Category: One Fact
Steve Campbell November 2015 – Updated: December 14, 2019
Sunspots have been studied for over 400 years by such notable scientists as Galileo. Many earlier observers had noticed that the sun was occasionally marked with darker spots. But, Galileo spread the word about sunspots and many of his contemporaries subsequently took up regular observations of same.
Observation of Sunspots
Right here is where I will repeat a warning that you may have heard a hundred times before: Do not look directly at the Sun and especially DO NOT look at the Sun in a telescope. The only exception to that last part is where a Qualified Astronomer is using a proper solar filter or is projecting an image from a telescope onto a screen.
That Galileo made use of a telescope around this time was strictly coincidental. Observations of the Sun were done during sunrise and again at sunset when it is possible to notice large sunspots with minimum damage to the eye. The sunlight passes obliquely through the atmosphere and is very much attenuated.
An image of the sun can be projected by a “camera obscura” which is essentially a darkened room with a tiny opening – literally, a “pin hole”- through which the sunlight enters. For reasons we won’t go into here, a pin hole acts like a lens and focuses light. By careful placement of a screen of cloth or paper, a focused image appears, large and bright enough to sketch. The astronomer Johannes Kepler was known to have used this system to view the sun. In an interesting side note, Kepler thought he was seeing the planet Mercury passing between the Earth and the Sun, instead of a spot on the sun itself. Had he checked on the following day, he would have seen the same spot and because he knew that a Mercury transit would not last a day, he would have seen his error.
The method of projecting an image from a telescope onto a screen was developed by a protégé of Galileo named Benedetto Castelli.
“It was Castelli who developed the method of projecting the Sun’s image through the telescope, a technique that made it possible to study the Sun in detail even when it was high in the sky”. (1)
The following quote explains a bit about the “Sunspot Number” which was established as the metric of sunspot activity.
“Continuous daily observations were started at the Zurich Observatory in 1849 and earlier observations have been used to extend the records back to 1610. The sunspot number is calculated by first counting the number of sunspot groups and then the number of individual sunspots.” (2)
I would be remiss if I did not include actual images of sunspots with this discussion. Figure A shows a recent image of the sun taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). This is a NASA space probe that orbits between the Sun and the Earth constantly monitoring the Earth-facing side of the Sun.
By the method described (Count the groups and multiply by ten then add the number of individual spots), I would estimate the sunspot number to be between 35 and 45. Don’t quote me. I know there are limits to how small individual spots can be and still be counted, but I don’t know what those rules are.
Figure B shows an image of the Sun during the Cycle 23 Maximum.
I am not sure of the origin of this image, it may not be from the SOHO probe, but in any case, it illustrates the difference between high and low sunspot counts. Again, I don’t do this for a living, but I would guess the count here to be well over 100.
Update Oct 2019:
Update 10/06/2019: Spotless Days plot:
THe following graph requires some explanation. For the complete version, go to the SILSO Spotless Days Page
For the mercifully short version read my explanation, below the graph.
The solar cycle, in all its years of observed activity, has had (arguably) two types of cycles. Those with large peaks and short minimums between – and those with small peaks and long minimums between. The graph above segregates the two types as averages (the solid red and blue lines) and plots the number af spotless days accumulated in the current cycle (solid green line). The dotted pale blue and magenta lines are the “standard deviation” plots for the low-peak minimua (cyan) and high-peak minima (magenta). “Standard deviation” is what science nerds say instead of “what is reasonable to expect”. As you see, the current Solar Minimum has just revealed itself to be a big minimum like the other low-peak mimina.
Conclusion: The chart indicates a long current minimum, with more than normal spotless days (even when averaging other spotless deep minima) and probably another low-peak maximum after that.
Summary: Expect colder temperatures for the next decade or three.
