Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

And There it Was… Gone.

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 9, 2009

There’s an old Wisconsinism that people have some fun with. It’s often used in the context, say, of deer hunting. Somebody tells the story about how they were in their stand, and heard the big buck behind them. They glance around and catch a glimpse of the trophy rack. Slowly, they maneuver themselves into position, secure their rifle, and as they relay the story about when they turned around and looked past the trunk of the tree they were in, they say “And there it was… gone!”

A few days ago I mentioned a sunspot cluster that you could actually see pretty well. While you can still see some of the remnants of it, it didn’t last long.

Bob Heiderstadt, a guest poster who has occasionally commented here as well, sent me some data on the timing of when the sunspots have appeared.

The number of points observed doesn’t make for anything scientific, so all I can really say about it is that it’s an interesting exercise. The data showed the dates of sunspot appearances and whether or not the spots were Cycle 23 or Cycle 24 spots.

He noticed that in a previous stretch of consecutive Cycle 24 spots, there was an expansion of time between appearances, while recently there has been a contraction.

I took his numbers and further looked at that by simply ignoring Cycle 23 spots altogether.

The last 12 Cycle 24 spots have appeared with the following 11 gaps in between them (in # of days): 3, 10, 11, 14, 29, 31, 46, 55, 22, 10, 9, ?

I will be interested in seeing how this continues. One can’t draw any conclusions from one oscillation (or, almost like a contraction of labor) but as we move forward it may be interesting to see if there is some kind of a “breathing” or oscillation pattern to how the sunspots ramp up.

On the other hand, it could be entirely coincidental and mean absolutely nothing. Time will tell.

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2 Responses to “And There it Was… Gone.”

  1. Bob H said

    Joe, add another data point. Apparently sunspot 1020 appeared for a few minutes on the 8th. I’m not sure whether the sunspot number will stand, but we’ll see what the next number assigned is. BTW, I downloaded the 512×512 images for the 8th and part of the 9th looking for the mysteriously missing sunspot(s)…without luck. Apparently they were smaller than a 512×512 pixel.

    The powers that be are really stretching things giving a sunspot a number that only appears for a little while and cannot be seen except in high resolution images. I guess if you’re desparate to get the sunspot count up then you’ll start counting almost anything that pops up.

    Oh, you are right about the data. There just isn’t enough there yet to get any meaningful statistics. I thought maybe an extra set of eyes would see something I didn’t.

    On the next post, have you tried combining the PDO, AMO, the ENSO, and the Sunspot counts to see the combined effect. I’m sorry, but I don’t have a guess for the weightings of each.

  2. The Diatribe Guy said

    I hope, one of these days (years?) to do a full correlation analysis that incorporates sunspot activity, ocean indexes, CO2 and other greenhouse gases, etc. There are actuarial pricing techniques used to rate insurance that eliminates cross-biases, and provides the maximum likelihood factor weighting for each. The trick will be that there will not only be the individual monthly readings, but then also each of those will need to have a weighting of previous factors to incorporate the effects of lag, and each previous month’s contribution to lag.

    That’s a lot of factors to determine, and unfortunately we really only have serviceable data in some areas for a few decades, so I am not sure how I’ll go about it all.

    That’s a huge undertaking, and it’s one of those wish-list items that I just am not sure when I’ll get to. That analysis, though, should derive the optimal weights of not only each measure, but then the contibuting months for each measure. At least, in a perfect world…

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