A Solar Activity Update- By Stephanie Osborn

A Solar Activity Update- By Stephanie Osborn


My experience

I did my graduate work in spotted variable stars at Vanderbilt University, so in the astronomical community I would be considered a variable star astronomer. Based on our experience, many variable star astronomers consider the Sun to be at least borderline variable, and I am one of these. In point of fact, pretty much across the board, astronomers dropped the “solar constant” years ago, because it simply wasn’t. (Unfortunately, other disciplines have not.)

I personally have been watching solar activity for many years now and have watched the activity gradually decrease. As a consequence, I began keeping a rough spreadsheet in summer 2016 as I watched activity begin to drop dramatically. So I have about 2 years of recorded data. It is fairly simplistic, because I only wanted a snapshot and didn’t have time to do more detail, but it serves the purpose, as we will see shortly.

The current solar cycle

This graph is the latter part of solar cycle 23 and all of cycle 24, roughly to date. (Note, however, that the plot ends in ~March 2018. It’s very difficult to find plots that are current to the month.) The red line is the projected curve. The blue line is the smoothed curve. The purple dots and jagged line are the actual data.


Note that the peak for 24 was approximately half that of 23. Also note that we are currently already as low as the minimum that ended cycle 23, at approximately 8.5-9 years into an average-11-year cycle. Theoretically, we still have a couple of years to go before the actual minimum is reached, though 11 years IS an average.

Recent solar cycles

Here is a graph presenting solar cycles 14-24(current). This takes us back to around 1900AD. Note the decrease in the height of the peak (solar max) of each cycle since ~1980. Note the decreased activity in cycle 20. Note the gradual increase in peak height from 1900-1960, though there is a slight drop in cycle 16, around 1930.


Long-term observations

This next chart goes back a LITTLE farther. This is a view of activity over the last 400 years. Note that this graph does NOT include cycle 24; it stops at 23. Cycle 24 is already at roughly the same level as the cycles found in the Dalton Extended Minimum, and this has been noted by several groups with experience in the field.


An interesting correlation

This is a clipping from a Michigan newspaper which was sent to me a couple of months ago. Note the article date written in the margin.


Correlate this to the very low peak of solar cycle 20, which occurred during the 1970s. Note the snow event in 1942, in the cycle subsequent to the diminished cycle 16. Also consider the “Little Ice Age,” which was a prolonged cool period (~1300-1900) overarching the four back-to-back extended minima: the Wolf, Spörer, Maunder, and Dalton Minima (running ~1280-1850AD). Also note the year 1816, the so-called Year Without A Summer, aka “Poverty Year” and “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death,” which occurred during the Dalton Minimum (~1790-1830; some argue a later end).



Column 1 is the year.

Column 2 is the month.

Column 3 is the percentage of days in that month with no more than 1 sunspot/sunspot group.

Column 4 is the percentage of days in that month with NO sunspots.

My data (2017)


My data (2018 — incomplete)



My data, graphed (total)



The latest data

I haven’t had a chance to include the last couple of months of data in the charts as yet. However, in brief synopsis, May had 77.4% of days with no more than 1 sunspot group, and two sets of seven consecutive spotless days. June was much the same, with another spotless week early on; another session of spotless days began June 27th…and continued through the entirety of July. Today, as I write this, it is July 31st, and we have had 35 consecutive spotless days. Since it takes about 24.5 days for the solar equatorial regions to rotate once around its axis, this means that we have seen the entire photosphere spotless; not even the solar farside has spots, and this appears to be corroborated by the STEREO solar observing platforms. A couple of short-lived, almost-spot plages developed during this period, on July 3rd and 21st, but otherwise there were no visible photospheric features. Virtually the only other solar activity came from the enhanced solar wind streams from coronal holes, and even those are diminishing in size and strength.


Other solar activity

Flare numbers are decreasing; CME numbers are decreasing. BUT cosmic ray flux is increasing. Why? And what do all those words mean, anyway?

Sunspots, flares, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are all related; flares tend to produce CMEs, and tend to form near spots. This is because they are all magnetic events. A sunspot is believed to be the “snarl” produced in the magnetic field lines as a result of differential rotation — since the Sun is not a solid body, it does not rotate uniformly; rather, it follows Kepler’s Laws of orbital motion. The poles rotate faster than the equator, and the interior rotates faster than the photosphere. But since it is a plasma body, and plasma is composed of charged particles, it generates a strong magnetic field. As this differential rotation proceeds, the field lines gradually wrap up. If (among other things) local inhomogeneities occur, the field strength can vary, and the field lines may “snarl.” But they also tend to move upward as the plasma convects. When the snarls reach the photosphere — the visible surface — they are slightly cooler, hence darker, and appear as sunspots.

But these snarls contain carp-tons of magnetic potential energy. And from time to time, that potential energy manages to release itself, in the form of a magnetic reconnection event. This is, in essence, the field trying to simplify itself and untangle, after a fashion — the field lines break here and reattach over there, in an effort to reshape themselves and eliminate the snarl. This converts the potential energy into tremendous amounts of other kinds of energy — thermal and kinetic, to name a couple — and the result is a flare. This explosive event can — but does not always — then generate the equivalent of a mushroom cloud, which blows off the photosphere into the solar system, accelerated by the reconfiguring magnetic fields. This “mushroom cloud” is the CME.

Given that this differential rotation creates an extremely complex overall magnetic field, sometimes field lines leave the Sun and stretch off — essentially to infinity — in places not normal for a typical dipole (bar) magnet, which ordinarily would mean JUST the poles. These regions of “infinite field lines” are visible in certain wavelengths of light as darker regions, due to the relative lack of plasma in the inner corona, and they are called coronal holes. The solar wind tends to be “enhanced” along these field lines, since the magnetic field is effectively accelerating the plasma in these regions. They are strong, and can create minor geomagnetic storming and aurorae on Earth (or the other planets) if we pass through that enhanced wind stream, but it won’t be as strong as getting hit with a big CME.

Cosmic rays are generally subatomic particles of various sorts, originating from outside our solar system — sometimes outside our galaxy. They are extremely energetic and are produced by the more powerful cosmic objects out there: pulsars, magnetars, supernovae, black hole accretion disks, even quasars. They can be dangerous precisely because they are so energetic, and often if they hit an object, they produce a cascade of additional particles. (In atmosphere, this is called a cosmic ray shower.)

BUT, since most of them are charged particles — they’d be incredibly hot plasma if you got enough of ‘em together in one place — they can be deflected by magnetic fields. And woo-ha, a moving plasma such as the solar wind constitutes a current, which in turn generates an interplanetary magnetic field! So this magnetic field protects the inner solar system from potentially deadly cosmic radiation. (The term “flux” simply means you’re measuring the number of such particles passing through a given area — typically a square meter — per second.)

So. The stronger the interplanetary magnetic field, the better the protection we have from cosmic rays, and the lower the cosmic ray flux will be.


When the Sun is less active, the slower and less dense the solar wind will be, hence the weaker the interplanetary field will be.

So we would expect that an active Sun would mean a low cosmic ray flux, and an inactive Sun would mean a higher cosmic ray flux…and this is exactly what we see. More, as the solar activity has diminished in recent years, we have watched the cosmic ray flux increase.


Credit: graph from spaceweather.com

Note: Stratospheric flux tends to be more representative of solar system fluxes than lower-altitude measurements; this is because the atmosphere attenuates the rays. Note how the flux has increased from 78x to 88x that found at sea level.


My thoughts

Based on all this information, it is my considered opinion that we are about to enter an extended minimum, if we are not already in one. The double-dynamo solar model predicted one more solar cycle before entering an extended minimum. However, this model, while able to accurately recreate the shapes of recent solar cycles, has been unable to adequately model historic extended minima. It must therefore be concluded that it is not complete. It is my educated conclusion that it does not go far enough, and there is at least one more dynamo which needs to be modeled. It is therefore likely that the onset and the exit of the predicted extended minimum may be “squishy,” and the dates may vary by as much as a solar cycle or more.

It is very true that “correlation does not equal causation,” but when correlations begin to mount, it is foolhardy to refuse to consider the possibility of a coupling mechanism. To name a few correlations:

  • Greenland/Vinland settlement around 1000AD/tail end of the Roman Warm Period
  • The Little Ice Age/four consecutive extended minima
  • The Year Without A Summer/Dalton Minimum
  • Snow in summer in 1942/low-activity Cycle 16 preceding
  • Snow in summer in 1979/low-activity Cycle 20 preceding
  • Modern Warm Period/increasing solar activity in 1st half 20th Century
  • Plateau in warming in the 2000’s/gradual decrease in solar activity since ~1980

Yes, certainly volcanic eruptions and other events factor into the situation. But how many correlations does it take before we need to sit up and take notice? Before we seriously start to wonder what is really going on?


