Articles Tagged "Solar News"

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Astronomers ask public to help spot solar storms, by Hannah Devlin, The Times
Tuesday, February 23rd 2010, 5:25 AM EST
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Astronomers ask public to help spot solar storms

Last weekend I visited the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, to see their new solar exhibition. It's timed to coincide with the launch of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (which went into orbit last week) and the start of an active period of solar activity after an unusally long period of calm.

As part of the exhibition the observatory today launched Solar Stormwatch, a web project where anyone can help spot and track solar storms in real time data. After about five minutes of training at the exhibition I was qualified as a 'stormwatcher' and am looking forward to getting my first assignments.

The project uses real data from NASA’s STEREO mission, a pair of satellites in orbit around the Sun which give scientists a constant eye on the dynamic solar surface. Each imager has two cameras helping STEREO stare across the 150 million kilometres from the Earth to the Sun.

Stormwatch volunteers will be looking for evidence of huge explosions from the surface of the sun, called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), in which billions of tons of material are hurled out into space. The storms can be harmful to astronauts in orbit and have the potential to knock out communication satellites, disrupt mobile phone networks and damage power lines. Solar Stormwatch will help to forecast the arrival time at Earth and help minimise disruption.

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Cosmic rays increase as sun hits solar minimum by Emma Woollacott
Wednesday, September 30th 2009, 10:10 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Watch out, space travelers: galactic cosmic rays have hit their highestt levels since the space age began.

"In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19 percent beyond anything we've seen in the past 50 years," says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. "The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to rethink how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions."

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Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not involved
Saturday, August 8th 2009, 4:03 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of researchers says it has largely put to rest a long debate on the underlying mechanism that has caused periodic ice ages on Earth for the past 2.5 million years – they are ultimately linked to slight shifts in solar radiation caused by predictable changes in Earth’s rotation and axis.

In a publication to be released Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University and other institutions conclude that the known wobbles in Earth’s rotation caused global ice levels to reach their peak about 26,000 years ago, stabilize for 7,000 years and then begin melting 19,000 years ago, eventually bringing to an end the last ice age.

The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.
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Sunspots and global cooling: Clear connection? by Steve LaNore, Dallas Weather Examiner
Tuesday, July 7th 2009, 4:08 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
During the past four years, the sun has been in a prolonged quiet phase which has led some to claim this signals a period of global cooling. The number of “blank” sunspot days, a measure of overall solar energy output, has been more than 30% above the long-term average.

The year 2008 saw the sun with its lowest number of sunspots for any year in a century. This only fueled the speculation of an impending global cooling scenario.

In fact, slight cooling has been observed since the year 2001, but the link to lower solar activity is inconclusive at best. Shifting ocean patterns are the more likely, or at least primary, cause.
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Early Earth's Magnetic Field Was a Weakling by Andrea Thompson,
Saturday, March 6th 2010, 11:54 AM EST
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
The protective magnetic field shrouding the early Earth was likely only half as strong as it is today, a new study suggests.

The research also found that the Earth's magnetic field is 200 million years older than previously thought, which has implications for the amount of water that was originally present on the early Earth, and perhaps even on the development of life. Such a weak field in the Earth's early days may have also made for some spectacular auroras, or Northern Lights, at latitudes as low as what is now New York City, researchers said.

Earth's magnetic field is generated by the turbulent, convective motions of the planet's molten core. The field extends around the Earth for quite some distance into space until it meets the sun's incoming solar wind (the stream of charged solar particles constantly flowing away from the sun). The boundary where the two meet is called the magnetopause.

It is the magnetic field that protects the Earth's surface, and all of its inhabitants, from this energetic solar radiation, which would harm living organisms and strip away much of Earth's atmosphere (Mars has no significant magnetic field, which is thought to be the reason it has such a miniscule atmosphere).

But little is known about the magnetic field as it existed just after the Earth formed, around 4.5 billion years ago. To learn more about this early magnetic field, John Tarduno of the University of Rochester and his colleagues from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, turned to the crystals in ancient rocks that preserve magnetic signatures.

