Category Archives: Solar Activity

Solar Cycle 25 Predictions–National Weather Service and NASA See It Differently


While it is not unexpected that experts predicting how active Solar Cycle (SC) 25 will be compared to SC 24, the new forecast from NASA is significantly different than the National Weather Service  forecast.

A few weeks ago, I reported that the National Weather Service forecast for SC 25 activity would be slightly greater than SC 24.    They added:

“The expectation that Cycle 25 will be comparable in size to Cycle 24   means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

NASA’s prediction is different, really different.  Their expert says:

Research now underway may have found a reliable new method to predict this solar activity. The Sun’s activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.

The NASA prediction did not discuss the possibility of a Maunder minimum.   However their prediction does not rule out a Maunder minimum in progress as it forecasts SC25 will not be the end of a steady decline in solar cycle amplitude.

Both of the predicting groups acknowledge that they are still far from a full understanding of how the Sun works. So, we will just have to wait and see.

cbdakota

Predicting Solar Cycle 25


Prior to the advent of SC 24, there were many predictions of  its level of activity.  Most of the predictions were for a replicate of SC 23. Leif  Svalgaard’s  predicted a major change in  its level of activity.     He was predicting about half as active as were most of the predictors and  we know now that he was right.     Svalgaard’s method  used  the Solar Polar Field Strength  to make the prediction. 

I know many of you know all about the solar polar fields, but for those that do not, let me review what the following chart tells us.

 

 

 

The X axis is time beginning on 7 Dec 1976.  It extends out to 2 Feb 2019 showing part or all of SCs 21,22,23 and 24.  Solar Cycle 24 began January 2008 and is forecast to end late 2019 or early 2020.  SC 24 was at maximum activity during April 2014 with  a smoothed sunspot number of 111..  The maximum typically occurs when the South magnetic field and the North magnetic field reverse positions. In the chart above, the red (South) moving line crosses the zero Field strength line noted on the Y axis  going south and the north (Blue) moving line crosses zero going north. These fields continue toward the poles where they begin producing sunspots in the high Sun latitudes.  The fields begin to move toward the zero line and the new SC 25 will begin.

To make the prediction one has to  use the black line, the north field strength minus the south field strength,  to make the prediction.  The time to make the prediction is when the black line is the furthest from the Y axis zero line.  This occurred in the spring of 2004 so they predicted SC24  to be small.  If you look at the black line, say in January 2018 it is about the same distance from the zero line so the gurus are saying SC25will be about the same size as SC24. 

If Leif Svalgaard reads this, he would probably say I have oversimplified the procedure and do not have it exactly right.  So be it. 

The National Weather Service posted the following   Solar experts predict the Sun’s activity in Solar Cycle 25 to be below average, similar to Solar Cycle 24

April 5, 2019 – Scientists charged with predicting the Sun’s activity for the next 11-year solar cycle say that it’s likely to be weak, much like the current one. The current solar cycle, Cycle 24, is declining and predicted to reach solar minimum – the period when the Sun is least active – late in 2019 or 2020.

Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel experts said Solar Cycle 25 may have a slow start, but is anticipated to peak with solar maximum occurring between 2023 and 2026, and a sunspot range of 95 to 130. This is well below the average number of sunspots, which typically ranges from 140 to 220 sunspots per solar cycle. The panel has high confidence that the coming cycle should break the trend of weakening solar activity seen over the past four cycles.

“We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak cycle, preceded by a long, deep minimum,” said panel co-chair Lisa Upton, Ph.D., solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp. “The expectation that Cycle 25 will be comparable in size to Cycle 24   means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

This is the Experts’ chart below and it shows the 24 SCs with the maximum sunspots ( see Y axis) and the time it occurred.. Also, the Experts have plotted SC25 on the chart::

 

The Experts are also predicting SC26 when they say “The expectation that SC 25 will be comparable in size to SC 24   means that the steady decline in solar cycle amplitude, seen from cycles 21-24, has come to an end and that there is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity.”

I wonder if that is wishful thinking?

cbdakota

Solar Cycle 24 is Nearing Completion.


Sometime ago, every month I blogged a brief report on the activity of the Sun.  I have the urge to do that again, so here goes.