For more on solar activity, check out The Weather Out There Is Frightful, by Stephanie Osborn. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008JA00D0/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i9


294 thoughts on “A Solar Activity Update- By Stephanie Osborn

  1. > But how many correlations does it take before we need to sit up and take notice? Before we seriously start to wonder what is really going on?

    Foolish girl! Just try getting grant money with that kind of attitude…

    1. I have a better answer: about the time glaciers block the Hudson River, they will listen… but it will still be man-made, and still require extensive invasive carbon/energy/food controls….

        1. Time to humanely euthanize the Liberals. I don’t care what the problem is, the solution is ALWAYS to humanely euthanize Liberals.

          After all, their universal solution to problems is a Government jackboot on my neck.

          1. If someone thinks it is controversial to declare the communists evil, for being murderous sons of bitches, that person has no principled reason to object to the Swedes, Norse and Danes being rounded up and shot.

            1. Hell, I figure anyone stupid enough to own a Che shirt can’t complain if they are rounded up for the good of the many.

                1. The only person I got to understand how offensive a Che shirt was (and he wasn’t sporting one, just defending those who did claiming they were embracing his ideals) was to ask if he’d defend my Franco shirt (his grandfather had fled Franco’s Spain).

                  I mean, after all, I told him, Franco fought against the attempt to destroy the Church and steal from the small professional class the prosperity they earned in the name of collectivism. I value those things and who cares about torture and prisons.

                  To his credit he took that thought in and said, upon reflecting, Che shirts were not defensible.

            2. That might just happen without any outside assistance, given their refugee programs.

              (though IIRC the Danes aren’t as willing to roll over as their neighbors)

              1. Denmark is different. I understand that there is a massive cultural tendency to suppress dissent and complaining about anything there.

        2. I am old enough to remember when the 1970s when the same alarmist crowd was warning of an imminent ice-age. Remarkably their solution to that is the same one they now demand for “global warming/climate change”; global totalitarian socialism. Of course the IPCC folks are on record as saying that their proposed policies have nothing to do with climate and will likely have little impact on it but rather are intended to effectuate global redistribution of wealth.

          It is the fact that climate/environment is being used simply as pretext to push global socialism and their “by any means necessary” credo that results in both their willing to fudge/fake data and outright lie about climate/environment, but also their ruthless effort to destroy any thought-criminals who point out what the socialism in the name of the enviroment are doing and why people should be skeptical about their claims and their demanded “solutions”

          Of course communist regimes have a long and unhealthy track record when it comes to the environment and real, genuine, harmful to humans and other life pollution. The climate/environment socialists nevertheless claim that communism/near-communism is the solution to environmental problems, notwithstanding communism’s terrible track record as the environment (and everything else for that matter). Of course these are same idiots who think they can centrally plan economies and all other aspects of life. Is it any wonder they think they can centrally plan climate and weather as well?

          The alarmists of course are helped, in true communist fashion by the useful idiots who treat global warming (and other environmental causes) as a religion with an attitude towards heresy worth of the Spanish Inquisition (“no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition” 🙂 ). True science of course is based in skepticism and always questioning hypotheses and theorems. Declaring that people who disagree should be jailed or executed (as some global warming alarmists do) is not science. It is religion and they want to burn at the stake everyone they consider a heretic.

          1. “I am old enough to remember when the 1970s when the same alarmist crowd was warning of an imminent ice-age. Remarkably their solution to that is the same one they now demand for “global warming/climate change”; global totalitarian socialism.”

            Me too. Also the “new” age of environmental sciences as it applied to Science, Math, English, & Social Studies. Hey 4 hours of class & credit, in an interesting class, with 4 of my more favorite teachers. Do not know if the class has been continued, doubt it.

            I can agree that environmental regulations can be draconian. But OTOH not every industry cares for it’s resources (renewable or not) or even the common resources used by all.

            I remember hearing about the river catching fire. When it was not safe to eat fish out of the Willamette or Columbia. When the Willamette Valley was so very smoky, to the point where I-5 was black (& the resulting car pile up & deaths).

            We were reminded about the smoke last summer because of all the wild land fires around. Pretty much if the wind wasn’t coming from the coast range (west) then you could see, smell, & feel, the smoke.

          2. Of course communist regimes have a long and unhealthy track record when it comes to the environment and real, genuine, harmful to humans and other life pollution.

            When I was living in East Berlin, one of the things I noticed was how easy for me it was to find four leaf clovers in the school lawns (I attended two schools – one that focused on teaching German mixed with some Grade 1, and the second was a normal German public school.) I brought them home so frequently we no longer quite thought of them as rare or lucky. My father found it disturbing, as it was an indication of how polluted the soil was.

            And that’s how I started reading about mutations as as 7-8 year old!

            1. I am not as certain of that. I have an excellent eye for finding the things (and have found clovers with as many as 9 leaves) because I have an innate pattern recognition algorithm in my noggin, and what I’ve found is that yes, it is genetic, but it pertains to the given clumps. This one over here may have a blue bazillion, but the one right next to it may not. Which doesn’t really argue for environment, but a more natural mutation.

              1. If I had only found them in the clumps in one school, I’d have leaned more to the theory you posit; finding them in a second school that was across the city was what disturbed my Dad. I’ve been looking for more since we left (I tried looking in West Germany, when we moved there.) and have been looking ever since for a natural four leaf clover. Haven’t found a one (countries: France, Italy, US – Los Angeles only unfortunately) and Australia.)

                Still, you might be right on that score, given that I’ve never found any since, and two schoolyards is a very small sample. I remembered how unsettled my father was when I’d present my mother a handful of four leaf clovers, when one of the first things we’d done on arriving was discover there was a small kit pot plant that you could grow a four leaf clover from a tiny bulb in West Berlin. We bought Mom one, and it grew two little four-leaf clovers, then died. It was one of those little ‘bred for it’ novelty pot plants. (Afterward, we started gifting Mom cute little cacti in wee little pots, in the hope they would flower one day…)

          3. “I am old enough to remember when the 1970s when the same alarmist crowd was warning of an imminent ice-age.”

            So am I, and you are right in pretty much each point. I am myself a trained skeptic, BECAUSE OF my science training and education. How sad that so many colleagues seem to have forgotten this.

            And I have been saying for years that it is not about climate, it is about power: whoever controls the energy controls the society — where you live, how you live, where you work, what you work on, where you travel, how you travel, whether you CAN travel…

      1. Draven, your comment takes me right back to the excellent “Fallen Angels” by Larry Niven and friends. Not only does it do a great job with that topic, it also is chock full of wonderful SF geek humor.

      2. Hmm. I suppose I’ll need the Hudson River frozen up again so I can haul cannons across it during the next Revolution. Oh the other hand, we do have bridges we can use now.

        1. In event of the next revolution, Hudson River crossings, tunnels and bridges, will be among the first casualties.

    2. Ack! I didn’t realize this posted today. I didn’t think to look. Okay, I’m here now.

      And yes, that’s a big chunk of the problem — the politics involved has made it more practical to kowtow to the “established” notion (note I did not say “science”) than to the logical one.

        1. Oh, you asked if I minded if you led off with it, which was fine. I was expecting it on the Thursday. I just didn’t think to check today, and I’ve been editing. I made an assumption, and it was wrong. No biggie. I’d have just been popping by sooner to comment, if I’d thought to check.

            1. No problem. Like I said, no biggie, I assumed, and it made an @$$ outta me. ‘Cause I knew you don’t always put up the guest blogs on Thursdays; I just wasn’t thinking.

              Could be something to do with the idjit who called from Chicago at 7-something am this morning, and KEPT calling, apparently to get Doctor Osborn’s Balloons of Doom to travel all the way up there from Huntsville AL, when I’d only been asleep since, like, 4:00-4:30am…

              *rolls eyes*

                1. Well it did prompt me to go on Amazon and buy your book – and notice that you have lots of other books to offer too. 🙂

                  1. “Well it did prompt me to go on Amazon and buy your book – and notice that you have lots of other books to offer too. 🙂”

                    FWIW. Me too (bought one of your books). 🙂

                    1. I thank you all, very much. Still working on getting this writing thing to make me a living, and that definitely helps! I hope you enjoy what you read, and come back for more!

