Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Archive for the ‘Solar cycles’ Category

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.

Posted in Cycles, Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Like… A real sunspot cluster!

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 3, 2009

Novice watchers of the sun, like myself, who really only started paying attention to mindlessly staring at the orange ball on our screen within the last 2-3 years have been longing for some real sunspots. While I can appreciate the history being made today with the quiet sun, it’s really not all that exciting clicking on my link to the sun and just seeing an orange ball that looks just like it has for the last 2 years.

You can imagine my excitement (or, maybe you can’t.. your loss) when clicking on the link today to see the following:


Real sunspots!

Gone are the days of squinting, and looking at a blown pixel in hopes that it is a sunspot. Gone are the tiny tim sunspecks that have been unimpressive, and yet have found themselves counted occasionally as a spot – probably to stave off the sheer boredom that another spotless day brings to some official counter. One imagines a man looking through a telescope all day long (with polarized sunglasses on, of course) and a white lab coat, holding his little chart. It’s a romanticized vision, I’m sure. But who wants to picture some schmuck that looks like you and me just pulling up an image on a computer? Booooring.

As you can probably tell, I really don’t have a whole lot more to say on this matter. Just kind of rambling at the moment.

I need diversions like this to help me forget about the fact that the government now own auto companies and banks and insurance companies. Not that sunspots have anything to do with that. Just sayin’.

OK, I’ll stop now.

Posted in Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

May 2009 Sunspot Update – Fun Facts / Cool Outlook

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on May 13, 2009

We continue to see a quiet sun. I know there is a lot of debate about whether it’s truly “unusual” activity, or whether it means anything at all to temperature and climate. I honestly don’t know the answer to the second. From what I understand, the theory is that a quiet sun means that solar flares and other wild activity are not there to hamper cosmic rays from pelting the earth. (As an aside, whenever I hear things like “Cosmic Rays” it takes me back to my youth, where different space ray exposure meant you would be turned int a Super Hero. So, maybe one byproduct of a quiet sun will be people who can fly, or are really flexible, or who can turn invisible. Let’s just pray they don’t turn into orange, rock-like monstrosities strong enough to lift tanker-trucks into the air).

What was I saying? Oh, yeah… Cosmic Rays. Anyway, unimpeded rays apparently stir up more evaporation, elevating the level of water vapor, elevating cloud cover, elevating rain… eventually, between clouds blocking the sun and the rains cooling the land, we get cooler temperatures.

There have been some correlation analysis done that linked the length of solar cycles to changes in temperature. These, as far as I can tell, have been fairly simple and, while compelling, have limited data points. So, it’s interesting as far as it goes.

I’ve done a similar exercise, but by looking at the full set of data as it relates to lags, using a minimization of least squares simultaneous approach. I have updated that study and will present it here. In addition, I’ll throw out the latest observations on how current data trends in sunspot counts stack up to history.

Before I begin with that, I need to throw out a caveat that was rightly pointed out to me in a previous post I made regarding the sunspot numbers: if you go to the NOAA Sunspot data, which is the source I am using (linked to the right), you will see a statement at the bottom of the page that tells you that the data after such and such a month (about 6 months ago, depending on when you’re checking) is preliminary. That is because the traditional way of counting sunspots incorporates formulas that, today, don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. You might think that the count is the count, but it’s not quite that simple. The count itself is a formula, based on number of days of observation adjusted for a formula to account for the other side of the sun, clusters, etc. Then, after that, the monthly average count is adjusted for an annual average. It can all be pretty confusing, and at one time I could rattle off all the details, but it’s been a while since I refreshed my memory on it, and quite honestly I’m admitting to laziness by not digging into it at the moment. The important thing to realize is that the last few months could see adjustments to the numbers over the coming months, but I will treat them for presentation purposes as “the number.” The reasons for these adjustments, I believe, have more to do with maintaining consistency in the method so that we can compare a reading today to a reading 200 years ago. We can argue about differences in technology affecting that, but at least the determination of the count number is consistent.

OK, so on to some data tidbits:

In each of the last five months, the sunspot count is preliminarily showing values of 1.5 or less in each month. The last time we saw a consecutive 5-month stretch like that was the period ending September 1913. Yes, that’s over 95 years ago.

