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As a glaciologist I'm often involved in topics related to the long-term climatic evolution of Earth, and to the factors that can trigger or end ice ages.

Recently, I came across the paper "Applying Relativity to Earth Climate Data, The Damhsa Theory, Signs of the Inflationary Universe" presented in the SORCE Science meeting 2008 claiming that gravitational waves might have played an important role in the long-term evolution of Earth's climate.

However, I don't have the knowledge to assess the validity of those claims and the real significance, if any, of such effects. Could cosmic gravitational waves really have a significant impact on Earth's climate?

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    $\begingroup$ It's like saying, what if the wind causes continental drift. $\endgroup$ – Mitchell Porter Mar 20 '18 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Glancing at the paper you link to what seems to be missing are solid numbers and their estimation by theory. There's a lot of talk about cycles and what amounts to coincidence, but not about the energy involved or the relative magnitude of effects. I would not really describe this as a theory, but more as loose idea without a firm basis. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Mar 20 '18 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ It's also worth noting that, depending on the conference, they might not do any more than the bare minimum of vetting for the presenters (especially if the conference is big - there are always a few crackpots at APS meetings), so something being presented at a conference is not a very good barometer for its trustworthiness. Instead, look for this work to appear in peer-reviewed publications. $\endgroup$ – probably_someone Mar 20 '18 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MitchellPorter: I would say that is substantially more likely. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 21 '18 at 1:06
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"The Damhsa Theory proposes that these oscillations are actually gravitational waves from the continued ramifications of the expanding universe and that ice ages and inter-glacials such as our current Holocene are a result of theses waves"

That really got accepted at a Nasa conference on Solar Radiation and Climate ?

In short - no !

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! It would be possible to add "in a nutshell" Why not? Just curious, I have an undergrad degree in astronomy, so I might be able to understand a not too technical explanation. $\endgroup$ – Camilo Rada Mar 20 '18 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ @CamiloRada The main reason would appear to be that gravitational waves are exceedingly, ridiculously weak unless you're really close to a huge mass that oscillates in a very particular way (specifically, it must have an oscillating quadrupole moment). Whatever miniscule effect they would have had on climate would be immediately washed out by, for example, fluctuations in solar activity, gravitational perturbations from nearby stars, some random guy in Arkansas flapping his arms, etc. $\endgroup$ – probably_someone Mar 20 '18 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ @CamiloRada mostly because the rest of the paper is written in classic "crank", lots of "Einstein said" and wikipedia level explanations of GPS and relativity $\endgroup$ – Martin Beckett Mar 20 '18 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, that is a bad paper. Not a single quantitative argument, just that "it could be true". The typical amplitude of gravitational waves is around $10^{-20}$; the amplitude of tides from the moon is $10^{-7}$ (give or take a few orders of magnitude) - we should expect vastly greater effects on climate from lunar influences. $\endgroup$ – Anders Sandberg Mar 20 '18 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah I got about as far as "When a satellite is put into space and then correlated to other satellites and a fixed point on earth to form a GPS co-ordinate, the GPS physics calculations based on Newton will break down in about two hours unless extra microseconds are added to the calculations using complex field equations to account for Einstein’s Relativity for the outer gravity layer." Good grief... Yes Navstar has corrections for relative time dilation, but this is high school wording. "A GPS co-ordinate"?! $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 21 '18 at 1:05

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