High Energy Cosmic Rays Not From Our Galaxy

 

raymap

This sky map shows the flux of high-energy (E ≥ 8 EeV) cosmic rays used for this study. The cross marks the source of the cosmic rays, while the circles denote the 68% and 95% confidence level regions.
The Pierre Auger Collaboration.

 

Last week, an international team of over 400 researchers from 18 nations finally confirmed that high-energy cosmic rays are not coming from inside the Milky Way Galaxy, but instead from somewhere beyond.

In the study, published September 22 in the journal Science, the researchers gathered over ten years of data taken with the Pierre Auger Observatory to determine whether high-energy cosmic rays were hitting Earth equally from all directions. They are not.

Instead, the researchers found an overabundance of cosmic rays arriving from one specific region in the sky, located about 120 degrees away from our galactic center, in a direction that falls outside the Milky Way’s disk and cannot be associated with any possible sources within the galaxy. The researchers concluded that high-energy cosmic rays must have extragalactic origins.

Source: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2017/09/cosmic-rays-extragalactic-origin

Since high-energy cosmic rays have been associated with cloud formation, I was wondering if the cosmic ray numbers fluxed, or were they a stable stream? If the number was stable, the impact would be the same on cloud formation. However, if they varied over time, the cosmic rays could impact our climate from afar? Does anyone have more information, access to the paper?

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Little Ice Age Explained

By Terry Mejdrich

Sunspots are huge magnetic storms on the sun that can be thousands of miles in diameter. They appear as dark spots because their temperature is slightly cooler than the surrounding surface. They are present when the sun goes through the “active” phase of its approximately 11-year cycle. Currently, the sun is generating tremendous solar storms, an indication of increased intensity of its magnetic field.

Typically, the sun goes from no storms at all to a ferocious period of activity every 11 years. Scientists do not have a clear explanation for why this variability occurs, but likely it is a result of fluctuating convection currents within the sun. Outbursts of superheated plasma from solar storms can cause problems on Earth if the Earth happens to be in the line of fire, interfering with the electronics of satellites and communications. But the sun’s strong magnetic field, of which sunspots are a byproduct, is a vital necessity for protecting life on Earth from cosmic radiation.

In effect, the sun’s magnetic field creates a shield that greatly reduces the amount of harmful radiation reaching the Earth from outer space. But it also, in an indirect way, helps maintain a stable climate, at least according to a recent hypothesis.

The period from about 1650 to 1710 is known at the “Little Ice Age.” Not every year during that period was colder than average, but overall the temperature dropped an average of about two degrees Fahrenheit in the Northern Hemisphere. Two degrees doesn’t sound like much, but it led to crop failures, food shortages and social unrest, particularly in Europe. The Thames River, which flows through London, England, froze over during winter months. Scientists have speculated on reasons why this period of cooling occurred. Some suggested reasons include increased volcanic activity, shifting ocean currents, as well as a dip in the amount of light and heat the sun produced.

Modern measurements, however, have shown that the sun’s light and heat output remain nearly constant with little difference, even during times of increased solar storms. And yet observations by science-minded people of the time indicate that during the Little Ice Age, sunspot activity was almost completely absent. Researchers have wondered if it was mere coincidence that the reduced sunspot activity coincided with a noticeable drop in average temperatures, but if there was a connection, it had eluded them.

Now, a few scientists believe they have found that connection. Their reasoning goes like this: During a protracted solar minimum, which occurred during the Little Ice Age, the sun’s magnetic field becomes weaker (as evidenced by reduced sunspot activity). This allows more cosmic rays to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere. The cosmic rays interact with molecules and atoms in the atmosphere creating microscopic grains of “dust.” These particles attract water vapor, creating tiny droplets of water, which enhances the development of clouds. (Every raindrop forms around a microscopic particle. Without such airborne particulates, there would be no rain.) Increased cloud cover blocks a corresponding amount of solar radiation, thereby decreasing the temperature. This is the scenario now being proposed as the reason for the Little Ice Age.

Further research is required to verify this hypothesis. But it does explain the “coincidence” of a period of virtually no sunspot activity and a period of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere.

The other point of note is the degree to which Earth’s climate changed with just a two-degree reduction in temperature. Presently, average temperatures are rising worldwide, and the consequences are already evident.

http://www.grandrapidsmn.com/opinion/columnists/little-ice-age-explained/article_614dfec8-9a29-11e7-989d-cffaf92de2c7.html

Your opinion is most welcome. Does this theory hold up?

Solar Minimum in 2019-2020

According to the NASA Video below the next solar minimum is on the way and should arrive by 2019

As the next solar minimum is exposed by time, I will be focusing more on this event and its potential impact on the climate and our daily lives.

One of the events associated with a quiet sun in the increased number of high-energy cosmic rays that can reach the earth and it’s atmosphere. These cosmic rays are mention in the video. Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus project have been tracking the increase in cosmic rays since 2015 When the number of sunspots started to decline.

Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes.

newhampshirevscalifornia_strip

See Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere at Spaceweather.com for more details.

 

New Atmospheric Radiation Results

For the past two+ years, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been monitoring cosmic rays in the atmosphere above California using high-altitude space weather balloons. After more than 100 flights, they find that dose rates have increased over the Golden State by 13% since March 2015.

Now we know the same thing is happening over New England–only more so.

newhampshirevscalifornia_strip

More on the Earth to Sky Calculus HERE.

