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Canadian Solar Forecasting Initiative


Two Canadian physicists left their USA jobs in the early 2000's to return as Canada research chairs in the early to mid-2000's, thereby joining the one and only full time Canadian solar physicist at the time, Ken Tapping of the National Research Council's Hertzberg Institute for Astrophysics. With considerable pushing from Tapping, a "Canadian solar physics community" has beensteadily built up, with the annual "Canadian solar physics workshop" being a key event to bring the community together.

Following ongoing funding cuts (what do you expect for one of the most politically incorrect areas of science?), perhaps the best hope for this community is a proposal to participate in the French Picard solar physics initiative.

Since ~2003 I have been very interested in solar modeling and forecasting. This initially began with the issue of non-CO2 or Greeen House Gas (GHG) drivers for climate, but it is actually very interesting from the point of chaos theory, the application of Computational Intelligence tools, and the influence of astronomy on many other processes. Moreover, advances in new techniques such as helio-seismology has had quite an impact. Canada has only 3 scientists specialised in solar physics (perhaps more dabble in it), and the funding is atrociously low compared to the importance of the subject... (I'm not a solar physicist – I just compare the huge sums in climate change funding for much less relevant pursuits in that area, and see that things are way out of wack). It seems to me that we still have a lot to learn from the sun, even at its simple level, but even more importantly with respect to our very basic tools, approaches and philosophy of tackling "modestly complex systems". The solar physicist beat me up for saying that, but it's still my guess that evolutionary or "intentional" systems that react to their environment are far more complex mathematically. Of course, I have no basis or proof for that gut feel.

I'll gradually fill in material as time goes on. Some of the major areas are:

1. Solar models and forecasts, but broadening this to include solar system orbitals, Earth axis precession, geomagnetics, galactic rays, etc etc
2. Astronomical drivers of Terrestrial processes - some of these are covered on other web-pages as indicated.

  1. Climate Change
  2. Pipelines, electrical distribution grids, cellphones, satellite longevity and communications
  3. Pandemics, health, and the Sun - Based on work by Tapping, Mathias, and Surkan, this section describes the strong "solar signal" observable in the timing of some pandemics, as well as possible radiation effects either from the sun or galactic in origin.
  4. Helio- and geo- magnetic fields - space weather forecasting etc etc I won't get a chance to look at this any time soon. For now refer to websites that will be put at some time in the references below...
  5. Ozone layer variations (comparison of astronomical influences with chloro-fluorocarbons, dusts etc)

30Nov-01Dec06 Canadian solar physics workshop, Montreal


13Oct06 Solar Modeling and Forecasting Presentations that I arranged for 13Oct06 in Ottawa. Speakers:

11May06 micro-Workshop on Canadian Solar Forecasting which I set up through Ian Clarke at the University of Ottawa, Geology Department. Speakers:


References: selected articles, mostly related to solar and climate
  1. Ken Tapping "Modeling solar irradiance: values and uncertainties" - presentation to the Engineering Institute of Canada's Climate Change Technology Conference, Ottawa, 12May06 http://www.ccc2006.ca/eng/index.html (not published yet as of May06)
  2. Julio Valdes, Graham Bonham-Carter "Time dependent neural network models for detecting changes of state in Earth and planetary processes" Proceedings of IJCNN 2005, International Joint Conference on Neural Networks. Montreal, paper #1439, pp????-????, 31 July – 4 August 2005.
  3. C1ay "Solar Cycle 25 could be one of the weakest in centuries" 11May2006 http://www.easternuswx.com/bb/lofiversion/index.php/t94927.html



Directory of available files for this webpage:



Updates: split out and expanded from previous webpage 04May07, original 06Oct06