Friday, September 26, 2008

Solar System shield lowering increasing Galactic Cosmic ray flux

The ESA and Nasa have issued a joint statement on the decreasing solar wind output.

23 September 2008
Data from the joint ESA/NASA Ulysses mission show that the Sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings have become available. This current state of the Sun could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our Solar System.

"The Sun’s 1.5 million km-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble around the Solar System and can influence how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our Solar System, where it meets the galaxy," said Dave McComas, Principal Investigator for the Ulysses solar wind instrument and senior Executive Director at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. "Ulysses data indicate the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age."

The Sun's solar wind plasma is a stream of charged particles that are ejected from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. The solar wind interacts with every planetary body in our Solar System. It even defines the border between our Solar System and interstellar space.

This border, called the heliopause, is a bubble-shaped boundary surrounding our Solar System where the solar wind's strength is no longer great enough to push back the wind originating from other stars. The region around the heliopause also acts as a shield for our Solar System, warding off a significant portion of the cosmic rays outside the galaxy.

Galactic cosmic rays carry with them radiation from other parts of our galaxy," said Ed Smith, NASA's Ulysses Project Scientist from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, USA. "With the solar wind at an all-time low, there is an excellent chance that the heliosphere will diminish in size and strength. If that occurs, more galactic cosmic rays will make it into the inner part of our Solar System."

This is evident in the Moscow neutron graph in the previous post..There we see the topology of the peak/plateau modulation in the odd/ even solar cycles, and seen in the idealized mathematical model above.

The 22-year cycle is seen in the GCR intensity, since during solar cycles with negative polarity of the Sun’s northern polar field (field is directed into the Sun) cosmic-ray time dependence has a peaked form and during cycles with positive polarity (field is directed out of the Sun) it has a plateau form. Such an effect is caused by the difference in cosmic ray drift directions during positive and negative phases of the magnetic cycle. The time behavior of galactic proton flux was theoretically investigated by Jokipii (1991)

It is evident that integrated cosmic-ray flux during the plateau phase of the cycle is twice as large as during the peaked phase. Clearly, if the Earth’s atmosphere reacts effectively to the cosmic-ray flux integrated over the corresponding cycle, appreciable bidecadal variation in climate may arise. This variation should be more pronounced at high latitudes, because cosmic rays are more intense in the polar regions.This is indeed the case with high levels of Nox over the south pole.

M. G. OGURTSOV et al explain the causal mechanisms.

Optical mechanism, which takes into account changes of atmospheric transparency
caused by changes in fluxes of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) and solar cosmic rays (SCR), consisting mainly of energetic protons (energies up to few GeV), can reach even the Earth’s surface. Their fluxes change substantially with solar activity and can influence atmospheric opacity in two ways. The first is connected with the changes in atmospheric chemistry. The SCR and GCR particles react with N2 and O2, which lead to their dissociation and ionization. Ions of N+2 ,O+2 , N+, O+ are formed and they are involved in a complex of photochemical reactions, which produce nitrogen oxide, NO. NO and atomic oxygen O effectively destroy ozone. Hence, the input of high-energy particles into the atmosphere causes destruction of ozone and the generation of NO2 (Pudovkin and Raspopov, 1992). Such changes are particularly strong during proton events. For example, on 4 August of 1972, at 30–35 km altitude, the concentration of ozone decreased ten times and the concentration of NO2 increased by factor 2. Inasmuch as NO2 absorbs intensively solar radiation in the green and blue part of the spectrum, the irradiance at the Earth’s surface decreases. Ultraviolet flux increases, due to ozone depletion of the stratosphere, and the radiation balance of the atmosphere changes, which may result in changes in atmospheric circulation. It should be noted that ozone depletion probably leads to the cooling of the Earth’s surface, because the greenhouse effect of ozone exceeds the effect of UV heating (Larin, 2002). Thus, besides changes in the circulation pattern, variation in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, caused by input of energetic particles, can cool the lower troposphere. A change of the temperature altitude profile in the atmosphere, caused by high-energy particles, is described by Pudovkin and Dementeeva (1997).

