We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Solar Magnetic Field Long Cycle
If this is essentially correct, then it is pretty clear that we can
blame the warmer Earth that has been variously argued on the advent of the
Solar Grand Maximum.This also argues
forcefully for a Solar Grand Minimum which coincides historically with the
Little Ice Age.
Does this make any sense?Perhaps, though I can find a 1050 year cycle but I am not particularly
comfortable that there is a 350 year cycle.Yet it may turn out that we have a sequence of three 350 year cycles
culminating with a great cool down as was experienced in the little ice Age and
the fifth century.Again that is not
particularly convincing from what data we have.
Or it is plausible that the Volcanic induced cool down of the 1640’s just
coincided half a century later with the onset of the Solar Grand Minimum and
simply worsened the situation.By
itself, theses solar highs and lows are good for approximately a half degree of
warming.Add in a half degree from other
causes and we have the known extremes.The present high is not nearly as warm as it can get, yet there is ample
argument that the trend is slowly downward.
It may well be that there is a long cycle in the Solar Magnetic flux
that lasts for around several hundred years.Attempting to adjust the data for such a flux appears to be presently
problematic to say the least, but it is at least highly suggestive and need not
be dismissed out of hand.
Solar Climate Change Could CauseRougher
by Staff Writers
(SPX) Mar 30, 2012
Image of a coronal mass
ejection (CME) on June 7, 2011, recorded in ultraviolet light by the Solar
Dynamics Observatory (SDO) satellite. The shock front that forms ahead of these
huge expulsions of material from the solar atmosphere (the event shown moved at
1,400 km/s) can generate large fluxes of highly energetic particles at Earth
which can be a considerable hazard to space-based electronic systems and with
repeated exposure, a health risk for crew on board high-altitude aircraft.
Recent research shows that the
space age has coincided with a period of unusually high solar activity, called
a grand maximum. Isotopes in ice sheets and tree rings tell us that this grand
solar maximum is one of 24 during the last 9,300 years and suggest the high
levels of solar magnetic field seen over the space age will reduce in future.
This decline will cause a
reduction in sunspot numbers and explosive solar events, but those events that
do take place could be more damaging.
Graduate student Luke Barnard
of the University of Reading will present new results on 'solar climate
change' in his paper at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester.
The level of radiation in the
space environment is of great interest to scientists and engineers as it poses
various threats to man-made systems including damage to electronics on satellites.
It can also be a health hazard to astronauts and to a lesser extent the crew of
The main sources of radiation
are galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), which are a continuous flow of highly
energetic particles from outside our solar system and solar energetic particles
(SEPs), which are accelerated to high energies in short bursts by explosive
events on the Sun.
The amount of radiation in the
near-Earth environment from these two sources is partly controlled in a
complicated way by the strength of the Sun's magnetic field.
There are theoretical
predictions supported by observational evidence that a decline in the average
strength of the Sun's magnetic field would lead to an increase in the amount of
GCRs reaching near-Earth space.
Furthermore there are
predictions that, although a decline in solar activity would mean less frequent
bursts of SEPs, the bursts that do occur would be larger and more harmful.
Currently spacecraft and
aircraft are only designed and operated to offer suitable protection from the
levels of radiation that have been observed over the course of the space age.
A decline in solar activity
would result in increased amounts of radiation in near-Earth space and
therefore increased risk of harm to spacecraft and aircraft and the astronauts
and aircraft crews that operate them.
By comparing this grand
maximum with 24 previous examples, Mr. Barnard predicts that there is an 8%
chance that solar activity will fall to the very low levels seen in the
so-called 'Maunder minimum', a period during the seventeenth century when very
few sunspots were seen.
In this instance, the flux of
GCRs would probably increase by a factor of 2.5 from present day values and the
probability of observing a large SEP event will fall from the presently seen 5
down to 2 events per century.
However, the more probable
scenario is that solar activity will decline to approximately half its current
value in the next 40 years, in which case the flux of GCRs will increase by a
factor of 1.5 and the probability of large SEP events to increase from the
current value to 8 events per century.
As a result the near-Earth
space radiation environment will probably become more hazardous in the next 40
In presenting his results, Mr.
Barnard comments: "Radiation in space can be a serious issue for both
people and the delicate electronic systems that society depends on. Our
research shows that this problem is likely to get worse over the coming decades
- and that engineers will need to work even harder to mitigate its