1921 Solar Event May Have Been Bigger than Carrington Event

Details at ARRL Newsletter.

Scientific American reports that, according to new data, the “New York Railroad Storm” of 1921 may have surpassed the intensity of the famous Carrington Event of 1859. In his paper published in the journal Space Weather, Jeffrey Love of the US Geological Survey and his colleagues reexamined the intensity of the 1921 event in greater detail than previously.

Although different measures of intensity exist, geomagnetic storms are often rated on an index called disturbance storm time (Dst) — a way of gauging global magnetic activity by averaging out values for the strength of Earth’s magnetic field measured at multiple locations. Earth’s baseline Dst level is about -20 nanoteslas (nT), with a “superstorm” condition occurring when levels fall below -250 nT. Studies of the very limited magnetic data from the Carrington Event peg its intensity at anywhere from -850 to -1,050 nT. According to Love’s study, the 1921 storm came in at about -907 nT.

Peter Ward in his 2017 New York History Blog article “Strange Phenomena: The New York Railroad Storm” recounted that theatre-goers in New York City “marveled at the spectacle” of an iridescent cloud that was brighter than the moon. “On the roof of the Times Building, reporters, having discovered the telegraph lines to be curiously blocked, gathered to watch the aerial kaleidoscope,” he wrote.

As with the earlier Carrington Event, telegraph operators experienced wild fluctuations in the current on their circuits, while wireless propagation was enhanced. “The next day, papers reported that the Central New England railroad station (also home to the telegraph switchboard) had burned to the ground.” Railroad officials later blamed the fire on the aurora.

According to Ward’s article, the lights were visible in New York, California, and Nevada. Especially in rural areas, “the lights were said to be brighter, appear closer to the ground, and even move with a swishing sound.”

Railroad and telegraph service were restored the following week, although one Western Union transatlantic cable showed signs of damage. “Delays and damage lead to some referring to it as the New York Railroad Storm,” Ward wrote.

A dramatic description of the event on the SolarStorms.org website said, “At 7:04 AM on May 15, the entire signal and switching system of the New York Central Railroad below 125th Street was put out of operation, followed by a fire in the control tower at 57th Street and Park Avenue.”

The short article said a telegraph operator reported being driven away from his station by flames that enveloped his switchboard and set the building on fire. “In Sweden a telephone station was reported to have been ‘burned out,’ and the storm interfered with telephone, telegraph, and cable traffic over most of Europe,” the article said.


A Summer Without Sunspots

Space Weather has the details;

Could summer 2019 go down in history as “the summer without sunspots”? From June 21st until Sept 22nd, the sun was blank–no sunspots–more than 89% of the time. During the entire season only 6 tiny sunspots briefly popped up, often fading so quickly that readers would complain to Spaceweather.com, “you’ve labeled a sunspot that doesn’t exist!” (No, it just disappeared.) Not a single significant solar flare was detected during this period of extreme quiet.

The sun on Sept. 22, 2019–as blank as a billiard ball. Credit: NASA/SDO

This is a sign that Solar Minimum is underway and probably near its deepest point. For 2019 overall (January through September), the sun has been blank 72% of the time, comparable to annual averages during the century-class Solar Minimum of 2008 (73%) and 2009 (71%). The current Solar Minimum appears to be century-class as well, meaning you have to go back to the beginnning of the 20th century to find lulls in solar activity this deep.

Solar Minimum is not boring. During this phase of the solar cycle, the sun’s magnetic field weakens, allowing cosmic rays to enter the solar system. This doses astronauts and possibly air travelers with extra radiation. The sun also dims, especially at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, causing the upper atmosphere to cool and collapse. Space junk accumulates in Earth orbit as a result. Finally, streams of solar wind punch through the sun’s weakening magnetic field, lashing Earth with gaseous material that can cause geomagnetic storms.

Interestingly, the summer of 2019 also brought us a sign that Solar Minimum is coming to an end. One of the numbered sunspots that briefly appeared on July 7th had a reversed magnetic polarity:

A magnetic map of the sun’s surface (AR2744 inset) from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

According to Hale’s Law, sunspots switch polarities from one solar cycle to the next. This small summertime sunspot was +/- instead of the usual -/+, marking it as a member of the next solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25. Solar Minimum won’t last forever!

