While it's great to see the debate over solar cycle predictions and #SunspotCycle25 feature in the @nytimes it is unfortunate that the story leaves an impression of a lack of consensus/physics-based understanding. Thread 👇🏾1/n
@NYTScience #SpaceWeather #SunspotCycle25
First, the story by @overbye nicely connects understanding Sun's magnetism with exploration of other active stars and #exoplanets, wherein stellar activity influences conditions suitable for hosting life. It describes well how solar storms create #spaceweather impacting us 2/n Image
But there are many issues that are misleading or sometimes simply incorrect. It says "A new cycle of storms will begin any day now". Well, #SolarCycle25 has already begun in late 2019. An early report on this is already published. See 👇🏾3/n
doi.org/10.3847/2515-5… Image
It says upfront that "The sun may be about to set records for sunspot numbers and violent storms, or it may be sliding into a decline like the Maunder Minimum, from 1645 to 1715, when hardly any sunspots appeared — a period that became known in Europe as the Little Ice Age." 4/n
However, this statement ignores published research - based on firm physical foundations of solar dynamo theory - which indicates a weak solar cycle 25 but no possibility of #MaunderMinimum like conditions over this decade. See 👇🏾5/n
It says "Last year, a committee of scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that the coming cycle would be similarly anemic, with a peak in 2025 of about 115 sunspots.". This Committee actually however relies on other forecasts. 6/n
The @NWSSWPC @NASASun panel does not do its own scientific calculation for solar activity. It critically assesses scientific prediction work from around the world in creating a consensus forecast statement. Let's not take away credit from the hard work of others! 7/n
That would be a disservice to both the @NASA @NWSSWPC panel members and those who have toiled over years to gain a physical understanding of the Sun's activity and make serious physics-based forecasts. 8/n
Finally, in order to justify the "radical" statistical/empirical forecast by @swmcintosh
@leamonrj, quotes such as these are included
 “In my experience, when people really understand something, they can explain it simply,” he said....9/n
“It is striking to me that almost no one in the solar-cycle prediction business can explain their favorite dynamo model in a way that lay people can ‘get it.’".
I believe this opinion is flawed. Correct ≠ simple, complex ≠ wrong 🤓10/n
And you just have to keep your eyes open for lucid explanations of our current understanding of the solar activity cycle. Here's one by @slyardley that I highly recommend 11/n ImageImage
The solar convection zone where the #SolarCycle is born *is* complex; random fluctuations due to turbulent convective plasma motions, non-linear processes, lack of detailed observational constraints make physics-based understanding challenging. 12/n Image
The line that the story in @nytimes takes to apparently justify this radical forecast of a historical strong cycle seems to propagate the view that we don't understand much - and so - anything goes. That's quite misleading. 13/n
Here's a review I wrote in #SolarPhysics on predictions of #SunspotCycle25 summarising progress in our understanding of the Sun's activity and demonstrating physics-based predictions have converged on a weak #SolarCycle25
@SpringerNature @livrev_lrsp 14/n doi.org/10.1007/s11207… ImageImage
I am not positing that we should not highlight diverging scientific views; we should absolutely be supportive of these. But when radical statistical-empirical work is positioned by unfairly diminishing other physics-based approaches that raises serious concerns. 15/n
Let me turn that analogy of an Elephant in the story inside out and say that you cannot understand how an Elephant behaves and functions by scratching its surface. You need to understand how its brain and physiology functions! "What is essential is invisible to the eye". 16/n Image
The story of the #sunspot cycle does not end with the pairs of lovely sunspots that appear and disappear on the Sun's surface. It does not end in the bands of sunspots that march across the Sun's surface every 11 years. It *begins* there. Read: *Physics cannot be ignored* 17/n
Physics has been unfairly sacrificed here at the altar of sensationalism, bodies of work ignored and summarily dismissed in quotesbecause they did not add up with the story. That's fine, every one can express their opinion, and I have felt the need to point out mine. 18/n
I feel strongly about this because there have been sustained attempts by some to purposely diminish advances in physics-based progress in solar cycle predictions to justify the more easy statistical-empirical solar cycle forecasting industry. This is not good for the field. 19/n
This is an injustice to years of efforts by solar dynamo theorists and magnetohydrodynamic modelers like us who are working in a very complex subject. Years of efforts and hard work does make us right; it is just a honest scientific path towards progress. 20/n
One expects an article in @NYTScience to be nuanced and balanced in the views it propagates. One expects so called experts to be not dismissive (in their quotes) of progress in a field made by others - scientists and students from around the world 21/n
And we have made progress!!! I humbly invite you to read this review (see below), critically discuss this in journal clubs and within your research groups so that you know of the beautiful physics of solar cycle predictions and make up your own minds. 22/n
I bring these views to your attention with the hope that if you see merit in the broad philosophy of my arguments, you shall share and discuss these within your circles. To the Sun, and beyond! 23/n Image

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More from @ydnadydnad

1 Jun
Has the #WestBengal #COVID19 (partial) lockdown been useful? YES!!! Future prognosis? A thread based on analysis by @cessi_iiserkol team 👇🏾
New daily cases have halved since May 15 (beginning of lockdown).
Left @covid19indiaorg data; Right: CESSI model projection versus data 1/n ImageImage
The pandemic growth rate has dipped below zero during the lockdown and is in the negative which is desirable. The more negative is the growth rate, the faster is the fall in active cases. Negative growth rate needs to be sustained. 2/n Image
Test positivity (percentage of those who test positive) has almost halved over the #lockdown period and is around 17% as of May 31. Should be sustained below 2.5% to keep the #COVID19 pandemic at a manageable level and ideally should be 0%! 3/n Image
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15 Sep 20
Interesting outcome of the voting for the strength of #solarcycle25...people think it's going to be a moderate, NOT weak cycle! What is the solar cycle prediction panel consensus? 1/n Image
What does our own @cessi_iiserkol solar cycle prediction indicate? How about forecasts by diverse groups from around the world employing diverse techniques? Is there consensus on how the Sun's activity would play out over next decade? 2/n
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12 May 19
Glad @PrinSciAdvGoI alluded to the importance of large-scale (computational and mathematical) modeling projects; traditionally India has lagged in these aspects. Computational modeling complements theory, experiments and observations, and illuminates complex systems in nature.
Climate, weather and space sciences, disease outbreaks, ecological sciences, traffic and water management, design of novel materials, drug discovery, cognition and human behavior, cryptography, finance and markets are some of the important areas that benefit from modelling.
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8 Nov 18
This work by a postdoctoral fellow and a renowned astrophysicist, alluding to the finite possibility that the unusual acceleration of the space object "Oumuamua" could belie an intelligent, extraterrestrial (yeah, ALIEN) origin has upset community 1/n

The manuscript to appear in the Astrophysical Journal Letters is this: Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb, "Could Solar Radiation Pressure Explain 'Oumuamua's Peculiar Acceleration?" 2/n
Some are upset because the media has seized upon one of the hypothesis expressed at the end of the manuscript, namely, the unusual motion of the object (which could simply be a comet) may hint at an intelligent origin. The rock is known to be from outside the solar system. 3/n
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