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Future Solar activity


#1

For HF enthusiasts (and it will probably affect all of us, as well as SOTA propagation), some interesting research announced yesterday:

http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~deforest/SPD-sunspot-release/

There’s been speculation for a while that there’s something “not quite right” with the present cycle - I used to observe sunspots in the sixties and felt that this cycle they were not appearing at the right latitudes. This research suggests that something interesting is happening.

73
John GM8OTI


#2

In reply to GM8OTI:

Interesting indeed!

“this could be the last solar maximum we’ll see for a few decades.
That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth’s climate”

It makes worrying about my personal “carbon footprint” (if I actually did, of course) somewhat irrelevant!

73 de Les, G3VQO


#3

In reply to GM8OTI:

I, too, observed sunspots from about 1959 for several years! There are some puzzling aspects to this report. Take, for instance, the decline in the magnetic field in sunspots over the last few cycles: despite this there have been a plenitude of large sunspots visible to the naked eye, and a plentiful supply of major flares up to an X20 several years ago. If indeed magnetic fields have declined then it suggests that sunspot activity is not related to field strength, which sounds daft! Possibly the decline is an artifact of improved techniques, time will tell.

Incidentally the butterfly diagram in the report suggests that the new sunspots of the current cycle are appearing at the expected latitudes but later than usual.

Whatever the outcome it just goes to show that our nearest star is full of surprises!

73

Brian G8ADD

PS According to reports out today a “Maunder Minimum” would cause a temperature decline of no more than a few tenths of a degree, far smaller than the expected 2.0 to 4.5C increase projected for the end of the century from Greenhouse effects, so there will be no ice skating on the Thames this time around!


#4

In reply to G8ADD:

If indeed magnetic fields have declined then it suggests
that sunspot activity is not related to field strength, which sounds
daft!
Apparently it’s the magnetic field in the spots they’re talking about - if it’s not strong enough (and it’s declining - look at the graph) then the field can’t hold the spot together against the effects of the hot plasma - so as the field in spots gets smaller, the spots get smaller then eventually effectively become invisible. Certainly there have been no spots in the last year or two as spectacular as those I used to observe! Must dig out my old drawings, I have them somewhere … :wink:

Whatever the outcome it just goes to show that our nearest star is
full of surprises!
That’s certainly true Brian.

According to reports out today a “Maunder Minimum” would
cause a temperature decline of no more than a few tenths of a degree,
far smaller than the expected 2.0 to 4.5C increase projected for the
end of the century from Greenhouse effects, so there will be no ice
skating on the Thames this time around!
Yes I saw that too. Unfortunately from most of what I’ve seen, the climate models currently in vogue can’t take account of solar activity properly as long as we don’t really understand the effect of the Sun on the climate (e.g. through cosmic ray particles). So I don’t believe any of these guys - I want to see proper studies based on real data, not on computer models that these days can be thrown together by anyone using data handling languages. Especially those who don’t understand statistics :wink:

Sorry - rather off the SOTA topic here but bad science does annoy me! (You should ban me from further comments on this topic!)

73
John GM8OTI


#5

In reply to GM8OTI:

Apparently it’s the magnetic field in the spots they’re talking about

  • if it’s not strong enough (and it’s declining - look at the graph)
    then the field can’t hold the spot together against the effects of the
    hot plasma - so as the field in spots gets smaller, the spots get
    smaller then eventually effectively become invisible. Certainly there
    have been no spots in the last year or two as spectacular as those I
    used to observe! Must dig out my old drawings, I have them somewhere
    :wink:

Well, its little more than a year since we were in the depths of the minimum, and the sunspots have always built up gradually, yet we have already had one group that was just visible to the naked eye. There seems little correlation between their plot of declining field strength and actual sunspot sizes. I presume that they are measuring the fields by the Zeeman Effect, I wonder if there has been any significant change in instrumental techniques.

Yes I saw that too. Unfortunately from most of what I’ve seen, the
climate models currently in vogue can’t take account of solar activity
properly as long as we don’t really understand the effect of the Sun
on the climate (e.g. through cosmic ray particles). So I don’t believe
any of these guys - I want to see proper studies based on real data,
not on computer models that these days can be thrown together by
anyone using data handling languages. Especially those who don’t
understand statistics :wink:

I understand that the cosmic ray effect on cloud cover idea has been debunked, at present they are paying a lot of attention to variations in the far UV. However, insolation has been measured by various techniques for a long time and it has been established that the variation between sunspot maximum and minimum is equivalent to about 0.1C. Incidentally, you may be able to throw a modeling program together easily, but it still has to work with real data, lots of it; the idea of the model is to test the assumptions against that data.

Sorry - rather off the SOTA topic here but bad science does annoy me!
(You should ban me from further comments on this topic!)

No, I find these discussions stimulating, more so than, say geocaching which to me is just a game of open air hunt the slipper! :wink:

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to GM8OTI:

Sorry - rather off the SOTA topic here but bad science does annoy me!

Me too. I was watching Prof Cox’s piece on gravity yesterday. I feel certain that at one point he said “there is no gravity here” and “gravity is cancelled out” . They seemed brave assertions indeed for someone plumeting towards the centre of the earth in an ever accelerating jet aircraft… Such is the wonder of pop-science.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#7

He is a terrible organist but a very good professor. I think he’s probably right. After all, Isaac Newton only invented gravity to cover up about how he got a bump on the head. When really, he had been fighting with a non-believer who wouldn’t accept his theory that the apparent ‘spots’ on the sun were simply proof that it was made of cheese, and not the moon as previously thought.

Prof T. Read M1EYP (trying to muscle in on this pop-science racket)


#8

In reply to G3CWI:

there is no gravity here

Lagrange Points?