Note: NASA predictions are said to be for an extended solar minimum. I am having trouble finding documentation of this (or any other prediction from NASA) – I’ll get back to you. -Steve
The only “official” prediction of Solar Cycle 25 I can find (from NOAA and NASA) forecasts a peak in 2023 to 2026 and a peak value of 95 to 130. That would make it a virtual “twin” of the already low Cycle 24.
Update 12/14/2019 (3)
Below: The latest prediction is a bit more constrained. Your humble narrator predicts that the double peak will again show up. – no doubt with greater separation as indicated by the last 3 cycles. (see figure D)
Figure below shows the accumulated sunspot numbers over the last 400 years of solar observations.
It is ironic that Galileo took an interest in sunspots and popularized such observations just in time for the Maunder Minimum when sunspots gradually became rare phenomena. The Maunder Minimum is associated with the Little Ice Age, when weather was cooler than today. The numbers of that time are yearly averages due to the sparsity of observations. From about 1750 onward monthly averages are plotted – results of sustained, systematic observation. The Maunder Minimum is still a valid conclusion, but the data cannot be said to be “high resolution”. The later Dalton Minimum is much better defined and typically associated historically with “Dickensian Winters”. In recent years, those types of winters are returning to England.
Figure D is a plot of NASA Sunspot Numbers for the two previous and the current sunspot cycles. It clearly shows the declining trend.
Magnetism and the Climate Connection
It is the changing magnetic field of the Sun that drives the existence or absence of sunspots. The Solar magnetic field changes on a long time scale and with different periods of oscillation. The most obvious of these is an eleven-year cycle that dominates in Figures C &D. The magnetic properties actually reverse in polarity in each new cycle, which makes it a twenty-two-year cycle in reality. Periods of high sunspot activity are associated with high magnetic field strength and a dearth of sunspots is an indication of low magnetic intensity.
A plot of terrestrial magnetic field strength in Figure E demonstrates the cyclical nature of the terrestrial magnetic field as influenced by the sunspot cycle. (3)
As indicated by the note in the seventies, periods of lower terrestrial magnetic field strength are associated with colder weather. This effect has been explained by the work of Henrik Svensmark (6) who demonstrated that magnetism effectively blocks cosmic rays. But, when the field strength is low, the increase of cosmic rays makes cloud formation increase and global temperatures drop. Now that the Ap index has dropped to unprecedented lows and the global temperatures have failed to increase as predicted by many, this association would seem to be confirmed.
The fact that ”official” temperatures have not actually dropped may have something to do with the manipulation of those datasets by certain individuals who have reduced the number of weather stations averaged from over 6000 to about 400 and shifted the average latitude of those stations from that of Oklahoma City to that of Hawaii (5). Please note that before they began eliminating stations (circa 1975), the average was indeed, dropping! See figure F.
- An examination of sunspot trends clearly indicates a new Solar Minimum (of Dalton or Maunder proportions) is in the works. A cooler environment is to be expected in the coming decades.
- When climate considerations come into a subject, a thorough search always seems to reveal data manipulation has occurred. All with the same result – a cooler past and a warmer present.
- A major audit of Climate Science seems in order.
That’s right! The hottest year in the U.S. was not “this year” as you may have heard (over and over) for the last 10 or 20 years. The hottest period since 1880 was the 1930’s. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies, at Columbia University decided to “adjust” the historical record so they could talk about “Global Warming”. The graphs below show the U.S. Temperatures Before (left) and After (right) the “adjustment”. I found several such “adjustments” to temperature records in my decades of research. This is just One Fact, but I will no doubt post others. – Steve
Please be aware that these two graphs are allegedly of the same dataset until 1998!
What happened is that somebody decided that all those people looking at thermometers, back over all those years, were wrong. This is not the way “Science” is supposed to work.
Not long ago, one of my Road Trip Interest Group members (you know who you are) asked this question:
“When was the last Ice Age?”
The term “Ice Age” is somewhat ambiguous. Fluctuations in the Earth’s climate are extreme and take place over many periods of time. There have been eras when the Earth was completely devoid of ice. There have been other times when all the Earth’s oceans had completely turned to ice. So, when was the last “Ice Age”?
