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Climate Change 1


Goo: Goo the Numbat. Let’s consider climate change and global warming. You have mentioned to me there may be some relevance to the aliens’ (EBEs) activities on planet Earth.
Erasmus: Erasmus. Let’s just overview climate change first. Climate change especially affects food production. Of all human activities, food production has the least reserve capacity. In general, we produce just enough food for most of us.

Changing food production would maximise social and economic impact for any level of intervention.

And there is the least reserve in countries with agricultural systems that are highly weather dependent and where livelihoods are largely agricultural. In countries such as Iraq ‘s southern provinces, 94% of people cite water scarcity is the main reason for their displacement – ahead of conflict, discrimination or unemployment. Approximately 50% of the world’s population lives in water stressed regions.

Water scarcity limits the use of croplands, but human activities exacerbate the scarcity of valuable agricultural land.

One third of the world’s cropland has been abandoned in the last 40 years due to erosion. And, every year, 20 million hectares (2000 square kilometres) of agricultural land either becomes too degraded for crop production or is lost in urban sprawl.

Scarcity of water or agricultural land, “stress “ the human population, driving conflict. Wherever climate shocks and conflict interact to create food crises, there is a high prevalence rate of acute malnutrition in children under the age of five – at rates of between 20 to 30%. Food supply problems devastate society for years.

Climate Devastation Chain
Climate Devastation Chain


Goo: Goo the Numbat. Look at this example of how limited water supply affects plant/ tree growth. In Fao, palm trees damaged during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s have still not grown back.

War Affecting Agriculture: Palm Trees
War Affecting Agriculture: Palm Trees

Erasmus: Erasmus. The key factors driving climate change (biosphere change) are changes in:
* Solar radiation
* Earth’s Albedo: clouds, cities/ human habitation, roads and deforestation especially
* The Presence of greenhouse gases: most especially water vapour and nitrous oxide, (surprisingly NOT carbon dioxide)
* UV (Ozone layer changes)
* Black Carbon
* Anthropogenic Dust Emissions
* Oceanic Acidification: more a factor in environmental change than climate change, but a very important factor in changes to planet earth today.

It is aspects of these issues which drive the greenhouse effect. The sun radiates heat/light to the earth. Some of the heat is retained by the Earth’s surface, and some is reradiated back into space to be lost. Water vapour is the most common greenhouse gas and has the greatest overall effect on atmospheric heat retention. Heating produces increased quantities of water vapour in the atmosphere, which exacerbates heat retention. It becomes obvious that water vapour acts in a positive feedback loop to create a greenhouse effect.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. Except if it rains. Then there is less water vapour acting as a greenhouse gas.

Dry Ground Dry Ground

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. Let’s consider each of these biosphere and climate modifying issues in turn.

Erasmus: Erasmus. In considering climate change, the first and most important thing to consider is the sun. Without solar energy, the world would be a frozen concentric tumbling lump of once hot rock.

The sun’s energy output does vary slightly with climate / biosphere effects. It varies over a cycle called the sunspot cycle which has a duration of approximately 11 years. There is a trend in solar output, currently increasing, which spans a number of these cycles over the past few decades. And in the very long-term, over the next few billion years, as the sun uses up its hydrogen fuel, the sun will swell till it encompasses our own earth within its photosphere. This planet will bake burn and melt.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. So, in any consideration of climate change, it is critical to consider the solar energy input into the climate/weather cycle on planet Earth. I would imagine the sun and the earth are in energy balance. If more energy from the sun hits the earth’s surface, the temperature of the surface of planet Earth rises, and then then more energy is reradiated from the earth, and vice versa.

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. So, tell us more about the variability of solar irradiance to planet Earth.
Erasmus: Erasmus. The sun’s radiation follows an 11-year cycle. The peak in solar activity (peak sunspots) is called a solar maximum. The trough in solar activity (lowest level of sunspots) is called a solar minimum.   Solar maximum or solar max is a regular period of greatest Sun activity during the 11-year solar cycle.

Solar Cycle Variation
Solar Cycle Variation

During solar maximum, large numbers of sunspots appear, and the solar irradiance output grows by about 0.07%. One way to track the solar cycle is by counting the number of sunspots. The beginning of a solar cycle is a solar minimum, or when the Sun has the least sunspots. Over time, solar activity—and the number of sunspots—increases.
The middle of the solar cycle is the solar maximum, or when the Sun has the most sunspots.

Over the course of one solar cycle (one 11-year period), the Sun’s emitted energy varies on average at about 0.1 percent. This is significant because the sun emits so much energy – 1,361 watts per square meter. Even fluctuations at just 0.1% can affect Earth considerably.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. 0.1% represents 1.36 W per square metre. It’s incredible to realise that what seems to be a tiny amount of heat energy can be incredibly significant in how hot the planet is.

11 years is an interesting timeframe for a solar cycle. Why 11 years?

Erasmus: Erasmus. The only observation I can offer is that the orbit of Jupiter is 11.86 years. Perhaps Jupiter in its orbit slingshots asteroids into the sun creating a cycle of events that has some relation to its orbital timeframe.

Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  An interesting and maybe even astute comment, if it is relevant.

Re Activity cycles seen in sunspot number index, TSI (total solar irradiance), 0.7cm radio flux, and flare index. Temporal variations of all quantities are tightly locked in phase, but the degree of correlation in amplitudes is variable to some degree.

Erasmus: Erasmus. Below: A solar cycle: a montage of ten years' worth of Yohkoh SXT images, demonstrating the variation in solar activity during a solar cycle, from after August 30, 1991, to September 6, 2001.

Solar Cycle In Montage Images
Solar Cycle In Montage Images




Erasmus: Erasmus. The Solar Cycle as observed by our observational satellites.

The total solar irradiance (TSI) is the amount of solar radiative energy incident on the Earth's upper atmosphere. TSI variations were unmeasured until satellite observations began in late 1978 using specially designed radiometers. TSI measurements varied from 1355 to 1375 W/m2 across more than ten satellites.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. Our record of continuing satellite measurements is unfortunately as with all things human, flawed!

SRI Solar Irradiance Composite SRI Solar Irradiance Composite


Erasmus: Erasmus. . The measurements varied but so did the technology.

The controversial 1989–1991 "ACRIM gap" between non-overlapping ACRIM satellites was interpolated by ACRIM scientists into a composite showing +0.037%/decade rise. Another series based on the ACRIM data is produced by the PMOD group and shows perhaps a 0.008% / decade downward trend. This 0.045%/decade difference is significant in climate modeling predictions.

Currently, the, reconstructed total solar irradiance models favour the PMOD series, to reconcile the ACRIM-gap issue

Erasmus: Erasmus. . The long stretch of minimal solar activity in 2008 and early 2009 prompted some questions about whether the Sun’s quiescence was beginning to rival that of the Maunder Minimum in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

NASA solar physicists have gone on record saying, “It’s definitely been an exceptional minimum, but only compared to the past 50 years.” Citing human observations of the Sun extending back four centuries, if we go back 100 years, we see that the 1913 minimum was at least as long and as deep as this one.”

So, although the minimal activity of the Sun in 2008-2009 is exceptional for the “modern” era, it does not yet rival the lowest levels of solar activity that have ever been observed.

Centuries of observations have shown that the number of sunspots waxes and wanes over a roughly 11-year period. Sunspots exhibit other predictable behaviour. If you map the location of the spots on the Sun’s surface over the course of a solar cycle, the pattern they make is shaped like a butterfly.

The butterfly pattern arises as the first sunspots of each new solar cycle occur mostly at the Sun’s mid-latitudes, but as the solar cycle progresses, the area of maximum sunspot production shifts toward the (solar) equator. Since regular sunspot observations began, astronomers have documented 24 cycles of sunspot activity.

Solar Cycle 24 began in early 2008, but showed minimal activity through early 2009.

The small changes in solar irradiance that occur during the solar cycle exert some influence  on Earth’s climate, with the solar maximum producing slightly higher temperatures, and solar minimum periods such as that seen in 2008 and early 2009 likely to have the opposite effect.

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. Solar energy is essential for life on planet Earth – heating the land surface, allowing plants to grow and photosynthesise, and driving oceanic (water) and atmospheric (air) circulation. It is critical in driving water-based processes such as evaporation, cloud formation and precipitation. Because of the Sun’s dominant influence on Earth’s function, it is important to accurately measure the solar input to Earth or solar irradiance. 

Goo: Goo the Numbat. Observation and knowledge is the underlying basis of models of climate. So, tell us about how humanity monitors the sun and climate.

SRI Solar Irradiance Composite SRI Solar Irradiance Composite

Erasmus: Erasmus. NASA has maintained continuous measurement of TSI (total solar irradiance) since 1978 through successive satellites: Nimbus-7/ERB, the ACRIMSat series, SORCE, TCTE, and the latest most advanced satellite – the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor-1 (TSIS-1), which was launched to the International Space Station on 15 December 2017. 


Historical Data Gathering Instruments

Nimbus-7 carried eight scientific instruments:
* Limb infrared monitoring of the stratosphere (LIMS),
* Stratospheric and mesospheric sounder (SAMS),
* Coastal-zone colour scanner (CZCS),
* Stratospheric aerosol measurement II (SAM II),
* Earth radiation budget (ERB),
* Scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR),
* Solar backscatter UV and total ozone mapping spectrometer (SBUV/TOMS), and
* Temperature-humidity infrared radiometer (THIR).

The Earth Radiation Budget (ERB) experiment on the Nimbus 7 satellite is a multipurpose experiment used to measure the solar irradiance, the Earth's reflected solar radiation, and the Earth's emitted longwave radiation. The ten-channel solar telescope was designed to measure the total solar irradiance as well as several spectral bands. Channel10c (where c stands for cavity) is a Hickey-Frieden electrically self-calibrating, thermopile-based, cavity radiometer with an estimated at-launch accuracy of 0.5% relative to the absolute radiation scale. The estimated instrument stability is ~0.03%.
Dates: November 1978 - July 1991

ACRIMSAT is a small satellite mission to monitor the amount of total solar energy input to Earth. Its objective is to monitor the solar constant, or TSI (Total Solar Irradiation), with maximum precision and provide a long-term TSI data record.

