Astrophys. Space Sci. Trans., 8, 7-17, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
10 Jan 2012
The effect of cosmic rays on biological systems – an investigation during GLE events
N. K. Belisheva1, H. Lammer2, H. K. Biernat2, and E. V. Vashenuyk3
1Russian Academy of Sciences, Kola Science Centre, Scientific Department of Medical and Biological problems, Fersman Str. 14, Apatity, Russia
2Austrian Academy of Sciences, Space Research Institute, Schmiedlstr. 6 A-8042, Graz, Austria
3Russian Academy of Sciences, Kola Science Centre, Polar Geophysical Institute, Akademgorodok 26A, Apatity, Russia

Abstract. In this study, first direct and circumstantial evidences of the effects of cosmic rays (CR) on biological systems are presented. A direct evidence of biological effects of CR is demonstrated in experiments with three cellular lines growing in culture during three events of Ground Level Enhancement (GLEs) in the neutron count rate detected by ground-based neutron monitor in October 1989. Various phenomena associated with DNA lesion on the cellular level demonstrate coherent dynamics of radiation effects in all cellular lines coincident with the time of arrival of high-energy solar particles to the near-Earth space and with the main peak in GLE. These results were obtained in the course of six separate experiments, with partial overlapping of the time of previous and subsequent experiments, which started and finished in the quiet period of solar activity (SA). A significant difference between the values of multinuclear cells in all cellular lines in the quiet period and during GLE events indicates that the cause of radiation effects in the cell cultures is an exposure of cells to the secondary solar CR near the Earth's surface. The circumstantial evidence was obtained by statistical analysis of cases of congenital malformations (CM) at two sites in the Murmansk region. The number of cases of all classes of CM reveals a significant correlation with the number of GLE events. The number of cases of CM with pronounced chromosomal abnormalities clearly correlates with the GLE events that occurred a year before the birth of a child. We have found a significant correlation between modulations of the water properties and daily background variations of CR intensity. We believe that the effects of CR on biological systems can be also mediated by fluctuations in water properties, considered as one of possible mechanisms controlling the effects of CRs on biological systems.

Citation: Belisheva, N. K., Lammer, H., Biernat, H. K., and Vashenuyk, E. V.: The effect of cosmic rays on biological systems – an investigation during GLE events, Astrophys. Space Sci. Trans., 8, 7-17, doi:10.5194/astra-8-7-2012, 2012.
Search ASTRA
Special issue