The times they are a changing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Comic Rays and Ozone holes cooling the Southern Hemisphere

As w have seen here previously on GCR

NOx is produced in dissociation of molecular nitrogen by the primary and secondary solar particles and, to a lesser extent, in ion chemical reactions following the ion pair production. Production of HOx is solely due to ion chemistry,involving a rather complex scheme of water cluster ion reactions. The depletion of ozone is due to the increase of NOx and HOx, which accelerates the catalytic ozone loss cycles involving these species.The magnitude and duration of depletion depends on the particle flux, altitude,season(solar illumination level and atmospheric dynamics),and the chemical state of the atmosphere. The short-term ozone depletion due to HOx increase lasts some hours and can be greater than 90% in the middle mesosphere, while the long-term decrease, several tens of percent, is typically seen in the upper stratosphere and is due to NOx increase. Because of the long chemical lifetime of NOx, the effects on ozone can last for months and the produced NOx can be transported from the location of the precipitation, so that lower altitudes and latitudes may also be affected.

Nitrous oxide is a cooling agent for the upper atmosphere and during high energy events from either SPE or during high GCR activity we can see around 5 watts per metre removed from the radiative energy budget.

Recent commentary on this years Sizable ozone hole are now appearing.

A new Canadian study says that cosmic rays, not chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are the main cause of the depletion of the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere. The study also predicts that the largest ozone hole - larger than the size of the US and Canada combined - will occur over Antarctica in ``one or two weeks.''

The ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere absorbs the sun's high-frequency ultraviolet rays which are deadly for life on earth and cause diseases such as skin cancer and cataracts.

As we will be in a persistant state of high gcr the probability of warmer summer temperatures in the SH ARE NOT SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Predictions of deep solar minimum

Makarov et al 2001

Indeed our analysis shows that the magnetic flux from the Sun increases by a factor of 1.4 since 1964 and this agrees with the observations. But we have found an increase of polar magnetic field strength (Bp) from the observations of the annual mean number of polar faculae (Npf ) in this period. Consequently the mean polar magnetic field _Bp_ has been estimated of 2.5 G in cycle 21 and 4.0 G in cycle 23, i.e., an increase by a factor of 1.6. Hence there was an increase of the value of the polar field of the Sun, but on an interval of time of about two to three 11-year cycles. Long-term increase of magnetic flux from the Sun was mainly caused by growth of the area of polar cap of the Sun occupied by the unipolar magnetic field.

A new index of polar activity of the Sun _Apz_ (area of polar cap occupied by a unipolar fields) has been compared with the aa, W and A-index. We used the correlations between _aa_ and _Apz_ to estimate the limit latitude of the highlatitude zone boundary θ2m to be about 60. Its minimum is < 38, the present value.We suggest that θ2m practically coincides with the conical blades where rω = 0 and thus that these conical blades have a similar oscillatory motion between say 60and < 38. It is supposed that deep minima of solar activity may occur when these conical blades reach extreme latitudes. This may be an indication that we are approaching a new deep minimum.

The relation between the concentration of 14C and solar activity is well known. Stuiver and Quay (1980) have detected a few periods of very low activity of the Sun: the Maunder Minimum (1645–1715), the Spörer Minimum (1416–1435, 1470–1534), the Wolf Minimum (1282–1342) and, probably, the Oort Minimum (1010–1050). The mean duration of low activity is about 60 years and the mean length of time between the minima is about 220 years, or about 20 solar cycles. This corresponds to a latitude drift of the zone boundary of 24. Again this is an indication that the Sun may be turning soon (in 1 or 2 cycles?) into a period of low activity with a duration of about 60 years. Some other papers also predicted the period of very low solar activity at the beginning of the XXI century (Chistyakov,1983; Badalyan, Obridko, and Sýkora, 2001).

One may wonder whether there is a contradiction between Apz increasing (and contributing to global warming) and a grand minimum. However, a grand minimum may constitute a phase of reorganization so that θ2m and θ1m occur again at higher latitudes. Anyway in a grand minimum the activity becomes so low that the corresponding flux practically vanishes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please keep me posted if there's more confirming evidence of the Maunder minimum

Global Cooling the inverse consensus

In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to "stock up on fur coats." Sorokhtin, who calls man's contribution to climate change "a drop in the bucket," predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond.

