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Further considerations of cosmic ray modulation of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere

Aplin, K. L. and Lockwood, M. ORCID: (2015) Further considerations of cosmic ray modulation of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere. Astroparticle Physics, 68. pp. 52-60. ISSN 0927-6505

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2015.03.001


Understanding effects of ionisation in the lower atmosphere is a new interdisciplinary area, crossing the traditionally distinct scientific boundaries between astro-particle and atmospheric physics and also requiring understanding of both heliospheric and magnetospheric influences on cosmic rays. Following the paper of Erlykin et al. (2014) we develop further the interpretation of our observed changes in long-wave (LW) radiation, Aplin and Lockwood (2013) by taking account of both cosmic ray ionisation yields and atmospheric radiative transfer. To demonstrate this, we show that the thermal structure of the whole atmosphere needs to be considered along with the vertical profile of ionisation. Allowing for, in particular, ionisation by all components of a cosmic ray shower and not just by the muons, reveals that the effect we have detected is certainly not inconsistent with laboratory observations of the LW absorption cross section. The analysis presented here, although very different from that of Erlykin et al., does come to the same conclusion that the events detected by AL were not caused by individual cosmic ray primaries – not because it is impossible on energetic grounds, but because events of the required energy are too infrequent for the 12 h_1 rate at which they were seen by the AL experiment. The present paper numerically models the effect of three different scenario changes to the primary GCR spectrum which all reproduce the required magnitude of the effect observed by AL. However, they cannot solely explain the observed delay in the peak effect which, if confirmed, would appear to open up a whole new and interesting area in the study of water oligomers and their effects on LW radiation. We argue that a technical artefact in the AL experiment is highly unlikely and that our initial observations merit both a wide-ranging follow-up experiment and more rigorous, self-consistent, three-dimensional radiative transfer modelling

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:40593

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