Claim: 42,000 Years Ago, the Earth’s Magnetic Field Collapsed and the World Cooled

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

“Ship of Fools” Captain Chris Turney at UNSW claims to have identified a climate catastrophe 42,000 years ago, caused by a period of solar minima, intense cosmic ray bombardment, and the collapse of the Earth’s geomagnetic field.

Earth’s magnetic field broke down 42,000 years ago and caused massive sudden climate change

February 19, 2021 7.20am AEDT

Chris Fogwill
Professor of Glaciology and Palaeoclimatology, Head of School Geography, Geology and the Environment and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, Keele University

Alan Hogg
Professor, Director, Carbon Dating Laboratory, University of Waikato

Chris Turney
Professor of Earth Science and Climate Change, Director of the Earth and Sustainability Science Research Centre, Director of Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility, and UNSW Director of ARC Centre for Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, UNSW

Zoë Thomas Zoë Thomas is a Friend of The Conversation.
ARC DECRA Fellow, UNSW

The world experienced a few centuries of apocalyptic conditions 42,000 years ago, triggered by a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles combined with changes in the Sun’s behaviour. That’s the key finding of our new multidisciplinary study, published in Science.

This last major geomagnetic reversal triggered a series of dramatic events that have far-reaching consequences for our planet. They read like the plot of a horror movie: the ozone layer was destroyed, electrical storms raged across the tropics, solar winds generated spectacular light shows (auroras), Arctic air poured across North America, ice sheets and glaciers surged and weather patterns shifted violently.

During these events, life on earth was exposed to intense ultraviolet light, Neanderthals and giant animals known as megafauna went extinct, while modern humans sought protection in caves.

Because of the coincidence of seemingly random cosmic events and the extreme environmental changes found around the world 42,000 years ago, we have called this period the “Adams Event” – a tribute to the great science fiction writer Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and identified “42” as the answer to life, the universe and everything. Douglas Adams really was onto something big, and the remaining mystery is how he knew?

Read more: https://theconversation.com/earths-magnetic-field-broke-down-42-000-years-ago-and-caused-massive-sudden-climate-change-155580

The abstract of the study;

A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago

Alan Cooper, Chris S. M. Turney, Jonathan Palmer, Alan Hogg, Matt McGlone, Janet Wilmshurst, Andrew M. Lorrey, Timothy J. Heaton, James M. Russell, Ken McCracken, Julien G. Anet, Eugene Rozanov, Marina Friedel, Ivo Suter, Thomas Peter, Raimund Muscheler, Florian Adolphi, Anthony Dosseto, J. Tyler Faith, Pavla Fenwick, Christopher J. Fogwill, Konrad Hughen, Mathew Lipson, Jiabo Liu, Norbert Nowaczyk, Eleanor Rainsley, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Paolo Sebastianelli, Yassine Souilmi, Janelle Stevenson, Zoë Thomas, Raymond Tobler, Roland Zech

Geological archives record multiple reversals of Earth’s magnetic poles, but the global impacts of these events, if any, remain unclear. Uncertain radiocarbon calibration has limited investigation of the potential effects of the last major magnetic inversion, known as the Laschamps Excursion [41 to 42 thousand years ago (ka)]. We use ancient New Zealand kauri trees (Agathis australis) to develop a detailed record of atmospheric radiocarbon levels across the Laschamps Excursion. We precisely characterize the geomagnetic reversal and perform global chemistry-climate modeling and detailed radiocarbon dating of paleoenvironmental records to investigate impacts. We find that geomagnetic field minima ~42 ka, in combination with Grand Solar Minima, caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration and circulation, driving synchronous global climate shifts that caused major environmental changes, extinction events, and transformations in the archaeological record.

Read more: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6531/811

Sadly the full study is paywalled, but I think we get the idea.

I asked Dr. Willie Soon about this paper. He is very dubious about the suggestion that cosmic rays significantly influence global climate, the date for the Laschamp events (41,000 year geomagnetic anomaly), dating of the kauri tree, and claims that the collapse of the Earth’s geomagnetic field led to the destruction of the ozone layer.

Chris Turney’s other efforts include his ill considered ship of fools expedition which got stuck in the Antarctic global warming, and some fascinating dying penguin theories.

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February 20, 2021 at 04:32AM

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