Solar Cycle 25 Blog

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Jay Pasachoff: Solar Flares Aren't What They Seemed
Tuesday, September 13th 2011, 4:46 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Image AttachmentWhen British amateur astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson independently saw a brightening of a small region of the Sun about 150 years ago, in 1859, they saw a very powerful event now called a solar flare. Since American astronomer George Ellery Hale discovered about 100 years ago that sunspots are regions of strong magnetism on the Sun, astronomers have linked magnetic storms on Earth to sunspots and to the solar-activity cycle. For roughly the last 50 years, solar flares have been categorized and detected by the x-rays they give off. The current classification of flares goes, in increasing power at their peak, A, B, C, M, X.

Last Wednesday, scientists reported that they haven't been noticing most of the solar flares' energy. In a NASA Press Conference, held simultaneously with the release of a paper online in The Astrophysical Journal, they reported on new results based on observations with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Since its launch on February 11, 2010, SDO has detected over a couple of hundred solar flares with its extreme-ultraviolet measuring instrument and with its cameras that take images also in that part of the spectrum beyond the violet, the ultraviolet. (Far into the ultraviolet is known as the extreme ultraviolet.) Several analyses have now shown that at least a group of the most powerful flares, which are detected in x-rays by satellites such as the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) series of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, give off more energy about 90 minutes later than the x-ray peak than occurred in that first detected peak. This hitherto undetected second peak may not be quite as powerful at its maximum as the first peak but covers a somewhat longer time, rising to its peak and falling more slowly than the x-ray peak. It can thus contain more energy than the first peak.
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'Old Faithful' Sunspot Keeps Spouting Off Big Solar Flares by Mike Wall,
Thursday, September 8th 2011, 5:09 PM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured this shot of the X1.8 solar flare on Sept. 7, 2011. CREDIT: NASA/SDO

The sun has continued its string of outbursts this week, unleashing two new, powerful solar flares in two days from a region on its surface that space weather experts have now dubbed "Old Faithful."

An X-class solar flare — the most powerful type of sun storm — erupted Wednesday (Sept. 7) at 6:37 p.m. EDT (2237 GMT). Another flare blazed up today at 11:44 a.m. EDT (1544 GMT). The latter flare appears to be somewhat less intense, but scientists are still taking its measure.

These solar storms follow closely on the heels of two other big flares this week, one Monday (Sept. 5) and one Tuesday. All four storms erupted from the same area, known as sunspot 1283. Sunspots are temporary dark patches on the solar surface caused by intense magnetic activity. [Photos: Sunspots on Earth's Closest Star]
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MUST SEE YOUTUBE: SOLAR CYCLE 24 KICK-OFF: September 4th - 7th, 2011.
Thursday, September 8th 2011, 4:55 PM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)

X-flares of Solar Cycle 24: There have been only a handful of X-flares since the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24. Here is a complete list so far, all in 2011: Feb. 15 (X2), March 9 (X1), Aug. 9 (X7), Sept. 6 (X2), Sept. 7 (X2). Before these five, the previous X-flare occured on Dec.14, 2006, (X1) during old Solar Cycle 23.
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Sun Unleashes Massive Solar Flares in One-Two Punch by Mike Wall,
Wednesday, September 7th 2011, 6:12 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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This image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory watching the sun shows a powerful solar flare (center right) just minutes after it erupted on 6:20 p.m. EDT (2220 GMT) on Sept. 6, 2011.

This story was updated at 8:48 p.m. EDT.

Just as many Americans got back to work after the long Labor Day weekend, the sun jolted to life as well, unleashing a massive solar flare just one day after another sun storm sent a stream of particles racing toward Earth.

The X-class solar flare — the most powerful type of sun storm — erupted at 6:12 p.m. EDT (2212 GMT) on Tuesday (Sept. 6) and hit its peak strength eight minutes later, according to a space weather update by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The flare occurred less than 24 hours after another less intense but still dramatic solar storm.

Several different satellites watched the action unfold, including NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly records high-definition videos of the sun in several different wavelengths. (Photo of the X-class solar flare)
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The K7RA Solar Update 26th August and A graphical comparison of solar cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24
Saturday, August 27th 2011, 6:39 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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If you think Solar Cycle 24 is weaker and still progressing slower than previous solar cycles? You are correct. For a comparison of Solar Cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24, click here for more.

Solar activity rose this week, with the average daily sunspot number rising more than 40 points to 66 points, while the average daily solar flux rose more than 13 points to 101.9. Sunspot numbers for August 18-24 were 53, 46, 59, 66, 82, 81 and 75, with a mean of 66. The 10.7 cm flux was 97.8, 98.2, 100.5, 100.9, 108.2, 103.7 and 104.1, with a mean of 101.9. The estimated planetary A indices were 3, 2, 5, 3, 7, 9 and 6, with a mean of 5. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 1, 1, 4, 3, 5, 8, and 5, with a mean of 3.9.

The predicted solar flux for August 26 is 110, rising to 115 for August 27-28, 110 for August 29 to September 1, 105 for September 2-3, 100 for September 4-5, 95 on September 6-7 and bottoming out at 90 on September 8-12. The next peak of activity is predicted for September 22-23. The predicted planetary A index is 5 for August 26-27, 10 on August 28, 8 on August 29, and 5 on August 30-September 2, then 8 on September 3, 10 on September 4-6, 7 on September 7, and 5 on September 8-10. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for August 26, unsettled on August 27-28, quiet to unsettled August 29 and quiet conditions on August 30 through September 1.
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MUST SEE VIDEO LINK: Solar Climate Change: Spacecraft Sees Solar Storm Engulf Earth: Updated with Youtube
Friday, August 19th 2011, 5:02 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
For the first time, a spacecraft far from Earth has turned and watched a solar storm engulf our planet. The movie, released today during a NASA press conference, has galvanized solar physicists, who say it could lead to important advances in space weather forecasting.

