Space Science Reviews

, Volume 176, Issue 1–4, pp 59–71 | Cite as

The Heliosphere in Time

  • Ken McCracken
  • Juerg Beer
  • Friedhelm Steinhilber
  • Jose Abreu
Article

Abstract

The paleo-cosmic ray records are used to study the properties of the heliosphere and solar processes over the past 9300 years. They show that both varied greatly over that time, ranging from ∼26 “Grand Minima” of duration 50–100 yr when the Sun was inactive, to periods similar to the past 50 years of strong solar activity. This shows that the detailed information regarding the heliosphere gained during the “space era” represents an extreme case, and is not representative of the majority of the past 9300 yr. The data confirm that the 11 and 22-year cycles of solar activity continued through the Spoerer and Maunder Grand Minima. Throughout the 9300 yr interval, “Grand Minima” usually occurred in groups of 2 to 4, similar to the group of four that occurred in the interval 1000–1800 AD. The groups are separated by ∼1000 yr intervals without Grand Minima. Frequency spectra of the full 9300 yr record show that the heliospheric and solar phenomena exhibit >10 well-defined and persistent periodicities. We speculate that the solar dynamo exhibits a 2300 yr periodicity, wherein it alternates between two different states of activity. In the first (∼800 yr duration) solar activity weakens greatly every 100–200 yr resulting in a sequence of Grand Minima, while in the other, the solar dynamo suffers smaller changes; the centenary scale solar and heliospheric changes are smaller, being similar to those that occurred in the interval 1890–1910. The paleo-cosmic ray evidence suggests that the Sun has now entered this more uniform period of activity, following the sequence of Grand Minima (Wolf, Spoerer, Maunder, and Dalton) that occurred between 1000 and 1800 AD.

Keywords

Solar physics Paleo cosmic rays Heliospheric magnetic fields Solar Dynamo Cosmic ray modulation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research at the University of Maryland was supported by NSF grant ATM 0107181. The support of the International Space Science Institute, of Bern, Switzerland is gratefully acknowledged.

References

  1. J. Beer, S. Tobias, N. Weiss, An active sun throughout the Maunder Minimum. Solar Phys. 181, 237–249 (1998) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. J. Beer, K. McCracken, R. von Steiger, Cosmogenic Radionuclides: Theory and Applications in the Terrestrial and Space Environments (Springer, Berlin, 2011) Google Scholar
  3. R.A. Caballero-Lopez, H. Moraal, Limitations of the force field equation to describe cosmic ray modulation. J. Geophys. Res. 109, A01101 (2004). doi: 10.1029/2003JA010098 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. R.A. Caballero-Lopez, H. Moraal, K.G. McCracken, F.B. McDonald, The heliospheric magnetic field from 850 to 2000 AD inferred from 10Be records. J. Geophys. Res. 109(A12), 12102 (2004). doi: 10.1029/2004JA010633 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. L.J. Gleeson, W.I. Axford, Cosmic rays in the interplanetary medium. Astrophys. J. 149, 115–118 (1967) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. J.R. Jokipii, Variations of the cosmic-ray flux with time, in The Sun in Time, ed. by C.P. Sonett, H.S. Giampapa, M.S. Mathews (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1991), pp. 205–220 Google Scholar
  7. J. Masarik, J. Beer, Simulation of particle fluxes and cosmogenic nuclide production in the Earth’s atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 12099–12111 (1999) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. K.G. McCracken, Geomagnetic and atmospheric effects upon the cosmogenic 10Be observed in polar ice. J. Geophys. Res. 109, A04101 (2004). doi: 10.1029/2003JA010060 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. K.G. McCracken, Heliomagnetic field near Earth, 1428–2005. J. Geophys. Res. 112, A09106 (2007). doi: 10.1029/2006JA012119 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. K.G. McCracken, J. Beer, Long term changes in the cosmic ray intensity at Earth, 1428–2005. J. Geophys. Res. 112, A10101 (2007). doi: 10.1029/2006JA012117 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. K.G. McCracken, J. Beer, F.B. McDonald, Variations in the cosmic radiation, 189–1986, and the solar and terrestrial implications. Adv. Space Res. 34, 397–406 (2004a) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. K.G. McCracken, F.B. McDonald, J. Beer, G. Raisbeck, F. Yiou, A phenomenological study of the long-term cosmic ray modulation, 850–1950 AD. J. Geophys. Res. 109, A12103 (2004b). doi: 10.1029/2004JA010685 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. R. Muscheler, J. Beer, P.W. Kubik, H.-A. Synal, Geomagnetic field intensity during the last 60,000 years based on 10Be & 36Cl from the Summit ice cores and 14C. Quat. Sci. Rev. 24, 1849–1860 (2005) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. C.P. Sonett, Very long solar periods and the radiocarbon record. Rev. Geophys. 22, 239–254 (1984) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. F. Steinhilber, J.A. Abreu, J. Beer, K.G. McCracken, The interplanetary magnetic field during the past 9300 years inferred from cosmogenic radionuclides. J. Geophys. Res. 115, A01104 (2010). doi: 10.1029/2009JA014193 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. I.G. Usoskin, K. Mursala, G.A. Kovaltsov, Heliospheric modulation of cosmic rays and solar activity during the Maunder Minimum. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 16039–16046 (2001) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. W.R. Webber, P.R. Higbie, A comparison of new calculations of 10Be production in the earth’s polar atmosphere by cosmic rays with 10Be concentration measurements in polar ice cores between 1939–2005—A troubling lack of concordance, paper 1, http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.4989; and paper 2 with C.W. Webber, http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.2675

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken McCracken
    • 1
  • Juerg Beer
    • 2
  • Friedhelm Steinhilber
    • 2
  • Jose Abreu
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Physical Science and TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG)DubendorfSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations