Posts Tagged ‘solar’

Nyngan solar plant, Australia [image credit: Wikipedia]

They’re going to have to do a lot of digging for all those solar panel ingredients. Try not to make too much mess chaps, and let’s keep quiet about all the ‘carbon’ emitted in the process. Climate fantasies rumble on.
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NEW DELHI: India and the United Kingdom will jointly launch the Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) — a trans-national grid to transport solar power to different countries — during world leaders’ summit at the beginning of the 26th session of the UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK in the first week of November, says the Times of India.

The initiative, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi three years ago, will be endorsed in the form of a political declaration by the fourth general assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) during October 18-21.

Sources said Modi would attend the world leaders’ summit on November 1-2 at COP26 and launch it with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in presence of other heads of state/government. An official confirmation to this effect would be conveyed to the UK soon, they added.


Credit: Institute of Physics

This looks like progress, although more research will be needed to try to better understand how the relevant effects work in practice.
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A new study published in Nature Scientific Reports by researchers at the Danish National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem suggests that the Sun’s activity in screening cosmic rays affects clouds and, ultimately, the Earth’s energy budget with concomitant climatic effects, says David Whitehouse @ NetZeroWatch.

This research, by Henrik Svensmark, Jacob Svensmark, Martin Bødker Enghoff, and Nir Shaviv supports 25 years of discoveries that point to a significant role for cosmic rays in climate change.


Solar power: Busting the problem of cloud cover?

Posted: September 18, 2021 by oldbrew in Clouds, Energy
Tags: ,

Image credit: MIT

Of course ‘busting the problem’ of zero nighttime output isn’t going to happen. Vague references to ‘other sources’ of power attempt to gloss over such glaring issues.
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The downside to solar power is that it’s not always sunny and so grid operators have to compensate for energy drops by bringing alternative generation sources online, says TechXplore. [Talkshop comment – every time clouds appear?].

New research in the International Journal of Powertrains, looks at how short-term forecast of sunshine using satellite images could offer one tool to help power companies maintain a steady supply.

A. Shobana Devi of the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, in Chennai, India and colleagues explain how solar irradiance forecasting currently represents a major challenge to companies hoping to integrate solar energy resources into the existing structures of energy supply.



Credit: NASA

The UK is not alone in what’s billed as a new space race. China for one is in the game. If you think you’ve heard it all before, you probably have
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Vast solar power satellites in Earth’s orbit, beaming energy back to Earth. It’s a serious idea for green energy from the UK Space Agency, say insurers MS Amlin.

In one of his early dystopian short stories, the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov imagined a mile-wide space station that could “feed solar energy to the planets”.

Published in 1941, under the title Reason, it described a fantastical “energy converter” that gathered sunlight and beamed it across the entire solar system.

Some 80 years later, Asimov’s flight of fancy is starting to take real shape.



Our magnetic Sun [image credit:]

The declining phase of the current solar cycle 25 is predicted to be short. Whether that would follow a low peak remains to be seen, but not much has happened so far in the cycle.
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Violent activity on our Sun leads to some of the most extreme space weather events on Earth, impacting systems such as satellites, communications systems, power distribution and aviation, says

The roughly 11-year cycle of solar activity has three ‘seasons’, each of which affects the space weather felt at Earth differently: (i) solar maximum, the sun is active and disordered, when space weather is stormy and events are irregular (ii) the declining phase, when the sun and solar wind becomes ordered, and space weather is more moderate and (iii) solar minimum, when activity is quiet.

In a new study led by the University of Warwick and published in The Astrophysical Journal, scientists found that the change from solar maximum to the declining phase is fast, happening within a few (27 day) solar rotations.



Finding the Sun the main player in climate would be the default position in any normal world, but now it gets billed as the challenger.


By Paul Homewood


The sun and not human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) may be the main cause of warmer temperatures in recent decades, according to a new study with findings that sharply contradict the conclusions of the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The peer-reviewed paper, produced by a team of almost two dozen scientists from around the world, concluded that previous studies did not adequately consider the role of solar energy in explaining increased temperatures.

The new study was released just as the UN released its sixth “Assessment Report,” known as AR6, that once again argued in favor of the view that man-kind’s emissions of CO2 were to blame for global warming. The report said human responsibility was “unequivocal.”

But the new study casts serious doubt on the hypothesis.

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Credit: The Weather Network

Of course they could have been. The question is, were they? Assigning weather events to ‘global warming’ is ambiguous without a full definition of what the assigner means by that term. Jet stream blocking events discussed below are well-known to meteorologists, and constantly claiming them as evidence of a new human-caused problem with the climate is a stretch, to say the least.
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The recent record-shattering heat wave in the Pacific northwest and devastating floods in western Europe have both been ascribed to global warming by many climate scientists, says Science Under Attack.

