An Interesting Coincidence? (Updated 11-08-12)

Russ Steele

While we are watching the damage in New York City,  one has to wonder if it has happened before? There was a 13.88 storm tide from the current hurricane. In the Great Hurricane of 1821 it was a 11.2 foot wall of water.  The difference this time is that the surge came at high tide with a full moon while in 1821, amazingly the surge came at low tide.

The 1821 Hurricane was one of four recorded tropical cyclones that have made landfall in New York City. One was the1893 hurricane, another Irene and then Sandy in 2012. Technically these storms touched land first elsewhere before battering New York, but the Big Apple was swamped by the storm surge.

Ironically the 1821 hurricane was the last of 4 such recorded storms to target NYC from 1815 to 1821 during the Dalton solar minimum, a period not unlike the current period when Irene and Sandy hit in successive years.

We live in a chaotic world driven by chaotic cycles. Sometimes we have an opportunity to observe one of these cycles and wonder, are they related.

Update (09:25) I was reading A Meteorological Account of the Weather in Philadelphia, from January 1, 1790 to January 1, 1847 . . . last night and I discovered that following the hurricane  on the 24th of November there were several days of rain and a few flakes of snow at the end of the month. And, it rained and snowed in Philadelphia several days after the 2012 hurricane at the end of October.  An interesting bit of trivia.  I hope to make better use of the Weather in Philadelphia book in future posts.


Winter is Arriving Early Around the World

Russ Steele

Robert at Ice Age Now has been tracking weather event around the globe, with reports by his readers.  Here are some of his headlines:

This is only weather, but it may be an early indicators of what is to come in future years?

What is happening in your neighborhood?  Early signs of winter?

Something is Happening On the Sun

Russ Steele

Leif Svalgaard a well known solar scientist is giving a presentation in Oslo on Monday titled Solar Activity Past Present and Future. The whole presentation is rather detailed and at times complex, but I found slide 34 very interesting, as Leif mentions the potential for a Maunder like Grand Minimum in the Sun’s future. Slide 34 is below, with his comentary below the graphic.

And something is happening with the Sun. The F10.7 flux has from the beginning of the data [in 1947] had a firm and consistent relationship with the sunspot number, so that one could use one as a proxy for the other [we used that in Slide 22]. Using that relationship we can calculate what sunspot number to expect for a given F10.7 flux and compare it with observations. The ratio between the observed and the synthetic sunspot numbers should scatter a bit around unity, as it does nicely up to about 1990. From then on, the observed SSN falls progressively below the expected values. This using both the SIDC and the SWPC [NOAA] numbers [upper left panel].

Mount Wilson Observatory calculates for each day the fraction [called the Magnetic Plage Strength Index, MPSI] of the solar disk covered with magnetic fields outside of spots [so called ‘plages’]. That fraction has a strong solar cycle variation; on average the SSN is a function MPSI: SSN = 55 MPSI. As for F10.7, we can calculate the expected SSN for a given MPSI and form the ratio between the observed and the calculated numbers [lower panel, left].

That fraction has been falling significantly during the same time when the SSN and F10.7 deviated from each other.Ever since Wolf, there has been on average about 10 spots per sunspot group. This is the reason for the 10 appearing in the sunspot number formula SSN = 10*Groups + Spots. Over the past couple of cycles the number of spots per group has dropped by about a third, so groups are losing the smaller spots.

Livingston & Penn have observed the magnetic field at the darkest point in every sunspot [within their observing time window] and find that the average field has decreased by 20% over the same time as the other effects we have been describing. The ‘bottom’ of the distribution seems to be cut off at 1500 Gauss, below which sunspots do not seem to form.

All of these effects are unprecedented in the observational data and tells us that the Sun is changing in ways not seen before. Or have we seen this before? During the Maunder Minimum cosmic rays were still modulated, the spicule ‘forest’ in the chromosphere was still observed, so there were healthy magnetic fields, yet few spots were visible. Perhaps they just didn’t form as they used to, being an extreme example of the trends we are seen now…

The full presentation can be found HERE.

The Growing Season Comes to an End

Russ Steele

Joe Bastardi tweets:

Core of cold deep into the central plains ending growing season into areas where normal lows still in 50s.

And the cold slips down the east side of the Rocky Mountains.

Missoula, which tied the record for its longest dry spell ever on Monday, hit 22 degrees Friday morning, matching the record that was set back in 1981. By comparison, the normal temperature in Missoula for Oct. 5 is 35 degrees.

Other very cold temperatures across the state included a chilly 14 degrees at Olney north of Kalispell, matched by 14 degrees at St. Mary on the east side of Glacier National Park. Glacier International recorded 19 degrees, just two above the record low of 17.

Temperatures in the Big Hole also dropped into the teens, but the “freezer award” goes to West Yellowstone, where it was just 5 degrees at the park gate.

This is just weather, but if we see these changes year after year it become climate.

Iceland Research — 8,000 Years Of Natural, Extreme Global Cooling & Warming

Russ Steele

Research out of Hvítárvatn, Iceland confirms that over the past 8,000 years, there have been five extreme, natural climate phases: the Roman warming, the Dark Ages cooling, the Medieval warming, the Little Ice Age and the current warming.

The analyzed evidence indicates that the Little Ice Age (LIA) was the coldest period over the last 8,000 years. Since the LIA was the coldest, it would not be unusual for the natural climate rebound to exhibit significant warming, which the Modern Warming period has.

“…the Holocene has experienced alternating multi-century periods of relative cold and warmth, the most recent and repeatable of which sequences is composed of the pre-DACP period (which is typically referred to as the Roman Warm Period), which was followed by the DACP, which was followed by the MWP, which was followed by the LIA, which was followed by the Current Warm Period or CWP…the LIA was the coldest period of the last 8 thousand years, which suggests that starting from such an unprecedented low temperature, it is only natural that the warming that produced the CWP should have been one of the most significant warmings of the current interglacial…it would have been an aberration of natural history if the warming of the past century or so had not occurred as it has…”

More details HERE.

It looks like Mother Nature’s cycles are in control of our climate.