Archive for the ‘cosmic rays’ Category

An important new solar paper by Prof Valentina Zharkova and co-authors S. J. Shepherd, S. I. Zharkov & E. Popova  published in ‘Nature’ has incorporated the solar-planetary theory we’ve been researching and advancing here at the talkshop over the last decade. As well as further developing her double dynamo theory which now accounts for the last several millennium’s solar grand minima and maxima, she includes discussion of Fairbridge, Mackey, Shirley, Charvatova and Abreu et al’s work. Central to the new hypothesis is the motion of the Sun around the barycentre of the solar system, described as the Solar Inertial Motion [SIM].

Left plot: the example of SIM trajectories of the Sun about the barycenter calculated from 1950 until 210034. Right plot: the cone of expanding SIM orbits of the Sun35 with the top showing 2D orbit projections similar to the left plot. Here there are three complete SIM orbits of the Sun, each of which takes about 179 years. Each solar orbit consists of about eight, 22-year solar cycles35. The total time span is, therefore, three 179-year solar cycles31, or about 600 years. Source: Adapted from Mackey35. Reproduced with permission from the Coastal Education and Research Foundation, Inc

Following my discussion with her at dinner following her talk in London last year, Zharkova now agrees with us that the SIM induced by planetary motion affects sunspot production and solar activity levels.


Mars-Earth comparison
[image credit: Wikipedia]

A manned trip to Mars is not looking like a good idea from a health point of view, according to this report.

An astronaut on a mission to Mars could receive radiation doses up to 700 times higher than on our planet—a major showstopper for the safe exploration of our solar system, says

A team of European experts is working with ESA to protect the health of future crews on their way to the Moon and beyond.

Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere protect us from the constant bombardment of galactic cosmic rays—energetic particles that travel at close to the speed of light and penetrate the human body.

Cosmic radiation could increase cancer risks during long duration missions.


A Perfect Storm of Cosmic Rays

Posted: April 25, 2019 by oldbrew in cosmic rays, solar system dynamics

How high will the Earth’s cosmic ray count go this year?

April 23, 2019: Ten years ago, NASA reported a “perfect storm of cosmic rays.” During the year 2009, radiation peppering Earth from deep space reached a 50-year high, registering levels never before seen during the Space Age.

It’s about to happen again.

Ground-based neutron monitors and high-altitude cosmic ray balloons are registering a new increase in cosmic rays. The Oulu neutron monitor in Finland, which has been making measurements since 1964, reports levels in April 2019 only percentage points below the Space Age maximum of 2009:

crinfo2 Source: The Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland.

What’s going on? The answer is “Solar Minimum.” During the low phase of the 11-year solar cycle, the sun’s magnetic field and solar wind weaken. Cosmic rays find it easier to penetrate the inner solar system. In 2009, the sun experienced the deepest solar minimum in a century. Cosmic rays reaching Earth naturally surged.

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The author writes in his 40-page document: ‘This report is not meant to be an exhaustive representation of all the published papers related to a solar influence on Earth’s climate, but aims to give a clear presentation of the current knowledge on the link between solar activity and climate.’

Where does cosmic ray variation fit into the ‘big picture’ of solar influences on the Earth?

The Next Grand Minimum

I am still studying this paper but wanted to share and get your feedback

Executive Summary

Over the last twenty years there has been good progress in understanding the solar influ- ence on climate. In particular, many scientific studies have shown that changes in solar activ- ity have impacted climate over the whole Holocene period (approximately the last 10,000 years). A well-known example is the existence of high solar activity during the Medieval Warm Period, around the year 1000 AD, and the subsequent low levels of solar activity during the cold period, now called The Little Ice Age (1300–1850 AD). An important scientific task has been to quantify the solar impact on climate, and it has been found that over the eleven- year solar cycle the energy that enters the Earth’s system is of the order of 1.0–1.5 W/m2. This is nearly an order of magnitude larger than what would be…

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What effects might this have on so-called ‘climate change’? The next few years could be interesting as lower solar activity displaces the higher activity of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Feb. 21, 2019:Cosmic rays in the stratosphere are intensifying for the 4th year in a row. This finding comes from a campaign of almost weekly high-altitude balloon launches conducted by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus. Since March 2015, there has been a ~13% increase in X-rays and gamma-rays over central California, where the students have launched hundreds of balloons.


