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View Poll Results: What impact will the sun's deep minima have on the future climate?
Climate getting progressively cooler through next solar cycles 262 45.02%
No impact 131 22.51%
Global warming is here to stay 93 15.98%
Calm before the solar storm of 2012-2013 96 16.49%
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03-07-2009, 16:41   #61
Redsunset
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Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved?



June 17, 2009: The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years. Now, for the first time, solar physicists might understand why.
At an American Astronomical Society press conference today in Boulder, Colorado, researchers announced that a jet stream deep inside the sun is migrating slower than usual through the star's interior, giving rise to the current lack of sunspots.
Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, used a technique called helioseismology to detect and track the jet stream down to depths of 7,000 km below the surface of the sun. The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years, they explained to a room full of reporters and fellow scientists. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear.




Howe and Hill found that the stream associated with the next solar cycle has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to only two years for the previous solar cycle.
The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead.
"It is exciting to see", says Hill, "that just as this sluggish stream reaches the usual active latitude of 22 degrees, a year late, we finally begin to see new groups of sunspots emerging."

The current solar minimum has been so long and deep, it prompted some scientists to speculate that the sun might enter a long period with no sunspot activity at all, akin to the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century. This new result dispells those concerns. The sun's internal magnetic dynamo is still operating, and the sunspot cycle is not "broken."
Because it flows beneath the surface of the sun, the jet stream is not directly visible. Hill and Howe tracked its hidden motions via helioseismology. Shifting masses inside the sun send pressure waves rippling through the stellar interior. So-called "p modes" (p for pressure) bounce around the interior and cause the sun to ring like an enormous bell. By studying the vibrations of the sun's surface, it is possible to figure out what is happening inside. Similar techniques are used by geologists to map the interior of our planet.
In this case, researchers combined data from GONG and SOHO. GONG, short for "Global Oscillation Network Group," is an NSO-led network of telescopes that measures solar vibrations from various locations around Earth. SOHO, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, makes similar measurements from space.

"This is an important discovery," says Dean Pesnell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "It shows how flows inside the sun are tied to the creation of sunspots and how jet streams can affect the timing of the solar cycle."




There is, however, much more to learn.
"We still don't understand exactly how jet streams trigger sunspot production," says Pesnell. "Nor do we fully understand how the jet streams themselves are generated."
To solve these mysteries, and others, NASA plans to launch the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) later this year. SDO is equipped with sophisticated helioseismology sensors that will allow it to probe the solar interior better than ever before.






03 July 09 The sun is blank, no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 02 July 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 8 days
2009 total: 142 days (77%)
Since 2004: 653 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
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13-08-2009, 20:24   #62
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Looks like another good stretch at the moment, 33 days since the last official sunspot. Wonder how this winter will turn out given the very quiet sun and an el nino year....
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14-08-2009, 00:24   #63
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A Correlation Between Sun Spot Cycles and El Niño
Dr. James H. L. Lawler
There is a correlation between Solar Sun spot cycles and El Niño events.

Every year following a minimum number of solar sun spots is an el niño year. The el niño events also happen at other times in between these 11 year cycles, but every solar minimum is associated with an el niño event.
Since the el niño event happens on the average about every 6 years the sun spots predict about half of them.

There is a long record of accurate solar sun spot observations starting about 1600. These number of sun spots fluctuate from a quiet time with very few, 10 or even less, visible sun spots to major activity, up to about 200 sun spots visible on any given day.

These follow roughly an 11 year cycle with peaks every 10.57 years on the average, but with as much as 1.5 years variance observed in the cycle length. The cycles alternate with leading North and South magnetic poles. Every other cycle has leading NORTH magnetic poles, and the alternate cycle has leading SOUTH magnetic poles, thus the real full cycle is 21 years, not 10.57. Dr Hale noticed this and he plotted every other cycle "upside down" to graphically represent this "Hale" 21 year pattern.

