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Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved?

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the hide-and-go-seek dept.

NASA 99

PRB_Ohio writes "The sun is in the middle of a century long solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years. Now, for the first time, solar physicists might understand why. The gist is that there is a 'jet stream' like phenomenon about 7,000km below the surface of the sun. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear. Scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, used a technique called helioseismology to track and analyze the streams."

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Lunix fucked my dad in the butt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367567)

Linux just isn't ready for the sunspot detector yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check sunspots with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Lunix fucked my dad in the butt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367601)

Yeah, but I got your mom!

Puberty (5, Funny)

CosmicRabbit (1505129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367615)

My theory is way simpler. The Sun simply got out of puberty, and obviously acne started to disappear...

Ah, solar puberty . . . (5, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367799)

So those coronal mass ejections we hear about were the Sun exploring . . . mmmnnnn never mind, I won't go there.

Re:Ah, solar puberty . . . (4, Funny)

hezekiah957 (1219288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367817)

Boy, I wish there was a "-1, Disgusting" (or +1) mod.

Re:Ah, solar puberty . . . (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368557)

So those coronal mass ejections we hear about were the Sun exploring . . . mmmnnnn never mind, I won't go there.

Why not? That was starting to get pretty hot!

Get it? Hot? Like the sun or sexually?

Although I guess his description couldn't physically be hot... so this pun just doesn't work and it's just a telling revelation about my odd preferences...

Re:Ah, solar puberty . . . (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28411161)

Get it? Hot? Like the sun or sexually?

Explaining obvious jokes is considered a prime indicator of lameness. For your own good, learn from your mistakes...

Re:Ah, solar puberty . . . (2, Funny)

fluffywuffy (844881) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370405)

So those coronal mass ejections we hear about were the Sun exploring . . .

uranus ?

Re:Ah, solar puberty . . . (1)

Skelde (697341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28383513)

What's so bad about popping zits ?

Re:Puberty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368581)

Acne goes away when you get out of puberty. You could have fooled me.

Nah. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368585)

The mice wanted to recoup the cost of getting Earth built [bbc.co.uk] and were wagering the sunspots at Las Vegas.

Re:Puberty (1)

Cr0vv (1223332) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371481)

The reason the Sunspot's are not appearing is because of a large magnetic planet passing by the sun. At the moment, one of it's poles is facing the sun that is "quieting" the sun's surface.

Re:Puberty (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28461513)

Hey, it's me again. It's been a year and a half(Jan 2008) since you first told me that this planet you speak of would kill us within 6-12 months but we're not dead yet. No astronomers have mentioned its existence so is it invisible as well? You told me that there'd be all sorts of panic about this thing by now but the only person I can find mentioning this BS is you. Care to explain? I'm all ears, and I have a telescope handy so if you want to tell me where I'm supposed to be looking, I'll be happy to prove/disprove your assertion here.

TV comercial in the making (-1, Redundant)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367645)

Here I was thinking the sun was finally was done with puberty or discovered Clearasil... I was way off.

Obligatory.. (4, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367647)

So I guess this is what happens when you cross the streams...

Re:Obligatory.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28369375)

Shit! Late and drunk again. Mod parent up just because he beat me to it. /slinks off to find pony pictures or something/

"century-class solar minimum" (0, Flamebait)

ventmonkey (1578351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367653)

Yet I still global warming deniers claim the earth is only warming due to the 11 year solar cycle. How long can they believe that?