Some other La Grange points… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnMFOeEPUks

Back to the topic. I used to project the sun and sketch the sunspots when I was naught but a teenager. Sadly the notes taken have long since disappeared. The telescope is still at my late mum’s! But not the eyepieces :frowning: Anyway if there’s not going to be a Cycle 25 of note (and Cycle 24 is not startling) then those low bands are going to be awfully busy.

Andy
MM0FMF


#9

Ah Brian, I can’t resist some bits of reply!

I presume that they are measuring
the fields by the Zeeman Effect
Yes, I understand so.
I wonder if there has been any
significant change in instrumental techniques.
The same bloke has been doing the experiment since the 90s so I would trust him to have considered instrumental effects. What is interesting is that the early papers showed the magnetic field decline - it’s a straight line! - and subsequent observations have continued to follow the decline. So it looks as though it might well be significant. The authors say in a September 2010 paper that this doesn’t mean all the spots will disappear, but that only half would be visible by 2021 (though in yesterday’s announcement it sounds as though they’re now saying they will all/mostly become invisible - “largely disappear” the press release says, though I’ve not seen the paper).

2010 paper at

I understand that the cosmic ray effect on cloud cover idea has been
debunked
I don’t believe it’s well understood at all. There are still interesting investigations going on; have you seen

http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/445/cern-cloud-experiment-studies-cosmic-climate-connection

also

http://aps.arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0804/0804.1938v1.pdf

(see Fig. 3, the effects are much bigger than 0.1C).

Incidentally, you may be able to throw a modeling program
together easily, but it still has to work with real data, lots of it;
the idea of the model is to test the assumptions against that data.
Absolutely. I think that’s where these young whipper-snappers have been going wrong lately - there’s too much reliance on the models (and their predictions being interpreted as being in some way “right”) and not enough real science where the models are used to test ideas by making predictions which are then tested against new observations. I think the scientific method is not really approved of in the “post modern” world - it seems that what matters is what people think, not what the data shows to be right.

geocaching
which to me is just a game of open air hunt the slipper! :wink:
I make no comment :wink:

Ah me - getting way off SOTA here. I must stop waving my stick at the youth of today!

73
John GM8OTI


#10

In reply to GM8OTI:

I understand that the cosmic ray effect on cloud cover idea has
been
debunked
I don’t believe it’s well understood at all. There are still
interesting investigations going on; have you seen

http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/445/cern-cloud-experiment-studies-cosmic-climate-connection

I hadn’t forgotten this one, John, but had to find time to dig a bit:

Some interesting stuff comes up in the discussion!

73

Brian G8ADD


#11

In reply to G8ADD:

Brian, I’m afraid for me the subheading “Climate Science from Climate Scientists” doesn’t help. As a physicist I have found some of the stuff coming from the climate science community quite surprising - rather less scientific than I would have expected - like basing big conclusions on hardly any data (tree ring temperature proxies spring to mind). Unfortunately most working physicists don’t have the time to get involved in these discussions. From what I’ve seen the geological community also houses quite a few sceptics - and for me that’s almost a definition of a scientist - doubt everything until you’ve observed it and think you understand it!

There are blogs on both sides of the climate debate, most of which are heavily biased one way or the other, and I find wading through a lot of the stuff there tedious. But since I retired I did take a bit of interest in this, and was, quite frankly, pretty surprised by the sort of stuff I found. As I working physicist I hadn’t had time to look at the claims being made, and imagined that the “climate science” community would contain scientists I could trust to do things in the right way, like the people I knew in my field. But I’m not convinced that has happened across the board, and it would seem that that some of the more prominent people involved have been involved in some of the poorest stuff. I’m sure there are many honest scientists in the climate science community, but I have been concerned by what I’ve read (and seen) of this. There’s simply too much politics (and the subsequent funding) involved and I think the science has been distorted as a result.

Why, even in the page you reference, at the end is the suggestion “Does this imply that the cloud experiment at CERN is necessary? I wonder.” To me that is not a scientific approach. Rather than suggesting that alternative approaches are not necessary, we should be looking at the Universe in as many ways as possible to get to the essence of how it all works, which is a most fantastic project for humans. And, of course, the CLOUD experiment is run by physicists, so I would expect there to be a bit of honesty there :wink:

One of the difficulties with climate science is the same one that astronomers face - you can’t really do significant experiments on the main subject. OK, in astronomy there are lots of stars, so we can do some good observational and statistical stuff there, creating theoretical models and testing them on new observations, and quite a lot of galaxies, so ditto. but there’s only one Universe, so understanding it is not easy. Similarly there’s only one Earth, and it is horribly horribly complicated - the models are all relatively simple (compared to the system), and are trying to fit historical data. Then the new data comes very very slowly to test models - so they’re not really tested before the politicians want to draw conclusions from the science they’ve funded. And of course, data from the distant past is very limited - most of the long term stuff is from indirect measurements, making conclusions even harder to draw. And climate science as a subject is hardly out of nappies! - the detailed data, e.g. from satellites, is only a few decades old, whereas the changes being modelled run over centuries and millennia - and longer.

The CLOUD experiment is interesting, because it is looking carefully, and experimentally (not by looking for proxies and drawing potentially erroneous conclusions) at the effects of cosmic rays (which come from the Sun and the Galaxy) on the components of the atmosphere. We don’t understand these effects properly, so for me it’s an excellent experiment.

Maybe you should make a final comment then close this thread, else we’re going to start attracting pro- and anti-AGW trolls! I’m sure we’ve got way off what’s directly relevant for SOTA - the effect of solar activity on the ionosphere rather than the troposphere! There are plenty sites on the web where this climate stuff is discussed, and I normally try to avoid commenting unless I really get agitated. You really get to see the general level of science education when you read many of the comments there …

You really shouldn’t encourage me :wink:

73
John GM8OTI