The latest count = 1.2. The two-month average = 1.0, and the three month average = 1.1. While very low by historical levels, we did see similar 2-3 month averages in 2008.

Sunspot counts.

Sunspot counts since 1850.

I took a look at the following averages, all of which are the lowest averages since similar periods ending in 1914-1915: 6-month (1.6), 12-month (1.8), 24-month (3.9), 36-month (7.0). So, any way you slice it, the sun in the last three years is unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Does it mean anything? I don’t know for sure, but it’s still an interesting phenomenon.

Here are a couple of those charts, for your entertainment:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Climate Change, Cycles, Earth, Global Warming, HadCrut, Science, Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots, Temperature Analysis | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Sunspot Update – February 2009

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 9, 2009

sun02092 The picture at the left is the now familiar sight of a blank sun, as seen on February 9, 2009. This continues to be a remarkably interesting time.

UPDATE:I would like to point out a comment (#4) by Tad Cook below. I am indebted to his helpful explanation on the nature of the determination of sunspot counts by month in the NOAA data set. With his explanation, take my presentation below in the spirit of a presentation of the data from a table where the last six months are preliminary estimates. In the future, when referencing that data, I will try and be sure to acknowledge that. Mr. Cook has, apparently, been digging into the daily sunspot numbers and believes that the actual January number will be around 3.2 when the final numbers are determined.

What I find interesting is that we hear all sorts of different opinions as to what, if anything, this all means to us. I find the sunspot cycles fascinating from a cycles/data perspective. I have done some correlation analysis that seems to imply that the length of the cycle matters. However, there are limitations to that analysis because it does not remove the effects of other major variables, so until I do a more thorough job on that it is simply a curiosity. There is this paper that implies the same thing, though, in stating that length of the cycle is inversely related to temperature. I have shown the collapsed charts that consider both magnitude and length in recent decades. I have summarized two papers by John A. Eddy here and here that seems to make the case for solar minimums driving temperature downward. Overall, the Landscheidt papers certainly focus on correlations of solar and planetary activity in conjunction with climate. Some feel that focusing on cyclical movements of planets and the sun becomes too astrological. I disagree with that assessment, but the criticism is out there.

But those aren’t the only opinions. If you frequent Watts Up With That? you will be familiar with a frequent commenter/contributor by the name of Leif Svalgaard. Leif, as far as I can tell, is a reasonable fellow who is interested in the science of the sun, and not particularly concerned with advancing one agenda over another. I have seen him equally berate the way NOAA uses the information as well as those who he feels makes equally inastute predictions/observations of the meaning of what the sun is currently doing. He has extensive work here which I admit to not spending as much time on as I’d like. I have, however, kept an eye on many interesting charts he has put together in this source. I mention Leif as an example of someone who I think has the right attitude and motivations regarding the science, but who does not embrace the correlation between sunspot cycles and climate like many others do. Agree or disagree with him, I don’t see any agenda with his opinion. He has scientific bases for having reached that conclusion. He is also not a fan of many of Landscheidt’s methods.

So, basically, we don’t know a whole lot. We have correlations of past events, and different and improving instruments to assess all aspects of the sun. But we don’t necessarily know a lot.

What we do have, nonetheless, is sunspot data. And whether you think the sun tells us little aboout climate or whether you think we’re heading into another ice age, the data is fascinating.

The January sunspot number was another extremely low value (1.5). Once again, this drove down the averages we see. It also lengthened the current cycle (as measured from 12-month average minimum value to 12-month average minimum) to 148 months. It was already longer than the previous 13 cycles, and this status continues. If this cycle lengthens by 2 more months (which is possible – February 2008 was pretty low [2.1] but March 2008 had a count of 9.3), it will become longer than the previous 17 cycles, and we will only know about 2 other cycles that were longer.

As for observed averages, the 12-month, 24-month, and 36-month average sunspot numbers are all the lowest values since 1914, 1914, and 1915 respectively. The 48, 60, 72, and 84 month averages are lowest since 1935, 1936, 1936, and 1937 respectively. The 96, 108, and 120 month averages are the lowest since 1979, and the 132 and 144 month averages are the lowest since 1946.