  2. I got stuck in moderation for linking to a couple of previous posts on this.

  3. Silly girl. We all know that the big brightness in the sky has no bearing on weather here on Earth. If it did, it would be included in climate models, and it isn’t.

    On the other hand, I may want to look at buy the Dragonette a real coat this year, because if we get another winter like last one, she’ll freeze.

    1. at least one of the models uses constants for the 12-year cycles, and has none of the known documented larger cycles…

      (of course, one of them also predicts warming when fed a table of random numbers as temperatures, but anyway….)

      1. That is why I trust our models more than climate models.

        We make million dollar choices every day on ours…climate scientists get funding not based on their answers matching the data they predicted, but on their being ‘right’.

        1. Freeman Dyson once remarked about the climate models: that they were worthless because of the assumptions they use, many of which are outright wrong, and their failure to account for numerous factors. Add in the fudged.manufactured data and it is easy to see why they come out with the predestined answer that affirms religious orthodoxy. Meanwhile the rest of us simply note: Garbage in, garbage model, garbage out.

    2. Well, the real trick is, see, us astronomers stopped using the “solar constant” years ago, because it ain’t, and we knew it wasn’t. But the solar constant is, according to my understanding, still extant as a part of all of these climate models.

  4. Fascinating article, especially the July 4th snow. I live a thirty minute drive from South Range/ Houghton, Mi. and we have had weird weather this year. It’s been below average cool this year except for the first two weeks of July when the temps and humidity hovered around ninety. Today’s forecast is for temps in the mid to upper sixties and these are supposed to be the hot months.

      1. Always being warm clothes to da yoopee. I have seen Gladstone Michigan go from 95 on July 3rd to a high of 42 on the 4th.
        Here, in the South end of the u.p. it has regularly been in the 50s for lows . Sure, today is in the 80s, but last Friday it was all of 72, and not far inland the low was in the 40s.

        1. Thinking fondly of a cabin on Whitefish Bay. In South Central Oregon, July was a hot as hell month, with weather patterns that are not changing as they did some years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those cute side effects of lower solar thermal forcing.

          In the garden, the zucchini love it, and the tomatoes in the greenhouse might give us a record crop. We usually get fairly cold at night, and a nighttime-closed greenhouse lets the fruit ripen properly. OTOH, it’s been fairly warm at night in July; not much air movement beyond slope wind overnight.

    1. Been weird in Indiana, too, but not all bad. I spent all of April waiting for it to warm up enough to put in my garden before my son arrived – never happened. Released from the hospital on 4/27 with infant in tow and suddenly it was hot and muggy. That lasted until about a week or two ago, now it’s pleasant and cool again. :shrug:

    2. Looking at Houghton’s weather the forecast is now for a high of 58, after it being 84 yesterday. 60’s tomorrow, then 70s and back to the 80s for the weekend. But also rain so no swimming in Lake Superior to cool off(~_^)

  5. Stephanie,

    Thanks for this post. I did my doctoral work at the end of the previous millennium on variations in the composition of the low latitude topside ionosphere, and one of the things I looked at was variation with solar cycle. I’ve not been active in research for, well, too long. It was good to revisit some of the things I looked at, such as F10.7.

    I bought your book and look forward to reading it.



    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I hope you enjoy the book.
      Sarah should have some more stuff upcoming from me in the next few weeks, as well.

  6. In 5-10 years all the nitwits currently jabbering about Global Warming, record high temperatures, and how Man is responsible and needs to get with their program will be jabbering about Global Cooling, record low temperatures, and how Man is responsible and needs to get with their program. And anyone who brings up what they were saying ten years ago will be vilified as a ‘Denier’.

    I maintain that a vast number of ‘environmental issues’ would vanish if we took the board of directors of The Sierra Club to an Aztec pyramid, and sacrificed them to Quetzalcoatl.

    1. Not Quetzalcoatl – he was the ONE god in that pantheon who did not like human sacrifice. Hummingbird on the Left /Huitzilopotchtli was the heart fan.

        1. Where it gets weird is that Kukulkan, the feathered serpent of MAYA mythology, is apparently the one who wanted the human sacrifices by dint of being the war god, particularly liking the heart and the blood…

          1. My age is showing again. For just a moment that was a strangely bloodthirsty Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. (Which I know ended in 1957, but so help me I must have seen some of it in syndication or something).

            1. Naah, a personification of an uncaring and meaningless cosmos is probably the only entity that *could* derive any nourishment from liberal brains.

    2. … and how Man is responsible and needs to get with their program.

      The essential point in their minds is that they need to be put in charge.  Some may even believe that they could really create a heaven on earth if we would just get with their program.

      1. I suspect better would come of putting a charge in them. I leave it as an exercise for the reader if that charge be explosive or a matter of voltage.

          1. Even getting undeniable facts into their heads are enough to make explosions; not surprising, considering how much energy it takes to do that.

      2. To paraphrase Douglas Adams: those who desire to be put in charge should on no account be put in charge.
        Here I am getting to lazy to look it up.

    3. Sacrifice rejected. Everyone knows the directors of the Sierra Club don’t have hearts.

        1. They haven’t found the yellow brick road – but, since they assume the yellow bricks are gold, they are totally dedicated to looking for it!

    4. Is 5-10 years the correct projection on that? If so, it sure will be nice to FINALLY have some immediate, undeniable evidence to counter the Global Climate Screechers. Although, what I expect is they’ll come up with SOMETHING to “prove” reality wrong.

      1. Hell, for the last ten yea d or so there has beenfirm proof that their predictions are so much hooey. Has’t made much difference to them.


        1. Ten years? Most of the same people were ranting about cold, peak oil, population bins and any number of other faulty thought for the last hundred years or so.
          Also, their “solution” is always the same thing.

          1. Yes. See the Global Cooling panic of the 1970s. Curiously, the same remedy was needed as for Gorebull Warming. Amazing how that works.

  7. I’ve been worried about low sun activity and potential global cooling for … fifteen years, maybe? A little more than a sunspot cycle. At first it was a ‘huh, that’s funny; that would be worse than the alarmists fear in the opposite direction, keep an eye on that’ — and since the end of 23 it’s been looking more and more likely. This makes it sound even more likely than I’d thought.

    Historically, warm times are good times, cold times are bad times. So…. I’d rather have global warming than global cooling.

      1. True, but it’s sometimes hard to remember that when the temps are in triple digits for more than a few days in a row.

        1. Like 35 days straight of over 100. I think that was the record for DFW when I was there.

          Hey, anyone else getting Android’s autocorrupt changing words back to the wrong guess after you tap out the next word?
          It’s done straight in the above, I, several times more that I caught, and mouth as well as some others. Are things any better on a Chromebook etc?

          1. I had to fight Autocorrupt on my Kindle Fire when I tried using it on line while on a road trip. Trying to get a hotel wi-fi password typed without “help” was more interesting than I liked.

            1. I have less issue with my Fires but they are not the same keyboard program. I note that the Google/Android version updated last night, and it is being more hardheaded than usual.

          2. We must have been there at about the same time. I left in the summer of 98, and we were consistently hitting 110-112 w high humidity.

            1. Well, this was a few years ago, 2014 or 2015, so it sounds like the record we broke was the time you were there. iirc we only just surpassed the consecutive days record by a day or so. The total for days over though was far older record. don’t think it was surpassed

      2. As an Idaho native currently stuck in the Midwest, I would like to add the humidity caveat to that. High humidity makes both terrible.

            1. At least after a while the waters freezer over and humidity drops. Heat and humidity in its worst day here is still no patch on New Orleans, or Houston.

            2. I’m leaving in the same climatic boat here in Ohio. Growing up in NJ I was used to a bit lower humidity plus the moderating effect of the ocean. And if worse came to worst, it was usually still possible to get some breezes at the Shore, or up in the (minor) mountains up to the northwest of the state. Thanks to winds, I’ve experienced chills in NJ in July. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that in Ohio in July, except during a rain storm.

              1. Heh. The only times we have humidity problems are when we hang clothes up to dry in the winter. (Indoors, silly!) We’ve had a few days last month where the daytime humidity dropped to the teens, or even 7%. Not good in fire season.

                1. No. Low humidity Cascades & East, or S. of Willamette Valley, is bad, very, very, bad. That paired with any lightening = most (all?) the wild land fires we are seeing now. Don’t know how many are burning “monitored” only because of location or lack of resources.

                  1. From what I’m seeing, barring the fire that got into a Designated Wilderness (spit!) area, they’re trying to fight them with whatever resources they can find. I was in K-Falls yesterday, and there was a trio of Texas firefighters getting lunch there. They looked a bit tired.

