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Fraser
2004-Oct-28, 05:17 PM
SUMMARY: The Sun is more active today than it has been in 8,000 years, according to new research from the Max Planck Institute. Researchers discovered that a certain isotope of carbon, C-14, depends on the amount of cosmic rays that reach the Earth's surface. When solar activity is high, the Sun's magnetic field provides a shield against these cosmic rays, and when it's low, the Sun lets more cosmic rays reach the Earth. By measuring C-14 levels in dead trees which were buried in the ground, the scientists were able to build up a historic record of solar activity. Scientists have found that solar activity levels only slightly influence the Earth's climate and global temperature.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

Guest
2004-Oct-28, 06:02 PM
So...it's sorta a double-negative. The sun is more active now, but the effects of this are not too impactful.

John L
2004-Oct-28, 07:07 PM
I don't buy their logic. I thought C-14 was created through some other process and concentrated in living organisms. Are they taking that into account? Does carbon dating take their assertion into account? I don't think this article presents enough information.

I also disagree with the ascertion that sun spot activity has no effect on Earth's climate. What about the Little Ice Age and the Maunder Minimum?

om@umr.edu
2004-Oct-28, 08:35 PM
Thanks, Fraser, for another interesting story.

The origin of solar magnetic fields is one of the most fundamental issues of solar astrophysics. We published our opinion on this last year.

"Superfluidity in the Solar Interior: Implications for Solar Eruptions and Climate", Journal of Fusion Energy, volume 21 (2003) 193-198.

http://www.umr.edu/~om/abstracts2003/jfe-s...perfluidity.pdf (http://www.umr.edu/~om/abstracts2003/jfe-superfluidity.pdf)
http://www.umr.edu/~om/abstracts2003/jfe-s...uperfluidity.ps (http://www.umr.edu/~om/abstracts2003/jfe-superfluidity.ps)

Another is the link between the Sun's activity and Earth's climate. See the paper by Dr Theodor Landscheidt, “SOLAR ACTIVITY: A DOMINANT FACTOR IN CLIMATE DYNAMICS".

http://www.john-daly.com/solar/solar.htm

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

om@umr.edu
2004-Oct-28, 10:23 PM
It should be noted that evidence of recent global warming is still hotly debated.

See, for example, the paper by Willie Soon and David R. Legates, "Is the Hockey Stick Broken?"

http://www.techcentralstation.com/102704F.html

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

Victoria
2004-Oct-29, 12:18 AM
Remembering correctly, I was first (thankfully) introduced to U.T. after huge flares from the sun hit over a year ago. The sun, a very close star to us... my best friend. Hopefully, with the new super-computer we can learn a little more from its magnetism. B)

om@umr.edu
2004-Oct-29, 03:51 AM
I agree, Victoria.

As I recall, the Chinese solar observatory will focus on understanding solar magnetic fields.

That is, IMHO, one of the most pressing issues facing solar astrophysics.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

Charles Morris
2004-Oct-29, 12:45 PM
This extra Sun activity has to be because Bush did not sign the Kyoto Accords.

It is all the fault of the activities of humans.

:ph34r:

Have a good day

tgbotg
2004-Oct-29, 02:23 PM
Wasn't it last week when Fraser gave us a story about how there were no sunspots on the surface of the Sun? How can the Sun be so active with so few sunspots? I thought the more sunspots, the more solar activity. Am I wrong in this assertion?

Oh, here. I found the link to the story:

http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/no...l.html?18102004 (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/no_sunspots_at_all.html?18102004)

Hmm. Or is this talking about average activity? That the Sun is the most active now on average. Is that what they're saying? That might make more sense since we're at Solar Min now.

om@umr.edu
2004-Oct-29, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by tgbotg@Oct 29 2004, 02:23 PM
Or is this talking about average activity? That the Sun is the most active now on average. Is that what they're saying?
I think you are right.

