The heliospheric magnetic flux, solar wind proton flux, and cosmic ray intensity during the coming solar minimum

Posted: September 3, 2014 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, Cycles, Solar physics, solar system dynamics, Uncertainty

An important new(ish) paper from a team including Ken McCracken looks at the likely continuing slowdown in solar activity:

McC-etal-fig3

CharlesW. Smith1,2, K. G. McCracken3, Nathan A. Schwadron1,2, and Molly L. Goelzer2,4
1Physics Department, Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 2Institute for
the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA, 3Institute of Physical
Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA, 4Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA

Abstract
Recent papers have linked the heliospheric magnetic flux to the sunspot cycle with good
correlation observed between prediction and observation. Other papers have shown a strong correlation
between magnetic flux and solar wind proton flux from coronal holes. We combine these efforts with
an expectation that the sunspot activity of the approaching solar minimum will resemble the Dalton or
Gleissberg Minimum and predict that the magnetic flux and solar wind proton flux over the coming decade
will be lower than at any time during the space age. Using these predictions and established theory, we
also predict record high galactic cosmic ray intensities over the same years. The analysis shown here is a
prediction of global space climate change within which space weather operates. It predicts a new parameter
regime for the transient space weather behavior that can be expected during the coming decade.

1. Introduction
The past 10 years of solar and solar wind observations have shown a trend that is unique in the space age.
After a relatively normal level of solar activity during the solar maximum of 1998 through 2004, approximately,
the Sun entered a protracted solar minimum phase with greatly reduced activity lasting longer than
recent solar minima of the past 50 years. Smith and Balogh [2008] showed that the heliospheric magnetic
field (HMF) reached record low values at both high and low latitudes. Connick et al. [2009, 2011] confirmed
that the injection of magnetic flux in the form of helical fields was nearly zero during this time and showed
that the HMF flux fell steadily during the years 2005 to 2010 until solar activity resumed. McComas et al.
[2008, 2013] showed that the solar wind proton flux was also greatly reduced during the solar minimum
years. While both the solar wind speed and proton density experienced a significant reduction during the
recent solar minimum, it was the reduction of the density that dominates the reduced proton flux results.
At the same time neutron monitor counting rates hit record levels [Oh et al., 2013]. The resumption of solar
activity in the form of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from 2010 to 2013 was relatively weak, as was the
sunspot number, resulting in the weakest solar maximum of the space age. HMF intensities failed to reach
the levels of the previous solar maximum.
Barnard et al. [2011] have previously provided an “analogue” prediction for future solar activity and its
impacts on space weather. Their approach was to use the paleo-cosmic radiation (10Be and 14C) data of the
past to estimate the probability of various levels of solar activity in the future. By way of contrast, this paper
provides a “real-time” prediction methodology. Throughout the space age, the observed data have been
used to develop several models of the interdependence of solar and heliospheric quantities. Our methodology
uses those models to predict three important features of space weather using data inputs up to the
present date, together with projected sunspot numbers for the next 10 years. This methodology has the
advantage that it yields quantitative estimates of the space weather in the immediate future and that it can
be updated on a year-to-year basis.

We contend that the pattern seen in the past 10 years of sunspot and HMF intensity strongly resembles the
Dalton (Grand) and Gleissberg Minima [Clilverd et al., 2006; Watari, 2008; Turner, 2011; Kamide and Kusano,
2013; Goelzer et al., 2013; McCracken and Beer, 2014]. We compare the recent protracted solar minimum
and the relatively weak solar maximum that followed to past epochs of low solar activity levels and use the Dalton and Gleissberg Minima as
likely proxies for the solar activity that is to come in the next decade. With this assertion and three published theories we can predict the average HMF flux and solar wind proton flux for the coming decade, and from those predictions we can predict the galactic cosmic ray intensity. The first theory [Schwadron et al., 2010] links heliospheric magnetic flux to sunspot number. The Dalton and Gleissberg Minima sunspot numbers then give us the HMF flux. The second theory [Schwadron and McComas, 2008] then provides a prediction for the solar wind proton flux in terms of the
HMF flux. From these we can use the third theory [Caballero-Lopez et al., 2004; McCracken, 2007] to derive a
prediction for the galactic cosmic ray intensity over the same period. In the interest of brevity, we present
only the results of our methodology as the theories and their tests are already published elsewhere.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    It’s hard to believe the slowdown in solar activity discussed in this paper won’t have the same effect as similar previous periods i.e. a clear downward trend to global temperatures.

    This makes recent [31/08/14] headlines like this one all the more questionable:
    ‘No more pause: Warming will be non-stop from now on’

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26122-no-more-pause-warming-will-be-nonstop-from-now-on.html

    The data is bound to prove somebody wrong in the next few years.

