Skip to comments.NASA sunspot activity prediction indicates next decade coldest in over a century [FR Exclusive]
Posted on 12/13/2009 7:45:18 PM PST by nwrep
Many scientific reports have shown a strong correlation between sunspot activity and global mean temperatures. The most well-known such graph is the one plotted by Friis-Christensen and Lassen. A graph derived from similar observations is shown below:
GRAPH 1:Correlation between Sunspot activity and global temperatures
It is important to note that there are small periods of anomaly in this correlation, but that the behavior returns to one of strong correlation over extended periods of time.
GRAPH 1A: Correlation between Sunspot activity and global temperatures over 10,000 years (reconstructed)
As has been recently noted by several physicists, the solar activity levels in 2009 have shown several consecutive days without a spot, indicating that the sun is at a low point of a deep solar minimum. Sunspot activity reached a peak around the year 2000, and has dropped since then.
GRAPH 2: Sunspot activity observations plotted by year:
Here is another graph showing the same activity, plotted for 3 different centuries:
GRAPH 3: Monthly Average Sunspot activity by year, from NASA
Now, NASA scientists have created simulations to predict the solar activity over the next decade. According to the scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center, where the simulations were carried out,
"Predicting the behavior of a sunspot cycle is fairly reliable once the cycle is well underway (about 3 years after the minimum in sunspot number occurs [see Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann Solar Physics; 151, 177 (1994)]). We have employed several methods to determine the size of the next sunspot cycle using a technique that weights the different predictions by their reliability. [See Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann J. Geophys. Res. 104, 22,375 (1999)] Our current analysis indicates a maximum sunspot number of about 78 ± 18 for cycle 24. We then use the shape of the sunspot cycle as described by Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann [Solar Physics 151, 177 (1994)] and determine a starting time for the cycle by fitting the data to produce a prediction of the monthly sunspot numbers through the next cycle. We find a starting time of March 2008 with minimum occurring in November or December 2008 and maximum in April or May 2013."
GRAPH 4:NASA Predictions of Solar Activity for the next decade
As seen from the picture, there is band of uncertainty associated with the prediction, but the average sunspot number predicted for the maxima of the next decade is around 75-80 (official prediction: 78 with an uncertainty of +/- 18).
From Graph 3 of the sunspot activity for the past 3 centuries, the last decade to show a maxima this low (significantly below 100) was 1880-1890. What the NASA prediction therefore tells us is that if the strong correlation between sunspot activity and global mean temperatures shown in Graphs 1 and 1A holds, the coming decade could be possibly the coldest decade in over a century, with temperatures not seen since the Victorian era.
Can you explain in simple the terms the meaning of the dark region on the crown (from the perspective of Graph 4)? Is radiation detection obstructed, is it cooler, or something else?
Yep, and for that matter, vulcanism has more to do with global climate change than anything humans can do.
There are other longer cycles in the historical record. There are also long periods of very low sunspot activity. Basically we don't understand them. But they are correlated with periods of unusually cold weather. Look up Maunder Minimum and Little Ice Age.
Sun spots eh? whooda thunk the Sun would influence temps?
How the heck do they know how many sunspots there were 6000 years ago ? What are the “proxies” supposed to be for that?
Seems to me the statisticians here have been the good guys. The “scientists” decided what the answer was going to be, built their models, set the parameters using statistical methods they did not really understand, and then did everything they could to prevent others from trying to replicate them, including destruction of data.
Scientists were using fundamentally statistical methods that they either misused or misunderstood (fixing the data and building predictive models based on the fixed data), doing it poorly, and then using the models as 90% of the proof of their AGW hypothesis. They never tested their models against a null-hypothesis. Nor did they assess their models against simple alternatives (say, linear regression of temperature as a function of time or a “no-change” hypothesis, or the very simple sunspot model). Nor did they test their models on future data (data the models had not been optimized on).
It was usually a statisticians who insisted the models should have included confidence intervals (not the nonsense the IPCC puts out using multiple AGW models to predict and then using the variance across models) and make useful predictions about reality before we blindly accepted them and who were gauche enough to point out that the AGW scientists had not succeeded in either regard.
And, it was statisticians who busted what appeared to be scientific fraud—Mann’s hockey stick happened only because Mann changed the normalization step in principal components analysis with the effect that PCA became a data dredging tool looking through hundreds of tree-ring records for just those trees that showed temperature rises in the 20th century. See also Briggs recent analysis of the adjustments that were made to normalize the Darwin Station temperature data.
