Preliminary results for the CERN CLOUD cosmic ray experiment

From Nature blog: Sunny days for CLOUD experiment

An experiment designed to investigate the link between solar activity and the climate has its first results in the bag. At the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco today, Joachim Curtius presented data from the first runs of the CLOUD (‘cosmics leaving outdoor droplets’) experiment at CERN – the European particle physics lab outside of Geneva.

The experiment has a long and bumpy history. The idea is to test the theory that cosmic rays spur the formation of particles in the air that nucleate clouds, in turn making skies cloudier and the planet cooler. Researchers have noted a dearth of sunspots (which is linked to more cosmic rays) during the ‘little ice age’ of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and a peak in sunspots (linked to a drop in cosmic rays) during the late 1980s, when global cloudiness dropped by about 3% (see Nature‘s feature on the project). No one knows how big this effect might be, and the idea that it might account for a big chunk of the warming over the last century is highly controversial.

CLOUD uses a particle beam from CERN as a stand-in for cosmic rays, and fires them through an ultra-clean steel chamber filled with select atmospheric gases, to see if and how particles that could nucleate clouds are formed. Project head Jasper Kirkby proposed the experiment back in 1998. But it had a hard time getting off the ground – perhaps in part because Kirkby received bad press for emphasizing the importance of cosmic rays to climate change (see this story from the National Post). CLOUD finally got going in 2006, and they started work with the full kit in November 2009 (here’s a CERN video update about that).

The results haven’t yet been published, so Curtius declined to discuss the details. But the important thing is that the project is working – they have seen sulphuric acid and water combine to make particles when blasted by the CERN beam, for example, in a way that matches predictions of the most recent models. The data should help the team to quantify how much of an impact the Sun is having on climate within 2-3 years, Curtius says – though there are a lot more pieces of the puzzle to fill in.

============================================================

/upload/institutter/space/forskning/06_projekter/cloud/cloud01-560.jpg

Dr. Roy Spencer has mentioned that it doesn’t take much in the way of cloud cover changes to add up to the “global warming signal” that has been observed. He writes in The Great Global Warming Blunder:

The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.

This graph certainly lends credence to the theory:

Here’s a longer record of cosmic rays:

Galactic cosmic rays (GCR) from 1951 to 2006. ...

Image via Wikipedia

See also this WUWT story:

Something to be thankful for! At last: Cosmic rays linked to rapid mid-latitude cloud changes

About these ads

133 thoughts on “Preliminary results for the CERN CLOUD cosmic ray experiment

  1. Very interesting! Although probably not the only influence on clouds, it shows that most climate models underestimate solar changes by only taking into account the influence of direct solar radiation…

    Any idea what caused the 1998 sharp drop in low cloud cover (influence of the 1998 El Niño?)?

  2. “they have seen sulphuric acid and water combine to make particles when blasted by the CERN beam, for example, in a way that matches predictions of the most recent models. ”

    This is so unpredictable result.

  3. It’s the sun, stu——, I mean, my fellow scientists.

    When I think back to the blasting I used to get, back around 2007, when I so much as suggested the sun had any influence on warming and/or cooling periods on earth, it amazes me. I wonder if those folk will ever get around to eating crow, or their hats, or whether they will simply fade away quietly, and hope no one remembers how amazingly rude they once were.

  4. This is most exciting from several aspects. Greatly so since it is the application of experimental science in an attempt to calibrate the numerical and other types of models. We have empirical measurements of many factors but as yet lack the understanding of how they interact with each other. I guess us science junkies will just have to sit on our hands and hold for results. Three years is not all that long just think about Voyageur.

  5. Just like science should be, slow and cautious in the face of political anxiety. Very unlike those claiming to have written the last word on precisely what is warming the planet.

  6. Ok I see a strong correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover. But what about temperature? The year 1998 had high cloud cover, but that was a warm year. Cloud cover has diminished since then and so has the earth’s temperature. That seems to imply that clouds have a net warming effect.

    It’s certainly true that clouds can block sunlight and that produces cooling. But it’s also true that clouds can act like radiation shields, absorbing radiant energy leaving earth and reradiating part of it back to earth. That produces warming. So which effect dominates?

  7. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

    …So which effect dominates?

    That depends greatly (as I understand it) on the type and altitude of clouds that exist. It’s safe to say, however, that climate models that do not properly simulate clouds cannot be trusted as anything other than a software exercise.

  8. I don’t think the fact of the effects is an issue. As with more CO2 the issue is quantification of the effect in relation to other factors.

    For the time being I prefer the alternative explanation of latitudinally shifting jets and their associated cloud bands allowing more or less energy into the oceans depending on the level of solar activity working via the polar vortex, the size intensity and position of the polar high pressure cells and the surface spread of the polar air masses (subject to oceanic modulation though).

  9. I honestly think the cloud / temperature / sun link is obvious and direct.

    Lets look at Night vs Daytime weather.

    Often the cloud cover is reduced at night and temperatures fall away rapidly and, that cover increases during the day.

    You only have to wake up early on a clear sunny morning and by 10 am clouds are forming, and the temperatures increase throughout the day.

    At night the clouds cover reduces and the temperatures fall back.

    But since when has observation and empirical evidence have to do with climate science.

  10. This falls under the category — tease!!!

    I’ve been watching for CLOUD results since I read ‘The Chilling Stars’. Now I have to wait 2-3 more years??

  11. @ Caleb says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:15 am

    It’s the sun, stu——, I mean, my fellow scientists.

    When I think back to the blasting I used to get, back around 2007, when I so much as suggested the sun had any influence on warming and/or cooling periods on earth, it amazes me. I wonder if those folk will ever get around to eating crow, or their hats, or whether they will simply fade away quietly, and hope no one remembers how amazingly rude they once were.

    =================

    What they will most likely do is act like they believed this to be the case all along and hope no one remembers the past. It seems to work well for many politicians.

  12. The year 1998 had high cloud cover, but that was a warm year.

    I’m guessing there are two or three levels of abstraction here (possibly more): solar changes causing cloud condensation nuclei concentration changes, causing cloud changes, which cause ocean heat content changes, which cause atmospheric temperature changes. There would be various lags and feedbacks associated with each, so it probably isn’t a simple case of finding the phase correlation between any two of the variables and thinking you’ve got to the fact of the matter.

  13. The 50-year record of cosmic rays certainly has a remarkably close correlation with the 11-year sunspot cycle (inverted, of course), in terms of period, though amplitude correlation isn’t very exact (using Wolf sunspot numbers). One interesting feature is the extended trough in the cosmic ray graph in the early 2000’s – perhaps this relates to the double peak in the sunspot numbers which was separated by about 2 years (when the first peak was North dominant and the second peak South dominant).

  14. James says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:41 am

    I honestly think the cloud / temperature / sun link is obvious and direct.

    Often the cloud cover is reduced at night and temperatures fall away rapidly and, that cover increases during the day.

    This is not what’s being studied. The atmosphere can become extremely supersaturated with water vapor if there are no condensation nuclei to start cloud formation. The posited effect is on low maritime clouds, not clouds over land as you describe.

    Essentially (from memory, I’ve likely missed a step or two – read “The Chilling Stars”) is consmic rays hit upper atmosphere, produce shower of muons, muons ionize H2SO4 gas in lower atmosphere (source is DMS released from ocean by decaying algae being converted to SO2 by sunlight and reacting with H2O and O2) H2SO4 clumps together and H2O joins it to make cloud condensation nuclei.

    Hmm, I may have indeed screwed that up badly. Tough – it’s time for lunch. I’m sure dozens of readers will correct the mistakes!

  15. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am
    So which effect dominates?
    ================================================
    David, NASA says cooling.

    “Understanding cloud effects requires a detailed knowledge of how clouds absorb and reflect incoming shortwave solar energy, as well as how they absorb and re-emit outgoing longwave energy. For example, low, thick clouds primarily reflect incoming solar energy back to space causing cooling. Thin, high clouds, however, primarily trap outgoing longwave energy and produce warming. To date, satellite studies have found that clouds have an overall net cooling effect on the Earth.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/CERES.html

  16. 2 to 3 years ? It may be the sign that the results undermine the AGW theory.
    If they had been pro AGW, all the media in the world would have written about them by now.

  17. remembers how amazingly rude they once were.

    Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:16 am
    “This is most exciting from several aspects. Greatly so since it is the application of experimental science in an attempt to calibrate the numerical and other types of models. We have empirical measurements of many factors but as yet lack the understanding of how they interact with each other.”

    Pardon me for being a purist, but I would like to see the word “hypothesis” in here somewhere. If this new work produces nothing more than data points to be “fitted” to climate models then I see no advance at all. I take it that the scientists have some hypotheses about interactions among cosmic rays and various constituents of he atmosphere and they are running experiments to test these hypotheses.

  18. Forgive a slightly off topic question, but what studies have been done to look at stratospheric changes in H2O, CO2 concentrations resulting in the elimination of Concord and SR-71 flights in 2003 and 1999 respectively. Has the albeto of the high stratosphere declined with less exhaust from supersonic planes?

    There has been much comment about purposely injecting SO2 into the Stratosphere for a cooling effect. But what about the side effect of what happened when we reduced the number of supersonic flights in the stratosphere over the past 15 years?

  19. “Caleb says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:15 am
    It’s the sun, stu——, I mean, my fellow scientists.

    When I think back to the blasting I used to get, back around 2007, when I so much as suggested the sun had any influence on warming and/or cooling periods on earth, it amazes me. I wonder if those folk will ever get around to eating crow, or their hats, or whether they will simply fade away quietly, and hope no one remembers how amazingly rude they once were.”

    Nah, they’ll claim that it is exactly what is predicted by global warming “science” and the models.

  20. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

    “[...] so which effect dominates?”

    It seems obvious to this untrained, uncredentialed observer that this is an incorrect approach when considering the function of clouds in the overall system. A better question is the determination of their role, overall, and how their properties interact with the other activities and conditions.

    Bias admission – my skepticism peaks when someone advocates one item within an interdependent and complex system (particularly ones for which the advocate readily admits an ignorance of totality about) as being “key”, or “most important” – when due to the fact that it’s a holistic system, such a statement could equally, and as erroneously made, imho, about a variety of the components therein.

    This approach is the biggest discrediting factor, for me, in the vehement claims of the import of CO2, particularly to the point of blatant disregard for other factors. And it does not require peeling too many layers from that particular onion to reveal the quite non-scientific motivators and agendas behind it.

  21. Slowly leaking out the CLOUD results over two or three years gives the warmistas a chance to extricate themselves from their extremist warming dogma of the past in hopes of saving face.

  22. tallbloke says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I would like to see Svensmark and Kirby jointly recieve a Nobel Prize one day in the not too distant future.
    ——————————————————————————————-

    Nir Shaviv and Jan Veizer deserve to be in on it too.

  23. Theo Goodwin says:
    December 16, 2010 at 9:20 am

    “…Pardon me for being a purist, but I would like to see the word “hypothesis” in here somewhere. …”

    The very use of the word “experiment” implies an hypothesis. The cosmic ray-cloud cover linkage is one of the few experimentally testable hypotheses that have been advanced regarding the mechanisms of climate in the last decade. It’s the only one that actually reduces the number of “forcings” [goshaweful word that] necessary to model global climate effect, thus actually meeting one of the demands of Occam’s Razor. CO2 actually increases the model complexity because of itself it can only have a minuscule direct effect of air temperatures. Consequently, “complications” have be to added before the model remotely parallels empirical data records, a violation of Occam’s Razor. So rest up, there really is a hypothesis in the works.

  24. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

    …So which effect dominates?

    Jeremy says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:39 am

    That depends greatly (as I understand it) on the type and altitude of clouds that exist. It’s safe to say, however, that climate models that do not properly simulate clouds cannot be trusted as anything other than a software exercise.

    Sure, but clouds perform convection also. Thunderheads are low and high lying clouds, convecting heat to space. And they release energy during phase change. So it is actually more complicated than just type and altitude.

    As to which effect dominates, well this is anecdotal at best, but consider Figure 2 in this study:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/28/1003292107.full.pdf+html

    Evaporation takes off like a rocket while precipitation declines, which to me suggests a lack of cloud cover. Shortly after the 98 El Nino, precipitation takes off while evaporation slows. This, to me, would suggest that there was an increase in cloud cover, as it’s hard to imagine more precipitation with less clouds. That is all conjecture, sure, and it is based on the assumption that study is correct, but hey, it was peer reviewed, right? ;)

  25. Sorry, forgot in my previous post that all of those extra clouds post-1998 seem to suggest that clouds appear to compensate for extra warmth.

  26. P.S. if CLOUD would have negated the cosmoclimatology hypothesis we would have heard it in 2 to 3 seconds !!

  27. Along with what Stephen Rasey posted I remember reading how temperatures dropped in the U.S. when all aircraft where grounded during 9/11. Has there been any follow ups to this?

  28. Sun Spot says:
    December 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Slowly leaking out the CLOUD results over two or three years gives the warmistas a chance to extricate themselves from their extremist warming dogma of the past in hopes of saving face.

    It also makes the fight to get their paper(s) published a little easier if those who waved absurd flags are given time to back down from absurd positions before they become reviewers.

  29. Jeremy says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:39 am

    David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

    …So which effect dominates?

    That depends greatly (as I understand it) on the type and altitude of clouds that exist. It’s safe to say, however, that climate models that do not properly simulate clouds cannot be trusted as anything other than a software exercise.

    Also depends greatly on the time of day, i.e. cloudy days are cooler than sunny days, cloudy nights are warmer than clear nights. I don’t know whether we have records to show how much of the average 0.7C warming over the last 150 years has been at night, and how much has been during the day.

  30. David S

    ’98 started with high cloud cover but dropped rapidly to a very low level. Was ’98 warmth the cause of cloud coverage decrease, or was the decrease in clowd coverage the cause of the unusual warmth? Dr Spenser seems to believe the latter; reduced cloud coverage was a component of the exceptional warmth of ’98, along with the impact of the exceptionally strong El Nino and the high sun spot activity in ’97 & ’98. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure the AGW proponents don’t know either! And they should!

    Bill

  31. “”””” David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am
    Ok I see a strong correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover. But what about temperature? The year 1998 had high cloud cover, but that was a warm year. Cloud cover has diminished since then and so has the earth’s temperature. That seems to imply that clouds have a net warming effect.

    It’s certainly true that clouds can block sunlight and that produces cooling. But it’s also true that clouds can act like radiation shields, absorbing radiant energy leaving earth and reradiating part of it back to earth. That produces warming. So which effect dominates? “””””

    Why does this always seem harder to deal wih than a root canal.

    CLOUDS are CAUSED by conditions that started on the GROUND !!! Lots of surface warmth accompanied by WATER to provide HUMIDITY.
    WARM HUMID air rises to some altitude, depending on the Temperature lapse rate until eventually the DEW POINT is reached, and cloud droplets can start to form.

    If the iniial surface temperatures are HIGHER, or the HUMIDITY is LOWER, the DEW POINT ALTITUDE will be HIGHER.

    So HIGH CLOUDS, are associated with earlier WARMER surfaces, the warmer the surface, the HIGHER the clouds will form.

    The warm balmy surface conditions are the CAUSE of the HIGH CLOUDS; they are NOT the RESULT of those HIGH CLOUDS.

    And no matter how high and how whispy those clouds are, you can bet your last dollar, that come sundown, it is going to get COOLER; in particular it will NOT WARM UP after sundown, because of high clouds.

    The Climatists argue that those high whispy clouds don’t block much sunlight. THAT’S TRUE ! Thin clo9ud layers are grey on top; NOT WHITE, so they have a lower ALBEDO contributiuon than thicker denser .
    CLOUDS DON’T REFLECT SUNLIGHT !! THEY SCATTER IT, THROUGH SIMPLE GEOMETRICAL OPTICS OF SPHERICAL LENSES.

    A water droplet focusses near parallel light from the sun; which then spreads out over a wide range of angles, in all directions; hwere lie other water droplets to do the same thing all over again.

    So that’s why thinner cloud layers do less total scattering, so the tops are darker, and the absorption is also lower, due to the lower density at higher altitudes.

    Hey ! Clouds to Earth; by the same token, high low density clouds absorb LESS ground level LWIR thermal radiation.

    There’s this thing called “The Inverse Square law”, that requires that the illumination of a cloud, by the ground shall fall off as the inverse square of the cloud height; so the higher the cloud is, the less surface LWIR it can capture.

    And finally; from a climate point of view, the cloud effect relates to a PERSISTENT CHANGE in amount of cloud cover that lasts for climate significant time scales. It’s not about last night’s weather.

    It’s actually pretty simple: Temperature changes PRECEDE CO2 changes; not FOLLOW them.
    And WARM SURFACE conditions PRECEDE HIGH CLOUD conditions; not FOLLOW them.

  32. Dave F;
    Clouds can be caused by man as well.
    “The Asian Forest Fires of 1997-1998″
    “From October through November 1997, fires in Indonesia and the resulting haze made front-page news around the world as the haze spread as far the Philippines to the north, Sri Lanka to the west, and northern Australia to the south. As the Southeast Asian “tiger” economies collapsed, fires burned thousands of squares miles of rainforest, plantations, conversion forest, and scrubland in Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Lombock, and Sarawak, Malaysia.”

    http://rainforests.mongabay.com/08indo_fires.htm

  33. @nc
    This paper (Travis, 2004) says that cloud cover diminished during the 9/11 grounding of airlines (subsonic, troposphere) and that they confirm an average and spatially significant increase in the Diurnal Temp Range (DTR) where contrails were absent. Less conclusive was that the daily Max temperatures were higher without the contrails and minimums were less affected by contrail absence.

    \\ Along with previous studies comparing surface climate data at stations beneath major flight paths with those farther away, the regionalization of the DTR anomalies during the September 2001 ‘‘control’’ period implies that contrails have been helping to decrease DTR in areas where they are most abundant, at least during the early fall season. //

    http://pdfcast.org/pdf/climate-change-during-9-11

    Variations in U.S. Diurnal Temperature Range for the 11–14 September 2001 Aircraft Groundings: Evidence of Jet Contrail In fluence on Climate
    D. J. TRAVIS Dept.Geography and Geology, Univ. of Wisconsin
    A. M. CARLETON Dept Geography and Environment Institute, Penn State Univ.
    R.G. LAURITSEN Dept Geography, Northern Illinois Univ.
    American Meteorological Society, 1 March 2004, pg 1123-1134.

  34. @J: December 16, 2010 at 8:53 am

    “@tallbloke
    Nobel Prize? What have they done to deserve that ignominy?!!
    ;)”
    ———————-

    Tallbloke wasn’t mentioning the “Peace Prize” such as that which was given to Al Gore but was referring to the real one. ;-)

  35. Svensmarks theory is that the galactic cosmic ray effect only have a influence over the sea. The reason he gives for this is that over land areas there is already a saturation of particulate condensation nuclei.

    So, the effect is over the sea and generally unpopulated areas. And it goes on to speculate that the effect of high altitude clouds heats and low altitude clouds cools the planet, which may be a reasonable assumption.

    What GCR do have, in comparison to particle rays from the sun, is a much higher energy. If the magnetic field of the sun is strong most of these particles get bent away, as the magnetic field of the sun works as a shield (In much the same way the magnetic field of earth bends incoming particles towards the poles). A weaker field lets in more GCR.

    Finally, the hypthesis is dependant on the fact that GCR penetrate deeper through our atmosphere before interacting, than suns particles.. This leads GCR to form LOW cloud cover, which cools the planet. A weak field lets in more of these particles, leads to more low cloud cover, and an over-all cooling effect. A stronger magnetic field, on the other hand, leads to less low cloud cover. One can even go so far as to speculate about this leads to higher water content in the higher atmosphere, and condensations of high altitude clouds…

    I am hopeful about the experiments and hope that it really dont have to take 3 years get preliminary results. What would be even better was intermediate results over the years. :)

  36. Duster says:
    December 16, 2010 at 9:54 am
    Theo Goodwin says:
    December 16, 2010 at 9:20 am
    “The very use of the word “experiment” implies an hypothesis.”

    I do not think you have conversed with Warmists. The Warmista have enjoyed some success only because they have corrupted the language of science and studiously avoided any discussion of hypothesis, prediction, and falsification. Instead, they tried to substitute “fit to model” as their version of prediction, which is clever of them because that makes all their “predictions” unfalsifiable. The reason that Warmista will not talk about hypotheses is that everything they have produced has been slam-dunk falsified. Yet they continue to “profess” their science. It is a disgrace.

  37. It looks like there is a lot to be learned before anyone can predict climate disaster and nail it down to one cause such as CO2.

    Perhaps there should be a review by the next congress of how grants are awarded.

  38. Sun Spot says:
    December 16, 2010 at 9:59 am
    P.S. if CLOUD would have negated the cosmoclimatology hypothesis we would have heard it in 2 to 3 seconds !!

    Yes, it would have come at us so fast, we would have heard about it in the past :)

  39. Speaking of which, isn’t it about time for a David Archibald update on sunspots / solar activity for WUWT? We seem to be pretty range bound over the last several months instead of an expect upward trend leading towards the maximum.

    http://www.solen.info/solar/

    Solar commenters – thoughts?

  40. Paul says: December 16, 2010 at 9:15 am

    2 to 3 years ? It may be the sign that the results undermine the AGW theory. If they had been pro AGW, all the media in the world would have written about them by now.

    Sun Spot says: December 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Slowly leaking out the CLOUD results over two or three years gives the warmistas a chance to extricate themselves from their extremist warming dogma of the past in hopes of saving face.

    Yep.

  41. The results haven’t yet been published, so Curtius declined to discuss the details.

    Depending on where it’s going to be published, that’s unlikely to stop the Team from getting the heads up in advance. See the story over on CA regarding the attempts to get McKitrick and Nierenberg 2010 published in IJOC. Keep eyes peeled for a shift in stance by the Team.

    Can’t wait to see the results though given the controversy there’s been around the GCR theory(s).

  42. David S says: “…It’s certainly true that clouds can block sunlight and that produces cooling. But it’s also true that clouds can act like radiation shields, absorbing radiant energy leaving earth and reradiating part of it back to earth. That produces warming. So which effect dominates?”

    Energy from the sun that is reflected away by clouds never returns. Energy from the earth that is held back by clouds can be radiated away on the next clear night. Which effect dominates? I think it’s pretty clear.

  43. “But it had a hard time getting off the ground – perhaps in part because Kirkby received bad press for emphasizing the importance of cosmic rays to climate change…”

    I learned very quickly that blocking test and experimentation was a strong indicator of misuse of models and/or simulations. Contrariwise, people who are developing and applying models and simulations correctly, myself included, can never have enough test and experimental data to V&V them.

