"What if" from this article.Gamma Ray Bursts
A nearby GRB would destroy our Ozone layer and create a smog of Nitrous Oxide. DNA is destroyed by the UV-B rays from the Sun. It can take several months for the Ozone to regenerate, but at a paltry 20%. Several years later, the nitrous oxide is rained out as acid rain. A few years after, the atmosphere returns to normal, but the Earth is now in a global cooling trend (Image Credit).
The Sun is a middle-aged star about 8 light-minutes from us. Its tantrums, though cosmically pitiful compared to the magnetar explosion, routinely squish Earth's protective magnetic field and alter our atmosphere, lighting up the night sky with colorful lights called aurora.
Solar storms also alter the shape of Earth's ionosphere, a region of the atmosphere 50 miles (80 kilometers) up where gas is so thin that electrons can be stripped from atoms and molecules -- they are ionized -- and roam free for short periods. Fluctuations in solar radiation cause the ionosphere to expand and contract.
"The gamma rays hit the ionosphere and created more ionization, briefly expanding the ionosphere," said Neil Gehrels, lead scientist for NASA's gamma-ray watching Swift observatory.
Gehrels said in an email interview that the effect was similar to a solar-induced disruption but that the effect was "much smaller than a big solar flare."
Still, scientists were surprised that a magnetar so far away could alter the ionosphere.
"That it can reach out and tap us on the shoulder like this, reminds us that we really are linked to the cosmos," said Phil Wilkinson of IPS Australia, that country's space weather service.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Rob Fender of Southampton University in the UK. "We have observed an object only 20 kilometers across [12 miles], on the other side of our galaxy, releasing more energy in a tenth of a second than the Sun emits in 100,000 years."
Ozone Depletion from Nearby Supernovae [...] In separate simulations we calculate the ozone depletion due to both gamma rays and cosmic rays. We find that for the combined ozone depletion from these effects roughly to double the "biologically active" UV flux received at the surface of the Earth, the supernova must occur at less than ~8 parsecs, ~30 light years. Based on the latest data, the time-averaged Galactic rate of core-collapse supernovae occurring within 8 pc is ~1.5 Gyr-1.
Alarmist Wiki Gamma Rays and Bursts
Currently orbiting satellites detect an average of about one gamma-ray burst per day. Because gamma-ray bursts are visible to distances encompassing most of the observable universe, a volume encompassing many billions of galaxies, this suggests that gamma-ray bursts must be exceedingly rare events per galaxy. Measuring the exact rate is difficult, but for a galaxy of approximately the same size as the Milky Way, the expected rate (for long GRBs) is about one burst every 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. Only a few percent of these would be beamed towards Earth. Estimates of rates of short GRBs are even more uncertain because of the unknown beaming fraction, but are probably comparable. A gamma-ray burst in the Milky Way, if close enough to Earth and beamed towards it, could have significant effects on the biosphere. The absorption of radiation in the atmosphere would cause photodissociation of nitrogen, generating nitric oxide that would act as a catalyst to destroy ozone. According to a 2004 study, a GRB at a distance of about a kiloparsec could destroy up to half of Earth's ozone layer; the direct UV irradiation from the burst combined with additional solar UV radiation passing through the diminished ozone layer could then have potentially significant impacts on the food chain and potentially trigger a mass extinction. The authors estimate that one such burst is expected per billion years, and hypothesize that the Ordovician-Silurian extinction event could have been the result of such a burst.
[So we don't have so much to fear from gamma rays emitted by distant stars... do we?]
Milky Way black hole may be a colossal 'particle accelerator'
Scientists were startled when they discovered in 2004 that the center of our galaxy is emitting gamma rays with energies in the tens of trillions of electronvolts. Now astrophysicists at The University of Arizona, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Adelaide (Australia) have discovered a mechanism that might produce these high-energy gamma rays. The black hole at the center of our Milky Way could be working like a cosmic particle accelerator, revving up protons that smash at incredible speeds into lower energy protons and creating high-energy gamma rays, they report.
