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Magnetic Reconnection – Major space weather effect measured for the first time

The liquid iron flowing in the Earth’s core maybe what drives a magnetic field some 40,000 km to 370,000 km out beyond the Earth. The solar field envelopes that. At the layer where these fields interact sometimes the Sun and Earth’s magnetic field lines do something called  “reconnecting” — suddenly converting magnetic energy into plasma energy in an explosive way. We’ve finally just measured one event properly for the first time. So a 12,000km ball of lava with a thin crust of rocks and 15 km of damp air, floats in a sea of magnetically charged fields. You might think that our slithery-thin layer of humid air and clouds could be affected by the stirring of “yo-yo” like lava flows and magnetic fields that are also twisted by solar dynamos, but you would just be a silly denier. These magnetic explosions and solar winds can’t possibly affect our climate — there’s a 97% consensus that says so.

Luckily we have climate models that are 95% certain we don’t even need to include these factors — especially lucky, since we barely understand them.

This is after-all, just space weather, and it’s not like the Earth is in space, eh?

Supposedly geomagnetic weather just makes nice aurora’s and mucks up some satellites.

NASA Aircraft measure magnetic explosions

Normally, the [Sun and Earth's] magnetic fields oppose each other and move in different directions. But every so often the magnetic field lines switch and connect with each other. That’s called a magnetic reconnection event. “When the two magnetic fields link up, then that allows the solar energy to flow straight into the magnetosphere,” said study author Jim Burch, vice president of the space science and engineering at the Southwest Research Institute. “It sets the entire field in motion.” The excited particles from the Sun stream into the magnetic field lines of Earth, transferring energy into the magnetosphere.

This newer “MMS” program uses four machines flying in a 10km pyramid formation in space and works at a nanosecond level. It’s vastly better than any previous efforts.

A useful 3 minute video from NASA about why this program is important from the researchers point of view and what they are hoping to learn. Some cool graphics. (Sorry it’s so big, but I didn’t want to shrink it).

PRESS RELEASE: Space Mission First to Observe Key Interaction Between Magnetic Fields of Earth and Sun

Most people do not give much thought to the Earth’s magnetic field, yet it is every bit as essential to life as air, water and sunlight. The magnetic field provides an invisible, but crucial, barrier that protects Earth from the sun’s magnetic field, which drives a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind outward from the sun’s outer layers. The interaction between these two magnetic fields can cause explosive storms in the space near Earth, which can knock out satellites and cause problems here on Earth’s surface, despite the protection offered by Earth’s magnetic field.

A new study co-authored by University of Maryland physicists provides the first major results of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, including an unprecedented look at the interaction between the magnetic fields of Earth and the sun. The paper describes the first direct and detailed observation of a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection, which occurs when two opposing magnetic field lines break and reconnect with each other, releasing massive amounts of energy.

The discovery is a major milestone in understanding magnetism and space weather. The research paper appears in the May 13, 2016, issue of the journal Science.

“Imagine two trains traveling toward each other on separate tracks, but the trains are switched to the same track at the last minute,” said James Drake, a professor of physics at UMD and a co-author on the Science study. “Each track represents a magnetic field line from one of the two interacting magnetic fields, while the track switch represents a reconnection event. The resulting crash sends energy out from the reconnection point like a slingshot.”

Evidence suggests that reconnection is a major driving force behind events such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, magnetic storms, and the auroras observed at both the North and South poles of Earth. Although researchers have tried to study reconnection in the lab and in space for nearly half a century, the MMS mission is the first to directly observe how reconnection happens.

The MMS mission provided more precise observations than ever before. Flying in a pyramid formation at the edge of Earth’s magnetic field with as little as 10 kilometers’ distance between four identical spacecraft, MMS images electrons within the pyramid once every 30 milliseconds. In contrast, MMS’ predecessor, the European Space Agency and NASA’s Cluster II mission, takes measurements once every three seconds—enough time for MMS to make 100 measurements.

“Just looking at the data from MMS is extraordinary. The level of detail allows us to see things that were previously a blur,” explained Drake, who served on the MMS science team and also advised the engineering team on the requirements for MMS instrumentation. “With a time interval of three seconds, seeing reconnection with Cluster II was impossible. But the quality of the MMS data is absolutely inspiring. It’s not clear that there will ever be another mission quite like this one.”

Simply observing reconnection in detail is an important milestone. But a major goal of the MMS mission is to determine how magnetic field lines briefly break, enabling reconnection and energy release to happen. Measuring the behavior of electrons in a reconnection event will enable a more accurate description of how reconnection works; in particular, whether it occurs in a neat and orderly process, or in a turbulent, stormlike swirl of energy and particles.

A clearer picture of the physics of reconnection will also bring us one step closer to understanding space weather–including whether solar flares and magnetic storms follow any sort of predictable pattern like weather here on Earth. Reconnection can also help scientists understand other, more energetic astrophysical phenomena such as magnetars, which are neutron stars with an unusually strong magnetic field.

“Understanding reconnection is relevant to a whole range of scientific questions in solar physics and astrophysics,” said Marc Swisdak, an associate research scientist in UMD’s Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics. Swisdak is not a co-author on the Science paper, but he is actively collaborating with Drake and others on subsequent analyses of the MMS data.

“Reconnection in Earth’s magnetic field is relatively low energy, but we can get a good sense of what is happening if we extrapolate to more energetic systems,” Swisdak added. “The edge of Earth’s magnetic field is an excellent test lab, as it’s just about the only place where we can fly a spacecraft directly through a region where reconnection occurs.”

To date, MMS has focused only on the sun-facing side of Earth’s magnetic field. In the future, the mission is slated to fly to the opposite side to investigate the teardrop-shaped tail of the magnetic field that faces away from the sun.

REFERENCES

Burch et al — 51 other names  (2016) Electron-scale measurements of magnetic reconnection in spaceScience  12 May 2016: DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2939

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80 comments to Magnetic Reconnection – Major space weather effect measured for the first time

  • #
    Gary Meyers

    How will this affect cosmic ray and cloud formation? Does anyone know if the magnetic poles swapping polarity plays any role in global warming through some unknown(or known) mechanism?

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      Roy Hogue

      I do hope the magnetic poles don’t reverse. The magnetic compass is still aboard every boat, ship and airplane and for good reason. It’s very low tech and not subject to failure in use. I can only imagine the chaos if pilots or ship’s helmsmen fail to recognize the pole change and the electromagnetic pulse associated with one of these events takes out, say, the GPS satellites and onboard electronics.

      Bad news, that!

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        And yes, I do realize there’s evidence that the magnetic poles have reversed in the past. But who relied on a compass back then?

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        • #
          Gary Meyers

          I was curious how often this reversal takes place. I found this.
          http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-poleReversal.html

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          • #
            Roy Hogue

            Thanks Gary,

            That refreshes my memory.