As to the “beautiful” science behind AGW, nothing in the science requires that climate respond to CO2 increases in a non-linear manner. We cannot desribe complex, positive feedback systems from fundamentals well enough to reach that conclusion. The way the AGW scientists decided to do that was to build many-parametered, positive-feedback CO2, finite element computer models and set the parameters from past data. Then when the models predicted the past data thay say “see, it was the CO2 all the time.” This is just another form of Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. A model that fits data is just that—a fit model. It does not show causation. Yet that was the inference the AGW scientists would have us make.
So I see the fundamental technical problem here as statistical. Physics does not say enough about the system so that we could derive the non-linear relationship between CO2 and temperature from first principles. So the proof, if proof there is, must be statistical in nature.
So it was natural that much of the skeptics attack would be lead by statisticans.
I remember Nancy Pelosi pointing out last summer how the Arctic ice sheet was melting. So now we have corroboration, which proves it.
Well, my guess is the Sun is pregnant. Its cycle is late, very late, and we all know what THAT means!
Was discussing Global BS with a young Moonbratess. So I asked her why the Sun was yellow. She said it’s not yellow. It just looks that way. I said , No it’s yellow because it’s buning Hydrogen. When it’s done with that it turns red. She said I was making that up and it was futile to even entertain further debate. Yay, a MA Publik Skool Ejumecation.
One of the kids in my Confirmation Class on Sunday, asked me if I’d heard of Climategate. I said, Yes, and he asked me if I thought Global Warming was real. I said yes, the Earth warmed in the 1990s, and it has since been cooling down, but that humans had nothing to do with either the warming or the cooling; it is all the result of that big old fusion generator in the sky. It was at the end of class, though, so I didn’t get to talk about sunspots. ;o)
Biggest source of energy in the system, and the one that is totally discounted by the AGW crowd.
“If you would prefer referring to these CRU stiffs as mindless beancounters instead of all-knowing all-powerful statisticians, that’s ok with me as long as I can tune you out should you try to convince me that there’s a real link between average temps and sunspot cycles based on the plots shown above.”
LOL. I do statistics. Not sure what it is the CRU folks do. But it’s not statistics. It’s the application of techniques they don’t understand to a hypothesis they don’t want to falsify—or something like that.
Nor is it science. For that you need falsifiable hypotheses and replicable results, things the AGW folks have been avoiding like plague for years.
My point was that real statisticians have done much of the heavy lifting in exposing the AGW folks for what they are. That’s not surprising because when folks manipulate data and don’t disclose the manipulation and the sample size is pretty big, the manipulation usually leaves great big muddy footprints when a statistician tears it apart.
As for the sunspot data, its just another hypothesis right now. I know there are some journal articles claiming a high correlation (0.8 or there abouts) between smoothed sunspot activity and global temperature. Haven’t looked at it in detail because noone is trying to take control of the world economy based on the “sunspot crisis.” So it falls in the category of “interesting to look at someday.”
Looks like their prediction is still high.
Long before anyone could suggest a reason why, and it would have be scoffed at as pseudoscience on the level of claims of showbiz practitioners of the paranormal. Now we suspect that high spot activity results in deflection of cosmic rays away from the earth, and low spot activity allows the cosmic rays in, either way influencing cloud cover.
That's the mechanism I do not understand. How do the cosmic rays [cosmic wind?] which are produced by sunspots affect cloud cover.....whats the interaction?
I think I understand that the phenomona is that high sunspost activity increases cloud cover, decreasing the earth's radiation back into space and creating a warmer globe.
The reverse is probably true. But I don't know [undrstand!] what the interaction of the cosmic wind is with the magnetosphere that increases [or decreases] cloud cover.
If you could point me to an article that discusses that at a level an engineer without too high a grade point can understand, I would appreciate it!
A cosmic ray is a nucleus of a heavy atom flying at comparable to light speed. It is usually produced by a stellar explosion in deep space, such as a supernova. It bears a positive electrical charge.
Spots on the sun are sources of solar flares, jets of helium nuclei which are also positively charged. These fly out into the solar system well beyond the earth.
When the two sets of flying nuclei approach, electrostatic repulsion occurs. The earth’s magnetosphere has little if any to do with it. A spotty sun tends to shield the solar system from cosmic rays.
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