For those who prefer charts, here are a few:







Posted in Cycles, Science, Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Los Angeles Earthquakes and Solar Cycles

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 25, 2009

Before I even start this post, I want to make it clear that I am not implying anything in particular about the correlation of earthquakes and solar cycles.  Secondly, I certainly am not making an implication about a specific geographical area’s earthquakes and solar cycles.

However, I read this article about a recent study on L.A. Earthquakes with some interest, and just decided to start poking around some solar cycle information, and I found what seems to be a somewhat interesting correlation.  I thought I’d throw it out here just for kicks.

First, let’s take the pertinent part of the article, as far as the study itself goes:

But the new research by UC Irvine scientists, to be published next week, found that major quakes occurred there roughly every 137 years over the last 700 years. Until now, scientists believed big quakes occurred along the fault roughly every 200 years.

Lisa Grant Ludwig, a principal investigator on the study, first visited the Carrizo Plain about 20 years ago, digging trenches in an area west of the Panorama Hills known as the Bidart Fan.

By looking at the pattern of soils and using radiocarbon dating on charcoal deposits, she found evidence of five large earthquakes dating back to the early 1200s. She found a gap of some 400 years between the 1857 earthquake and the one before, but only about 100 years separating the three preceding quakes.

Back then, the earthquake age estimates were very rough and the samples had to be fairly large, about the size of a jelly bean. Ludwig saved field notes and hundreds of soil samples in glass vials in her garage for more than 15 years, hoping that radiocarbon dating techniques would improve.

Once the technology improved, Ludwig and her colleagues could date samples with much higher precision and analyze charcoal flakes as small as the tip of a pencil.

They went back to her archive, and the redating effort, led by scholar Sinan Akciz, found that the four big earthquakes before the 1857 temblor probably occurred around 1310, 1393, 1585 and 1640.

Because they are looking at only a handful of earthquakes, scientists can’t be sure that the pattern will hold, Ludwig said.

Ludwig’s team has dug some new trenches in the area to supplement the redating project, hoping to find new soil samples that show the increased frequency of large earthquakes.

Results won’t be finalized for a few months, Ludwig said, but preliminary analysis suggests that the time interval between earthquakes may be even shorter, something on the order of 100 years.

My first reaction to this was, “You have 5 data points, totaling 4 time differentials, and two of those differentials are 192 years and 237 years. It’s kind of difficult to get too worked up about a simple average and say that things are overdue.”

But another part of me was intrigued in that we had actual dates. My initial reaction was to go to sunspot counts. Unfortunately, only one of those dates coincides with any remotely good monthly sunspot numbers.

I decided to head to a different source. Landscheidt’s Swinging Sun paper I’ve discussed from time to time.

One chart from this paper caught my attention. I have included it here, with the dates of the earthquakes as provided in the article superimposed on it with the red lines. I eyeballed it, but it’s close enough for jazz:


Some explanation is in order regarding the chart. I have included the verbiage from the paper regarding that exhibit (Figure 5 in the paper), with a couple explanatory notes to clarify things where necessary.

The plot in Fig. 5, the author of which is Gleissberg (1958), shows the secularly smoothed invervals DM between consecutive maxima in the 11 Year Cycle which also follow the 80 Year Cycle. Minima of DM correspond to maxima of the highest smoothed monthly average of sunspot numbers RM and vice versa. Gleissberg’splot covering the years AD 300 to 1950 is based on data published by Schove (1955) . [Layman’s terms: the shorter the cycle, the higher the magnitude on a monthly average basis.]
Secularly smoothed intervals DM between consecutive maxima in the 11-yr cycle contouring the secular variations in solar activity which are synchronous with relevant distance minima RDM meeting the time integral of torque criterion Cnl. Positive and negative RDM, the polarities of which follow the phases of the 79-yr cycle, are represented by arrows pointing up or down respectively. [Layman’s terms: The relevant Distance Minima means the distance of the center of the sun from the center of mass of the solar system. The chart shows a correlation between the distance of the center of sun from the center of mass of the solar system with cycle length.

