Posts Tagged ‘solar’

Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ [image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]

Petrified log at Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
[image credit: Jon Sullivan / Wikipedia]


They seem to base their estimates of the past solar cycle length on a study of only 79 years’ worth of data which is almost certainly too short for high accuracy, but the results are interesting nevertheless.

A pair of German researchers has found evidence in ancient tree rings of a solar sunspot cycle millions of years ago similar to the one observed in more modern times, reports Phys.org.

In their paper published in the journal Geology, Ludwig Luthardt and Ronny Rößler describe how they gathered an assortment of petrified tree samples from a region in Germany and used them to count sunspot cycles.

Scientists know that the sun undergoes a sunspot cycle of approximately 11 years—some spots appear, grow cooler and then slowly move toward the equator and eventually disappear—the changes to the sun spots cause changes to the brightness level of the sun—as the level waxes and wanes, plants here on Earth respond, growing more or less in a given year—this can be seen in the width of tree rings.

In this new effort, the researchers gathered petrified tree samples from a region of Germany that was covered by lava during a volcanic eruption approximately 290 million years ago (during the Permian period), offering a historical record of sun activity.
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Winter solstice sunrise at the historic site in Sicily [image credit: Giuseppe La Spina]

Winter solstice sunrise at the historic site in Sicily [image credit: Giuseppe La Spina]


A team of researchers exploring the southern coast of Sicily have found an intriguing prehistoric calendar rock, reports Ancient Origins.

After conducting some empirical observations, they discovered the rising sun of the winter solstice aligns perfectly with a large hole in a rock formation on a hill near a prehistoric necropolis.

They also discovered a fallen megalith that would have stood directly in front of the hole. Stonehenge-like comparisons abound in the media.
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Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]

Solar towers in California [image credit: ucsusa.org]


It may sound good but California’s Mojave project showed projects like this are not always exactly what they may seem. Scorched birds brought bad publicity for example.

The world’s tallest solar tower is currently being constructed in Israel’s Negev desert, the latest example of the Jewish state’s newfound emphasis on renewable energy, The Tower reports. The tower, which will be 250 meters (820 feet) tall, is encircled by around 50,000 mirrors, called heliostats.

Unlike the more common photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into power, the heliostats reflect the sunlight into the tower to heat a boiler, which will produce the steam to spin a turbine to generate electricity. With a taller tower, more mirrors can be placed in a smaller area to reflect the necessary amount of sunlight to run the turbine. 

There are only about a dozen solar tower fields around the world, including one in California with three towers, each of which is 140 meters (460 feet) tall, surrounded by 170,000 heliostats.

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Credit: cherishthescientist.net

Credit: cherishthescientist.net


We’ve ignored the early history and jumped in further on in this Space.com article about sunspots and the solar cycle. The astrophysicist author wonders if it will take another 400 years to figure out why the solar cycle (the period between magnetic reversals) is around 11 years on average. Maybe a few Talkshop posts could be helpful, dare we say?

What the heck was going on to cause these spots? In the early 1900s, a few key observations pointed astronomers and physicists in the right direction. For one, sunspot activity seemed to cycle every 11 years, from lots of sunspots to just a few-sunspots and back to lots of sunspots.

The cycle was even apparent during the weird “Maunder Minimum,” when there was very little activity in the 1600s (the term was coined much later). 

Then there’s the temperature. Sunspots look dark, but that’s only in comparison to the blazing solar surface around them; they’re cooler than the rest of the sun, but still ragingly hot in their own right.

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orbdrag
There seems to be plenty going on up there so how it all works, and how that might affect Earth, must be well worth pursuing. Phys.org reporting. [Click on graphic to enlarge]

Scientists from NASA and three universities have presented new discoveries about the way heat and energy move and manifest in the ionosphere, a region of Earth’s atmosphere that reacts to changes from both space above and Earth below.

Far above Earth’s surface, within the tenuous upper atmosphere, is a sea of particles that have been split into positive and negative ions by the sun’s harsh ultraviolet radiation. Called the ionosphere, this is Earth’s interface to space, the area where Earth’s neutral atmosphere and terrestrial weather give way to the space environment that dominates most of the rest of the universe – an environment that hosts charged particles and a complex system of electric and magnetic fields.

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Sidorenkov and the lunar or tidal year

Posted: November 27, 2016 by oldbrew in climate, Cycles, Maths, moon
Tags: ,

Credit: reference.com

Credit: reference.com


This is an attempt to understand via the numbers the concept proposed by Russian researcher Sidorenkov of a lunar year interacting with the terrestrial year to produce an effect of a ‘quasi-35 year’ climate cycle.