In 2003 Schatten and Tobiska in a paper Solar Activity Heading for a Maunder Minimum? Suggested that cooler times are ahead.

Please keep me posted if there's more confirming evidence of the Maunder minimum

Long-range (few years to decades) solar activity prediction techniques vary greatly in their methods. They range from examining planetary orbits, to spectral analyses (e.g. Fourier, wavelet and spectral analyses), to artificial intelligence methods, to simply using general statistical techniques. Rather than concentrate on statistical/mathematical/numerical methods, we discuss a class of methods which appears to have a "physical basis." Not only does it have a physical basis, but this basis is rooted in both "basic" physics (dynamo theory), but also solar physics (Babcock dynamo theory). The class we discuss is referred to as "precursor methods," originally developed by Ohl, Brown and Williams and others, using geomagnetic observations.

My colleagues and I have developed some understanding for how these methods work and have expanded the prediction methods using "solar dynamo precursor" methods, notably a "SODA" index (SOlar Dynamo Amplitude). These methods are now based upon an understanding of the Sun's dynamo processes- to explain a connection between how the Sun's fields are generated and how the Sun broadcasts its future activity levels to Earth. This has led to better monitoring of the Sun's dynamo fields and is leading to more accurate prediction techniques. Related to the Sun's polar and toroidal magnetic fields, we explain how these methods work, past predictions, the current cycle, and predictions of future of solar activity levels for the next few solar cycles.

The surprising result of these long-range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a "Maunder" type of solar activity minimum - an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity. For the solar physicists, who enjoy studying solar activity, we hope this isn't so, but for NASA, which must place and maintain satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), it may help with reboost problems. Space debris, and other aspects of objects in LEO will also be affected.

Please keep me posted if there's more confirming evidence of the Maunder minimumEasterbrook suggested as early as 2001 that this may indeed be happening.

Please keep me posted if there's more confirming evidence of the Maunder minimum

What is the significance of the icy 2007-2008 record-breaking winter and the past 6-year cooling trend? Some of the possible ramifications of this are really interesting. Keeping in mind that any single year is weather, not climate, some interesting patterns are beginning to emerge, and when considered in terms of past climate changes, may be pointing to some truly significant changes in store for the world. For example:

Global temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period (900-1300 AD) were slightly higher than at present but plunged about 4° in only 20 years, initiating the Little Ice Age that caused severe famines in Europe and leading to the deaths of about one third of the population. Unfortunately, the Medieval Warm Period pre-dated direct observation of sun spots, but for about 100 years (beginning in 1609), sun spots were rare (the Maunder Minimum) and global climate was icy. Virtually all scientists now accept a solar cause of the Little Ice Age. The concern of the Canadian and Russian astrophysicists is that, leading into the coming predictable solar cycle, they are seeing a much lower level of sun spot activity than expected, resembling that which accompanied the plunging global temperatures at the beginning of the Little Ice Age. This is a distinct possibility. However, I think a more likely scenario is that we may be heading for a deeper global cooling than the last one (~1945 to 1977), perhaps similar to the 30-year cool period from 1880 to 1910 when many cold weather records were set.

What is the significance of the present globally icy winter? By itself, it’s weather and arguably not statistically important. However, when considered in the light of the past 5-year cooling trend, the continuation of that pattern is important because if we are to believe the IPCC’s prediction of a 1° F warming by 2011, that will require warming of almost 1° F in the next three years! As pointed out in your column, the IPCC recasts its predictions every year to match actual conditions so they appear to stay ‘on-track.’ However, they made finite predictions some years ago and if IPCC is to remain credible, those predictions need to be accountable. In a nutshell, in 2001, I put my reputation on the line and published my predictions for entering a global cooling cycle about 2007 plus or minus 3-5 years, based on past glacial, ice core, and other data. As right now, my prediction seems to be right on target and what we would expect from the past climatic record, but the IPCC prediction is getting farther and farther off the mark. Now with the apparent solar cooling cycle upon us, we have a ready explanation for global warming and cooling.

Please keep me posted if there's more confirming evidence of the Maunder minimum

Over a reasonable period of time 20-30 years we see the pendulum of climatic oscillation return to its previous state as the set remembers its previous position in phase space.like an elastic band..

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