The most recent time that has been referred to by that name was the “Little Ice Age”(LIA). When exactly that was depends on who you ask. The chart below defines the LIA as being between the years 1400 and 1800 AD. This was a time that saw mountain villages in Europe consumed by glaciers. The “Frost Fairs” on the frozen River Thames in London happened at these times and the story of Hans Brinker, likewise. There is ample evidence of the LIA in art, literature and history. That painting of George Washington un-wisely standing in a rowboat, while his men push big chunks of ice in the Delaware out of the way? LIA, again. Below is a graph of results for last two millenia of proxy derived temperature differences. You see the Little Ice Age as well as what came before.
Timespan: 2000 Years
These are differences in temperatures derived from examination of cylinders of ice drilled out of an ice sheet. Where that zero axis falls depends on how much time is included in the graph. So, these data do not tell us what a thermometer would have said then. But, the historical record tells us that during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) Greenland was occupied by an agricultural civilization where none at that level of technology would be possible in today’s climate. In Alaska there are glaciers that have retreated from the Little Ice Age and uncovered immense tree-stumps still rooted in the ground. There are no such climax forests there today.
They date to about one thousand years ago. So, we know for a fact that the temperatures were warmer then than now. There are some who imagine that this was only the case for the North Atlantic. But, Alaska is not on the Atlantic, is it? And ice cores from Antarctica tell pretty much the same story.
The time before the LIA was much warmer than the climate today. The MWP was, itself just another in a series of warm periods, starting with the Minoan Warm Period and occurring roughly every 1100 years. Below is a graph of oxygen-Isotope proxy temperature anomalies.
Timespan: 11,000 years.
The last “Ice Age” (without the “Little” modifier) is to be seen at the extreme left of the Holocene graph in figure 2. It is more accurately referred to as a “Glaciation” and is a part of a (roughly) one-hundred thousand-year oscillation of extreme cold followed by short periods (10,000 years or less) of warm weather. This cycle is revealed, among other places – in the Vostok and EPICA Ice Core Projects in Antarctica.
Timespan 450,000 years
You see that our current situation is an “Interglacial” age called the Holocene Climate Optimum that comes after the “Ice Age” (Glaciation). The Eemian which came before that Glaciation is another Interglacial in a long series of same, stretching back half a million years – at least. The Holocene appears to be significantly cooler than the previous Interglacials – all of them. (Put that in your “Global Warming” pipe and smoke it! 😉 )
While the future is not yet determined, it looks very much like the Holocene is about over and the next Glaciation is soon to be expected.
But, in all of this, there is still ice at the poles and on mountaintops. The Glaciations seem to be the rule and the “Interglacials”, the exceptions. Could we not say that the entire timespan above was a part of a larger “Grand Ice Age” with only the interglacial times interrupting?
What happens if we widen the time span? Below is a graph of ocean sediment-derived temperatures.
Timespan: Five Million Years.
The fact that those hundred-thousand-year cycles of the previous graph are seen lends credibility to this seafloor sediment “proxy” of temperature. Notice those thousand-century cycles are a recent phenomenon (relatively speaking) and followed a period of 41,000 year cycles. Before that was a much warmer time. There is fossil evidence that those were times when there was little or no ice on Earth at all.
Be warned that they will bring up “Global Warming” even though they can’t point to five-million-year-old Ford Explorers or make any reasonable defense of “Man-made Global Warming”. -Steve
Quote about Antarctica:
“She recalled: “We were high up on glaciated peaks when we found a sedimentary layer packed full of fragile leaves and twigs.”
“These fossils proved to be remains of stunted bushes of beech. At only three to five million years old, they were some of the last plants to have lived on the continent before the deep freeze set in.”
The “deep freeze” referred to is when we live now!
WELCOME TO THE GRAND ICE AGE!
