My Solar Cycle 25 Amplitude Prediction

Solar Cycle 25 will peak somewhat lower than the current one (SC24) but far higher than the nothingness currently predicted (see here).

Solar cycle record

Solar cycle record

My prediction is based on the fact that predictions are hard especially about the future and doubly especially when they imply a wholesale change compared to the present.

The IPCC Is Never Wrong -2- "Settled Science" Of Chinese Whispers

(for the first part, visit “The IPCC Is Never Wrong -1- Why Kevin Trenberth Is Right“)

Given that the scientifically-valid statements in the IPCC AR4 report are strictly capable to cover and include whatever outcome the Earth’s climate will compute for us, how can we find ourselves surrounded by people clamoring that, on the basis of the very same IPCC report, the “science is settled”?

“Chinese whispers”. That’s how.

The incoming strictly-orthodox and yet very open minded IPCC message is of an ongoing, complex, fascinating scientific analysis full of uncertainties that need to be investigated. Yet, at the other end of the “broken telephone” all channels are clogged by absurdist, simplistic claims of “the debate is over” (a statement that is, in a sense, the true denial).

(ironically, even RealClimate has recognized there might be a communication problem…)

Take a look for example at the magnitude of the solar forcing, again according to the IPCC. The “official value” everybody with even a remote interest keeps hearing about, is 0.12 and can be found in AR4-WG1-Chapter2 (*), page 193.

But then if you go to page 212, Table 2.11, it turns out that the “level of scientific understanding” for Solar Irradiance is “Low”, and for the component linked to cosmic UV rays is “Very low”.

And that’s not even remotely enough. All the known unknowns about the role of the Sun in shaping the Earth’s climate are clearly spelled out in Joanna D. Haigh’s “The Sun and the Earth’s climate” (**). True, that article might have been published after the official IPCC deadline. On the other hand, Dr Haig was well known at the time to the IPCC authors and reviewers, and appears four times among the References for that chapter alone.

What has happened then? Go back to page 193. The text actually reads:

The best estimate is +0.12 W m-2 (90% confidence interval: +0.06 to +0.30 W m-2)

That means that actual value can be half, or 2.5 times as much, and that’s just considering a confidence interval of 90% (“moderately confident” in statistical jargon) rather than the classic 95% (regarding which the spread between minimum and maximum possible value would have obviously been considerably wider).

And so we find the IPCC “moderately confident” about a forcing whose (1) known known components are “little to very little” understood, (2) known unknown components are not even considered despite being present in the Literature and (3) unknown unknown components… (well, “no comment” about those).

Add to that the fact that a “forcing”, like all “forcings“, is not a measurable quantity in the real world, and therefore exists strictly as an estimate. An estimate about which the IPCC is somewhat ‘schizophrenic’ to say the least.

======

And yet, all that fun is not found anywhere: instead of “low to very low understanding” about an estimate done with “moderate confidence“, what we read is how small the Solar forcing “IS”: 0.12.

Onwards and upwards, as they used to say…

(*) Forster, P., V. Ramaswamy, P. Artaxo, T. Berntsen, R. Betts, D.W. Fahey, J. Haywood, J. Lean, D.C. Lowe, G. Myhre, J. Nganga, R. Prinn, G. Raga, M. Schulz and R. Van Dorland, 2007: Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

(**) Joanna D. Haigh, “The Sun and the Earth’s Climate”, Living Rev. Solar Phys. 4, (2007), 2. URL (cited on Oct 14, 2009): http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2007-2

Actually, It's 71 Days Without A Sunspot

READ ON FOR THE SPOT-THE-SPOT CHALLENGE

Confusion reigns tonight on the date the last sunspot has been seen. Until yesterday, it had been July 18 with sunspot #1000.

But all of a sudden yesterday, a “pore” with a date of Aug 21 has been classified as “sunspot” by the SIDC and then the NOAA. Trouble is, nobody seems to have seen it apart from one observer in Catania, Italy.

Probably, as per Leif Svalgaard’s comment at Anthony Watt’s blog:

really, no spots or one tiny one doesn’t make any difference

Also, from another of Svalgaard’s comments

There are indications that the modern counts are too high with possible repercussions for reconstructions of TSI and the climate debate.

But if that’s true, then I can contend that the current spotless period is 71 days, starting with the end of sunspot #999 on June 23, 2008. And continuing to this day.