“The movie sent chills down my spine,” says Craig DeForest of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "It shows a CME swelling into an enormous wall of plasma and then washing over the tiny blue speck of Earth where we live. I felt very small.”

A wide-angle movie recorded by NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft shows a solar storm traveling all the way from the sun to Earth and engulfing our planet.

CMEs are billion-ton clouds of solar plasma launched by the same explosions that spark solar flares. When they sweep past our planet, they can cause auroras, radiation storms, and in extreme cases power outages. Tracking these clouds and predicting their arrival is an important part of space weather forecasting.

“We have seen CMEs before, but never quite like this,” says Lika Guhathakurta, program scientist for the STEREO mission at NASA headquarters. “STEREO-A has given us a new view of solar storms.”
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NASA to Discuss Solar Storm Tracking Efforts Thursday
Wednesday, August 17th 2011, 6:18 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
NASA will hold a press conference Thursday (Aug. 18) to discuss "new details about the structure of solar storms and the impact they have on Earth," space agency officials said in a statement.

The briefing this week will review new observations from several NASA spacecraft, including the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (Stereo), that currently keep a close eye on the sun, agency officials said in the statement released today (Aug. 16). [Stunning Photos of Solar Flares & Sun Storms]

Thursday's briefing will be held at NASA's headquarters in Washington and will include presentations from several space weather experts. They include:

The news briefing will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) and will be broadcast live on the NASA TV cable channel, as well as webcast on the agency's NASA TV website.

The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle (the current season is called Solar Cycle 24) and has erupted with several major flares in recent weeks. The solar cycle will peak in 2013, NASA scientists have said.
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David Hathaway: Solar Cycle Prediction (Updated 2011/08/02)
Saturday, August 13th 2011, 5:53 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 69 in June of 2013 (same as last month). We are currently over two and a half years into Cycle 24. Four out of the last five months with average daily sunspot numbers above 40 has raised the predicted maximum above the 64.2 for the Cycle 14 maximum in 1907. This predicted size still make this the smallest sunspot cycle in over 100 years.

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)]). Prior to that time the predictions are less reliable but nonetheless equally as important. Planning for satellite orbits and space missions often require knowledge of solar activity levels years in advance.
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David Archibald: Climate is a non-problem. What is happening is Cooling
Saturday, August 13th 2011, 5:43 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Archibald Speech Rally Canberra 16th August 2011

My first duty to you today is tell you what is happening to the climate. What is happening is cooling. The oceans started cooling in 2003, and the atmosphere is following. There has been no warming since 1998.

In fact, the temperature of planet today is almost the same as it was when satellites first started measuring it in 1979. No one under the age of 32 has experienced global warming. Some of us predate that and remember the heavy frosts of the nineteen seventies. Those frosts are returning, and worse. Solar activity is weakening, and will remain weak for another 22 years.

We in this blessed country will be spared the worst of it, but a large portion of the grain belt in the northern hemisphere will have crop failures due to longer winters and early frosts. Canada will go from being a large exporter of grain to becoming a frequent importer. As long as Australia remains a net food exporter, we will benefit from the shorter Northern Hemisphere growing season.

For us, climate is a non-problem. Carbon dioxide’s heating effect is real, but minuscule. The one hundred parts per million that we have added to the atmosphere in the last one hundred years has heated the planet by one tenth of a degree. We will add another hundred parts per million over the next fifty years. The total of two tenths of a degree will be very welcome by mid-century.
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Impact of planetary interactions by Will Alexander & David Bredenkamp
Saturday, August 13th 2011, 5:39 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
A puzzling issue in the whole climate change affair is why did climate change scientists on both sides of the fence deliberately ignore the role of variations in received solar energy on the Earth's climate? The oscillating consequences have been observed and studied for more than 100 years, yet the IPCC reports continue to maintain that the Earth's climate is a steady-state phenomenon and that the consequences of variations in solar activity are far less than the influence of greenhouse gas emissions for which there is no believable evidence at all.

My recent memos were written in easy to read layman's language. Now the time has come to dig a little deeper.

The attached report was produced by my colleague David Bredenkamp. He is an experienced hydro-geologist. You may have difficulty in understanding his contribution if you are not technically minded. In this case I suggest that you read the abstract and then glance through the 15 figures in his report. Each and every one of them demonstrates a very clear oscillating behaviour. How on earth is it possible that scientists in the field of climate change can maintain that the Earth's climate is a steady-state phenomenon when all the evidence is to the contrary?

Until now, the difficulty was in establishing the causal linkage between climatic variations and variations in received solar energy. In the attached report David Bredenkamp solves the problem. All that I ask is that you read the abstract of his report and then compare it with the extracts from Chapter 2 of the IPCC’s assessment report that I quoted in an earlier memo then draw your own conclusions.

I realise that at this stage the views of five of us acting independently and without any research funding, may have little impact but here's another analogy. The world has come to the edge of a precipice on this climate change issue. One step further and it will tumble down the cliff. It will be forced to revise its position or suffer the consequences. Hopefully our memos will assist it to retreat with dignity.
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