  2. Bob Weber says:

    Solar activity in the upcoming decade will absolutely clarify the Sun’s climate impact.

  3. Tenuc says:

    If we do get a prolonged solar minima, for example like the Maunder, we will be able to observe how the solar system and our tiny planet are effected. What a great time this could be for both solar and climate science – maybe physics too.

  4. Alan Poirier says:

    Yes, in a perverse and truly ironic way, the coming downturn in solar activity, long predicted by Landscheidt, comes at a good time. It will settle the argument and hopefully save us from wasting billions of dollars more on a non-existent problem.

  5. THE CRITERIA

    Solar Flux avg. sub 90

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

    Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

    The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005..

    IF , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

    The decline in temperatures should begin to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24.

    This what I think we could get down to and sustained at for a sufficient length of time which will result in a climate impact.

  6. correction solar irradiance off by.15% not .015% [amended – mod]

  7. Gerry Pease says:

    There are indications of similar solar activity preceding the Maunder Minimum, but the observational record is probably too low quality to obtain a definitive comparison with the activity preceding the Dalton and Gleissberg minima:

    Click to access WG1_Arlt.pdf

  8. Stephen Richards says:

    These people have no idea about what the sun will do in the future in the same way that Lockwood et al failed to predict cycle 24 downturn.

    Their best guesses come after the cycle’s minimum and about a third of the way toward the max.

    I’ll just wait and see, me thinks.

  9. tallbloke says:

    Stephen R: McCracken has satisfied himself that the solar-planetary theory we have been working on here at the talkshop for the last 4 years is likely correct, and this gives us an edge over the mainstream solar physicists in predicting solar activity further into the future than they can.

    See our discussion of his previous paper (which he came over here to join in on).
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/mccracken-beer-steinhilber-evidence-for-planetary-forcing-of-the-cosmic-ray-intensity-and-solar-activity-throughout-the-past-9400-years/

    We will have the last laugh over the clowns who axed our journal eventually.

  10. Brian H says:

    Jeez, two camps, each hoping for a disaster: catastrophic warming, or disastrous cooling. Let’s split the difference, K?

    ;p

  11. tchannon says:

    An article in draft here is going to cover an allied matter, in a way complementary. This deals with the two official extrapolations and shows one of them is highly dubious.

  12. I think how dramatic a climate effect may or may not be depends on how the candidates for climate change phase together. Also the circumstances at the time they phase together.

    Those candidates for my two cents worth being

    solar variability and primary and associated secondary effects

    strength of the earth’s magnetic field which will moderate solar effects

    initial state of the climate -how close to threshold climate is from glacial versus inter-glacial conditions
    which will greatly moderate GIVEN solar effects and earth magnetic field effects

    milankovitch cycles where is earth in reference to these cycles.

    Another factor which is sort of way out is what is the concentration of galactic cosmic rays in the vicinity of the earth (within 6 light years) when solar effects/ geomagnetic effects may be taking place. This might have a moderating effect on their effectiveness.

    Geographical positions of land versus oceans and the ice dynamic at the time.

  13. ren says:

    “Voyager 1 has explored the solar wind-interstellar medium interaction region between the terminal shock and heliopause following the intensity distribution of galactic cosmic ray protons above 200 MeV energy. Before this component reached the galactic level at 121.7 AU, 4 episodes of rapid intensity change occured similar to the Forbush Decreases found near the sun, rather than the expected result of models related to those describing Long Term Modulation in the inner solar system. Because the mean solar wind flow is both expected and observed to be perpendicular to the radial direction close to the heliopause, explanation is given in terms of transient radial flows related to possible heliopause boundary flapping. It is necessary that radial flows are at the sound speed found for conditions downstream of the teminal shock and that the relevant perpendicular cosmic ray diffusion is controlled by ‘slab’ field fluctuations accounting for 20 percent or less of the total power in field variance. However, additional radial drift motion related to possible north to south gradients in the magnetic field may allow the inclusion of some diffusion according to 2-D turbulence theory. The required field gradients may arise due to variation in the field carried by the solar plasma deflected away from the solar equatorial plane. Modulation amounting to a total 30 percent drop in galactic intensity requires explanation by a combination of several transient episodes.”
    https://scirate.com/arxiv/physics.space-ph