High Energy Cosmic Rays and the Atmosphere
Cosmic rays are (mostly) protons from outer space. When a high-energy proton hits the earth's atmosphere, it will collide and interact with one of the nuclei of the atmospheric gas molecules.
Showers and muons
In these high-energy collisions many secondary particles are produced, including lots of high-energy particles called pions. Pions decay rapidly but some may first interact and make even more (somewhat lower energy) pions.
A high-energy (charged) pion decay makes a high-energy muon and two (unseen) neutrinos. Muons have two properties that allow them to reach the earth's surface:
1. Muons decay relatively slowly compared to pions.
2. Muons penetrate large amounts of material without interacting.
Muons, unlike pions, have no strong interaction properties and unlike electrons they are too massive to be significantly deflected by atomic electric fields that they encounter.
Cosmic ray shower
The illustration shows what happens. A proton from outer space (yellow) hits the upper atmosphere, and produces a shower of other particles (green). Some of these particles (mostly pions) decay into muons (red). Only a small fraction of the muons reaches the earth's surface, because most decay in flight. Therefore, at higher altitudes there are more muons, because fewer have decayed. At sea level, one muon goes through an area the size of your fingernail about every minute!
Alarmist Wiki Cosmic Rays
[...] Almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic ray particles are protons, almost 10% are helium nuclei (alpha particles), and slightly under 1% are heavier elements and electrons (beta minus particles).[ref] The term ray is a misnomer, as cosmic particles arrive individually, not in the form of a ray or beam of particles.
[...] The origins of these particles range from energetic processes on the Sun all the way to as yet unknown events in the farthest reaches of the visible universe. Cosmic rays can have energies of over 1020 eV.
[...] Interaction with the Earth's atmosphere
When cosmic ray particles enter the Earth's atmosphere they collide with molecules, mainly oxygen and nitrogen, to produce a cascade of lighter particles, a so-called air shower. The general idea is shown in the figure which shows a cosmic ray shower produced by a high energy proton of cosmic ray origin striking an atmospheric molecule.
mesons (e.g. positive and negative pions and kaons).
Cosmic rays are also responsible for the continuous production of a number of unstable isotopes in the Earth’s atmosphere, such as carbon-14, via the reaction:
Cosmic rays kept the level of carbon-14 in the atmosphere roughly constant (70 tons) for at least the past 100,000 years, until the beginning of aboveground nuclear weapons testing in the early 1950s. This is an important fact used in radiocarbon dating which is used in archaeology.
Reaction products of secondary cosmic ray, lifetime and reaction
- Tritium (12.3 a): 14N(n, 3H)12C (Spallation)
- Beryllium-7 (53.3 d)
- Beryllium-10 (1.6E6 a): 14N(n,p α)10Be (Spallation)
- Carbon-14 (5730 a): 14N(n, p)14C (Neutron activation)
- Sodium-22 (2.6 a)
- Sodium-24 (15 h)
- Magnesium-28 (20.9 h)
- Silicon-31 (2.6 h)
- Silicon-32 (101 a)
- Phosphorus-32 (14.3 d)
- Sulfur-35 (87.5 d)
- Sulfur-38 (2.8 h)
- Chlorine-34 m (32 min)
- Chlorine-36 (3E5 a)
- Chlorine-38 (37.2 min)
- Chlorine-39 (56 min)
- Argon-39 (269 a)
- Krypton-85 (10.7 a)
From a discussion More New Research further implicates Sun and Cosmic Rays that included Prof. Qing Bin Lu's Correlation between Cosmic Rays and Ozone Depletion (PDF here) (mentioned by CBC News in March, becoming popular amongst sceptical blogs in December). The paper was challenged by various parties, notably here, here and here.
I disagree with the CFC connection being significant. I have no problem with GCR protons colliding directly with ozone and with the various other molecules, creating different molecules that destroy or lead to ozone destruction. That CFCs are in Prof. Lu's frame as a primary factor is unrealistic imho not least because of the low and declining concentration. During SPEs that cause irregular ozone destruction, the situation may
|"Most remarkably, the total amount of CFCs, ozone-depleting molecules that are well-known greenhouse gases, has decreased around 2000," Lu said. "Correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate."|
It's possible to cherry pick isolated points in time that would superficially support Lu's claim, but the global surface temperature trend is still in an upward direction.
|Saying there's a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.
