A conversation with Dr. Willie Soon – on polar bears, the sun, and Earth’s climate

This is a long question and answer post with a discussion of the Maunder Minimum embedded in the middle by Dr. Soon. He wrote a book which honors the insights of the Maunders, E. Walter Maunder (1851–1928) and Annie Maunder (1868–1947). An interesting read for those following grand minimums. Enjoy

Watts Up With That?

Science, Philosophy and Inquiry on a Galactic Scale

Contributed by Grégoire Canlorbe © 2017 Publised at WUWT by request of Mr. Canlorbe.    These are the opinions of the author and interviewee. 

  • Dr. Willie Soon is an independent solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who has been studying the Sun and its influence on the Earth’s climate for more than a quarter of a century. A short while ago, he had a conversation with Mr. Grégoire Canlorbe, an independent journalist who is also vice president of the French Parti National-Libéral (“National-Liberal Party,” conservative, nationalist, and free-marketist). Here Dr. Soon speaks for himself. 

Canlorbe: You say polar bears are far less endangered by global warming than by environmentalists dreading ice melt. Could you expand?

Dr. Soon: Yes, indeed. I have argued that too much ice will be the ultimate enemy for polar bears. Polar bears need less sea ice to be…

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It appears Solar Cycle 25 has begun – Solar cycle 24 one of the shortest and weakest ever

What, no grand minimum? Based on only one sunspot we are ready to declare SC-25 will be stronger than SC-24? Stay Tuned

Watts Up With That?

Evidence of a Cycle 25 sunspot found

In our previous post: Solar activity crashes – the Sun looks like a cueball, 

Our resident solar physicist, Dr. Leif Svalgaard commented and provided a link to something reported by his colleagues, something that likely would not have been possible without the fantastic solar observations of NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observeratory (SDO). He said:

Cycle 25 has already begun
http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/~tohban/wiki/index.php/A_Sunspot_from_Cycle_25_for_sure

It looks to me that SC25 will be a bit stronger than SC24, so probably no Grand Minimum this time
http://www.leif.org/research/Prediction-of-SC25.pdf
http://www.leif.org/research/comparative-study-solar-prediction.pdf
(ignore the 2014 in the top line – it is just a place holder).

It seems a small sunspot has been observed, that has the opposite polarity of cycle 24 sunspots.

From the first link at Berkeley, Tomek Mrozek and Hugh Hudson write:


This brief Nugget simply announces that YES, we really have seen Cycle 25 [sunspot activity]. An earlier Nugget hinted at…

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Solar activity crashes – the Sun looks like a cueball

“This is the first time we have seen a short and weak cycle since scientists began tracking the solar cycle in the 1700s, following the last grand minimum in the 1600s when there were almost no sunspots.”

Watts Up With That?

Right now, the sun is a cueball, as seen below in this image today from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and has been without sunspots for 10 days. So far in 2018, 61% of days have been without sunspots.

IMAGE: NASA SDO

Via Robert Zimmerman, Behind The Black

On Sunday NOAA posted its monthly update of the solar cycle, covering sunspot activity for March 2018. Below is my annotated version of that graph.

March 2018 was the least active month for sunspots since the middle of 2009, almost nine years ago. In fact, activity in the past few months has been so low it matches the low activity seen in late 2007 and early 2008, ten years ago when the last solar minimum began and indicated by the yellow line that I have added to the graph below. If the solar minimum has actually arrived now, this would make this…

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Are El Ninos Fueled By Deep-Sea Geological Heat Flow?

El Niño and La Niña weather patterns have a significant impact on California climate. This illustration shows the drought impacts.

west-with-out-water-page-54

Long-term La Niña periods have been associated with long-term droughts in the southwest lasting 200, 90 and 55 years. More specifically severe droughts from AD1021 to 1051, AD1130 to 1180, AD1240 to 1265, AD1360 to 1365.

I often wondered what was the controlling mechanism that generated long-term La Niña conditions with few La Niño conditions. Plate Climatology Theory may be one possible answer, the generation of La Niña events by undersea volcanic activity.

I found this article on Plate Climatology most interesting.

eruptive-warm-burst

Geologically induced “Eruptive” warm burst that helps generate 2014-2015 El Nino.

All El Ninos originate at the same fixed “Point Source” located east of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Fixed point sources are typical of geological features, and not typical of ever moving atmospheric or ocean current energy sources.

The Papua New Guinea / Solomon Island area is the most geologically active (volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), and complex deep-ocean regions on earth.

The shape/map pattern of El Nino sea surface temperature anomalies are unique / one of a kind. These shapes do not match every changing atmospheric or ocean current shapes/map patterns.