  14. ren says: September 6, 2014 at 9:13 am

    “Voyager 1 has explored the solar wind-interstellar medium interaction region between the terminal shock and heliopause following the intensity distribution of galactic cosmic ray protons above 200 MeV energy. Before this component reached the galactic level at 121.7 AU, 4 episodes of rapid intensity change occured similar to the Forbush Decreases found near the sun, rather than the expected result of models related to those describing Long Term Modulation in the inner solar system. Because the mean solar wind flow is both expected and observed to be perpendicular to the radial direction close to the heliopause, explanation is given in terms of transient radial flows related to possible heliopause boundary flapping. It is necessary that radial flows are at the sound speed found for conditions downstream of the teminal shock and that the relevant perpendicular cosmic ray diffusion is controlled by ‘slab’ field fluctuations accounting for 20 percent or less of the total power in field variance. However, additional radial drift motion related to possible north to south gradients in the magnetic field may allow the inclusion of some diffusion according to 2-D turbulence theory. The required field gradients may arise due to variation in the field carried by the solar plasma deflected away from the solar equatorial plane. Modulation amounting to a total 30 percent drop in galactic intensity requires explanation by a combination of several transient episodes.”

    https://scirate.com/arxiv/physics.space-ph

    ren,
    This is all interesting but barely compresensible by mear earthlings. Is there anything in your expose that confirms or denies the ClimAstrologist claim, that increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, must result in increasing Earth surface temperatures?

  15. ren says:

    Self-organization in the Earth climate system versus Milankovitch-Berger astronomical cycles
    Lev A. Maslov
    Jan 21 2014 physics.ao-ph arXiv:1401.4652v3
    Scite!0 PDF
    The Late Pleistocene Antarctic temperature variation curve is decomposed into two parts: cyclic and stochastic. These two parts represent different but tightly interconnected processes and also represent two different types of self-organization of the Earth climate system. The self-organization in the cyclic component is the non-linear auto-oscillation reaction of the Earth climate system, as a whole, to the input of solar radiation. The self-organization in the stochastic component is a nonlinear critical process, taking energy from, and fluctuating around the cyclic component of the temperature variations. The system of ODEs is written to model the cyclic part of the temperature variation, and the multifractal spectrum of the stochastic part of the temperature variation is calculated. The Earth climate can be characterized as an open, complex, self-organized dynamical system with nonlinear reaction to the input of solar radiation.

  16. ren says:

    Will Janoschka if the effect of CO2 is strong, then only you can be happy against cold perspectives
    (Milankovitch-Berger).

  17. ren says:

    Will Janoschka
    Do you think that this CO2 causes changes in the polar vortex at an altitude of about 30 km?

  18. ren says: September 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Self-organization in the Earth climate system versus Milankovitch-Berger astronomical cycles
    Lev A. MaslovJan 21 2014 physics.ao-ph arXiv:1401.4652v3
    Scite!0 PDF
    The Late Pleistocene Antarctic temperature variation curve is decomposed into two parts: cyclic and stochastic. These two parts represent different but tightly interconnected processes and also represent two different types of self-organization of the Earth climate system. The self-organization in the cyclic component is the non-linear auto-oscillation reaction of the Earth climate system, as a whole, to the input of solar radiation. The self-organization in the stochastic component is a nonlinear critical process, taking energy from, and fluctuating around the cyclic component of the temperature variations. The system of ODEs is written to model the cyclic part of the temperature variation, and the multifractal spectrum of the stochastic part of the temperature variation is calculated. The Earth climate can be characterized as an open, complex, self-organized dynamical system with nonlinear reaction to the input of solar radiation.

    Nice, I can go with that!! What about the claim of the ClimAstrologists that increasing atmospheric CO2, can fuck up your self-organized dynamical system with nonlinear reaction to the input of solar radiation.

  19. ren says:

    Will Janoschka
    look at the changes in temperature over the Antarctic Circle. Are not they depend closely on solar radiation and solar activity?

  20. ren says:

    Sorry, this is ANTARCTIC CIRCLE. [amended]

  21. ren says:

    So can be disposed pressure in the north. Already you can see the vortex breakdown in the two centers. One over Canada, the other over Siberia. According to the magnetic field.

  22. ren says:

    Oldbrew the temperature of the oceans must fall. Evidenced by the small number of hurricanes, which are a natural temperature regulator.

    [reply] OK – another prediction there

  23. ren says: September 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Will Janoschka “look at the changes in temperature over the Arctic Circle. Are not they depend closely on solar radiation and solar activity?”

    They do depend on, and show lovely results of what is!

    My claim is only that level of atmospheric CO2 has little or nothing to do with what surface temperature is!

  24. Ren,
    above is your 16600 isosomething covering mid america to panama, WTF does that mean to mear earthlings?

  25. From Ren

    The Earth’s climate can be characterized as an open, complex, self-organized dynamical system with nonlinear reaction to the input of solar radiation.