  44. It’s actually pretty simple: Temperature changes PRECEDE CO2 changes; not FOLLOW them.
    And WARM SURFACE conditions PRECEDE HIGH CLOUD conditions; not FOLLOW them.

    But that’s not inconsistent with cosmic rays causing clouds, is it?

    In a situation that had 30% cloud cover in a low ray period, there might be 34% in a high ray period (as a result of forming more quickly, rather than more cloudily).

    Likewise a situation with 5% cloud cover might get 7% as a result of more rays causing quicker condensation.

    So the rays don’t “cause” cloudiness, but that is not inconsistent with them affecting it.

    Since the warming comes down a few percentages either side of equilibrium that might make the crucial difference. Might.

  45. How sweet of Sol to arrange to go spotless just as this new paper is released.
    Perhaps Douglas Adams was on to something. Those whom the gods……..

  46. “Caleb says: “…When I think back to the blasting I used to get, back around 2007, when I so much as suggested the sun had any influence on warming and/or cooling periods on earth, it amazes me. I wonder if those folk will ever get around to eating crow, or their hats, or whether they will simply fade away quietly, and hope no one remembers how amazingly rude they once were.”

    TheChuckr replies: “Nah, they’ll claim that it is exactly what is predicted by global warming “science” and the models.”

    Yes. In the 2 or 3 year interim, they’ll torture the temperature records some more and then quietly twiddle their knobs until the models crank out postdictions that mimic the altered record. Vwallah! “We said it all along… robust… worse than we thought… unprecedented…” The models probably have dozens upon dozens of coefficients to tweak–they’ll get virtually any output they want. Of course, the models’ skill at prediction will tank, but all they have to do is get the IPCC appointed Guardians of the Earth before the predictions fail. I’ll bet they get nifty uniforms!

  47. Darell C. Phillips says:
    December 16, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Sadly the preposterous awards to Gore and Obama have traduced the entire Nobel concept.

  48. If Svensmark and Kirby do get a Nobel, make sure it’s areal one, not that Peace Prize they give out like candy to murderers.

  49. tallbloke says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:31 am
    I would like to see Svensmark and Kirby jointly recieve a Nobel Prize one day in the not too distant future
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    and Al Gore’s humbly returned to Olso.

    So Hansen’s et al’s cli-mythology is over and done with.

  50. Does that real clean science magic really fit in with all the pseudo science crap that are otherwise portrayed on display, all naked like, here, where it also runs the risk of becoming smeared with climate hippie’s excrement in surf-by-snideness commenting?

  51. tallbloke says:

    I would like to see Svensmark and Kirby jointly recieve a Nobel Prize one day in the not too distant future.

    I concur. If his model is corroborated — which all indications suggest it will be — there is no doubt that Svensmark deserves a Nobel prize.

  52. 3 years is a good-enough and fair time for Hansen, Jones, Briffa et al kooks to find another job.

  53. David S: your

    So which effect dominates?

    Depends on cloud altitude and time of day. High clouds tend to allow cooling at night, and warming during the day, while low clouds cause warming at night, and cooling in the daytime.

    It also depends on the dew point. A hot clear day can become a warm night, if cloud cover forms during the evening.

    But, the warming effect from lack of clouds should dominate. Assuming equal galactic Cosmic ray (GCR) concentration globally, there should be less cloud on the daylight side, NOT forming in otherwise marginal areas where sufficient “seeding” would form cloud cover if not for the lack of GCR. This non-cloud formation would be from solar heating, and marginally (or maybe more) from being in the solar GCR “shadow”.

    This paper suggests that GCR preferentially forms lower cloud cover (3 km). There is a 2%-3% change in lower cover with changes in GCR, but less than 1% in high cloud cover.

    http://orbit.dtu.dk/getResource?recordId=205271&objectId=1&versionId=1

  54. @ Olen

    I’m with you. I’m an AGW skeptic but I believe we shouldn’t burn all the fossil fuels we been blessed with, for a variety of reasons. Our research dollars would be much better spent on nuclear fuel cycle improvements and fusion research instead of being wasted on “settled science”. That being said, throwing money at the current crop of physicists, who seem to have allowed themselves to be completely duped by the physics dropouts who have become credentialed climate scientists, seems like a waste, too. We need to de-fund PPL and other existing lines of research that have putrefied and start over with a more private-sector capitalistic approach to research, such as used by NASA to accomplish the moon landings (and not used much since).

  55. It would be big step forward to establish a firm relationship between clouds and cosmic rays. It would provide the ‘magnetic effect’ with a plausible mechanism, geomagnetic field is far stronger modulator of the CRs than the sunspot cycle.
    I can see lot of uncertainty in the numbers since according to the graph cloud cover varies on average by only plus/minus 1%.

  56. I had been waiting for this news ever since I stumbled upon Jasper Kirkby’s now famous lecture: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073 . I had no doubt about the outcome and I am sure that the panic that the warmists were in lately, even fudging the past records to ‘show’ that the decade just ended was the warmest on record, was in anticipation of the CERN CLOUD experiment outcome. Kirkby had been trying to carry out this experiment since the late ’90’s, but the warmists had great power then, even more than the geniuses at CERN. But to his credit, (and more so to Svensmark who practically had already proven the effect) Kirkby managed to go the subtle way and instead of saying: AGW is nonsense he reworded his original push by stating that the GCR’s effect is an unkown factor but could be large enough to be one the major forcings on the earth’s climate and therefore needs to be looked into. So he managed to get the go ahead and the funds for the CLOUD experiment. Now he and Svensmark must be the happiest people on this (currently freezing) planet.
    I personally consider the science as settled now, that is, climate change is mostly natural and we 5 foot-8 inch of human beings have a very minor, if any, and insignificant effect on the climate.

    So where do we go from here? Do we pull the plug on WUWT and its heroes and go home? Definitely not. We still need to keep on telling the truth, to save the planet, humanity, from the red/green cabal who defintely will not disband or disappear from sight. They have the money, the newspapers and a handful of alchemistic scientists who would continue to sell their scientific soul to the red-green politicians.

    This international left-wing, world-dominating cabal are currently seeing their second temple, AGW, (their first was the Soviet Union) collapse within a span of twenty years. Their next trick could be ocean acidification/oxygen depletion, whatever, to try to keep their control on global energy sources. (He who controls energy controls the world).

    But, as Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes optimistically asserted a few days ago, the whole world is “awash in energy.” This energy is in the form of hydrocabons, that energy that has produced the modern society, where people live to a ripe old age of 80+ years, can warm our homes in winter and cool them during the hot summer months, produce cheap, plentiful and healthy food for all, cheap medicines, fast and cheap travel etc etc.

    But the green/left cabal does not want this, no matter what; over their dead bodies.

    This is our next fight for the truth: WE HAVE CHEAP AND ABUNDANT ENERGY FOR ALL.

    So, having proven that the energy sources that God or mother nature have provided us are not harming the planet in any way whatsoever, but actually increasing global food production due to the higher levels of CO2, we now need to tell the world that it is good for all humanity, especially the poor of the third world, that we get as much hydrocarbons as possible out of the bowels of the earth for the benefit of all and that the technology that was utilised two centuries ago, namely windmills and drying things by placing them in the sun will only send us back two centuries into the past.

    Abiotic oil is now being found at levels that could only be described as abiotic and not biotic and there is more and more evidence that oil and natural gas are the product of geological activity and not dead dinasours or microbes.

    And tell the UN that the OPEC cartel, like any other cartel must be delared illegal. Does any democratic government on this planet accept any type of commercial cartel/ No. So why should we accept OPEC?
    I may have digressed a bit from the CERN CLOUD experiment results, and I apoligise for this, but I strongly feel that the future of our children and grand children does not depend on CO2 ppm, but on the price and availablity of energy, as has been the case for our recent ancestors of thelast two centuries, who have seen their lot improve one generation after another due to this energy revolution.

  57. Something else may come to light when CERN Cloud is completed:
    Not only will they have some physics to rest on (if Cloud pans out what they are attempting to prove), but they should have the tools to attempt to discriminate between the Solar portion of rejecting the GCR’s vs the Galactic contribution to how much GCR’s are attempting to come in. i.e. – variance in local Milky Way GCR’s.

  58. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am
    Ok I see a strong correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover. But what about temperature? The year 1998 had high cloud cover, but that was a warm year. Cloud cover has diminished since then and so has the earth’s temperature. That seems to imply that clouds have a net warming effect.

    It’s certainly true that clouds can block sunlight and that produces cooling. But it’s also true that clouds can act like radiation shields, absorbing radiant energy leaving earth and reradiating part of it back to earth. That produces warming. So which effect dominates?
    ===================================================
    David, NASA says that clouds are “negative forcing”, averaging the effects of all the clouds around the globe, cooling predominates.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Clouds/

  59. David S says:
    December 16, 2010 at 8:32 am

    “Ok I see a strong correlation between cosmic rays and cloud cover. But what about temperature? The year 1998 had high cloud cover, but that was a warm year. Cloud cover has diminished since then and so has the earth’s temperature. That seems to imply that clouds have a net warming effect.

    It’s certainly true that clouds can block sunlight and that produces cooling. But it’s also true that clouds can act like radiation shields, absorbing radiant energy leaving earth and reradiating part of it back to earth. That produces warming. So which effect dominates?

    During the day it’s a no-brainer. Is it cooler in the shade or in the direct sun?

    At night it’s a different story. Clouds slow down how fast the surface cools at night.

    So it boils down to a matter of which effect is greater: clouds as reflectors of sunlight during the day or clouds as insulators at night.

    Since the global ocean dominates the earth’s surface we can focus on that. Water has a very low albedo when the sun is high in the sky – very close to zero percent reflection. Clouds have albedos varying from 10% to 90%. High thin clouds are at the lower end of the albedo range and low thick clouds at the higher end.

    On average the energy emitted by the surface at night is the same as the amount absorbed during the day. This must be true according to the most basic laws of thermodynamics. A cloud can at best cut the rate of surface heat loss at night by 50% as it absorbs 100% of upwelling infrared radiation and emits 50% back toward the surface. However that same cloud during the day can block 90% of the incoming energy. So the answer, given equal day/night cloud cover, would be that low clouds have a net cooling effect. High thin clouds don’t reflect visible light as well but they are still usually good infrared absorbers so the net effect of high thin clouds will tend towards surface warming.

    I wouldn’t trust that graph of “low cloud cover” one tiny bit. Measuring the earth’s average albedo to an accuracy of 1% is a difficult task where even today various ways of trying to measure it are not in satisfactory agreement. Trying to estimate low cloud cover from satellite images is error prone because high and middle level clouds block the view of low level clouds.

    Your inclination to look for global average temperature vs. cosmic ray flux correlation is on the right track IMO.

    The problem is that this is but one small factor of all the variables that influence regional and global climate trends. Most of those factors are poorly understood. Some are cyclical and predictable while others are not. Cycles from one thing overlap cycles from other things with different periodicities. Trying to pick the influence of just one factor out of all that is like trying to determine how how a flea perched on an elephant’s ass influences the way it’s ass wobbles as it walks. Obviously if the flea will have some small influence if off-center but the problem is there are ticks, flies, bits of mud, imperfect symmetry, and a host of other factors besides the flea and many if not most of them outweigh a single flea.