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (2, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368593)

Well, given that the minimum started a few years ago and the earth has been on a cooling trend for the past few years, ending a period of high solar activity in which we were on a warming trend, it would be quite a coincidence that the warming trend happened to end just when the sun had a drastic decrease in solar activity.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (2, Funny)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369197)

The solar cycle is eleven years long isn't it? The solar minimum started in 2001 and will switch in 2012 (probably on December 21). Coincidence, I think not.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (3, Informative)

Hellsbells (231588) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369501)

NASA knows about the 11 year solar cycle, and attributes 2008 being the coolest year since 2000 to this and the La Nina cycle:

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36699 [nasa.gov]

2008 was still the 10th warmest year on record, 2007 the second warmest. Even discounting the varying solar activity, there is still a strong underlying warming trend, and it's a big worry that the temperatures around the poles have increased so much.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28374331)

I'm glad you have so much faith in your great grandfather's thermometer. Seriously, are we supposed to trust the accuracy of measurements from 40 years ago to be entirely accurate (back when global cooling was all the rage)? How about 80 years? 160? To have a meaningful trend, you must have equipment with similar rates and magnitudes of error.

Also, how many of these official measurements are just the daily readings from NOAA / NWS type sites, which are increasingly urbanized? If you take your measurements in a heat trap of tall buildings and asphalt, you'll measure more heat than in the neighboring open countryside.

Of course we need to be vigilant about protecting our environment. Climate change could be a really devastating issue, and I'm glad we're looking into it. Some people just seem a little too sure about it, though.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

Hellsbells (231588) | more than 5 years ago | (#28384953)

We've got so many sources of historical temperature data that even if one source is unreliable, you've got access to so many others.

Every tree, every sedimentary rock, every body of water with sediment at the bottom, every ice formation, has information on the historical temperatures in that region. You've also got many human temperature readings from a variety of sources.

When you have that much data, it's not hard to build up an accurate estimate of the historical temperature.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (4, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369817)

The 11 year cycle is superimposed on another signal, with a lower frequency, whose amplitude is currently increasing. That's the one that smart people are worried about.

The people who look at the 11 year cycle are simply examining the wrong component of a compound waveform and declaring victory. They are wrong.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (2, Interesting)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371261)

You're right. We should be worried !

Look at the signal 100-150 years back. Oh no ! Massive (well ... almost 1.2 degrees) warming.

Lower that amplitude another few thousand years ? Oh no ! The earth is cooling.

Lower that amplitude a few tens of thousands of years ! Oh no ! We're close to the start of a new ice age, temperature is about to drop some 5-15 degrees.

Lower that amplitude a few hundreds of thousands of years ! Hmmm, mildly warming earth ... about 0.1 degree per ten millenia

Lower that amplitude a few million years ! Oh no ! The earth is cooling and has already lost several dozen degrees of heat. It does look like it will warm up a bit in the next, oh, 600000 years or so.

So please tell me, which of these should I be worried about ? To be honest I find the 3rd (about the new ice age that's obviously getting ready to start) the most convincing. But don't let me tell you what to think. Look at the data yourself [blog.com] . No matter which interpretation of the data you accept, on thing is absolutely certain : the IPCC is either beyond stupid, or lying.

The simple truth is the IPCC models predict a monotonically increasing temperature, which tends toward infinite. It not only tends toward infinite, it has quite a steep slope. If their models are correct, life on earth would become impossible before the year 3000 (avg. temperature above 52 degrees celcius would mean the end of life on earth). Worse, if their models are started, not at 1900 but at -10000 they predict life on earth to be impossible today (avg. temperature over 200 degrees celcius).

(note that the fluctuations in the graph are not a phenomena, but merely a result of increasing margins of error as we go further back. Data tends to get smoothed the further back in time you go)

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#28373061)

I agree so much ...it hurts....!
Not only if something like an asteroid was coming to Earth would the world not know about it because the gov. would not want to cause panic...so too about the earth going into a disaster like an ice age in the next year...or say the sun exploding etc...etc..

I for long always thought there was a 3rd axle we did not see or think about in terms of orbit, thereby affecting our climate and atmosphere, much like a coin being put on its side on a coffee table and spun, at some moments you can see 3 differing axles.

I do know we will not be made known if a disaster approaches, therefor, if someone is lying I would think this is the more probable of the 2 options you mention. If you look at the cycle you preceded with though, it is tough to guesstimate seeing as we are minute in the timeline you depict.

Our calculations are most probably wrong, but the overall jist is the same. Another ice age is definitely coming soon (in terms of timeline) but to use we might be extinct before this happens.