It may surprise you to learn that you have been here all along.
The entire Alarmist Fraud of Global Warming is based on computer models that predict that temperatures will rise catastrophically as Carbon Dioxide emissions from human activities continue. This is absurd on the face of it, because:
- It ignores the fact that human emissions of CO2 are a tiny fraction of natural emissions from volcanoes, forest fires and the decay of dead plants and animals.
- It ignores fluctuations of natural CO2 emissions
- It ignores the natural reaction of plants to increased CO2 (i.e., they grow faster and absorb same).
None of these, however, is the One Fact that we are here to discuss, which is:
The computer models that the Alarmists have come up with have been proven WRONG by REALITY.
As the title states these are 44 computer climate models all predicting warming of more than one degree Centigrade by 2025. The blue and red lines are plots of actual experimental temperature measurements made by satellites and high altitude balloons. Please notice that with the exception of 1998 (an “El Niño” year), every year was measured to be in a flat trend – not a catastrophic increase.
Let me quote Renowned Physicist and Acknowledged Genius Dr. Richard Feynman:
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
Ladies and Gentlemen: The idea that Human activities are causing the world to warm is WRONG.
The National Climate Data Center average global temperature graph below demonstrates a method of Scientific Fraud called “Cherry Picking”. Science is supposed to be about finding the truth. Sadly, in Climate Science, the goal has lately been to get the desired POLITICAL result.
These are differences in temperature from some particular value, but the idea is to show changes over time.
Notice that the average temperatures in the period between 1930 and 1990 – while fluctuating – were, on average, constant. Then suddenly, the temperatures showed an abrupt, disturbing upward trend. These numbers are frequently presented as “proof” of Man-made Global Warming.
At the same time the count of weather stations in the average (the red line) abruptly fell from about 5000 to about 300*. Not only that, but the average latitude of the stations involved went from 30° (about that of our own Houston) to 20° (about that of Veracruz, Mexico). I have chosen these two places because they are both near sea level and on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In any reasonable mind, these are comparable in climate, with only their latitude being different.
So, let us examine the average temperatures from Climatemps.com for Houston and Veracruz in (pick a month) – OK, January:
Average January temperature – Houston, Texas …………50° Fahrenheit (10° C.)
Average January temperature for Veracruz, Mexico.….70° Fahrenheit (21° C)
So, does anyone – ANYONE – out there think that the graph below is a valid indication of Global Temperatures over time?
Let’s see a show of hands. Okay, use that hand to slap some sense into yourself!
*I had another chart where those numbers were 500 and 30 – those axis labels turned out to have had the last zeroes cropped off.
Ninety Percent (90%) of the World’s Glaciers are GROWING
You have undoubtedly read or heard the panicky, desperate, shrill complaints that “the glaciers are melting” and we need to live in caves and eat organic lettuce to save them.
The warnings are false. The panic mongers are lying to you. They like to say that Antarctica’s glaciers are shrinking. They fail to mention that is only the case on the Antarctic Peninsula and some islands. They also fail to mention that there is volcanic activity that might account for that.
The opposite is the case in remainder (a very large remainder) of Antarctica. What you have not heard is that the ice cap there is growing and has been for thousands of years. That ice cap contains and feeds 90% of the world’s glaciers.
This conclusion is based on 16 years of measured observations (not computer models or “projections”). The source is NASA.
Qualified statements, expressed in percentages seem to be a complexity that is beyond the panic mongers. They must have “blanket”, all-or-nothing declarations. So, in that spirit, the truth is this:
“The Glaciers are GROWING!”
- Antarctic Glaciers: https://principia-scientific.org/climate-shock-90-percent-worlds-glaciers-growing/
You might have heard that 97% of scientists agree about Global Warming being Man-made. The actual percentage is 0.3% – Three out of one thousand!
