Tree rings give perception into devastating radiation storms

Tree rings give perception into devastating radiation storms

Tree rings give insight into devastating radiation storms

Composite picture displaying tree ring and flame – UQ researchers used tree ring information to mannequin the worldwide carbon cycle to problem a typical concept about Miyake occasions. Creator: College of Queensland

Analysis from the College of Queensland has shed new mild on a mysterious, unpredictable and probably devastating astrophysical occasion.

A staff led by Dr Benjamin Pope from UQ’s Faculty of Arithmetic and Physics utilized the newest statistics to information from thousand-year-old timber to be taught extra about radiation “thunderstorms”.

“These big bursts of cosmic radiation, generally known as Miyake occasions, occur about as soon as each thousand years, however what causes them is just not clear,” Dr Pope mentioned.

“The main concept is that they’re big photo voltaic flares. We have to know extra as a result of if any of this occurred immediately, it might destroy expertise together with satellites, web cables, lengthy distance energy traces and transformers. The impression on international infrastructure can be unimaginable.”

Enter the standard tree ring.

First creator Qingyuan Zhang, a UQ arithmetic pupil, developed the software program to research all accessible information about tree rings.

“As a result of you may rely the rings of a tree to find out its age, you may as well observe historic cosmic occasions hundreds of years in the past,” Mr Zhang mentioned. “When radiation enters the environment, it produces radioactive carbon-14, which filters by way of the air, oceans, crops and animals, and creates an annual document of radiation in tree rings. We modeled the worldwide carbon cycle reconstruct the method over a ten,000-year interval to get an thought of ​​the size and nature of Miyake’s occasions.”

Till now, the prevailing concept has been that the Miyake occasions are big photo voltaic flares.

“However our outcomes problem that,” Mr. Zhang mentioned. “We have proven that they do not correlate with sunspot exercise, and a few of them truly final for a yr or two. As a substitute of 1 momentary burst or flash, we could also be taking a look at a sort of astrophysical ‘storm’ or flare.”

Dr. Pope mentioned the truth that scientists do not know precisely what Miyake occasions are and tips on how to predict their prevalence is a significant concern.

“Based mostly on the accessible information, there’s a few one % likelihood of seeing one other inside the subsequent decade. However we do not know tips on how to predict it and how much injury it may well trigger. These odds are very alarming and lay the groundwork for additional analysis,” he concluded.

The examine was printed in Proceedings of the Royal Society Aand was accomplished with the assistance of undergraduate arithmetic and physics college students Utkarsh Sharma and Jordan Dennis.

Tree ring evaluation exhibits extremely anomalous photo voltaic exercise within the mid-Holocene

Further info:
Modeling cosmic ray occasions within the radiocarbon document of tree rings, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Bodily Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2022.0497. … .1098/rspa.2022.0497

Quotation: Tree rings present perception into devastating radiation storms (2022, October 25) Retrieved October 26, 2022, from

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