            That final line,

            A reversal might, however, be good business for magnetic compass manufacturers.

            isn’t going to be true if the reversal takes a long time or if multiple poles appear and disappear because compassses will turn unreliable and would remain that way for a long time. We’ll have to figure out a totally new basis for north and south. I don’t know how the GPS system determines north and south but it has to have had it’s beginning in the magnetic compass in some way. The only other possible reference would be celestial — good for stationary needs but not so good for small or even large aircraft anymore.

            Sounds like a fun time to not be here.

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      • #
        Hasbeen

        If it happened it would not affect sun & star sights with a simple sextant.

        I wonder how many ships & boats still carry a sextant, & a set of tables to workout a position line from a sight. With the navigation systems down, the met would probably be down too, so you couldn’t Google a set of tables.

        Even if you could how many of today’s navigators could still do the math, simple as it is.

        Actually I wonder how many could find their way home from a distant suburb without a satnav. I tried to show a daughter how to get to somewhere on a map, & she just rolled her eyes & asked to borrow a satnav.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          I wonder how many ships & boats still carry a sextant, & a set of tables to workout a position line from a sight.

          In 2009 the captain of the cruise ship we were on did a good presentation in the auditorium on operation of the ship and what goes on up on the bridge. I was glad he did because I really wanted a tour of the bridge but they could no longer allow it.

          One of the things he mentioned to the audience of probably 100 interested passengers was his concern that new merchant marine graduates were no longer being taught to use a sextant so if the magical GPS and other position finding equipment (LORAN if available) went down, they would be completely lost.

          I, along with many professional pilots, have the same fear about the current generation of new airline pilots who tend to rely too much on the flight management computer. It’s there to relieve you of the tedium of flying the plane yourself all the way to your destination, probably hours of paying strict attention to heading, altitude and position. But it’s not supposed to be a substitute for having the skill to do it yourself nor is it there to do your thinking for you. But it’s increasingly obvious that the captain on your flight may not be as competent as you want him t be.

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      • #
        sophocles

        Gyroscopic compasses and GPS would not even notice a reversal. A magnetic hand held compass would point 180 degrees the other way. The really cheap compasses using a centrally mounted pointer rather than a card would be easiest to translate.

        The last reversal was between 750,000 and 800,000 years ago and it forms an important index marker in dating seabed and other sediment cores.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          The gyro compass (in aircraft) as you called it always drifts and needs to be corrected from time to time. Until GPS the only means of keeping it sufficiently accurate to rely on for heading information was the magnetic compass. The attitude gyro, that artificial horizon in the top center of the 6 standard instruments until glass cockpits came along, also has that drift problem, except that by a clever arrangement of little weights inside the instrument it could be made self correcting, in fact, also self erecting upon startup, at least as long as you start it up sitting on the ground. In the air if you were to make a continuous turn at constant bank angle for a long time that gyro would eventually adjust itself so that down, as it sees down, would be straight down through the floor of the cockpit again, the same direction it has as a reference upon startup, which in a bank wouldn’t be down at all. Gyros are not something magical that can always keep a correct reference for you.

          All that math in the article you linked is explaining how the shipboard gyro can be made sensitive to the Earths rotation to finally arrive at and keep true north (and blows my mind with that same math). I’ve no experience with them and don’t know how well it works.

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          • #
            sophocles

            I hope you skipped over the maths and headed for the text. The Errors section I found interesting.

            Correcting for those errors required three gyroscopes, one for each spatial dimension, accelerometers (to measure rate of change in each dimension, up/down, left/right, forward(speed up)/back(slow down) along with significant electronics. No sign of a magnetic compass in there at all.

            The Heading Indicator on smaller aircraft is based on a small gyroscope and can be slaved to a magnetic compass. These do indeed drift and may need correcting every 15 minutes or so.

            The large aircraft (747s and relatives), large ships, etc almost all use an Inertial Navigation System which can’t afford to drift as much as the DI in smaller aircraft. The Autopilot using these can’t afford to get lost. (Neither can the Captain :-) )

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            • #
              Roy Hogue

              Believe me, I took only one quick look at the math to see what it could show me and then went on. It’s only for the math whizz types. These days I get a panicky feeling over some algebra that years ago I could tackle easily. You forget too much if you don’t use it every day.

              Your second paragraph describes inertial navigation systems and they were used until GPS became reliable. I don’t know if they’re still on those big jets or not. They’re very expensive gadgets to keep around and maintain when GPS can do the same job. Inertial platforms drift in spite of gyros stabilizing them on all 3 axes and need correction from time to time. The Appolo moon missions needed to make star observations by which they could correct their inertial platforms.

              Heading indicators slaved to the magnetic compass have been around for a long time. I didn’t think to mention that wrinkle because it’s just automatic correction by magnetic compass rather than manual. There are some possible problems in either case because the magnetic compass is influenced by any magnetic material and also sometimes by electrical wiring in the aircraft. So every magnetic compass is calibrated at least yearly if you’re a careful pilot, by positioning the plane on a diagram surveyed into the pavement somewhere on an airport and you put it first in one direction then another around the fill 360 degrees, 6 or 8 different directions (don’t remember anymore) that are known and then you record what the compass actually reads. It can be different from the truth by enough to be a problem. You record those differences on a “Compass Card” and put it in a holder right under the compass. Then you take those differences into account each time you read the compass.

              The magnetic compass has other problems. For one, it bounces around in turbulence and is very hard to read. And in a turn the reading doesn’t stay correct and the problem is worse as your bank angle increases. So rolling out of a turn on the heading you want is easier with the gyro heading indicator.

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  • #
    Kenneth Richard

    “Evidence suggests that reconnection is a major driving force behind events such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, magnetic storms, and the auroras observed at both the North and South poles of Earth. Although researchers have tried to study reconnection in the lab and in space for nearly half a century, the MMS mission is the first to directly observe how reconnection happens.”

    The discovery is a major milestone in understanding magnetism and space weather.”
    —–
    So apparently we’re still in the “discovery” stage when it comes to observing how the the Sun impacts the Earth system. Earlier this week, there were two other papers published that pointed to new “discoveries” in “settled” Earth-Sun-Atmospheric science.
    —–

    http://phys.org/news/2016-05-early-earth-air-today-atmosphere.html
    Map of flow within the Earth’s mantle finds the surface moving up and down ‘like a yo-yo’
    The idea that the young Earth had a thicker atmosphere turns out to be wrong. New research from the University of Washington uses bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks to show that air at that time exerted at most half the pressure of today’s atmosphere. The results, published online May 9 in Nature Geoscience, reverse the commonly accepted idea that the early Earth had a thicker atmosphere to compensate for weaker sunlight. The finding also has implications for which gases were in that atmosphere, and how biology and climate worked on the early planet.