    About the only thing that can be called “settled science” is the greenhouse effect due to non-condensing greenhouse gases. If everything else was equal and the effect of greenhouse gases was independent of and had no influence on any other factors then yes Virginia more CO2 equals warmer surface temperatures. The problem IMO is that warming is a good thing for the biosphere especially when most of it occurs in higher northern latitudes during the night where it is most needed by green plants to extend growing seasons. More green plants means more animals that eat plants and more animals that eat animals. Moreover CO2 is well known to increase plant growth rate regardless of climate warming and it also reduces the amount of water the plants need to grow. For the entire living world more CO2 is undeniably a good thing and it remains a good thing far past the point where fossil fuel combustion can possibly raise it – there isn’t enough fossil fuel to raise it higher than it’s been during most of the earth’s history – a history overwhelmingly dominated by much warmer temperatures and far greater biomass – after all those rich fossil fuel beds were laid down during the time of great biological abundance.

    Given the lack of understanding of most of the things that effect the climate the two things we do understand – GHG effect and CO2 influence on green plant producitivity – it’s absolutely friggin’ insane to want to lower atmospheric CO2 levels. The sane thing is to keep it growing and hope it might end the ice age and restore the earth to its normal state which is green from pole to pole.

  60. roger says:
    December 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    “Sadly the preposterous awards to Gore and Obama have traduced the entire Nobel concept.”

    The Peace Prize is done by a commitee of norwegian ex-politicians in Oslo. Its political, remember? So its often given just to promote some political agenda.

    Dont forget that the Nobel Prize in Physics is quite another ballgame.
    Its also from another group of people, in Sweden.

    I would say the Nobel Prize in Physics still is something to admire.

  61. Alex the skeptic says:
    December 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Fossils fuels are abundant and cheap but they’re not unlimited and not free. As the good stuff in convienient locations near the surface are used up it becomes more expensive to recover and distribute. We’ve basically been picking the low hanging fruit nearest where we live first and now have to go farther and farther afield at higher cost to keep up with demand.

    There is a vastly greater potential source of energy that promises to be cheaper than any fossil fuel ever was. That source is the sun. We simply need better technology to capture and distribute it in ways that are copacetic with current infrastructure – i.e. liquid fuels, natural gas, and electricity. Synthetic biology is quickly nearing the point where it can be leveraged to turn sunlight, water, and air into liquid fuels and natural gas. IMO photovoltaics, which are just another form of solid state electronics, will soon reach a point where it’s cheaper to turn sunlight into electricity than it is to generate it with a natural gas fired turbine (the current cheapest way to generate electricity). There remains a problem with electricity in storing it and I don’t see any great leaps forward on the horizon for that problem. So unless we get our photovoltaics in orbit where the sun shines 24 hours a day and transmit it to the surface where it’s needed via microwaves we’ll still be depending on other sources of electricity to fill the gaps when the sun isn’t shining. I’m hopeful that there will be a breakthrough in cost of lifting mass from surface to orbit (space elevator) but that technology seems farther off than the others.

  62. “”””” vukcevic says:
    December 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    It would be big step forward to establish a firm relationship between clouds and cosmic rays. It would provide the ‘magnetic effect’ with a plausible mechanism, geomagnetic field is far stronger modulator of the CRs than the sunspot cycle.
    I can see lot of uncertainty in the numbers since according to the graph cloud cover varies on average by only plus/minus 1%. “””””

    How could we possibly know that since there is NO global cloud monitoring network (that is Nyquist compliant); and that is true both exytermally, and internally.

    Clouds are typically scattered/broken, on a global scale and they change by the minute. It would take a monstrous optical monitoring network, to even measure th3e surface sunlight suffriciently well to come up with a 1% precision of global cloud cover; and such a network, would NOT be capable of meauring the cloud back radiated thermal spectrum.

    Satellite observations could certainly monitor the cloud ALBEDO contribution to some extent; probably want to filter out the blue sky scattered light so the oceans appear black. But that can’t possibly also monitor the internal absorption of those clouds, for just sunlight to determine the surface solar total insolation.

    !% knowledge of cloud cover is pure mythology, as far as obtaining an energy variation effect either SW (solar) ore LWIR (thermal).

  63. I only had to read the first part of this post to realise that this is a “skeptic” experiment.
    The very fact that it is testing a hypothesis using real data as opposed to some hypothetical computer generated world that climate scientists live in was enough to label this as a “skeptic” experiment.
    Physicists have spent decades designing and building experiments to test their hypothesis and yet despite the fact that climate scientists get billions in funding they have failed to do so much as grow a tree and measure the impact of various environmental factors on its growth. But then since the science is settled why should they design real experiments.

  64. “”””” Mooloo says:
    December 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    It’s actually pretty simple: Temperature changes PRECEDE CO2 changes; not FOLLOW them.
    And WARM SURFACE conditions PRECEDE HIGH CLOUD conditions; not FOLLOW them.

    But that’s not inconsistent with cosmic rays causing clouds, is it? “””””

    Well my comments are related to a more fourth grade level science view of cloud formation; in the provision of the basic condensation conditions for water droplet, and cloud formation (and ort ice crystals). In addition to the existence of those conditions, there is also the rate at which droplets might form under the correct conditions, and certainly cosmic ray nucleating of droplets is consistent with that.

    I have no idea of the extent; but I believe that there is some effect.

    The whole point is that what is at issue is CHANGES in total global cloud cover that persist for climate time scales aka 30 years.
    NOT LAST NIGHT’S WEATHER.

  65. kwik says:
    December 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    roger says:
    December 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    “Sadly the preposterous awards to Gore and Obama have traduced the entire Nobel concept.”

    The Peace Prize is done by a commitee of norwegian ex-politicians in Oslo. Its political, remember? So its often given just to promote some political agenda.

    Dont forget that the Nobel Prize in Physics is quite another ballgame.
    Its also from another group of people, in Sweden.

    I would say the Nobel Prize in Physics still is something to admire.
    ——————————————————————————————–

    I agree. Unfortunately, the Chemistry Prize was somewhat sullied by the 1995 Award for the Crutzen/Molina/Rowland Ozone nonsense.

    But Svensmark’s et al. would clearly be in Physics.

  66. When this work reaches its full fruition it may inspire fear and horror.

    Firstly, we may see before us a fate we cannot escape, wrought by Nature.

    Secondly, fiends may start to get ideas.

  67. I’ve always noticed when out in the wild, fishing the Western Slope of Colorado, when the clouds form, it gets cold.

    When the sun shines, it gets warm.

    Hmmmmm…..

  68. I’m not going to be thankful that cosmic rays can have that much effect but there have been three lasting cold spells in the last 400 years and they all line up perfectly with decades of low sunspot counts. In the past 50 years the number of sunspots have been higher than any time since records began.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum

    If the sun has entered a quiet period we’ll at least get a test of the hypothesis. We can only hope another Little Ice Age isn’t in the making. That won’t be good.

  69. Suppose that cosmic rays do increase cloud cover and that this increase does decrease global temperature. Take a look at the plot of cosmic rays from 1950 onwards. the cosmic ray counts fluctuate significantly, but the overall trend for the last 60 years is flat. Cosmic rays can’t be responsible for the overall increase of global temperature in the last 60 years. The low cosmic-ray-count periods of the late 1950’s and the early 1990’s were lower than the low period 2001-2004. Yet global temperature was higher in 2001-2004 than it was in the early 1990’s or in the 1950’s. No matter what their affect is on clouds, it is clear that cosmic rays aren’t the explanation for the increase of global average temperatures over the last half century.

  70. There is more than one mechanism by which solar magnetic field changes affect planetary cloud cover. Solar wind bursts are hypothesized to remove cloud forming ions by creating a space charge differential in the ionosphere. Tinsley calls that mechanism electroscavenging. (See Tinsley’s review paper at the end of this comment for details.)

    If you look at the attached graph (GCR Vs planetary cloud cover) linked to immediate below there is very close correlation of GCR levels and low level planetary cloud cover up until around 1994 at which time there is a net reduction in planetary cloud cover. The reduction in planetary cloud cover is hypothesized to have been caused by the solar wind bursts which removed the cloud forming ions. (The reduction in planetary clouds in the specific regions where the electroscavenging mechanism is predicted to be the strongest.)

    GCR is currently very high, however, there continues to be solar wind bursts created by low latitude coronal holes on the sun’s surface. When the solar wind bursts abate, if Svensmark, Tinsley, Yu’s hypothesis is correct there should be an increase in low level clouds and more energy reflected into space. (Planet cools.)

    There appears to be some other phenomena at work related to the current solar cycle change, as the ionosphere height has fallen to the lowest ever measured.

    Solar cycle 24 is an anomalous cycle. It appears that has been an interruption to the mechanism that creates the magnetic ropes that form sunspots. The magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots are becoming less and less. If the trend continues the sun will no longer be able to create new sunspots, as the magnetic ropes require a minimum field strength to avoid being torn apart as they float up from the tachocline (where it is hypothesized that they are formed) through the turbulent convection zone to the sun surface.

    http://www.probeinternational.org/Livingston-penn-2010.pdf

    When the Maunder solar magnetic cycle minimum occurred there was a delay of roughly 12 years before the cooling occurred. The cooling this time around should be larger, as the change is from a low level of planetary clouds to a high level of planetary clouds.

    There is evidence that a high number of ions affects planetary temperature in another manner. It is hypothesized that a high number of ions causes a reduction in the lifetime of cirrus clouds at high latitudes during the winter which causes very low temperatures. The mechanism is the ions causes larger ice particles to form which then causes the cirrus ice particles to fall reducing the life time of the cirrus cloud. (The wispy high altitude cirrus clouds warm due to the greenhouse effect.)

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/cosmic-rays-and-global-warming.htm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/16/earths-ionosphere-drops-to-a-new-low/

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JA014342.shtml

    “If the Sun is so quiet, why is the Earth ringing? A comparison of two solar minimum intervals.”

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    “Once again about global warming and solar activity K. Georgieva, C. Bianchi, and B. Kirov

    We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period for which we have data.

    In Figure 6 the long-term variations in global temperature are compared to the long-term variations in geomagnetic activity as expressed by the ak-index (Nevanlinna and Kataja 2003). The correlation between the two quantities is 0.85 with p<0.01 for the whole period studied.It could therefore be concluded that both the decreasing correlation between sunspot number and geomagnetic activity, and the deviation of the global temperature long-term trend from solar activity as expressed by sunspot index are due to the increased number of high-speed streams of
    solar wind on the declining phase and in the minimum of sunspot cycle in the last decades."

    See section 5a) Modulation of the global circuit in this review paper, by solar wind burst and the process electroscavenging where by increases in the global electric circuit remove cloud forming ions.

    The same review paper summarizes the data that does show correlation between low level clouds and GCR.

    http://www.utdallas.edu/physics/pdf/Atmos_060302.pdf

    It should be noted there is smoking gun evidence that links GCR changes to a series of cooling events in the paleo record. The question is not if but how the solar changes cause the cooling.

    http://www.essc.psu.edu/essc_web/seminars/spring2006/Mar1/Bond%20et%20al%202001.pdf

    Excerpt from the above linked paper:

    “A solar influence on climate of the magnitude and consistency implied by our evidence could not have been confined to the North Atlantic. Indeed, pervious studies have tied increases in the C14 in tree rings, and hence reduced solar irradiance, to Holocene glacial advances in Scandinavia, expansions of the Holocene Polar Atmosphere circulation in Greenland; and abrupt cooling in the Netherlands about 2700 years ago…Well dated, high resolution measurements of O18 in stalagmite from Oman document five periods of reduced rainfall centered at times of strong solar minima at 6300, 7400, 8300, 9000, and 9500 years ago.”