Solar Cycle (SC) 24 has just about run its course. It is forecast to give over to SC 25 in late 2019/early 2020 and when it does, that’s call the 24SC minimum.

Sunspots are a proxy for Solar activity.  The chart below shows the average number of sunspots in each month.  The blue dashed line is a 13-month averaged sunspot count.  It is the official sunspot number.  (The formula for the count is shown at the end of this posting.)  The official number of sunspots peaked in April of 2014 thus the solar maximum happened then.

The chart below  illustrates how recent SCs compare to SC 24:

 

All three of the preceding SCs were much more active than SC24.

As side note,  the SCs on average last for 11 years, or saying another way, 132 months.  At one time, it was believed that if the SC was over before 11 years it was generally an active SC.  More than 11 years, less active.

 

The chart below shows the 24 SCs and the chart makers attempt at a SC25.  The X axis is in years from 1749 to an estimated 2040.  The Y axis is sunspots

One can see that SCs 23, 22, 21, 19, and 18 represent a very active sun.  The maker of the chart calls this the “modern warm period”.   Looking back the chart maker has noted the time of the “Dalton Minimum” and the “little ice age”.  These periods of low solar activity coincide with the periods of low global temperatures. Perhaps you can see why many scientists are forecasting that global temperatures will soon be dropping.  Also one can speculate that  the global warming  we have experienced may be a product of the past 60 years of a very active sun.    Ok, now one more reading of the chart might suggest that we are due for a period of low solar activity thus a drop in global temperatures.   The chart maker’s projection of SC 25 to  be lowest in recorded history is very likely to be wrong.  However the batting average of the predictors of future SCs is not too stellar  so who knows.

Throughout the recent past, claims were made that the global temperature was going to drop because SC 24 was relatively inactive.  I do not think that the temperature did drop.  I believe I read  one article where the claim was that SC 24 was the reason that the increased CO2 in the atmosphere did not raise the temperature as much as it should  have.  I don’t believe that one.

Was SC 24 definitely an uniquely quiet SC?  I think so.

The sunspot activity of the cycles in comparison. The numbers in the diagram are obtained by summing the monthly differences between the observed SSN and the mean (blue in Fig.1) up to the current cycle month 125. ( I am not sure whom to attribute this chart but I got it from Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and Frank Bosse who write the diekaltesonne  blog.)

This shows that at just about 10-1/2 years,  SC 24  has had 4464 fewer sunspots than the average  SC.  It also shows that SCs 5 and 6, had the  fewest sunspot and those two SC are coincident with the Dalton Minimum.   SC 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 were way low on sunspots and they coincided with the little ice age.

It is clear that the sun was much less active as demonstrated by the sunspot record.  I expected a clear sign by the end of its cycle, which we have not yet seen,  of a cooling global temperature  trend. Some think we have that, but I do not see what I expected from the UAH satellite global temperature readings.  The temperature  has declined since the last El Nino but it has not been lowered to the temperature before that El Nino.

Next a look at Solar Cycle 25.

Cbdakota

Sunspot Counting–Woolf Number

The smoothed count is a 13-month averaged sunspot count using this Belgium’s formula:
Rs= (0.5 Rm-6 + Rm-5 + Rm-4 + Rm-3 + Rm-2 + Rm-1 + Rm + Rm+1 + Rm+2 + Rm+3 + Rm+4 + Rm+5 + 0.5 Rm+6 ) / 12
Rs = smoothed monthly sunspot count
Rm = One month’s actual sunspot count
The “-6” through “+6” appended to each Rm is the number of months before or after the month whose smoothed count is being calculated. The beginning and ending months in the formula are only given half the value of the others.*

 

New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking—Part 2 Moonshot Policies and the Challenge of Scale


Continuing the serialization of the Mark Mills report, “New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.

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Moonshot Policies and the Challenge of Scale

The universe is awash in energy. For humanity, the challenge has always been to deliver energy in a useful way that is both tolerable and available when it is needed, not when nature or luck offers it. Whether it be wind or water on the surface, sunlight from above, or hydrocarbons buried deep in the earth, converting an energy source into useful power always requires capital-intensive hardware.

