CLOUD proves cosmic ray link

See commentary on WUWT.

Nature has just published Cloud formation may be linked to cosmic rays, which acknowledges results from an experiment at CERN probing a connection between climate change and radiation bombarding the atmosphere.

[In comments, Alan Burke quickly diminishes the significance.]

In the meantime, Nigel Calder posts CERN experiment confirms cosmic ray action, nailing confirmation of such a “connection” to the scientific wall.

You can draw your own conclusions from the revealing graph he gives:

CLOUD results

Take your pick between Nature and Calder. Is the link alleged or confirmed? Is there a non-GHG-induced magnification of solar influence on cloud formation, and therefore global lower tropospheric temperature, or not?

This must give Nick Smith cause to review our ETS.

Stand back as the warmists rush the exits.

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17 Thoughts on “CLOUD proves cosmic ray link

  1. Richard C (NZ) on 26/08/2011 at 9:47 pm said:

    The naysayers are premature in their assessments. This experiment doesn’t prove Svensmark but it doesn’t disprove him either and it’s an all important first stage. The last paragraph in Nature is the pointer:-

    “Kirkby hopes that the experiment will eventually answer the cosmic-ray question. In the coming years, he says, his group is planning experiments with larger particles in the chamber, and they hope eventually to generate artificial clouds for study”

    The object of this experiment was not to produce large particles but to first prove that chemical reactions were taking place and the chemicals involved under controlled conditions and that didn’t allow the formation of large particles (my understanding without having read the report beyond the abstract).

    Seems to have opened up an even greater knowledge gap going by Kirkby in the press release:-

    “We’ve found that cosmic rays significantly enhance the formation of aerosol particles in the mid troposphere and above. These aerosols can eventually grow into the seeds for clouds. However, we’ve found that the vapours previously thought to account for all aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can only account for a small fraction of the observations – even with the enhancement of cosmic rays.”

    Which is a problem for the climate modeling community, see this article:-

    CERN: ‘Climate models will need to be substantially revised’

    “Climate models will have to be revised, confirms CERN in supporting literature (pdf):

    “[I]t is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours [sulphuric acid and ammonia] and water alone.”

    And note:-

    “Svensmark, who is no longer involved with the CERN experiment, says he believes the solar-cosmic ray factor is just one of four factors in climate. The other three are: volcanoes, a “regime shift” that took place in 1977, and residual anthropogenic components.”

    Note that “residual anthropogenic components” includes land use and land cover (LULC) i.e. not confined to fossil fuel emissions,

    Real Climate has a post (not surprisingly – lots of circumlocution and Svensmark put-downs). Comment #4 lists the authors of the report – all 64 of them!

    I say “no” in answer to this question:-

    “Is there a non-GHG-induced magnification of solar influence on cloud formation”

    My understanding of Svensmark is that the solar influence modulates (not magnifies) GCR cloud nucleation action (aiding cloud formation or otherwise). The solar wind modulates the amount of GCRs entering the atmosphere. When the sun is active, less GCRs enter and less cloud cover forms so that ocean heat and temperatures rise (e.g. the 1990s). When the sun is quiet (e.g. now), more GCRs enter and more cloud cover forms so that ocean heat and temperature reduces from the previous state (as is happening now).

    Explains some of the recent climate rather better than monotonically rising CO2 I think.

    See article (easy read):-

    Theory Says Climate Change Depends On Solar Wind/Cosmic Rays

    And the scientific paper following it:-

    Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth’s Climate
    by Henrik Svensmark, 1998\

    The theory is sometimes referred to as: “the solar wind modulated cosmic ray flux effect theory of climate change”.

  2. Australis on 27/08/2011 at 3:10 pm said:

    Dr David Whitehouse has a further report here:

    This is a huge advance, with CERN confirming:

    1. Climate models have wholly misunderstood the physics of aerosols and clouds, and will need to be re-programmed.
    2. Cosmic rays have a large influence (tenfold) on cloud formation in the mid-troposphere and above.
    3. In the lower atmosphere, cloud formation seems to be heavily influenced by unidentified gases (not GHGs).

    As Bishop Hill points out, it can never again be claimed that “there is no other possible explanation except human activities”.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 29/08/2011 at 7:20 pm said:

    More confirmation of Svensmark’s theory?

    A paper published this week finds that cloudiness over Russia has increased during the period of 2001-2010 compared to 1991-2000. Interesting in light of the corresponding global cooling since 2001, Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory of cloud formation, the rise of cosmic rays since 2001 to record levels, and the concomitant decrease in solar activity.

