September 30, 2023

Tree Rings Offer Insight Into Mysterious, Devastating Radiation Storms

” Rather than a single immediate surge or flare, what we might be taking a look at is a kind of astrophysical storm or outburst.”– Qingyuan Zhang

A composite image revealing a tree ring and flames– UQ researchers utilized tree ring information to model the global carbon cycle to challenge the typical theory about Miyake Events. Credit: The University of Queensland
New light has been shed on a mystical, unpredictable, and possibly destructive sort of astrophysical occasion, thanks to a University of Queensland (UQ) study.
A group of scientists, led by Dr. Benjamin Pope from UQs School of Mathematics and Physics, used cutting-edge stats to data from millennia-old trees, to discover more about radiation storms.
” These huge bursts of cosmic radiation, referred to as Miyake Events, have actually taken place approximately once every thousand years however what triggers them is uncertain,” Dr. Pope said.

” The leading theory is that they are huge solar flares. We need to know more, because if one of these happened today, it would damage innovation consisting of satellites, internet cables, long-distance power lines, and transformers.
” The impact on international facilities would be inconceivable.”

” The impact on global facilities would be unimaginable.”– Dr. Benjamin Pope

Dr. Pope said the reality researchers dont know precisely what Miyake Events are, or how to forecast their occurrence is very troubling.
” Based on offered information, theres roughly a one percent chance of seeing another one within the next decade. But we dont understand how to forecast it or what hurts it may cause.
” These odds are rather alarming, and lay the structure for further research.”
The research is released in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
Reference: “Modelling cosmic radiation occasions in the tree-ring radiocarbon record” by Qingyuan Zhang, Utkarsh Sharma, Jordan A. Dennis, Andrea Scifo, Margot Kuitems, Ulf Büntgen, Mathew J. Owens, Michael W. Dee and Benjamin J. S. Pope, Proceedings of the Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences.DOI: 10.1098/ rspa.2022.0497.
The research study was likewise completed with undergraduate mathematics and physics students Utkarsh Sharma and Jordan Dennis.
The work was supported by a philanthropic donation to UQ from the Big Questions Institut.

Enter the simple tree ring.
First author Qingyuan Zhang, a UQ undergraduate mathematics student, developed software to evaluate every offered piece of information on tree rings.
” Because you can count a trees rings to recognize its age, you can likewise observe historic cosmic occasions going back thousands of years,” Mr Zhang stated.
” When radiation strikes the environment it produces radioactive carbon-14, which infiltrates the air, oceans, animals, and plants, and produces an annual record of radiation in tree rings.
” We modeled the international carbon cycle to reconstruct the process over a 10,000-year period, to gain insight into the scale and nature of the Miyake Events.”
The typical theory previously has been that Miyake Events are giant solar flares.
” But our outcomes challenge this,” Mr. Zhang said. “Weve revealed theyre not correlated with sunspot activity, and some actually last a couple of years.
” Rather than a single instant explosion or flare, what we might be looking at is a kind of astrophysical storm or outburst.”