But an alternative explanation, voiced by some climatologists yet ignored by the mainstream media, is that the disasters were caused by the phenomenon of jet-stream blocking – which may or may not be a result of global warming, and could instead arise from a weakening of the sun’s output.

Blocking refers to the locking in place for several days or weeks of the jet stream, a narrow, high-altitude air current that flows rapidly from west to east in each hemisphere and governs much of our weather.

One of the more common blocking patterns is known as an “omega block,” a buckling of the jet stream named for its resemblance to the upper-case Greek letter omega, that produces alternating, stationary highs and lows in pressure as shown in the figure below. Under normal weather conditions, highs and lows move on quickly.

According to the blocking explanation, the torrential rains that hovered over parts of western Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands came from a low-pressure system trapped between two blocking highs to the west and east – the opposite situation to that shown in the figure.

Precipitation tends to increase in a warmer world because of enhanced evap­oration from tropical oceans, resulting in more water vapor in the atmosphere. So with a blocking low stuck over the Rhine valley and the ground already saturated from previous rainfall, it’s not surprising that swollen rivers overflowed and engulfed whole villages.

A similar argument can be invoked to explain the intense “heat dome” that parked itself over British Columbia, Washington and Oregon for five blisteringly hot days last month. In this case, it was a region of high pressure that was pinned in place by lows on either side, with the sweltering heat intensified by the effects of La Niña on North America.

Several Pacific northwest cities experienced temperatures a full 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above previous records.

There’s little doubt that both of these calamitous events resulted from jet-stream omega blocks. Blocking can also induce cold extremes, such as the deep freeze endured by Texas earlier this year. But how can blocking be caused by the sun?

Over the 11-year solar cycle, the sun’s heat and visible light fluctuate, as does its production of invisible UV, which varies much more than the tenth of a percent change in total solar output. It’s thought that changes in solar UV irradiance cause wind shifts in the stratosphere (the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere), which in turn induce blocking in the tropospheric jet stream via a feedback effect.

Blocking can also stem from other mechanisms. In the North Atlantic at least, a 2008 research paper found that during periods of low solar activity, blocking events in more eastward locations are longer and more intense than during higher solar activity.

Right now we’re entering a stretch of diminished solar output, signified by a falloff in the average monthly number of sunspots as depicted in the next figure.

The decline in the maximum number of sunspots over the last few cycles likely heralds the onset of a grand solar minimum, which could usher in a period of global cooling.

Full article here.

moapaPeople don’t want a 14 square-mile eyesore in their neighbourhood, even if it comes with a ‘saving the planet’ sales pitch. Bad for tourist business as well, in this case.
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The push to transition from carbon-emitting fuel sources to renewable energy is hitting a roadblock in Nevada, where solar power developers are abandoning plans to build what would have been the United States’ largest array of solar panels in the desert north of Las Vegas, says TechXplore.

“Battle Born Solar Project” developers this week withdrew their application with the federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the Moapa Valley hilltop where the panels were planned, KLAS-TV Las Vegas reported.

California-based Arevia Power told the television station that its solar panels would be set far enough back on Mormon Mesa to not be visible from the valley.



Cycling is popular in the Netherlands [image credit:]

There’s a reason why fixed solar panels should be, and usually are, angled at about 35-40 degrees in northern Europe. It’s called the optimal tilt angle. This cycle path with panels flat on the ground is so simple-minded it’s embarrassing, or ought to be.
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Authorities in a central Dutch province opened what they are billing as the world’s longest solar bicycle path Wednesday, mixing sustainable energy with emission-free travel, says TechXplore. (more…)


Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit:]

Using trees as solar cycle and cosmic ray detectors here. The researchers say: ‘Notably, other evidence suggests that the sun was also undergoing a decades-long period of increasing activity.’ We may ask, with a view to the current era: how often does that happen, and why?
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The sun constantly emits a stream of energetic particles, some of which reach Earth, says

The density and energy of this stream form the basis of space weather, which can interfere with the operation of satellites and other spacecraft.

A key unresolved question in the field is the frequency with which the sun emits bursts of energetic particles strong enough to disable or destroy space-based electronics.

One promising avenue for determining the rate of such events is the dendrochronological record. This approach relies on the process by which a solar energetic particle (SEP) strikes the atmosphere, causing a chain reaction that results in the production of an atom of carbon-14.


First X-flare of Solar Cycle 25

Posted: July 5, 2021 by oldbrew in Cycles, Geomagnetism, News


Is this solar cycle finally lifting off?