In addition to the Hale cycle, there is a longer range 110 year pulse of activity, the magnitude of the peaks grows from about 11 cycle maximums to a maximal activity of about 200 sun spots visible on any given day, with peaks centered on roughly 1785, 1860 and 1960 and then activity declines with peak activity reaching only perhaps 100 sunspots ca 1690, 1810, 1910, and projected to 2020 with a decline from the recent peak activity of 1989-1991 at about 210 sunspots. The peak activity of circa 2001 should be ca 160-180, and by 2010-11 down to 140-150 with the peak ca 2021-2022 down again to about 110-120 sun spots. 1996/7 is a Solar minimum.

From 1600 until about 1700 the sun was going through an unusual period of minimal activity, the "Maunder minimum", where the climate of Europe became unusually cold. For example ice froze on the canals of Holland for the first time in recorded history.

There also was another minimum circa 1200-1300 that is not well recorded. In Europe we have no solar records at all, but Chinese records do partially record this solar minimum. The results were catastrophic world wide.

In Peru the Wari culture had such a long drought that the population of the capital city declined form about 50,000 to about 25,000. They literally starved to death. The Mesa Verde Indians in Colorado, now USA, abandoned their entire main cultural site and moved to where they could find enough water.

In Europe the cold forced a major change in customs. First the Kings and Queens and then the "Lords and Ladies" moved into smaller, private, warmer bedrooms, instead of living in open, drafty, and poorly heated "Great Halls" of the Castles as was the custom prior to 1200.

Since 1700 the sun spot activity has peaked regularly every 11 years, (10.57 actual mean period) with minimum activity below 20 sun spots, even below 10 sun spots visible on any given day for typically over 100 days in a row. There have been three super cycles of about 110 years observed.

The trees leave a record of bad growth years in their rings. This unusually small tree growth pattern has been observed in Germany in the Spesart and Trier forests back to 820 AD, and in the USA in 20 different zones back to before 1800 AD, and in Indonesia back to 1500 AD. They all coincide exactly. Looking at tree ring data we can project these solar cycles backwards with some confidence to about 820 AD adding 6 more super cycles and over a hundred 10.57 year cycles.

As mentioned before these solar cycles alternate. The spots come in pairs with leading north magnetic poles one cycle and then next cycle leading south magnetic poles in the next cycle; so in order to accommodate and represent this Professor Hale alternated every other cycle above the axis below the axis. This "Hale" presentation follows a 21 year period rather closely.

The extreme el niño events follow the hale cycle even closer than the 11 year cycle, and 1976, 1954, 1933, 1912, 1892. and 1866 all were extreme el niño cases with severe droughts world wide. If we add 1997 that will complete the predictive nature of the observation and tend to confirm the hypothesis.

El niño events, unfortunately, are not all that well recorded. While in Peru in 1996 I went to the national library for two days and made a brief search of the records. Prior to 1890 only very scattered records in personal diaries telling of unusual weather conditions exist. There are no formal records at all. From the other records I was able to add 1878, 1866, 1857, 1842/3, and 1832 events. This needs to be researched better, since I had limited time and could not do as thorough a job as is really needed. But knowing when to look, some of the years el niño is expected, should aid in the research.

What happens, and WHY?
The sun spots appear to be associated with more energy reaching earth, and solar minima are associated with less heat, or global cooling. The oceans are vast reservoirs of heat for earth and by Le Chatelier's principle will try to react so as to minimize any change in solar heating.
Thus the oceans and weather react to release heat from the oceans to the continental masses at minima.

In this time Peru receives both more heat and more water. But if Peru gets more water, some other area must get less... in fact most will get less since there is less total energy to produce water vapor. Thus el niño is associated with drought in most places. Australia, areas of Indonesia, the US high planes and the Russian/ Asian steppes all suffer. The monsoons also fail in India.

The el niño brings added water from the ocean, to costal Peru and moderation (warming of the coldest months, cooling of the warmer months) of the pacific Peruvian costal climate, but also dumps water causing mud slides etc. in California. Thus it is a truly global phenomena.




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14-08-2009, 00:29   #64
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article from a couple of weeks ago



last year marked the blankest year of the Sun in the last half-century

266 days with not a single sunspot visible from Earth. Then, in the first four months of 2009, the Sun became even more blank, the pace of sunspots slowing more.

“It’s been as dead as a doornail,” David Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said a couple of months ago.

