Saturday, January 8, 2022

A connection between life on Earth and supernovae, mediated by the effect of cosmic rays on clouds and weather

In a new research paper published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters by lead researcher Dr Henrik Svensmark of DTU Space, the discovery of the remarkable connection between supernovae and Earth was published.

According to the study published by the journal, Evidence shows a close relationship between the fraction of organic matter buried in sediments and changes in the appearance of supernovae.

This correlation is evident during the last 3.5 billion years and, in more detail, during the previous 500 million years.

One explanation for the observed link between supernovae and life is that supernovae influence Earth's climate. A high number of supernovae gives rise to a cold climate with a significant temperature difference between the equator and the polar regions. This results in strong winds and mixing of the oceans, vital for supplying nutrients to biological systems. The high concentration of nutrients leads to higher bioproductivity and a higher burial of organic matter in the sediments. A warm climate has weaker winds and less mixing from the oceans, less nutrient supply, less bioproductivity, and less burial of organic matter.

"A fascinating consequence is that the movement of organic matter into the sediments is indirectly the source of oxygen. Photosynthesis produces oxygen and sugar from light, water and CO₂. However, if the organic matter does not move to sediments, oxygen and organic matter are converted into CO₂ and water. Burying organic matter prevents this reverse reaction. Therefore, supernovae indirectly control oxygen production, and oxygen is the basis of all oxygen production. complex life, "says author Henrik Svensmark.

At work, a measure of the concentration of nutrients in the ocean over the past 500 million years reasonably correlates with variations in the frequency of supernovae. The concentration of nutrients in the oceans is determined by measuring the trace elements in pyrite (FeS2, also called fool's gold) embedded in black shale, which settles on the seabed. Estimation of the organic matter fraction in sediments is possible by measuring carbon-13 relative to carbon-12. Since life prefers the lightest carbon-12 atom, the amount of biomass in the world's oceans changes the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 that is measured in marine sediments.

"The new evidence points to an extraordinary interconnection between life on Earth and supernovae, mediated by the effect of cosmic rays on clouds and weather," says Henrik Svensmark.

Previous studies by Svensmark and his colleagues have shown that ions contribute to aerosol formation and growth, thus influencing cloud fraction. Since clouds can regulate solar energy reaching Earth's surface, the link between cosmic rays and clouds is important for climate. Empirical evidence shows that the Earth's climate changes when the intensity of cosmic rays varies. The frequency of supernovae can vary several hundred times on geological time scales, and the resulting climate changes are considerable.

 "When heavy stars explode, they produce cosmic rays made up of elementary particles with enormous energies. Cosmic rays travel to our solar system, and some end their journey by colliding with the Earth's atmosphere. Here, they are responsible for the ionization of the atmosphere. ", it states.

The correlation indicates that supernovae have established the essential conditions in which life on Earth had to exist. This concludes the research article published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research


Sources, credits and references:

"Supernova Rates and Burial of Organic Matter" by Henrik Svensmark, 5 January 2022, Geophysical Research Letters.

DOI: 10.1029 / 2021GL096376 https://www.lavidaes.org/.../conexion-supernovas-y-la...

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