    For the longest time, people have been thinking the atmospheric pressure might have been higher back then, because the sun was fainter,” said lead author Sanjoy Som, who did the work as part of his UW doctorate in Earth and space sciences. “Our result is the opposite of what we were expecting.”

    We’re still coming to grips with the magnitude of this,” Buick said. “It’s going to take us a while to digest all the possible consequences.” Other geological evidence clearly shows liquid water on Earth at that time, so the early atmosphere must have contained more heat-trapping greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide, and less nitrogen.

    —–

    http://phys.org/news/2016-05-earth-mantle-surface-yo-yo.html [press release]
    Early Earth’s air weighed less than half of today’s atmosphere
    Researchers have compiled the first global set of observations of the movement of the Earth’s mantle, the 3000-kilometre-thick layer of hot silicate rocks between the crust and the core, and have found that it looks very different to predictions made by geologists over the past 30 years. … The team, from the University of Cambridge, used more than 2000 measurements taken from the world’s oceans in order to peer beneath the Earth’s crust and observe the chaotic nature of mantle flow, which forces the surface above it up and down. These movements have a huge influence on the way that the Earth looks today – the circulation causes the formation of mountains, volcanism and other seismic activity in locations that lie in the middle of tectonic plates, such as at Hawaii and in parts of the United States. They found that the wave-like movements of the mantle are occurring at a rate that is an order of magnitude faster than had been previously predicted. The results, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, have ramifications across many disciplines including the study of ocean circulation and past climate change.

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  • #
    Kenneth Richard

    Correction:

    The title for each of the two press releases for the papers are switched. It should be:

    1) Early Earth’s air weighed less than half of today’s atmosphere
    2) Map of flow within the Earth’s mantle finds the surface moving up and down ‘like a yo-yo’

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    • #
      Greg Cavanagh

      This is all way outside my expertise, however I would question the thin atmosphere theory based on the dinosaur evidence (of what I know of that).

      Isn’t it true that the pterodactyl could not fly in today’s atmosphere? They say the air has to be thicker in order for these things to have flown.

      Which brings up a second conundrum. They also said that the bumble bee should not be able to fly. So perhaps they are wrong about the pterodactyl as well.

      And besides, taking a bubble of air from rock and extrapolating that out to the entire earth seems a bit ambitious. But that’s just me.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Since no one has ever seen a pterodactyl in the flesh I wonder how anyone can be sure it needs more dense air than we have today in order to fly. Maybe they were flightless like the ostrich and never intended to fly in the first place. Or maybe they had more wing or less weight than their fossil remains lead someone to believe.

        I have seen a bumble bee and they definitely do fly. But I think they’re marginal because they go slow and bump into nearly everything as they bumble around.

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        • #

          the idea that a bumblebee couldn’t fly was from simple weight to wing size experiments conducted by physicists and biologists.. it took a photographer with a high speed camera and an interest in insects to change the worldview on bees, butterfly and a mass of other insects mechanisms of flight. He found wings weren’t used in a simple flapping motion like wind up mechanical toys but were constantly reshaped and flexed for controlled flight – far more controlled than anyone ever imagined. Another thing he found was the erratic flight of butterflies was deliberate – they weren’t just flapping in the vague hope of getting someplace, this was a strategic anti-intercept measure to avoid being eaten by predators and the same butterflies could fly perfectly straight (and fast) when they chose – again by deliberate wing manipulation.

          Pterodactyls strike me as being somewhat different. Wings and streamlined shape seemed to suggested to me at school when I was taught nope, they were clumsy things that fell out of trees and glided, that the teachers were wrong and these were flying creatures in a different atmosphere. I wrote some time back that the whole dinosaur story suggested a much denser atmosphere, vastly bigger insects, vastly bigger land dwellers – all would have had difficulty in supporting themselves in today’s air if it was this thin. Also the O2 levels – today’s atmospheric make up would have been too low in O2 to fuel such big beasts – but at double the pressure the concentration would have been fine.

          I also theorized that a past series of polar shifts could have reduced the magnetosphere enough that stripped away air could account for the currently low air pressure. Heck the same applies to plants as animals, a denser atmosphere would have been great for plants.. even periodic low CO2 levels would have been fine at higher atmospheric pressures.

          But again it seems the atmosphere has changed more than a few times as dominating species have modified the air content in cycles, this bacteria locking away reserves of nitrogen, this one carbon, that one evolves and frees previously locked away reserves – and then there’s the whole thing of material from space contributing to our mass – who’s to say what water or CO2 or O2 dense space rocks hit us and added to the environment?

          All I know is, it’s rather stupid to think what I see now is the way it always was or always will be, and if we want any sort of control or long term survival then simply relying on what we see about us to protect and nurture us is lame. This planet was a nice place to evolve, but it’s long term prospects aren’t great. I do have fun asking greenies what the long term goal is with this whole ‘save the planet’ ideology.. Whether windmills will get us off this rock if things go pear shaped. The blank stares are awesome.

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      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Greg:
        The argument about pterosaurs is clouded by the continuous re-evaluation of their flying abilities.
        The original claim was they couldn’t take to the air at all. This was modified to them being able to glide only. They weren’t supposed to be able to take off but hang by their feet from trees or throw themselves off cliffs. When the Pteranodon was found with 6 metre wing span this was proof that it must have lived on the ground or that the atmosphere must have been more dense then. That lasted until someone built a model (in the 1970’s) and showed it could glide, but it was confidently asserted that nothing larger was possible.
        So when Quetzalcoatlus turned up with a 12 metre wing span things it was confidently said that it must have lived on the ground as a scavenger because its wings were too big for it to flap them while on the ground. (It stood as tall as a giraffe). Its weight was estimated as up to 250 kg. and extending its wings and gliding away couldn’t happen until a strong wind blew. Mention was also made that as cold blooded creatures they would lack the ability for sustained flying. That idea lasted until fossils (Sordes) were found showing the body was covered with fur, obviously an indication of warm bloodedness.
        In the meantime they re-evaluated numerous mysterious tracks and found they were made by pterosaurs, proving that they could walk on all fours (esp. the later short tailed ones), and studies of the wing membrane showed it was reinforced by fibrils and thus capable of flapping. Then computer modelling of the arms revealed that they were quite light weight but reinforced by micro struts in a way that these animals were capable of ‘catapulting’ themselves into the air. It was estimated that Quetzalcoatlus could bound 4 metres into the air and then make a downstroke gaining more height. The estimation of the weight of Quetzalcoatlus dropped to 75 to 125 kg.
        Certainly they would have spent much time gliding, rather like pelicans, but they could fly and for long distances.
        A model of a smaller Quetzalcoatlus flew with the aid of a computer and small motors, although mostly gliding but flapping for direction change etc. It appeared in one of Attenborough’s documentaries in the 80’s. So the air 240 – 65 mya didn’t have to be thicker, but some new discovery may upset current thinking.

