Posts Tagged ‘solar’

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A few days earlier a ‘colossal solar tornado‘ (14x Earth size) was observed over the Sun’s surface.

Spaceweather.com

March 24, 2023: Forecasters did not see this one coming. On March 23-24, auroras spread into the United States as far south as New Mexico (+32.8N) during a severe (category G4) geomagnetic storm–the most intense in nearly 6 years. The cause of the storm is still unclear; it may have been the ripple effect of a near-miss CME on March 23rd.

“Aurora pillars were visible from Shenandoah National Park in Central Virginia,” says Peter Forister, who photographed the light show at latitude +38.7 degrees:

“Beautiful red and green colors were visible to the naked eye around 11 pm local time,” he says. Other notable low-latitude sightings were made in Colorado (+38.7N), Missouri (+40.2N), Colorado again (+38.3N), Nebraska (+41N) and North Carolina (+36.2N). More than half of all US states were in range of the display.

Not every light in the sky was the aurora borealis, however. There was also

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Extremely Rare CME

Posted: March 15, 2023 by oldbrew in News, solar system dynamics
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Good job it went the ‘other’ way.

Spaceweather.com

March 13, 2023: Something big just happened on the farside of the sun. During the early hours of March 13th, SOHO coronagraphs recorded a farside halo CME leaving the sun faster than 3000 km/s:

Because of its extreme speed, this CME is classified as “extremely rare,” a fast-mover that occurs only once every decade or so. A NASA model of the event shows the CME heading almost directly away from Earth. Good thing!

Although the CME was not Earth-directed, it has nevertheless touched our planet. See all the snowy dots and streaks in the coronagraph movie above? Those are energetic particles accelerated by shock waves in the CME. They create short-lived luminous speckles when they hit SOHO’s digital camera.

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite has detected the particles reaching Earth–all from the CME’s backside. Imagine what a frontside blast would have been like. Earth’s magnetic field is funneling the particles toward the…

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[image credit: latinoamericarenovable.com]


Say hello to an umbrella term for outlandish climate intervention schemes, or maybe scams: SRM (solar radiation management).
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Radical climate interventions — like blocking the sun’s rays — could alter the world’s weather patterns, potentially benefiting some regions of the world and harming others, says E&E News.

That possibility, climate scientists say, means any research on such methods must consider those risks and involve the countries that already bear the greatest impacts from a warming planet.

“If you’re actually talking about actively deploying technologies to alter the climate, then you need to engage all of us in the discussion,” said Andrea Hinwood, chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. “And that means those who are the most vulnerable to these effects need to be able to have a say.”

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Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]


The article says ‘The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years’. Rarely mentioned, but Jupiter’s perihelion, i.e. its closest orbital approach to the Sun, occurred in late January.
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With several solar flares and coronal mass ejections soaring out into space, the sun has had an active few months as the current solar cycle gathers momentum, says Newsweek.

This solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, is exceeding expectations in terms of activity, as it was initially forecast in 2019 that it would have a similar activity level to that of the previous cycle.

However, Solar Cycle 25 has now outperformed the official forecast for over 24 consecutive months, with sunspot numbers already approaching those seen during the maximum of the previous cycle.

The average sunspot numbers for January and February 2023 were some of the highest for around 10 years, according to NOAA data, with January seeing 143 sunspots, while February had 110. The previous highest-scoring month was during the peak of the previous cycle, Solar Cycle 24, with 146 sunspots occurring in February 2014.

The solar cycle follows 11-year fluctuations of activity, increasing towards the solar maximum in the middle of each cycle. The last solar minimum was in 2019, with the next solar maximum forecast for 2025. Solar Cycle 25 is so-called because it is the 25th cycle since records began in 1755.

These increased sunspot levels have led to higher frequencies of solar activity, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which have lit up the night sky with spectacular aurora as far south as France, and caused several geomagnetic storm-triggered radio blackouts in the past week alone.

When the twisted magnetic fields of sunspots suddenly realign, this can cause the sun to release huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation in the form of solar flares, and also spew out vast clouds of solar plasma as CMEs.

