Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunspots and Global Warming

Sunspots and Global Warming
Andre Willers
8 Jan 2008

StagHeating .
The evidence strongly suggests that sunspot activity is decreasing at close to the rate of global warming due to CO2 . See articles below . (Wikipedia one)

What does this mean ?
Insolation (sunlight reaching Earth) decreases with the decrease in sunspots . Thus the minimum of sunspot cycle 23 (June 2006) means a lower insolation . This is an immediate effect . The weather is like winter but warmer .
But energy retention increases due to more CO2 . This is the Global Warming Effect . It is slower .

Example : The Effect on the Southern hemisphere in South Africa .
The summer westerly’s of 2007 are not pushed down as far as normal , but there is still an abnormal amount of energy (hence moisture) closer to the equator . The effect is more moisture than normal being underswept by westerly cold fronts moving much further north than usual during summer .

Heating and cooling at the same time , but in different places .The system is stagnant , but heating up . Hence StagHeating . The increase in energy-differential means more violent weather .

Why are the number of sunspots decreasing with increasing Earth temperature ?
(See previous discussions in http://andreswhy.blogspot.com)
Briefly , sunspots are feedback magnetic structures looping out above the corona . As such , the are extremely sensitive to disturbances from magnetic fields of the planets . Jupiter’s effect is noted below , but Earth’s magnetic field can have an even larger effect .

But we are more concerned with fluctuations . Taken that the solar magnetic feedback system known as a sunspot is extremely sensitive (since a large part of the feedback loop occurs outside the sun proper) , even minor perturbations in the magnetic field of Earth can upset sunspot formation . (Plasmas are notoriously hard to corral.) .

So , extra heating of Earth will cause fluctuations in its magnetic field (via Hadley cells in thunderstorms , ionosphere , etc) . This will disrupt sunspot formation until a new solar equilibrium is formed . This will mean a new insolation . etc . A slow oscillation will form .

This effect might seem minuscule , but remember we are talking about feedback loops outside the sun . Small perturbations can have big , non-linear consequences .

Another way in which Gaia regulates temperature .

The rapid heating of Earth 1000 to 1300 AD due to agriculture thus caused the Maunder Minimum , and hence the Little Ice Age . The same is happening now , but there is a lag between the driver effect on Earth and the sunspot activity . Hence the close lagging correlation . We are heading for a Maunder Minimum .

Take three planets like Venus , Earth and Mars . If life on them can influence Solar behaviour , they will force optimization of solar behaviour . Only one can win then .
Your favourite Gaia !

The Magnetic Habitability Band .
Any stellar system will also have a very broad magnetic habitability band . If there is a planet or double planet in the center of the band , that is where life will be . The stellar-planetary coupling will inhibit life outside it .

Interventions :
This is absurdly easy .
Even a tunable EM Array from Earth’s surface coupled with a supercomputer now used for nuclear weapon simulations should be able to :
1. Suppress sunspots . Halt global warming for a while .
2. Sunspot laser : zap your neighbour for fun or profit .
3. Solar sails
4. Seti signaling (typically human : champagne tastes and beer income . A typeII civilization can be emulated . )
5. Terraform Luna or Terra .
6. Terraform Mars or Venus .
7. Move asteroids into close Earth orbits .
8. Hell , move Venus to one of Earth-Moon Lagrange points using its extra CO2 as reaction mass and solar lasers as energy . If you do it right , you end up with new habitable planet .
9. If you do it even better , the CO2 from Venus can be streamed to be captured by Mars . This can be used to terraform it in-situ or as reaction mass to move it to another Lagrange point around Earth .
10. Ditto for the moons of the gas giants . Make a Klemperer Rosette .

Maunder Minimum .
There might be a teensy little problem in restarting the extra-solar fires in our favourite sun . There are nearly an infinite number of ways for a sensitive feedback structure like a sunspot to go wrong , and only a few for it to go right . This is how feeble planetary magnetic fields can have an influence .

Thus , we can say that Sol is heading for a Maunder Minimum because of the rapidly changing magnetic fields of Earth are disrupting the extrasolar fusion processes in the magnetic bands on top of the sunspots . These give that 1-2 % extra insolation , but they can also quickly change . None of this waiting for millions of years while a photon struggles from the center of the sun . We want it , and we want it now!

I do not know what a Sun will do with a prolonged period without sunspots , but I suspect it is nothing nice . Massive chaotic outbursts spring to mind . Cepheid variables ?

A healthy star needs life around it . Quite literally .

Analysis of stellar spectra should show healthy stars with a high probability of life around them . Look for a high variability in sunspots .