July 3, 2021: Now, Solar Cycle 25 has really begun. On July 3rd, new sunspot AR2838 produced the first X-class solar flare since Sept. 2017. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

The July 3rd explosion registered X1.5 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares

A pulse of X-rays ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a shortwave radio blackout over the Atlantic Ocean: blackout map. Mariners, aviators, and amateur radio operators may have noticed unusual propagation effects below 30 MHz just after 1429 UT.

X-flares are the strongest kind of solar flare. They are typically responsible for the deepest radio blackouts and the most intense geomagnetic storms. This is the first X-flare of young Solar Cycle 25. More are in the offing. During the previous solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24) the sun produced 49 of them. Forecasters believe that Solar Cycle 25 should be at least…

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Credit: Infinite Power

Are power companies and solar panel producers getting nervous yet? If not, they may see difficulties ahead for this idea.
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Infinite Power’s breakthrough is a semiconductor that can convert high energy beta particles, X-rays, and gamma rays into electricity.

The Infinite Power cells function similarly to a photovoltaic solar cell, with two critical differences: The precise materials and design of the cells allows us to replace solar radiation with high energy releases from natural decay of radioisotopes.

Critically, our proprietary semiconductor can withstand higher energy releases associated with radioisotope decay over a long period of time.



During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s corona and prominences are visible to the naked eye [image credit: Luc Viatour / ]

Expecting a variable, researchers found a constant.
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From traversing sand dunes in the Sahara Desert to keeping watch for polar bears in the Arctic, a group of solar scientists known as the “Solar Wind Sherpas” led by Shadia Habbal, have traveled to the ends of the Earth to scientifically observe total solar eclipses—the fleeting moments when the Moon completely blocks the Sun, temporarily turning day into night.

With the images, they’ve uncovered a surprising finding about the Sun’s wind and its wispy outer atmosphere—the corona—which is only visible in its entirety during an eclipse, says NASA (via

From more than a decade’s worth of total eclipse observations taken around the world, the team noticed that the corona maintains a fairly constant temperature, despite dynamical changes to the region that occur on an 11-year rotation known as the solar cycle.

Similarly, the solar wind—the steady stream of particles the Sun releases from the corona out across the solar system—matches that same temperature.


The Termination Event

Posted: June 12, 2021 by oldbrew in Cycles, physics, predictions


Testable science ideas here. What’s not to like?

“What can I say?” laughs McIntosh. “We’re heretics!”

H/T g2

June 10, 2021: Something big may be about to happen on the sun. “We call it the Termination Event,” says Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), “and it’s very, very close to happening.”

If you’ve never heard of the Termination Event, you’re not alone.  Many researchers have never heard of it either. It’s a relatively new idea in solar physics championed by McIntosh and colleague Bob Leamon of the University of Maryland – Baltimore County. According to the two scientists, vast bands of magnetism are drifting across the surface of the sun. When oppositely-charged bands collide at the equator, they annihilate (or “terminate”). There’s no explosion; this is magnetism, not anti-matter. Nevertheless, the Termination Event is a big deal. It can kickstart the next solar cycle into a higher gear.

Above: Oppositely charged magnetic bands (red and blue) march toward the sun’s equator…

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The Moon in front of Earth [credit: NASA]

A recurring pattern over the period of the Sun’s 22~year Hale cycle (two magnetic polarity reversals) seems to have emerged. One outcome is said to be ‘a higher likelihood of severe space weather late in the current solar cycle between 2026 and 2030.’
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Planned missions to return humans to the Moon need to hurry up to avoid hitting one of the busiest periods for extreme space weather, according to scientists conducting the most in-depth ever look at solar storm timing.

Scientists at the University of Reading studied 150 years of space weather data to investigate patterns in the timing of the most extreme events, which can be extremely dangerous to astronauts and satellites, and even disrupt power grids if they arrive at Earth, says

The researchers found for the first time that extreme space weather events are more likely to occur early in even-numbered solar cycles, and late in odd-numbered cycles—such as the one just starting.


Extreme geomagnetic storms are now thought to occur about once every 45 years, or every four solar cycles, on average.

April 30, 2021: Imagine living in Florida. You’ll never see the Northern Lights … right? Actually, the odds may be better than you think. A new historical study just published in the Journal of Space Climate and Space Weather shows that great aurora storms occur every 40 to 60 years.

“They’re happening more often than we thought,” says Delores Knipp of the University of Colorado, the paper’s lead author. “Surveying the past 500 years, we found many extreme storms producing auroras in places like Florida, Cuba and Samoa.”