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IPCC "Consensus" on Solar Influence was Only One Solar Physicist who Agreed with Her Own Paper
Sunday, June 27th 2010, 5:34 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Image, a Czech climate skeptic blog, has posted today an interesting article "Judithgate: The IPCC was only one Solar Physicist" (google rough translation). Her name is Judith Lean (photo left). On the basis of this "consensus of one" solar physicist, the IPCC proclaimed solar influences upon the climate to be minimal. Objection to this was raised by the Norwegian government as shown in the AR4 second draft comments below (and essentially dismissed by the IPCC): "I would encourage the IPCC to [re-]consider having only one solar physicist on the lead author team of such an important chapter. In particular since the conclusion of this section about solar forcing hangs on one single paper in which J. Lean is a coauthor. I find that this paper, which certainly can be correct, is given too much weight"...: continues [google translation + editing]: "As I wrote elsewhere (article on pmode ACRIM), Judith Lean, along with Claus Frohlich, are responsible for the scandalous rewriting of graphs of solar activity. Satellites showed that the TSI (measured in watts) between 1986 and 96 increased by about one third. Judith Lean and Claus Frohlich (authors of the single study noted above) "manipulated" the data. People who were in charge of the satellites and created the original graphs (the world's best astrophysics: Doug Hoyt, Richard C. Willson), protested in vain against such manipulation. Wilson: "Fröhlich has made changes that are wrong ... He did not have sufficient knowledge of (satellite) Nimbus7 ... pmode composites are useful for those who argue that global warming may be primarily due to anthropogenic causes." [cautionary note English->Czech->English translation of Wilson]

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Solar cycle may drive Venice's floods
Sunday, August 1st 2010, 6:04 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
IF YOU want to see Venice while keeping your feet dry, don't go when the sun has lots of spots. Peaks in solar activity cause the city to flood more often, apparently by changing the paths of storms over Europe.

Several times a year, but most commonly between October and December, Venice is hit by an exceptional tide called the acqua alta. David Barriopedro at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and colleagues were intrigued by studies showing the tides followed an 11-year cycle, just like the sun, showing peaks when the sunspots were most abundant. They looked at hourly observations of sea level between 1948 and 2008, which confirmed that the number of extreme tides followed peaks in the solar cycle (Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1029/2009JD013114).

Records of air pressure over Europe over the same period revealed "acqua alta years" saw a lot of low-pressure systems over the north Adriatic Sea, while in quiet years these systems were further south.

This make sense, because flooding events in Venice are known to be triggered by low-pressure systems from the Atlantic. These systems allow sea levels to rise, while stormy winds blow from south to north, piling up seawater around Venice. In quiet solar years, the storms are shifted to the south, but it remains unclear exactly how solar activity has these affects on the weather.

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CNN climate disinformant gets religion on global warming by Steven Andrew
Saturday, August 14th 2010, 3:10 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Via Climate Progress, CNN's long time climate change skeptic and purveyor of every wingnut talking point on global warming in the book, Chad Myers, finally admits the truth:

Is it caused by man? Yes. Is it 100% caused by man? No. There are other things involved. We are now in the sun spot cycle. We are now in a very hot sun cycle. there are many other things going on. But, yes, a significant portion of this is caused by greenhouse gases keeping heat on the shore, on the land, in the atmosphere that could have escaped without those greenhouse gases, so, yes, it’s warmer. . ..

No doubt we're now supposed to applaud Myers for ending his long reign of misinformation and energy industry apologetic -- assuming that is what this signals -- and just forgive him. Which might have been possible, if not for the stuff I've emphasized above which is all too representative of Myers. That bold statement is not only wrong, it is 100% wrong and he knows it. Below are the sunspot and solar irradiance cycles plotted on the same graph by year courtesy of NASA.

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Cluster Makes Crucial Step In Understanding Space Weather
Tuesday, July 27th 2010, 2:36 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Researchers using the four spacecraft of ESA's Cluster mission have uncovered the long journey that energetic ions undergo during geomagnetic storms and how they ultimately precipitate into the Earth's atmosphere. Such precipitation affects the composition of the ionosphere, preventing GPS and communications satellites from operating correctly.

The Earth's magnetic field acts a buffer zone, shielding the Earth from the permanent flow of ionised matter coming from the Sun. As a result of the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's field, a protective bubble known as the magnetosphere is formed.

This comprises a complex mixture of electric and magnetic fields, charged particles and resultant current systems. One such system, the so-called Ring current, forms in a doughnut shape around the Earth, and is caused by trapped particles, from either the solar wind or from the Earth's ionosphere, gyrating around the magnetic field lines of the Earth. Changes in the ring current are responsible for global decreases in the Earth's surface magnetic field.

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New Solar Cycle Prediction
Monday, June 1st 2009, 2:48 AM EDT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
May 29, 2009: An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.

"If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is tempting to describe such a cycle as "weak" or "mild," but that could give the wrong impression.
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Above: This plot of sunspot numbers shows the measured peak of the last solar cycle in blue and the predicted peak of the next solar cycle in red. Credit: NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center.[more]
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