Saturday, October 27, 2007

Magnetic connection and convection

The Sun influences Earth in many ways. On one hand it provides the light and heat that sustains life on our planet. On the other hand it bathes the Earth in ultraviolet light, showers it with x-rays, gamma-rays, electrons, and atomic nuclei, and wraps the Earth in the folds of its own magnetic field.

By mapping convection cells in Earth's magnetic field for the first time, scientists have shown that the behavior of the cells is linked to solar activity. The activity of our Sun has profound implications for the habitability of Earth.

Scientists have fully mapped convection cells in Earth's magnetic field for the first time using Cluster data. Results show that the behavior of the cells is heavily linked to solar activity. The activity of our Sun is closely connected to the habitability of planet Earth. The Sun provides much of the energy that allows life to survive. Additionally, solar activity has profound effects on our climate as well as the safety of satellites and astronauts in orbit. Recently, scientists discovered links between solar activity and heavy rains in eastern Africa and today we continue to find unique ways in which Sun is tied to our global climate. Studying the links between the Sun and the habitability of Earth can provide important clues for astrobiologists trying to determine the conditions necessary to produce habitable planets beyond our Solar System.

Convection cells, made of plasma, an ionized and highly variable gas, are found at altitudes of hundreds kilometers over the polar caps. Their behavior pattern is intimately linked to the response of the Earth's magnetic environment to solar activity. Although Earth is largely protected from the hazards of interplanetary space by the magnetosphere and atmosphere, they don't form an isolated bubble.

The solar wind, a stream of particles continuously blowing from the Sun, compresses Earth's magnetosphere on the dayside and stretches it into a long tail on the nightside. Most solar wind is deflected by the magnetosphere but some material manages to enter. Understanding how this works is of crucial importance to space-borne infrastructure (GPS, telecommunication satellites) and for the safety of astronauts.

One way to monitor this interaction is to study the convection cells. In the region, called the high-latitude ionosphere where they are located, the behaviour of the plasma cells strongly depends on the response of the magnetosphere to the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF, an extension of the solar magnetic field, carried by the solar wind). This means that the behaviour of polar cap convection cells is a good tracer of the Sun-Earth connection.

As Tinsley 2007 in The role of the global electric circuit in solar and internal forcing of clouds and climate shows the change in the ionospheric coupling from the solar wind that induces changes of the global electrical circuit produced from polar cap ionospheric convection potential changes.

Reports of a variety of short-term meteorological responses to changes in the global electric circuit associated with a set of disparate inputs are analyzed. The meteorological responses consist of changes in cloud cover, atmospheric temperature, pressure, or dynamics. All of these are found to be responding to changes in a key linking agent, that of the downward current density, Jz, that flows from the ionosphere through the troposphere to the surface (ocean and land). As it flows through layer clouds, Jz generates space charge in conductivity gradients at the upper and lower boundaries, and this electrical charge is capable of affecting the microphysical interactions between droplets and both ice-forming nuclei and condensation nuclei.

Four short-term inputs to the global circuit are due to solar activity and consist of (1) Forbush decreases of the galactic cosmic ray flux; (2) solar energetic particle events; (3) relativistic electron precipitation changes; and (4) polar cap ionospheric convection potential changes. One input that is internal to the global circuit consists of (5) global ionospheric potential changes due to changes in the current output of the highly electrified clouds (mainly deep convective clouds at low latitudes) that act as generators for the circuit.

The observed short-term meteorological responses to these five inputs are of small amplitude but high statistical significance for repeated Jz changes of order 5% for low latitudes increasing to 25–30% at high latitudes. On the timescales of multidecadal solar minima, such as the Maunder minimum, changes in tropospheric dynamics and climate related to Jz are also larger at high latitudes, and correlate with the lower energy component ( 1 GeV) of the cosmic ray flux increasing by as much as a factor of two relative to present values. Also, there are comparable cosmic ray flux changes and climate responses on millennial timescales. The persistence of the longer-term Jz changes for many decades to many centuries would produce an integrated effect on climate that could dominate over short-term weather and climate variations, and explain the observed correlations.

Thus, we propose that mechanisms responding to Jz are a candidate for explanations of sun–weather–climate correlations on multidecadal to millenial timescales, as well as on the day-to-day timescales analyzed here.

We also see this in Troshichev et al with troposphere coupling

The detail analysis of the aerological data from Vostok station (Antarctica) for 1978–1992 made it possible to find the dramatic changes of the troposphere temperature influenced by strong fluctuations of the interplanetary electric field ESW. The warming is observed at ground level and cooling at h>10 km if the electric field of dawn–dusk direction is enhanced (when interplanetary magnetic field ΔBZ<0).>10 km) is observed if the dawn–dusk electric field decreases (when ΔBZ>0). There is a linear relationship between the value of ΔESW and ground temperature at Vostok station: the larger is leap in the ESW the stronger is temperature deviation. The effect reaches maximum within one day and is damped equally quickly. The temperature deviations occur not only while passing the front of the interplanetary shocks but while crossing the layers of interaction between the quasi-stationary slow and fast solar wind fluxes those are not accompanied by the cosmic ray variations at all. The appropriate response to the ESW changes is observed in tropospheric pressure and wind as well. It is suggested that the interplanetary electric field influences the katabatic system of atmospheric circulation, typical of the ice dome in winter Antarctic.


There are a number of ways the sun effects climate.
-A change in the solar constant of (wavelength) irradiance output.
-Changes in ultraviolet irradiance that modulates temperature, atmospheric chemistry, and climatic dynamics such as precipitation and cloud formation .
-Indirect and indirect influences by solar radiation and cosmic radiation(galactic)
-Changes in magnetic and gravitational constants(solar).
-Changes in magnetic connections heliospherical couplings

There are a number of flawed assumptions on the adequacy of GCM models to accurately reflect the exogenous variable forcings such as solar. The assumed parameters of solar variance are normally based on the infrared oscillations or the seasonal oscillations of direct heat(w/m2) and vertical energy transport. Measurements and analysis is usually undertaken on 1 or 2 parameters and the simplistic models used in GCM do not reflect the observations.

The solar activity in all its manifestations is subject to regular and irregular chaotic variations in quite large ranges of amplitudes, durations, and other characteristics that have revealed themselves some way in the time intervals under analysis. This general rule does not exclude coronal mass ejections and flares, which represent with respect to each other not the cause and effect (sometimes, such an unjustified assumption is made),but rather two observable manifestations of a single dissipative process related to an increased transport of free energy from the interiors of the Sun outwards into its upper atmosphere and heliosphere and dispersal into space and the solar system. This free energy is redistributed in thermal, magnetic, kinetic, gravitational, and radiation forms, their relative fractions being changed from event to event depending on the situation determined by the boundary conditions and initial state.

The inadequacy of analysis to review long term orbital parameters(long frequency)or short term(short frequency) such as the 11 year cycle or the suns 27 day rotational cycle or indeed the energetic upper atmosphere ionisation during solar events(x-ray flaring) Previous observations and modeling of the responses of planetary ionospheres to changes in solar flux have generally compared solar maximum and minimum conditions. Varying solar fluxes also modify the neutral atmosphere,and thus ionospheric changes result from two highly coupled processes. Changes in photon flux due to a flare from far slower changes in the neutral atmosphere, thereby providing a way to constrain or liberate photochemistry. This is particularly important for x-ray photons that carry energy far above that needed to ionize an atom or molecule(around 2.5 magnitudes,a single photon with an energy value of around 36kev can ionize around 200000 molecules.). In such cases, the electron liberated by ionization has so much extra energy that it ionizes other atoms and molecules via collisions. This secondary ionization by photoelectrons has an amplification effect on upper atmosphere chemical genesis (thermo diffusion).

Indeed as an x-ray photon enters a water molecule for example, it severs the chemical bonds,the component parts of the water molecule,which in the presence of O2 form hydrogen and hydroxyl radicals ,super oxide ions, and hydrogen peroxide. The process also releases substantial energy as thermal emissions.

Some progress has been made by the SPARC group of the WCRP, mostly by the SOLICE group and Haigh et al. Examples such as the 8 k differential in solar minima-maxima forcings and vertical profiling of temperature gradients are improvements. However insertion of CCM models into standard GCM is not a standard assimilation.

Other progress has been made by the Climate research group (Schelisinger, Andronova, et al) and Rozanov .Also work by the FUB reflects some progress with solar variance and photochemical assimilation.Solar UV is as important as IR solar output in conjunction with a CCM they find that intergration of TSI (solar irriadiance), Solar UV and the effects of solar energetic precipitation during changes from solar minima to maxima have significant photochemistry effects.

