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Dust from Space

31 May 2012

Two thought provoking posts at Tall Bloke's Talk Shop – see http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/is-the-earth-a-cosmic-feather-… and http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/clive-best-the-real-cause-of-i…. These are at the cusp of science and climate research. In the first post Tall Bloke says scientists at Leeds University, where he works, are investigating how dust particles in the solar system interact with the Earth's atmosphere. Estimates of the intake of space dust vary from 5 to 300 tons of the stuff each day – and this is not when Earth is passing through a particular dusty region of space, such as the trails left behind by the passage of comets. The paroject will also explore how dust interacts with the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Dust, it seems, can act as water vapour nucleation particles contributing to cloud formation. Dust can potentially relect solar energy – and therefore affect climate. Lucy Skywalker comments by saying the idea reminds her of Louis A Frank who wrote 'The Big Splash'. Frank came up with the idea of thousands of mini meteors of icy debris hitting the atmosphere every day and over billions of years they built up the oceans. Tall Bloke compares it to a Russian paper that claimed cosmic dust arriving in Earth's atmosphere was modulated by planetary motion – see http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/zodiacal.jpg

The second post is by Clive Best – see his blog at http://clivebest.com/blog/. He suggests dust in the solar system was responsible for the Ice Ages and asks some pertinent questions such as, what is the source of the 100,000 year glacial cycle? and why was the prior cycle, just 70,000?

Clive Best sees the origin of the dust in the break-up of a comet, but unlike the Clube and Napier model this break-up occurred much earlier, some 3 million + years ago. The dust had spread out into a disk in synchronised orbit with the Earth and the Sun – much as the Clube and Napier Taurid streams are resonance with the orbit of the Earth. Hence, this is where the cycles originate – when the Earth regularly interacts with the disk of dust. Sounds a bit like Fred Hoyle.

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