Some scientist believe that there is a connection between the number of cosmic rays and cloud cover. The more cloud cover, the cooler the planet. It could be more cosmic rays, the cooler the planet. More on clouds and cosmic rays HERE.

CLOUD also finds that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere.

What do you think?  Will a quiet sun allow more cosmic rays reach the earth, creating more clouds cooling the planet? Your thoughts?   Why the difference between New England and California?  Could it be latitude?  Or measurement error?  Your thoughts?

Indirect Effects of the Sun on Earth’s Climate

Mike Jonas writing as Guest Blogger at Watt Up With That has written an very interesting essay on the potential impact of the sun on our climate and climate history. Recommend reading for Next Grand Minimum readers, as there is a mention of the Maunder Minimum.

I would also direct your attention to the comments, which contain some interesting discussion.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/10/indirect-effects-of-the-sun-of-earths-climate/

Solar Update June 2017–the sun is slumping and headed even lower

Guest essay by David Archibald at Watts Up With That

Solar cycle 24 has seen very low solar activity thus far, likely the lowest in 100 years.

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Figure 1: F10.7 Flux 2014 – 2017

The F10.7 flux shows that over the last three and a half years the Sun has gone from solar maximum through a bounded decline to the current stage of the trail to the minimum. Solar minimum is likely to be still three years away.

The Full Post is HERE.  Stay tuned.  It was a record snow year in California and cosmic ray counts continue to increase. It is going to be an interesting climate year.

 

Dr.Stephanie Osborn, Interstellar Woman of Mystery, on Solar Climate Influence.

Dr Osborn has an interesting career in addition to being a Science Fiction writer.

A veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program, as well as various military space defense programs, she worked on numerous space shuttle flights and the International Space Station and counts the training of astronauts on her resum�. Her space experience also includes Spacelab and ISS operations, variable star astrophysics, Martian aeolian geophysics, radiation physics, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons effects.

She posted the following on Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor blog:

1) Yes indeed, I have been following sunspot numbers for many years now. And while sunspot numbers have been decreasing steadily for several cycles to date, the current dearth is very unusual — especially for this point in the cycle — and, to quote my favorite Vulcan, “Fascinating.” I am definitely continuing to keep an eye on the activity, or rather lack thereof.

2) There is a new model out (the “double-dynamo” model of the solar interior), only about 2 years old, which does a reasonable (though not perfect; it’s still not complex enough, IMHO) job of predicting extended solar minima, as well as the somewhat unusual “two-hump” shapes of recent solar cycles (when sunspot numbers vs. time are plotted). This model is predicting an extended minimum beginning in about 10-15 years, and this roughly matches my own considerations based on observation. (I think I referenced the model’s prediction in my original email, which you excerpted, though I may not have been clear enough; sometimes I forget not everyone is in the astronomical field, hence not familiar with the things I am. My bad.) If it is, indeed, not complex enough (as I strongly believe), then it may be that said extended minimum may begin sooner or later than predicted. The current rather precipitous decrease in sunspot numbers so soon after a solar max — which was itself somewhat paltry — may indicate an early start…or not. We will have to wait and see.

3) The “Little Ice Age” was actually a significantly extended cool period lasting several centuries, and no less than FOUR extended minima occurred during its “tenure.” These include, in order, the Wolf, the Spörer, the Maunder, and the Dalton minima. These extended minima were not all of the same “depth,” in that the minimum numbers of sunspots were not the same across all of them — the Maunder was far deeper than the rest — but as I mentioned previously, there are indications that we are hitting numbers in the range of the Dalton already. [Note that, during the Maunder Minimum, sunspots became so rare, that a grand total of only ~50 were observed over 28 years — this corresponds roughly to two and a half solar cycles. In a “normal” cycle, we would expect to see around 50,000 sunspots in that same timeframe, some three orders of magnitude more.]

4) The fact that, as sunspot numbers go down, the overall energies output by the Sun also go down is an indication that, in this instance, correlation may well equal causation, at least to some degree. Add in a few large volcanic eruptions to complicate matters — and there usually ARE some large volcanic eruptions in such timeframes, as a matter of course — and it may well prove interesting times ahead, as well as in the past.

5) The fact that cosmic ray fluxes are increasing is further indication that solar activity is decreasing, as the solar wind normally tends to provide a shield of some (relative) substance against cosmic rays, which originate outside our solar system, mostly from galactic sources (supernovae, active galactic nuclei, etc.). But as solar activity declines, the solar wind also declines, and so too would the cosmic ray flux increase, as the plasma which shields us from its entrance into the inner solar system decreases. (We still have the magnetosphere shielding us.)

I’m simplifying, of course; things are always more complex than meets the eye. But given the steady decrease in numbers for a good 3 or more cycles now (with considerable fluctuation for several cycles before that), I will be surprised if, at some time in the next few cycles, we do not enter an extended minimum, even if only of moderate depth. And it really isn’t a matter of “if,” but of when. Many variable star astronomers (and that’s what I studied in school — spotted variables, no less) consider that the Sun is at the very least borderline variable; some consider it outrightly so. I tend to fall in the latter camp; it all depends on the percentage of variability, and we are only now obtaining the kind of data we need to determine that. But it doesn’t actually take much.

Of course, only time will be the true validation if we are going to have another Grand Minimum.  Readers thoughts?