    Recent variations of cloudiness over Russia from surface daytime observations

    A V Chernokulsky et al

    Abstract. Changes of total and low cloud fraction and the occurrence of different cloud types over Russia were assessed. The analysis was based on visual observations from more than 1600 meteorological stations. Differences between the 2001–10 and 1991–2000 year ranges were evaluated. In general, cloud fraction has tended to increase during recent years. A major increase of total cloud fraction and a decrease of the number of days without clouds are revealed in spring and autumn mostly due to an increase of the occurrence of convective and non-precipitating stratiform clouds. In contrast, the occurrence of nimbostratus clouds has tended to decrease. In general, the ratio between the occurrence of cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouds has increased for the period 2001–10 relative to 1991–2000. Over particular regions, a decrease of total cloud fraction and an increase of the number of days without clouds are noted.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on 29/08/2011 at 8:37 pm said:

    Gavin Schmidt at Real Climate says this about CLOUD and Svensmark:-

    Rather, the excitement is based on the expectation that this work will provide some insight into the proposed cosmic ray/cloud/climate link that Svensmark (for instance) has claimed is the dominant driver of climate change (though note he is not an author on this paper, despite an earlier affiliation with the project).

    Here’s why from Lawrence Solomon:-

    The hypothesis that cosmic rays and the sun hold the key to the global warming debate has been Enemy No. 1 to the global warming establishment ever since it was first proposed by two scientists from the Danish Space Research Institute, at a 1996 scientific conference in the U.K. Within one day, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bert Bolin, denounced the theory, saying, “I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible.” He then set about discrediting the theory, any journalist that gave the theory credence, and most of all the Danes presenting the theory – they soon found themselves vilified, marginalized and starved of funding, despite their impeccable scientific credentials.

    Schmidt either doesn’t understand the solar/cosmic hypothesis or understands it perfectly well and is desperately trying to re-frame the issues in Team terms:-

    We were clear in the 2006 post that establishing a significant GCR/cloud/climate link would require the following steps (given that we have known that ionisation plays a role in nucleation for decades). One would need to demonstrate:

    1. … that increased nucleation gives rise to increased numbers of (much larger) cloud condensation nuclei (CCN)
    2. … and that even in the presence of other CCN, ionisation changes can make a noticeable difference to total CCN
    3. … and even if there were more CCN, you would need to show that this actually changed cloud properties significantly,
    4. … and that given that change in cloud properties, you would need to show that it had a significant effect on radiative forcing.

    #1 is Kirkby et al’s next stage of the experiment

    #2 and #3 are about cloud seeding and that’s been around for yonks, see:-

    Can China control the weather?

    #4 is a no-brainer.

    Schmidt goes on:-

    Of course, to show that cosmic rays were actually responsible for some part of the recent warming, you would need to show that there was actually a decreasing trend in cosmic rays over recent decades – which is tricky, because there hasn’t been (see the figure).

    Ah yes, Gavin’s “long-term [warming] trend” except that is not how the effect works is it Gavin? But no doubt Team cheerleaders (e.g. Cook at skepticalscience) will mindlessly parrot what Real Climate (“we”) “require”.

    A comprehensive explanation of the effect with a clear diagram and some relevant correlations (in a non-Real Climate sense) can be seen here:-

    Cosmic Rays and Climate

    By: Nir J. Shaviv

    Notes and References at the bottom are a useful resource and there’s some trend questions answered in the following comments (that Schmidt should read).

    • Richard C (NZ) on 20/09/2011 at 9:46 pm said:

      RealClimate FAIL: Cosmic ray counts support Svensmark’s theory

      A recent post on Realclimate claims to refute the recent CERN findings and Svensmark theory of cosmoclimatology, stating,

      “Of course, to show that cosmic rays were actually responsible for some part of the recent warming, you would need to show that there was actually a decreasing trend in cosmic rays over recent decades – which is tricky, because there hasn’t been (see the figure).”

      The “real climate scientists” at RealClimate, however, fail to plot a trend line to back up their claim. Plotting a polynomial fit to the same Oulu Neutron Monitor monthly data shows that cosmic ray counts did in fact show a long term declining trend from 1964 to 1997/1998, and a rising trend since, in accordance with the trend in global temperatures which rose to a peak in 1998 and have declined since.

      [See plot]

      “polynomial” doesn’t seem to occur in the warmist lexicon – every trend is linear and long-term according to them.

  5. Australis on 31/08/2011 at 3:14 pm said:

    The Economist is an acknowledged cheerleader for AGW, and one of its directors (David de Rothschild) recently wrote a book on the subject: “The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook: 77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change—Or Live Through It”.

    So we should believe this newspaper when it says that the CERN experiment has revealed that all the current climate models are flawed.

    The science has become unsettled!

    The article also states unequivocally:

    “The results, reported in this week’s “Nature”, suggest naturally occurring rays enhance seed-formation rates by a factor of ten. That implies the rays’ varying intensity could indeed affect the climate.”

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 31/08/2011 at 6:18 pm said:

    NZCSC making a cogent case in Scoop:-

    Energy strategy ignores modern science, wastes money
    Tuesday, 30 August 2011, 5:08 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

    “It is now well accepted that sunspots are declining and that we may be heading for a period when there will be no sunspots. Past history tells us that, when this happens, the world cools quite severely. So the sunspots tell us that the world is likely to cool while the climate modelers ignore the evidence and still predict warming, “Mr Leyland continued.

    “Recent evidence from an experiment carried out at CERN in Geneva, tends to confirm previous research that cosmic rays trigger the formation of clouds. A 1% change in cloud cover can account for all the temperature variations we have experienced over the last century. Climate models still cannot model cloud formation accurately.

