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Where does Nandi go from here?

Where does Nandi go from here?

Dibyendu Nandi


Over at NASA, they just released news that they have ‘cracked’ the case of the missing sunspot:

Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Missing Sunspots

March 2, 2011: In 2008-2009, sunspots almost completely disappeared for two years. Solar activity dropped to hundred-year lows;  Earth’s upper atmosphere cooled and collapsed; the sun’s magnetic field weakened, allowing cosmic rays to penetrate the Solar System in record numbers. It was a big event, and solar physicists openly wondered, where have all the sunspots gone?

The article goes on to say:

“Plasma currents deep inside the sun interfered with the formation of sunspots and prolonged solar minimum,” says lead author Dibyendu Nandi of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata. “Our conclusions are based on a new computer model of the sun’s interior.”

While I do applaud Dibyendu Nandi for authoring this new paper in Nature, I think we need to remember that the scientists over at NASA still greatly differ on predicting what the Sun will do next, even in light of this ‘cracked’ mystery.

How about we go back in time and review another paper that Nandi was apart of…

Evidence That a Deep Meridional Flow Sets the Sunspot Cycle Period

David H. Hathaway, Dibyendu Nandy, Robert M. Wilson and Edwin J. Reichmann
NSSTC/NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35805
Department of Physics, Montana State University, P.O. Box 173840, Bozeman, MT 59717
Sorry, no excerpt given here… just go read the article if you’re interested.
Meridional flows isn’t some new concept to the boys over at NASA, but one that has been used in the recent past to predict sunspots.

Just thought I would present just another paper that was used to predict solar cycle 24:

Predicting the strength of solar cycle 24 using a flux-transport dynamo-based tool

Mausumi Dikpati, Giuliana de Toma, and Peter A. Gilman
Received 13 November 2005; revised 28 December 2005; accepted 11 January 2006; published 3 March 2006


“We construct a solar cycle strength prediction tool bymodifying a calibrated flux-transport dynamo model, andmake predictions of the amplitude of upcoming solarcycle 24. We predict that cycle 24 will have a 30– 50%higher peak than cycle 23”

Having reviewed these papers does indeed leave one with the impression that these scientists knew that meridional flows existed.

Even chose to base predictions from these papers on future solar cycles.

But having come out and now suggest that they have ‘cracked’ the mystery, doesnt seem much of a mystery at all.

It’s more likely NASA scientists had no clue exactly what or how the meridional flow effected sunspots, and still chose to make very poor predictions on sunspot activity anyways.

My point is this. Nandi predicted  years ago that this would be the weakest solar cycle in a century, and the boys at NASA can’t seem to give Nandi  full credit for his previous predictions, but would rather release a report written by Nandi as if NASA was somehow responsible for the discovery.

To appreciate this and have some perspective about Nandi’s success in his predictions go back as afar as 2002.

I first found this report from August 6 2008 from the Indian Institute of Science:

Theoretical model suggests that the sun’s next phase of activity will be mild!

“A new theoretical calculation suggests that the next active phase of our sun will be rather mild. A recent paper presenting this calculation has been selected as “Editors’ suggestion” in Physical Review Letters – one of the world’s top honours for a physics paper.”

The paper discussed in that report can be found here:

Explaining the Latitudinal Distribution of Sunspots with Deep Meridional Flow

Dibyendu Nandy and Arnab Rai Choudhuri 2002

“Sunspots, dark magnetic regions occurring at low latitudes on the Suns surface,are tracers of the magnetic field generated by the dynamo mechanism. Recent solar dynamo models, which use the helioseismically determined solar rotation,indicate that sunspots should form at high latitudes, contrary to observations.We present a dynamo model with the correct latitudinal distribution of sun-spots and demonstrate that this requires a meridional flow of material that penetrates deeper than hitherto believed, into the stable layers below theconvection zone. Such a deep material flow may have important implications for turbulent convection and elemental abundance in the Sun and similar stars.”

I think this is bad form on NASA, and in particular towards Hathaway and Phillips. Neither one of these gentlemen can give credit where credit is due. Hathaway in particular, was team leader on the panel for predicting Solar Cycle 24. And himself and others led the way in a series of failed predictions regarding solar cycle 24.

So, congratulations Dibyendu Nandi on a job well done!

Even if NASA can’t seem to give you the credit you deserve.


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