Sidorenkov in his paper ON THE SEPARATION OF SOLAR AND LUNAR CYCLES says:

The lunisolar tides repeat with a period of 355 days,
which is known as the tidal year. This period is also
manifested as a cycle of repeated eclipses. Meteorological
characteristics (pressure, temperature, cloudiness, etc.)
vary with a period of 355 days. The interference of these
tidal oscillations and the usual annual 365-day oscillations
generates beats in the annual amplitude of meteorological
characteristics with a period of about 35 years (Sidorenkov
and Sumerova, 2012b). The quasi 35-year variations in
cloudiness lead to oscillations of the radiation balance
over terrestrial regions. As a result of these quasi-
35-year beats, the climate, for example, over European
Russia alternates between “continental” with dominant
cold winters and hot summers (such as from 1963 to 1975
and from 1995 to 2014) and “maritime” with frequent
warm winters and cool summers (such as from 1956 to
1962 and from 1976 to 1994)

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Where to find Proxima Centauri [credit: Wikipedia]

Where to find Proxima Centauri [credit: Wikipedia]


Co-author Jeremy Drake said: “The existence of a cycle in Proxima Centauri shows that we don’t understand how stars’ magnetic fields are generated as well as we thought we did.” Let the head-scratching begin.

Observations confirm that the closest star to our solar system has a regular magnetic cycle similar to our Sun, reports Sky & Telescope.

With the recent discovery of a potentially habitable planet around Proxima Centauri, astronomers have been studying this star with renewed fervor. Part of their attention focuses on the star’s behavior. M dwarfs are notorious for their flares, and such stellar tantrums could be deadly for budding life on nearby planets.

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Plenty for Talkshoppers to get their teeth into here.

Climate Etc.

by Javier

The role of solar variability on climate change, despite having a very long scientific tradition, is currently downplayed as a climatic factor within the most popular hypothesis for climate change.

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A solar cycle 24 prediction chart [credit:NASA]

A solar cycle 24 prediction chart [credit:NASA]


What follows are extracts, omitting a few of the more technical aspects which can be viewed in the GWPF’s full article here. Possible ‘colder climates’ get a mention.

Sten Odenwald of NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium writes:
Forecasters are already starting to make predictions for what might be in store as our sun winds down its current sunspot cycle in a few years. Are we in for a very intense cycle of solar activity, or the beginning of a century-long absence of sunspots and a rise in colder climates?

Ever since Samuel Schwabe discovered the 11-year ebb and flow of sunspots on the sun in 1843, predicting when the next sunspot cycle will appear, and how strong it will be, has been a cottage industry among scientists and non-scientists alike.

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Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia


Sanity went out of the window some time ago in the Western world’s ideas on electricity supply, and California’s leaders have been keen to lead that type of charge, in league with ‘green’ pressure groups, as Somewhat Reasonable points out.

“California’s largest utility and environmental groups announced a deal Tuesday [June 21] to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the state.” This statement from the Associated Press reporting about the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant should startle you.

The news about shutting down California’s last operating nuclear power plant, especially after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) had sought a 20-year extension of the operating licenses for the two reactors, is disappointing—not startling.

What should pique your ire is that the “negotiated proposal,” as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called it, is between the utility company and environmental groups—with no mention of the regulators elected to insure that consumers have efficient, effective and economical electricity.

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James Marusek’s paper says: I propose two mechanisms primarily responsible for Little Ice Age climatic conditions. These two components are Cloud Theory and Wind Theory.

Thanks to Paul Homewood for bringing this to our attention.

[Click on ‘view original post’ below to find a link to the full paper].

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

James Marusek has sent me his latest paper, Little Ice Age Theory.

Excerpts below:

INTRODUCTION

The sun is undergoing a state change. It is possible that we may be at the cusp of the next Little Ice Age. For several centuries the relationship between periods of quiet sun and a prolonged brutal cold climate on Earth (referred to as Little Ice Ages) have been recognized. But the exact mechanisms behind this relationship have remained a mystery. We exist in an age of scientific enlightenment, equipped with modern tools to measure subtle changes with great precision. Therefore it is important to try and come to grips with these natural climatic drivers and mold the evolution of theories that describe the mechanisms behind Little Ice Ages.

The sun changes over time. There are decadal periods when the sun is very active magnetically, producing many sunspots. These periods are referred…

View original post 784 more words

SunEdison on the verge of bankruptcy 

Posted: April 2, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy
Tags: ,

Sun setting on SunEdison? [image credit: sunelec.com]

Sun setting on SunEdison? [image credit: sunelec.com]


Its website says it’s a ‘Global Leader in Renewable Energy Development’. Recently it was said to be ‘the world’s largest renewable energy development company’. Not for much longer it seems.