Some actual data :
Vukcevic Data Fitting Equation .
Interesting datafitting . To be read with theory below and above .
From New Scientist:
'Maverick' sunspot heralds new solar cycle
· 19:30 07 January 2008
· NewScientist.com news service
· Maggie McKee
A new 11-year solar cycle has officially begun, now that a sunspot has been found with a magnetic field pointing in the opposite direction from those in the previous cycle. But researchers are still divided over how active – and potentially damaging to Earth's satellites and power grids – the new cycle will be.
Sunspots are relatively cool regions where magnetic fields from within the Sun have risen up and broken through its surface. They vary in number – going from a minimum to a maximum and back to a minimum again – about every 11 years, the same timescale on which the Sun's magnetic poles reverse direction.
But predicting when the cycles will begin and end and how many sunspots they will produce is a tricky business, says David Hathaway of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, US. For example, he had predicted that the new sunspot cycle, cycle 24, would be quite active. Since active cycles usually start earlier than average, he expected the cycle's first sunspot to appear a year ago – but it was only observed on Friday, 4 January.
"I'm happy to see this spot," he told New Scientist late on Friday. "For more than the last year, I come in every morning and look at the pictures from SOHO [the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite] and say, 'No, not yet.' And today, someone beat me into work and said, 'Go take a look – I think there's a spot."
The spot – along with a couple of previous magnetic hints that cycle 24 was underway – suggests the Sun is at or near solar minimum, a time when sunspots in the new cycle outnumber the old.
Just when solar max will occur is up for debate, with some research teams predicting 2011 and others 2012. "The bigger the cycle, the shorter the time it takes to get there," says Hathaway. "A number of us believe it's going to be a big cycle and hence it will peak earlier."
Conveyor belt
The differing predictions come down to how quickly magnetic fields are shuffled around within the Sun, he says.
A model by Mausumi Dikpati of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, US, and colleagues suggests that the magnetic field remnants of sunspots ride a conveyor-belt like flow of plasma through the Sun.
The flow takes them from the sunspots' appearance at low latitudes to the poles, then drags them to a depth of 200,000 kilometres, where they get stretched out and strengthened before resurfacing at low latitudes. "Once they get strong enough, they rise like balloons or bubbles and where they pop to the surface, they [can] make sunspots," says Hathaway.
"Her model explains a lot of things well," he adds. "In particular, why the sunspot cycle is 11 years as opposed to 7 or 20. In her model, it comes down to how fast that conveyor belt is moving."
Bubbling motions
Because the belt takes so long to move magnetic fields through the Sun, the magnetic fields near the poles at any given time should not be used as an indicator for the following cycle's strength, according to the model. Instead, they feed into the cycle after that. The remnants of sunspots in cycle 23, for example, appear relatively weak at the poles, suggesting that sunspot cycle 25 should be wimpy.
The model predicts that the new cycle, 24, should be quite active, however, generating about 150 sunspots per day near solar max (see Bumper sunspot crop forecast for next solar cycle).
In alternative models, the conveyor belt is not so important for moving magnetic fields through the Sun. In those models, the fields diffuse downwards quickly, "shuffled down by bubbling motions within the Sun", says Hathaway. Those models predict the magnetic fields at the poles should affect the strength of the sunspot cycle that immediately follows. That suggests that the new cycle should be unimpressive, producing just 75 sunspots per day near solar max.
"This cycle will tell us a lot," says Hathaway. "It should discriminate between these models and may even tell us that neither one is right, which would make it even more interesting."
Solar storms
If the new sunspot cycle does turn out to be strong, that could mean trouble for satellites and electrical grids, since they can be disrupted by solar eruptions, called coronal mass ejections, that often accompany sunspots.
But Hathaway says solar observatories such as Japan's Hinode satellite are helping to give scientists a 'heads up' for potentially dangerous solar storms, so that satellite instruments that may be sensitive to blasts of radiation and charged particles can be switched off ahead of time.
"We're far along enough now that we can basically see the signs there's going to be a coronal mass ejection," he says. "It's still a little like predicting tornadoes – a weatherman can look at Doppler radar and winds within a cloud and say it's apt to produce a tornado. But [whether it will produce one] here, at this time – they still can't do that."
He says tracking the number of sunspots that appear from now until mid-2009 should settle the question of when solar max will occur – the sunspot number ought to rise quickly if it's an active cycle.

The following is from from Wikipedia
However, the surrounding areas are brighter and the overall effect is that more sunspots means a brighter sun. The variation caused by the sunspot cycle to solar output is relatively small, of the order of 0.1% of the solar constant (a peak-to-trough range of 1.3 W m-2 compared to 1366 W m-2 for the average solar constant)[3][4]. This range is slightly smaller than the change in radiative forcing caused by the increase in atmospheric CO2 since the 18th century[5]. During the Maunder Minimum in the 17th Century there were hardly any sunspots at all. This coincides with a period of cooling known as the Little Ice Age. It has been speculated that there may be a resonant gravitational link between a photospheric tidal force from the planets, the dominant component by summing gravitational tidal force (75%) being Jupiter's with an 11 year cycle[6].
Jupiter's influence
· 20 March 2004 New Scientist
While the work of Mausumi Dikpati suggests that meridional flows in the sun's convective layer may allow us to forecast sunspot activity (6 March, p 38), other forces may also be at work. In particular, the giant planets in the solar system may play a role through the gravitational pull they exert on the massive amount of fluid flowing in the outer layer of the sun.
Curiously, this gravitational force can be expressed as a Fourier series whose most important terms have interesting periodicities: one of these coincides with the 11-year cycle of the sunspots. What we may be seeing, therefore, is the direct influence of planetary tidal forces and their effects on the stability of the magnetic loops created in the meridional flows in the sun's convective layer. These forces could be a major factor in the cycle of magnetic loops believed to create the sunspots.
Jupiter is the largest contributor to the solar plasma tides. It may eventually transpire that its influence contributes to our climate.
From issue 2439 of New Scientist magazine, 20 March 2004, page 32

No comments: