Cosmic rays – the new kid on the block

Posted on timeNovember 9th, 2006 by userPali Gap


Much is made of CO2 as a key driver of climate change. Yet the role of clouds is thought to be extremely important. Unfortunately the behaviour and influence of clouds is very difficult to model in computer simulations. Despite this handicap computer modelling remains a key plank in the scientific ‘evidence’ that is claimed to support the conjecture of global warming.

Low level clouds would seem to have a cooling effect on the earth’s surface. So the discovery of some key influence that could affect the amount of low level cloud would be an important development.

Two Danish scientists, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen, had previously drawn attention to a strong correlation between the variation in the intensity of cosmic radiation penetrating the atmosphere and the amount of low-altitude clouds.

Cloud cover seems to increase when the intensity of cosmic rays grows and to decreases when the intensity declines.

The climate change orthodoxy have not been impressed with this idea however – the typical line being that there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could influence cloud cover.

But now there is supporting experimental evidence for the conjecture. In a paper published by the British Royal Society (Experimental Evidence for the role of Ions in Particle Nucleation under Atmospheric Conditions), Henrik Svensmark, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, Nigel Marsh, Martin Enghoff and Ulrik Uggerhøj show that electrons (as released in the atmosphere by cosmic rays) can act as catalysts, which significantly accelerate the formation of stable, ultra-small clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules which are building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei. This result comes from a laboratory simulation (rather than a computer simulation).

We were amazed by the speed and efficiency with which the electrons do their work of creating the building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei. This is a completely new result within climate science” (team leader Henrik Svensmark, Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research within the Danish National Space Center, writing here)

During the 20th Century, the Sun’s magnetic field which shields Earth from cosmic rays has more than doubled. The result presumably is a reduction in the effect of cosmic rays. Which on these results would imply a reduction in cloud cover, and so would act to exacerbate (or generate) global warming.

This creates a problem for the climate change ‘warmers’ orthodoxy:

  • increasing CO2 is thought to be a key driver in climate change
  • CO2 emmissions have risen dramatically in modern times
  • yet although it is generally agreed that there has been some planetary warming, why is not much greater that it is? Especially if the warming trend is already being driven forward by the cosmic ray factor

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