                    The vast majority of the SW Oregon fires were lightning starts, but too many of the California fires (and, if memory serves, all the biggest ones) are human caused. Looks like a few people (in DC and elsewhere) are smelling eau d’ rodent.

                    1. Limited to following what is happening on the web. There are too many to follow. Cross fingers, nothing local like last year.

                      Last year the local Cascade BSA “High Adventure” Camp got seared. Camp was not in session when the fire started (don’t remember if it was after, or they ended up canceling camp).

                      That is the camp where vehicles, of the volunteer leaders & staff that have cars there, are parked facing OUT, no exceptions, & you ALWAYS have your keys on you. Also, everyone wears closed toe shoes, no exceptions, unless you are in the water. There is one road in/out. Or you hike the pass over into Scotts Lake.

                      Fires were an eye opener for a lot of people. Not us. We’ve both fought wild land fires, in the terrain involved. Personally I didn’t think they were being paranoid enough.

                    2. One of my neighbors has a terribly weedy pasture, with down and dead trees. We try to keep our side of the fence cleared off, but a lightning strike on that property would be dangerous.

                      It’s for sale, at an absurdly high price (about 30-50% over a realistic number). We hope the owner gets a clue and sells, preferably to someone willing to clean up the land.

            1. Have you tried turning off the autoincorrect? I’m using the “Samsung” keys on my tablet, not google, and it seems to work alot better.

  8. 1973 was the last time the Texas Panhandle had a two storey blizzard. The city of Perryton in the northeast corner of the area had drifts so high that people had to come and go by their second storey windows. I’d just as soon not see a storm like that one for a while.

    I also recall the winter of ’76-’77 in Nebraska, because it was below 0F for a month and below freezing for six weeks. But we got a lot of sledding in! And the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers froze almost solid.

    1. I recall a period that we were threatened with the specter of man made global cooling. All that particulate matter we were spewing from our tail pipes and smoke stacks not only was not healthy to breath, but would create a global cooling catastrophe. (And there were also threats of nuclear winter…)

      When that didn’t pan out we started to hear about the threats of man made global warming. We are told the cause is none other than — our tail pipes and smoke stacks. Really?

      I get it. There are people who want to believe that that mankind can be in control and somehow we can make everything ‘safe’ and ‘fair’. They are looking for the happily ever after. The universe hasn’t and isn’t listening.

      1. When I was a kid, the climate disaster everyone feared was the new ice age.

      2. If nukes lead to global nuclear winter, and we have man-made global warming; then why the ding dong haven’t these climato-fascists decided to blow up a couple of nukes to fix it?

        1. Well, they can’t because anything new-kew-ler is evil magic. That’s why they can’t bring themselves to endorse carbon-emission-free nuclear power plants as a fix for their paranoia about carbon emissions; only low-conversion-high-cost solar and kill-all-the-birds wind power are hallal in that religion.

          I’ve been worried for a while that some soros true-believer with more money than brains would load up a fleet of ships with iron oxide and dump it all into the roaring forties to “save the planet” from global warmening, flipping the planet into a hard cooling period.

          Imaging if said dufus did so right when the Sun was cycling down (as now). We could see one of those doomsday Atlantic Circulation Shutdown scenarios. If the Gulf Stream were to switch off, the Thames freezing over would be the least of Britain’s worries, and I really would not want to see that Russian winter.

          As noted elsewhere, heat can be problematic, but it also delivers longer growing seasons. But cold kills.

          1. Bingo! That would be the cheapest and easiest way to suck the carbon out of the air. We’ve seen enough natural algae blooms from ordinary dust that we could do a cheap trial as proof of concept. But NOOOOOO, that’s too easy, and doesn’t fit the goal of total control over industry and energy production.

          2. I have a vague memory of reading about a small trial with iron in the oceans. The iron sank too quickly to make any sort of long term effect. Now if they could figure out how to keep it afloat, they could probably drop the CO2 level to below what plants require, and the cold would only be a small part of the mass plant, human, and animal die off.

          3. “Well, they can’t because anything new-kew-ler is evil magic.”

            Mike, last week someone on the internet (natch) told me that nuclear power is still bad because it warms things up, unlike renewables which do not.

            1. To be fair, there is a lot of waste heat from nuclear power. But it isn’t like renewables don’t have waste heat issues of their own. Water and wind generators can produce waste heat of their own, and solar panels can increase retention of heat

                1. The Powers That Be have decided to put in a few solar panel farms (usually about 12MWe per installation) around here. There are a couple of small windmills around (less than 1kW), but they’re really rare. Makes life a bit easier for the eagles and hawks.

                  1. Here’s a great one: Ringing in the lines of the electric grid. Meaning uncontrolled feedback, like what you get when you point a microphone at a speaker. Except the really great part is that its randomized because the wind is essentially random. So you never know when a confluence of feedback is going to come along and blow all your circuit breakers.

                    Or much worse: weld them shut. Then the lines melt and transformers go on fire. Transformers are full of oil, they can burn -really- hot.

                    1. My backup “generator” is a 1.6kW solar array. The photovoltaic breaker manufacturer states very clearly that One Does Not Open a DC breaker when full light is present. They now sell an emergency shutdown system for bigger arrays, but they’re considerably more complicated and expen$ive than the breakers. And that’s nothing compared to what’s needed for a similarly sized wind system.

                      I’m very glad that commercial wind power isn’t viable around here.

                    2. Once upon a time I worked for Westinghouse in their Hamilton switchgear plant. I assembled the -large- circuit breakers. They had bus bars about as wide and thick as your hand, solid copper with thick silver coating. Really beefy plates of metal. These were encased in chimneys made of polyester fiberglass, to give the sparks somewhere to go. They were driven open and shut with the type of springs you see on a garage door, big and powerful. There was a quite beefy electric motor and gearbox to wind up the springs.

                      I was told that one of the biggest dangers was welding. If the current surge was large enough, and the breaker didn’t trip quick enough, the bus bars would get soft and stick together, and the switch wouldn’t open. The mechanism would just bend everything like warm taffy. And then it would melt and set everything on fire.

                      I believe I said “holy crap.”

                  2. One of the early attempts was put up in the mountains of North Carolina. It did not last long. Apparently it was very annoyingly noisy.

            2. The best operating nukes get about 36% efficiency, so yes, roughly 2/3 of the heat generated in the core is thrown out in the condenser. Newer coal fired (Called dirt burners by nukes) plants average about 45%, due to higher steam temperatures and pressures. Gas fired combined cycle pants are riding the maximum Carnot cycle efficiency of 61-62%.

        2. 1816, the Year Without a Summer, was directly attributable to the Tambora eruption of 1815. It made the more famous Krakatoa eruption look like a popcorn phart. If you look at Wiki and such online referenced you can see that it was a VE7 eruption launching roughly 24 cubic miles of ejecta into the atmosphere. Coupled with a solar cooling cycle it reduced global temps by almost a full degree F resulting in massive crop failures throughout the northern hemisphere.
          Nuclear winter, the boogyman of the Cold War, would require hundreds of surface nuke detonations, not just a random few.

          1. I have developed a healthy suspicion of those who claim there is an oncoming disaster, particularly if they additionally claim that they have the corner on the solution which requires you let them manage your and everyone else’s lives.

        3. “Nuclear winter” was the predicted effect of a large-scale nuclear war, with thousands of Bombs destroying urban areas, triggering firestorms, and filling the atmosphere with smoke and ash. Wrecking a few nuclear reactors wouldn’t do anything of that sort.

    2. I grew up in Nebraska during the 70’s and 80’s. Growing up it always seemed that we had snow on the ground pretty much all winter until April. I keep wondering how much is childhood memory and how much was reality.

      I think it was 84 or 85 we were pretty much snowed in for a week.

      1. In North Dakota in the early/mid 70s if there wasn’t snow on the ground at Halloween, you’d still need winter clothing for trick or treating.

  9. I know some other people who are speculating along the same lines. Makes me glad that we’ve moved out of the high desert (which already had almost no growing season) to a warmer climate. Hope I have time to plant the cold hardy fruits and berries I have planned for.

    1. Yeah, my wife starts the seeds indoors, and we select varieties with a quick growing cycle. Our microclimate is really cool, so it’s a challenge. Seedlings went in June 7th (a week late), though we only had a few more days of hard freezes. No snow, though. Zucchini should be done by the end of August, and with the greenhouse, we usually get tomatoes through September to Mid-October.

      I tried growing corn about 10 years ago (it had been done successfully previously, probably in 1999), but had no luck. OTOH, I’ve seen a farm/nursery 15 miles south of us grow corn every year, though they started quite late this year. Completely different microclimate; makes things tricky.