The arrows in Fig. 5 represent the positive and negative RDM the dates and polarities of which are given in Fig. 4. [not shown – the up-arrows correspond with positive polarity. Polarity here is not referring to polarity of sunspots, but of the phase in the 79-year cycle.] Few successive RDM showing the same polarity at the short interval of about 20 years like —RDM 458, —RDM 481 or +RDM 816, +RDM 839 were marked at the mean date. The correspondence with peaks and troughs in the Gleissberg data is evident.

Well, I’m just throwing this out there. The earthquakes seem to correspond in their timing at some point after a relative distance minimum corresponding to short cycles with positive phase polarity, but before the next distance minimum corresponding to longer cycles with negative phase polarity.

Since there are only 5 dates presented, this could be coincidence. In addition, while the earthquakes coincided with that criteria, it is not the same as saying that criteria always corresponded with an earthquake.

Nonetheless, I thought it an interesting chart, be it coincidence or something more real than mere coincidence.

The current criteria according to the charts is currently satisfied. We are on the downside of a series of short cycles. The current cycle is longer. If the next cycle would be long as well, then the next few years represents a window where – if past correlation is more than coincidence – could represent a potential earthquake event for Los Angeles. This is far from conclusive, but interesting nonetheless.

We are currently on the area of the polarity phase that also matches the criteria. Based on past events, we would be on the right spot of the chart until 2020-2025.

Here’s hoping that this is pure coincidence.

Posted in California, Current Events, Cycles, Earth, Earthquakes, Landscheidt, Los Angeles, News, Science, Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

December 2008 Update on Sunspot stats

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 6, 2009

We are truly in a remarkable time as it relates to the current solar cycle.  By a number of measures, we are witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event…  maybe.

It certainly is “once in a lifetime” if you are post-middle age.  We ahve not seen measures in solar activity like we are seeing now for some time.  However, if history is any guide, this may not be the last time we see this kind of event in next 50-100 years.  So, for the younger people among us, this may simply be an indication of things to come.

I say this not because of some expertise in solar science, but simply based on a review of the data.  Now, the caveat here is that, while we have somewhat reliable data going back to the 1700s (certainly not as technologically savvy as modern times, but if you read my Eddy reviews in the Landscheidt category, you will see that he is fairly confident that overall conclusions can be drawn from data since the 1700s), the solar cycles are long enough that we still have only a limited amount of data points in which to draw conclusions.  I state this caveat because it is the honest thing to do.  I will calculate averages and standard deviations on available data.  Also, I will be calculating averages and standard deviations on data points where part of the data is overlapping into other data points, so there is bias introduced.  We need to understand the limitations and know that our conclusions based strictly on the data are necessarily limited by time.

That said, there are a number of very interesting observations that we can make that indicate the special nature of our time.  The Sunspot data can be located by clicking the link on the right, under RESOURCES, of the NOAA Sunspot data.

1) Current six-month average = 1.7.  This is the lowest 6-month average since the period ending November 1913.

2) Current 12-month average is 2.8.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending March 1914.

3) Current 24-month average is 5.2.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending November 1914.

4) Current 36-month average is 8.5.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending December 1934.

5) Current 48-month average is 13.8.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending October 1935.

6) Current 60-month average is 19.1.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending March 1936.

7) Current 72-month average is 26.5.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending November 1936.

This is truly remarkable.  All the way up to the 6-year average, we see numbers that have not been witnessed in over 70 years, and in the first few cases, almost 95 years.  Only when we finally get to a 7-year average do we get into our generation:

8 ) The 84-month average is 37.6.  This is the lowest such average since the period ending March 1978. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cycles, Solar cycles, Sun, Sunspots | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

A Look at the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) Index

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on December 23, 2008

Previously, I took a look at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) Index and showed that after a fairly long period of persistence in an average state above zero, it has dipped back down into the negative. It has now been in the negative level enough that the 10-year smoothed chart is actually negative. This has coincided with generally flat to cooling global temperatures, and colder weather patterns in the United States over the last few years.

I also took a look at the ENSO index over timeand showed that, while the ENSO cycle is much shorter-term, it also has been in a persistently warm state since the late 70s. I was one of the first I am aware of to point out the very recent readings in the Index pointing to another La Nina (there is some debate as to whether or not it is a “true” La Nina, since the cooler PDO could be driving this measure down. That seems silly to me. If you’re going to start arguing about influences to the index, then you can’t stop at the PDO.) In any case, the ENSO index is also running into recent negatives, and the persistent warm state appears to have finally come to an end.