That makes the current spotless period the second longest ever (behind the 92 days of Apr 8 to Jul 8, 1913).

===========

Sunspot #1000 in fact, was likely no “proper sunspot” at all. By that I mean a sunspot that would not have been spotted in the past, given its extremely tiny size.

The SOHO MDI archive may show something but only if the observer knows where to look (no I will not give clues). Chances are, none would have spotted it in 1913 either.

AND NOW FOR THE SPOT-THE-SPOT CHALLENGE: I am posting the July 17-20 series (remember, sunspot #1000 has been reported for July 18-20…good luck with finding it!):

(I RECOMMEND CLEANING YOUR DISPLAY FIRST…)

SOHO Jul 17

SOHO Jul 17

SOHO Jul 18

SOHO Jul 18

SOHO Jul 19

SOHO Jul 19

SOHO Jul 20

SOHO Jul 20

===========

(spoiler ahead)

 

 

Here’s the one and only one picture of sunspot #1000 I have found on the internet, in an Australian internet forum. Its author clarifies, though:

The spot is not as big as shown, just a product of the poor seeing/focus

Sunspot #1000

Sunspot #1000

Just compare all the above with the pictures from Jun 21, where a proper sunspot is visible indeed:

SOHO Jun 21

SOHO Jun 21

How many pores and microspots were flickering in and out of existence during the Maunder Minimum, one wonders…

Surprising Remarks in NASA-Endorsed Website

Cosmic rays stream down into Earth’s atmosphere from the sun and elsewhere beyond the solar system. Recent studies show that these particles penetrate into the troposphere and alter the way that droplets condense to form clouds, rain and snow with important weather and climate consequences. Changes in the sun’s ultraviolet light affects the ozone layer and the energy input into the upper atmosphere. As the upper atmosphere is heated, it expands into space causing increased friction for satellites.

The ISS must be ‘re-boosted’ every three months to prevent it from burning up in the atmosphere. The Skylab station on July 11, 1979 reentered prematurely because of a solar storm event.

The above from the Solar Storms “Space Weather” website, listing NASA more than once in its endorsements page.

The below is instead from their Climate page:

Scientists have examined the climate record for other signs of the connection between space weather and climate-weather changes with many surprising results listed below.

The Trends page, alas, loses out on many of those “surprises”…

NASA Discovers New Sun-Earth Connection

Very interesting new findings from Science@NASA (also involving the Goddard Space Flight Center):

Spring is aurora season. For reasons not fully understood by scientists, the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights. [...] This is a bit of a puzzle. Auroras are caused by solar activity, but the Sun doesn’t know what season it is on Earth [...]

Such outbursts are called auroral substorms and they have long puzzled space physicists. [...]

NASA’s THEMIS mission–a fleet of five spacecraft launched in Feb. 2007 to study the substorm phenomenon [...] may have found the substorm power supply–and a springtime connection:

The satellites have detected magnetic ‘ropes’ connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the Sun,” says Dave Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras.”

It turns out that rope-like magnetic connections between Sun and Earth are favored in springtime. It’s a matter of geometry: As Earth goes around in its orbit, Earth’s tilted magnetic poles make different angles with respect to the Sun, tipping back and forth with a one-year cadence. Around the time of the equinox, Earth’s magnetic field is best oriented for “connecting-up” with the Sun. [...]

Geomagnetic disturbances are almost twice as likely in spring and fall vs. winter and summer, according to 75 years of historical records [...]

Climate Debate (4): Laypeople vs AGW Clergy

(fourth and likely final entry in my series of exchanges “On Climate Debate and Debate Climate” with a person genuinely convinced AGW is a settled argument)

This is a list of previous blogs on the topic:

On Climate Debate and Debate Climate (1)

Consensus, Actions and the Sun (2)

The Church of AGW (3)

(again on plausible mechanisms causally linking solar *wind* and terrestrial weather)

I have already specified I don’t particularly subscribe to the “it’s the solar wind” hypothesis. But heaven forbid we discover effects before knowing the “plausible mechanisms” about them.

For a speculation on a direct path for an effect, look at figure 7 (page 5) in the Ørsted satellite results paper (“The Ørsted Satellite Project“, by Peter Stauning, Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), 22.1.2008/PSt-DMI), to see the areas where high-energy radiation is capable to penetrate lower in the atmosphere, to around 700km.