ACRIMSAT is part of a multi-decade effort to understand variations in the sun's output and resulting effects on Earth.
It uses The Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor instrument-3 (ACRIM-3)
Dates: December 1999 - December 2013

The ACRIM1 instrument was the first instrument to show clearly that solar irradiance does vary. The peak-to-peak TSI change was ~ 0.1 % between the activity maximum of 1980 and the minimum in 1986.
This discovery provided a new paradigm for the connection between climate change and TSI variability.

Correlations between TSI and climate have been made extending back in time using various solar activity proxies.
The relationship between TSI and known climate changes, such as the little ice age ~ (1400 - 1900), the medieval climate optimum ~ (800 - 1300) and other longer term climate events are now understandable in terms of solar forcing.
Dates: February 1980 - December 1989

The ACRIM1 experiment's results provided the first discoveries of intrinsic variations in the TSI and their relationships to solar magnetic activity phenomena.
A precise knowledge of the TSI and its variation over time is essential to understanding climate change.




The SORCE Satellite The SORCE Satellite
Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) launched in January, 2003 provides measurements of incoming x-ray, ultraviolet, visible, near-infrared, and total solar radiation.

The measurements provided by SORCE specifically address long-term climate change, natural variability and enhanced climate prediction, and atmospheric ozone and UV-B radiation.

The TSI Calibration Transfer Mission (TCTE) was launched in 2013 on the Air Force Space Test Program spacecraft known as STPSat-3. The TCTE was intended as a bridge for the TSI record between the aging SORCE and future NASA Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS) mission.

The TSI and SSI research is important to improve the accuracy and sensitivity of solar irradiance to improve the “confidence limit” of predictions on future solar forcing estimates. Because gaps in the TSI or SSI record significantly degrade the accuracy of the long-term predictions (decades long) of variation of the solar irradiance, it is critical to continue the SORCE and TCTE observations to overlap with the future TSIS TSI and SSI measurements.

Three key accomplishments of the SORCE and TCTE missions are
* the continuation of the 38-year-long TSI record;
* the continuation of the ultraviolet (UV) SSI record; and
* the initiation of the near ultraviolet (NUV), visible (Vis), and near infrared (NIR) records.
Current relevant solar cycle minimums are 2018 and 2029.

Data processing algorithms that convert raw instrument signals to irradiances need to allow for instrument degradation trends and need algorithm updates to accommodate changes in spacecraft operations to ensure accurate final data. 

The SORCE spacecraft (S/C) has suffered degradation of battery performance that has impacted operations since 2009 and is the cause for the largest SORCE data gap (Aug. 2013-Feb. 2014). SORCE operations mode, called “Daylight Only Operations” (DO-Op) mode, has allowed SORCE to resume making solar observations during most orbits.

SORCE carries four instruments including:
* the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM),
* Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE),
* Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM), and
* the XUV Photometer System (XPS).


The Light Spectrum
The Light Spectrum

SORCE/TIM and TCTE Mission Highlights
The SORCE/TIM Determined a New, Lower Value of TSI Than Previous Measurements. Prior to the SORCE launch in 2003, on-orbit TSI instruments agreed with each other in measured TSI values near 1365 W/m2 near solar minima.

The new SORCE/TIM, including many optical, electrical, and calibration improvements over these prior instruments, measured values 0.35% lower than the other on-orbit instruments. Initially disregarded by the community as an error in the TIM instrument, this difference has recently been shown to be due to uncorrected scatter causing erroneously high measurements by other instruments, all of which have an optical design that differs from the TIM by allowing two to three times the amount of light intended for measurement into the instrument.

The TIM, placing the instrument's small precision aperture at the entrance, only allows the light intended for measurement into the instrument interior, and hence is much less susceptible to scattered light upsetting measurements.
Applying scatter corrections to other instruments' data brings their values down to those measured by the TIM, which reports a value of 1360.8 W/m^2 representative of the 2008 solar minimum (Kopp & Lean, 2011

SORCE/SIM Mission Highlights
Two major accomplishments of the SORCE/SIM are
* the continuation of the ultraviolet (UV) SSI record and
* the initiation of the near ultraviolet (NUV), visible (Vis), and near infrared (NIR) records.

The Total solar irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment is designed to continue measurements of the total solar energy input to Earth.
Dates: November 19, 2013 - June 2019





Latest most advanced satellite –
the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor-1 (TSIS-1),

launched to the International Space Station on 15 December 2017. 


TSIS-1 Satellite
NASA's Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor-1, or TSIS-1, a mission to measure the sun's radiative input to Earth, TSIS-1 was launched Dec. 15, 2017, and was designed to last for five years aboard the International Space Station.
TSIS-1 makes two measurements: total solar irradiance, or TSI, the sun's total energy input into Earth, and solar spectral irradiance, or SSI, the distribution of the sun’s ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light.