It is reasonable, then, to wonder why global temperatures haven’t plummetted. While it is true that, current non-warming trends go back to May 1997, according to UAH anomaly dataand that all temperature measures show a declining trend line since 2001 to one extent or another, we have not been in a freefall on a global basis.

Certain regions appear to be more impacted than otehrs to recent cooler temperatures. The United States and Canada have had a much cooler time of it than Russia, for example. In fact, I previously took a look at the temperature anomaly maps and questioned why Russia seems to show consistently higher anomaliesthan the rest of the globe. I’ve checked the NOAA maps pretty consistently over the last couple years, and I have seen a lot of blue in the United States and Canada, and Russia burns bright red. This appears to be the most significant driver in temperature anomalies not hitting bottom.

It would appear that the PDO and ENSO do not drive Russian anomalies. At least, anyway, not as significantly as they seem to drive our region.

And so I decided to take a closer look at the other Ocean Index data. I have downloaded a boatload of data, and will be getting to each one in time. But I started with the other index we seem to hear a lot about – the AMO index. I started here because from what I understand, this is a pretty key index to keep track of. It also has the longest data history. In full disclosure here, I have not yet taken the time to look at the history of how these temperatures are recorded. I don’t know if they are direct measurements or modeled or some combination of the two. So, I simply present the data as given.

Starting out with the Raw Data:

Raw AMO Data since 1856

The overall AMO index data since 1856.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) Index, Climate Change, Cycles, Earth, ENSO, Global Warming, Oceans, PDO, Russia, Science, Solar cycles, Temperature Analysis | Tagged: , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

Solar Cycle Length, Sunspot Count, and Temperature – An Insurance “Pricing” Analysis

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on October 7, 2008

Being an actuary, my profession is the butt of many bad jokes. One of my “favorites” is the one about how you can tell the difference between an actuary and an accountant. Answer: Accountants look at the other person’s shoes when they are talking to them.

I’ve always considered myself atypical in a profession known for its geekdom. But, I do have to face a certain reality. I often feign memory-loss when someone asks me what I did the previous evening. That’s because I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I spent a couple hours reading over a research paper on solar cycles, or analyzing temperature anomalies. Even I have to admit that this makes me appear to be a loser. It often gets me in a little trouble at home when the wife notes that the boys need to be roughhoused with, or tomatoes need to be canned, and she could use a little help here or there. I try to point out that I’m trying to save the planet (just not in the way others claim to be) but alas, she doesn’t buy into the importance of understanding the significance of a slowing in the sun’s rotation at different latitudes.

Nonetheless, I press on. And not being a climatologist, but an actuary, I tend to look at the data and conjure up thoughts of how to process it utilizing my actuarial background. There are many ways that the data can be adjusted and analyzed. My interest as of late has been to try and determine a way to test the various elements of the solar cycle and see if there is some relationship to temperature that can be determined. And that is what I have done here.

In actuarialdom, one of the enigmatic things we do is price insurance products. A very simple illustration as to how that is done is to look at age and sex, for example. Suppose we have a large population of people. We decide to split out the ages into 10 groups. We have two groups relating to sex (if that needs explaining, then you must live in California). While it may seem apparent that you can just look at the results of the 20 individual cells defined by those two sets of groups, that is only true because of the simple example here. In reality, we usually have a large number of different rating parameters and the unique cells could literally be in the millions. So, we’ll proceed with this example as if each cell is not credible enough to analyze on its own.

The first thing you can do is look at the experience by age. If you have a base cost per policy, you can apply a rating factor to change the cost as your age adjustment. Then you can look at the experience by sex. If you multiply these two factors together, and then multiply by the base, you get a rate for each particular cell.

The problem with that, though, is that you are not accounting for cross-biases. In other words, if a disproportionate percentage of people in one age class are of a certain sex, then the results of your analysis are skewed. This influence must be eliminated (or at least mitigated to the extent possible). We do this through iterative procedures where the factors are continually adjusted and compared to the known results so that the resulting set of factors are essentially stripped of the other variables’ influences. That way, when the two factors are mutliplied together, it’s a true picture of the risk presented by that cell, rather than an understated or overstated picture because of undue influence of other parameters.

