Cosmic Rays and their effect on earth

Reposted from:  Space Weather, including links, with my own emphasis noted.
Updated: Sept. 29 2016 // Next Flight: Oct. 1, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016: Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of We’ve been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expressed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? Approximately once a week, 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. Furthermore, there are studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 12% since 2015:

Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field, (see also Climate and Earth’s Magnetic Field) which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.


Is it possible there is a true alternative to damaging wind turbines?

I am sad to say that I initially was one who thought wind turbines were good. Wow, was THAT wrong! Clearly the Law of Unintended Consequences is at work to a massive degree, here! Having said that, although I am reluctant to make that mistake again, I would like to share an interesting alternative. HOWEVER, I would LOVE to hear other people’s ideas of ANY potential downsides to this, because it really does seem to have some promise. My only suggestion would be to emulate the shape and action of leaves…

Free Energy Nitinol Heat Machines invented in the early 1970

According to a portion of that article: Demonstration model heat engines have been built which use nitinol wire to produce mechanical energy from hot and cold heat sources. A prototype commercial engine developed in the 1970s by engineer Ridgway Banks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was named the Banks Engine.

However, the applications are not limited to just energy production. The article continues… More

Raising Monarch Butterflies

I am trying out using Pages in WordPress by documenting the life of a Monarch caterpillar, but I am a bit dubious about whether this is the best way to do it.

We have regularly raised them for about 6 years, but last year we didn’t see even ONE butterfly in Rochester, NY, which made us sad and not a bit worried. This year my daughter found an egg! Within 2 days it had hatched and the saga began. Every 2 days or so I take a photo and write something about the progress.

I will also share how we raise them, using pictures and descriptions. We actually have found about 6 more (as of this writing), so you will see how we live with this increasing mess.

However I am putting a link to the page in this post so that I can have the benefit of categories and tags. Check it regularly!

If anyone knows a better way to do this or the right way to use Pages, please drop me a comment or so.

Solar Roadways?

OK, saw this on Facebook, and it sounds very intriguing.

However, there’s always that part of me that says: “Pause! That’s some enthusiasm, but I hate the thought that I could be blinded by emotion.”

[No, I am not some emotionless Spock, but I admired the character greatly.]

So, here is my challenge:

  • After watching this video completely (and catching all the answers they provide) can anyone give me a more holistic picture?
  • What kinds of questions should people be asking, and are there some angles that are not mentioned here?
  • Is the excitement blinding us all to a less emotional, but still well-founded, conclusion that covers ALL the facts?
  • Is there a flaw (or more) that needs to be addressed?
  • Is there a downside that has enough “oomph” to give anyone legitimate pause?

Put on your skeptic caps, folks, but not just for the sake of being critical, but being really useful/helpful. (And for all you high IQ people who might be reading, here is something useful towards which you can turn your attention.)

If this is as good and well-thought-out as it appears, it deserves all kinds of attention. So, take a look and let me know what YOU think:

Matt Ridley’s new article in the WSJ – a dose of pragmatism about revelations from the new IPCC report

In the interests of intelligent balance in the “climate change” discussion we present the following for your consideration.

Watts Up With That?

Art for WSJ by David Klein

This will be a top sticky post for a day, new stories will appear below this one.

Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm

Even while it exaggerates the amount of warming, the IPCC is becoming more cautious about its effects.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists’ accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come.

But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

View original post 714 more words

Climate and earth’s magnetic field

One thing that puzzles me about science is how increased knowledge leads to greater doubts about science’s dogmatic assertions and how much it upsets many scientists. Seriously? Sorry, can’t relate. It’s only science, not a religion. I’m always interested in new information, carefully  examining for accuracy and truth (to the best of my ability) and growing in wonder and awe at The Creator’s handiwork.

I am particularly fascinated by the larger influences on the earth’s climate, things that are not “sexy” or media worthy because you can’t blame it on anybody. In this case, the earth’s magnetic field. It is a mysterious thing, having more profound effects on our world, our weather and our lives than we can imagine.

Simulations Strengthen Earth’s Magnetic-Field/Climate Connection

The Earth’s Magnetic Field Remains a Charged Mystery

Aurora Borealis induced sounds confirmed – measured at 70m AGL



Global Warming BEFORE Carbon Dioxide?

I’m an old-school skeptic of following the crowd and accepting popular trends without challenge (I ain’t no stupid lemming), and truly “open minds” don’t go one way. It’s supposed to be about the FACTS, ma’am/man. Anyhow, when I saw this article I figured it was worth sharing. Food for thought. BTW, footnote 2 has an interesting 19 page technical summary)

Will Reducing Carbon Dioxide Solve Global Warming?

climateby Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Recently, scientists projected that even very drastic reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will do very little to slow atmospheric CO2 buildup, and therefore global warming. Nevertheless, the authors of a recent paper in Environmental Research Letters recommended that these drastic reductions should take place now, and that even more CO2 emission restrictions should be mandated in the future.1

The researchers cited the results of the International Panel on Climate Change 2007 report that claimed man-made chemicals are to blame for global warming: “The dominant factor in the radiative forcing of climate in the industrial era is the increasing concentration of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”2 Positive “radiative forcing” refers to an increase in global temperature and is typically measured in watts of energy per square meter of land. The same report stated—and our popular culture has repeated it as fact—that the specific greenhouse gas CO2 is a major cause of global warming.3