They measured C-14 levels in tree rings to calculate past solar activity.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

yyz
2004-Oct-29, 03:29 PM
Just recently I read an article that the sun was at its lowest activity in 11-year cycle... which is now contradicted with this article. The article was posted and stated that the total lack of sunspots was an indicator of low solar activity on the surface of the sun. Perhaps someone else knows which is more or less true?

kkurtlove
2004-Oct-29, 06:36 PM
I would only add that the "picture" of the sun was only half the story.
There is another side to the view. :-)

As well, we need to take into account the Earths magnetic field which has been decreasing in intensity for the past 150 years or so.

As for C-14 dating. Lots of variables cause rates to change.
But primarily, what is the benchmark ratios?
All radio-metric dating is flawed as we must extrapolate the benchmark based on assumptions.

I feel drawn to this subject.

http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/earthmag/gauss.htm

http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/earthmag/sunspots.htm

Duane
2004-Oct-29, 07:45 PM
Perhaps someone else knows which is more or less true?

They are both true. The sun is currently entering the quiet period of its 22 year cycle. It average activity, however, is at its highest point in the last 8000 or do years.


All radio-metric dating is flawed as we must extrapolate the benchmark based on assumptions.

What assumption? The half-life of carbon 14? Or something else?

kkurtlove
2004-Oct-29, 08:55 PM
Assumptions.
The isotope ratios at the time of origin are not known.
C-14 C-16 and C-12 are the most common isotopes of Carbon.
To say you have a half life of C-14 is one thing.
But knowing how much of the C-14 is in original state is what is at issue.
How much of the C-14 was the decay from the decay of C-16?
The half life is an average decay rate and is slightly different for 16 and 14 isotopes.
But there is no way to know the initial state without measuring.

Or I could be all wet.

Adding>
http://pearl1.lanl.gov/periodic/elements/6.html

antoniseb
2004-Oct-29, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by kkurtlove@Oct 29 2004, 08:55 PM
Assumptions.
there is no way to know the initial state without measuring.
You are right about the core concepts, but have made a few factual errors here. By correcting the factual errors, I don't want to be seen as saying your overall message was wrong.

The three isotopes of Carbon that are important here are:
Carbon-12, which is about 99 percent of all carbon on Earth
Carbon-13, which is about 1 percent of all carbon on Earth
Carbon-14, which is radioactive with a half-life of several thousand years.

Carbon-14 is usually created in our upper atmosphere by cosmic rays altering Nitrogen-14. When the magnetic fields of the sun and Earth are weakest, the amount of Carbon-14 created is highest.
This Carbon-14 falls to Earth, and gets used by living things, such as trees.
Carbon-14 decays into Nitrogen-14.

We can examine a piece of wood, and find out what the ratio of C-12 to C-14 is. Matching this ratio to tree-rings of known years, we can use this ratio to estimate the age of the formerly-living Carbon-bearing object within about 50 years.

om@umr.edu
2004-Oct-30, 12:58 PM
Resenmut,

I agree with the theme, if not the details, of your comments:

The Sun:

a. Is not the center of the universe.

b. Wobbles from the motion of planets.

c. Is not a steady-state fusion reactor.

d. Has a variable output of energy.

e. Energy output is tied to solar cycles.

f. Which are tied to solar magnetic fields.

g. Solar magnetic fields and solar cycles are unexplained by the standard model of a Hydrogen-filled Sun.

I am not familiar with the debate about about "Planet X" but agree that the "Sun's activity is clearly tied with orbital motions of planets (Jupiter, Saturn)-11 years periodicity and also with . . . ."

The late Dr. Theodor Landscheidt of the Schroeter Institute for Research in Cycles of Solar Activity discussed this connection in a paper entitled, “SOLAR ACTIVITY: A DOMINANT FACTOR IN CLIMATE DYNAMICS".

http://www.john-daly.com/solar/solar.htm

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

lswinford
2004-Nov-01, 02:41 PM
Fun thing about cycles and averages. The sun can be at its lowest activity of its cycle at this moment of time, while the average intensity of solar activity can be higher.

Currently, the northern hemisphere is approaching winter. Temperatures will be falling, here. But the earth is getting closer to the sun. At the dead of winter the north pole will not be as cold as the south pole in the dead of its winter, when the earth is farther from the sun in our orbit.