        You will note how ideas changed as new evidence became available. That is normal in Science but differs from climate science where the ideas are set on stone tablets kept in the Temple of Giss.

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      • #
        Ted O'Brien.

        Before bothering to research it, I’ll run with the idea that the thin air predated the pterodactyls by a long period.

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        • #
          Mark D.

          Before bothering to research it, I believe that “wings” on “flightless” creature would not fit a fitness assessment.

          Where is Gee when I need support?

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          • #
            Peter C

            Where is Gee? MIA if you were hoping for support.

            I agree, Pterosaurs would not have had large wings if they did not fly.

            The thicker atmosphere in the past theory is based on contemporary studies of large birds, contemporary physiology and the strength/weight relationship of large versus small creatures. A mouse has much much lighter bones than an elephant because weight increases by the cube of the size. The thickness of the bones must be increased to compensate. Comparative muscle size also goes up.

            Consequently a pelican is near the upper limit of size for a flying creature that can actually take off on its own. Watch them and see how much trouble they have getting airborne. Condors are a little larger. Apparently if they land on a beach they actually prefer to walk up a nearby dune to take off rather than attempt the arduous task of a flapping take off.

            If the paleo atmosphere was thicker it makes the size of Quetzlcoatlus easier to understand. If there was more atmospheric gas before, what was it and where did it go? CO2 turned into limestone!

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  • #
    betapug

    Hmmm, a rare event! Heliophysics research conducted in a currently politically undistorted near earth space.
    It will be interesting to watch if possible inconvenient discoveries interact with the policy force field.

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  • #
    ren

    Space is a better vacuum than any we can create on Earth, but it does contain some particles — and it’s bustling with activity. It overflows with energy and a complex system of magnetic fields. Sometimes, when two sets of magnetic fields connect, an explosive reaction occurs: As the magnetic fields re-align and snap into a new formation they send particles zooming off in jets.

    A new paper printed on May 12, 2016, in Science provides the first observations from inside a magnetic reconnection event. The research shows that magnetic reconnection is dominated by the physics of electrons — thus providing crucial information about what powers this fundamental process in nature.
    http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/science-of-magnetic-reconnection

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  • #

    The influence of solar activity on the earth’s climate has been discounted by our political scientists, politicians and the media due to the exaggeration of the influence of carbon dioxide. Pre 1900 weather data have been dismissed and most land based records have been “tampered with” to accentuate the current political narrative.

    However, perhaps one of the world’s important weather event, the Carrington event of 1859, was due to a coronal mass ejection where the telegraph systems were electrified and people could read at night due to the brilliance of auroras has been forgotten. If it were to happen again its effect on the electricity grid and communication systems would be profound.

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      If [something similar to a Carrington event] were to happen again its effect on the electricity grid and communication systems would be profound.

      Which is why military services, around the world, still teach people to send and recieve signals via Morse Code. The combination of an on/off signal, and the trained human ear, can penetrate most electromagnetic and electrostatic noise.

      A nuclear exchange would produce something similar to a Carrington event. I hope nobody reading this blog ever has to witness one.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Which is why military services, around the world, still teach people to send and recieve signals via Morse Code. The combination of an on/off signal, and the trained human ear, can penetrate most electromagnetic and electrostatic noise.

        Well then. I should be back in demand someday. However, I have seen QRN (natural noise if you’re not familiar with Q-signs) so bad that I could tell my other end was there where he should be and transmitting by the sound of the transmitter but no amount of “trained human ear” could copy through the overwhelming noise. Not even the radio telegraph code (its correct name) is fool proof.

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  • #
    Manfred

    “We hope that this it’s going to allow us to improve our models, so that we can put the right physics in, and we can actually make predictions about where and when reconnections actually happen…” 2.42

    Refreshing to hear a genuine NASA scientist speaking. He provides a stark contrast to his ersatz climate ‘colleagues’, that melange of politically driven activists, adjusters and modellers over at GISS. It’s hard to credit they both exist within the same organisation. Surely GISS only survives within a culture of genuine science courtesy of the self-serving largesse of the political funding masters?

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      Roy Hogue

      I’m just happy when I see NASA doing something that actually appears to be useful. I smile and say thank god for small favors. :-)

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  • #
    oldbrew

    Since magnetism is invisible as stated, how are they ‘observing’ magnetic reconnection? Something seems to be missing in the description.

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    • #
      John Silver

      Good catch, since it’s BS. There is another explanation:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaTGsPr1r54#t=73

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    • #
      Yonniestone

      The European Space Agency launched the Swarm satellite system in 2013 to measure earth’s magnetic activity, there’s related articles at the bottom of the link page, cheers.

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      You take the word “observing” in its narrowest sense, to mean seeing, presumably with the human eye, that only detects a narrow band of light frequencies.

      Instruments can observe a much broader range of electromagnetic spectra, including magnetic flux.

      Lesson for today: Don’t let the limitations of natural language define your mental appreciation of a concept.

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      sophocles

      Since magnetism is invisible as stated, how are they ‘observing’ magnetic reconnection?

      Magnetism doesn’t exactly exist on it’s own. Where there is a magnetic field, there is a moving electric field (charged particles as in Solar Wind). Which means the magnetic field is also moving. Hence Electro-Magnetic, the stuff of radio, and light, from infra-red through visible to ultraviolet, X-Ray to Gamma Rays. We can detect and measure it with suitable detectors and attached instrumentation. The Mark ! human eyeball is often quite unsuitable, being only able to sense an extremely narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the Visible Wavelengths of light. Moving electromagnetic fields (aka Radio, light etc) are commonly detectable by radio receivers or suitable cameras. Not exactly FM Modern Hits or TV’s soap opera’s but similar–for physicists :-)

      The Magnetic storm last weekend (May 8th) created some magnificent auroras at both poles. Our eye can see the light emitted from them. Kp-level of 6.5 meant a good show. Pity Auckland had horizon to horizon cloud yet again. I should say: As Usual. Every now and then the Universe forgets and gives me a good view :-) .

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    Roy Hogue

    Ouch!

    I already have enough trouble getting a handle on magnetism and now there’s reconnection to deal with. And I don’t mean that I don’t understand what it does or how to make use of it to do beneficial things, like generate electricity or keeping my wife’s grocery list stuck to the refrigerator door. What has always bothered me is the question, why is there magnetism in the first place? Or maybe, what is magnetism in the first place? What is the necessity of it? A field whose lines of force begin on some material object and has a force always along those lines, like gravity or an electric field, is easy. But magnetic lines of force begin in thin air and loop back on themselves and if they have any action, exert any force on anything, it’s definitely not along those lines describing the field but at right angles to them.