If the 3rd axle I declare (and want credit for when everyone realizes what I am talking about) ...
they will see this as a sort of twisting on the current axle thereby making something like Canad be turned on its side so that north is not pure north any longer, but the eastern Canadians have now warmer climates and the western have more brisk winters...

This can be calculated on all continents, coupled with the fact that continents are still changing, reefs expanding and faults collapsing and breaking...this is the earth expanding/changing its form based on the equator having a bigger mass of water to deal with.

Just my 2 cents

Timecube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28406365)

is that you?

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374167)

The simple truth is the IPCC models predict a monotonically increasing temperature, which tends toward infinite.

When someone who is dumber than an ape interprets the models, that is indeed what they get.

However, when a SCIENTIST interprets the models, something much more reliable emerges.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28372809)

What cooling trend?

The last ten years of monthly data (HADCRUT3) show a significant linear trend of +1.9C per century.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 4 years ago | (#28381361)

Not sure how you are coming to that conclusion... using a simple linear fit for the last n months of the most recent HADCRUT3 global data, you end up with the following trends:

144 months = -0.17 deg C / century
132 months = +0.14 deg C / century
120 months = +0.60 deg C / century
108 months = -0.11 deg C / century
96 months = -1.5 deg C / century

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (4, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368613)

Well, unless these [livescience.com] guys [canada.com] are wrong (or lying, paid for by big oil and coal of course!), our carbon emissions are heating Mars and Jupiter...

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (0, Flamebait)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#28368841)

Talking about Mars and Jupiter heating up is besides the point.

On Earth, it doesn't matter if the sun or humanity is the cause.
The solution is the same since the only thing we can change is our own output.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (2, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369075)

No true.

We can take the sulphor filters out of the coal fired power stations and cause more reflection of sunlight in the upper atmosphere.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370265)

Killing all trees with acid rain in the process...

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371695)

Not true.

We can give all the trees umbrellas!

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (5, Insightful)

Hellsbells (231588) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369431)

It seems that our carbon emissions are also cooling Venus and Uranus.

Or it could be that these planets temperatures are changing independently of both the Sun and our carbon emissions?

There's nothing like some cherry picked data to prove a point.

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (2, Insightful)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370185)

So why aren't "these guys" showing us that Mars and Jupiter are cooling, because the GW denier's latest claim is that Earth is in a cooling spell because of the Sunspot minimum?

Re:"century-class solar minimum" (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370283)

Because that wouldn't be as funny. :P

It's sort of refreshing... (4, Interesting)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367731)

... that at least some climate activity isn't and can't be affected by humans.

I'm hoping the missing sunspots has contributed to the extended drought in Australia. "The driest *insert month or time period* on record" is getting tiresome.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28367847)

Sorry, Australia fucked it up themselves. Although, it was probably because one of you guys locked your daughter in the a cellar.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374391)

Heh. "Austria" v. "Australia". I knew trolls had a hard time reading for comprehension.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (5, Funny)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368287)

I heard on the news today that the Australian Weather Service decided to stop calling it a drought because using the word drought implies it will end at some point and they don't see this ending anytime soon.

???Clue??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368301)

Solar minimum refers to both sunspot counts and overall solar energy output. The earth is being hit by the least solar energy in a long time currently.

We are fortunate that the solar cycle is a relatively minor factor in the climate, or we'd be in a serious world of hurt (as in deaths due to famine on the order of a billion) within a decade.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369151)

What everybody fails to mention about Climate, is that 99% of it is caused by the Sun. Earth's spin gets the last 1%, which lets the sun do cooler stuff with wind than it could without it.

We actually have a miniscule affect on climate. The only bad part is it may not take much at all to kill us.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (3, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370551)

What everybody fails to mention about Climate, is that 99% of it is caused by the Sun

That's an interesting way of looking at it.