TSI measurements are needed to establish Earth’s total energy input while SSI measurements help us understand how the atmosphere responds to changes in the sun’s output. TSIS-1 holds two instruments to make these two measurements: the Total Irradiance Monitor, or TIM, and the Spectral Irradiance Monitor, or SIM.

The TIM and the SIM are significantly improved sensors over the ones on NASA's Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment, or SORCE, mission launched in January 2003.  The SIM measures solar spectral irradiance for 96 percent of the total solar energy, or TSI, that reaches Earth.  






Other Satellites Monitoring TSI:
Total Solar Irradiance

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. So, tell us more about the other satellites we have been using to date to monitor total solar irradiance.

TIMED is investigating the energetics of the Mesosphere and Lower-Thermosphere/Ionosphere (MLTI), the region in the Earth's atmosphere from about 60 to 180 km in altitude.

The TIMED Satellite The TIMED Satellite

TIMED Experiments:

The Global Ultraviolet Imager (GUVI) is a spatial-scanning, far-ultraviolet spectrograph designed to globally measure the composition and temperature profiles of the MLTI region ( Mesosphere and Lower-Thermosphere/Ionosphere) , as well as its auroral energy inputs.

The Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Experiment (SEE) is comprised of a spectrometer and a suite of photometers designed to measure the solar soft X-rays, extreme-ultraviolet and far-ultraviolet radiation that is deposited into the MLTI region.
The TIMED Doppler Interferometer (TIDI) is designed to globally measure the wind and temperature profiles of the MLTI region.

A multichannel radiometer known as SABER (Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry) is designed to measure heat emitted by the atmosphere over a broad altitude and spectral range, as well as global temperature profiles and sources of atmospheric cooling.

The solar measurements from SEE cover full-disk solar irradiance from 0.1 to 200 nm. The spectral resolution of the measurements is 0.4 nm at wavelengths above 25 nm and about 7 nm at wavelengths below 25 nm




NASA's UARS satellite, launched in 1991 from the Space Shuttle, was the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical constituents of the atmosphere with a goal for better understanding atmospheric photochemistry and atmosphere movement. It carried four instruments to measure the energy inputs from solar radiation and charged particles: SOLSTICE, SUSIM, PEM and ACRIM-2.

Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE)

The Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment was designed to measure solar radiation. The instrument used a new approach to calibration: measuring the output of bright blue stars, which have theoretically very stable emissions over intervals on the order of the spacecrafts’ operational lifetime, instead of calibrating against an internal reference lamp.

Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM)
SUSIM measures ultraviolet (UV) emissions from the sun. The observations are made both through vacuum and through occultations of the sun through the atmosphere. This allowed a comparison of the amount of UV light that reaches the earth and the amount absorbed by the upper atmosphere.

Because of the energy of UV, instrument degradation is a major issue. To help with this problem, the instrument contained two identical spectrometers. One was used almost continuously during the daylight portion of UARS’ orbit. The second was used infrequently to verify the sensitivity of the first.

Erasmus: Erasmus.
Particle Environment Monitor (PEM)
PEM provided comprehensive measurements of both local and global energy inputs into the Earth's atmosphere by charged particles and Joule dissipation

PEM consists of four instruments:
* the atmospheric X ray imaging spectrometer (AXIS), (AXIS provides global scale images and energy spectra of 3- to 100-keV bremsstrahlung X rays produced by electron precipitation into the atmosphere.)
* the high-energy particle spectrometer (HEPS),
* the medium-energy particle spectrometer (MEPS), and
* the vector magnetometer (VMAG).


Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor II (ACRIM2)
ACRIM-2 was added to the UARS flight of opportunity to continue NASA's total solar irradiance (TSI) measurement made since 1980 by the ACRIM1 experiment on the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM). 



Goo: Goo the Numbat. Why so much emphasis on solar output (Solar irradiance), when everyone always just talks about greenhouse gases in climate change.
Erasmus: Erasmus. Recent findings indicate that intrinsic TSI variation has had a much larger role (up to 50%) in global warming during the industrial era than previously predicted by global circulation models (GCM’s).

SMM was launched on February 14, 1980, carrying several scientific instruments to study solar flares and the active solar atmosphere.
These instruments included the Ultraviolet Spectrometer and Polarimeter (UVSP),
* the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM),
* the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS),
* the Hard X-Ray Burst Spectrometer (HXRBS),
* the soft X-Ray Polychromator (XRP),
* the Hard X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (HXIS), and
* the Coronagraph Polarimeter (CP).



The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) is a contribution of the Netherlands's Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR) in collaboration with the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) to the EOS Aura mission.
Dates: July 2004 - February 2022




The Scanning Imaging Absorption spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography  (SCIAMACHY) is a passive remote sensing spectrometer observing radiation that is backscattered, reflected, transmitted or emitted by the Earth's atmosphere and surface, in the wavelength range between 240 and 2380 nm.