Solar cycles always mix together at their boundaries. We can expect to see more new-cycle sunspots in the months and years ahead as Solar Cycle 25 slowly comes to life. If forecasters are correct, the next Solar Maximum will be in full swing by 2023.

Do cosmic rays trigger red sprites?

Details at Ice Age Now:

“Radiation from deep space is intensifying because of Solar Minimum.

Do cosmic rays trigger red sprites?

“According to NASA, cosmic rays are intensifying,” says this article (link below). “On Aug. 6th, Roger Spinner of Montsevelier, Switzerland, witnessed a likely side-effect. “Red sprites were flashing above a thunderstorm in northern Italy about 215 km away,” says Spinner, who recorded an HD video of the display.

As the storm raged over Italy’s Lombardy region, Spinner recorded three magnificent clusters of sprites in rare detail. Shaped like jellyfish, the sprites were more than 40 km tall, with purple tentacles dangling toward the thunderstorm below and red bushy heads touching the edge of space. Balls of red light only a few hundred meters in diameter dot the jellyfish’s waist and tentacles.

“Cosmic rays may be helping Spinner capture such images,” the article concludes. “Radiation from deep space is intensifying because of Solar Minimum. During this phase of the solar cycle, cosmic rays penetrate the sun’s weakening magnetic defenses and enter Earth’s atmosphere more than usual. Some researchers believe that extra cosmic rays provide the ionizing “spark” that triggers sprites.”

See the complete HD video on Youtube.


H/T to Ice Age Now

‘Polar Coaster’ Winter Forecast May Be Related to the ‘Terminator’

An NCAR scientist said a terminator starts the next sunspot cycle, which may impact the weather on the earth.

BOULDER, Colo — Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are watching the sun for something they call the “Terminator.”

[ More on the Terminator HERE]

It’s an event that signals the end of a solar cycle (in this case, 24) and the start of the next (25).

“We’ll actually see the progression of this terminator event as it ripples around the circumference of the sun,” said Scott McIntosh, director of NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory.

McIntosh said the sun is currently at the bottom of its roughly 11-year-long energy cycle, a point called solar minimum. He expects it to switch back into an active phase sometime in the next 9 months, kicking off the next solar cycle. He said the exact moment of transition may be visible in a signal called a terminator.

“The terminator event is really the signature, the flipping of the switch,” said McIntosh.

He said it takes the terminator about 27 days to complete, which is one rotation of the sun. After that, Solar Cycle 25 will begin.

“Normally it’s only something that can be hind-cast. We don’t know that we’ve hit rock bottom until you’re 12 to 13 months passed it because of the diagnostics that they use,” said McIntosh.

[ . . .]

“Years in which sunspot production are very low typically produce very erratic weather,” said McIntosh.

McIntosh said erratic refers mainly to ocean oscillations and jet stream behavior. That could be applicable to more unpredictable weather with extremely warm and dry periods, followed closely by extreme cold and wet periods.

The famous Farmer’s Almanac winter forecast is one of the few that uses solar activity in their equation. In this year’s edition — the eye-catching headline, “Ride the Polar Coaster” could be in reference to the same erratic weather that McIntosh has seen in his sunspot research.

“The data kind of backs it up,” said McIntosh. “The question is, ‘How the hell does it work?’ That for us especially here at NCAR, that’s the question.”

Read the full article HERE, as it includes Twitter Posts and Graphics.

Plasma flow near the sun’s surface explains sunspots, other solar phenomena

Understanding the previously mysterious properties of the sun.
Every 11 years or so, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips. This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. Then it takes about another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again.

The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. Until now, various theories have tracked sunspots, but unable to explain why the number of spots peaks every 11 years.

In an effort to understand it, scientists at the University of Washington have proposed a model of plasma motion to explain the 11-year sunspot cycle and several other previously mysterious properties of the Sun.

Scientists created this model by relying on their previous work with fusion energy research. The model demonstrates that a slight layer underneath the Sun’s surface is key to many highlights we see from Earth, such as sunspots, magnetic reversals, and solar flow.

The fusion reactor uses very high temperatures similar to those inside the Sun to separate hydrogen nuclei from their electrons. In both the Sun and in fusion reactors, the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms fuse, releasing vast amounts of energy.

The type of reactor scientists have focused on; a spheromak contains the electron plasma within a sphere that causes it to self-organize into specific patterns. When they began to consider the Sun, they observed similarities and created a model for what might be happening in the celestial body.

First author Thomas Jarboe, a UW professor of aeronautics and astronautics, said, “Our model is completely different from a normal picture of the Sun. I think we’re the first people that are telling you the nature and source of solar magnetic phenomena—how the Sun works.”

In the new model, a thin layer of magnetic flux and plasma, or floating electrons, moves at different speeds on a different part of the Sun. The distinction in speed between the flows makes bits of magnetism, known as magnetic helicity, that are similar to what happens in some fusion reactor concepts.

Jarboe said, “Every 11 years, the Sun grows this layer until it’s too big to be stable, and then it sloughs off. Its departure exposes the lower layer of plasma moving in the opposite direction with a flipped magnetic field.”

“When the circuits in both hemispheres are moving at the same speed, more sunspots appear. When the circuits are different speeds, there is less sunspot activity. That mismatch may have happened during the decades of little sunspot activity known as the “Maunder Minimum.”

“If the two hemispheres rotate at different speeds, then the sunspots near the equator won’t match up, and the whole thing will die.”

“Scientists had thought that a sunspot was generated down at 30 percent of the depth of the Sun, and then came up in a twisted rope of plasma that pops out. Instead, his model shows that the sunspots are in the “supergranules” that form within the thin, subsurface layer of plasma that the study calculates to be roughly 100 to 300 miles (150 to 450 kilometers) thick, or a fraction of the Sun’s 430,000-mile radius.”

“The sunspot is an amazing thing. There’s nothing there, and then all of a sudden, you see it in a flash.”

“Other properties explained by the theory include flow inside the Sun, the twisting action that leads to sunspots and the entire magnetic structure of the Sun. The paper is likely to provoke intense discussion.”  [Emphasis added]

“I hope that scientists will look at their data in a new light, and the researchers who worked their whole lives to gather that data will have a new tool to understand what it all means.”

The study describing the model is published in the journal Physics of Plasmas

Another link to the paper:  https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5087613

Question:  How does this model fit with Professor Valentina Zharkova model of the sun with four plasma layers?  I may have to find the time to re-read the Professors paper and compare. If a reader gets the paper read before I do please post your analysis in the comments. Thanks.

NASA – Next Solar Cycle will be Weakest in 200 Years

September 5, 2019 by Robert at Ice Age Now

NASA dropped this bombshell announcement in a little-heralded news release coyly entitled “Solar Activity Forecast for Next Decade Favorable for Exploration.” In other words, NASA tried to make it sound like good news.

In the release, dated 12 June 2019, NASA described the upcoming decline in solar activity as a window of opportunity for space exploration instead of acknowledging the disastrous consequences such a decline could wreak on civilization.

Here are some direct quotes from the news release:

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. (Emphasis added) 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.

Sunspots are regions on the Sun with magnetic fields thousands of times stronger than the Earth’s. Fewer of them at the point of maximum solar activity means fewer dangerous blasts of radiation.

The new research was led by Irina Kitiashvili, a researcher with the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley. It combined observations from two NASA space missions – the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and the Solar Dynamics Observatory – with data collected since 1976 from the ground-based National Solar Observatory.

In admitting that solar activity during sunspot-cycle 25 could be the weakest in 200 years, NASA was effectively forecasting a return to Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) conditions. But the release gives no mention of the ferocious cold, no mention of the disastrous crop losses, no mention of the ensuing starvation and famine, no mention of the wars over food, no mention of the powerful earthquakes, no mention of the catastrophic volcanic eruptions during the Dalton Minimum.

NASA Paper is HERE

Some people consider the low solar activity a trigger for other catastrophic events such as the 1811-1812 New Madrid Fault Earth Quakes and 1815 eruption of Mount Tamboura.  As you can see from this chart global cooling produced some strong eruption.

Volcanic activity

I have done some investigation of the cooling triggering earthquakes and significant eruptions but could not find any smoking-gun evidence.  [Your thoughts?]

The said the real issue is global cooling, as  1-2 degrees C of cooling shortens the growing seasons and disrupts the food supply. This is a problem for a planet with more mouths to feed with every passing year.  Modern transportation can mitigate the distribution issues that plagued other grand minimum populations, but you first have to have agricultural output to distribute.  This year the growing season is going to be much shorter than last year. Your thoughts?