Of course, you should also consider that Earth's biosphere is essentially a planet sized solar collector. Plants trap the sunlight and store it as high energy compounds. Then animals come along ad turn the plants' trapped energy into more concentrated forms, like fats. Even when the organism dies, the stored energy remains. Eventually, if given long enough it turns into fossil fuels. Six hundred million years of dinosaur blubber gave us our oil reserves. Lord knows how many years of dead trees went to make our coal.

We actually have a miniscule affect on climate

Well, that all depends on what we do, doesn't it? I mean, if we built a giant magnifying glass in space so Earth got five times more solar radiation, that would have an effect. If we launched solar reflectors into orbit so 50% of the sunlight falling on the planet was reflected away, that would have an effect too. Granted, it would be the Sun causing the effect. But it would also be us, yeah?

And to my way of thinking, if we take 600 million years of trapped solar radiation and release most of it over a paltry couple of centuries ... well, I reckon that would have an effect too.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374405)

If the Sun died out, it would have such a huge magnitude more effect on Earth than a big magnifying glass. For that reason, it is tough to argue that the Sun doesn't have more than a 99% effect on our climate.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#28375631)

If the Sun died out, it would have such a huge magnitude more effect on Earth than a big magnifying glass

That rather depends on the size of the magnifying glass. There's not a lot of difference between a lifeless ball of ice and a lifeless cinder. At least not in terms of quality of life.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28376097)

I'm ready [wikipedia.org] for the loss of the sun!

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28382401)

Yeah, but a greenhouse gets 100% of its light from the sun, but if you put up a few shades inside the greenhouse...

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#28375749)

Six hundred million years of dinosaur blubber gave us our oil reserves. Lord knows how many years of dead trees went to make our coal.

both the oil and the coal come mostly from plant matter. Any biomass can turn into oil given the right conditions, and there has always been far more plant biomass than animal biomass.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28380755)

And to my way of thinking, if we take 600 million years of trapped solar radiation and release most of it over a paltry couple of centuries ... well, I reckon that would have an effect too.

That's not really what it's about. The waste heat from our industries isn't heating the Earth significantly; according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] the total world electricity generation is 6.3*10**19 J. The total energy input from the Sun is 1.5*10**22 J. All our industries add up to about half of a percent of the Earth's heat budget. A 31st-century fusion-based economy might run into waste heat problems, but not us.

The problem is infrared opacity of carbon dioxide. Energy comes in from the Sun in the visible spectrum (black-body temperature 5500K or so). It's absorbed by the Earth, which warms up, and re-radiates in the infrared (black-body temperature 300K or so). Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared photons in that frequency range. Of course it re-radiates infrared photons out again soon enough, but when it does so, it doesn't necessarily radiate them up. Result is, the more carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere, the more any given quantum of energy leaving the Earth can expect to hit on a random walk through the atmosphere before escaping into space - and so the longer it takes. But the incoming visible photons aren't delayed at all. Final result, whole system shifts to a higher temperature equilibrium.

Now there are any number of complications. The Earth isn't a black body, it's all sorts of colours, and there are many other mechanisms also in play: some that absorb carbon dioxide, some that release more. So it's hard to put a definite figure on the expected warming. And suppose you do: suppose you say 'We predict average global warming of n Kelvin in the next hundred years'... what effect will that have? Will it dry out forests, which burn to the ground? Or will the jungles expand? Will southern Europe become Sahara North? Will Siberia defrost and become farmland? What about all that methane under the permafrost? How much glacier melt can we expect, and which cities need to be evacuated? Suddenly it's a colossal multivariable nightmare.

You're not all that far off in your thinking, though. Consider the climate when all that carbon was being turned into coal and buried. It was called the Carboniferous Era, and it was a good deal warmer than it is today - until the very end. Funnily enough, once all that carbon dioxide was taken out of the air by plants, which then got buried and turned to coal... the climate cooled quite a lot, and the Permian began with the planet in the grip of a massive ice age.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28387467)

Yes, that is a better way to look at it. Still the sun making the change, since more solar engergy is being retained; but still us causing that change to happen, since we're boosting the CO2 levels.