These solar phenomena then react with the chemicals in our atmosphere, leading to a kaleidoscope of colors being seen in the night sky in the form of the Northern and Southern lights, as were seen across the world on Tuesday as a result of two massive CMEs released on February 24 and 25.

Full article here.
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NASA’s Solar Cycle 25 blog is here.


Has the mystery been solved?
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When looking at the Earth from space, its hemispheres – northern and southern – appear equally bright, says EurekAlert.

This is particularly unexpected because the Southern Hemisphere is mostly covered with dark oceans, whereas the Northern Hemisphere has a vast land area that is much brighter than these oceans.

For years, the brightness symmetry between hemispheres remained a mystery.

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Freighter passing a sandbank on the Rhine river [image credit: worldcargonews.com]


Mixed messages from climate research here. In between evidence-free waffle about ‘potential’ human influence, they report that severe drought spells are nothing new in Europe, implying climate cycles of some sort. This means attribution of such drought to human causes is debatable, as the article admits.
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The 2015–2018 summer droughts have been exceptional in large parts of Western and Central Europe over the last 400 years, in terms of the magnitude of drought conditions.

This indicates an influence of man-made global warming, claims Phys.org.

However, multi-year droughts have occurred frequently in the 17th and 18th century, although not as severe.

This is the result of a new study in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

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Image credit: MIT


Scranton’s zoning board vetoed a four-megawatt solar project, one resident saying ‘nobody wants to look at them’. So much for the President’s ‘most significant investment ever in climate change’.
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Last Tuesday during his State of The Union speech, President Joe Biden repeated a claim he has made many times over the past few years about renewable energy, says Climate Change Dispatch.

Biden declared that the Inflation Reduction Act is “the most significant investment ever in climate change, ever. Lowering utility bills, creating American jobs, leading the world to a clean energy future.”

In 2020, while campaigning for the White House, Biden released an energy plan that promised to “spur the installation of millions of solar panels, including utility-scale, rooftop, and community solar systems.”

In 2021, Biden’s White House released a plan that claimed the U.S. could be getting nearly half of its electricity from solar by 2050.

The plan was released a few days after Biden declared we need to overhaul our energy and power systems because climate change poses “an existential threat to our lives.”
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The rejection of the solar project in Scranton provides yet more proof that land-use conflicts are slowing or stopping the growth of renewable energy projects all across America.

Full article here.

[image credit: latinoamericarenovable.com]


People get paid to write research articles with supposedly climate-friendly ideas, however bizarre they may sound. Here they want, in their own words, to ballistically eject dust grains from the Moon.
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Abstract

We revisit dust placed near the Earth–Sun L1 Lagrange point as a possible climate-change mitigation measure. Our calculations include variations in grain properties and orbit solutions with lunar and planetary perturbations. To achieve sunlight attenuation of 1.8%, equivalent to about 6 days per year of an obscured Sun, the mass of dust in the scenarios we consider must exceed 10^10 kg. The more promising approaches include using high-porosity, fluffy grains to increase the extinction efficiency per unit mass, and launching this material in directed jets from a platform orbiting at L1. A simpler approach is to ballistically eject dust grains from the Moon’s surface on a free trajectory toward L1, providing sun shade for several days or more. Advantages compared to an Earth launch include a ready reservoir of dust on the lunar surface and less kinetic energy required to achieve a sun-shielding orbit.

Source: Dust as a solar shield (research article)
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EurekAlert science site calls it astro-engineering

Cosmic Rays Sink to a 6-Year Low

Posted: January 1, 2023 by oldbrew in cosmic rays, Cycles, solar system dynamics
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The approach to solar max is underway.

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 30, 2022: Cosmic rays reaching Earth just hit a six-year low. Neutron counters in Oulu, Finland, registered the sudden decrease on Dec. 26th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field:

The CME swept aside galactic cosmic rays near our planet, abruptly reducing radiation levels. Researchers call this a “Forbush Decrease,” after American physicist Scott Forbush, who studied cosmic rays in the early 20th century.

The Dec. 26th event continues a trend that began in 2020. Since then, cosmic ray fluxes have been fitfully decreasing as one CME after another hit Earth. The reason is Solar Cycle 25, which began around that time and has been gaining strength. The Forbush Decreases are adding up.