Considering the world’s population and the size of modern economies, scale matters. In physics, when attempting to change any system, one has to deal with inertia and various forces of resistance; it’s far harder to turn or stop a Boeing than it is a bumblebee. In a social system, it’s far more difficult to change the direction of a country than it is a local community.

Today’s reality: hydrocarbons—oil, natural gas, and coal—supply 84% of global energy, a share that has decreased only modestly from 87% two decades ago (Figure 1).[3] Over those two decades, total world energy use rose by 50%, an amount equal to adding two entire United States’ worth of demand.[4]

The small percentage-point decline in the hydrocarbon share of world energy use required over $2 trillion in cumulative global spending on alternatives over that period.[5] Popular visuals of fields festooned with windmills and rooftops laden with solar cells don’t change the fact that these two energy sources today provide less than 2% of the global energy supply and 3% of the U.S. energy supply.

The scale challenge for any energy resource transformation begins with a description. Today, the world’s economies require an annual production of 35 billion barrels of petroleum, plus the energy equivalent of another 30 billion barrels of oil from natural gas, plus the energy equivalent of yet another 28 billion barrels of oil from coal. In visual terms: if all that fuel were in the form of oil, the barrels would form a line from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, and that entire line would increase in height by one Washington Monument every week.

To completely replace hydrocarbons over the next 20 years, global renewable energy production would have to increase by at least 90-fold.[6] For context: it took a half-century for global oil and gas production to expand by 10-fold.[7] It is a fantasy to think, costs aside, that any new form of energy infrastructure could now expand nine times more than that in under half the time.

If the initial goal were more modest—say, to replace hydrocarbons only in the U.S. and only those used in electricity generation—the project would require an industrial effort greater than a World War II–level of mobilization.[8] A transition to 100% non-hydrocarbon electricity by 2050 would require a U.S. grid construction program 14-fold bigger than the grid build-out rate that has taken place over the past half-century.[9] Then, to finish the transformation, this Promethean effort would need to be more than doubled to tackle nonelectric sectors, where 70% of U.S. hydrocarbons are consumed. And all that would affect a mere 16% of world energy use, America’s share.

This daunting challenge elicits a common response: “If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can [fill in the blank with any aspirational goal].” But transforming the energy economy is not like putting a few people on the moon a few times. It is like putting all of humanity on the moon—permanently.

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I like that last paragraph.    Next up is The Physics-Driven Cost Realities of Wind and Solar.  Part 3.

cbdakota

“EPA Endangerment Finding Endangers The USA”


My previous posting discussed the need to eliminate the endangerment finding (EF) and to do it quickly.   This posting will be a reposting of an essay by Dennis Avery from WattsUpWithThat, titled “The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA”.   Avery  really captures the danger that the ER imposes and an overview of how wrong it is. 

My next posting will look at the “lines of evidence” upon which the EPA based the ER and how these “lines” have been invalidated.

cbdakota

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WATTS UP WITH THAT

The EPA CO2 endangerment finding endangers the USA

By Dennis T Avery with a foreword by Paul Driessen

October 2 2017

President Trump must reverse EPA’s climate change “Endangerment Finding”

Foreword by Paul Driessen:

The Obama EPA’s infamous “Endangerment Finding” declared that carbon dioxide and methane from fossil fuel operations cause global warming and climate change that pose imminent dangers to the health and wellbeing of every American. In this insightful article, climate history author Dennis Avery explains why this finding is based on bad science and should not be the basis for bureaucratic regulations or court decisions.

As Avery notes, computer climate models have predicted far more warming than has actually occurred in the Real World. Contrary to EPA claims, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts have not become more frequent or severe. Natural forces and phenomena explain the various climate and weather fluctuations we have observed over the centuries – and demonstrate that CO2 is only a “bit player” in determining these changes. Moreover, new research convincingly shows that solar activity determines the number of cosmic rays hitting the Earth, and thus the extent of low-lying clouds that periodically cool the planet … and at the other end of the cycle bring sunnier skies that warm it.


Guest opinion by Dennis T. Avery

Nine years ago, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency issued an “Endangerment Finding.” It claimed that methane leaks from natural gas production and pipelines, and manmade carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, cause dangerous global warming that poses an imminent danger to the health and wellbeing of Americans. However, the Finding was based on computerized climate models that couldn’t even successfully hind-cast the weather we’d had over the past century – much less forecast Earth’s climate 100 years into the future. In fact, Earth’s climate has changed frequently, often abruptly.