The grey points in the graph are Earth to Sky balloon data. Overlaid on that time series is a record of neutron monitor data from the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland. The correlation between the two data sets is impressive, especially considering their wide geographic separation and differing methodologies. Neutron monitors have long been considered a “gold standard” for monitoring cosmic rays on Earth. This shows that our student-built balloons are gathering data of similar quality.

Why are cosmic rays increasing? The short answer is “Solar…

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A look at possible implications of current and continuing low solar activity.

The Next Grand Minimum

The is a very interesting 40-minute video presentation by Nir Shaviv on the solar-climate connection and cosmic rays.

Shaviv first presents the evidence that the sun affects climate before explaining the cosmic ray ideas.

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A rapid-fire lecture on solar-planetary links, sunspots, volcanoes, ice cores, climate and a whole lot more, including a closer look at the Spörer Minimum.

CO2 is Life

Please Like, Share, Subscribe and Comment

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Nir Shaviv is co-author along with Henrik Svensmark and others of a major new paper in Nature Communications titled Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei. He has a write up at his Sciencebits blog. Here’s the introduction:

Our new results published today in nature communications provide the last piece of a long studied puzzle. We finally found the actual physical mechanism linking between atmospheric ionization and the formation of cloud condensation nuclei. Thus, we now understand the complete physical picture linking solar activity and our galactic environment (which govern the flux of cosmic rays ionizing the atmosphere) to climate here on Earth though changes in the cloud characteristics. In short, as small aerosols grow to become cloud condensation nuclei, they grow faster under higher background ionization rates. Consequently, they have a higher chance of surviving the growth without being eaten by larger aerosols. This effect was calculated theoretically and measured in a specially designed experiment conducted at the Danish Space Research Institute at the Danish Technical University, together with our colleagues Martin Andreas Bødker Enghoff and Jacob Svensmark.


Figure 4: The correlation between the linearly detrended sea level measured using satellite altimetry (blue dots) and a model fit which includes just two components: The sun and el Niño southern oscillation. The excellent fit implies that the two components are by far the dominant source of sea level change on short time scales


It has long been known that solar variations appear to have a large effect on climate. This was already suggested by William Herschel over 200 years ago. Over the past several decades, more empirical evidence have unequivocally demonstrated the existence of such a link, as exemplified in the examples in the box below.



An interesting contribution to the ice age debate here. Problems with Milankovitch and CO2-related theories are discussed.

Thongchai Thailand

Gerald Marsh, retired Argonne National Laboratories Physicist, challenges the usual assumption that ice age cycles are initiated by Milankovich Cycles and driven by the Arrhenius effect of carbon dioxide. He says that the key variable here is “low altitude cloud cover” driven by cosmic rays. A paper worth reading.


  1. The existing understanding of interglacial periods is that they
    are initiated by Milankovitch cycles enhanced by rising atmospheric
    carbon dioxide concentrations. During interglacials, global temperature is
    also believed to be primarily controlled by carbon dioxide concentrations,
    modulated by internal processes such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation
    and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Recent work challenges the
    fundamental basis of these conceptions.
    The history of the role of carbon dioxide in climate begins with the work of Tyndall 1861 and later in 1896 by Arrhenius. The concept that carbon dioxide controlled climate fell into disfavor for a variety of reasons until…

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Uranus [image credit: NASA]

One of the two processes involved is “due to high-speed particles from outside the solar system, known as galactic cosmic rays, bombarding the atmosphere and influencing the formation of clouds”, reports If so, it looks like further evidence for the Svensmark hypothesis.