Many climatologists, including Dr. Larry Vardiman, disagree about the role of CO2 in this respect. They have found that the observed increase in CO2 (whether produced by human activity or not) is not causing global warming, but is perhaps caused by it!4 Dr. Vardiman was featured in a video presentation in which he referenced a graph showing that the fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 follow after corresponding fluctuations in atmospheric temperature.5

In addition, “the detailed temperature record since 1850 shows a temperature decline between 1940 and 1970 [a time when massive amounts of industrial CO2 were entering the atmosphere], which flies in the face of the explanation that a continuous exponential increase in carbon dioxide causes global warming.”4 Dr. Vardiman has also demonstrated the remarkably close overlaps of temperature to sunspots, indicating that solar cycles are more likely the cause of global warming.6

If CO2 is not responsible and global warming is due to processes that are outside mankind’s control, then the tremendous efforts that governments and individuals worldwide are making to fight it will amount to chasing after the wind.


  1. House, J. I. et al. 2008. What do recent advances in quantifying climate and carbon cycle uncertainties mean for climate policy? Environmental Research Letters. 3 (4): 044002.
  2. Solomon, S. et al. 2007: Technical Summary. In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [Solomon, S. et al (eds.)]. Cambridge, UK and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 23.
  3. Ibid, 24
  4. Vardiman, L. 2008. Does Carbon Dioxide Drive Global Warming? Acts & Facts, 37 (10): 10.
  5. Global Warming: A Scientific & Biblical Exposé of Climate Change. DVD. J. Pena, J. Beaupied, and B. Wilt, directors. Answers in Genesis and Coral Ridge Ministries, 2008.
  6. Vardiman, L. 2008. A New Theory of Climate Change. Acts & Facts. 37 (11): 10.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on November 7, 2008.

Con trails or “Chem” trails – what are they really?

We all see those clouds that form behind aircraft flying way up in the sky, but what are they and why/how do they form? Well, to begin with they are properly known as condensation trails, or “con trails,” NOT “Chem trails,” as they are incorrectly called by those susceptible to conspiracy theories. Trust me, there are enough real, documented conspiracies that there is no need to invent that kind of unscientific mythology. But on to the science, the facts.

My daughter is studying meteorology, and I asked her to ask her prof to explain the mechanics of the formation of “con trails,” but she sort of didn’t understand it well enough to explain it to me later…sigh. Shortly after, I was later helping out in a homeschool science class, and in the course of the experiment I had an epiphany and I got it(!) even though it wasn’t directly identifying this as an example of the adiabatic (ād’ē-ə-bāt’ĭk) process, which is most simply identified this way:

…When a gas is compressed under adiabatic conditions, its pressure increases and its temperature rises without the gain or loss of any heat. Conversely, when a gas expands under adiabatic conditions, its pressure and temperature both decrease without the gain or loss of heat. The adiabatic cooling of air as it rises in the atmosphere is the main cause of cloud formation.      [The bolded bits are important.]

[  <—— this link also has the correct pronunciation]

In short: as the is aircraft flying, air is compressed and heated up going into/through the engine, then as it comes out the back end it decompresses, cools and condenses on the fine particles in the air, forming con trail clouds – ta da!

IMPORTANT: When there is little moisture up there and/or there is a strong high pressure system the clouds evaporate quickly; it’s that easy.

Here’s a really cool video demonstrating the effect. Actually watch it; it is very short and entertaining and makes it all so easy to understand.

WHY bees are disappearing AND there is something you can do about it!

I expect a number of readers may be familiar with the frightening trend of bees disappearing, and some may even actually be very concerned. I’ve been following this for a time and, in case you didn’t know yet, there seems to finally be an answer/answers. Watch this, but don’t be depressed, because there are things you can do.

I am sure there are plenty of other ideas to help people begin to address this in practical ways, but since I hate kvetching without offering something that can be done, my initial guerilla/grassroots response will be to buy bulk quantities of the following (untreated) seeds:

  • white clover
  • red clover
  • alfalfa
  • as many of those native wildflower packs (that few ever use) as people will send/give me beyond what I will buy (oh, here is a source:
  • Whatever native flowers will grow easily.

Like many places in this country our city (Rochester, NY) and surrounding areas have plenty of abandoned properties, former business “properties,” ignored bits of land, barely acceptable parks, neglected back alleys, lots long empty after the city has torn down the houses, neglected and/or abandoned farms/farmhouses, fence rows along the side of highways (let your imagination run wild) that could be “beautified.”

There are also old railway lines, and we have large areas along the Erie Canal that span from Albany to Buffalo (remember the song?). So I am going to do like Johnny Appleseed and make and carry a mix with me and sprinkle seeds wherever I go biking, hiking, walking or deliberately meandering ANY time of year. It’s that easy because you don’t even need to break ground for them to grow – think of dandelions which, by the way, are popular with bees, so (deep breath) leave them alone, or just dig them up where you don’t want them instead of using chemicals/herbicides. Oh, and stop spraying your lawn for insects; there are more natural ways to manage them.

Oh by the way, that pretty pink pea-like flowering groundcover you see along highways are completely unattractive to bees. Stop and see for yourself – then sprinkle some useful seeds. Anyone have some other useful ideas? Would love so see them!

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