EPA essentially asserted that the 80% of our energy that comes from coal, oil and natural gas caused all our planet’s recent warming and any more warming is a long-term threat. Obama’s team thus bet in 2009 that Earth’s warming from 1976–98 would continue. But it didn’t. Never mind all those recent NOAA and NASA claims that 2016 was our “hottest year” ever. Satellites are our most honest indicator, and they say our planet’s temperature has risen an insignificant 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F) since 1998.

That 20-year non-warming clearly shows that the models are worthless for prediction. But the Federal Appeals Court in Washington nevertheless recently cited methane emissions to block regulatory approval for a new natural gas pipeline. The ruling will encourage radical greens to keep thinking they can regulate gas and oil production and transport into oblivion. Alarmists across the country are already citing the new precedent in other cases, in effect demanding re-hearings on Trump’s entire energy plan. Continue reading

REDUX: What?  Downwelling IR Radiation   Why?  Condensation Nuclei and/or Cloud?   How?  Tyndall Scattering and/or Downwelling IR Emission?


The posting (with the same title on September 7)  was taken removed for further review at Jerry L Krause’s request while he reexamine one of his premises.  He has brought it back with comments, changes and dialogue which I think you will find most interesting.  So,  be enlightened, entertained and take his challenge.

cbdakota

Guest Posting by Jerry L Krause   2017

Author’s Note:  A fact is that CB posted my previous essay with a very similar title which contained a gross error.  He offered to take down this essay but I consider even a greater error is to hide one’s errors.  Buckminster Fuller considered we can only learn from our errors.  For just because an idea worked when tested in a given situation, it might have worked for a different reason (idea) than that being considered.  So, he concluded it is very important for humans to share with others that which they clearly have found does not work.  Because of the gross blunder I had recognized, I began to ponder what other errors I might have made.  And I have concluded there were.  So while the title is similar, it needed to be modified a bit.  So, I concluded that the beginning of my essay needs to be totally different.

At some early time I believe prehistoric people observed clouds to frequently form and dissolve again, without any precipitation occurring, just as we do today.  And from the beginning I believe all human babies began to drink their mother’s milk in order to survive.  And later in these babies’ lives many began to drink the milk produced by other animals as I have.  So what these early humans, and many since, likely have observed, if they noticed things, applies to the natural phenomenon we term Tyndall scattering or the Tyndall effect or colloidal scattering

But it is an all too common observation that we don’t notice common everyday observations (things).  To support this idea, I ask a few questions which only each individual reader can answer.  First, do you know what the phenomenon we term the Tyndall scattering (etc.) is?  If your answer is: no, you cannot know what these prehistoric people could have seen that could have been related to Tyndall scattering.  If yes, the second question is: do you know how, what these prehistoric people could have seen, applies to the natural phenomenon of Tyndall scattering?  And if your answer is no, you cannot know how this natural phenomenon applies to the observation of the invisible (to our eyes) downwelling longwave infrared (IR) measured by an instrument of the SURFRAD project at seven locations in the USA.  And if your answer is yes, do you know how this natural phenomenon applies to the observation of the invisible (to our eyes) downwelling longwave infrared (IR) measured by an instrument of the SURFRAD project (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/surfrad/dataplot.html) at seven locations in the USA?  And if your answer is yes, you can read what follows and help me discover any errors which still exist by making comments.

Continue reading

“Solar Minimum Is Coming” Video


Solar Cycle 24 is on its way to a “minimum” .  That Minimum will probably be in late 2019 or early 2020.  The video  illustrates several issues that are newsworthy.

  • Global Temperature measurements made by satellites are often consider the “gold standard”.  Two organizations make and report their interpretation of these measurements.  The UAH and RSS organizations have typically reported very nearly the same temperatures but separation of the values occurred with RSS now giving higher readings.  A major part of the separation is based how to  correct for the drag that these satellites encounter as the circle above the Earth.
  • And a small point. When the narrator says that Cycle 24 Sunspots were “relatively high”  he is comparing the Sunspot  level now.  However, it might cause some people to think that he means as opposed to other Solar Cycles–which by and large is not true.

 

cbdakota