    It’s not intuitively necessary or useful if I was designing the universe.

    So what exactly is magnetism what purpose does it serve? Why is it necessary (I can think of one answer and a lot more questions)?

    Help! Some of you physicists must be able to give me some kind of an answer.

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      Yonniestone

      Sorry Roy not a Physicist but the is the Electric Universe Theory that offers answers to your questions.

      It blows my mind too, double ouch! :)

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        Roy Hogue

        That was quick!

        It’s also along the general line of what I suspect — and without qualifications sufficient to suspect it — that magnetism is a manifestation of something very fundamental about mass-energy, something perhaps several more layers down than what we currently understand (or think we understand). And if that’s true then its purpose isn’t as obvious as the purpose of other forces we know about, which appear to be necessary and therefor intentional whereas magnetism may not be necessary but is a byproduct of something else. That it’s useful to us may not be a consideration in the design. Well, I don’t know so don’t pay too much attention to all that. But it’s a fascinating thing to think about.

        And yes, the absolutely beautiful complexity of the universe blows my mind too. I have seen it described as chaotic but when I look at it I see something that’s running on some set of well defined rules, rules we simply do not fully comprehend. And the universe is unfortunately not under any obligation to tell us what they are. Nuts! But when there are rules that it follows, then it can’t be chaotic, at least not to me.

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          TdeF

          No, magnetism is a force created by the well known electrical force measured in voltage. It is not something deeper and more mysterious, more the quiet twin. Voltages drive charged particles to move in a line and create currents. However currents then create magnetic forces which act only on moving particles or currents. Thus such things as transformers which can move all the energy from one circuit to another disconnected circuit.

          Magnetic forces are in circles around a current. It is a simple enough observation if you have a wire and some iron filings. Such things were used to amuse. No one much understood the potential.

          Electrical and magnetic forces are twins described as electromagnetism. Light itself can be described as electromagnetic waves where the electrical force swaps with the magnetic force as the light propagates and one produces the other, playing tag. Magenetic forces though are much weaker as they act on currents not stationary particles but the energy in an electromagnetic wave is equal in both.

          Electrical forces were far from obvious though and took a long time to discover, even though they dominate our modern lives. Electricity was used only for amusement. It was Benjamin Franklin and his kite who demonstrated that electricity and lightning were the same thing, which gave electricity a new frightening dimension. Iron filings form patterns around current and that was the first clue that electricity could do what magnets did, a force outside the wire, the same force used in transformers. That fundamental idea that current produced magnetic forces and magnetic forces could push currents around was the founding idea of electric generators and motors, which are simply the reverse of each other, like magnetism and electricity.

          It is great to see that NASA is doing incredible work on magnetic forces which are so important to understanding our situation and perhaps our survival. This makes a change from James Hansen’s absurd populist idea that CO2 and only CO2 affects our weather. I notice he too has moved on from Global Warming to Climate Change.

          Perhaps that is because the CO2 is still going up and the temperature is not changing. Even a non scientist knows that is proof the CO2 Global Warming is wrong. Better to imply CO2 affects climate and storms and bushfires. It is still hard to believe that a few countries paying a CO2 tax can make any difference at all. Socialism posing as environmentalism, to quote our PM.

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            Roy Hogue

            TdeF,

            I think you misunderstand my question. I’ve never seen anything that convinces me that it’s necessary for moving charge (whether + or -) to create a magnetic field encircling its path. It does nothing I can see that is compelling as far as creating or supporting that moving charge. I readily admit that it can interact with that moving charge and that the side effects of that are very useful but I don’t understand why it’s necessary for it to be there. Was the universe put together just so we could have convenient electricity?

            I made reference above to one possible answer I can think of but so far no one picked up on it. If I wanted electromagnetic fields, a field that could travel through space, then I might design magnetism so it could be the necessary second component of that field. But then I’m left wondering why, at smaller and smaller wavelengths, electromagnetic waves behave more and more like particles.

            I’m just an amateur at this but I’ve a burning curiosity about it. And my questions always run along the lines of not, how does it behave as Maxwell’s equations or Ohm’s law describe it — we can understand the behavior of it quite well — but why is it there and what is the underlying mechanism? My conclusion, the only one I can see, is that there’s a lot of underlying stuff we don’t understand. We know a lot about what happens. We see the wizard talking and dancing and he follows our orders these days. But we don’t know how that guy behind the curtain is doing it because we can’t see him (yet anyway).

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              TdeF

              You raise many issues. One is travelling electromagnetic energy, waves vs particles. Both are true. They are only models, trying to explain the world in terms we can understand and to which we relate. You pick the model which works.

              The next is magnetism vs electricity. In an electric motor electrical force is converted into current which becomes magnetic force and that is converted into mechanical force. A generator is the reverse. Transformers convert AC current at one voltage into magnetic force and then into current at a different voltage, so firstly magnetic energy is a total equivalent to electrical energy. Incidentally transformers were the reason Telsa succeeded with AC motors and Thomas Edison failed with his DC motors.

              Another idea you raise is why magnetic forces circle a current which clearly bothers you. While this is quite obvious, it has no a priori explanation. I could only suggest that your car uses a similar method to transmit up/down cylinder energy to the back wheels. Forces are often radial and not linear. Get on a bicycle.

              Thereafter mechanical analogies fail. Things connecting invisibly without a medium had people puzzled, so there was the theory of an ether through which electromagnetic radiation was transmitted. There are still fundamental problems in quantum mechanics with things being connected at vast distances by no known mechanism and there is still no unifying single theory which covers all laws from nuclear to galactic, but for electricity and magnetism, there are no mysteries. For example, in mechanical things, Einstein did not show Newton was wrong. Both are true. It depends on the situation as to which model you use.

              As for explaining why things are the way they are, the answer is 42.

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                Roy Hogue

                You raise many issues. One is travelling electromagnetic energy, waves vs particles. Both are true. They are only models, trying to explain the world in terms we can understand and to which we relate. You pick the model which works.

                And there you’ve stated my problem — we can use these things to our advantage by figuring out the rules that describe how they can be manipulated. But we don’t understand the underlying mechanism that implements them nor do we understand the “why” of them. We have mathematical explanations of the behavior but that’s all we have (unless I’ve missed something). Why are they there? Not only why magnetism but why electric charge in the first place? And I can’t believe it’s just so we can make convenient use of them.

                It’s like having a lamp in your living room and knowing how to turn it on and off but not knowing why you need it or anything about electricity, not even knowing it exists. About the lamp we do know the answers of course. But in the world of physics, just one layer down from the lamp example, we’re apparently still unable to say why or how.

                It’s a devilish question because the only way we have to investigate these things appears to be with math, developing equations that describe the behavior we see a la Maxwell and others.