The El Nino sea surface temperature anomalies have “linear” and “intense” boundaries inferring that the energy source is fixed at one point, and is very powerful.

The shape/distribution pattern of super-heated and chemically charged fluid flow from fixed point source deep-ocean hydrothermal vents is a very good mini-analogy of the larger El Nino ocean warming shapes/distribution patterns.

The shape/distribution pattern of super-heated and chemically charged fluid flow from fixed point source large continental/dry land volcanic eruptions is a fair analogy of El Nino ocean warming patterns.

The amount of energy needed to generate an El Nino can be mathematically modeled using a 20-by-30-mile volcanically/earthquake-active deep-sea area (“point source”). The measured energy released from the Yellowstone Plateau, a 20-by-30-mile area, is a good mathematical analogy.

El Ninos do not occur in a predictable historical pattern, rather they occur randomly. This is indicative of a geological forces origin such as volcanic eruptions which are not predictable.

El Nino-like events do not occur elsewhere in Pacific. Why? If they are atmospheric in origin, there should at least be other mini-El Ninos elsewhere. There are none.

La Niñas originate from the same fixed point source as El Ninos. This implies both are geological in nature. La Niñas represents the cooling fluid flow phase from a geological feature.

Atmospherically based El Nino computer prediction models consistently fail, likely because they are modeling the “effects” of geologically heated oceans and not the root “cause” of the El Ninos.

Historical records indicate that the first “recorded” El Nino occurred in 1525 observed by Spanish explorers. Other studies suggest strong ancient El Ninos ended Peruvian civilizations.

The main point here is that strong El Ninos are natural, and not increasing in relationship to global warming as contended by many activist climate scientists.

Your thoughts?  Does this make sense?  Could sunspots have an influence on plate tectonics?

A Return to Cooler Growing Seasons?

David Archibald has an interest Mid-west growing season analysis on a guest post at WUWT.

Now that the Modern Warm Period is over and we are going back to levels of solar activity typical of the 19th century, it is apposite to look at what the climate was like then and how a return to 19th century-type climate will impact on agriculture.

 

Whitestone_2000_1900
Figure 4

 

What Figure 4 shows is that a century ago daily temperature minima during the planting season were three weeks behind what farmers experienced last decade. What is also interesting is that in the 1900 to 1910 decade there was a pronounced dip in temperatures in February. Last decade the dip was reduced and came forward by a fortnight.

 

WhitestoneGDD
Figure 5

 

Corn growth responds to heat. The concept of Growing Degree Days (GDD) captures that by taking 50°F from the average daily temperature. For example a daily maximum of 76°F with a minimum of 54°F produces an average of 65°F. Take 50°F from 65°F gives a result of 15 GDD for that day. Corn varieties have been bred to maximise productivity from recent climatic conditions and require 2,500 GDD to reach maturity.

Figure 5 shows that last decade corn crops could get to 2,500 GDD by mid to late August. A century ago maturity mightn’t be reached until the end of September. Normal first frost date for Whitestown is 10th October but 110 years ago the first frost was on 3rd September, ending growth for the season. Last decade averaged 177 days between the last spring frost and the first fall frost. In the first decade of the 20th century, the average number of days between these frost events was 147.

This is going to be an interesting location to watch for early and late frost events. I am going set a Google Alert for frost events at Whitestown.  Stay Tuned

Grapes in California’s Napa Valley respond to GDD and I will take a look to see if similar data is available at a location in the Napa Valley.

The changing length of the growing season in an indicator the lack of sunspots could have an impact on the climate.  It is also a warning sign for growers and agricultural agencies, who right now are focused on warming.

 

 

Climate Change’s Greatest Threat to Civilization?

The question is which climate change, global warming or global cooling?

Dr. Jeff Masters writing at Weather Underground.

Food System Shock: Climate Change’s Greatest Threat to Civilization, argued that the greatest threat of climate change to civilization over the next 40 years is likely to be climate change-amplified extreme droughts and floods hitting multiple major global grain-producing “breadbaskets” simultaneously. I predicted that an extreme weather year capable of causing a significant disruption of the global economy, intense political turmoil, war and the threat of mass famine was increasing in probability, becoming a 1-in-50-year event 40 years from now–a 2% chance of happening in a given year–due to the increasingly extreme nature of the jet stream, when combined with the ongoing increase in global temperatures, drought intensity, and heavy precipitation events. With one major grain producing area already suffering a significant loss in crop yield so far in 2018, we ordinarily would need to be concerned about the possibility of an extreme drought in the U.S. or Europe this summer causing a major “food shock” event. However, consecutive years of good harvests leading up to 2018 have left us in good shape to withstand any potential further hits to the global food supply that might occur this year.