Investing.com reports — Shares in SunEdison Inc fell as much as 50% in after-hours trading after the Wall Street Journal reported late on Friday that the Missouri-based solar energy company could be on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.

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Our magnetic Sun [image credit: space.com]

Our magnetic Sun [image credit: space.com]


If you’re wondering why this is news, read on – it has taken at least some scientists by surprise, reports phys.org.
No magnetism without electricity
😉

Strong magnetic fields discovered in majority of stars—Finding to impact understanding of stellar evolution

An international group of astronomers led by the University of Sydney has discovered strong magnetic fields are common in stars, not rare as previously thought, which will dramatically impact our understanding of how stars evolve.

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H/T to Andrew for alerting me to this new paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews.

From the paper:

14C-greenland-sea-ice

Fig. 5. Reconstructed sea-ice concentrations from core GA306-GC4 compared to the 14C production rate corrected for the fossil fuel (Suess) effect for the period from 1850 to 1950 AD (Muscheler et al., 2007). (a) The direct comparison of sea-ice concentration (blue) and 14C production rate (red), as well as with DTSI (orange; difference of total solar irradiance from 1365.57 W/m2 ) (Steinhilber et al., 2012)

To investigate the feedback processes linking solar activity and sea-ice cover, we used the coupled climate model COSMOS, which indicates that a decrease in solar radiation results in increased sea-ice cover (Fig. 7a) and decreased sea-surface temperature (Fig. 7b). A strong negative correlation between sea-ice variability and solar forcing is observed along the eastern and southwestern coast of Greenland and in the Arctic Ocean, indicating that in this model solar variability is critical for simulating changes in local sea-ice production. A small change in incoming shortwave radiation, and associated ice-albedo effects, resulted in a large response of local ice formation, according to ‘bottom-up’ (solar heating of the sea surface) mechanisms (Gray et al., 2010; Hunke et al., 2010).

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[image credit: newsolarpanels.co.uk]

[image credit: newsolarpanels.co.uk]


Looks like curtains for small-scale solar in the UK if the planned new rate of 1.63 pence per kilowatt hour is approved. Financial reality is starting to catch up with ‘green dreams’ in the UK as BBC News reports.

The UK government says it plans to significantly reduce subsidies paid to small-scale green power installations. Under the proposals, the amount of money paid to home owners and businesses producing electricity from roof-top solar and small wind turbines will be limited from January 2016.
Subsidy schemes could be closed to new entrants from the start of next year.

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What The Solar Industry Forgot To Tell You!

Posted: July 24, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy
Tags: ,

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It would be a joke if it wasn’t so expensive.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2015/jul/solar-independence-day.cfm

The solar industry has apparently been bragging about how much power it has been producing recently. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten to tell us the full story.

In overall terms, solar only generated 1.2% of UK’s electricity last year.

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https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables

But worse still, in Q1, when demand is at its highest, solar only provided 0.51%.

And if that was not bad enough, when solar power does ramp up on sunny days, it simply provides problems for the grid, as this presentation from the National Grid earlier in the year showed:

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[image credit: BBC]

[image credit: BBC]


The UK government has finally realised that solar power is nearly useless in the winter. Everyone else has known this all along, but better late than never. The BBC reports:

Subsidies for many new solar farms are to end under plans being published by the government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is consulting on plans that would see subsidies for some new solar farms close by 2016. The government says the move is necessary to protect consumers.

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[Image credit: NASA]

[Image credit: NASA]


Another solar theory rolls off the production line – as ever, time will tell if it lives up to its own billing.

A new model of the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat suggests that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s, dropping to conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, reports Ice Age Now.

Beginning in about 1645, the Maunder minimum corresponded with the severest portion of the last
“Little Ice Age.”

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Power to the people? [credit: inhabitat]

Power to the people?
[credit: inhabitat]


Good news for solar panel makers as electricity-starved India starts on a massive expansion plan, reports Reuters (in NewsDaily):

India’s $100 billion push into solar energy over the next decade will be driven by foreign players as uncompetitive local manufacturers fall by the wayside, no longer protected by government restrictions on the sector.

The money pouring into India’s solar industry is likely to be soaked up by foreign-organized projects such as one run by China’s Trina Solar – not the country’s own solar panel manufacturers.

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‘Just too expensive.’ Who knew?

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

H/t David Dohbro

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/high-tech-solar-projects-fail-to-deliver-2015-06-13

Another bright idea bites the dust!!

If you look back at history, you will see that it is littered with ideas that failed. It is of course the successful we are all benefitting from now.

What is different is that in those days it was not governments who picked the winners and losers.

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