This kind of historical research is not easy. Hundreds of years ago, most people had never even heard of the aurora borealis. When the lights appeared, they were described as “fog,” “vapors”, “spirits”–almost anything other than “auroras.” Making a timeline 500 years long requires digging through unconventional records such as personal diaries, ship’s logs, local weather reports–often in languages that are foreign to…

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UK summer 2018 [image credit: BBC]

The Sun is more than capable of regulating itself. Attempts by humans to interfere with its effects are by definition ill-conceived. No trend in Arctic summer sea ice data since the early 2000s, for example, despite so-called experts claiming it was doomed several years ago, so who needs any intervention?
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Nine of the hottest years in human history [Talkshop comment – meaning since 1979, when satellite data became moderately reliable] have occurred in the last decade.

Without a major shift in this climate trajectory, the future of life on Earth is in question, claims

Should humans, whose fossil-fueled society is driving climate change [Talkshop comment – evidence-free assertion], use technology to put the brakes on global warming?



Solar activity [image credit: NASA]

What drives the weather can drive the climate. In this case the chances of non-correlation are said to be extremely low.
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A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth, reports.

If the connection outlined in the journal Earth and Space Science holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and La Nina events, which have a number of seasonal climate effects over land.

For example, the southern United States tends to be warmer and drier during a La Nina, while the northern U.S. tends to be colder and wetter.

“Energy from the Sun is the major driver of our entire Earth system and makes life on Earth possible,” said Scott McIntosh, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and co-author of the paper.


Einstein’s Eclipse

Posted: March 23, 2021 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Gravity, solar system dynamics

Some real science to remember.

March 22, 2021: On May 29, 1919, the Moon slid in front of the sun and forever altered our understanding of spacetime. It’s known as “Einstein’s Eclipse.” Using his newly-developed theory of relativity, the young German physicist predicted that the sun’s gravity should bend starlight–an effect which could only be seen during a total eclipse. More than 100 years later, Petr Horálek (ESO Photo Ambassador) and Miloslav Druckmüller (Brno University of Technology) have just released a stunning restoration of the photo that proved Einstein right:

The original picture was taken in May 1919 by astronomers Andrew Crommelin and Charles Rundle Davidson, who traveled from the Greenwich Observatory in London to the path of totality in Sobral, Brazil. They were part of a global expedition organized by Sir Arthur Eddington, who wanted to test Einstein’s strange ideas. Glass photographic plates from the expedition were typical of early 20th century astrophotography, colorless…

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A model for California? [image credit: Hitesh vip @ Wikipedia]

Worth asking what is meant by ‘could be economically feasible’ in this context. Running power stations 24/7 looks a lot simpler than having thousands of miles of solar panels to install and maintain, which sit idle without sunlight.
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UC Santa Cruz researchers published a new study—in collaboration with UC Water and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced—that suggests covering California’s 6,350 km network of public water delivery canals with solar panels could be an economically feasible means of advancing both renewable energy and water conservation.

The concept of “solar canals” has been gaining momentum around the world as climate change increases the risk of drought in many regions, claims TechXplore.

Solar panels can shade canals to help prevent water loss through evaporation, and some types of solar panels also work better over canals, because the cooler environment keeps them from overheating.

Pilot projects in India have demonstrated the technical feasibility of several designs, but none have yet been deployed at scale.

California’s canal network is the world’s largest water conveyance system, and the state faces both a drought-prone future [Talkshop comment: evidence-free assertion] and a rapid timeline for transitioning to renewable energy.

Solar canals could target both challenges, but making the case for their implementation in California requires first quantifying the potential benefits. So that’s exactly what researchers set out to do in their paper published by Nature Sustainability.

“While it makes sense to cover canals with solar panels because renewable energy and water conservation is a win-win, the devil is in the details,” said Brandi McKuin, lead author of the new study and a UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher in environmental studies. “A critical question was whether the infrastructure to span the canals would be cost-prohibitive.”

Canal-spanning solar panels are often supported either by steel trusses or suspension cables, both of which are more expensive to build than traditional support structures for ground-mounted solar panels.

But McKuin led a techno-economic analysis that showed how the benefits of solar canals combine to outweigh the added costs for cable-supported installations. In fact, cable-supported solar canals showed a 20-50 percent higher net present value, indicating greater financial return on investment.

In addition to benefits like increased solar panel performance and evaporation savings, shade from solar panels could help control the growth of aquatic weeds, which are a costly canal maintenance issue. Placing solar panels over existing canal sites could also avoid costs associated with land use.

Now that the new paper has provided a more concrete assessment of these benefits, members of the research team hope this could lead to future field experiments with solar canals in California.

Full article here.