The primary scientific objective of SCIAMACHY is the global measurement of various trace gases in the troposphere and stratosphere, which are retrieved from the solar irradiance and Earth radiance spectra.
Dates: March 2002 - May 2012





The ATLAS Program

The ATLAS Program

The Atlas Program
A key goal of the ATLAS series was to provide calibration for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS.
Two ATLAS-1 instruments, ACR and SUSIM, have direct counterparts aboard UARS, while other instruments aboard each mission were closely related. Repeated flights of the ATLAS instruments, which can be carefully calibrated before and after each flight, will allow for long-term calibration of UARS instruments.

This was the first of a series studying the Earth's atmosphere and the Sun's influence upon it over an entire 11-year solar cycle.

ATLAS-1 experiments focused on four scientific disciplines:
* atmospheric science,
* solar science,
* space plasma physics and
* astronomy.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. So, by making simultaneous solar and atmospheric measurements on a global scale, scientists hope to unravel the complicated web of man's impact on the environment.


Erasmus: Erasmus. Moving right along.

ATLAS-1 payloads

* NASA's Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy instrument and the Grille Spectrometer from Belgium, mapped trace molecules in the middle atmosphere during orbital "sunrises" and "sunsets,".

* Atmospheric Lyman-Alpha Emissions instrument, developed by scientists in France and Belgium, measured common hydrogen and deuterium, or heavy hydrogen.

* The Millimetre-Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS) measured ozone, chlorine monoxide, water vapor, temperature and pressure in the middle atmosphere.

* The Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Experiment, whose measurements were used to calibrate ozone-measuring instruments.


ATLAS-2 payloads

The primary payload of the flight was designed to collect data on relationship between sun's energy output and Earth's middle atmosphere and how these factors affect ozone layer.
Included seven instruments (3 Atmospheric)
* Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) experiment;
* Millimetre Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS); and
* Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet/A (SSBUV/A) spectrometer (on cargo bay wall).

4 Solar science instruments were
* Solar Spectrum Measurement (SOLSPEC) instrument;
* Solar Ultraviolet Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); and
* Active Cavity Radiometer (ACR) and
* Solar Constant (SOLCON) experiments.


ATLAS-3 payloads

focused on atmospheric and solar physics and consisted of the same experiments as in ATLAS-2 with the addition of two co-manifested experiments.

The ATLAS-3 core instruments consisted of:
* Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM);
* Measurement of the Solar Constant (SOLCON);
* Solar Spectrum Measurement (SOLSPEC);
* Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM);
* Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS); and
* Millimetre-Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS).

* Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV-06) experiment,
* Shuttle Pallet Satellite/Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and
* Telescopes for the Atmosphere (SPAS/CRISTA) from Germany, and
* the Middle Atmospheric High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation (MAHRSI) from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL
Dates: March 1992 - January 1995











Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  I can see an obvious gap in all this data.
Erasmus and Kinkajou:Kinkajou. What?
Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  Security for your instruments. If the instruments were on planet earth, you would ensure that no one could tamper with them. It is obvious that humanity is relying on space itself to provide security for the monitoring instruments. However, the aliens are quite able to conduct operations and space since they have what appears to be “gravity” drive.

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. Yes when you think about it, it would make sense to make sure that your data is “safe”. It makes little sense to assume “safe data” just because the data come from instruments aboard a solitary satellite in orbit. We are quite capable monitoring other humans and their operations in space. But it is quite obvious that “others” on this planet are quite capable of space-based operations and may have their own agenda as to what they would like us to see.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. I would imagine deliberate stealth would bypass much casual security monitoring, especially if you consider that many people with telescopes are just looking around, not acting as security.



Kinkajou:Kinkajou. The Key issues with the measurement of solar irradiance are complexity and accuracy. To be able to reliably predict trends we need to have reliable measurements. Solar irradiance varies by as little as .1% over the solar cycle, but this is substantial. In addition to this, the measurement of high frequencies such as ultraviolet solar output, I would see as being especially critical, as you mentioned.

But UV measurement is compromised due to the damage caused by the ultraviolent (actually ultraviolet) radiation degrading instruments over time. And we have only a few, not multiple measurement platforms so the scientific method of experiment and reproducibility is compromised.

Erasmus: Erasmus. Recent findings indicate that intrinsic TSI variation has had a much larger role (up to 50%) in global warming during the industrial era, than previously predicted by global circulation models.

The solar spectrum actually peaks at about 500 nm wavelength (equivalent to a 600 THz frequency), and the distribution extends from 300–2500 nm (1,000–120 THz). There is very little solar radiation outside that range. (The solar spectrum can be approximated by a black body at 6000 K.)

Satellite Solar Observations

Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  Several methods of data collection need to be used to provide validation/calibration for detection systems. Finally, to understand the Earth’s climate change, we need to measure energy irradiated from the earth, not just solar energy being incident to the earth from the sun.
Again, having single satellites to perform these measurements violates one of the key principles of science which is reproducibility of measurements.