  71. Jeff T says:
    December 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    What’s the inconsistency there? Cosmic rays are in an inverse relationship with solar activity.
    The whole thing with Cloud is the physics being hammered out, so if things don’t go precisely according to GCR counts, then there are other factors being involved. The good news would be that GCR’s are much easier to measure than global cloud cover.
    We still have to wait for the physics to determine if GCR/cloud formation turns on a dime. It may not be so (hystersis levels involved). Also, who’s to say that the relationship has to be linear?

  72. Stephen Wilde wrote:
    “I prefer the alternative explanation of latitudinally shifting jets”

    Stephen, could you please post references to this theory? I am very interested.
    TIA,
    – Alexi

  73. It was this time last year that the Sun came out of its minimum and it looked as though it might ramp up like a normal cycle. I remember those getting on the bandwagon denouncing all those that were expecting a grand minimum to start with SC24. 12 months later what do we have….a cycle that died off mid year and now has risen back to the early figures but reducing in output for the last few months. In essence the cycle is not ramping up, it is flat.

    Today is again spotless and the general mood of the Sun is weak, if we have another 6 months of low activity it will get very interesting.

    The Sun is weak and the northern hemisphere is bracing itself for a massive winter, we have already seen temps in the UK not experienced since the LIA. But we are told there is no link between the Sun and climate??

  74. Jeff T says:
    December 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Take a look at the plot of cosmic rays from 1950 onwards. the cosmic ray counts fluctuate significantly, but the overall trend for the last 60 years is flat. Cosmic rays can’t be responsible for the overall increase of global temperature in the last 60 years.

    I am not a believer also….it may be a player, but not the major contributor. I can’t see a trend that would influence ocean and atmospheric cycles that follow the temp record.

  75. The Cosmic Ray / Cloud correlation is interesting. It is also only accounts for a small variation. It is really hard to separate out the ocean cycles from the cosmic ray effect. The fact that the Atlantic and Pacific both react in similar ways at the same time is very curious.

    It is possible that much of the sawtooth in the temperatures is caused by a combination of cosmic rays and ocean oscillations. The variation of less than 1C isn’t as interesting as the long term trends.

    At least the skeptics are trying to figure out the factors that drive the climate instead of just show that CO2 is causing the end of everything.

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  76. William says:
    December 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm


    If you look at the attached graph (GCR Vs planetary cloud cover) linked to immediate below there is very close correlation of GCR levels and low level planetary cloud cover up until around 1994 at which time there is a net reduction in planetary cloud cover
    .

    I am not sure we have the ability to measure low level clouds accurately??

    Solar cycle 24 is an anomalous cycle. It appears that has been an interruption to the mechanism that creates the magnetic ropes that form sunspots. The magnetic field strength of newly formed sunspots are becoming less and less. If the trend continues the sun will no longer be able to create new sunspots, as the magnetic ropes require a minimum field strength to avoid being torn apart as they float up from the tachocline

    It’s called a grand minimum, don’t be swayed by bad science, solar magnetic strength has been increasing as SC24 progresses, this is normal heading towards cycle max (however weak)

  77. In some preliminary work based on a belief that the 1998 temperature anomaly is information rich, and while trying to preserve the reality of seasons, I subtracted days in 1997 from corresponding dates in 1998. Here is a graph which shows some results for latitude bands from UAH data, first over the oceans:

    then over land:

    Apart from the loss of pattern from sparse polar sampling, there seemed to be a cyclicity of about 3 months max to max. This also happens at individual station level, sometimes, but more often than not, eg Meekatharra from Australia being rather nice:

    I have not done enough work to draw any conclusions. It would be interesting to do more subtractions, be they annual or near to that, to see if this cyclicity appears commonly or rarely. If it is common, it might be starting to propose a mechanism, for example, that a build-up then decay of cloud cover over a large region takes around three months (and might or might not be synchronised with seasons). There are better mathematical ways to look at this, but I thought these simple first few diagrams held some promise.

  78. This all seems rather unnecessary. We have known for a century that ionizing radiation will cause water droplets to form in a H2O-saturated gas. Charles Wilson got the Nobel prize for Physics in 1927, not for discovering the effect, but for inventing the Cloud Chamber that is based upon it. This now apparently controversial effect was then used for a generation as the prime method of detecting and studying elementary particles. Several more Nobel Prizes were awarded for work based on a principle that now apparently has to be proven all over again.

  79. Dave Springer says:
    December 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm
    Alex the skeptic says:
    December 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Fossils fuels are abundant and cheap but they’re not unlimited and not free. (1)

    IMO photovoltaics, which are just another form of solid state electronics, will soon reach a point where it’s cheaper to turn sunlight into electricity than it is to generate it with a natural gas fired turbine (the current cheapest way to generate electricity). (2)

    Dave, re your point (1): I never said that these are free. That these are limited or unlimited is highly debatable, however it seems that ‘we are awash in energy’. Abiotic oil theory is catching up.

    Point (2) on photovoltaics. When these become cheaper than gas/oil/coal and available on demand without fail just like we have had from HC’s and nuclear power stations, then I will be the happiest man on earth, but until then……..

  80. George E Smith

    What we can do is measure the “earthshine” reflected from the income sunlight incident on the Earth to the Moon and back to see if there is any trend in the albedo of the Earth. This is being done and has been used as a proxy for cloud cover. The warmists positively hate this approach because it supplies actual numbers and they tend to vilify researchers like Phil Goode by the usual methods.

  81. George E. Smith says:
    December 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm.
    Absolutely agree.
    Further, I think you presented an excellent overview in your earlier post:
    And WARM SURFACE conditions PRECEDE HIGH CLOUD conditions; not FOLLOW them.

  82. In reply to Geoff Sharp:
    December 16th 7:22 pm.

    The paleo climatic record shows cycles of warming followed by abrupt cooling which requires an explanation. (Cosmogenic isotopes changes correlate with the cycle so the question is not if but how the sun causes what is observed.) Livingston and Penn’s observations provides support for the assertion that the solar tachocline has been interrupted. The seeds for the next solar cycle are hypothesized to be the sunspots from the previous cycle that move down to the tachocline where the interact in some manner in the tachocline to form the new magnetic ropes which rise through the convection zone to form new sunspots. If the magnetic field of newly created individual sunspots continues to decrease the cycle 24 old sunspots will not survive their trip back through the turbulent convection zone to the tachocline. When the sunspot mechanism restarts it appears there are massive CMEs which change the inclination of the geomagnetic field. (Archeomagnetic jerks with a periodicity of roughly 300 years are observed and geomagnetic excursions with a periodicity of around 6000 year to 8000 years are observed which correlate with small and large abrupt climate change. There is a geomagnetic excursion for example that correlates with the Younger Dryas and the termination of the last interglacial.)

    The inclination changes in the geomagnetic field (archeomagnetic jerks) changes the latitude at which the GCR affects clouds, moving the effect down to lower latitudes where it has a greater affect.

    As some noted above, David Suzuki had a recent Nature special called when “North goes South” that discusses the extraordinary recent rapid movement of the north geomagnetic field pole. 80 km/year. The same affect (what is cause the North geomagnetic pole to move) is creating the Southern Atlantic geomagnetic anomaly. (The southern geomagnetic pole is trying to reverse in the Southern location.)

    Back to clouds and GCR.

    Palle’s analysis supports Svensmark GCR modulation of planetary cloud cover, Tinsley’s electroscavenging mechanism, and Lindzen’s cloud Iris theory.

    As I noted there is more than one mechanism by which the solar magnetic cycle changes modulation planetary clouds. (See Palle’s comment concerning the mechanism electroscavenging which is Tinsley’s name for the mechanism where solar wind bursts remove cloud forming ions.)

    There is an observed net reduction in planetary cloud cover that correlates with the 20th century warming that is currently attributed to GWG by the AGW fan club. If you check my last link, which is the global sea surface anomaly, the clouds appear to have come back, the earth’s oceans have started to cool.

    “The possible connection between ionization in the atmosphere by cosmic rays and low level clouds”

    http://star.arm.ac.uk/preprints/433.pdf

    “The second process, considered by Tinsley and Yu (2003), namely electroscavenging, depends on the action of the global electrical circuit (see review by Rycroft et al. (2000)). The transport of charge by rapidly rising convective currents in the tropics and over continental land masses leads to an approx. 200 kV positive charge of the ionosphere compared to Earth. This large voltage difference, in turn, necessitates a return current which must pass through the regions of the atmosphere where clouds are formed. As cosmic rays are the principal agent of ionization in the atmosphere above 1 km altitude, any modulation of the GCR flux due to solar activity is likely to affect the transport of charge to complete the global electrical circuit. Tinsley and Yu (2003) discuss how the build up of electrostatic charge at the tops and bottoms of clouds could affect the scavenging of ice forming nuclei (IFN) and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) by droplets, and how this can lead to greater rates of precipitation and a reduction in cloud cover. They find that the electroscavenging process is likely to be more important over oceanic rather than continental regions and that it leads to a positive correlation between clouds and cosmic rays at higher latitudes and a negative correlation at low latitudes. Thus the electroscavenging process can explain several of the most striking features of Fig. 5, namely: (1) the peak in significant positive correlations at latitudes around 50 degrees North and South (Fig. 5a); (2) the tendency for a less significant but nonetheless evident trend to negative correlation coefficients at low latitudes (Fig. 5a); and (3) the location of the peak in correlation over one of the principal oceans, namely over the North and South Atlantic (Fig. 5c).”

    Variation in planetary albedo is large
    – Observed Albedo change of the planet is 7 W/m2 ; GHG up to now is 2.4 W/m2 for a doubling of CO2
    – Equivalent to 2% increase in solar irradiance, a factor 20 more than typical maxima to minima variations
    – Reversibility suggests natural variations.
    – GCM (General Circulation Models, General Climate Models) do not show such variations

    Changes in Earth’s Reflectance over the Past Two Decades

    “We correlate an overlapping period of earthshine measurements of Earth’s reflectance (from 1999 through mid-2001) with satellite observations of global cloud properties to construct from the latter a proxy measure of Earth’s global shortwave reflectance. This proxy shows a steady decrease in Earth’s reflectance from 1984 to 2000, with a strong climatologically significant drop after 1995. From 2001 to 2003, only earthshine data are available, and they indicate a complete reversal of the decline. Understanding how the causes of these decadal changes are apportioned between natural variability, direct forcing, and feedbacks is fundamental to confidently assessing and predicting climate change.”

    http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Palle_etal_Science_2004.pdf

  83. The Earth as a chaotic system has two points of stability in climate, the one we enjoy now and the other for 90% of the time colder. This shows our non linear system has two strange attractors. Svensmark may show the cause of the change between the two attractors. No one else in climatology seems to be wondering at all why our normal Earth climate is an ice age. They seem to be fixated on warming.

    Warming never was a problem, cold is always a problem, severe cold is a disaster.

  84. William says:
    December 17, 2010 at 2:58 am
    …………..
    I would not trust implicitly latest CR data from any of the stations near the Arctic. Reason is that geomagnetic field changes there are not in sink with the geo-dipole.
    If you look at Moscow station you can see that in the recent years CR count was on par with 1965 if not slightly lower.

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/mosc/main.htm

    I wouldn’t bet on Livingston and Penn’s observations either:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/L&P1.htm

    Latest data not included here are pointing to a recovery of both, magnetic field and contrast.