Global cooling reduces the amount of evaporation over the oceans which reduces the moisture in the air limiting the amount of rain and snow that feds the river and lakes, thus producing drought conditions. Combine this drought with shortened growing seasons due to the significant cold, and we could have a substantial loss in food production in both hemispheres. While the focus is on warming, cooling contains an equally dangerous potential for a mass famine. Both cases need to be recognized and planned for by government agencies. Right now the focus is on warming, while the potential for cooling is looming as sunspots vanish for an extended period.

The Sun Is Spitting Out Strange Patterns Of Gamma Rays—And No One Knows Why

Scientific American article reported at The Global Warming Policy Forum

Our closest star remains an enigma. Every 11 years or so its activity crescendos, creating flares and coronal mass ejections—the plasma-spewing eruptions that shower Earth with charged particles and beautiful auroral displays—but then it decrescendos. The so-called solar maximum fades toward solar minimum, and the sun’s surface grows eerily quiet.

Scientists have studied this ebb and flow for centuries, but only began understanding its effects on our planet at the dawn of the space age in the mid-20th century. Now it is clear that around solar maximum the sun is more likely to bombard Earth with charged particles that damage satellites and power grids. The solar cycle also plays a minor role in climate, as variations in irradiance can cause slight changes in average sea-surface temperatures and precipitation patterns. Thus, a better understanding of the cycle’s physical drivers is important for sustainable living on Earth.

Yet scientists still lack a model that perfectly predicts the cycle’s key details, such as the exact duration and strength of each phase. “I think the solar cycle is so stable and clear that there is something fundamental that we are missing,” says Ofer Cohen, a solar physicist at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. One obstacle to figuring it out, he says, is that crucial details of the apparent mechanisms behind the cycle—such as the sun’s magnetic field—are largely hidden from our view. But that might be about to change.

Tim Linden, an astronomer at The Ohio State University, and his colleagues recently mapped how the sun’s high-energy glow dances across its face over time. They found a potential link between these high-energy emissions, the sun’s fluctuating magnetic field and the timing of the solar cycle. This, many experts argue, could open a new window into the inner workings of our nearest, most familiar star.

In their upcoming study, so far published on the preprint server arXiv and submitted to Physical Review Letters, Linden and his colleagues examined a decade’s worth of data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to better analyze the sun’s emission of gamma rays—the universe’s most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation. To their surprise, the researchers found the most intense gamma rays appear strangely synced with the quietest part of the solar cycle. During the last solar minimum, from 2008 to 2009, Fermi detected eight high-energy gamma rays (each with energies greater than 100 giga–electron volts, or GeV) emitted by the sun. But over the next eight years, as solar activity built to a peak and then regressed back toward quiescence, the sun emitted no high-energy gamma rays at all. The chances of that occurring at random, Linden says, are extremely low. Most likely the gamma rays are triggered by some aspect of the sun’s activity cycle, but the details remain unclear.

The team speculates these gamma rays are likely emitted when powerful cosmic rays—produced throughout the universe by violent astrophysical events like supernovae and colliding neutron stars—slam into the sun’s surface. If a single cosmic ray collides with a particle in the solar atmosphere, it creates a shower of secondary particles and radiation, including gamma rays. Such showers would usually be wholly absorbed by the sun, however. But according to a hypothesis dating back to the 1990s, some of these secondary showers can be bounced out and away from our star by strong fluctuations in its magnetic field. If this is happening, the gamma rays Fermi has been detecting are likely some of those high-energy escapees.

If this interpretation is correct, says Randy Jokipii, a retired astronomer from the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study, it is no surprise high-energy gamma rays are more likely to be emitted during solar minimum. When the solar cycle is at low ebb, he says, there is a reduction in its outgoing “winds” of charged particles—which act as a shield to deflect incoming cosmic rays. This reduction allows more cosmic rays to enter our solar system, and our star itself. So an uptick in cosmic rays should lead to an uptick in gamma rays….

So as the sun meanders back toward solar minimum, astronomers are gearing up to study its gamma rays with the hope they might shed light on its mysterious interior. Although Linden and his colleagues cannot yet explain exactly why or how gamma-ray emission shifts in step with the sun’s magnetic field, it is increasingly clear the two are somehow linked. Moskalenko argues gamma-ray emissions could be used to trace the sun’s deep magnetic fields—and potentially to at last solve the lingering mysteries of the solar cycle.


Cosmic Rays are increasing more details HERE. Are they increasing on the sun and will scientist detect more gamma rays? Your thoughts?