A Very Interesting Connection — But Not [Necessarily] “Causation”…

I think this would have made Katherine smile — were she still here. And, I’ll admit: the evidence is pretty compelling. [In any event, regular readers know I adore odd-ball science stories. This qualifies, in spades.]

But it all could be that Solar Max events impact the Earth’s oceans in ways we’ve not noticed so far — ways that are beyond just disruptive to the magnetosphere. Who knows what [else] might be aiding whale navigation [beyond sonar-, and magnetic-, imaging]?

Even so, given this study result, it certainly makes sense for marine biologists to closely track the solar max / min cycles, available out of Boulder, Colorado and SOHO. Proactive monitoring, by eager grad students — even camping out, near known beaching areas. . . during high sun-spot activity nights and days. . . might be very wise. Here is the surprising — and excellent — science behind it all:

. . . .Granger and the rest of the team also looked at how other factors impacted the whales’ GPS system. Climate cycles and seasonal variants, like El Niño, didn’t appear to play any role. They also considered the rate at which the Earth’s magnetic force wobbles, a measure known as the AP-index, to see if that was a factor. It wasn’t.

Granger noted that it’s important to keep in mind that solar storms aren’t the only cause of strandings. There are still many other things that could cause a whale to strand, such as [man-made, military] mid-frequency naval sonar. . . .

The research team gathered solar activity data for. . . 186 gray whale strandings, between 1985 and 2018. As their study indicates, they found strandings were 2.3 times more likely — on days with a high number of sunspots. . . .

A more than doubling of relative risk sure seems significant. In medicine, we’d move quickly to treat — based on such an elevated risk. But we cannot sheild the oceans or our magnetosphere from solar blasts. So, we will just have to jut be. . . vigilant.

And we will keep a weather eye on the horizon, as well as the SOHO observatory data out of / in Boulder, at the same time. Grin. . . .


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