When the sun pulses X-rays, Earth’s ionosphere pulses in sync

The earth’s upper atmosphere has a closer link to the sun than was previously know. When sun burps X-Rays the Ionosphere pulse in sync.

Full article at is at WUWT, but here is the interesting part.

. . .the team of scientists — led by Laura Hayes, a solar physicist who splits her time between NASA Goddard and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and her thesis adviser Peter Gallagher — looked at how the lowest layer of the ionosphere, called the D-region, responded to pulsations in a solar flare.

“This is the region of the ionosphere that affects high-frequency communications and navigation signals,” Hayes said. “Signals travel through the D-region, and changes in the electron density affect whether the signal is absorbed, or degraded.”

The scientists used data from very low frequency, or VLF, radio signals to probe the flare’s effects on the D-region. These were standard communication signals transmitted from Maine and received in Ireland. The denser the ionosphere, the more likely these signals are to run into charged particles along their way from a signal transmitter to its receiver. By monitoring how the VLF signals propagate from one end to the other, scientists can map out changes in electron density.

Pooling together the VLF data and X-ray and extreme ultraviolet observations from GOES and SDO, the team found the D-region’s electron density was pulsing in concert with X-ray pulses on the Sun. They published their results in the Journal of Geophysical Research on Oct. 17, 2017.

“X-rays impinge on the ionosphere and because the amount of X-ray radiation coming in is changing, the amount of ionization in the ionosphere changes too,” said Jack Ireland, a co-author on both studies and Goddard solar physicist. “We’ve seen X-ray oscillations before, but the oscillating ionosphere response hasn’t been detected in the past.”

Hayes and her colleagues used a model to determine just how much the electron density changed during the flare. In response to incoming radiation, they found the density increased as much as 100 times in just 20 minutes during the pulses — an exciting observation for the scientists who didn’t expect oscillating signals in a flare would have such a noticeable effect in the ionosphere. With further study, the team hopes to understand how the ionosphere responds to X-ray oscillations at different timescales, and whether other solar flares induce this response.

“This is an exciting result, showing Earth’s atmosphere is more closely linked to solar X-ray variability than previously thought,” Hayes said. “Now we plan to further explore this dynamic relationship between the Sun and Earth’s atmosphere.”

Both of these studies took advantage of the fact that we are increasingly able to track solar activity and space weather from a number of vantage points. Understanding the space weather that affects us at Earth requires understanding a dynamic system that stretches from the Sun all the way to our upper atmosphere — a system that can only be understood by tapping into a wide range of missions scattered throughout space.

I think we are about to learn the sun has more influence on our weather than we currently understand.  Your thoughts?


Future Volcanic Eruptions Will Screw With Climate Change. . .

Peter Hess at Inverse

Climate change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many factors contribute to it, not the least of which is volcanic activity. And while you probably think of a volcano in terms of the heat produced, the gas and dust it emits actually affect climate change a lot more than you might think.

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research report that major volcanic eruptions could cause more disruption to the global climate than they have in the past. By examining the conditions that followed the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora in 1815, the Boulder, Colorado scientists predict what would happen if this type of major eruption occurred in 2085.

The potential alterations to the climate will not be in the Earth’s favor. While the scientists predict that the cooling that will follow a future eruption of that scale would be even more extreme, it will not offset the effects of a warming climate. Furthermore, they predict that the eruption will disrupt the water cycle, decreasing global precipitation.

The effects of a “volcanic winter” occur as the ash and smoke from an eruption obscure rays from the sun, decreasing their ability to heat the Earth. When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, thousands of people died instantly, and it is considered the most destructive eruption on Earth in 10,000 years. The dust and gas it emitted into the atmosphere altered global climate for a year afterward, which is why 1816 is known as “The Year Without a Summer.” Global temperatures dipped so severely that crops failed, even in places far away from the volcano. Farms in the northern United States suffered frost damage in August, as did farms in Europe. The massive volcanic eruption triggered a global subsistence crisis, which is estimated to have killed an additional 10,000 people.

Using computer climate models, the researchers of the new study concluded that, if an eruption like Mount Tambora’s happens in 2085, the Earth will cool up to 40 percent more than the 1815 eruption, assuming current rates of climate change continue. However, they also predict that the cooling will be spread out over several years.

The reason the temperature change will so drawn out, they explain, is because ocean temperature is becoming increasingly stratified — that is, separated into layers based on temperature. As this happens, the surface water in the ocean will be increasingly less able to moderate the cooling effects of the eruption, causing a longer and more severe cooling event. Because the cooling in 1815-1816 occurred at a time when ocean temperature was not as stratified, it was absorbed to some degree by the water.

Read the rest of the article HERE.