    “Given all these uncertainties and the continued failure of the world to warm, the only rational strategy is to put our Emissions Trading Scheme on hold, by zero rating it to remove the costs being imposed on all New Zealanders, but leaving the legislation in place until the rest of the world decides whether such impositions are either effective or justified.”

    Bet that get’s a solid ignoring too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 01/09/2011 at 9:39 am said:

      Similar JoNova post in the Australian context (the opportunity cost of misdirected energy policy):-

      Government mismanagement kills 2,500 people a year

      “What if we just said “No” to any more solar subsidies, or windfarm waste, and instead spent that money reducing waiting times and increasing lifespans?

      Alan Moran of the IPA estimated that the 20% renewable energy scheme loaded a deadweight loss of 1.8 billion a year on the Australian economy [2009 IPA report]. That’s $6 billion spent from 2009 to now that could have been used to buy medical equipment and pay specialists (not to mention the money left over). How many lives did it cost us to make a symbolic statement on about “renewables” which achieved nothing for the environment. Where are our priorities?”

  7. Clarence on 05/09/2011 at 1:43 pm said:

    Lawrence Solomon (author of “The Deniers”) regards the CLOUD result as “game over” for warmists:

  8. Australis on 09/09/2011 at 11:27 am said:

    Good editorial (not an op-ed) in the Wall Street Journal, very supportive of the Svensmark hypothesis:

    It’s now indisputable that solar activity COULD be responsible for some or most of the global temperature changes experienced in the late twentieth century. This puts paid to the IPCC argument that anthropogenic forcing is the only possible explanation.

  9. Pingback: What’s this about cosmic rays and global warming? | Open Parachute

  10. Bob D on 12/09/2011 at 1:33 pm said:

    Another paper that confirms the cosmic ray theory, at least as a preliminary finding:

    “The result strongly supports the idea that cosmic rays influence the atmospheric processes and climate.”

    “Forbush decreases – clouds relation in the neutron monitor era”
    A. Dragic et al., Astrophys. Space Sci. Trans., 7, 315–318, 2011

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/09/2011 at 9:01 pm said:


      “Any attempt to investigate the CR-cloud connection faces several problems”

      Ain’t that the truth – the Team tops the the list. No doubt the paper will be characterized as “bad”, “fatally flawed” and a paper refuting it will be “out soon”.

      Looks compelling, all I have to do is get acquainted with “superposed epoch analysis”. Apparently it’s “a statistical technique used in different scientific disciplines to test the effect of the occurrence of a certain type of event (named a key event) on a specified physical variable”.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/09/2011 at 9:23 pm said:

      WUWT post on the Dragić et al paper:-

      New paper links cosmic rays, clouds, and temperature

      Ends with:-

      “I see a paper on this in the near future, maybe even in Dessler record time.”


  11. Pingback: What’s this about cosmic rays and global warming? | Secular News Daily

  12. Richard C (NZ) on 13/09/2011 at 6:56 pm said:

    Worth keeping in mind that the paper in question is:-

    “Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation”

    Atmospheric aerosols exert an important influence on climate1 through their effects on stratiform cloud albedo and lifetime2 and the invigoration of convective storms3. Model calculations suggest that almost half of the global cloud condensation nuclei in the atmospheric boundary layer may originate from the nucleation of aerosols from trace condensable vapours4, although the sensitivity of the number of cloud condensation nuclei to changes of nucleation rate may be small5, 6. Despite extensive research, fundamental questions remain about the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid particles and the mechanisms responsible, including the roles of galactic cosmic rays and other chemical species such as ammonia7. Here we present the first results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN. We find that atmospherically relevant ammonia mixing ratios of 100 parts per trillion by volume, or less, increase the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid particles more than 100–1,000-fold. Time-resolved molecular measurements reveal that nucleation proceeds by a base-stabilization mechanism involving the stepwise accretion of ammonia molecules. Ions increase the nucleation rate by an additional factor of between two and more than ten at ground-level galactic-cosmic-ray intensities, provided that the nucleation rate lies below the limiting ion-pair production rate. We find that ion-induced binary nucleation of H2SO4–H2O can occur in the mid-troposphere but is negligible in the boundary layer. However, even with the large enhancements in rate due to ammonia and ions, atmospheric concentrations of ammonia and sulphuric acid are insufficient to account for observed boundary-layer nucleation.

    Behind paywall, already cited by 2

  13. Richard C (NZ) on 14/09/2011 at 6:33 pm said:

    Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate

    Dr Roy Spencer

    “While I have been skeptical of Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory up until now, it looks like the evidence is becoming too strong for me to ignore. The following results will surely be controversial, and the reader should remember that what follows is not peer reviewed, and is only a preliminary estimate


    Finally, I fitted the trend lines to get an estimate of the relative magnitudes of these two sources of forcing: the cosmic ray (indirect) forcing is about 2.8 times that of the solar irradiance (direct) forcing. This means the total (direct + indirect) solar forcing on climate associated with the solar cycle could be 3.8 times that most mainstream climate scientists believe.”


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