Humans also work in an iterative capacity. That means you keep adjusting and improving things such as scientific instruments, scientific protocols over time. It usually means that you get things right eventually, just maybe not the first time.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. In hearing about the complexity of the monitoring systems, I think I would have some concern as to the accuracy and reproducibility of the data. Even if we trust the data, we really have had not had the technology to measure the data for more than a few decades. Measuring the data from the Earth’s surface I think is very different to measuring the data in space.

Erasmus: Erasmus. And I think there is an issue which no one has really considered. Solar irradiance is a variable. If you change the fluorescence of the sun, you can change solar output and the amount of energy the earth receives, triggering climate change.
Kinkajou:Kinkajou. You’ve got to be kidding. The sun is a ball of hot gas that is a 700,000 km in diameter. How on earth can you alter solar fluorescence?

Erasmus: Erasmus. If you have gravity drive, as it appears most of our extra-terrestrial visitors do, changing solar output is simple. All you need to do is to redirect meteorites to have a tangential impact on the surface of the sun. Targeting the corona of the sun which is the outermost part of the sun and the hottest part of the sun will considerably amplify the effects of atomic matter being added by meteorites to the sun.

Alternately, impacting many small meteorites into the surface of the sun would have the same effect. They would be vaporised in the corona and would be unlikely to penetrate into the deeper layers of the sun – due to their smaller size.
So, this gives us two methods of increasing the high-frequency fluorescence of the sun – creating much more penetrating and warming radiation to impact the earth, even if the TSI (total solar radiation) remains the same in terms of total energy received.

Remember , we have been considering that 1.36W/m2 is significant in terms of irradiance variability. So this much energy output deviation from infrared to UV type wavelengths would amplify the planetary effects of even small changes in solar irradiance.

Silica and metals from the meteorite would vaporise to form a mist of hot atoms. You would create the equivalent of a mercury vapour lamp – except it would be a silica or an iron vapour lamp. Radiation emission from such excited atoms favours energy output in the UV spectrum. So, unless you are geared up to measure .01 % changes in solar irradiance in the UV spectrum, you are not going to be party to observing the effects of meteorites impacting tangentially to the solar surface.

And let’s face it meteorites are small and the sun is very large. However, a good-sized meteorite rock can convert to a huge volume of atoms over a huge area, once the rock is vaporised. So, directing meteorites to the sun would have a substantially disproportionate effect on solar output then you would expect from just looking at the mass of the meteorites compared to the mass of the sun.

Remember that 0 .1% variations in solar output (1.36W/m2) can be significant in causing climate change. And it’s not just about the total amount of energy. It is about changing the total amount of energy which can penetrate through to the earth’s surface. Some solar energy bands have more penetration than others.


Goo: Goo the Numbat. I can see it. Putting the right atoms in the right place, turns the sun into a giant iron/silica vapour fluorescent light with disproportionate energy production in the hard to measure UV spectrum.

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. Let’s try to understand the structure of the sun. I think if you understand how the sun works, you can consider how the sun’s solar energy production can be altered or manipulated.

Erasmus: Erasmus.
The sun is a giant nuclear fusion reactor. The bulk of the fusion reactions happen deep within the sun’s core where the pressures are highest and energy is constrained. Light itself has a hard time escaping the sun and it can take 100,000 years for a photon to get from the centre of the sun to its surface. Once it reaches the solar surface. it takes 8.3 light minutes to reach the earth.

The bulk of the sun’s energy output lies within the heat and visible light range, with only a relatively small amount of high energy radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays being produced.

Solar Structure
Solar Structure


The sun's atmosphere is made up of several layers, mainly the photosphere, the chromosphere and the corona.  There is also what is called the transitional layer between the chromosphere and the corona.

The photosphere is the lowest layer of the sun's atmosphere — the innermost layer we can observe directly. The term photosphere means "sphere of light" and is the layer where most of the sun's energy is emitted. It takes about eight minutes for sunlight from the photosphere to reach Earth. The photosphere is also the source of solar flares: superhot bursts of heated gases projecting up to 500,000 km above the sun's surface.

The temperature in the photosphere varies between about 6500 K at the bottom and 4000 K at the top (11,000- and 6700-degrees F, 6200 and 3700 degrees C).

The photosphere is significantly cooler than temperatures at the sun's core, which can reach about 27 million F (15 million C). The sun's photosphere is about 300 miles (500 kilometres) thick, which is relatively thin when compared with the 435,000 miles (700,000 km) radius of the sun.

The layer above the photosphere is the chromosphere. The chromosphere emits a reddish glow as super-heated hydrogen releases heat energy. The red rim can only be seen during a total solar eclipse. At other times, light from the chromosphere is usually too weak to be seen against the brighter photosphere.

The chromosphere may play a role in conducting heat from the interior of the sun to its outermost layer, the corona.