Averaging things out over 8,000 years, say, includes averaging something over 700 sunspot cycles (assuming that those cycles are consistent to past events over that comparatively long period of time) can show a trend line. While our momentary oscilation may be down the trend is up. If this were the stock market, I'd say it was the time to buy because while the price is down the stock is still going to go up. :D

spacepunk
2004-Nov-30, 02:10 AM
Currently, the northern hemisphere is approaching winter. Temperatures will be falling, here. But the earth is getting closer to the sun. At the dead of winter the north pole will not be as cold as the south pole in the dead of its winter, when the earth is farther from the sun in our orbit.

This is a common statement but not entirely correct!

In the northern summer the Earth is ~152,500,000 km from the Sun while in the winter would be ~147,500,000 km away. It has been calculated that these differences in distance would only make for 1-2C difference in temperature if the situation was reversed (which cyclically occurs over thousands of years).

Since the winter season in the Antarctic is much colder than the Arctic, the explanations may be more related to Earth's inclination of orbit about the Sun, and the geographical uniqueness of each pole relative to one another. A solid continent at the south pole does not have the advantage of heat energy transfer by convection as would be found in the islands/Arctic Ocean at the north pole.

antoniseb
2004-Nov-30, 02:57 AM
Originally posted by spacepunk@Nov 30 2004, 02:10 AM
A solid continent at the south pole does not have the advantage of heat energy transfer by convection as would be found in the islands/Arctic Ocean at the north pole.

Plus the Southern winter is about four days longer than the Northern one.

spacepunk
2004-Nov-30, 03:00 AM
This extra Sun activity has to be because Bush did not sign the Kyoto Accords.
It is all the fault of the activities of humans.

Just found this post at http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.p...=climate+change (http://www.universetoday.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=2848&hl=climate+change)

Duane Posted: Apr 27 2004, 02:19 PM

Yea, the debate on this subject is going to get much more heated (pardon the pun ) with the recent evidence of warming throughout the solar enviroment. Recent news articles have discussed findings that Mars is just coming out of an iceage, and Pluto's atmosphere has thickened recently, despite the fact its orbit is currently taking it farther away from the sun.

I wonder if there are any measurements showing the sun's output has increased?

What percentage of global warming is directly attributed to humans anyway? The best Kyoto efforts would seem to be dwarfed, if not negated by antagonistic solar activity ...

om@umr.edu
2004-Nov-30, 03:59 AM
Originally posted by spacepunk@Nov 30 2004, 03:00 AM
What percentage of global warming is directly attributed to humans anyway? The best Kyoto efforts would seem to be dwarfed, if not negated by antagonistic solar activity ....
Spacepunk,

You may want to check out Climate Skeptics:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/climatesceptics/

Worries about global warming are largely based on an assumed constant solar output.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

spacepunk
2004-Dec-02, 02:21 AM
the Southern winter is about four days longer than the Northern one.

Just wondering about this new statistic, is this a reference to the number of days with no sunlight?

antoniseb
2004-Dec-02, 04:59 AM
Originally posted by spacepunk@Dec 2 2004, 02:21 AM
Just wondering about this new statistic, is this a reference to the number of days with no sunlight?
I suppose it works that way too. I was just counting the days from June 21 to Sept 21, and comparing it to Dec 21 to Mar 21.

om@umr.edu
2004-Dec-02, 04:17 PM
Regarding uncertainities in C-14 production in the upper atmosphere.

Material from the upper atmosphere (stratosphere), where C-14 is produced, preferentially mixes with air near the Earth's surface (troposphere) in the spring.

A "spring peak" is therefore observed in the deposition of radionuclides from the stratosphere.

As I recall, this was first noticed in "fall-out" from atmospheric nuclear weapons that carried radioactive fission products into the troposphere.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

John L
2004-Dec-02, 04:17 PM
tgbotg and yyz,

The level of measured activity on average is what they're talking about. They aren't comparing it to last week, but to the overall activity of 8,000 years. Yes, we are in the current minimum, but the minimums now are more active than they were 8,000 years ago, and the maximums are even more so. That's the point.