SUV findings
-Ozone increases by 3% in the upper stratosphere and 2% in the lower stratosphere.
-Warming of 1.2 K in the stratosphere and acceleration of both polar night jets.
-Simulated zonal wind and temperature response reproduces the observed downward and -poleward propagation.
Weak wave driving (mostly in SH):
- waves refracted into subtropics
- strong polar night jet
- cold polar stratosphere
- polar chemical ozone loss and reduced
ozone transport (weak BD circulation)

High wave driving (mostly in NH)
- wave propagation towards pole
- weak polar vortex
- warm polar stratosphere
- enhanced ozone transport & reduced
polar chemical ozone loss (strong BD

Rozanov et al

It was shown by Hood [2004], Rozanov et al. [2004],and Egorova et al. [2004] that the simulated responses of ozone and temperature to solar irradiance variation over the 11-year solar cycle do not agree with the solar signal extracted from the observational data. This discrepancy could be due to insufficient data not allowing the extraction of the solar signal with sufficient accuracy or due to physical and/or chemical mechanisms missing in the Chemistry-Climate models (CCMs). Energetic electron precipitation (EEP) events leading to enhanced NOy (NOy = NO +NO2 + NO3 + HNO3 + ClNO3 + 2*N2O5 + HNO4) is one potential candidate. These events have been shown to substantially alter stratospheric chemistry. The EEP mechanism has been proposed by Callis et al. [1998]. Electrons trapped in the outer radiation belt of the Earth’s magnetosphere,stimulated by the high-speed solar wind, are accelerated and can, after precipitation, penetrate into the atmosphere over the auroral and sub-auroral regions. They ionize neutral components providing a source of reactive nitrogen and hydrogen. During the cold season total reactive nitrogen may descend into the stratosphere destroying ozone and affecting the entire atmosphere. Measurements show that EEP events are more frequent and intense during the declining phase of solar activity, when coronal holes migrate towards the solar equator and the solar wind is more nearly directed toward Earth. This fact is supported by satellite observations [Callis et al., 1998] and by observations of precipitation events measured in the Murmansk region [Bazilevskaya et al., 2002].

From these results we draw the following conclusions.The simulated influence of EEP on the atmosphere consists of reactive nitrogen enhancement, ozone depletion,and cooling almost in the entire stratosphere. Effects are most pronounced over high latitudes and intensify the polar vortices resulting in the SATs increasing over Europe,Russia and the U.S. by up to 2.5 K during boreal winter.

Potentially, EEP effects on ozone and temperature are stronger than the influence of solar irradiance. The intensity of EEP is most pronounced during the declining phase of the solar activity cycle, that is, closer to solar activity minimum, therefore all effects mentioned here should be approximately reversed if we compare solar maximum relative to solar minimum. This means that EEP and UV mechanisms work in phase in the extra-polar stratosphere, but out of phase over the high latitudes and in the troposphere. The polar vortices are more intense for the solar maximum case due to the enhanced solar irradiance, but less intense due to EEP.

IHY New Insights into Helio-Terrestrial physics Zvenigorod 2007

Pevtsov's Law: there is a clear relationship between the magnetic flux and the associated power dissipation throughout heliophysics

As part of the International Heliophysical Year and the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik,the Russian Astrophysics organizations will host a symposium on the connections and coupling of the earth-sun relationship.

The Symposium is intended for cooperation of scientists from different fields of space research: solar, heliospheric, magnetospheric, atmospheric etc. and discussion of the Sun - Earth system as an integrated complex. The International Heliophysical Year should result in development of global models of solar phenomena influence on the near-Earth environment. Such models are necessary to protect technological systems, ecology and human life itself. For this purpose, all of the available experimental data obtained by different in-situ, remote and imaging methods should be summarized, and all modeling efforts should be combined.

The goal of the symposium is to present and discuss the first advances in International Heliophysical Year execution and to coordinate the future activities in 2008.

We will examine some interesting questions in a number of posts that we have covered previously.

As we observed here in McCracken 2007

For example, the upper atmospheres of planets, including Earth, are dramatically affected by energetic inputs originating at the Sun in the form of photons, particles, and fields.

How ever, there are many pathways by which that solar energy is transformed and redistributed throughout the atmosphere until the energy is ultimately re-radiated to space. Connected with these processes is much of the inherent variability of the atmosphere over daily to millennial time scales. The lower atmosphere is periodically pumped and heated, giving rise to a spectrum of small scale gravity waves and longer-period oscillations. These waves can propagate into the mesosphere and thermosphere depositing momentum. The atmospheric mean circulation is thereby modified, resulting in changes to the temperature structure and redistribution of radiation absorbers and emitters. The mean wind and temperature structures in turn influence the propagation of the waves and the manner in which they couple the lower and upper atmosphere.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Russian scientific pioneers neglected outside of Russia Konstantin Mereschkowsky