It’s still quite a way to the troposphere, of course.

(on why I do not believe in qualified climatologists)

Because I am free to make out my own opinion.

Boy have some people a problem with that or what? Even if 95% of people agree with AGW, they’re still trying to stamp out the remaining 5%…

(on “lay opinion” vs. “qualified scientists’ opinion”)

In non-scientific matters (such as public health policymaking: the stuff also called “action“…), a “lay opinion” is no better or worse than a “qualified scientist’s”.

It’s called “democracy“.

That’s why people can choose between different economic policies, for example, voting this or that candidate: otherwise it’d all be done behind close doors by a bunch of Professors in Economics.

In scientific matters, any given “lay opinion” is expected to be generally less authoritative than any given “qualified scientist”‘s. Obviously it depends on the “qualification”. A geologist’s take on climate is not necessarily any more or less informed than a biologist’s.

In any case: what about the opinion of John Christy, a very qualified scientist, and of others like him, members of the IPCC that do not subscribe to the AGW panic?

What’s wrong with them, or with the IPCC that still gives them credit?

(on my alleged arguing that “lay people” can challenge scientists because science was wrong in the past)

That would be a mistaken mixing up of my arguments.

I have said that lay people can challenge any scientific opinion, and the scientists should not be afraid of accepting the challenge.

This also because a “lay person”, say, in climatology, could very well be an “authority”, say, in systems engineering. And there are obvious similarities between modeling the “climate system” and modeling other kinds of complex system, either natural or man-made.

This applies also to software, as climate models are ultimately bunches of computer codes. Etc etc.

The IPCC itself has recognized this point, and is not limited to climatologists.

Anyway: everybody’s contribution to a topic should always be welcome, and especially so if it potentially has far-fetching policy and lifestyle consequences.

The point about helicobacter and cholesterol is different.

It is about the vast majority of scientists still being capable of being wrong. Other scientists found a way to make progress: but they would not have been able to do so, had they subscribed to the “follow the consensus” strategy.

Now…if anybody keeps refusing to acknowledge the very existence of at least two IPCC Lead Authors, it is not my problem.

Climate Debate (3): The Church of AGW

(third entry in my series of exchanges “On Climate Debate and Debate Climate” with a person genuinely convinced AGW is a settled argument. Part 2 is here):

(about the IPCC conclusions, and the supposed scientific consensus on AGW)

Clearly you haven’t spent any time reading the IPCC reports rather than just their conclusions. You’ll be surprised at your findings (like the thousands of data the IPCC themselves report as “not compatible” with warming).

And you have not said a word about scientific papers like those on Geophys Res Lett, and the fact that scientists of all sorts hold all kinds of opinions about AGW, even up high in the IPCC.

They are not all convinced a catastrophe is upon us.

LET ME REPEAT THIS CLEARLY: There are peer-reviewed articles by esteemed scientists holding important academic posts, published in renowned scientific journals, advancing doubts about the mechanisms, effects, and urgency of AGW and CO2 emissions, and they are often published ALONGSIDE pro-AGW papers, by esteemed scientists etc etc “on your side” that evidently consider those journals serious enough to warrant their appearance in their Resumes.

Also, if you bother to actually read the original articles, you will see that some foretell the end of the world, others talk of major disruptions, others still say AGW is a nuisance that can be dealt with. And that, among the people convinced AGW may force us the way of the Dodo.

Please decide: either you follow the scientists, or you don’t. AGW is not a “settled issue” in scientific terms, otherwise what is Geophys Res Lett publishing, and what is John Christy doing at the top echelons of the IPCC?

You may argue that AGW is a “settled issue” in public health terms: perhaps, but then it’s a policy matter. It’s not science. CO2 reduction vs. harm-reduction, it’s a policy discussion. The opinions of scientific bodies are only a part of the whole issue (we’re blessed not to live in technocratic societies).

Even economists get called in to talk about this: and that is perhaps the biggest trouble 8-)

In any case do consider that argumenting “ad authoritatem” has been discounted since the times of Galileo. When we followed the 99.999% of scientists about stomach ulcers, we were in trouble.

(about the way solar wind may interact with the weather)

As for the solar wind, there are people that have made hypotheses about the way it may interact (Svensmark and others). I do not “believe” in their findings and am just waiting to know more. I have just remarked that if it’s not the solar wind, surely there must be something else in the Sun that affects the weather: and if there isn’t, that’ll be a major discovery on its own.

(about belief in AGW)

It’s you “believing” in things and treating them religiously (hence your vehemency: as a matter of fact, I am not trying to disprove your assertions when based on standard physics. I am not “vehement” at all, in this discussion).

You even keep repeating the word “believe” like if there were an AGW Church. If people were asked to believe in science, SciAm would close down and become a news agency.

I do not “believe” in the IPCC, in the AGU, in the Hadley Centre, in 2,500 scientists and experts, in Svensmark, in Lindzen, in Crichton, in yourself, in SciAm, in American Scientist, in any skeptic or AGW believer. I take everybody’s remarks as a step forward in the discussion and in the understanding of this or any other issue.

From that, I extract, polish, and sometimes destroy my own opinion.

I am not arguing that “lay people” can “challenge scientific opinion”. It is a given. A scientist that cannot defend his argument (for example, on the pages of SciAm) is clearly in trouble.

Climate Debate (2): Consensus, Actions…and the Sun

(second entry in my series of exchanges “On Climate Debate and Debate Climate” with a person genuinely convinced AGW is a settled argument):

(on “deniers” being able only to appear on web sites)

You’re assuming that there is some kind of scientists vs lay people war around AGW. And that all scientists think AGW in the same terms. That is incorrect.

This is from an IPCC Reviewer, Lead Author, Co-chair.

This is from an IPCC Lead Author and Contributing Author.

It’s two, but they are pretty high in the hierarchy. I personally know another IPCC reviewer that disagrees with the IPCC conclusions.

I suspect if anybody did a survey of the 2,500 IPCC scientists and experts, we will see the whole gamut of opinion.

In any case, I suggest reading the “Geophysical Research Letters“, a publication that is hosting very interesting and very scientific exchanges from all sides, and by that I mean scientists believing in catastrophic AGW, or in strong-but-manageable AGW, or in mild AGW, or in minute AGW, or finally in negligible or no AGW at all.

I strongly object this quasi-religious distinction in “scientists” and “lay people”.

I have some peer-reviewed scientific articles myself: does that suffice to become a scientist? And if AGW is for “scientists” and not for “lay people” then what are we discussing about? I am not in any major climate research center. Are you?

(on the reasons why one would not believe in “bodies of expertise”)

I do not believe in any “body of expertise”. If that was requested, neither Scientific American nor American Scientist would be around.

I can read the scientific articles, and I am in a 4-year quest to find evidence for AGW. A change in any weather pattern would suffice, but so far none has been reported. RealClimate are actually adamant they are not even interested in finding any.

(on alternative quantitative analyses)

The IPCC AR4-WG2 has a whole chapter about AGW-related changes: I have read it all and can definitely report a curious, very strong European bias in observations.

http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/global-warming-may-be-just-european/

The rest is lots of ifs, buts, maybes, coulds and the like. Including thousands of observations not compatible with warming.

(on the necessity of cutting down emissions if AGW is real)

That is incorrect. There are indications that harm-reduction can be a better strategy. It is an ongoing debate, and no guess which side I am on.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7240463.stm

(on the central role of CO2)

You’ll read that again in 10 years’ time and realize how incredibly exaggerated such a claim is. Climate is a chaotic system, very complex, hard to model (nobody has modelled clouds very well, figure that out!)

http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9433721

Focussing on CO2 may be worse than trying to lose weight eliminating fat from food without taking care of sugars.

(on mechanisms linking solar wind and earth weather)

I do not “believe” in a correlation between solar wind and earth weather. I am “curious” in seeing if there is any correlation between any part of the solar activity and earth weather. We have several years of data, also from the Ulysses probe, but all of them in a period of a relatively active Sun.

If the Sun goes quiet for a while, in terms of sunspots, eruptions, coronal activity, or whatever else, then we will know more about any such “correlation”.

On the other hand, with a star only 8 light-minutes away, basking in its rays, travelling at high speed with our magnetic field through its electromagnetically active corona, constantly hit by a “wind” of particles, etc etc, I find the idea that the Sun does not influence the weather preposterous.

And to think it as true instead , I want to see pretty hard evidence in its favor.

Corbyn Admits Being Wrong

The feeblest of minds will see this as a sign of failure.