Climate Models Are Non-scientific Junk

This a bit off the topic of grand minimums but an important paper which could result in the reevaluation of the sun’s influence on climate.

Sierra Foothill Commentary

Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections

Patrick Frank

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Menlo Park, CA, United States

The reliability of general circulation climate model (GCM) global air temperature projections is evaluated for the first time, by way of propagation of model calibration error. An extensive series of demonstrations show that GCM air temperature projections are just linear extrapolations of fractional greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. Linear projections are subject to linear propagation of error. A directly relevant GCM calibration metric is the annual average ±12.1% error in global annual average cloud fraction produced within CMIP5 climate models. This error is strongly pair-wise correlated across models, implying a source in deficient theory. The resulting long-wave cloud forcing (LWCF) error introduces an annual average ±4 Wm–2 uncertainty into the simulated tropospheric thermal energy flux. This annual ±4 Wm–2 simulation uncertainty is ±114 × larger than the…

View original post 206 more words

Next Grand Minimum Declining Temperatures


We just wrapped up summer without any long term periods of temperatures over 100 degrees. Yes, we had some 3-4 day periods.  Now it looks like September is going to be cooler than average. So, the question is how much cooling have we had?

One method is to calculate the Growing Degree Days.  What are the growing degree days?

Growing degree days (GDD) are a measure of heat accumulation used by horticulturists, gardeners, and farmers to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity. 

In the absence of extreme conditions such as unseasonal drought or disease, plants grow in a cumulative stepwise manner which is strongly influenced by the ambient temperature. In other words, GDD values provide a best case outlook as to plants’ pace to maturity. (wikipedia)

The Ice Age Farmer has developed an interactive method for calculating the GDD for every zip code in the US, comparing the difference from last year (2018).  The link is HERE.

GDD has decreased in Nevada City, CA to 78.44% of previous value (-21.56% drop) in 95959.

GDD has decreased in Grass Valley, CA to 81.16% of previous value (-18.84% drop) in 95945.

The greatest impact is in the grain, soybean, and corn growing belt in the Northern Hemisphere.  Here is a quick look at some Iowa Counties:

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 7.49.25 PM

Two California grape-growing counties:

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 7.53.16 PM

A long term reduction in GDD could result in crop failures and the expansion of global hunger. In this video the Ice Age Farmer discusses the impact of early fall frosts.

Can the Sun Produce More Powerful Storms on Earth? (Update 09-04-19)

In a comment on this post, the “Atmosphere Guy” brought up an interesting idea. His thought was that increases in solar Kp (fluctuations in the solar magnetic field )  and the resulting flow of high energy particles can accelerate the development of jet-streams, hurricanes, and cyclones on the earth. 

With the formation of hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic, I have been tracking the Kp and A index and the growth of Dorian.

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 12.35.04 PM

Track map of Dorian shows the location and intensity of the storm at 6-hour intervals. The color represents the storm’s maximum sustained wind speeds as classified in the Saffir-Simpson scale. 

Update 01-04-19

Here is the Kp index in 3-hour intervals:

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 12.38.39 PM
Kp Index at 3-hour intervals starting 29 August 2019
Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 12.51.45 PM
An A Index Summary of the Kp Index

Update 09-04-19

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 11.26.36 AM


Do you think there is a connection between the growth of Dorian’s power and the Sun’s magnetic field activity?  How?

The Next Great Extinction Event Will Not Be Global Warming – It Will Be Global Cooling

By Allan M. R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., August 2019


Forget all those falsehoods about scary global warming, deceptions contrived by wolves to stampede the sheep. The next great extinction event will not be global warming, it will be global cooling. Future extinction events are preponderantly cold: a glacial period, medium-size asteroid strike or supervolcano. Humanity barely survived the last glacial period that ended only 11,500 years ago, the blink-of–an-eye in geologic time.

Cold, not heat, is by far the greater killer of humanity. Today, cool and cold weather kills about 20 times as many people as warm and hot weather. Excess Winter Deaths, defined as more deaths in the four winter months than equivalent non-winter months, total over two million souls per year, in both cold and warm climates. Earth is colder-than-optimum for humanity, and currently-observed moderate global warming increases life spans.

I am not in agreement with all the author’s points, but it is an interesting read. Grand minimums are referenced. Some of the comments give some perspective to the author’s claims of rapid cooling.

The full post is HERE.