The Sun perked up in June and July, with a sizeable clump of 20 sunspots earlier this month.
Now it is blank again, consistent with expectations that this solar cycle will be smaller and calmer, and the maximum of activity, expected to arrive in May 2013 will not be all that maximum.

For operators of satellites and power grids, that is good news. The same roiling magnetic fields that generate sunspot blotches also accelerate a devastating rain of particles that can overload and wreck electronic equipment in orbit or on Earth.

A panel of 12 scientists assembled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now predicts that the May 2013 peak will average 90 sunspots during that month. That would make it the weakest solar maximum since 1928, which peaked at 78 sunspots. During an average solar maximum, the Sun is covered with an average of 120 sunspots.

But the panel’s consensus “was not a unanimous decision,” said Douglas A. Biesecker, chairman of the panel. One member still believed the cycle would roar to life while others thought the maximum would peter out at only 70.

Among some global warming skeptics, there is speculation that the Sun may be on the verge of falling into an extended slumber similar to the so-called Maunder Minimum, several sunspot-scarce decades during the 17th and 18th centuries that coincided with an extended chilly period.
Most solar physicists do not think anything that odd is going on with the Sun. With the recent burst of sunspots, “I don’t see we’re going into that,” Dr. Hathaway said last week.

Still, something like the Dalton Minimum — two solar cycles in the early 1800s that peaked at about an average of 50 sunspots — lies in the realm of the possible, Dr. Hathaway said. (The minimums are named after scientists who helped identify them: Edward W. Maunder and John Dalton.)


With better telescopes on the ground and a fleet of Sun-watching spacecraft, solar scientists know a lot more about the Sun than ever before. But they do not understand everything. Solar dynamo models, which seek to capture the dynamics of the magnetic field, cannot yet explain many basic questions, not even why the solar cycles average 11 years in length.

Predicting the solar cycle is, in many ways, much like predicting the stock market. A full understanding of the forces driving solar dynamics is far out of reach, so scientists look to key indicators that correlate with future events and create models based on those.

For example, in 2006, Dr. Hathaway looked at the magnetic fields in the polar regions of the Sun, and they were strong. During past cycles, strong polar fields at minimum grew into strong fields all over the Sun at maximum and a bounty of sunspots. Because the previous cycle had been longer than average, Dr. Hathaway thought the next one would be shorter and thus solar minimum was imminent. He predicted the new solar cycle would be a ferocious one.

Instead, the new cycle did not arrive as quickly as Dr. Hathaway anticipated, and the polar field weakened. His revised prediction is for a smaller-than-average maximum. Last November, it looked like the new cycle was finally getting started, with the new cycle sunspots in the middle latitudes outnumbering the old sunspots of the dying cycle that are closer to the equator.

After a minimum, solar activity usually takes off quickly, but instead the Sun returned to slumber. “There was a long lull of several months of virtually no activity, which had me worried,” Dr. Hathaway said.
The idea that solar cycles are related to climate is hard to fit with the actual change in energy output from the sun. From solar maximum to solar minimum, the Sun’s energy output drops a minuscule 0.1 percent.
But the overlap of the Maunder Minimum with the Little Ice Age, when Europe experienced unusually cold weather, suggests that the solar cycle could have more subtle influences on climate.

One possibility proposed a decade ago by Henrik Svensmark and other scientists at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen looks to high-energy interstellar particles known as cosmic rays. When cosmic rays slam into the atmosphere, they break apart air molecules into ions and electrons, which causes water and sulfuric acid in the air to stick together in tiny droplets. These droplets are seeds that can grow into clouds, and clouds reflect sunlight, potentially lowering temperatures.

The Sun, the Danish scientists say, influences how many cosmic rays impinge on the atmosphere and thus the number of clouds. When the Sun is frenetic, the solar wind of charged particles it spews out increases. That expands the cocoon of magnetic fields around the solar system, deflecting some of the cosmic rays.

But, according to the hypothesis, when the sunspots and solar winds die down, the magnetic cocoon contracts, more cosmic rays reach Earth, more clouds form, less sunlight reaches the ground, and temperatures cool.

“I think it’s an important effect,” Dr. Svensmark said, although he agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has certainly contributed to recent warming.

