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XXXVI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 376 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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XXXVI. contains separate data for the 14 years of that period which represented the highest sun-spot frequency, and the 15 years which represented lowest sun-spot frequency. It will be seen that relatively considered the seasonal frequencies of disturbance are more nearly equal in the years of many than in those of few sun-spots. Storms are more numerous as a whole in the years of many sun-spots, and this preponderance is especially true of storms of the largest size. This requires to be borne in mind in any comparisons between larger and smaller storms selected promiscuously from a long period. Ansunduly large proportion of the larger storms will probably come from years of large sun-spot frequency, and there is thus a risk of assigning to differences between the laws obeyed by large and small storms phenomena that are due in whole or in part to differences between the laws followed in years of many and of few sun-spots. The last data in Table XXXVI. are based on statistics for Batavia given by W. van Bemmelen," who considers separately the storms which commence suddenly and those which do not. These sudden movements are recorded over large areas, sometimes probably all over the earth, if not absolutely simultaneously, at least too nearly so for differences in the time of occurrence to be shown by ordinary magnetographs. It is ordinarily supposed that these sudden movements, and the storms to which they serve as precursors, arise from some source extraneous to the earth, and that the commencement of the movement intimates the arrival, probably in the upper atmosphere, of some form of energy transmitted through space. In the storms which commence gradually the existence of a source external to the earth is not so prominently suggested, and it has been some-times supposed that there is a fundamental difference between the two classes of storms. Table XXXVI. shows, however, no certain difference in the annual variation at Batavia. At the same time, this possesses much less significance than it would have if Batavia were a station like Greenwich, where the annual variation in magnetic storms is conspicuous. Besides the annual period, there seems to be also a well-marked diurnal period in magnetic disturbances. This is apparent in Tables
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