    L&P effect may prove a bit of a disappointment. From personal point of view I would have favoured L&P, since their predictions were in tune with my formula

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC14.htm

    but I do not think conclusions from their observations based on less than one cycle are significant.

  85. “Al Tekhasski says:
    December 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm
    Stephen Wilde wrote:
    “I prefer the alternative explanation of latitudinally shifting jets”

    Stephen, could you please post references to this theory? I am very interested.
    TIA,
    – Alexi”

    Hi Alexi, here you go:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6645

    “How The Sun Could Control Earth’s Temperature”.

  86. I see a what appears to be an annual cycle in cloud cover. When is the peak. To the eye it appears to be in January or Feb, but these eyes are old. Any info on this is appreciated.

  87. There’s plenty more particulate chemistry going on besides DMS, but still, it’s a good place to start I suppose, and at least it’s real experimental science targeting uncertainty. It should produce some interesting results.

    I’m probably being stupid here, but surely to find a link between surface temperature and cloud we’d need to take all those thermometers out of their shady Stevenson screens and start collecting 1Hz data? Fast radiometer data shows a massive reduction in incoming radiation when clouds pass overhead so I find it hard to believe that doesn’t feed into temperature, but you’re not going to see that when you are averaging up to minutes or longer.

    And isn’t that the nub of much of the AGW scare? We aren’t really doing the right experiments (and then compound the problem by trying to model it!).

  88. wayne Job says:
    December 17, 2010 at 3:27 am

    “The Earth as a chaotic system has two points of stability in climate, the one we enjoy now and the other for 90% of the time colder.”

    That depends on the temporal length of your samples. The current ice age is about 3 million years old. Ninety percent of the time during the past 500 million years the earth was virtually ice free and green from pole to pole. We are in an ice age today. These brief retreats of the glaciers that last 10,000 years or so are nothing like the planet’s normal stable state.

  89. Ric Werme says on December 16, 2010 at 9:14 am:

    “Essentially (from memory, I’ve likely missed a step or two – read “The Chilling Stars”) is consmic rays hit upper atmosphere, produce shower of muons, muons ionize H2SO4 gas in lower atmosphere (source is DMS released from ocean by decaying algae being converted to SO2 by sunlight and reacting with H2O and O2) H2SO4 clumps together and H2O joins it to make cloud condensation nuclei.”

    Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) would be rapidly oxidized to dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which is miscible with water, by ozone and more slowly by oxygen. DMS and DMSO could never a be source of sulfuric acid.

  90. rbateman says:
    December 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    Something else may come to light when CERN Cloud is completed:
    Not only will they have some physics to rest on (if Cloud pans out what they are attempting to prove), but they should have the tools to attempt to discriminate between the Solar portion of rejecting the GCR’s vs the Galactic contribution to how much GCR’s are attempting to come in. i.e. – variance in local Milky Way GCR’s.
    ~
    Some very local GCR variation as well Rob. Lots to look at here and only time to skim.
    Frisch team working with radio isotopes data in the persuit of very local celestial clouds. Interestingly they see some of the larger within 200,000 years and nearer some farther. Speculating how long a traversal would take and relate to isotope data. Also now seeing “mini cloudletts” in nearby downwind direction which may or may not have been traversed by heliosphere. Our past is a bit cloudier than previously relalized or seen due to that solar wind charge exchange on the boundary, making it appear all homogenized in the local vicinity. But not so, “The times they are a changin.” Where did all those pesky GCR come from in the isotope record? Could it be in the cloudy galactic atmosphere around us? late late late

  91. Jeff T says:
    December 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    “Suppose that cosmic rays do increase cloud cover and that this increase does decrease global temperature. Take a look at the plot of cosmic rays from 1950 onwards. the cosmic ray counts fluctuate significantly, but the overall trend for the last 60 years is flat.”

    It’s flat like the top of a plateau and this particular plateau is higher and longer lasting than anything in the past 400 years. The scary thing is the 100 years beginning in about 1650 when the “plateau” was damn near at sea level (Maunder Minimum) and lined up pretty precisely with the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the Maunder Minimum the trend has been a series of upward step changes with smaller declines every 100 years where the decline lasts about 50 years. These also line up with historically cold periods in Europe and North America. Fifty years ago was another step change upwards to the highest plateau on record and there hasn’t yet been the smaller downward decline. Not surprisingly if you conflate correlation with causation, which is something the warmists embrace with religious fervor when it comes to manmade CO2, the past 50 years of high sunspot activity called “The Modern Maximum” has lined up pretty much with 50 years of milder winters which has been a boon to agriculture and doubtless is a large factor in the radiation of the human species to every terrestrial nook and cranny that gets even a short growing season and the tremendous population growth during that time. In general the past 200 years since the end of the Little Ice Age has been a time of increasingly warmer climate and in which the human occupation of the planet grew exponentionally. There’s still room to grow if it keeps getting warmer but if it gets colder there’s going to be some big problems as our whole civilization has become dependent on increasingly better conditions for agriculture. Those will continue getting better with more warmth and more CO2 while any significant cooling and/or reduction in CO2 is going to strain an agricultural industry that’s barely enough to feed the world as it is – population grows as the food supply grows and shrinks as the food suppy shrinks. It isn’t rocket science – cooling is bad, warming is good.

  92. In reply to Vukcevic, December 17th 2:58 am

    I would not trust implicitly latest CR data from any of the stations near the Arctic. Reason is that geomagnetic field changes there are not in sink with the geo-dipole.
    If you look at Moscow station you can see that in the recent years CR count was on par with 1965 if not slightly lower.

    The planet was cold in the 1960’s. Why was the planet cold in the 1960’s? GCR is higher now? Is there any evidence the planet is cooling? If so why?

    As we have not observed the full range of the solar magnetic cycle it is difficult at this point in time to state what is or is not the significance of Livingston and Penn’s solar observation. What is physically causing what is observed depends on the mechanism that creates the sunspots. Let’s keep observing.

    As I have stated in the last 10 years geomagnetic specialists have confirmed that the geomagnetic field’s tilt has cyclically abruptly changed which causes the planet to cool. (A change of the geomagnetic field’s tilt relative the planet’s axis of rotation moves the cut off point for GCR down to lower latitudes. The same amount of GCR with a tilted geomagnetic field results in a colder planet.) The issue is what causes the geomagnetic field to tilt? Why is there concurrent cosmogenic isotopes changes before the tilt?

    I am curious at what point the public discussion of cold weather will change to cold climate change.

    An observed change requires a cause.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/15/uk-fears-worst-winter-weather-1963

    http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1393410_storm_warning_heaviest_snow_fall_of_the_winter_on_the_way

    http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp

    “…The point is it takes a heck of a lot to have what we have had. One thing that was not present, though, was the Euro cold in those years to the degree we have it now. London is over 8 below normal, and will finish at over 6 below normal for December, as the coming week will take temperatures down so the rally at the end will only bring it to -6. Last year, London was -2.4, ’05 was -.8, ’00 was PLUS 2, and 1995 was -3.4.
    Using a population-weighted approximation finds the high likelihood that the combination of the eastern U.S. and northwestern European major population areas of the world and energy consumers are having their coldest start to winter since 1989, which of course was heavily U.S. weighted.
    So it’s not local, especially when one considers what is going into the Far East and world’s most populated nation, China. Whether low solar or volcanic activity have anything to do with it is debatable, but what is not debatable is that CO2 has nothing to do with it, since the argument four years ago was that these were not going to happen anymore (recall the Academy Award Winning Al Gore movie saying that, along with the hurricane idea), and yet now that both turn the other way, many of the people on that side of the argument are claiming it’s because of the very argument that they used to say it would not happen. They now have cloaked it under climate change, or disruption, which gives them carte blanche to claim anything as right.
    This does not look like a heat wave.

  93. Alex the skeptic says:
    December 17, 2010 at 12:21 am

    What isn’t debatable is that oil fields don’t refill from abiotic production in any practical length of time. They are discovered, explored, tapped, reach a level of peak production, and then decline. This has occurred in every oil field ever discovered. We wouldn’t be drilling oil wells a mile underwater if there were terrestrial fields being refilled or created new by abiotic processes. I’m not particularly set against hypothetical abiotic production of oil and methane (natural gas) it’s more that I’m convinced that abiotic production doesn’t matter because even if it’s true it demonstrably doesn’t work fast enough to keep reserves of light sweet crude topped off in accessable pockets where it can be easily recovered. We have a problem in the making – underground reserves of hydrocarbon fuels that are economically recoverable are being depleted faster than they are generated and the demand for fuel is growing even as it becomes more difficult to find and recover. Coal is still abundant but the earth or the biosphere isn’t making new coal faster than we using it up either. Those are the hard cold facts.

    But regardless of those hard cold facts it can only be a good thing if cheaper ways to fuel civilization can be developed. Even if oil, gas, and coal really were unlimited and not growing more costly to recover then it would STILL be a monumentally good thing to find an even cheaper source of usable energy. I don’t have much faith in nuclear (fission or fusion) being much of an answer although it might be part of the answer. Nuclear generated electricity is far more expensive than generation by natural gas fired turbines, it is not decentralized enough (yet anyhow) to power a ground transporation fleet without huge and very costly expansion of the electrical grid, you’ll never see transportation aircraft powered by electricity (maybe not never but it’s not remotely practical now or in the foreseeable future), and it comes with host of problems because of the dangers in dealing with highly refined fissionable fuels and radioactive wastes which can be used for making bombs (clean, dirty, or both) and also long term storage of such hazardous wastes. New hydroelectric power is also far more expensive than natural gas turbine plants because building new impoundments means flooding a lot of developed real-estate which, at least where private property exists, means purchasing that property at fair market value. Wind power is actually cheaper than new hydroelectric or nuclear power plants but the locations where the wind is dependable enough and not too remote are so limited it can’t ever be more than a small fraction of total power generation. Currently the most expensive electricity is photovoltaic at about twice the cost of nuclear and hydroelectric and four times the cost of the most efficient natural gas fired plants. The thing is that with photovoltaics a cost reduction of 10x is easily possible and almost inevitable if it follows the trajectory of every other solid state electronic technology and I see no reason why it won’t. A 2x improvement will make it competitive with nuclear and hydro, a 4x improvement will make it competitive with natural gas, and a 10x improvement will make it less than half the cost of the most efficient source of electricity today. The only downside is it’s an intermittant source and there’s nothing on the technological horizon to cheaply store electricity so we’ll still need sources that generate 24/7 but PV solar can supply about half the total demand and it can do it without adding any capacity to the electrical grid which is very very important in getting it done because upgrading the grid has the same problem as adding hydroelectric power – too much expensive developed real estate needs to be acquired to expand the grid – transmission lines don’t expand vertically they expand horizontally i.e. doubling the capacity means doubling the width of its ground track. And just imagine all the political opposition from people who don’t want high tension electrical lines passing over their homes, schools, and workplaces even if they are compensated for it by the purchase of overhead easements.

  94. In reply to Vukcevic, December 17th 2:58 am

    I would not trust implicitly latest CR data from any of the stations near the Arctic. Reason is that geomagnetic field changes there are not in sink with the geo-dipole.
    If you look at Moscow station you can see that in the recent years CR count was on par with 1965 if not slightly lower.

    The planet was cold in the 1960’s. Why was the planet cold in the 1960’s? GCR is higher now? Is there any evidence the planet is cooling? If so why?