The man who counted 97% (Cook) just – flat-out – made up that number. The text below explains:
Steve Campbell November 2015
The Earth’s Natural History is a rich and complex chronicle of Geology, Astronomy, Chemistry and Biology. These Sciences and others tell us of times of massive volcanism, relentless bombardment from space and frigid periods where almost all the water on the surface of the Earth became frozen out. I want to focus on the most recent era, the time that has nurtured our particular species to the extent that we became able to explore and study the world around us.
It is a little-known fact that we live in a Grand Ice Age, which began about 40 million years ago. Between Grand Ice Ages are times when there is no ice on Earth, except perhaps on artic mountaintops. Those periods last from 50 to 150 million years. The Grand Ice Ages are periods in the Earth’s History when there are actually ice caps at the poles. These ages last for 60 to 200 million years. During those Grand Ice Ages there are short-period fluctuations.
There are cold periods, called “Glaciations” lasting about 80 to 100 thousand years. The last one of those is what is now called “The Ice Age” – as if there were no others. This is when glaciers grew down from the North to cover what is now about the Northern third of the United States. The Great Lakes, along with the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota and the 100,000 of Saskatchewan are artifacts of that era, being scoured basins made by glaciers. The Glaciations are in turn, separated by warm periods (Inter-glacials) that last about 10 thousand years. The last of these warm periods is called the Holocene. And its Climate is referred to as a Climate Optimum.
The Holocene Climate Optimum
For the last 10,300 years the Climate was relatively stable, while there were warm and cool ages, the trend was mostly flat. It is for that reason that it is called the “Climate Optimum”. Now, however temperatures are departing from that trend and taking another direction. If you think you enthusiastically agree with me, please wait until after you read the next paragraph.
The flat trend I am speaking of is one of warm temperatures. With very few exceptions the entire Holocene was warmer than it is today. The departure from that trend of which I speak is a general cooling that began about 3500 years ago and has, with fluctuations, continued to this very day.
And, how do I know this? Well, there was a great scientific endeavor called the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP) that core-drilled the continental ice sheet to produce a sequence of cylindrical chunks of ice that were sampled for oxygen isotope ratios which are dependent on the temperatures when that ice was first deposited as snow. Later, of course the snow was compressed into ice. Those readings indicated a clear record of temperature changes over many millennia. This is what is called a proxy and it is an accurate one. (1)
There were three upward fluctuations that peaked at (roughly) 1000, 2000 and 3300 years ago that today are called the Medieval, Roman and Minoan Warm Periods, respectively. There were two major downward fluctuations, one after the Roman Warm Period and one after the Medieval. The latter is referred to as the Little Ice Age. In all of the 10,300 years of the Holocene there were cold fluctuations but never such an extended cold period as the Little Ice Age. Today we live in another warm fluctuation that is cooler than the Medieval warm period. It is cooler than the Roman Warm period by about another degree Celsius. The Minoan Warm period was warmer yet. Please see figure A.
Figure A: GISP temperature calculations during the entirety of the Holocene, with proxy estimates of atmospheric CO2 concentrations from Antarctica.
The alert reader will notice that the CO2 proxy measurements from Antarctica indicate that the temperatures were declining while the CO2 levels were increasing. This is in direct contradiction to the Global Warming narrative that rising CO2 levels mean constantly rising temperatures.
What Will the Future Bring?
There are clear indications in Solar activity that cold periods like the Little Ice Age are a glimpse of what is to come. It is not clear if the next century or so will be just another Little Ice Age or if this is truly the end of the Holocene and the beginning of a new Glaciation. That a new Glaciation will come is not in question, only its timeframe is.
What is clear is that the Holocene is near an end and that it is not the Global Warming Hell-Hole that we have all been told to expect. Global temperatures have been in a flat trend for 19 years. The Global Warming Alarmists have predicted uniformly rising temperatures from 1985. They have been proven wrong, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And, yet we are bombarded daily by calls to give up our freedom and our personal wealth for the sake of Global Warming. Those who call for such sacrifice are – to say the least – dishonest.