Why am I talking about this? Because when I think of temperature, I kind of think of it the same way as a pricing problem in insurance. A price is determined because there is an exposure, and the exposure has certain characteristics. These characteristics add or subtract dollars to the price according to the risk they present. The better we get at identifying all the appropriate risk characteristics, the more effective we are in pricing to suit the risk.

Likewise, temperature (at least in my mind) can be thought of as being comprised of a number of elements all working in concert with each other. I decided to take a look at the solar cycles, making an assumption (surely an incorrect one) that only the sun matters with regard to temperature. Consider this an initial analysis. As time and data allows, I can incorporate measures of just about anything into the spreadsheet, including measurements of Carbon Dioxide, methane, and the number of pirates seizing Ukranian warships. Adding factors will help refine the true impacts of each solar measure to temperature. In their absence, the factors are still appropriate for observing the general trend and relative magnitude, but there may well be changes to the factors with the introduction of other parameters.

All that said, let me outline the methodology here, in general terms. If anyone is interested in the more comprehensive details, I’d be happy to provide it: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Actuarial Topics, Climate Change, Earth, Global Warming, Science, Solar cycles, Sun, Temperature Analysis | 11 Comments »

Some fun stats with Sunspots and how the current activity stacks up against recent history

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on October 2, 2008

For a change of pace, I thought I’d take a look at the sunspot numbers, which can be found here and just take a look at how current averages in the index stack up historically against what has been recorded in the past.

Before I start, a couple comments…

First, here is a nice link for those who like to check out a picture of the sun online. I’ve included the current image here.

In addition, I want to point out a post at Watts Up With That? that shows the number of days the sun has been blank so far this year compared to the previous year counts. In summary, this is the most number of blank days since 1954 already, and if current trends continue for another three months we will easily pass up 1954.

OK, so I won’t cover that ground, thanks to Watts. But I took a look at a series of averages, and found some interesting little tidbits that I thought I’d share. Since people like charts, I’ll throw up a few. These aren’t rocket science, and I don’t claim that they are anything new that we haven’t seen before. But it adds a nice context to the post.

The first graph is a plot of the raw observed sunspots since records have been kept. For a more detailed look on the history behind the numbers, check out my posts summarizing a couple papers by John A. Eddy, found here and here.

I wanted to get some kind of a read on how the overall average sunspot numbers are trending in our lifetimes, and because of the cyclical nature this can be done by averaging. One note on the averaging, though… once you get up to multi-year averaging, since the cycles vary in length, you may retain the trough/peak points in the cycle in some areas of the chart, and lose them in other areas. One reason I wanted to collapse the chart in this way was because shorter cycles may increase the overall average sunspots over a period of a number of years. If that is occurring, we’d see an upward trend during those periods.

The following charts represent a 12-month averaging of the sunspot counts, a 5-year averaging of the counts, and a 12-year averaging. You can see how it transforms from a cyclical chart to a chart exhibiting more trend-like behavior. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Cycles, Science, Solar cycles, Sun | 13 Comments »

Landscheidt, Part 6

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 20, 2008

Please go here for the previous Landscheidt articles, if you’re just catching up now. This will greatly aid in the context of what I am writing about.

Moving on to the next statement in the Landscheidt paper, Swinging Sun, 79-Year Cycle, and Climatic Change, he states: According to Gleissberg (1975) the discovery of corresponding long-term recurrence tendencies in sunspot frequency would be of considerable importance, for it would make possible accurate long-range forecasts of low-frequency variations.

The 1975 paper by W. Gleissberg is the German-penned “Gibt es in der Sonnenfleckenhaufigkeit eine 179-jahrige Wieder-holungstendez?” It’s attribution is as follows: “Verdff. Astron. Inst. Univ. Frankfurt, 57: 2, 11.” Not only couldn’t I track down an English version of this paper with my meager resources, but I couldn’t find the original German version, either. Not that it would have done me much good, other than to be amused at things like “Sonnenfleckenhaufigkeit.” Those Germans have quite a way of putting things… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Astronomy, Climate Change, Cycles, Landscheidt, Science, Solar cycles, Sun | Leave a Comment »