Changes in solar activity influence the colour and formation of clouds around the planet, researchers at Oxford and Reading universities found.

The icy planet is second furthest from the sun in the solar system and takes 84 Earth years to complete a full orbit – one Uranian year.

The researchers found that, once the planet’s long and strange seasons are taken into account, it appears brighter and dimmer over a cycle of 11 years. This is the regular cycle of solar activity which also affects sun spots.



Illustration of cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere. A proton with energy of 100 GeV interact at the top of the atmosphere and produces a cascade of secondary particles who ionize molecules when traveling through the air. One 100 GeV proton hits every m2 at the top of the atmosphere every second.

H/T GWPF: Researchers have claimed a breakthrough in understanding how cosmic rays from supernovas react with the sun to form clouds, which impact the climate on Earth.

The findings have been described as the “missing link” to help resolve a decades long controversy that has big implications for climate science.

Lead author, Henrik Svensmark, from The Technical University of Denmark has long held that climate models had greatly underestimated the impact of solar activity.

He says the new research identified the feedback mechanism through which the sun’s impact on climate was varied.

Professor Svensmark’s theories on solar impact have caused a great deal of controversy within the climate science community and the latest findings are sure to provoke new outrage.


Blackpool, England [image credit: BBC News]

They say ‘these results are important as they demonstrate a previously unknown source of isotopes in the Earth’s atmosphere. These include carbon-13, carbon-14 and nitrogen-15…The findings also have implications for astronomers and planetary scientists.’

Thunder and lightning have sparked awe and fear in humans since time immemorial, says In both modern and ancient cultures, these natural phenomena are often thought to be governed by some of the most important and powerful gods – Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology and Thor in Norse mythology.

We know that thunderstorms can trigger a number of remarkable effects, most commonly power cuts, hailstorms and pets hiding under beds. But it turns out we still have things to learn about them. A new study, published in Nature, has now shown that thunderstorms can also produce radioactivity by triggering nuclear reactions in the atmosphere.


This paper published 10th March tries to identify major episodic solar activity by using both 14C and 10BeImage

(note to reader, above x-axis has advancing time running right to left)

Grand solar minima and maxima deduced from 10Be and 14C: magnetic dynamo configuration and polarity reversal
F. Inceoglu, R. Simoniello, M. F. Knudsen, C. Karoff, J. Olsen, S. Turck-Chiéze, B. H. Jacobsen
A&A 577 A20 (2015)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201424212


Aims. This study aims to improve our understanding of the occurrence and origin of grand solar maxima and minima.
Methods. We first investigate the statistics of peaks and dips simultaneously occurring in the solar modulation potentials reconstructed using the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) 10 Be and IntCal13 14 C records for the overlapping time period spanning between ~1650 AD to 6600 BC.


I’ve included this on the front page because I think the bimodality of solar data is an important matter where this work adds weight to the effect being real.
Open access with registration


By Kelly Dickerson for Yahoo News:

ESA-Magnetospheres_600_MThe sun may be partly responsible for lightning strikes on Earth, and scientists think fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict lightning storms weeks in advance.

The sun’s magnetic field can bend Earth’s own magnetic field, and this twisting and turning may be allowing an influx of high-energy particles into the planet’s atmosphere. These particles can cause a buildup of electric charge that can trigger lightning strikes.

From 2001 to 2006, during a period when the sun’s magnetic field was severely skewing the Earth’s magnetic field, the United Kingdom saw 50 percent more lightning strikes than normal, according to the new study. This severe skewing happens regularly as the sun’s magnetic field shifts. Scientists say this suggests the sun’s magnetic field could be used to predict the occurrence of lightning.


Solar timeline [image credit: Wikipedia]

Solar timeline
[image credit: Wikipedia]

This is a follow-on from another recent Talkshop post:

The principal cause of bi-decadal climatic variation – The Hale cycle, or something else?

