Solar cycle 24 enigma: TSI on the rise again

Posted: February 25, 2015 by tallbloke in Solar physics
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The latest results from the TIM/SORCE TSI instrument show that solar cycle 24 hit a peak on Feb 6th at around 1362.3W/m^2. Does anyone think it’ll go any higher?


This has been a slow burning cycle with a prolonged minimum prior to its commencement.

  1. My question is how reliable is this data? It seems like there are so many different data sets for TSI all showing a different result.

    That said I do not read much into this because solar flux levels have been around the 150 mark which is high but overall low for a solar cycle maximum. Once solar flux levels proceed to the sub100 level TSI will follow and this will be nothing more then a blimp in a very prolonged solar minimum period.

    Note- Solar Flux data seems to be much more reliable and consistent then sunspot or TSI data.

    Hence it is my data of choice to measure solar activity or lack of it.

  2. Doug Proctor says:

    Archibald’s book titled “The Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short.” said we are going into a new ice age. Claimed Cycle 24 was a Dalton or precursor to a Maunder Minimum. At the time he was promoting his book I thought it was an exaggeration for the purposes of selling his book. Cycle 24 didn’t look like a Dalton, at most 24 was/is a precursor to a precursor to a Dalton. Now it looks like a weak cycle that could go any direction.

    We really don’t know which way things are going. The fundamental error we are exposed to is the concept of certainty, that “climate scientists” are usefully certain in what temperatures and the impact of those temperatures will be in the next 100 years.

    Excessive certainty fails us on both sides. Yet, skeptical exaggerations that are bad for coming to representational truths, are good in American politics. The Americans are all about winning the debate rather than discovering the truth – rhetoricians rather than logicians. It is a problem for non-Americans swept up in the War. Gleick and Mann and Gore are the Good Guys in the American world if they “win” their position, not if they get things right. (Probably the same win/lose we see in Russia.) In the Brit world you are allowed to weave and dodge with the truth, but you are no supposed to lie or exaggerate to the point of foolishness. That was a Goebbels thing, considered highly irregular. When the Brit Green leader is caught out, she is embarrassed and stammers. When an American Green leader is caught out, he shrugs and keeps the story going.

    BTW, the title of Archibald’s book is an inappropriate use of T. Hobbes’ words in Leviathan. Hobbes referred to the life of men without an organized system of social government. We haven’t had a period of time without a social system since we came out of the trees, though we have had horrible governments that make you wonder whether how relatively bad an individual’s life would be without social systems (cynical sarc on).

  3. Bob Weber says:

    TSI is such a strange bird. I’ve been pondering this for a while…

    Dec 13 to Dec 24, during the first deep dip in TSI shown above, was the time when SSN increased from 121, peaking on Dec 18 at 168, then dropped again to 86 by Dec 24; and F10.7cm flux increased from 160 on the 13th, to 216 on the 19th, and back drop to 151 by Dec 24.

    TSI minimum on Dec 18 was at the peak in solar flux in this instance. The other decreases Jan 3 and 27th are slightly off the solar flux/SSN peaks near those dates, but close.


    I’ve seen this pattern recur over and over since last year, when I first started looking at TSI closely.

    From Greg’s TSI page here

    “The passage of two large sunspot groups in late October 2003 caused a decrease in TSI larger than any short-term decrease in the 36-year TSI composite.”


    See the massive sunspots Oct 28-29. If you start the archive on the 27th, and go forward, you can see a giant sunspot group develop in one day.

    The most recent dip in TSI has occurred while SSN and F10.7 have dropped. Same thing.

    Goofy TSI.

  4. Bob Weber says:

    “Yet, skeptical exaggerations that are bad for coming to representational truths, are good in American politics.”