Identifying a downward trend is a case of "people coming at the data with preconceived notions," said Peterson, author of the book "Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis."
cypress replied: I read the article carefully and also a fair quantity of discussion online about the study as well. It appears that the AP requested that statisticians study two and only two data sets to form the conclusions. You might be interested in knowing what to sets they are. Could you confirm that they are the GISS and the HAD/CRU data sets? It also appears that the study is not peer-reviewed
If so, I note that those two sets stand out uniquely as two that have persistently diverge from the other global compilations now by about 0.3C. In the seventies and eighties they were in alignment but now they are not. Interestingly, they are the only global compilation where the raw data is not available. Dr. Lu chose not to use either of those data sets. Perhaps it was because they cannot be independently confirmed. Analysis of the other sets which are independently verified, show temperatures declining from 2001-2003 and onward just as Dr. Lu indicates.
Perhaps you can offer an explanation for these differences. Does David Peterson explain why only the two data sets that show the highest post 2000 temperatures were analyzed? Does he apply is expertise to evaluate the nature of the deviation between GISS/HAD/CRU and other data sets? If not, do you suppose that might be one reason the study was not peer-reviewed?
Going back though to your primary purpose of posting this, is it your contention that Dr. Lu is mistaken and as you say global temperatures continue to rise even between 2002 and today? If so, what data set are you using to support your claim and how can you independently validate that it is correct in this timeframe?
Here is a discussion of global temperature compilations for comparison purposes.
If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth ringing?
Story in pics PDF here
(Also WUWT - NASA: Cosmic rays up 19% since last peak – new record high could lead to cooling)
A comparison of two solar minimum intervals
Discussed. The study, led by scientists at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Michigan, finds that Earth was bombarded last year with high levels of solar energy at a time when the Sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared.
"The Sun continues to surprise us," says NCAR scientist Sarah Gibson, the lead author. "The solar wind can hit Earth like a fire hose even when there are virtually no sunspots."
Alarmist Wiki Magnetosphere
Important because this is the first line of defence against SPEs and GCRs whose penetration of the lower atmosphere layers causes ozone destruction.
Solar Wind and the Geomagnetic Hole
Sunspot abundance and the decline of the solar EMF (and accompanying articles) may be seen at WUWT - here, here and here with several other relevant articles amongst the search results here.
Ships' logs give clues to Earth's magnetic decline
[...] Gubbins showed that the overall strength of the planet's magnetic field was virtually unchanged between 1590 and 1840. Since then, the field has declined at a rate of roughly 5% per 100 years.
Every 300,000 years on average, the north and south poles of the Earth's magnetic field swap places. The field must weaken and go to zero before it can reverse itself. The last such reversal occurred roughly 780,000 years ago, so we are long overdue for another magnetic flip. Once it begins, the process of reversing takes less than 5000 years, experts believe.
Alarmist Wiki Geomagnetic Reversal
[...] The present strong deterioration corresponds to a 10–15% decline over the last 150 years and has accelerated in the past several years; however, geomagnetic intensity has declined almost continuously from a maximum 35% above the modern value achieved approximately 2000 years ago. The rate of decrease and the current strength are within the normal range of variation, as shown by the record of past magnetic fields recorded in rocks.
[...] the solar wind may induce a sufficient magnetic field in the Earth's ionosphere to shield the surface from energetic particles even in the absence of the Earth's normal magnetic field.[ref]
It doesn't alter the conclusion that the weakening of the geomagnetic field is declining and the strength of the solar induction ain't much in comparison due to the decline in solar activity. The decline allows greater penetration of high energy protons that accelerate ozone depletion. More UV allowed into the lower atmosphere causes greater generation of surface ozone and warming of the ocean surface in the short term, in the longer term, if theories stand, greater cloud production will result from tropospheric molecule collisions during high energy proton incursion, (increasing the neutron population that causes other effects?)