I never thought of it in terms of thermal equilibrium and black body temperatures before. Seems obvious now you've pointed it out.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28380801)

We actually have a miniscule affect on climate

Well, that all depends on what we do, doesn't it? I mean, if we built a giant magnifying glass in space so Earth got five times more solar radiation, that would have an effect. If we launched
solar reflectors into orbit so 50% of the sunlight falling on the planet was reflected away, that would have an effect too. Granted, it would be the Sun causing the effect. But it would also be us, yeah?

he used the present tense, you irrelevant clod

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371453)

We actually have a minuscule effect on climate, yes.

But our greenhouse gases have effect on how our planet adsorbs and reflects Solar radiation. And Sun, as you've said, is more than 99% of climate.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (0)

cryptolemur (1247988) | more than 4 years ago | (#28372123)

Absolutely! That's why we have climate only during the day, but none when the sun sets... no, wait! Never mind...

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28375101)

This doesn't make any sense. You can't assign a portion without some kind of methodology. I could easily argue that gravity is 99.9% responsible for our climate, because if gravity stopped the planet would disintegrate. Yes, the sun is a critical part of how are environment works. There are thousands of critical things without which we'd all be dead. Each one of them is 100% important.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369497)

"that at least some climate activity isn't and can't be affected by humans"

Been reading Andrew Bolt's fact free opinion columns have we? Nobody who has read the IPCC reports could possibly belive that scientists dispute the existance of natural variations but plenty of politically motivated, anti-science trolls have claimed EVERYTHING can be explained by natural variation. Not the least amoung these lying hypocrites is the coal industry's pet senator Barnaby Joyce [news.com.au] .

Here [bom.gov.au] is what the BOM says about our climate and the permenant drought [bom.gov.au] .

The fact that Melbourne's dams are at their lowest level ever (for how many winter's in a row now?), or the fact that most of our major cities are on severe water rationing and scrambling to build giant de-sal plants, or the fact that our grain harvest has been cut in half for all but 2 of the last 10 yrs, may not bother you, but it certainly bothers farmers and most Aussies with more than a single brain cell.

PS (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369757)

Those natuaral variations include solar flux but not susnspots, the reason being is that there is not a scrap of hard evidence [iop.org] that sunspots affect Earth's climate but there is plenty of evidence they affect book sales [physicsworld.com] .

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28376725)

> but plenty of politically motivated, anti-science trolls have claimed
> EVERYTHING can be explained by natural variation.

One also has to watch out for politically motivated, anti-science trolls who claim EVERYTHING can be solved by massive regulation and control...by them.

Predictions such as a billion people moving inland slowly over a century are far less a problem than, say, slowed or retrograde growth ala the former USSR or North Korea.

Re:It's sort of refreshing... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386049)

False dichotomy, unless you think being a refugee is worse that being...well...a refugee.

What? (2, Funny)

arun84h (1454607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367735)

I figured the Hardy Boys would be long dead by now! Great job, boys!

Old news (4, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367767)

This is old news. Its been known for a few years now that the solar conveyor belt has slowed. The question is how long solar activity will remain weak.

During the Maunder minimum it remained weak from about 1645 to 1710. Other minimums also occurred over a fairly long duration. During these minimums the earth tends to be quite cold. Read the wikipedia article on the maunder minimum and related minimums.

Thing is we may face many decades of reduced agricultural output at a time when we have many mouths to feed.

Its too early to tell yet, but cycle #24 is over 2 years late and cycle #25 is expected to be weak as well. So we could be looking at 22+ years of cold cold weather.

Re:Old news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368101)

Its too early to tell yet, but cycle #24 is over 2 years late...

We're pregnant, aren't we.

Re:Old news (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370239)

Its too early to tell yet, but cycle #24 is over 2 years late...

We're pregnant, aren't we.

This is the Sun's answer to us declaring Pluto a non-planet.

Re:Old news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368179)

What the hell will Al Gore do?

Re:Old news (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368237)

What the hell will Al Gore do?