      FWIW, Siberia tomatoes (not a hybrid) are good for cold weather, and they can tolerate the absurd high temps in the greenhouse. The hybrid Siletz also work, though I’m not sure they’re marketed outside of Oregon.

      1. Thirded.

        [mumble mumble from staffling]

        What do you mean – I can third if I want to!

        [mumble mumble]

        Fine. Move the question.

  10. When I read the title to the post, first thought was “What activity?” Damned sun got turned down.
    BTW. Love the technical term “carpton”.

      1. What’s funny is that my physicist friend texting me this evening to ask, “What is a carpton in Joules?” was the first I knew that the post was up…

        …and then he proceeded to actually calculate it: ~10%^32J.

  11. Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactical upsets.
    Only Doctor Stephanie Osborn, formerly at NASA, has provided any explanation.

      1. I think she’s A doctor, and she’s definitely better looking than Hans Zarkov.

  12. Stephanie, I hope you are wrong. For all the fear mongering of global warming, another Dalton, or worse a Maunder, mimimum will cause a great deal of pain and suffering. The US would likely be okay, as we have a very varied climate and crops, but our exports would certainly go down. Northern climes, like Canada and Russia would alm,ost certainly stop producing food for the most part.

    Dr. Svalgaard has predicted that the next cycle will be slightly stronger than this cycle. I don’t pretend tp understand the science, but he seems certain.

    The raw temperature data does not show any cycles of around 11 years, so there should be some skepticism about the correlation between the sunspot record and global cooling. That said, there is a lot off correlation. I hope it is wrong.

    1. Northern climes, like Canada and Russia would alm,ost certainly stop producing food for the most part.

      How is it a bad thing for our Russian and Canadian adversaries to starve?

      What raw data? Any single number that one can simply look at the variation in over time is going to be derived from several sources. Barring reading of a single thermometer that has been in the same place for a long time, and those only go back so far, and a thermometer that hasn’t been changed in a long time might develop calibration issues.

      Secondly, if you have a stretch of cold winter days and can afford to turn off the heat, try the following experiment. Record temperature over time in several locations with all heaters off. Then, get a small space heater, and put it on a timer to turn off and on for periods of time. Five minutes on, ten off, or whatever.

      How far away from a heat source inside an insulated box do the sensors have to be to notice the net effects of the off/on cycle without being able to identify the precise off/on cycle?

      1. I would expect a delay, the same way that it takes a while for temperatures to catch up to shorter days at the end of summer, and takes quite a long time to catch up to warm up when days get longer in the spring.

            1. I think that is a pretty hot time, yes. I don’ t have a really good sense about that, there’ve been times when it seemed like the peak was 4 or 5.

            2. I generally record the high temp for the day at 16-1700, although ofttimes the previous operator catches it at 14-1500. A high temp at 0000 means a front just went through. And does happen at times… Along with lows at noon.

      2. Since we do see temperature changes from the seasons, I would expect to see changes on the same 11 year cycle if that were a major contributor to warming and cooling. The minimums, and the Global Medieval Optimum, were significant changes to worldwide weather. If they were caused by the solar cycle, we would expect to see that cycle in the temperature records.

        There may be another effect related to the cycles that causes the minimums when we cross some threshold, perhaps cosmic radiation. If that is true, we don’t understand it. Getting a minimum now would certainly advance knowledge of climate science. I just don’t think we will enjoy it.

        1. Unless our measurement error for temperatures is larger than the increments we would expect from the solar cycles we have seen. If our ‘array of sensors’ is so bad that we have to calibrate it for the cyclical things we expect, we can’t expect it to alert us to the cyclical factors we haven’t calibrated it for.

          Imagine a large very well insulated house on a series of identical cold winter days. Imagine the small heater on a timer I describe. A sensor up close could measure the exact cycle fairly well. On the other side of the house? The change in heat will not travel instantly, it has to propagate through the house. The sensor can probably tell the difference between the days where it runs, and the days where it doesn’t. There may be a point where it can’t distinguish between running a six twelve cycle all day, and a three six cycle.

          For a large object, too large to track with a single temperature sensor, how do you know if you have placed enough sensors? You may have problems if your temperature sensors shift, are unreliable, or the time signals are not consistent with the thermal cycles you are trying to measure.

          1. We are looking for a gross effectt however. Snow in Boston in August. The year without a summer. If the solar cycles 5 and 6 caused that, we would expect to see the 11 year cycle in the temperature records that go back that far. And we don’t.

            Since we can see the yearly cycle, we should be able the 11 year cycle.

            1. a) How is the data processed? If the processing is garbage for current data, it would also be garbage for past data. Point data at the same time and date might be subject to aliasing or local noise. b) 1816 was a volcano. My guess is that Osbourne’s point was that the volcano might have had a different effect at a different point of the cycles?

              Temperature measurements are not a perfect proxy for differences in thermal energy in every circumstance.

              It’d be one thing if we were treating the Earth as a perfect sphere of uniform composition, and a constant temperature at any time. Given the proposal that we detect whether humans can change climate, we are limited in the simplifying assumptions we can make.

              I think that properly being able to average out the local noise may require data that can only be gathered by satellite. This would necessarily be a fairly recent dataset at best. Measuring net thermal energy transfer from the sun via temperature changes on Earth is necessarily going to be a technique with poor resolution. If the solar cycles are not an exactly even number of years, and I see no physical reason why they should, the same point in the cycle will be at different dates. The ability to predict an expected value for the temperature of x in location y based on the temperature z measured at the same location the previous cycle, and on what the other data points say about the cycle, is no more trustworthy than the reliability of the weather forecast.

              Temperature measurements on earth should not, currently, be expected to be a more reliable measure of solar properties than more direct measurement.

        2. Given the correlation between the long solar minimums and the LIA, one has to wonder just how low, not just in sunspots, flares, and CMEs, but in total spectrum, and including second order effects, a major solar minimum can go. This may be our first opportunity to study solar activity in a deep minima with something other than basic telescopes. And I suspect we’ll get quite a few surprises.

          1. I suppose the solar flux has some room to go down more. But not a lot. IIRC to total power out of the sun does not change that much, even at this deep a low. Just a few percent?

            If it does happen, we will learn a lot. We have quite a few instruments staring at the sun. And a small part of me is excited. Most of me does not want to see a minimum.

            1. “Total Solar Irradiance” doesn’t change much. That is, however a misnomer, as it is mostly the visible wavelengths, not the entire spectrum.

      3. Run a search on “Cosmic Ray Cloud Formation” and cogitate on Stephanie’s point above about cosmic ray count. Note that the surface cosmic ray counts are also steadily increasing worldwide. This is both a data point indicating that the sunspot count is in fact correlated to output from the sun, but it also has relevance to climate.

        Both net solar output and atmospheric transmissivity are issues: If a Solar Minimum reduces the energy input from the sun as well as increasing solar reflection by newly formed clouds, the surface will see even less energy.

        And even with the goofball models used in the current faith-based climate science, no model will tell you that dropping the level of energy reaching the Earth’s surface will not result in cooling. How much is the question, and if one looks at the well documented scientific observations from the last minimum, temperatures were not level or warner, they were colder.

        Now maybe there’s some solid-phase-methane-ice-melt-release or oceanic-dieoff-CO2-release mechanism that would buffer that energy loss by adding some greenhouse effect (no faith in the CO2 thing – I just don’t think CO2 is that effective of a greenhouse effect generator), but I have not seen anything on any good mechanism for something like that, so I think it’s down to less energy in = colder days ahead.

      1. At the rate things are going, Fallen Angels is also a possibility.

        “Wanted fan in Luna City, wanted fan on Dune and Down,
        Wanted fan at Ophiuchus, wanted fan in Dydee-town.
        All across the sky they want me, am I flattered?
        Yes I am!
        If I could just reach orbit, then I’d be a wanted fan.”

      2. You’d get part of TLC. But you don’t have the *really* problematic parts – i.e. a global epidemic, and a particular occupant in the White House. A cold weather downturn is survivable in the US (outside of Alaska, maybe). The problems arise when you’ve got governments in power that are so wedded to the climate change Narrative that they refuse to acknowledge what’s happening even as snow once again falls in Los Angeles.

        In TLC, the risk of starvation was largely due to a lot of farmers being dead (from the epidemic), and the Federal Government kicking many of the rest of them off their farms.

  13. unpossible! it has never been warmer than it is now!

    (yes, i have been actually told this)

    Never been higher CO2 either!