    As we have not observed the full range of the solar magnetic cycle it is difficult at this point in time to state what is or is not the significance of Livingston and Penn’s solar observation. What is physically causing what is observed depends on the mechanism that creates the sunspots. Let’s keep observing.

    As I have stated in the last 10 years geomagnetic specialists have confirmed that the geomagnetic field’s tilt has cyclically abruptly changed which causes the planet to cool. (A change of the geomagnetic field’s tilt relative the planet’s axis of rotation moves the cut off point for GCR down to lower latitudes. The same amount of GCR with a tilted geomagnetic field results in a colder planet.) The issue is what causes the geomagnetic field to tilt? Why is there concurrent cosmogenic isotopes changes before the tilt?

    I am curious at what point the public discussion of cold weather will change to cold climate change.

    An observed change requires a cause.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/15/uk-fears-worst-winter-weather-1963

    http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1393410_storm_warning_heaviest_snow_fall_of_the_winter_on_the_way

    http://www.accuweather.com/ukie/bastardi-europe-blog.asp

    “…The point is it takes a heck of a lot to have what we have had. One thing that was not present, though, was the Euro cold in those years to the degree we have it now. London is over 8 below normal, and will finish at over 6 below normal for December, as the coming week will take temperatures down so the rally at the end will only bring it to -6. Last year, London was -2.4, ’05 was -.8, ’00 was PLUS 2, and 1995 was -3.4.
    Using a population-weighted approximation finds the high likelihood that the combination of the eastern U.S. and northwestern European major population areas of the world and energy consumers are having their coldest start to winter since 1989, which of course was heavily U.S. weighted.
    So it’s not local, especially when one considers what is going into the Far East and world’s most populated nation, China. Whether low solar or volcanic activity have anything to do with it is debatable, but what is not debatable is that CO2 has nothing to do with it, since the argument four years ago was that these were not going to happen anymore (recall the Academy Award Winning Al Gore movie saying that, along with the hurricane idea), and yet now that both turn the other way, many of the people on that side of the argument are claiming it’s because of the very argument that they used to say it would not happen. They now have cloaked it under climate change, or disruption, which gives them carte blanche to claim anything as right.
    This does not look like a heat wave.

  95. Carla says:
    December 17, 2010 at 7:08 am

    “Where did all those pesky GCR come from in the isotope record? Could it be in the cloudy galactic atmosphere around us?”

    All cosmic rays originate outside the solar system and generally correlate with stellar density in that region of the galaxy. More stars per cubic light year mean more supernovas and other highly energetic sources of cosmic rays. Interestingly our solar systems doesn’t orbit the galactic center at same rate as the galactic arms and it also drifts above and below the plane of the galaxy. Over periods of time measured in many millions of years the solar system crosses in and out of greater and lesser regions of cosmic ray intensity. Of course a nearby supernova can vastly increase the GCR intensity in our region of space for a geologically short period of time and can happen anytime – it’s just the odds of it increase when the solar system is traversing the galactic plane or going through a spiral arm.

    Where our sun comes into play is it’s magnetic field serves to deflect more less cosmic rays as it waxes and wanes and this is independent of the GCR strength in the particular time and place where the solar system is relative to the rest of the galaxy.

  96. There are good alternative explanations for your low clouds vs solar activity graph.

    We see medium cloud cover change in anti-phase to low cloud cover. This can be comfortably physically explained (at least for the most part) by solar activity warming the atmosphere and encouraging clouds to rise. So ‘low’ clouds become ‘medium’ clouds.

    This also explains why most of the cloud cover change is in fact BEFORE cosmic rays, but after solar activity. If cosmic rays were causing most of the change, you’d expect them to change before the clouds.

    More study is needed, but the evidence so far seems to suggest the effect is not very important in recent climate changes.

    (references: papers by Sloan, Erlykin and Wolfendale plus personal correspondence with Wolfendale)

  97. It seems some didn`t want the experiment to take place.

    Sir John Mason, formerly of UK Meteorological Office, what a pompous git.
    B.J. Mason (1957) The Physics of Clouds Oxford University Press,

    [video src="http://s446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/?action=view&current=cosmicrays.mp4" /]

    Cosmic ray, solar cycles and lake sediments, Dr Tim Patterson, Aug 2007.

  98. “”””” Mike Mangan says:
    December 17, 2010 at 11:26 am
    I would like to hear Dr. Svalgaard’s latest opinion on the Svensmark hypothesis. “””””

    Well I would let Leif give Dr Svalgaard’s latest opinion on the Svensmark Hypothesis; BUT, I do recall the gist of one of the cautions that he raised ages ago. To whit :
    Even if one accepts the premise that Cosmic Rays can nucleate cloud formation (Leif didn’t say he accepted that; or verse vicea for that matter), what he did say was there is a question of WHAT RATE of cloud formation could that possibly explain; given that global CRs fluxes are quite well documented.

    So it’s the Brazillian butterfly thing. If your flush toilet eventually feeds the SF and Monterey Bays; and you flush twice in quick succession; what effect will that have on the surf conditions for next week’s Kona Surfing Contest ??

    For me personally; the Wilson Cloud Chamber demonstrates that high energy charged particles CAN nucleate water droplets in saturated water vapor atmospheres. And then, I take Leif’s caution VERY SERIOUSLY ! OK, so it works; but is it significant ??

    And for the record; at this point I have no idea if it is a significant effect; I DO believe it is an effect. And I thought that Leif (and Dr Svalgaard too), put his opinion clearly where one could understand it; so I’m not surprised he is not apparently in a rush to elaborate here. We DO have to do some of our own thinking.

    But I think it is great that one of the great labs of the world is actually doing some serious Physics, on an interesting question.

  99. Dave Springer says:
    December 17, 2010 at 9:02 am
    Carla says:
    December 17, 2010 at 7:08 am

    “Where did all those pesky GCR come from in the isotope record? Could it be in the cloudy galactic atmosphere around us?”

    All cosmic rays originate outside the solar system and generally correlate with stellar density in that region of the galaxy. More stars per cubic light year mean more supernovas and other highly energetic sources of cosmic rays.
    ~

    Thanks then you should find this interesting. Picture that supernova and expanding shell. An outer shell called S1 and an inner shell called S2. We used to live in the S1 shell (outer ring) and now very possibly are entering the flow of the S2 shell (inner ring).
    But the distribution of the interstellar clouds, cloudletts, and mini clouds (thin bands) along the way are important also in the GCR distribution contribution.

    “””The Solar Journey: Time-Variability in the Solar Galactic Environment and Consequences”””
    Frisch, Priscilla C.
    American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #216, #210.01
    05/2010
    Abstract
    The nearby galactic environment of the Sun is dominated by the low density magnetized interstellar material (ISM) in the Local Bubble void. The Sun has recently entered a flow of ISM originating from the direction of the Loop I superbubble, which may related to the Loop I superbubble itself. The physical properties of the cloud forming the outer boundary conditions of the heliosphere have changed several times during the past 100,000 years. Interstellar ionization, density, and magnetic field all affect the heliosphere response to interstellar material, as well as the flux of galactic cosmic rays at the Earth. Galactic cosmic rays at the Earth are traced by the geologic records for 10Be and 14C. Are we able to identify the properties of the clouds previously encountered by the Sun well enough to match the geologic radio isotope records with astronomical transitions? How well can we identify the next cloud the Sun encounters, in the less than 3700 years? The answer to these questions will be discussed. This research is supported by NASA.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010AAS…21621001F

  100. As a further note on the Svensmark effect (if it is relevent); an aspect that has interested me, is that the local magnetic fields (of earth and sun) are known to affect the trajectories of at least some charged particles arriving at earth (maybe solar particles rather that CRs), which can affect where such particles get steered to on earth. And since the solar field (apparently) reverses each 11 year half period of a full solar magnetic cycle, while earth’s field does not; then one might expect a 22 year cyclic variation in the surface distribution of such partilces on the earth upper atmosphere (troposphere). And to the extent that such particles can nucleate droplet formation; then one might expect that a distribution shift could affect how much cloud is formed, since the atmospheric water content varies from tropics to polar regions.

    Steven Wilde proposes (I think) a latitudinal shift in cloud formation. I’m not tweaked in on his theory; but he has mentioned that. A CR distribution shift could take part in such a shift.

  101. George E. Smith says:
    December 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm
    ……………..
    One shouldn’t get too excited about the CRs because flux is so low. Neutron count is only about 120-130/sec (presumably per cm2), while each cm3 of the atmosphere probably contains millions if not billions of H2O molecules.

  102. “”””” Rob R says:
    December 17, 2010 at 12:23 am
    George E Smith

    What we can do is measure the “earthshine” reflected from the income sunlight incident on the Earth to the Moon and back to see if there is any trend in the albedo of the Earth. This is being done and has been used as a proxy for cloud cover. The warmists positively hate this approach because it supplies actual numbers and they tend to vilify researchers like Phil Goode by the usual methods. “””””

    Rob, I’ve seen so many references to this “earthshine” PROXY.

    Some thoughts:-

    Earthshine contains many components. One component of earthshine would be the blue skewed scattered sunlight caused by the Raleigh Scattering in the earth clear air atmosphere. Seat of the pants, that component should have the same radiance as the day time clear air sky radiance. Neither one of those has anything to do with clouds.
    Earthshine should contain a blue depleted (near) Solar Spectrum signal amounting to about 2-3% of ground level (air mass 1-2) solar irradiance due to Fresnel reflection from the ocean surface. That component should vary negatively (in some way) with cloud cover; more clouds; less ocean reflection.
    Earthshine should contain a component proportional to surface level sunlight spectrally modified according to terrain spectral reflectances (including ice and snow); and again also negatively cloud related, since more clouds less solid surface reflection.
    The solid reflectance-cloud relationship and the ocean surface-cloud relationship are not the same functions.
    Well then there is an actual cloud scattering signal to earthshine; that is solar spectrum related; but spectrally modified also since the scattering is wavelength related; and also incidently cloud thickness and water content related.
    Earthshine will also contain a whole host of LWIR components, some of which will be cloud cover related.

    If this doesn’t sound like a mess to you; I would love to see what your apartment looks like.

    Now last time I checked, the sun never illuminates more than slightly in excessof 1/2 of the earth surface. If my memory serves me, the atmospheric refraction of sunlight at the horizon amounts to about 34.5 minutes of arc; no I dunno why I remember that number; but it means that when the sun’s disc is sitting right on the horizon (oceanic), the entire sun is actually below the geometric straight line horizon , since the sun is about 1/2 degree angular diameter.
    It has not been observed that clouds form ONLY on the sunlit side of the earth; so at all times half of the clouds are not being observed at all.
    Astronomical observations show that the moon moves around the earth, so at any point in time, the earth-sun line forms some angle with the earth moon line. OK; one can measure “earthshine” by observing some lunar area that lies on or near the earth-moon line; so near normal observation of perhaps oblique illumination.

    I have no knowledge of the state of knowledge of the spectral angular distribution of the reflectance of the lunar surface; and in particular at that near suface n0ormal location.

    Well the L&S of it is that I don’t place a lot of faith in “earthshine” as a reliable proxy for around the clock around the globe continuous monitoring of earth cloud cover; and in particular I don’t consider it a proxy for the total ground level solar radiation that reaches the non atmospheric surface of the planet.