“Let us imagine a palm tree, growing peacefully near a spring, and a lion hiding in the bush nearby, all of its muscles taut, with blood thirsty eyes, prepared to jump upon an antelope and to strangle it. The symbiotic theory, and it alone, lays bare the deepest mysteries of this scene, unravels and illuminates the fundamental principle that could bring forth two such utterly different entities as a palm tree and a lion. The palm behaves so peacefully, so passively, because it is a symbiosis, because it contains a plethora of little workers, green slaves(chromatophores) that work for it and nourish it. The lion must nourish itself. Let us imagine each cell of the lion filled with chromatophores, and I have no doubt that it would immediately lie down peacefully next to the palm, feeling full, or needing at most some water with mineral salts.”

(Konstantin Sergeevich Mereschkowsky (1905)

The theory that chloroplasts are derived from cyanobacteria, which were long ago
taken up by non-photosynthetic organisms is more than one hundred years old. (Mereschkowsky)Complete proof that it is correct has been obtained from molecular biology. By comparisons of DNA sequences the cyanobacterial ancestry of chloroplasts has been established, just as it is now certain that mitochondria are descendents of another bacterial clade.

Among chloroplasts there are two developmental lines, the “green line” (in green
algae and plants) and the “red line” (in red algae and most other algae). Even if some researchers still believe that these two lines start with two separate endosymbiotic events, the contrary view prevails. This means that all chloroplasts are derived from one original chloroplast, which has appeared when a cyanobacterium entered another cell. It is a little surprising that it is so, since we have so many other examples of very intimate symbiotic relationships between a number of algae and a number of other organisms.

That plastids were once free-living cyanobacteria is now taken for granted by many, and for good reasons, for there is a wealth of data – in particular from the comparison of plastid and cyanobacterial genomes – that support this view. There is currently no seriously entertained alternative hypothesis to the view that plastids descend from cyanobacteria. But that was not always the case. Well into the 1970s there was a generally favoured alternative hypothesis, namely that early in evolution plastids arose de novo from within a non-plastid bearing cell (an autogenous origin) rather than through invasion by a cyanobacterium into a non-plastid-bearing cell with subsequent intracellular coexistence and reduction to an organelle (an endosymbiotic origin). Interestingly, the shift from autogenous to endosymbiotic hypotheses during the 1970s was a reversal of state for during the first two decades of this century, the endosymbiont hypothesis for the origins of plastids (and mitochondria, which will not be further discussed here) was very popular among biologists. It fell into disfavour shortly after the First World War, for reasons that are very difficult to summarize briefly, and remained scorned for 50 years (see Sapp, 1994, for an historical account in English, and Höxtermann, 1998, for a succinct historical account in German). So where did the first version of the endosymbiont hypothesis come from? In a nutshell, it came from Konstantin Sergejewiz Merezkovskij (usually written as Constantin Mereschkowsky), a Russian botanist of little standing who worked at a rather small and by no means prominent university in Kasan and who published a very remarkable paper in 1905. We are not aware of any true precedent for his paper, which draws upon three lines of evidence known at the time.

Russian scientific pioneers neglected outside of Russia Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

Konstantin Eduardovitch Tsiolkovsky was born in September, 1857 in the town of Izhevskoye, Spassk District, Ryazan Gubernia. He became a "people's school teacher" at Borovsk, Kulaga Province, in 1878.

On the merits of some of his early research and related writings, Tsiolkovsky was elected to the Society of Physics and Chemistry at St. Petersburg, Russia.

On March 28, 1883 Tsiolkovsky demonstrated the reaction principle through experimenting with opening a cask filled with compressed gas. He discovered that movement of the cask could be regulated by alternating the pressure of the gas released from it.

Tsiolkovsky completed a draft of his first design of a reaction thrust motor on August 25, 1898. The following year, he received a grant of 470 rubles from the Academy of Science's Physics and Mathematics Department to engage in research. This work was dedicated to the establishment of scientific principles, so no actual motors were developed.

In 1903, his first article on rocketry appeared in the "Naootchnoye Obozreniye" (Scientific Review). The article was entitled "Issledovanie Mirovykh Prostransty Reaktivnymi Priborami" (Exploration Of Space With Rocket Devices).

In the article, Tsiolkovsky clearly outlined in scientific terms exactly how a reaction thrust motor could demonstrate Newton's Third Law to allow men to escape the bounds of Earth.

Also in 1903, Tsiolkovsky drafted the design of his first rocket. It was to be powered by a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which would create an explosive mixture at the narrow end of a tube. Burning of the fuels would produce condensed and heated gases.

