Earth proton events as a solar activity measure

Posted: December 4, 2014 by tchannon in Solar physics

A recent Talkshop comment led me to look at a data directory where something tripped a thought

There is an earth affecting proton event dataset running from 1976, named SPE (Solar Proton Event). These are rare and erratic in time.

A very difficult maths problem is pulse density integration, one of the reasons why producing a statistical distribution shape is very hard where the data is sparse and spasmodic.


I’ve faked up  innovated something visual, some kind of meaningful plot. Far from ideal so don’t be misled.

SSN is from SIDC

Taking the natural log of the energy value produces something sane looking, intuitively would be something like that. Added in some missing points for years with no events. Event data is provided to the second via NOAA.

This suggests solar frenetic activity does not follow SSN or radio noise as closely as usually assumed.

I see no reason why earth events are somehow a biased sample whereas trying to find all events without a platform is near impossible: we cannot see the “dark” side of the sun, even today with Stereo not well enough.

Also suggestve is a step up in activity during the 1980s.

The reader is left to ponder. Could upload a spreadsheet or CSV of the crude data decode I used. (good enough)

Ideas on how to do better are welcome. (integrative kernal functions are a bit above my pay scale… I pay to do this stuff, mad)

Post by Tim

  1. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    very interesting and looks like a ten year cycle?

  2. ntesdorf says:

    “I’ve faked up some kind of meaningful plot. Far from ideal so don’t be misled.”
    I was shocked, when I read the first part of this. I thought that it was just what should be said about Michael Mann’s Hockey Shtick! I did not expect to read that on this Site about any Tallbloke post!.

  3. tchannon says:

    Grin, ever seen Mann admit it? Maybe up front is too much except that I am being honest it’s trying to extract something visual from a mess. Alternatives welcome.
    [later: altered the text, was too casual, a double meaning I did not intend]

  4. Bob Weber says:

    SPEs are part of what I call “electric weather events” as they behave electrodynamically, they are part of the electric current of plasma constituents flowing out from the Sun continuously, and they effect weather here in very significant ways, interacting with Earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and electric and magnetic fields. Many “extreme weather events” are caused by such SPEs, etc.

    Your data analysis indicates what many in the space sciences have found over the past several decades, that declining phase SPEs from solar flares and associated CMEs are regularly part of each solar cycle studied to date, obviously related to sunspot activity.

    The SPEs used as you have to illustrate the solar activity cycle is similar to the many studies of geomagnetic measures performed by such well-known scientists as Leif Svalgaard, where he and many others determined the Earthly responses to solar SPEs, CMEs, filament eruptions, and sector boundary crossings, and overall correlated such geomagnetic responses to the solar activity cycle in general.

    Nice confirmation TC.

  5. Paul Vaughan says:

    “A very difficult maths problem is pulse density integration, one of the reasons why producing a statistical distribution shape is very hard where the data is sparse and spasmodic.”

    Could be done very nicely with unconventional wavelets. Measure the multivariate phase. Use that to lock the extent and then allow the grain to vary. Check for sensitivity to extent phase uncertainty. If I had a good programmer I’d get them to fine tune it while I did other things. I’d guide them conceptually, leaving the technician’s work to good technicians (who may be excellent programmers, but not have sufficient vision to know what should be done). Takes forever to get things done with no talented staff to do the grunt work….

    I agree it’s interesting conceptually.

    Bob: Be careful. Some of your favorite experts are clueless when it comes to aggregation criteria. Know well the boundaries of their expertise….

  6. Konrad. says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    December 4, 2014 at 5:57 am
    ”Bob: Be careful. Some of your favourite experts are clueless when it comes to aggregation criteria. Know well the boundaries of their expertise….”

    Surely not a jab at the darling of WUWT, the “Leaf blower”?!


  7. tchannon says:

    Bob I knew there was a reason the hole around the peak of some visual solar cycles ought to have rung a clang, all done rather suddenly… hey ho, like the clappers. For that matter something just dropped into my brain, probably the noise in a Helmholtz space.

    That departed chappie wrote something about this. Can’t remember his name, Theodor? Something about solar flaring seemed to him to avoid the peak of solar cycles. This is a concept I’ve kept in mind for a long time and looked but never seemed to find anything with credibility, at least for me. Maybe there is a glimmer here.

  8. oldbrew says:


    ABSTRACT. Sunspots only constitute potentials of solar activity which are actually released by solar eruptions. Single energetic flares and periods of enhanced eruptional activity seem to be related to weather. This is valid for the quality of weather forecasts (Scherhag, Reiter), atmospheric circulation changes (Schuurmans) , rainfall (Clarkson) , and thunderstorm incidence (Bossolasco et a1.). There are models that explain this effect (e.g. Roberts and Olson, Flarkson, Neubauer, and Bucha). This poses the problem of the prediction of solar flares. Such eruptions seem to be distributed in a stochastic manner. But closer examination reveals cycles of solar flares with mean periods of 9 years, 2.25 years, and 3 months. They are accessible to forecasts, because they run parallel with special phases in the Sun’s motion about the center of mass of the solar system, and with a cyclic pattern formed b/ the change in the angular acceleration of the vector of the tidal forces of the planets Venus, Earth, and Jupiter.

  9. Ulric Lyons says:

    Middle atmospheric changes caused by the January and March 2012 solar proton events

  10. tchannon says:

    Landscheidt, that’s ‘im. Put it down to stress, going through the mill but carrying on here anyway..

    Now I’m wondering why simply looking at data for all flares known did not seem to show the pattern. Imputing, sampling via a platform sees things differently.

  11. Bob Weber says:

    Don’t worry fellas, I take what he says and I always check it out. If you had been following along with the conversations I’ve had with him at WUWT this year, you’d know the many times I’ve shown him a thing or two, as he has done for me. No worries.

    The Sun causes warming, cooling, and extreme weather events.

    I learned that on my own. That doesn’t mean Svalgaard’s many papers were inconsequential.

  12. Bob Weber says:

    Ulric, those 2012 events were significant electric weather events and will be covered at some point in my developing new website based on solar and cosmic driven electric weather.

  13. Bob Weber says:

    Paul says, “Takes forever to get things done with no talented staff to do the grunt work….”

    I hear ya. That’s why my website is still in production! I learned a long time ago to be my own grunt!

    Just think of what so many of us could do with competent help…

  14. The AP index is the best measure of what effects solar activity is having upon the earth.

  15. tchannon says:

    AP? Quite possibly but do you have any particular reason? What I have in mind is thinking we don’t know much about solar effects on earth in a definite sense.

  16. My reasoning is the AP index shows how disturbed the earth’s magnetic field is in response to solar activity which is an indication of what kind of impact solar activity is having upon the earth.