Scott Forbush was the first to notice the yin-yang relationship between solar activity and cosmic rays. When one goes up, the other goes down. CMEs play a big role in this relationship…

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“It poses significant challenges to prevalent dynamo theories of the solar cycle.” — Indeed, but such theories were always speculative anyway.
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Spaceweather.com

Dec. 12, 2022: So you thought you knew the solar cycle? Think again. A new paper published in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences confirms that there is more to solar activity than the well-known 11-year sunspot cycle. Data from Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) reveal two solar cycles happening at the same time, and neither is 11 years long.

“We call it ‘the Extended Solar Cycle,'” says lead author Scott McIntosh of NCAR. “There are two overlapping patterns of activity on the sun, each lasting about 17 years.”

Solar physicists have long suspected this might be true. References to “overlapping solar cycles” can be found in research literature as far back as 1903. A figure from the new Frontiers paper seems to clinch the case:

The top panel shows sunspot counts since 1976. The curve goes up and down every 11 years, which explains why everyone thinks the…

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The UK electricity system’s so-called transition to renewables hits yet another bump in the road. The dream of guaranteed income was just an expensive illusion.
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One of the country’s largest solar farm owners has entered administration amid the fallout from a scandal that forced an Essex council leader to resign, reports The Guardian.

Administrators at Interpath Advisory have been appointed to Toucan Energy Holdings, which owns a portfolio of 53 solar parks with a combined capacity of 513 megawatts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that Thurrock council in Essex, Toucan’s main creditor, borrowed hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in the solar farm scheme run by globetrotting financier Liam Kavanagh.

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Image credit: BBC


Some pushback against the excesses of climate obsession.
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Liz Truss is poised to ban solar projects from most farms in England in a move that will dismay climate change campaigners and some Tory backbenchers, says Yahoo News.

The prime minister has long been opposed to solar farms on agricultural land, condemning them as “a blight on the landscape” when she was environment secretary in 2014.

And during the Tory leadership campaign this summer, she said she wanted to see farmers producing food with crops and livestock, “not filling fields with paraphernalia like solar farms”.

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Netherlands beach [image credit: dutchreview.com]


Dutch meteorologists expect ‘we will have more cloudy summer weather again’ sometime in the future. For now: more sun = more heat. Who knew?
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The Netherlands this summer has had the highest amount of solar radiation recorded since 1976, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI) reported.

The “sunny summer fits in with the trend of increasing solar radiation in the Netherlands since the 1990s,” the KMNI added.

The Dutch west coast currently receives 9% more sunshine than the country’s east though solar radiation has increased 3% in summer and 5% in spring, KMNI reported.

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Layers of Earth’s atmosphere


Q: What could possibly go wrong? A: Even the sky’s not the limit.
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A group of international scientists led by Cornell University is—more rigorously and systematically than ever before—evaluating if and how the stratosphere could be made just a little bit “brighter,” reflecting more incoming sunlight so that an ever-warming Earth maintains its cool, says Phys.org.

Their work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Solar radiation modification—or solar geoengineering, as it is sometimes called—is a potential climate change mitigation strategy that involves injecting sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, so more sunlight bounces off the Earth’s atmosphere.

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A New Form of Space Weather on Betelgeuse

Posted: August 18, 2022 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Solar physics
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“We’re watching stellar evolution in real time.”

Spaceweather.com

August 12, 2022: You’ve heard of a CME, a “coronal mass ejection.” They happen all the time. A piece of the sun’s tenuous outer atmosphere (corona) blows off and sometimes hits Earth. Something far more terrible has happened to Betegeuse. The red giant star produced an SME, or “surface mass ejection.”

Above: An artist’s concept of an SME on Betelgeuse. Credit: Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

Astronomers believe that in 2019 a colossal piece of Betelgeuse’s surface blew off the star. The mass of the SME was 400 billion times greater than a CME or several times the mass of Earth’s Moon. Data from multiple telescopes, especially Hubble, suggest that a convective plume more than a million miles across bubbled up from deep inside the star, producing shocks and pulsations that blasted a chunk off the surface.

“We’ve never before seen such a huge mass ejection from the surface of a…

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Some bold claims made here. Results needed to back them up.
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New research shows that a “solar clock” based on the sun’s magnetic field, rather than the presence or absence of sunspots, can precisely describe and predict many key changes throughout the solar cycle, says Eurekalert.