    Doug, I’m curious to know what would be a skeptical exaggeration from your POV.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Doug: The talkshop research team thinks the Sun will enter a grand minimum, with generally low cycles for the rest of the century even after recovery from the impending grand minimum. But this may not affect surface temperatures too quickly on the global average (mostly ocean) as the ocean has historically high heat content to tide us over with. The Canadian and Russian wheat harvests may suffer though, along with other inland continental areas north of 50 latitude. Time will tell.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Looks like there was a jump in sunspot numbers around the end of January but they’ve gone down again now.

    PS There was a Jupiter-Earth conjunction around that time.

  7. DD More says:

    Layman’s Sunspot Count by Geoff Sharp has “Daily Update: A fifth consecutive spotless day is recorded with no single spot over 336 pixels. F10.7 flux continues to fall..will we see a sub 20 LSC monthly value for February?”

    Since UV is a part of TSI and it is down.

    With out the short wave component, how do you think the oceans are heating due to intolerant LW absobtion?

  8. Brett Keane says:

    I think I saw that larger spots are being replaced by more small/tiny ones; and also a magnetic flux strength explanation or similar…..? Brett

  9. tallbloke says:

    DD More: I don’t think the oceans are heating. No matter what adjustments to temperature data say.

  10. David Archibald says:

    Re Doug Proctor. I would have preferred just “The Twilight of Abundance” for the title but title extensions sell more books. The Hobbsian extension was the publisher’s idea. I was too worn out by the editing process to change it. When I started out in climate science, we were still in Solar Cycle 23. I thought that Solar Cycle 24 was going to be it and laughed at those who said the really weak cycle will be 25. It looks the 25ers are going to be right.

    Anyone who wants to do something useful could attempt to recreate Schatten’s SODA index of the combination of the toroidal and poloidal flux of the Sun which is what he used to predict Solar Cycle 24 amplitude. It may be a bit early for it.

    Another thing that would be useful is any way of determining how long Solar Cycle 24 will be.

  11. David Archibald says:

    Another thing: The Ap Index has fallen out of bed relative to other solar parameters. Is this because it is sampling something deeper in the convection zone whereas F10.7 flux etc. is what has boiled to the surface?

  12. Bob Weber says:

    David A: Ap derives from the solar wind/IMF: solar sector boundary crossings, cme’s, eruptions- all manner of solar plasma interactions with earth’s magnetosphere, ionosphere, and global electric circuit. I’m sure you knew all that.

    A hunch I have, which is probably covered in the “literature” somewhere to some degree, is that as a given cycle winds down, and the active regions get closer and closer to the solar equator, there is more opportunity for interaction between active regions from each hemisphere, as they are then in closer proximity to each other, which may explain explosive flare events, cme’s and higher Ap during declining phases into minimums. I need to verify that hunch.

    If Ap really is down then perhaps it’s due to relatively lower activity in general during the recent maximum. I consider hemispheric power at the earth’s poles as an indicator also, and it is down in magnitude and frequency of high magnitude events, as compared to previous higher cycles during the satellite era. Ap data here

    I’ll look into Schatten’s SODA index. By the way, I’ve always appreciated your solar updates.

  13. kuhnkat says:

    I seem to remember that there was discussion as to whether UV had decreased excessively, that is, not in accordance with Black Body assumptions. Is there any hard data now on whether that happened and whether this increase in TSI is or is not in a standard BB distribution??

  14. Paul Vaughan says:

    Doug Proctor (February 25, 2015 at 4:56 pm) wrote:
    “The Americans are all about winning the debate rather than discovering the truth – rhetoricians rather than logicians. It is a problem for non-Americans swept up in the War.”

    I agree Doug, but we members of the international community simply cannot allow it to be a problem.

    The americans care only about domination. Truth is irrelevant in their political (& even cultural) reference frame. This american way of doing politics reminds of an obsessed gambler, who goes double-or-nothing every time, no matter what. You know it eventually ends badly.

    We need to be well-prepared to pick up the pieces.

  15. Brian H says:

    If current Euro politics are an example of logic in action, one must question the postulates on which the logic is based, as the results are brutally stupid right now.