effect.

    * EVEN IF there were a change large enough to make a difference (say 10% variation in sunspot size), then EVERYTHING in the sky would have similar magnification changes — the moon, the sun, the constellations … . If such a large effect occurred, it would be well known and would be accounted for in any observations of the skies.

    * EVEN IF the magnification occurred, the sunspots are estimated relative to the entire sun. The proportion of the area covered by spots will not change if the whole image was magnified.

    So you are speculating about something that really can’t occur, but would be easily accounted for if it did!

    PS. I might believe that the precession of the moon’s orbital nodes (18.5 year period) has something to do with various effects on earth. But this would not be the same sort of “magnification” effect.

  38. vukcevic says:

    TJF
    thanks for the points, nothing really there that most of us haven’t known before.
    Wild speculation, yes I’ll go with that one, you obviously are not familiar with my bloging reputation. I have to go out into ‘undergrowth of science’ to find a new ‘bug’ to let loose on the ‘academia toffs’, and in past I have found one or two.
    I am happy to be many times wrong if only once I come across one little gem.
    On this occasion I would happily assume that the sunspot count officialdom are more enthusiastic about their numbers at the times of lunisolar nodes.

    For the enthusiasts:
    “On the contrary, sometime in the 1940s Max Waldmeier [director of Zurich Observatory] began to weight sunspots such that large spots [not ‘blips’] were counted multiple times [up to 5 depending on the size]. In this way, the sunspot count was artificially inflated due to extra-counting of BIG spots. We should, of course, to maintain continuity with the traditional spot counts, get rid of the double-counting, now that we know about it. Or alternatively inflated the old numbers the same way:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Effect-of-Weighting-on-SSN.pdf
    (WUWT link http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/04/solar-cycle-update-sunspots-down-ap-index-way-down/#comment-853609

  39. CraigM says:

    Would it be worth pumping data from Sudden Stratospheric Warming events into this mix?

    Bob T left some comments and links on the WUWT thread;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/24/evidence-that-stratopsheric-circulation-chnages-drive-ocean-changes-and-thus-climate-changes/

    Just wondering/wildly speculating if any of peaks will pop out i.e. LOD with Vuks work + SSWs?

  40. Paul Vaughan says:

    Something I’ve never considered with intense scrutiny:
    How does local weather impact sunspot recording & records?
    vukcevic, might it be worthwhile to dig up some local weather records from near observatories?
    Also: How is the 18 year power distributed in time? So far you’ve presented a temporally-global summary only. You may be able to refine by orders of magnitude your speculation by looking at the dates of enhanced 18 year power for sunspot records from different observatory locations. It might also be interesting to include sunspot latitude as a variable in your study. Perhaps in the process of exploring all of the proceeding you might avail yourself to discovering something else that you weren’t even looking for.

  41. vukcevic says:

    Hi Paul
    It was originally meant as a ‘tongue in cheek’ post on WUWT, I don’t think there is any ‘mileage’ in it.

  42. Paul Vaughan says:

    I will agree that for sure there’s better mileage to be had elsewhere.

    Keep exploring vukcevic!

    “Runnin’ the thermometer – Yup!
    I got a fever… Are you a believer??”
    “Am I gonna quit? Nice of you to ask, but…
    I’m on track so I’m gonna rap faster”
    — Karmin