The gases would then be quickly cooled and rarefied at the wider end of the tube, located at the tail of the rocket. The resulting exhaust, escaping from a nozzle, would provide liftoff thrust at a relatively high velocity.

This design was indeed prophetic, especially when consideration is given to the fact that liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen have traditionally been combined as a fuel for various rocket components, not the least of which are the three main engines of the Space Shuttle.

In subsequent writings, Tsiolkovsky speculated on a multi-stage approach to spaceflight. He envisioned a fantastic "passenger rocket train of 2017" which employed 20 single-engine rocket stages, each of which carried its own fuel.

This rocket was to be about 300 feet long and 12 feet wide, just a bit smaller than the actual Saturn V rockets used to carry men to the Moon. It would be built from three layers of metal incorporating quartz windows and an outer skin made of refractory material to protect the spacecraft from the intense heat of moving through the atmosphere.

As each individual rocket stage consumed its fuel, it would be discarded to keep the overall weight of the vehicle as light as possible. Tsiolkovsky recognized that although this design was fanciful, it would actually require a tremendous amount of fuel for a rocket to reach escape velocity, and multiple stages would likely be needed.

He had calculated that a single-stage rocket would have to carry four times its own weight in fuel to reach escape velocity, and that a multi-stage approach would be more efficient. Even at the turn of the 20th century, Tsiolkovsky was absolutely confident that the reaction principle would some day carry men into space.

In 1919, Tsiolkovsky was elected to the Socialist Academy, which later became the U.S.S.R. Academy of Science. Between 1925 and 1932 he wrote about 60 works on astronautics, astronomy, mechanics, physics and philosophy. He died on September 19, 1935.

Indeed he predated Arthur C Clarkes space elevator by 50 years.

In 1895, the Russian scientist and school teacher looked at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and thought about such a tower. He wanted to put a "celestial castle" at the end of a spindle shaped cable, with the "castle" orbiting the earth in a geosynchronous orbit (i.e. the castle would remain over the same spot on the earth). The tower would be built from the ground to an altitude of 35,800 kilometers. It would be similar to the fabled beanstalk in the children's story "Jack and the Beanstalk," except that on Tsiolkovsky's tower an elevator would ride up the cable to the "castle".

One "spinoff" use of Tsiolkovsky's tower would be the ability to launch objects into orbit without a rocket. Since the elevator would attain orbit velocity as it rode up the cable, an object released at the tower's top would also have the orbital velocity necessary to remain in geosynchronous orbit. Building from the ground up, however, proved an impossible task. It took until 1960 for another Russian scientist, Y.N. Artsutanov, to propose another scheme for building a space tower.

Russian scientific pioneers neglected outside of Russia Introduction

I sometimes wonder if the much encouraged and proclaimed interaction among western astronomers leads to a form of mental herd behavior which, if it does not actually put a clamp upon free thinking, insidiously applies the pressure to follow the fashion. This makes the writings of our Russian colleagues who have partly developed ideas in comparative isolation all the more valuable.

Yes, I have wondered whether one should in fact pursue subjects with a big wall between two groups that are working in the same field, so that they absolutely cannot communicate, and see a few years later whether they come even approximately to the same conclusion. It would then give some perspective of how much the herd behavior may have been hurting. But we don't have that. Even with our Russian colleagues, unfortunately, we have too much contact to have a display of real independence, to see where it would have led.

Thomas Gold

There are substantial differences in scientific thought between the west, and Russia as the history of Russian shows, the use of and the limitations of mathematics to scientific applications for one. That is the following of Hilbert and his axioms in the west. and Poincare and its geometric applications to time and space in the west.

Or as Vladimir Arnold says,

The real danger is not the applied mafia itself, but the divorce between pure mathematics and the sciences created by the (I would say criminal) formalization of mathematics and of mathematical education. The axiomatical-deductive Hilbert-Bourbaki style of exposition of mathematics, dominant in the first half of this century, is now fortunately giving place to the unifying trends of the Poincaré style geometrical mathematics, combining deep theoretical insight with real world applications.

Our brain has two halves: one is responsible for the multiplication of polynomials and languages, and the other half is responsible for orientation of figures in space and all the things important in real life. Mathematics is geometry when you have to use both halves.

As the 50th anniversary of space travel we will look at some of the greats of Russian science who are virtually unknown outside of Russia.

As we saw in our post on Vernadsky these pioneers are as well known in Russia as Darwin or Einstein are in the west.

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