The new framework offers a significant improvement over the traditional sunspot method, because it can predict surges in dangerous solar flares or changing weather trends years in advance.

It also accurately describes many more parameters related to the solar cycle than sunspots alone.

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Cosmic Rays are Decreasing

Posted: July 29, 2022 by oldbrew in Clouds, cosmic rays, Cycles
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The article notes: ‘Climate scientists are engaged in a lively debate about whether or not cosmic rays affect cloud cover.’

Spaceweather.com

July 26, 2022: Cosmic rays in the atmosphere are rapidly subsiding. In the past year alone, radiation levels in the air high above California have plummeted more than 15%, according to regular launches of cosmic ray balloons by Spaceweather.com and Earth to Sky Calculus. The latest measurement on July 23, 2022, registered a 6 year low:

This development, while sudden, is not unexpected. Cosmic rays from deep space are repelled by solar activity; when one goes up, the other goes down. Since 2021, Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The onset of the new solar cycle has naturally led to a decrease in cosmic radiation reaching Earth.

To many readers this may sound counterintuitive. After all, don’t solar flares produce radiation? Yes, but most high-energy radiation doesn’t come from the sun; it comes from deep space.Every day galactic cosmic rays from distant supernova explosions…

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California wildfire [image credit: NASA]


Another day, another topic of model uncertainty. ‘Refining’ an admitted high level of uncertainty is an odd concept, but researchers assert the issue will be ‘cleared up’. However, their belief in ‘potent climate-warming agents’ doesn’t inspire confidence.
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New research refining the amount of sunlight absorbed by black carbon in smoke from wildfires will help clear up a long-time weak spot in earth system models, enabling more accurate forecasting of global climate change, says Phys.org.

“Black carbon or soot is the next most potent climate-warming agent after CO2 and methane, despite a short lifetime of weeks, but its impact in climate models is still highly uncertain,” said James Lee, a climate researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and corresponding author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters on light absorption by wildfire smoke. “Our research will clear up that uncertainty.”

The Los Alamos research resolves a long-time disconnect between the observations of the amount of light absorbed by black carbon in smoke and the amount predicted by models, given how black carbon is mixed with other material such as condensed organic aerosols that are present in plumes.

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Governments insist that citizens should obsess about the harmless and beneficial trace gas carbon dioxide. What happens to the waste products when the vast new acreages of solar panels expire?

PA Pundits International

From the team at CFACT ~

By Steve Miller:

The pathway to a green future involves taking millions of acres of pristine wilderness and turning them into fields of windmills and hot expanses of glistening panels.

The Biden Administration’s goal of supplying 40% of the nation’s energy from the sun by 2035 means covering millions of acres of forest and desert habitat with vast solar panel installations fenced off like prisons. It would require 8,800 square miles of land, or 5.6 million acres, to generate that power (leaving out small installations on buildings and the like) — about the size of Rhode Island and Massachusetts combined.

But the push to convert that land from pastoral to energy-productive is galvanizing a new environmental movement, one led by citizen groups and small non-profits rather than the monied green interests arrayed against them — ones ironically accustomed to casting the fossil fuel…

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The Bastille Day Event

Posted: July 14, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Solar physics, solar system dynamics
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Some interesting solar physics here.

Spaceweather.com

July 14, 2022: When a solar storm is so strong that the Voyager spacecraft feel it at the edge of the solar system, you know it must be special. Twenty-two years ago today, July 14, 2000, the lonely travelers were on the verge of escaping space weather altogether when giant sunspot AR9077 exploded. The flare was so intense, it sent shockwaves to the very edge of the solar system.

SOHO images of the Bastille Day solar flare (left) and CME (right). The onset of snow in the images is a result of energetic protons hitting the spacecraft

Earth was on the doorstep of the blast, dubbed The “Bastille Day Event” because it coincided with the national day of France. Subatomic particles, especially protons, arrived in a ferocious wave, peppering satellites and penetrating deep into Earth’s atmosphere. Sensors on Earth’s surface registered a rare GLE–a “ground-level event.”

“People flying in commercial…

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