Well maybe you missed the memo, but the problem is not "Global Warming" anymore, it's "Climate Change".

Since the climate is always changing, Al's job is safe.

Re:Old news (0)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28373823)

Well maybe you missed the memo, but the problem is not "Global Warming" anymore, it's "Climate Change".
Of course, what you fail to notice is that memo suggesting the phrase "climate change" was on a list of suggested Republican talking points written by pollster Frank Luntz, as an attempt to soften the language of the ACTUAL PROBLEM so that stupid people would think that it wasn't a problem. And here you go using it against the opposition, as if he were the one with the language problem.

It's fucking stupid people like you that makes these Republican manipulations work. Nice dancing, monkey.

Re:Old news (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374041)

Well it is still pretty warm despite the lack of sunspots, so when sunspot activity picks up again, as it will at some point, expect things to get even warmer still.

Re:Old news (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368293)

Thing is we may face many decades of reduced agricultural output at a time when we have many mouths to feed.

No worries though. In the time it takes for the population to triple, our agricultural output quadruples. The problem is, and always has been, distribution.

Re:Old news (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368431)

Yes, I totally agree! For instance, I always find the distribution of chocolate chips in my cookies quite disturbing! This makes me sooooo angry sometimes!

Once we fix this problem, everyone will eat happily for once!

Re:Old news (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28373761)


The problem is, and always has been, distribution. And encroachment onto arable land. And erosion. And leaching of overused fertilizers and pesticides into the ground water. Oh, and the depletion of ground water. Not to mention the strain on infrastructure due to the tripling of the population.

But at least the last one will increase the odds of a good pandemic to cull the herd. Thanks, Malthus!

Re:Old news (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374475)

If you haven't, you should really see "Urinetown: The Musical". I'm serious, even if musicals aren't normally your thing. It's hilarious and deals with this sort of issue in a dark comedic way.

Not old news ... (4, Informative)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 4 years ago | (#28368633)

This week is the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Solar Physics Division, which explains the timing of the press release.

There have been a number of talks regarding the long solar minimum, and although I've been avoiding most of the oral sessions, there was one by Frank Hill (another NSO person) yesterday showing that um ... okay, I can't remember what the axii on the graphs were, but that the general activity below the 'surface' of the sun was showing a more gradual ramp up than the last solar minimum, but we're roughly at the same level of activity as when we started cycle 23.

(disclaimer -- I'm not a solar physicist, but I am an affiliate SPD member ... I'd link to the abstract, but the system won't give me a useful URL)

Re:Old news (2, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369649)

So we could be looking at 22+ years of cold cold weather.

Just enough time to fix global warming...

BTW, that must be a HUGE groundhog.

Wrong Logo Attached to Article (4, Informative)

sk999 (846068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367769)

NASA's logo is attached to the article, but the National Solar Observatory is funded by the National Science Foundation. Different agency entirely. http://www.nso.edu/ [nso.edu]

I have sunspots... (3, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367819)

... I call them freckles. If a sunspot moves or grows the dermatologist deals with it.

This is not an explanation (2, Informative)

Normal_Deviate (807129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367921)

So solar output was correlated with sunspots. Now it is also correlated with a subsurface current. A step forward, but it is a bit premature to use the word "explain."

On a different not, how depressing that I have been pushed into resenting several forms of science. When I saw the headline, my first thought was, "Crap. More data to cherry pick to justify central control over individuals." And I say this as someone who has actually published in peer reviewed journals. Gloom.

Re:This is not an explanation (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368085)

Publishing is the first step in peer review, not the final end all.

Re:This is not an explanation (1, Redundant)

Darby (84953) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369211)

Publishing is the first step in peer review, not the final end all.

Now I could be wrong (seriously, I really don't know all that much about this), but I thought that "respectable" journals had peers to whom they send articles for review prior to publishing? So after publishing, certainly more peers get a chance to look over the results and the process continues.
But assuming that I'm correct, wouldn't that make submitting or maybe the assignment of the reviewers the first step?