The subject is a paper that appeared in 2009 which relates to the discussion.
Hopefully the following abstract of it speaks for itself.


Prolific solar-planetary scientist and long-time talkshop friend Nicola Scafetta has a new paper published in Physica A entitled ‘Global temperatures and sunspot numbers. Are they related? Yes, but non linearly. A reply to Gil-Alana et al. (2014)’ which comments on Gil-Alana et al 2014; a paper purporting to dismiss any correlation between solar activity and terrestrial surface temperature. Nicola gently points out the limitations of their methods and patiently explains how the astronomical-solar signal can be found in the data. Here is Figure 3 to whet your appetite:



Fig. 3. (A) Annually solved HadCRUT3 global surface temperature record [34] from 1850 to 2013. (B) Power spectrum density functions calculated using the MEM method (using M = N/2 = 82) and the MTM periodogram f (p) [35,36]: the calculations were made with the SSA–MTM Toolkit. Several spectral peaks (e.g.: at about 9.1, 10.4, 20 and 60 yr) are statistically significant above the 95% confidence level, and their solar, lunar and astronomical origin is explained in the literature (e.g.: Scafetta [10,32,33,25]).

Nicola also provides plots of several of the various solar and temperature related indices and techniques for representing them over a wide range of timescales which clearly demonstrate the plain fact of the close coherence between the activity of our host star which supplies all our energy, and the fluctuations of the lovely moderate temperatures we live in on the surface of our planet.


A strange effect is months of delay of cosmic rays from solar sunspot cycle, not constant. This also has implications for 14C.Image

A plot of the two datasets taken from a live spreadsheet implementing data delay, set here for zero. Unfortunately the data tends to cause filter ringing and is impulsive anyway so this is not up to my usual standards of fidelity. A line plot doesn’t help but is clearer. Correlation peaks at r2 = 0.8, neutron data is inverted, data is normalised and made more comparable.

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time but the saga unfolding at Jo Nova with “a theory” where currently I have no idea whether it is reasonable might link.


From 16th May 2014 CERN newswire, I missed it

CERN Experiment Sheds New Light on Cloud Formation

Geneva, 16 May 2014 – In a paper published in the journal Science today, CERN’s* CLOUD** experiment has shown that biogenic vapours emitted by trees and oxidised in the atmosphere have a significant impact on the formation of clouds, thus helping to cool the planet. These biogenic aerosols are what give forests seen from afar their characteristic blue haze. The CLOUD study shows that the oxidised biogenic vapours bind with sulphuric acid to form embryonic particles which can then grow to become the seeds on which cloud droplets can form. This result follows previous measurements from CLOUD showing that sulphuric acid alone could not form new particles in the atmosphere as had been previously assumed.

“This is a very important result,” said CLOUD spokesperson Jasper Kirkby,…


Solar rotation [image credit: NASA]

Solar rotation [image credit: NASA]

Evidence of a direct relationship between the Sun and the weather – apart from the obvious – has been found by a research group.

Quote: ‘scientists found that when the speed and intensity of the solar winds increased, so too did the rate of lightning strikes.’

That raises the issue of cyclical weather events driven by the Sun.


From the Hockey Schtick, via the GWPF, news of a new paper supporting the Svensmark hypothesis:

10/04/14 The Hockey Schtick

cloudsA paper published today in Environmental Research Letters corroborates the Svensmark cosmic ray theory of climate, whereby tiny 0.1% changes in solar activity are amplified via the effect on cosmic rays and cloud formation, which in turn may control global temperatures.

The authors find cosmic ray variations due to changes over solar cycles may have as much as 10 times larger effect than previous studies have estimated. The paper also finds that a tiny 0.2C temperature increase increases the cosmic ray induced cloud condensation nuclei by around 50%, thus acting as a natural homeostatic mechanism.