(0:01) Alright Guys, so I just watched a video; it's called: 'The Current Weak Solar Cycle and Its Consequences - Press Conference' it was posted on the YouTube Channel of the American Geophysical Union, better known as AGU.
(0:16) It was published on December 11th, 2013, I'm looking at it at about 3pm on December 12th, just a day later. Now what this was is they just basically posted a recording of a four Scientist panel, press conference or web conference, as it were.
(0:42) Two of the scientists were from NASA: one from Langley, one from Goddard. Another from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Leif Svalgaard one of our favorites out of Stanford.
American Geophysical Union's panel of four top scientists:
Nat Gopalswamy: Solar Physics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Leif Svalgaard: W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University
Marty Mlynczak: Climate Science Branch, NASA Langley Research Center
Joe Giacalone: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona
To Summarize Nat Gopalswamy's points:
(1:42) And the reason, people think, is because the Polar Field in the previous cycle was smaller and the Polar Field is supposed to feed the Sunspots coming into the next cycle.
(1:55) This can also be seen in microwave emission from Sunspot regions, that has also declined, and we are in the Maximum Phase, with the North Pole already finished it's Maximum Phase and the South Pole in the midst.
(2:10) So what is the consequence of this weak Cycle? The best way to look at it is to look at the strength of Geomagnetic Storms that happened since 1957.
(2:21) For example: there are many Solar Cycles here, from Cycle 19 to Cycle 24, and in Cycle 24 the number of Major Geomagnetic Storms, measured by the index known as Dst, is very small and also the strength of the Storm is also relatively small.
(2:41) For example: the March 1989 Storm, which caused a big Blackout in Quebec is really huge and the Halloween Storm is here and compared to those two we have we almost have barely any major storms.
(3:16) So you have weaker Geomagnetic Storms and weaker Solar Energetic Particle Events. Why is this?
(3:24) You know these two Space Weather Events: mainly Geomagnetic Storms and Energetic Particles are caused by Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs. The CME rate itself is not very small in this Cycle. You can see the rate is between 3 and 4 during the Maximum Phase, which is similar to the last Cycle. So, what's happening?
(3:51) One of the clues to the behavior of Cycle 24 came from the fact that all the Energetic Particle Events of Cycle 24 were associated with Halo CMEs; you know Halo CMEs are those which appear to surround the Sun, because the expand very fast early on.
(4:11) So, that means there is something to do with the width of the Coronal Mass Ejections, that is the size we see in the sky. So, we looked at the width of the CMEs from Cycle 23 and Cycle 24 and we found that the Cycle 24 CMEs are bigger for a given speed; as you can see from this.
(4:54) So why are the CMEs expanding more than usual? When we measured the pressure in the Heliosphere, using Satellites such as ACE and WIND, we found that the pressure is reduced in this Cycle by about 40% compared to the previous cycle.
(5:13) Of course, we cannot directly measure the pressure near the Sun, but we can extrapolate what we measure at 1AU near the Sun and we find that there is a similar reduction of pressure near the Sun.
(5:24) So, when CMEs are ejected into this milder, low-pressure Heliosphere then they puff up. When the CMEs expand more, the Magnetic Field inside the CMEs has lower strength; so when you have lower strength of Magnetic Field then they cause milder Geomagnetic Storms.
(5:44) And the lower Magnetic Field in the Heliosphere also contributes to lower efficiency of particle acceleration in the Heliosphere; that's why we have no big Energetic Particle Events, although the number of Energetic Particle Events itself has not decreased significantly.
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Some Important Clues:
(6:40) My presentation follows basically right on the heels of what Nat was saying there right at the very end.
(7:18) The important clues that we know for sure: one is that we know that these large SEP Events are created by shockwaves driven by Coronal Mass Ejections; that's pretty well established and I don't think there's a lot of argument on that point.
(7:36) There's not noticeably a fewer number of CMES and, in fact, depending on how you count them there could be more; I was hearing talks in yesterday's session that there's actually more CMEs. It's difficult to count the number of CMEs, but it's not obviously fewer and in fact quite probably more.
(7:58) The CMEs, are they faster? Again, it depends on how you count them. Some seem to be a little faster, but again there's no obvious trend in that regard.
(8:08) One thing for sure though is that the Interplanetary Magnetic Field, as Nat was pointing out, is weaker; that's known, that's been reported. There's been some news items: ACE Advanced Composition Explorer Spacecraft has a news item out that has a report on this: the Interplanetary Magnetic Field is definitely weaker and we know that.
