On the Reality and Nature of a Certain Sun-Weather Correlation

C. O. Hines Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A7

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I. Halevy Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A7

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Abstract

We examine here a recent claim of a sun-weather correlation, specifically that reported by wilcox et al. (1974) between solar sector boundary crossings and atmospheric vorticity area index. We have sought several means of undermining the credibility of this claim, but have been obliged to admit its reliability at the 95% confidence level (subject to certain caveats). Our experience with the original data, combined with new results now published in part by Wilcox et al. (1976), oblige us further to accept the physical reality of the claimed correlation. Results from our own studies then lead us to conclude that the operative solar mechanism, whatever it may be, provides its signal by means of a modulation of meteorological variations that were going to occur in any event, and that the modulation is very likely a phase modulation. We support this conclusion with the aid of simulation studies. From these studies we conclude that the timing of the meteorological variations may be altered by as much as a day from their normal timing by the operative solar mechanism, and that the timing of that mechanism relative to the solar sector boundary crossings (or the effectiveness of the mechanism in producing changes of timing in the meteorological systems) may be variable by as much as 12 h.

Abstract

We examine here a recent claim of a sun-weather correlation, specifically that reported by wilcox et al. (1974) between solar sector boundary crossings and atmospheric vorticity area index. We have sought several means of undermining the credibility of this claim, but have been obliged to admit its reliability at the 95% confidence level (subject to certain caveats). Our experience with the original data, combined with new results now published in part by Wilcox et al. (1976), oblige us further to accept the physical reality of the claimed correlation. Results from our own studies then lead us to conclude that the operative solar mechanism, whatever it may be, provides its signal by means of a modulation of meteorological variations that were going to occur in any event, and that the modulation is very likely a phase modulation. We support this conclusion with the aid of simulation studies. From these studies we conclude that the timing of the meteorological variations may be altered by as much as a day from their normal timing by the operative solar mechanism, and that the timing of that mechanism relative to the solar sector boundary crossings (or the effectiveness of the mechanism in producing changes of timing in the meteorological systems) may be variable by as much as 12 h.

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