Climate Foibles

For those convinced that Climate Change is is the cause of insufficient taxation, heavy carbon usage and the election of Trump as President, they now will point to the sudden eruption of sunspots as a further death of Gaia. Here’s the imagery they want to use to bolster their case.

A moderately large sunspot group is emerging at the circled location.. Credit: SDO/HMI

The Sunspot Number

Scientists track solar cycles by counting sunspots — cool planet-sized areas on the Sun where intense magnetic loops poke through the star’s visible surface.

Counting sunspots is not as straightforward as it sounds. Suppose you looked at the Sun through a pair of (properly filtered) low power binoculars — you might be able to see two or three large spots. An observer peering through a high-powered telescope might see 10 or 20. A powerful space-based observatory could see even more — say, 50 to 100. Which is the correct sunspot number?

There are two official sunspot numbers in common use. The first, the daily “Boulder Sunspot Number,” is computed by the NOAA Space Environment Center using a formula devised by Rudolph Wolf in 1848:

R=k (10g+s),

where R is the sunspot number; g is the number of sunspot groups on the solar disk; s is the total number of individual spots in all the groups; and k is a variable scaling factor (usually <1) that accounts for observing conditions and the type of telescope (binoculars, space telescopes, etc.). Scientists combine data from lots of observatories — each with its own k factor — to arrive at a daily value.[snip]

And there yo have it!
People who have nothing better to do than burn out their retinas by staring at the sun with a pair of binoculars, count sunspots for you, add them up and tell you the world is ending.

Someone has to do it.


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