Re:This is not an explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28370941)

Yes, you are correct. After submitting the peers are assigned and they have to return positive reviews for the article to be accepted by the editor. Otherwise the article is rejected (not published). So, submitting is the first step, unless you understand the 'peer review' to last for decades. Then, publishing is truly just a first step.

HF Radio (4, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28367955)

i know the upper part of the HF spectrum has been acting like the next solar cycle has already started, the DX/Skip has been incredibly good and dependable and any HF enthusiast knows that by now if they have a HF rig handy.

Re:HF Radio (2, Interesting)

elkto (558121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28369119)

Depends on what you call incredibly good. I have been hearing allot of strong E layer contacts which happens in the northern latitudes this time of year. Not allot of F layer contacts. F layer is considerably higher in altitude allowing for long distance HF communication.

During the middle of cycle 23, I worked Tokyo, Germany, the Red Sea, and Brazil, all from my car in Ohio. I heard Australia, but just could not work them.

--... ...--

Re:HF Radio (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370975)

You and the other commenter completely confused me, but it sounds neat (I do realize it has to with radio communication). Would you mind giving me some URLs to check out more about what you are talking about?

Re:HF Radio (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371863)

http://arrl.org/ [arrl.org]

Re:HF Radio (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28373769)

Thanks!

Re:HF Radio (1)

molo (94384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28374229)

Re:HF Radio (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 5 years ago | (#28449145)

Thanks. New hobby to look into!

Re:HF Radio (1)

molo (94384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28452239)

Its worth checking out. I got my ham radio license a year ago, and its been pretty cool. Lots to do, lots to learn. Many different facets to the hobby, I'm sure you'll find one that interests you.

Cheers and good luck.
-molo

I'm an astronaut too! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368063)

Sometimes I just feel all these astronomers do is come up with mumbo-jumbo that no one can explain. In some ways, they seem no better than the village witch who comes up with some shit to explain something which cannot be proven. Next they'll start telling us the moon's made out of low-fat cheese.

Someone notify al gore! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368087)

The global warming religious nutters are going to have a field day with this one!

The Economy (3, Insightful)

Fished (574624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368093)

Of course, the fact that we have the worst global recession in 70 years at the same time as a low in sunspot activity is Entirely Coincidental. Seriously, I haven't studied this in depth, so I don't really know, but it sure seems suspicious, and it's certainly been proposed in the past that the sunspot cycle affected the economy.

Re:The Economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28369041)

Don't forget to add the first world pandemic since the 60's. We're only 3 years away from the end of the Mayan calendar... oh no we're in a downward spiral!

Gain. Sheesh, when well people stop looking at everything as if it's a sign!

NOT the biggest Mystery of the Sunspots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368325)

The biggest mystery of sunspots is why they only come out at daytime. In all the years of observation, they have never appeared at night.

Oh, shoot! (4, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368327)

And all this time I thought the lack of sunspots was caused by global warming.

Back to the drawing board. :)

Re:Oh, shoot! (4, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28368683)

There are no pirates on the sun. That's why the surface of the sun is so hot. In retrospect, it's obvious, isn't it?

Re:Oh, shoot! (4, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370355)

I thought the lack of sunspots was caused by global warming

what is this, soviet russia?!

Re:Oh, shoot! (2, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 4 years ago | (#28371663)

Soon to be, sadly. :(

It's obvious (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28370207)

It was Carmen Sandiego. Seriously, wasn't anyone paying attention?

Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28379731)

You mean my friend who insists the sunspots are missing for the same reason that the Mayan calendar doesn't go past 2012 is WRONG? It's not all tied together in some world's-end prophecy? OK, cool. Time for a nap.

ObPedanticTheory: The real, undiscoverable, unprovable reason the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 is that they simply figured that was far enough to pre-calculate for now. They would have made the next stretch of calendar, sometime, in the thousands of years of spare time available between the calendar creation and 2012. But the need for doing so was eliminated because others invented the Gregorian calendar. Simple human convenience, folks. No need to invent our own doom to explain that. So in general, calm down.

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