  103. William says:
    December 17, 2010 at 2:58 am

    The paleo climatic record shows cycles of warming followed by abrupt cooling which requires an explanation. (Cosmogenic isotopes changes correlate with the cycle so the question is not if but how the sun causes what is observed.) Livingston and Penn’s observations provides support for the assertion that the solar tachocline has been interrupted.

    The isotope proxy records show us there is a regular modulation to solar output that will agree will the GCR record if we measured it far enough back. It will also agree with the sunspot record but that does not mean the GCR’s affect cloud cover, there is still a way to go before that can be claimed. The GCR theory even if proved will still have large holes in it not unlike using the sunspot record to totally explain climate variation. There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration (PDO,NAO etc) that may also be tune with solar output. SC19 is a good example where we saw record high sunspot activity but the world temperatures were already starting a big decline down to 1970.

    L&P do not offer a mechanism to explain their observations, so we should not try to speculate….especially when other data shows that their observations are spurious.

  104. Anyone still ‘out there’ in comments, I have a question.

    What do any of you think of (documentation-wise that I could research) on that HAARP thingie up in Alaska, and…….while I’m thinkin’ of it……..the ‘seeding of clouds’ with contrails???

    Inquiring Minds Want to Know, of course………

    continually a-musing……(hahaha… at least, here’s hoping I am!)

    C.L. Thorpe

  105. If anyone is still ‘out there’ in Comments, I have a question.

    What do you think of (documentation-wise that I could research) that HAARP thingie up in Alaska, and…….while I’m thinkin’ of it……..the ‘seeding of clouds’ with contrails-issue? I’d just like ‘Scientific Thought’ on these issues.

    Relentlessly Inquiring Minds…continually a-musing, rather than annoying……hopefully.

    C.L. Thorpe

  106. Hopefully, some Scientist is still ‘out there’ in these Comments, ’cause I have two questions I’d like answers to…

    Where can I go to do research about that ‘HAARP thingie’ up in Alaska? I’d specifically like to know if it’s connected to the ‘Smart Grid’, too… And…while I’m at it and you’ve got a moment… Do you know where I could start reading about ‘seeding of clouds’??? specifically, the contrails-issue?

    Relentlessly Inquiring Minds…continually a-musing, rather than annoying…

    Cynthia Thorpe

  107. “There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration (PDO,NAO etc) that may also be tune with solar output. SC19 is a good example where we saw record high sunspot activity but the world temperatures were already starting a big decline down to 1970.”

    High solar activity partially offset by negative ocean cycles tucking the extra solar input to the oceans away instead of releasing it to the air ?

    From mid 70s onwards the oceans changed to their positive (warming mode) so through active solar cycles 21, 22 and 23 the air warmed.

    Ocean heat content continued to rise despite the strong run of warm El Ninos because the jets and their cloudbands went poleward to allow more solar energy into the oceans than was being lost by the El Ninos.

    Note that the important feature as regards solar shortwave input to the oceans is not the tiny change in TSI but instead the amount of cloudcover over the receiving oceanic areas hence the importance of latitudinally shifting cloudcover and the associated changes in total global albedo.

  108. “Steven Wilde proposes (I think) a latitudinal shift in cloud formation. I’m not tweaked in on his theory; but he has mentioned that. A CR distribution shift could take part in such a shift.”

    Cosmic ray quantities would most likely just be a proxy for solar variability and need not have any effect at all but in view of the popularity of the Svensmark proposal I don’t feel inclined to discount it.

    However I would judge the Svensmark effect to be very small in relation to the albedo effects that could result from latitudinally shifting the cloudbands and thereby changing both reflectance and cloud quantities along lengthened or shortened air mass boundaries.

  109. The last graph of this post is pretty strong evidence that cosmic rays can not have been a major culprit in having caused the recent global warming of the past 3-4 decades, since they show no sign of a trend.

  110. From WUWT topic, “”Voyager1 – so far out, there’s no solar wind anymore””

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/14/voyager1-so-far-out-theres-no-solar-wind-anymore/#comment-550583

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm
    Carla says:
    December 16, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    The Frisch team is suggesting that 2 km/sec difference would create a substantial differnce in the pressure gradient.

    I don’t think they really mean that. Show us.
    ~
    Time-variability in the Interstellar Boundary Conditions
    of the Heliosphere over the past 60,000 years:
    Impact of the Solar Journey on the Galactic Cosmic Ray Flux
    at Earth
    Priscilla C. Frisch · Hans-Reinhard Mueller
    21 Oct 2010
    Received: date / Accepted: date
    Abstract During the solar journey through galactic space, variations in the physical
    properties of the surrounding interstellar material (ISM) modify the heliosphere and
    modulate the flux of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) at the surface of the Earth, with
    consequences for the cosmogenic radionuclides at Earth. The diverse ram pressures
    and ionization levels of ISM possible in the low density solar environment generate
    dramatically different possible heliosphere configurations, with a wide range of particle
    fluxes of interstellar neutrals and their secondary products, as well as GCR arriving at
    Earth. However, simple models of the distribution and densities of ISM in the downwind
    direction give cloud transition timescales that can be directly compared with
    cosmogenic radionuclide geologic records. Both the interstellar data and cosmogenic
    radionuclide data are consistent with cloud transitions within the past 10,000 years
    and 20,000–30,000 years ago, although the many assumptions about the ISM that are
    made in arriving at these numbers indicate that the uncertainties are quite large.
    1 Introduction
    ..The sensitivity of the heliosphere configuration to the total interstellar pressure, including
    the dynamic ram pressure and magnetic pressure (Holzer 1989) indicate that the global
    heliosphere is a weather vane for the circumheliospheric ISM (CISM). Sufficient data
    on interstellar absorption lines are now available that the general characteristics of
    the circumheliosphere ISM can be reconstructed for the past  100, 000 years (Section
    2), providing a basis for evaluating the ISM-modified heliosphere (Section 3), and
    comparing these historical variations with the geologic radio-isotope record (Section
    4). Any scenario connecting features in the geomagnetic record with interstellar cloud
    encounters will necessarily include assumptions about the ISM, as well as an incomplete
    understanding of galactic cosmic ray (GCR) modulation for variable heliosphere
    configurations. Our conclusions below linking cloud transitions to discontinuities in the
    geologic radioisotope record are subject to these uncertainties..

    2.1 Dynamics, Structure, and Interstellar Magnetic Field in contemporary ISM
    ..The CLIC (Cluster of Local Interstellar Clouds) is a decelerating flow of ISM. ISM kinematics towards nearby stars show the galactic environment of the Sun changes rapidly. From upwind to downwind, interstellar velocities in the solar inertial system (”heliocentric”, HC) are –28.4 km s−1
    towards 36 Oph, 26.3 km s−1 in the inner heliosphere, and 23.4 km s−1 towards χ1
    Ori. If all other cloud parameters are the same, there is a 50% difference in the ram
    pressures of these clouds, which alone leads to a significant distortion of the heliosphere.
    Using VHC for nearby clouds in Table 1, variations in the interstellar ram pressure on
    the heliosphere may be a factor of 4.2 over the past 105 years..

    I do think that they are trying to say that Leif.
    Now I will try to finish reading this one and keep a pencil handy, “I brought my pencil.” Van Halen.

  111. Just wanted to follow up on a previous comment about the potential for liquid fuel production from biosynthetic organisms.

    Just a few months ago this patent was issued for a genetically modified cyanobacteria that produces liquid fuel (certain alkanes) directly from sunlight, water, and CO2.

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=joule.ASNM.&OS=AN/joule&RS=AN/joule

    This patent was filed in April 2010 and was granted in September 2010 which is in my experience (I participated in the generation of 300 granted patents) is lightning fast approval which usually means it was recognized as important to US interests.

    The company who owns it is headquartered in Boston (a hotbed for biosynthetic R&D):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joule_Unlimited

    Interestingly they built a pilot plant this year with $30M in private funding which the company claims will be producing 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre in 2011. The interesting part for me is that pilot plant happens to be in my neighborhood (about 10 miles away) on a 5-acre tract in the city of Leander, TX. I live in the Leander school district. The plant is in close proximity to the Leander wastewater processing plant and it uses gray water from that plant for its process. The location was chosen because of its proximity to very nutrient rich water and 248 days per year of clear sky subtropical sunlight. Treatment plant wastewater is high in phosphorus which is bad for dumping into lakes and rivers because it encourages cynabacteria blooms that can choke fish and cause other problems. It’s ideal if you’re actually wanting to grow blue-green algae.

    Joule goes on to claim that their process can supply the US with ALL its transportation fuel from an area the size of the Texas panhandle. Cool stuff.

  112. Bart Verheggen says:
    December 18, 2010 at 2:44 am

    The last graph of this post is pretty strong evidence that cosmic rays can not have been a major culprit in having caused the recent global warming of the past 3-4 decades, since they show no sign of a trend.

    Maybe. Maybe not. The peaks appear wider than the valleys, so maybe if you integrate it, you will see an average increase in slope. And, should not the effect be cumulative? I’m just speculating, but mainly pointing out that surface impressions can be misleading.

  113. vukcevic says:
    December 18, 2010 at 6:52 am
    Anthony, here is an up to date neutron count graph:

    REPLY: Got a raw data source for that? – Anthony
    ~

    http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu/

    Scroll down the left collumn, find real time cosmic ray stations. Links provide access to preliminary archived data, as well as..

    Ooops sorry for the interuptzzzz

  114. Why does the ‘low cloud cover’ (blue line) in the graph end in 2002? Do we have our own ‘hide the decline’?

    Ferdinand Engelbeen asks : “Any idea what caused the 1998 sharp drop in low cloud cover (influence of the 1998 El Niño?)?“. No, but from memory didn’t the IPCC use something like that to to dismiss Svensmark’s theory in IPCC Report AR4?

  115. This was the abstract from the presentation given at the AGU, there is a little bit more here than the Nature blog…

    Aerosol nucleation measurements from the CLOUD experiment at CERN

    Globally, a significant source of cloud condensation nuclei is thought to originate from the nucleation of trace sulphuric acid vapour (H2SO4). Despite an extensive research effort, questions remain about the nucleation mechanism and the influence of cosmic rays. Here we present the first results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN. We find that cosmic ray ionisation substantially increases the nucleation rate of sulphuric acid particles. For mid-tropospheric temperatures, typical atmospheric concentrations of H2SO4 and H2O are sufficient for nucleation to take place via the ion-induced binary mechanism. However, for boundary-layer temperatures, even in the presence of ions, the concentrations of H2SO4 required for nucleation are well above atmospheric values, indicating that additional compounds must be participating in the boundary layer. Our measurements of the growing sulphuric acid clusters reveal that they are stabilised by the stepwise accretion of nitrogen-containing molecules: ammonia, amines or urea. This N-stabilisation mechanism may help explain seemingly conflicting laboratory experiments and atmospheric observations. Our results constitute quantitative measurements of purely-neutral and ion-induced nucleation of sulphuric acid particles. Furthermore, in the CLOUD experiment, chemical composition of the growing clusters and the nucleation mechanism at the molecular level is revealed.

  116. Sorry … but the graph shows the opposite of what the theory states. The graph shows when there is a negative decrease (ie. an increase) in cosmic rays then there is a decrease in cloud cover … unless I’m reading it wrong.

    The theory states that an increase in cosmic rays (at a time of low solar activity) leads to an increase in cloud cover.

    I suspect they just screwed up the axis of the graph, but honestly, if you ae trying to overturn a juggernaut like AGW you can’t make schoolboy errors on graphs.

Comments are closed.