    (told that, too)

      1. You’re going to die.
        They’re going to stick you in a box, stuff you in the ground, and throw dirt in your face.
        Then everyone will go back to the church and eat potato salad and fried chicken.

          1. It’s a good movie to watch if it’s raining outside, there’s nothing on TV, the Internet is down, you’ve read everything in the house at least 5 times, and your spouse is at some club meeting.

              1. Warning duly noted. Fortunately we always have books on the waiting to be read stacks.

                1. I use the Nook app on my Samsung 8″ tablet (older version, it won’t break …) I finally made a special library (0 – TBR, zero forces the library alphabetically to the top of the library list) & added all the books I haven’t read yet. Normally the “most recent” keeps them at the top of the book list, but …

                  So far 46 & counting. Need to stay out of BookBud’s $0.99 & Free stuff. Not to mention the recommendations from here.

                  1. I’m nearsighted, so I do Kindle reader on my smartphone. Sometimes TOO easy to get another book to read…

          2. {spoiler}

            The big climax involved the U. S. S. *Missouri,* at flank speed, dropping an anchor to play Snap-the-Whip, thus lining up its sixteen-inchers for a snapshot at an alien, ah, ship at a range of less than 500 yards.

            What do you think?

            1. Really? I am neither a structural engineer or a physicist, and still … Oh! my aching head.

            2. That climactic “Battleship” fight was the Navy version of

              “Hey, all y’all! Hold my Grog and watch -this-!”

            3. What? You don’t think the anchor wouldn’t instantly go from the side of the ship to the bottom? You don’t think an anchor dropped at flank speed would instantly grab and not be dragged? You don’t think that the momentum of a ship that big going that fast wouldn’t snap an anchor chain or yank the capstan right out of the deck? How could you possibly think a ship that old wouldn’t withstand the lateral stresses of such a maneuver and snap the hull in half? How could you possibly doubt all that?

  14. Also, first of the month. If your automatic payments aren’t set up and working, donate to Hoyt.

  15. As a scientist, even though it’s not my field, I am eagerly watching one of the major solar mysteries getting observed and measured by modern instruments. Or not. But what I like about everything I’m hearing is that there’s no-one so wedded to their theories that they’ll deny reality.

    1. Well, I can’t speak for others. But no. I’m watching, observing the various aspects of things. I’m growing more and more concerned about what I’m seeing, but while I have some tentative conclusions I’ve reached, they are just that — tentative. Whatever coupling mechanisms exist are still too much a black box. Watch, wait, and be ready to move whatever direction is required to get by. That would be my advice.

  16. I’ve lived in the Washington exurbs for 45 years. In that time, I’ve seen two distinct climate changes. And I really, really hate this cold period. Damn it, I LIKE convertibles!

    1. Details on the climate: Prior to 1979, we got very little snow. About 6 inches total for a winter. And winter was January and February, maybe the first week of March. You were in a light jacket before April.

      Starting in 1979, we got major snowfalls. The President’s Day Blizzard dumped two YEARS of snow in a single storm in 1979. However, the overall climate of hard winter being January and February continued.

      Starting around 2007, winter got colder…and MUCH longer. Temperatures that averaged in the 40s dropped into the low 30s. And you were in winter coats until mid-April.

      So I believe the numbers. I don’t have to like them.

  17. I note at this time that the Cacophonous Fornication blog has an extensive critique (!) of Stephanie’s post. A really stupid one.

    The floppy camel can’t even manage a cocktail napkin comparison of increased solar capture by CO2 vs. decreased insolation. The flopster claims that even if the light is dimming, it is still getting warmer.

    Now as much as I think El Floppo truly has the brain of a camel, and that he’s certainly wrong… I hope he’s right. Because the part of the world where I live was buried under a mile of ice once upon a time, and I’d hate for it to happen again.

    Come on global warming! Jazz that temperature!

      1. If he really is Meadows, he sounds more than stupid enough to screw up the day job also.

      2. Its funny, actually. floppy goes to all the trouble of matching temp data to sunspot data, and notes that they match up fairly well, like Stephanie mentioned above. Shock, surprise.

        But then the curves diverge around 1920, the familiar hockey stick shape. We’ve heard plenty of evidence about “adjustment” shenanigans and the relocation of NOAA thermometers to hotter locations etc. So I look at that and it fairly screams “CHECK DATA!!!”

        But not floppy. He’s maintaining that all those years previously that the curves matched are over, and that since 1920-odd the CO2 in the atmosphere has completely decoupled Earth’s temperature from the solar output. The sun is getting cooler, and the Earth is getting warmer. Because magic!

        Which isn’t even stupid. It’s just bare-faced lying.

        But I hope he’s right, because I want a pecan tree in my yard. Pecan trees are cool. ~:D

        1. And if, somehow, the divergence was real, what happened around 1920 to make historically matching datasets diverge? What, did one of them catch the ‘Spanish’ flu and has yet to recover?

          1. Right? What happened in 1920 to decouple those previously correlated curves?
            Nothing in particular, comes the answer. Therefore magic! But not data jiggering, that’s just silly.

            1. But what if we weren’t so dismissive of the possibility that our lives were ruled by secret mystical forces that could be controlled by human will?

              What major changes in mystical practices would we have seen around then?

              Maybe the state cult of the soviet union. Perhaps, rather than fudged data, it is the harmful occult effects of suffering communists to live.

              Guys, I think it is time we had a national ‘come to Jesus’ conversation about killing socialists.

                1. I tolerate Wicca, not because I agree with it, but because I believe that Wiccan powers are not real as far as I am concerned.

                  This is basically a cultural preference, influenced by centuries of Christian thought.

                  That there will always be a cultural consensus on such assumptions is not a law of physics.

                  Real multiculturalism involves understanding that many assumptions are not universal across all cultures, and that there are real world consequences because of this.

                  I’ve been thinking lately, and it seems possible to have the profession of an Anti-Lawyer. Where a Lawyer is involved in disputes within a framework that is ultimately cultural preference, an Anti-Lawyer looks at the systems from an opposite perspective, and informs people of possible choices and costs. Anti-Lawyering might be a good replacement term for multiculturalism, following the Left’s appropriation of the latter. Or maybe I need to be getting better sleep.

                  1. The Wiccan texts I’ve skimmed ($SISTAUR has self-described as a “witch” fwiw) looked familiar to me. I’d read much the same thing, but as self-hypnosis & autosuggestion & such texts and they had less ‘woo’ to them. I suppose Wicca is more “organic” and less “clinical” or some such. The only text that didn’t do that, to me, was astrological and then (despite claims it was not) it seemed like it was using the Astrologer as a Psychiatrist or such, with the cosmic ‘woo’ cover.

                    The key was one line, “You do not cast a spell to change the world, you do it to change yourself.” Now, could you replace ‘cast a spell’ with ‘pray’ and not have any truly fundamental differences in the claim? I suspect so.

            2. Prohibition and women’s suffrage both became the law of the land in the U.S. in 1920. Both sure signs of the apocalypse.

          2. He’s so stupid — SERIOUSLY — and historically ignorant that he thinks 1920 was the height of the industrial revolution.
            It was, some places in the world, mind. Maybe Australia, who knows?
            BUT in fact, by that time, the machines and the stuff we burned to heat and cook on was not nearly as polluting as in the previous century. And it’s been getting cleaner ever since.
            Takes invincible ignorance to ASSUME otherwise and never check.

            1. Ouch. I’ve met some who were there in 1920 and am sure they’d have something to say about that. Grandpa, for one, would’ve put it (at least if kids were around) that, “He’s full of prunes!”

        1. I’m not curious about the Standard Model. My interest in pushing the boundaries of theoretical physics is pretty much nil.

          I have a non zero interest in whether computational fluid dynamics code could be written to use octonion numbers to do fluids and EM modeling. If so, how would the results compare to more conventional approaches. I would guess that the conventional approaches aren’t using octonion numbers.

          I know just enough to know that I’m a very long way from being able to answer that question, and my guess is that there are not a lot of people who are very close.

          1. I was able to follow along the Cartesian example, and I could see where he was going with the 3D rotation. That was the quaternions though. The octonions, not so much. It seems like one of those things that you spend your adult life trying to figure out, and then later generations find it easy and boring in calculus class.

            1. If we find out something useful with octonions, and if we ever get the US education system unfucked, it seems likely that octonion stuff might be in a more formalized sequence of math used as the introduction to graduate school. To me, at the moment.

          2. Per Phantom’s blog, a guy named Lubos Motl makes a pretty convincing argument that Wired and Quanta have simply publicized crackpottery. (I’ve omitted a diacritical mark from his first name.)

            So it looks like there are more people who would be able to answer the question than I had assumed.

        2. To be honest, that’s one field I haven’t been keeping up with as much, especially given the whole business with my mom’s strokes, never mind producing 5+ books per year. I’m running outta spoons.
          In other words, I’ll have to check with my friend the high-energy physicist, if you really want a serious answer. (Dem’s the advantages of having friends in a buncha different STEM fields. I don’t gotta know everything my own self.)

          1. A passing interest only. No need to inquire.

            I’ve been hand-waving away problems with FTL communication using entanglement, which had me wondering if entanglement is really two particles touching in a higher dimension we don’t have access to. I’d heard String Theory was bandying about 28 dimensions, Octonions take it up to 8^2, 64? Maybe 68? Because there’s “extra” ones. So there would be plenty to play with.

            I’m not conversant at this level, but there is always a need for new, exciting and weird things in books. Square root of minus one always looks cool to people like me who took the “Physics for medical students” courses with no calculus. It would be cool if this number structure explained entanglement, is all I’m saying.

            1. Oh, that. Well, see, string theory busted off in like 5 different directions, any one of which explained SOME observations, but no one of which explained ALL observations. Which is why some guys tried to “unify” them and developed M theory. Minimum 11 dimensions, possibly as many as 40 or more, most of which get compacted into manifolds.

      1. Well, at no time did I ever state that the LIGHT was getting dimmer. It’s not. But not all of the energy we derive from the Sun comes in the form of photons, either.

        1. Also this thing called “Total Solar Irradiance” isn’t. It leaves off the highest energy part of the spectrum that doesn’t reach very deep into the atmosphere. Which is also the part of the solar emmissions that changes the most.

    1. Re: Your blog. I’d heard of quaternions, I think. I think what I’ve heard of are spelled differently, so it may be something entirely different. What I’ve heard of has some application in mechanics I’m not sure I’ve ever fully understood.

      Octonions have me wondering if there is some way to calculate Navier-Stokes using them or quarternions. The context I mention them in has me wondering about studying the gas magnetic problem of the dynamo models with such.

      So I obviously need to catch up on my sleep. And maybe do some other things.

      1. I was just talking about this to my tame engineer. i is a complex number,
        i X i =-1. So the quaternions are i j k l, and using them you can rotate objects in 2D and 3D. That’s what one of the videos is about.They bother with this because it is computationally cheap for a computer. There’s less steps and less data storage. I’m told there’s similar math for using complex numbers in AC circuits to calculate voltages and etc. Phasors, apparently. Polar coordinates. Very math-ish. (Which is different than phazers on stun.)

        Its a pity I suck at math, the underpinnings are fascinating.

        1. Those are the ones, I think.

          You can also use them for mechanical periodic things, I think maybe.

          1. yeah, they use it to determine the orientation of your cell phone using the xyz sensor and accelerometers etc. At a guess they probably use it in robotics, to control the positioning of robotic arms, body position of the robot in pitch/yaw/roll, and what have you.

            Amazing trick to have handy for writing software.

        2. Yes, AC (which includes radio frequencies) computation does get easier/possible with complex numbers. It is a bit jarring at first (“Whaddaymean stuff in Reality has an Imaginary component?!?”) and can seem a bit too close to ‘magic’ and feels complex. Then one encounters thermodynamics and varying Q steam and suddenly AC is so very simple by comparison.

          1. That’s what Tame Engineer said. He has exams this week, he’s seeing i in his dreams. It looks a little funny.

          2. It gets much more fun when you hit RF. I spent most of my career working with low frequencies, but when I got dot-com-bombed out of my job, the new gig was developing calibration software for an RF tester.

            It’s not so much working with phasors, but you have to go up a dimension and go to tensors. OTOH, it was ‘S’ parameters that paid the mortgage until the client company got edifice-complexed into bankruptcy. Protip: don’t put up a fancy new headquarters building in a contracting economy.

            1. As if Real and Imaginary components aren’t enough, then you can do Quadrature Modulation and have right angles again… but you knew that.

              And, beyond perhaps less silly uses(?) you can recall the attempt(s) to “Save AM broadcasting” with stereo that almost no receivers could deal with as stereo. I’d only even heard of one, and that in a company car that had every other amenity as ‘Standard’ and a $1,000 stereo AM (and FM, of course) receiver.

              1. In the early 1980s, one of the San Jose country stations broadcast in AM stereo. (There were two competing technologies, so part of the fun was to have a receiver that could switch between the two.)

                Sony had an AM stereo Walkman that I’d use on (wait for it) walks. Lasted a year or two, then it went toes up. The radio station sold the transmitter site to condo developers shortly afterward, and went out of business. The owner made a pile…

                I don’t listen much to AM when I’m going over the Cascades (the local stations are usually 5kW and fade on the other side of the mountains), but in 2014, I found I could get an AM station most places in the western states. There are a few 50kW stations with news and weather, with some fill by local stations in tough places like western Wyoming. There were some really useful road advisories on that trip, along with some really crappy weather. Early May and Nebraska/Wyoming aren’t a good combination if you’re driving.

                Beyond that, I burned 5 CD_ROMs with MP3s. Didn’t quite finish the last CD before I made it back home. The newer Forester takes USB sticks, and there’s enough music to handle roadtrips far longer than I ever plan to drive.

                1. “The newer Forester takes USB sticks, and there’s enough music to handle roadtrips far longer than I ever plan to drive.”

                  The USB input option is great.

                  Technically both rigs can get Sieris (sp?) off of satellites. Each rig came with a free year. Why? Where we go it cuts in/out depending on which side of the mountain or which canyon. Fade in/out get irritating after awhile.

    2. Coprophagous Fissilingual is using our blogs for trolling material? Must be a day of the week.

    3. Buried under a mile of ice? It probably will happen again (note Greenland ice core long-term temperature cycles). Depending on what average period between ice-ages you see in those records, we’re maybe due, or overdue, for another – and by the scale of that record, onset is fairly rapid. Does that mean we, or our descendants (unto however many generations are likely to know our names) are likely to experience it? Not so much.
      It MIGHT be worthwhile to be a little more robust to changes – buy a coat, install a little larger heatpump if you’re upgrading your heating system, insulate pipes better — done.

  18. Let me throw out an important thought, folks. I’ve said it in previous related posts, but 1) that’s been a while back and 2) not all of you may have seen those. The important thought is this: During the Little Ice Age, there were FOUR consecutive, relatively closely-spaced extended solar minima. One of those, the Maunder Minimum, was the deepest solar minimum known, where entire solar cycle periods went by with essentially NO spots. If we do assume the correlation has causation, then to get that kind of weather tends to mean we need more than one extended minimum.

    So the notion that we’re all going into a VERY nastybad situation if we DO enter an extended minimum now, is not necessarily the case. Might it get cold? It might. Might it get colder if we have a big volcanic eruption? Most likely. Might the world ice up and plunge us into another ice age? Not likely. I am NOT preaching gloom and doom, here. (I’m not preaching anything, really. I’m just pointing out some interesting data, wondering about correlations, and considering possible extrapolations.)

    Do. Not. Panic.

    Watch and wait, THINK, and be ready to react appropriately.

    1. Just if we were prepping camps and train schedules to gas the Chinese and Indians, per the theory that doing so is necessary to combat global warming, we might want to hold off and recheck the data.

      Me, I’m interested in knowing what kind of publications have come out on the dynamo models since you last spoke to us. Since then, I’ve learned a bit about how horrible it must be to model gas magnets on that scale and complexity.

    2. Don’t panic? I was hoping for an excuse to buy a new coat. ~:( So disappointing.

    3. Good point. Even if it does go nastybad–it’ll be at least a solar cycle before we start feeling it, and the drop to LIA temps took decades. Just pay attention . . . for a decade or two.

    4. We’re increasing our solar PV capacity, for if/when something (CME, EMP, Winter storms) messes with the grid. We’re good for a while now, with propane and liquid fuels being one limiting factor. Wood could replace the propane if necessary.

    5. Prepare for an extended disaster.
      Doesn’t have to be an ice age.
      It could be just the progressive-socialists screwing up the economy so bad it takes an entire election cycle or two to put someone who knows what they’re doing back in office.

      1. No, you’re understanding it correctly.
        The first column totals all the days in the month that had 0 and 1 sunspots, then divides by the number of days in the month (then multiplies by 100 to get percentage).
        The second column is a subset of the first column: the number of days that had NO sunspots, divided by #days in month, x100.