Dr. Svensmark and his colleagues found a correlation between the rate of incoming cosmic rays and the coverage of low-level clouds between 1984 and 2002. They have also found that cosmic ray levels, reflected in concentrations of various isotopes, correlate well with climate extending back thousands of years.

But other scientists found no such pattern with higher clouds, and some other observations seem inconsistent with the hypothesis.

Terry Sloan, a cosmic ray expert at the University of Lancaster in England, said if the idea were true, one would expect the cloud-generation effect to be greatest in the polar regions where the Earth’s magnetic field tends to funnel cosmic rays.
“You’d expect clouds to be modulated in the same way,” Dr. Sloan said. “We can’t find any such behavior.”
Still, “I would think there could well be some effect,” he said, but he thought the effect was probably small. Dr. Sloan’s findings indicate that the cosmic rays could at most account for 20 percent of the warming of recent years.


Even without cosmic rays, however, a 0.1 percent change in the Sun’s energy output is enough to set off El Niño- and La Niña-like events that can influence weather around the world, according to new research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Climate modeling showed that over the largely cloud-free areas of the Pacific Ocean, the extra heating over several years warms the water, increasing evaporation. That intensifies the tropical storms and trade winds in the eastern Pacific, and the result is cooler-than-normal waters, as in a La Niña event, the scientists reported this month in the Journal of Climate.

In a year or two, the cool water pattern evolves into a pool of El Niño-like warm water, the scientists said.
New instruments should provide more information for scientists to work with. A 1.7-meter telescope at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in Southern California is up and running, and one of its first photographs shows “a string of pearls,” each about 50 miles across.

“At that scale, they can only be the fundamental fibril structure of the Sun’s magnetic field,” said Philip R. Goode, director of the solar observatory. Other telescopes may have caught hints of these tiny structures, he said, but “never so many in a row and not so clearly resolved.”

Sun-watching spacecraft cannot match the acuity of ground-based telescopes, but they can see wavelengths that are blocked by the atmosphere — and there are never any clouds in the way. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s newest sun-watching spacecraft, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is scheduled for launching this fall, will carry an instrument that will essentially be able to take sonograms that deduce the convection flows generating the magnetic fields.

That could help explain why strong magnetic fields sometimes coalesce into sunspots and why sometimes the strong fields remain disorganized without forming spots. The mechanics of how solar storms erupt out of a sunspot are also not fully understood.

A quiet cycle is no guarantee no cataclysmic solar storms will occur. The largest storm ever observed occurred in 1859, during a solar cycle similar to what is predicted.
Back then, it scrambled telegraph wires. Today, it could knock out an expanse of the power grid from Maine south to Georgia and west to Illinois. Ten percent of the orbiting satellites would be disabled. A study by the National Academy of Sciences calculated the damage would exceed a trillion dollars.
But no one can quite explain the current behavior or reliably predict the future.

“We still don’t quite understand this beast,” Dr. Hathaway said. “The theories we had for how the sunspot cycle works have major problems.”
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14-08-2009, 20:05   #65
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Thanks for the articles redsunset. I'm such a novice but this stuff has me fascinated. We really live in very interesting times. I am really hoping that we get a good snowy winter out of all these spotless days!
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22-08-2009, 02:22   #66
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info from spaceweather.com.


QUIET SUN: According to NOAA sunspot counts, the longest stretch of spotless suns during the current solar minimum was 52 days in July, August and Sept. of 2008. The current spate of blank suns is putting that record in jeopardy. There have been no sunspots for almost 42 days and there are none in the offing. Deep solar minimum continues.



21 Aug 09



The sun is blank--no sunspots. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI




Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 20 Aug 2009

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 41 days
2009 total: 183 days (79%)
Since 2004: 694 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days




so folks when is the new solar cycle gonna truly kick off.i think this is remarkable and will prob only see this in our lifetime so we should feel somewhat in awe bout this.who cares if it turns out to be a load of hullaballo.one thing for sure its great to be able to talk bout such an event.
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25-08-2009, 10:39   #67
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:DSo much for the jet stream.The stretch continues.The guy at spaceweather really wants this cycle to get going,and I thought astronomers were supposed to be impartial.