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              Wayne Job

              Roy, You have hit the nail on the head, a friend of mine and I have been doing exotic experiments with no electricity involved that has been producing magnetic fields at least a half mile in diameter and X-rays we have a couple of universities involved by their baffling nature. Where it leads we have no idea but it seems to be the force that Tesla tapped into. Cheers

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                Roy Hogue

                I’m not sure what you mean by, “…the force that Tesla tapped into.” But I hope it leads to something new and exciting.

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              Peter Shaw

              Roy Hogue -
              I sympathise, but you may be trying too hard, without the right help (I found none). You should have your mind clear on simple distinctions such as “uncharged” vs “charge-balance” and “no current” vs “no external current”.

              “Magnetism” has no independent existence. It’s probably the only phenomenon where we can experience relativity effects directly (don’t let that put you off ;) ). Anyone with basic relativity has a hint of this from the fact that electricity and magnetism are related by the *square* of light velocity – a term ubiquitous in relativistic transformations.

              In the everyday world, relativity is utterly negligible, except for the case of a perfect balance of strong forces that is disturbed by relative motion. Specifically: An “uncharged” copper wire is a line of mobile electrons coaxial with a line of copper ions; set them in relative motion (= “external current”), and the wire exerts an *electric* force on an external charge which also varies with the (relative) velocity of the latter (= “magnetism”).
              BTW no “hand rule” required.

              Solar plasma is a mass of ions and electrons. Escape of any particle is resisted by the (strong) electric force. These charges must be in organised relative motion, or the plasma would neither have nor respond to a “magnetic field”. Large-scale motion of charges can readily be understood to have or contain energy.

              Which is as far as I’ve got.
              Is there a real physicist out there who can explain basic plasma dynamics, “magnetic field lines”, and “reconnection” in relativistic-electrodynamic terms, avoiding the jargon of Faraday and Maxwell? I realise it’s a big ask…

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                Roy Hogue

                “Magnetism” has no independent existence. It’s probably the only phenomenon where we can experience relativity effects directly (don’t let that put you off ;) ).

                I remember reading an explanation of magnetism as the relativistic effect of moving charge. It snowed me under in part but the basic thing I remember getting out of it is that to someone to whom the charge is not moving — let’s assume he’s moving along parallel to a conductor with some current “I”, at the same rate as the electrons that comprise “I” — there is no magnetic field.

                As Alice said, curiouser and curiouser.

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        Gary in Erko

        We usually think of the universe as a bunch of material objects with various forces such as gravity & magnetism as secondary attributes. Turn that upside down. The forces manifest only small parts of their nature as material stuff.

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      exArding James

      Roy… I have been interested in these questions (as an amateur) for many years. I have had this sneaky suspicion that there are even smaller particles than those so far discovered which could account for the physical phenomena we humans observe.

      I came across this site recently which is intriguing to say the least;
      http://maldwynphysics.org/

      James

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        Roy Hogue

        Ouch! No! Double ouch! I had to go back and look up Planck’s constant to get through the abstract. It’s been a long time since I was in school and much of what I learned has vanished. Unfortunately the curiosity didn’t vanish with it.

        It would take me a long time to go through all the math and get very much from that paper besides the basic fact that it derives new mathematical explanations (a common explanation?) of quantum and classical behavior and still doesn’t answer the why or how question.

        The search is still very compelling, even retired and enjoying spending my time on almost anything but my former profession, computer science.

        About smaller particles… …if something has complex behavior you can be certain it has a complex structure. Even an electron, which last I heard, appears to be a single point source of negative charge (yet it has mass?), has complex behavior. And that bothered me because only having a complex structure can explain that as far as I can see. How can something complex appear to be a single point, which to me implies zero as it’s size. But I ain’t the expert.

        It’s no end of fun. But I lack the time, money and more to the point, detailed knowledge to do more than think about these things. I should have been a physics major.

        I’ve been surprised that no one called my attention to some glaring mistake in what I’ve said.

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    Gary in Erko

    a 12,000km ball of lava with a thin crust of rocks and 15 km of damp air, floats in a sea of magnetically charged fields

    What a beautiful picture this paints. I live on this little marble.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      That is very poetic.

      But you introduce dimensionality with the concept of floating in a sea.

      Better to say that we are drifting in a multi-dimensional matrix of forces.

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    handjive

    “The liquid iron flowing in the Earth’s core maybe what drives a magnetic field some 40,000 km to 370,000 km out beyond the Earth.”

    From the first sentence you show you didn’t research this properly.

    The world’s leading go-to climate scientist Al Gore says the earth’s core is millions of degrees hot smug.

    He won a Nobel prize too, dontcha know?

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    PeterPetrum

    Jo,

    “The liquid iron flowing in the Earth’s core maybe may be what drives a magnetic field some 40,000 km to 370,000 km out beyond the Earth.”

    I think?

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      Bob Campbell

      Thanks for that. I decided to ignore it as I’ve already pointed out a few grammatical errors over time and don’t want to get a reputation as an insufferable pedant.

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        PeterPetrum

        The only reason I commented was that I had to read it three times before I made sense of it! How can a pedant who is correct be insufferable? My wife is always correct, so I have data to support my opinion!

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    el gordo

    What is the difference between a magnetic pole and geomagnetic pole?

    http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/poles/figs/pole_ns.gif

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    RB.

    If you think about how the 0.7W/m2 extra imbalance since industrial times corresponds to the same amount of extra energy from albedo dropping by half a percent (an imperceptibly small drop in cloud cover) you do realise how stupid this “what else could it be” argument really is when saying that its settled that CO2 is the cause of 1°C (and probably quite a fair bit less without the fudging) of warming.

    If I had a fist full of tax-payer funds I would be exploring how sun activity and global climate might be correlated because gravitational effects on both via changes in currents in each (instead of a concerted effort to suppress publications even suggesting such a correlation). Only came across the other day that the Atacama trench is responsible for the Humbolt current. Somehow, changes within the trench can’t possibly be responsible for El Nino that makes a huge difference to global temperatures (only in the thermometer record after 1998).

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    OzWizard

    Magnetic “Lines of Force” (MLFs) are not physical (geometric) lines; they are immaterial mental constructions, like isobars on a weather map. As isobars tell us something about air pressure above the land surface (regions where the same pressure exists) so MLFs tell us how a “tiny magnet” would align itself IF it were placed at any particular point, i.e. they are hypothetical. But without any “tiny magnet” being present, no force can be exerted.

    So magnetic “Lines of Force” should be called something like “iso-lines” or “compass potentials”, if we don’t want to confuse ourselves.

    The fundamental physical concept underlying the NASA article is called “electric charge”, but please don’t ask me to define it.