      2. Actually my point was that I am NOT predicting “an extended disaster.”

        That said, in this day of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (look at Hawaii), tornadoes, wildfires, political unrest, etc., anybody who does NOT have an emergency plan for disaster is foolish. A few years back we wound up in an extended semi-disaster here (tornado superoutbreak of 2011), even though the tornadoes went around us, because the local power plant took a near-miss and all of the above-ground main power lines coming out of it were taken down. So it does behoove one to have plans for such things.

      3. Agreed — and there is a lot of overlap between the preparations you’d need to make to be more robust in the face of various disasters.

      1. …Yell if anybody wants to know the books in order or something. I try to get Amazon and BN to put the series number in there, but they don’t seem to want to do that. Or do it only part of the time.

        1. I happily received the latest of the Division One books this week. (Although it will have to wait until I finish the present book I am reading.)

          The Division One books are in order:

          Alpha & Omega
          A Small Medium At Large
          A Very Unconventional Christmas
          Tour De Force
          Trojan Horse
          Texas Rangers
          Definition and Alignment.

            1. You are welcome. Another in the series is coming in October? I shall make sure that The Spouse knows that I am looking forward to it.

              1. Yes, and another in January. That said, the character arc that runs through the existing books in the series will be coming to an end next spring. I’m looking at additional stories in the series, but at a reduced frequency of release, as well as putting out the associated The Division One Agents’ Handbook (if people seem to be interested) and possibly even a cookbook based on the meals cooked by the agents in the books. (Not sure about that last, but I think it might be fun.)

                1. I understand that to be truly satisfying at some point – and not too prolonged — the main story line had to come to a finish. Will you allow me a moment to mourn? I have become quite attached — Echo, Omega, Romeo, India, Fox and Zebra (as the much of the rest of the department) have become special friends. Hopefully there will be back and side stories to tell.

                  1. Oh, I have a few other ideas for stories in the main story line. But most of these stories were a character arc I developed years ago, but never knew what to do with. I’ve gotten them out, polished ’em, expanded ’em, and made things consistent, and that’s one reason I’ve been able to put them out so fast. I have additional stories I can tell in this universe, but they’ll slow down in being released. It would also help if you’d spread the word to friends who might not be familiar with the series; subsequent books in the series have seen sales drop a bit, and to maintain a decent income, I either need to introduce new people to the series, or start a new series that will pique fans’ interest.

                    I do love writing in this universe, though. I “know” the characters better than you do, because they “tell” me stuff that doesn’t make it into the books. And I like them. So there will probably be the additional book, here and there, after book 10.

    1. That’s not the sort of variability that’s being talked about. Other stars have spots, as well, and those spots come and go in stellar cycles very analogous to the Sun’s.

        1. Given that the Sun does not nor cannot dim “like in an eclipse” from sunspots, but there are other variable star types which can brighten and dim, I assumed you were referring to them, and might perhaps have confused the nature of the variability.

          1. It would take a unique stellar event inside the sun to make it dim to that magnitude yes. This would be unpredictable, although solar cycle patterns can hint at it.

            Current cosmological models have problems with them. Exo planets are detected using Geneva supercomputers and human pattern recognition of various magnitude changes in brightness for stars. The heuristic attempts to detect orbital occlusion. These patterns do not have to be exo planets. The popular science pictures of computer and artist generated footage of these planets are created from the human imagination.

            What this has to do with solar activity is that solar activity analysis rests predominantly upon the cosmological model of the sun as a specific star with a specific material composition and layering. These, like geo science of the mantle and core, are theoretical models that cannot be directly verified. Maybe when NASA stops pocketing 65 million per day, they will bother to try sending a probe to the sun to obtain better data from a different angle than the Earth. 8 miles is about the deepest humanity has drilled. The theoretical models are interpreted and constructed from the indirect data.

            Given how the three body problem is unpredictable and could not be solved by Newton in his created calculus, the sun moon earth system should not be predictable to the point that ancient people could use math to predict it. It is a massive contradiction in observable astronomy vs theoretical models of how the multiverse works, even dark matter/energy cannot resolve the conflict. Newton’s theory of gravity and idea of instantaneous speed was modified by Einstein, but the current cosmological models still use the premises and assumptions of classical physics. A physics that is quickly being contradicted by quantum physics.

            The raw data for sun cycles are important but it is often filtered through the standard cosmological viewpoint. Unique stellar events that would cause the sun to darken thus would not be predictable.

            Yes, certainly volcanic eruptions and other events factor into the situation. But how many correlations does it take before we need to sit up and take notice? Before we seriously start to wonder what is really going on?

            When the Old Guard consensus quo in the peer review community dies out, then the new generation can begin asking and investigating those questions. Usually it takes 20-40 years, as Ohm found out.

            1. Given you seem to be trying to a) sound like you know at least as much as I do about the subject I was trained to study in graduate school and have studied most of my life, b) start an argument, with which I don’t intend to cooperate, let me simply recommend that you actually study the history of the subject, and realize that there are in fact MULTIPLE solar observing platforms, and have been for decades, placed through the solar system, feeding us telemetry about the Sun in VERY many multiple wavelengths, and that the majority of these were constructed by NASA, operated by NASA, continue to be operated by NASA, and even the few that were put up by other countries’ space agencies were largely launched by NASA. In fact, the STEREO platforms have been up so long that they are starting to reach the end of their operational lifetimes, and NASA has been struggling to get the funding to replace them.

              With respect to NASA’s history and budget, I also suggest you actually read this book, which Travis Taylor and I co-authored:

              I also recommend you read up on the actual nature of the dark matter/dark energy controversy.

              The problem is NOT the “old guard” in the astronomical community. When certain NON-astronomical researchers approach the Royal Astronomical Society and ask that the double-dynamo model be suppressed, the paper not granted a presentation, I submit that the problems are NOT in the astronomical community. Especially given the RAS refused the external petition.

            2. And exoplanet detection doesn’t require supercomputers in Geneva. in fact, very little requires supercomputers anymore. In t fact, they are looking at moving the processing for exoplanet detection onto GPUs

  19. Stephanie Osborn-
    Sorry about coming into this conversation a couple of days late-
    I was trying to follow your tables showing the month and in column 3 % days of 0-1 sunspot/sunspot group vs. column 4 days with no sunspots.
    I noticed that in the 2018 table, there are three months that show in column 3 100% of the days with 0-1 sunspots and in column 4 some % of days greater than zero with no sunspots.
    At first I thought this didn’t work out since the days/month is fixed, how can you sum the percentages to >100%? As I was writing this up, I might have figured out that _of_ the % of days 0-1 sunspots in column 3, the number in column 4 could be what fraction of the number in column 3 was zero. If I’m making total hash of data, I’d like help understanding please.


    1. No, you’re understanding it correctly.
      The first column totals all the days in the month that had 0 and 1 sunspots, then divides by the number of days in the month (then multiplies by 100 to get percentage).
      The second column is a subset of the first column: the number of days that had NO sunspots, divided by #days in month, x100

  20. The post did not connect the final dots. Several years ago CERN used the Large Hadron Collider to create simulated cosmic rays that they shot up into the atmosphere. Sure enough it produced clouds. So…. more cosmic rays = more clouds = less solar radiation heating of the earth (due to a higher albedo) = global cooling. Humanity suffered greatly the last few times this happened. Plan accordingly.

    1. The post was not intended to connect dots, it was intended to provide an update on solar activity. Any dot connecting has been done in earlier articles which set the foundation for this update.

      It has been known for years that cosmic rays tend to induce nucleation leading to cloud formation; it is the use of cloud chambers to detect subatomic particles — which device has been used for years for this purpose. The LHC at CERN does have an experiment dubbed CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) but it does not “shoot…up into the amtosphere” but into a specialized cloud chamber.

      As for what comes of it, we are still uncertain as to the coupling mechanisms, so it is difficult to say what the end result will be. That said, I would like to point out AGAIN that the “Little Ice Age” period contained not just one, but no less than FOUR extended solar minima, in addition to several very large volcanic eruptions, including the Tambora and Samalas supereruptions. The latter of these just preceded the Wolf Minimum, the first of the extended minima found in the LIA timeframe. It is entirely possible that it took the one-two punch of a supervolcanic eruption and an extended minimum to initiate the events. We do not yet know.

      We have not had a supervolcano eruption and there is no indication currently that one may be forthcoming in the timeframe required to coincide with what looks to be an imminent extended minimum. Inciting fear at this point is, in my humble opinion, not a responsible stand. Alertness is called for, certainly. But let us not panic.

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