I never thought it could go this long after all the cheering for that last spot.
Its cool and a bit scary at the same time.
Lets see if the record gets taken out.
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25-08-2009, 14:47   #68
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just a quick update


Today marks the 45th consecutive day without spots on the sun--one of the longest quiet spells of the current solar minimum. In early July, sunspot 1024 seemed to herald the long-awaited onset of Solar Cycle 24, but shortly after that apparition, sunspot production turned off again. The deepest solar minimum in a century continues.
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25-08-2009, 17:55   #69
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What kind of sunspot activity was there around the winter of 62-63
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25-08-2009, 23:06   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billy the squid View Post
What kind of sunspot activity was there around the winter of 62-63
it was a solar minimum with few sunspots


The numbers tabulated in are the monthly averages (SSN) and standard deviation (DEV) derived from the International Sunspot Numbers.

1962 11 26.9 20.9
1962 12 23.2 14.8
1963 1 19.8 11.4
1963 2 24.4 15.8
1963 3 17.1 8.8

Last edited by Redsunset; 26-08-2009 at 15:14.
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26-08-2009, 15:16   #71
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here's another view
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File Type: jpg sunspot numbers.JPG (28.7 KB, 48 views)
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26-08-2009, 15:19   #72
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That's a really cool graph, where did you find it? Would love to search for other years, particularly that big snow we had in the 80s. Jan 83 I think..
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26-08-2009, 15:28   #73
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any date in time as regards sunspot numbers is all here on

http://spaceweather.com/glossary/sun...07070mjjltdm66



just look at today's graph,mad how quiet it is
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26-08-2009, 16:10   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redsunset View Post
any date in time as regards sunspot numbers is all here on

http://spaceweather.com/glossary/sun...07070mjjltdm66



just look at today's graph,mad how quiet it is
I was putting in the dates we have had cold or snowy winters. Most with low sunspot activity. How ever 82 there was high activity and we still got a load of snow. 63/63 had some activity. We have zero sunspot activity now. What does this winter hold for us?
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26-08-2009, 16:46   #75
Redsunset
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I was putting in the dates we have had cold or snowy winters. Most with low sunspot activity. How ever 82 there was high activity and we still got a load of snow. 63/63 had some activity. We have zero sunspot activity now. What does this winter hold for us?


I think in a long term sense that yes there will be a gradual cooling of surface temps across the globe however I don't believe its going to burst onto the scene but the lack of sunspots effect may have started to create the first piece of the giant puzzle.

The National Solar Observatory have discovered that the sun's surface is changing, and magnetic ropes are fewer. The sun's magnetic field has decreased by 20%, and the earth has followed with a decreased magnetic field which is suppose to allow more cosmic rays to filter in and cause cloud formation.

read all bout cosmic rays in previous posts.

NASA released results that the solar wind had decreased greatly in the last 50 years.

And now an abstract from

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fsd/astro/sunspots.php


the jury is still out on how much sunspots can (or do) affect the Earth's climate. Times of maximum sunspot activity are associated with a very slight increase in the energy output from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation increases dramatically during high sunspot activity, which can have a large effect on the Earth's atmosphere. From the mid 1600s to early 1700s, a period of very low sunspot activity (known as the Maunder Minimum) coincided with a number of long winters and severe cold temperatures in Western Europe, called the Little Ice Age. It is not known whether the two phenomena are linked or if it was just coincidence. The reason it is hard to relate maximum and minimum solar activity (sunspots) to the Earth's climate, is due to the complexity of the Earth's climate itself. For example, how does one sort out whether a long-term weather change was caused by sunspots, or maybe a coinciding El Nino or La Nina? Increased volcanic eruptions can also affect the Earth's climate by cooling the planet. And what about the burning of fossil fuels and clear cutting rain forests? One thing is more certain, sunspot cycles have been correlated in the width of tree ring growth. More study will be conducted in the future on relating sunspot activity and our Earth's climate



so as you can see not even the best scientists know the answer,but im putting my money on us entering a change toward slightly cooler conditions in the long term.


As regards most of our cold winters coinciding with lack of spots,well the only response i can give is read the abstract and come to your own conclusion.

This is a very debatable topic of which only time will tell us the true answer.
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