    Every definition of “electric charge” you can think of is basically self-referential; which means it is a fundamental physical concept, like “mass”, “length” or “time”.

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        ROM

        Maybe I am just plain dumb but a long time puzzle for myself.

        Magnetic field lines reconnect! But how and why?

        We see many photographic illustrations of immense magnetic lines of force looping along the magnetic field lines and reconnecting in the Sun’s corona.

        Now how the hell does each leading tip of each of those magnetic “field” lines where ever they may be, on any space body or a simple magnet on a kitchen table which the “field lines” can be seen with a few iron filings, actually know where to meet each other to reconnect?

        The “field” lines themselves have to pre exist for those magnetic forces to reconnect.
        So what are the forces that allow the “field lines” themselves to have a definable and predictable construct where the “field line” tips connect to enable the magnetic forces to be channel along and to re-connect with a consequent release of energy.

        Why aren’t those magnetic “field lines” of force just endlessly spreading out in long filaments into space never to meet and reconnect?

        We are told that it is a “field” that the magnetism operates within and along.

        But what is that “field” or any “field” be it gravitational or electrical or what ever?

        A “field” implies that there is an underlying something, a carrier of some sort that the “field” exists in and constrains the “field” to an orderly construct so that the magnetic [ or gravitational or electrical "fields" ] all follow a closely defined set of basic rules to enable the “field’s” forces to continue to exist.

        My limited reading on this theory of “fields” seems to involve a hell of a lot of arm waving and nothing of real substance as to what is the space based forces or underlying and still unresolved “substance” for the sake of a better word choice, on which “fields” be they magnetic of gravitational or electrical or whatever, are based and located on and given their order and their construct and their abilities to channel the forces the “field” supports, in predictable ways.

        What is that deep background component that fills all of space that enables a “field” to exist, a “field” that acts as a conduit and directs and constrains those basic magnetic and gravitational forces of our Universe so that they act in quite predictable ways such as re-connection of magnetic fields and the channelling of those magnetic forces whether they be solar, earth bound or on the kitchen table, along those “reconnection” lines of force.?

        To myself those well ordered “fields” can’t exist unless there is a deeper force or component that enables those “fields” to have a measurable, ordered and definable existence.

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          oldbrew

          As OzWizard said, a magnetic field line is a concept not a physical 3D entity.

          That’s why it’s misleading to talk about them ‘re-connecting’ IMO.

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          Analitik

          You are destined to remain puzzled – it is equivalent to asking how are the EM waves propagating in a vacuum. The theory (once James Clerk Maxwell formulated his equations) was that vacuum was field with “ether” which was then attempted to be detected but this always failed

          The Michaelson-Morley experiments finally determined that there was no such thing as the “ether”

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            Analitik

            That should have been Michelson not Michaelson

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            OzWizard

            Not quite right, Analitik. The M&M experiment only proved that, IF an aether was present, it could not be detected using their apparatus.

            The inability of an experiment to detect something says more about the assumptions on which the experiment was based than it does about the logical inferences drawn from the “null result” (and those conclusions are not logically sound).

            Even Einstein accepted the existence of the aether; he simply said (in effect) that his relativity theory did not need to take it into account. In other words, his theory does not deal with the concept in any way. Again, that says more about his theory than it does about “What the aether consists of”.

            When physics resorts to “massless particles” and tries to treat time as a “fourth space-dimension”, we really have lost the plot and become disconnected from reality. Such statements are literally incoherent.

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              Analitik

              The Michelson-Morely experiments would have revealed an “ether” (or aether, if you like) that EM waves propagate through. If there is an “ether”, then EM waves are not affected by it (unless the ether follows earth’s movement through space-time). As such, any such medium is not the one postulated for EM waves so the “ether” as defined does not exist.

              Einstein’s comment was more about whether the vacuum was empty or not (experiments tend to show the momentary existence of virtual particles – eg the Casimir effect).

              Yes, massless particles and wavelengths for ordinary matter do suggest that we really have lost the plot and become disconnected from reality and such statements are literally incoherent. It’s too bad that they are the best explanation for the way the world works at the sub atomic level. Anyone who says they fully understand quantum theory hasn’t read the definitions and implications correctly.

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                OzWizard

                The Michelson-Morely experiments would have revealed an “ether” …

                A bold prediction, Analitik. Under what new conditions? Let’s agree that the existence of a spatially-continuous medium is consistent with wave theory. On that premise we deduce certain necessary properties of that (postulated) medium: (i) high rigidity; (ii) imperceptible by known interference techniques (on the earth) and (iii) provides no discernible resistance to motion of matter. That’s about all we can do.

                Neither you nor Einstein can define the aether, so described, out of existence. Science does not work that way. Postulates are necessarily tentative propositions, open to refutation. Inventing “massless particles” is just as futile as denying the existence of something we have not yet found a means or method to detect. Introducing the undefinable concept of so-called “wave-particle duality” demonstrates our collective ignorance of the ways of nature.

                …they are the best explanation for the way the world works at the sub atomic level.

                If that is the case, we are definitely going backwards.

                May I now add “virtual particle” to the list of “literally incoherent concepts”? No particle of any kind can come out of “nothing”. If you want particles to “appear”, there must be some as-yet undefined and unobserved thing present in “space”.

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                Analitik

                Not a bold prediction at all – it’s just how science is advanced

                Strictly speaking, all science is hypothesis as only mathematical principles can be “proven”. Take that stance if you like – it’s the one favored by creationists.

                At some point, in any field, you choose the hypothesis which provides the predictions that best fit measurements and apply that to problems. Otherwise, you might as well stick with philosophy.

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    ROM

    Off Topic;

    Down! Down! Down! always Down!

    How low can ECS [ Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity ] go?

    Abstract quote via the Bishop Hill blog;

    GCM values of EqCS and EfCS vary widely [IPCC range: (1.5, 4.5)°C] and have failed to converge over the past 35 years.
    Recently, attempts have been made to refine the EfCS approach by using two-zone (tropical/extratropical) EBMs.
    When applied using satellite radiation data, these give low and tightly-constrained EfCS values, in the neighbourhood of 1°C.
    These low observational EfCS/two-zone EBM values have been questioned because (a) they disagree with higher observational EfCS/ZDM values, and (b) the EfCS/two-zone EBM values given by GCMs are poorly correlated with the standard GCM sensitivity estimates.

    35 years and a few hundred millions of dollars of lavishly funded Climate warming research and the climate warmists and climate modellers and assorted climate science troughers have yet to come to any agreed and proven and confirmed conclusions as to what those couple of fundamental to the entire global warming ideology , the climate sensitivity numbers really are.
    Sensitivity numbers that started some 35 years ago as being around in a range from 4.5C per doubling of pre-industrial CO2 now down today to a suggested 1C for a doubling of the pre-industrial CO2 levels of a claimed 285 ppm.