(8:28) The Solar Wind Flux is also weaker, so these are things that we know; so, how does this affect particle acceleration?
(9:08) The line out in front of it that's arched is a shockwave, driven by that CME and then the other curved lines with all sorts little wiggles that sort of look like their rotating around into Space that is called the Interplanetary Magnetic Field, which is a Parker Spiral Magnetic Field.
(9:40) This is a well know mechanism, it was discovered in the late 1970's called Diffusive Shock Acceleration. Okay, so that's the standard picture.
(9:50) In the current Solar Cycle, when the magnetic field is weaker the particles are not trapped near the shock as effectively, and there are equations that describe this and that was in my talk yesterday, but basically in it's simplest form: the particles are just not as effectively trapped, they're going much farther up-stream and down-stream of the Shockwave and it takes a lot longer for them to get to very high energies.
(10:40) And so the largest events are the ones at the high energy end and so you're just not having as many because you can't effectively trap these particles.
(10:49) So that's my main point, now I wanted to take my last 50 seconds and make one additional point: and now I'm switching to Galactic Cosmic Rays. The top panel is Neutron Monitor, Galactic Cosmic Rays (it's a proxy for Galactic Cosmic Rays).
(11:16) And the Galactic Cosmic Rays actually have been reduced during the Solar Maximum, when the Sun is more active Galactic Cosmic Rays can't come in as effectively; so it is in fact reduced.
(11:29) But you can see it's not nearly as reduced as previous Maximum; so the Galactic Cosmic Rays have gone down, yes, but not as far as in the past. And the only reason I want to bring this up and I want to show this as my last slide as I'm running out of time here.
(11:44) My colleague Dick Maywaldt, who is in the audience, has prepared, he has converted the Neutron Monitor Galactic Cosmic Ray counts, in that top panel, to a dose equivalent felt by an astronaut felt behind a certain amount of shielding.
Back to S0's Notes:
(5:39) And this got me wondering: what happens if we get a big Gamma Burst before the Sun wakes up again.
(5:50) Right around this time they were describing how this could be a problem for trips to Mars and how if you wanted to go to Mars you should probably leave pretty soon because it is Solar Max right now and we're just holding back the Cosmic Rays…
(6:33) And just as I was wondering: what about that next big Gamma Burst? And I have to admit that I was wondering that much through their discussion for why this was a problem for Mars. They start talking about the effects of these things on the very upper-most atmosphere, from 100 to 250 km up; this is known as the Thermosphere.
(6:54) Now they're talking about how Ultra Violet Light and Solar Wind Particles enter the Upper Atmosphere; and CO2 & NO cool by removing Energy.
(7:05) People should remember this, caught a lot of people off guard when we talked about this at length, what it means and what it doesn't mean; because it was taken out of context quite a few times.
(7:17) The fact that a NASA article stated, which is not really news to those who follow these things that: CO2 and NO are the two most efficient Thermospheric Coolants in our Atmosphere.
(7:54) So it's a very, very significant drop in Energy in the upper atmosphere that we have right now and they describe this as a substantial natural variability tied to the Sun.
(8:05) They also talk about how all the CO2 that we've put up might be expected to do a significant amount of cooling up in the Thermosphere in the not too distant future.
(8:15) Now, Leif taught last. And he showed that weakening Polar Field chart that we absolutely love, that I've playfully pointed to as the potential indicator of a Solar Magnetic Shutdown being a possibility in terms of Sunspot production, Polar Field Strength and basically just returning to another significant minimum in the Sun, as has been predicted by some and we've shown a number of different sources.
(8:51) They certainly do not go that far, they stop well short of that; they do talk about how big events can still happen during these times of weak activity. Big flaring, big CMEs, and big Solar Energetic Particle Events.
(9:28) Even though they stop short of discussing anything remotely close to an Ice Age, these are the Experts. And, just like I have been harping on: that 'C(Lie)mate #3' was key, because it's no longer just me saying this, in fact, it never really was. It was all of us watching together and coming to these same conclusions; messaging each other and commenting and corroborating and cooperating.
(10:01) And now it appears that we weren't the only ones doing this: the experts, the people who in the end everybody will listen to are saying the same things that we've been saying for over a year now.
(10:19) This is quite incredible, I definitely recommend that you guys take a look at this video; if you're just interested in that bit about CO2 that was about the 17 or 18 minute mark, but it's just about a half hour. I highly recommend you watching it all and even the last ten minutes is just questions.
(10:39) So, top recommendation. It is what it is, folks. Wake up son.