The chromosphere is a layer in the Sun between about 250 miles (400 km) and 1300 miles (2100 km) above the solar surface (the photosphere). The temperature in the chromosphere varies between about 4000 K at the bottom (the so-called temperature minimum) and 8000 K at the top (6700- and 14,000-degrees F, 3700 and 7700 degrees C), so in this layer (and higher layers) it actually gets hotter if you go further away from the Sun, unlike in the lower layers, where it gets hotter if you go closer to the centre of the Sun.

Transition Region - The transition region is a very narrow (60 miles / 100 km) layer between the chromosphere and the corona where the temperature rises abruptly from about 8000 to about 500,000 K (14,000 to 900,000 degrees F, 7700 to 500,000 degrees C).



The third layer of the sun's atmosphere is the corona. Like the chromosphere, the sun's corona can only be seen during a total solar eclipse (or with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory). It appears as white streamers or plumes of ionized gas that flow outward into space. Temperatures in the sun's corona can get as high as 3.5 million degrees F (2 million degrees C). As any ejected gases cool, they become the solar wind.

Corona - The corona is the outermost layer of the Sun, starting at about 1300 miles (2100 km) above the solar surface (the photosphere). The temperature in the corona is 500,000 K (900,000 degrees F, 500,000 degrees C) or more, up to a few million K. The corona does not have an upper limit.

Counterintuitively, the corona is up to 500 times hotter (depending on how you compare it), than the photosphere, despite being farther from the solar core. 
Research suggests that tiny explosions known as nanoflares may help push the temperature up by providing sporadic bursts reaching up to 18 million degrees Fahrenheit (10 million degrees Celsius). "The explosions are called nanoflares because they have one-billionth the energy of a regular flare. Millions of them are going off every second across the sun, and collectively they heat the corona." 

Solar irradiance varies systematically over the solar cycle, both in total irradiance and in its relative components (UV light vs. Visible light and other frequencies). The solar luminosity is an estimated 0.07 percent brighter during the mid-cycle solar maximum than the terminal solar minimum. Photospheric magnetism appears to be the primary cause (96%) of 1996–2013 TSI variation. The ratio of ultraviolet to visible light varies as well .

TSI (total solar irradiance) varies in phase with the solar magnetic activity cycle with an amplitude of about 0.1% around an average value of about 1361.5 W/m (the "solar constant"). Variations about the average of up to perhaps 0.3% are caused by large sunspot groups and of +0.05% by large faculae .

TSI is higher at solar maximum, even though sunspots are darker (cooler) than the average photosphere. This is caused by magnetized structures other than sunspots during solar maxima, such as faculae and active elements of the "bright" network, that are brighter (hotter) than the average photosphere. They collectively overcompensate for the irradiance deficit associated with the cooler, but less numerous sunspots.

The primary driver of TSI changes on solar rotational and solar cycle timescales is the varying photospheric coverage of these radiatively active solar magnetic structures.

Energy changes in UV irradiance have atmospheric effects. The 30 hPa atmospheric pressure level in earth’s atmosphere changed height in phase with solar activity during solar cycles 20–23.

UV irradiance increase caused higher ozone production, leading to stratospheric heating and poleward displacements in the stratospheric and tropospheric wind systems.



Goo: Goo the Numbat. I think the important things to note here is that the sun is hottest when it has the most sunspots because extra heat between the sunspots more than compensates for the loss of energy production within the sunspots themselves.

Another key issue is that it is the corona which is the hottest part of the sun by a factor of perhaps over a thousand than the deeper layers of the sun. It is a relatively thin and small layer of the sun.

This suggests if you want to change solar dynamics, this may well be the place to do it.


Kinkajou:Kinkajou. Do the maths for modifying the sun’s luminescent properties.

Erasmus: Erasmus. The Sun's corona is much hotter (by a factor of up to 500- depending how you measure it ) than the visible surface of the Sun: the photosphere's average temperature is around 5800 degrees Kelvin compared to the corona's 1 to 3 million degrees Kelvin.

The corona is 10* exponential-12 times as dense as the photosphere, and so produces about one-millionth as much visible light.

But keep in mind that this low density means that the additions of micro amounts of matter, produces a disproportionate luminant effect due to temperature considerations.
Also remember that Boltzmann’s equations on solar luminosity relate that it is the fourth power of temperature (T4) that relates to the luminosity.

Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  It is the atomic collisions that drive luminosity. And very hot atoms collide more often and more intensely. So, since the luminosity is related to T*T*T*T, and the temperature of the corona is millions of degrees not thousands of degrees, changing the coronal activity by enhancing the process of atomic vapour fluorescence, is likely to give a very disproportionate effect on solar output especially in the higher ranges (such as UV) then you would expect for the amount of matter required to trigger the change.

Erasmus: Erasmus. It is important to remember that the actual energy output of the sun does not change. What changes the profile of the energy output to more high energy photons which have a greater penetrative effect of the earth’s atmosphere and earth’s oceans.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. The sun is huge, but much of it is just rarefied gas.
But, A little bit of matter can contaminate a lot of the solar corona.