    Those climate sensitivity numbers are at the very core and are fundamental to any claims of the warmist belief in a human created catastrophic global warming / climate change.
    At a 1C per doubling of CO2, the numbers become indistinguishable from the inherent noise in any complex system such as the global climate.

    With a 1C sensitivity number the global warming / climate change cult no longer has any RATIONAL reasons left to continue to exist.
    But then of course, the warmists alarmists and climate change catastrophists and renewable energy pimps are anything but rational in any sense except in the amounts of funding they can continue to extract from the politicals.

    [ Someday I might even come across some sort of a realistic sounding explanation on just what is the real and actual definition of "climate change" as promoted by those of the Climate change Catastrophist's ideology and beliefs.
    The Craig Thomases and FINS and Silly Fillys of this world don't seem to have a clue as to what it is they seem to believe in.
    None of them have ever provided any explanation or any definition as to what they believe in that makes up the so called "Climate Change" they so rabidly promote.]

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    Ruairi

    The Earth’s great magnetic field,
    Can obstruct solar winds like a shield,
    But when lines ‘reconnect’,
    It can fail to protect,
    And to plasma explosions must yield.

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    Stephen Mcdonald

    Is there a list of green energy catastrophic failures where taxpayers money has been used that has facts and figures
    Also who benefited from each enterprise.

    I want to wave it in front of a few of my friends

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      ROM

      The German to English translated NoTricksZone blog run by Pierre Gosselin has numerous posts where the greens and the Renewable energy fiasco now morphing into a disaster in Germany, are quoted.

      Plus quite often the english Bishop Hill blog has tales of numerous troughers and developing green and renewable energy debacles in the english context.

      For a lot of analysis and commentary on temperature numbers and deliberate climate data corruption ; Paul Homewood’s NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT blog.

      For Renewable energy numbers and lots of ‘ Euan Mearns Energy Matters

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    el gordo

    Earth’s magnetic field has the power to create more clouds.

    http://www.viewzone.com/magnetic.weather.html

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    Wayne Job

    We have a long way to go, what NASA is looking at is a result of something, finding the cause is a long way away judging the progress of science from the past.

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    ren

    Abstract
    The water cycle is the most active and most important component in the circulation of global mass and energy in the Earth system. Furthermore, water cycle parameters such as evaporation, precipitation, and precipitable water vapour play a major role in global climate change. In this work, we attempt to determine the impact of solar activity on the global water cycle by analyzing the global monthly values of precipitable water vapour, precipitation, and the Solar Modulation Potential in 1983–2008. The first object of this study was to calculate global evaporation for the period 1983–2008. For this purpose, we determined the water cycle rate from satellite data, and precipitation/evaporation relationship from 10 years of Planet Simulator model data. The second object of our study was to investigate the relationship between the Solar Modulation Potential (solar activity index) and the evaporation for the period 1983–2008. The results showed that there is a relationship between the solar modulation potential and the evaporation values for the period of study. Therefore, we can assume that the solar activity has an impact on the global water cycle.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682616300530
    Abstract
    A link between solar wind magnetic sector boundary (heliospheric current sheet) crossings by the Earth and the upper-level tropospheric vorticity was discovered in the 1970s. These results have been later confirmed but the proposed mechanisms remain controversial. Extratropical-cyclone tracks obtained from two meteorological reanalysis datasets are used in superposed epoch analysis of time series of solar wind plasma parameters and green coronal emission line intensity. The time series are keyed to times of maximum growth of explosively developing extratropical cyclones in the winter season. The new statistical evidence corroborates the previously published results (Prikryl et al., 2009). This evidence shows that explosive extratropical cyclones tend to occur after arrivals of solar wind disturbances such as high-speed solar wind streams from coronal holes when large amplitude magneto-hydrodynamic waves couple to the magnetosphere-ionosphere system. These MHD waves modulate Joule heating and/or Lorentz forcing of the high-latitude thermosphere generating medium-scale atmospheric gravity waves that propagate energy upward and downward from auroral zone through the atmosphere. At the tropospheric level, in spite of significantly reduced amplitudes, these gravity waves can provide a lift of unstable air to release the moist symmetric instability thus initiating slantwise convection and forming cloud/precipitation bands. The release of latent heat is known to provide energy for rapid development and intensification of extratropical cyclones.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682616300967

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    Louis Hissink

    Magnetic reconnection? No such thing. Magnetic field lines are like topographic contour lines – abstractions to aid comprehension. Magnetic field lines are no more breakable than topographic contours.

    But the physical phenomenon of magnetic flux-tubes breaking and joining is real – except that these are plasma Birkeland currents with the apparent breaking -reconnecting observed as the electric current trips from dark plasma mode to glow-mode.

    In dark-mode the current is invisible, but as the voltage and current is increased, it then trips into the visible mode, or plasma glow mode and it is this tripping in and out of visibility that leads to the mistaken belief that the flux tubes are breaking and reconnecting.

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    Brent Walker

    I saw an interesting experiment in the deeper look section of Suspicious Observers recently. It helps explain the concepts Louis was explaining. http://www.suspicious0bservers.org/may-9-2016/. You may have to become a premium member of this site to gain access to the wealth of material on this site. It is well worth the premium.
    What will make this magnetism theory so interesting for the first half of this century is that while the sun is in grand minimum mode there will be an increased incidence of coronal holes that extend into the sun’s equatorial regions and hence we get from these large dense streams of plasma travelling at 2 or 3 times the usual speed of the solar wind. Couple these with shock waves from the odd Coronal Mass Ejection and or the shock wave from a Filament eruption and so you get a greater incidence of magnetic storms. This seems to be the reason for the observed increased incidences of auroras during the Maunder and Dalton Grand Minimums. (This, previously, never made sense to me until I finally understood the influence of coronal holes.)
    Suspicious Observers have crowd-funded an app, which is currently under construction, that will provide short-term predictability of large earthquake and volcanic seismic events as well as extreme weather phenomena. It will be using space weather and its influence on outward long-range radiation anomalies on Earth’s surface to make these predictions in real time.

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    jim

    An asside here: magnets do not attract each other? The field lines interconnect. Making an attraction or repulsion, depending on alignment.
    The paper describes the attraction of the earth and the sun as magnetic, and separate. But is it. I believe not. The forces are together for the attraction if the plasma’s transfer to our atmosphere. As the sun got hotter in the past, it offgasses, electrons, on up to atoms. Call it gasseous chuncks. That plasma follows the magnetic lines,broken lines mean anywhere, connected lines, to earth mean it comes here. AKA: star stuff. Unfortunately, as we pass to a greater distance, fewer lines connect, as our core cools, fewer lines will connect, as the baricenter passes, even fewer and as the poles weaken, and shift…

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