Geomagnetic Forcing of Earth’s Cloud Cover During 2000-2008?
If we do a scatterplot of the data (below), we get an average linear relationship of about 0.05 W per sq. meter increase in reflected sunlight per 1 unit decrease in Ap index. This is at least qualitatively consistent with a decrease in solar activity corresponding to an increase in cloud cover. ...
But just how big is this linear relationship seen in the above scatterplot? From looking at a 70-year plot of Ap data (originally from David Archibald), we see that the 11-year sunspot cycle modulates the Ap index by at least 10 units. ...
When the 10 Ap unit variations are multiplied by the 0.05 scale factor, it suggests about a 0.5 W per sq. meter modulation of global reflected sunlight during the 11 year solar cycle (as well as in monthly and yearly variations of geomagnetic activity). I calculate that this is a factor of 10 greater than the change in reflected sunlight that results from the 0.1% modulation of the total solar irradiance [TSI] during the solar cycle.
At face value, that would mean the geomagnetic [solar] modulation of cloudiness has about 10 times the effect on the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth as does the solar cycle’s direct modulation of the sun’s output.
Neutron (Also in A. wiki)
These neutrons have more energy than fission energy neutrons and are generated in accelerators or in the atmosphere from cosmic particles. They can have energies as high as tens of joules per neutron.
Also relevant to ozone
Abstract. The present study demonstrates the relationship between the high latitude northern hemispheric major sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events and the reversal in the afternoon equatorial electrojet (EEJ), often called the counter-electrojet (CEJ), during the winter months of 1998–1999, 2001–2002, 2003–2004 and 2005–2006. As the EEJ current system is driven by tidal winds, an investigation of tidal variabilities in the MF radar observed zonal winds during the winters of 1998–1999 and 2005–2006 at 88 km over Tirunelveli, a site close to the magnetic equator, shows that there is an enhancement of semi-diurnal tidal amplitude during the days of a major SSW event and a suppression of the same immediately after the event. The significance of the present results lies in demonstrating the latitudinal coupling between the high latitude SSW phenomenon and the equatorial ionospheric current system with clear evidence for major SSW events influencing the day-to-day variability of the
--From the body:
The forcing of the semi-diurnal tide is mainly due to the absorption of ultraviolet radiation by ozone in the stratosphere and mesosphere and absorption of infrared radiation by water vapour in the troposphere. The tidal variabilities during major warming events could be ascribed to the variability of ozone in the stratosphere and/or convective activity associated with latent heat release in the equatorial troposphere during the events. Kodera (2006) examined the role of the SSW events in equatorial convective activity in the troposphere and found the meridional circulation change associated with the warming led to a seesaw of convective activity in the troposphere with an enhancement of convective activity near the equatorial Southern Hemisphere, but a suppression in the tropics of the Northern Hemisphere. Due to major warming events, denitrification, which is the necessary condition for destruction of ozone, is less intense because of high temperature and hence the destruction of ozone is less in the disturbed northern hemispheric winter (Toon et al., 1989).
--From the discussion/results:
A major outcome of the present study is the observational evidence for the role that major SSW events play in influencing the day-to-day variability of CEJ events through enhancement of semi-diurnal tides. However, the relationship between SSW and semi-diurnal tide is yet to be firmly established based on solid theoretical understanding, though observations do reveal a linkage between the two.
Impression. Reducing the climate temperature relevant weight given by scientists to their particular theories, I surmise importance should be given to cloud formation by cosmic particles, more to ozone depletion and more still to cloudiness that is partially a product of both the aforementioned, cosmic particles creating particulates for water vapour to collect on and ozone allowing higher levels of UV to warm the oceans, accelerating evaporation.
The dogma targetting kids as dogmas always do. Andrea Peyser, NYT. Makes you want to do bad things to evil people.
Doomed I tell you DOOMED (Science bod perhaps?) :) http://www.preparingforthegreatshift.org/TOCsummary.htm :)