The rest of us should instead take notice that WeatherAction’s forecasts can be and are at times falsified. The same cannot be said of the usual AGW predictions

Note 23 Jan from Piers Corbyn re letter 21 Jan and ‘on-line’ comments in The Times:

1. Our long range forecast for January particularly* in most of England and Wales has – exceptionally – been a failure for most of the month and two reasons for this are mentioned in the correctional update on our website www.weatheraction.com One reason was to do with the timing of events originating on the sun, the other was a data transfer error. The consequence has been – and independent monitors have said – this is exceptionally the largest forecast error we have made for years. In view of our data transfer error we will compensate forecast subscribers appropriately although please note the terms and conditions do not give us any duty to so do.

(* For Scotland and parts of Northern England and Northern Ireland the often cold and snowy weather is more in line with our forecast for southward shifts of the jet stream at times – which we had expected to shift further).

2. Observers should note that our forecast never said this January would be ‘more like 1740’ (than 1987) and concerning the end November / start December storm period we never said gales of the severity of the 1703 windstorm. In both cases we clearly said the weather would NOT be as extreme as then. People who claim we said such must please quote sources and say by whom such mis-information has been put about and for what purpose.

3. It is noteworthy that Paul Simons did not feel confident enough that our actual forecast would go wrong to wait for it to do so; and instead chose to make a false statement about our forecast (of an “apocalyptic freeze” in the first week) which he could instantly denounce since it wasn’t physically possible for such to occur after such a short duration in the British Isles. This we find doubly unacceptable since Mr Simons was sent forecasts in advance and could read what we actually had said.

4. Objective independent measures (by academics, subscribers and weather bets) of our Weather Action long range forecasts show they are much better than chance – ie significantly skilled – and much better than any others available anywhere in the world. For more about proven skill and priase from subscribers visit eg our British or european website www.lowefo.com )

5. We are an advancing science and a proportion of forecasts will go wrong and subscribers – in farming, business and commerce – recognise this and stay with our forecasts for years because they are profitable for their business. Our succes and sales enable ongoing research to improve forecasts so now they more skilled and include more detail. Indeed application of our Solar Weather Technique has been extended in trials to other parts of the world (see eg www.lowefo.com re our first trial forecast for tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal which correctly predicted the Cyclone which became the terrible storm Sidr last year).

6. It is sad that some seek to misrepresent our work (other than noting genuine forecast errors in a fair minded way) rather than say attacking – if they have a driving desire to attack long range forecasts – forecasts from others which are made at public expense and were so misleading to UKplc (eg) over the summer. The reasons for such extremely churlish behaviour must surely be about something other than forecasts and I suggest often are more to do with the desire of proponents of ‘man made global warming’ to claim all weather extreme events as “theirs”. Our success at predicting extreme events and long periods of high risk of extreme weather variations using solar-based methods is not something they want to countenance.

Thank you, Piers Corbyn

Landscheidt, Astrology…and Totalitarianism

Theodore Landscheidt was a well-known, controversial figure in climatology circles (he died in 2004). The controversy arose from his conviction that the Earth’s climate is driven…by the Sun (the shock! the horror!): not much popularity there, among proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

One particularly nasty “accusation” has been that Landscheidt was an astrologer. He even published a book on planetary harmonies.

But is that sufficient to throw all his work to the dustbin of science? Of course not.

The fact that Landscheidt believed or didn’t in one type of astrology or another is in fact immaterial to his climate-related work, as long as that work is based on purely physical computations.

And he did!

Otherwise we should dismiss the notion that DNA is a double-helix only because James Watson has said something very silly. Not to mention throwing away electronics as we know it (radios, PCs and all) given the passion for eugenics by Nobel Physics Prize Laureate William Shockley.

The practice of poo-pooing somebody’s work based on one or the other traits of his personality is a sign of a losing argument, or of a totalitarian one.

Solar Oddities from Ulysses

Science@NASA (Jan 14, 2008): “Posner explains: “Eleven years ago, during a similar ‘sea change’ between solar cycles, the polar wind spilled down almost all the way to the sun’s equator. But this time it is not. The polar wind is bottled up, confined to latitudes above 45 degrees

Science@NASA (Feb 20, 2007): “One pole of the sun is cooler than the other. That’s the surprising conclusion announced by scientists who have been analyzing data from the ESA-NASA Ulysses spacecraft.