Low solar activity, typical of grand solar minimum periods, is associated with increased cosmic ray intensity levels and more pandemic influenza outbreaks. The majority (80%) of pandemics since 1700 took place when the cosmic ray intensity (CRI) level was above the average for the 1961-1990 period. This corresponded with a phase of relatively low solar activity and numerous grand solar minimum periods. Additonally, during this three century period more than half of pandemics occurred at or within one year of a peak or trough in cosmic ray intensity levels. Cosmic ray intensity anomaly and pandemic flu outbreaks are highlighted in the figure above (Figure C).[i]
Cosmic rays that enter earth’s atmosphere from space represent a well-established proxy for determining solar activity (see the citation for details).[ii] In addition to sunspot numbers, total solar irradiance, and Beryllium-10, the cosmic ray intensity offers a fourth solar activity parameter associated with pandemic influenza outbreaks. Four different solar activity parameters all showing peak and trough associations with pandemic outbreaks add strong support to the hypothesis that solar activity extremes portend increased risk for pandemic influenza outbreaks.
Click on this page and download a free copy of my book “Revolution: Ice Age Re-Entry,” and read more about this topic in Chapter 14—and why we should be very worried about a pandemic influenza outbreak this grand solar minimum.
[i] Data: (1) Usoskin, I.G., et al. 2008. Cosmic Ray Intensity Reconstruction. IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology. Data Contribution Series # 2008-013. NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA. Original References: 1) I.G. Usoskin et al., 2002, A physical reconstruction of cosmic ray intensity since 1610. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107(A11), 1374. Downloaded May 2018. ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variability/usoskin-cosmic-ray.txt. (2) Influenza pandemic and epidemic publications: (a) B. Lina, 2008, History of Influenza Pandemics. In: Raoult D., Drancourt M. (eds) Paleomicrobiology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-75855-6_12. (b) E. Tognotti, 2009, Influenza pandemics: a historical retrospect. Journal of Infection in Developing Countries, 3:331-334. doi: https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.239. (c) C. Potter, 2001, A history of influenza. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 91: 572-579. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2672.2001.01492.x. (d) J.K. Taubenberger and D.M. Morens, 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2006;12(1):15-22. doi:10.3201/eid1201.050979. (e) Edwin D. Kilbourne, Influenza. Chapter 1; History of Influenza. Springer Science & Business Media, 6/12/2012 – Medical. ISBN 978-1-4684-5239-6. (f) Svenn-Erik Mamelund, Influenza, Historical. December 2008. International Encyclopedia of Public Health, First Edition (2008), vol. 3, pp. 597-609. DOI: 10.1016/B978-012373960-5.00372-5.
[ii] I.G.M. Usoskin et al., “Solar activity, cosmic rays, and Earth’s temperature: A millennium-scale comparison.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, A10102, doi:10.1029/2004JA010946. [Exposé: See page 1. This tells us cosmogenic isotopes (Beryllium-10, Carbon-14) are used as proxies for solar activity, and that their production is caused by galactic cosmic ray flux, which is influenced by the solar system’s (heliospheric) magnetic field and is modulated by solar activity. Comment: Magnetized solar wind modulates the solar system’s magnetic shield (i.e., the heliosphere) and the earth’s magnetic shield (i.e. the magnetosphere), thereby regulating cosmic ray entry into the solar system and the earth system respectively. Cosmic ray entry into the upper atmosphere from space is modulated by solar activity and geomagnetism. Lower solar activity and lower geomagnetism permit more cosmic ray entry into the atmosphere, and conversely. Increased cosmic ray levels are associated with increased low-cloud formation, which is associated with planetary cooling, and conversely. The cosmic ray and low-cloud cooling effect are concentrated into the polar regions. Cosmogenic isotopes (Carbon-14, Beryllium-10) are generated by cosmic rays in the atmosphere, with more cosmic rays generating more cosmogenic isotopes, and conversely. Cosmogenic isotopes are then embedded in earth repositories (i.e., tree rings, ice cores) and therefore indirectly tell us about solar activity and the resulting magnetized solar wind that contacts the earth’s magnetosphere. By utilizing cosmogenic isotopes to assess relationships between the sun and earth systems (i.e., climate, volcanism) we know that the solar activity that is being assessed is magnetism based, and not electromagnetism (i.e. not solar irradiance).].