Erasmus: Erasmus. The electron density in the T8 fluorescent lamps is roughly between 0.8 × 10 / cc and 5.3 × 10 /cc, while the collision frequency is approximately 2 × 10 Hz to 7 × 10 Hz.A fluorescent lamp tube is filled with a mix of argon, xenon, neon, or krypton, and mercury vapor.

* So, we can use the ideal gas equation to work at out how much matter exists within a fluorescent lamp.
The ideal gas equation is PV = nRT . All gases obey an equation of state known as the ideal gas law: PV = nRT, where n is the number of moles of the gas and R is the universal (or perfect) gas constant, 8.31446261815324 joules per kelvin per mole.

The pressure inside the lamp is around 0.3% of atmospheric pressure.
* P is pressure measured in Pascals
* V is the volume measured in m3
* n is the number of moles
* R is the universal gas constant measured in J/(K.mol)
* T is the temperature measured in Kelvin
1 atm = 101325 Pa
So, Substituting : O.3* 101325* 1=n* 8.314* 5000
n for 1m3= n= 0.73 moles of gas per cubic metre within a lamp bulb

A metallic element with atomic symbol Fe, atomic number 26, and atomic weight 55.85.

Iron weighs 7.873 gram per cubic centimetre or 7 873 kilogram per cubic meter, i.e., density of iron is equal to 7 873 kg/m³; at 20°C (68°F or 293.15K) at standard atmospheric pressure.

So, for an iron meteorite 50 m diameter
Wt = Density * v (4/3 ? r3)
Moles = wt (g) / 55.85
Moles =7873* 4/3* ? * 25*25*25/0.05585= 9.22e9Moles
Enough to fluoresce 9.11e9/.73 cubic metres at Earth Surface Fluorescent Lamp Levels
=1.253 exponential 10 cubic metres.


Or if working on a slab of the Corona 1m thick:
Enough to fluoresce 120km * 120km (1.44 e4 km square) of the sun surface
at 0.3 atm (atmosphere) earth surface equivalent gas

Meteorite Strike
Meteorite Strike


Goo: Goo the Numbat. How likely is the sun to have meteorites impacting and how likely is the sun to fluoresce with matter impacting the coronosphere?
Erasmus: Erasmus. . Experts estimate that between 10 and 50 meteorites fall every day on planet Earth. Over the course of a year, the Earth is coated with many tons of dust and rock from space. It’s estimated that about 50 tons a day reaches the Earth. This This is 25 000 kg per day. Or 448e3 moles

(The ton is a unit of weight in the avoirdupois system equal to 2,000 pounds (907.18 kg) in the United States (the short ton) and 2,240 pounds (1,016.05 kg) in Britain (the long ton). The metric ton used in most other countries is 1,000 kg, equivalent to 2,204.6 pounds avoirdupois.)

The sun is a lot bigger than the Earth. The Earth’s gravity is approximately 10 m/s2, whereas the sun’s gravity is equivalent to 274 m/s2.

So, the sun’s gravity well - which is almost 30 times more intense than Earth’s and the sun’s size would guarantee that it catches substantially more asteroids and meteorites than planet Earth.

The Sun's corona is much hotter (by a factor of up to 500) than the visible surface of the Sun: the photosphere's average temperature is around 5800 degrees kelvin compared to the corona's 1 to 3 million degrees Kelvin.

Kinkajou:Kinkajou. So, in the final analysis, you are likely to get
6*10 exponential10=(500*500*500*500), more effect from hot atoms in the corona in terms of fluorescence with matter (such as silica or iron) incident to the corona of the sun, than you would if it impacted the photosphere of the sun.

We have considered a single rock . A rock of 50 m diameter is very substantial in earth terms, but it would be equivalent to a mere pebble to an incandescent globe a 700,000 km in diameter like our sun. but simple factors like solar coronal temperature would cause an unexpectedly disproportionate change in output spectrum for a given amount of matter acting as fluorescent agent. The complicating factor is that we know very little about the spectral output of very excited matter such as silicon or iron at temperatures such as would exist in the solar Corona.


Sunspots expand and contract as they move across the surface of the Sun, with diameters ranging from 16 km (10 mi) to 160,000 km (100,000 mi). Larger sunspots can be visible from Earth without the aid of a telescope.

Erasmus: Erasmus. The UV spectrum emission is disproportionally important because this is the spectrum of radiation which penetrates cloud cover (clouds creating albedo). UV spectrum emission is much more likely to carry energy to the surface of the earth than the same amount of solar light spectrum radiation. As you said Goo, the right atoms in the right place causing just the right effect.

Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx. The right effect if you are a hostile alien species – correct.

Goo: Goo the Numbat. It appears there is likely a substantial rain of meteorites over the solar surface due to the huge extent of the sun’s gravity well. If you want to change the suns fluorescence, the issue is about changing the nature of the solar output. To do this , circumstances suggest you need to change the nature of the solar input. As we mentioned before, tangentially targeting rocks into the corona or targeting many small meteorite rocks across the solar surface, would probably achieve the goals of a hostile agency.

Dr Axxxx: Dr Axxxx.  Makes sense!