BHSU Abstract-Cosmic Ray and Weather Correlation Study

J. Ivy (Aberdeen Central High School)
Steve Gabriel (Spearfish High School) Dr. Kara Keeter (Black Hills State University)

The purpose of this study was to locate and isolate instances of coincidence between muon flux and major weather events over the last three to five years. We conducted this search by running flux studies on reliable cosmic ray data during the time of three major weather events. These events were the tornado outbreaks of May 2013, Hurricane Sandy, and the Black Hills blizzard of October 2013. For each of the events, we used the cosmic ray data of the Spearfish High School CRMD (Cosmic Ray Muon Detector), which has the most consistent data of any of the detectors, as a baseline. The outbreak event looked at data from the Spearfish, Arkansas City, KS, and the Fermilab detectors. On all three detectors there was an increase in flux during both periods of the outbreak, May 16-18th and 25-31st , and recorded a drop in events between the outbreaks. Because of the issue of also matching barometric pressure and the inconsistence of one of the detectors, we were not able to determine a correlation. The second event, Hurricane Sandy, looked mostly at a detector in Michigan. The muon flux in the data corresponded to fluctuations in barometric pressure, rising and falling at approximately the same rate. This also coincided with the landfall of Sandy. Due to the lack of data from other detectors, the Michigan one being the only one within 2,000+ miles, I was able to find coincidence, but correlation could not be determined. The Black Hills blizzard event focused on the flux data of the Spearfish detector, and a detector in the Lead-Deadwood area of South Dakota. There was no correlation in the data, and there were inconsistencies in the data that made determining any correlation nearly impossible without further investigation. Between all three of our studies, we could not find any correlation between the weather events and muon flux due to inconsistence of data, lack of other sources of data, and time constraint. At this time, further investigation would be required to confirm my findings or to find evidence of correlation. 




Cosmic Ray