    In addition I might add there are solar parameter values that will likely make the climate react in a given trend either warmer or cooler but as I had indicated in my earlier post the given solar changes have to be weighed against the initial state of the climate(how close to glacial/interglacial threshold /ice dynamic), the earth’s magnetic field strength and where the earth is in reference to Milankovitch Cycles, and land/ocean arrangements.

    Depending on these circumstances and how they phase will give the given climate result. This is why the result can be highly different with given solar conditions or variability in my opinion.

    Right now I think the climate is vulnerable to cooling due to solar variability because the land /ocean arrangements are highly favorable ,Milankovitch Cycles are on balance favorable, the earth’s magnetic field is in a trend (weakening ) which will make it more favorable and the state of the climate although not near threshold inter-glacial/glacial conditions is not so entrenched in an interglacial state that it can not be subject to change especially when one factors in the land/ocean present arrangements.

  26. [POES auroral activity level October 2009 – December 2012]
    [Solar polar fields vs solar cycles – updated September 6, 2014]

    Solar polar fields not responding as usual in my opinion. Ren do you have any commentary on this?

  27. ren says:

    Salvatore Del Prete, I agree with you 100%. The magnetic field of the sun surprise us. That will prolong the cycle is clear.

  28. ren says:

    Oldbrew
    Why do hurricanes form now in the region of the Gulf of Mexico, and not over the open Atlantic? Just compare the temperature of the ocean surface.

  29. ren says:

    The angle of the Earth’s axial tilt (obliquity of the ecliptic) varies with respect to the plane of the Earth’s orbit. These slow 2.4° obliquity variations are roughly periodic, taking approximately 41,000 years to shift between a tilt of 22.1° and 24.5° and back again. When the obliquity increases, the amplitude of the seasonal cycle in insolation increases, with summers in both hemispheres receiving more radiative flux from the Sun, and winters less. Conversely, when the obliquity decreases, summers receive less insolation and winters more.

    But these changes of opposite sign in summer and winter are not of the same magnitude everywhere on the Earth’s surface. At high latitude the annual mean insolation increases with increasing obliquity, while lower latitudes experience a reduction in insolation. Cooler summers are suspected of encouraging the onset of an ice age by melting less of the previous winter’s precipitation. Because most of the planet’s snow and ice lies at high latitude, it can be argued that lower obliquity favors ice ages for two reasons: the reduction in overall summer insolation and the additional reduction in mean insolation at high latitude.

    Scientists using computer models to study more extreme tilts than those that actually occur have concluded that climate extremes at high obliquity would be particularly threatening to advanced forms of life that presently exist on Earth. They noted that high obliquity would not likely sterilize a planet completely, but would make it harder for fragile, warm-blooded land-based life to thrive as it does today.[7]

    Currently the Earth is tilted at 23.44 degrees from its orbital plane, roughly halfway between its extreme values. The tilt is in the decreasing phase of its cycle, and will reach its minimum value around the year 11,800 CE ; the last maximum was reached in 8,700 BCE. This trend in forcing, by itself, tends to make winters warmer and summers colder (i.e. milder seasons), as well as cause an overall cooling trend.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

  30. oldbrew says:

    ren says: September 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Looks like sea surface temps over 30C mean trouble 😉

  31. ren says:

    The relative increase in solar irradiation at closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) compared to the irradiation at the furthest distance (aphelion) is slightly larger than four times the eccentricity. For the current orbital eccentricity this amounts to a variation in incoming solar radiation of about 6.8%, while the current difference between perihelion and aphelion is only 3.4% (5.1 million km). Perihelion presently occurs around January 3, while aphelion is around July 4. When the orbit is at its most elliptical, the amount of solar radiation at perihelion will be about 23% more than at aphelion.

  32. ren says:

    The effects of these variations are primarily believed to be due to variations in the intensity of solar radiation upon various parts of the globe. Observations show climate behavior is much more intense than the calculated variations. Various internal characteristics of climate systems are believed to be sensitive to the insolation changes, causing amplification (positive feedback) and damping responses (negative feedback).

  33. oldbrew says:

    ‘The precession rate is not a constant, but is (at the moment) slowly increasing over time’

    Nobody knows if/when it will stop increasing AFAIK. The implication of that seems to be that the mechanism is not fully understood.

  34. Less tilt, less eccentricity of orbit , precession- aphelion occurring during N.H. summer all make for a colder climate.

    What they all do is make for warmer winters and cooler summers which is what is needed for cooling.

  35. Correction– I think for Milankovitch Cycles favor ice ages when the following conditions exist:

    Less tilt, greater eccentricity in earth’s orbit when aphelion(precession) occurs during N.H. summer

    This combination would make for coolest N.H. summers.