Svensmark's cosmic ray theory of clouds and global warming looks to be confirmed

Note: Between flaccid climate sensitivity, ENSO driving “the pause”, and now this, it looks like the upcoming IPCC AR5 report will be obsolete the day it is released.

From a Technical University of Denmark press release comes what looks to be a significant confirmation of Svensmark’s theory of temperature modulation on Earth by cosmic ray interactions. The process is that when there are more cosmic rays, they help create more microscopic cloud nuclei, which in turn form more clouds, which reflect more solar radiation back into space, making Earth cooler than what it normally might be. Conversely, less cosmic rays mean less cloud cover and a warmer planet as indicated here.  The sun’s magnetic field is said to deflect cosmic rays when its solar magnetic dynamo is more active, and right around the last solar max, we were at an 8000 year high, suggesting more deflected cosmic rays, and warmer temperatures. Now the sun has gone into a record slump, and there are predictions of cooler temperatures ahead This new and important paper is published in Physics Letters A. – Anthony

Danish experiment suggests unexpected magic by cosmic rays in cloud formation

Researchers in the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are hard on the trail of a previously unknown molecular process that helps commonplace clouds to form. Tests in a large and highly instrumented reaction chamber in Lyngby, called SKY2, demonstrate that an existing chemical theory is misleading.

Back in 1996 Danish physicists suggested that cosmic rays, energetic particles from space, are important in the formation of clouds. Since then, experiments in Copenhagen and elsewhere have demonstrated that cosmic rays actually help small clusters of molecules to form. But the cosmic-ray/cloud hypothesis seemed to run into a problem when numerical simulations of the prevailing chemical theory pointed to a failure of growth.

Fortunately the chemical theory could also be tested experimentally, as was done with SKY2, the chamber of which holds 8 cubic metres of air and traces of other gases. One series of experiments confirmed the unfavourable prediction that the new clusters would fail to grow sufficiently to be influential for clouds. But another series of experiments, using ionizing rays, gave a very different result, as can be seen in the accompanying figure.

The reactions going on in the air over our heads mostly involve commonplace molecules. During daylight hours, ultraviolet rays from the Sun encourage sulphur dioxide to react with ozone and water vapour to make sulphuric acid. The clusters of interest for cloud formation consist mainly of sulphuric acid and water molecules clumped together in very large numbers and they grow with the aid of other molecules.

Simulating what could happen in the atmosphere, the DTU’s SKY2 experiment shows molecular clusters (red dots) failing to grow enough to provide significant numbers of “cloud condensation nuclei” (CCN) of more than 50 nanometres in diameter. This is what existing theories predict. But when the air in the chamber is exposed to ionizing rays that simulate the effect of cosmic rays, the clusters (blue dots) grow much more vigorously to the sizes suitable for helping water droplets to form and make clouds. (A nanometre is a millionth of a millimetre.)

Atmospheric chemists have assumed that when the clusters have gathered up the day’s yield, they stop growing, and only a small fraction can become large enough to be meteorologically relevant. Yet in the SKY2 experiment, with natural cosmic rays and gamma-rays keeping the air in the chamber ionized, no such interruption occurs. This result suggests that another chemical process seems to be supplying the extra molecules needed to keep the clusters growing.

“The result boosts our theory that cosmic rays coming from the Galaxy are directly involved in the Earth’s weather and climate,” says Henrik Svensmark, lead author of the new report. “In experiments over many years, we have shown that ionizing rays help to form small molecular clusters. Critics have argued that the clusters cannot grow large enough to affect cloud formation significantly. But our current research, of which the reported SKY2 experiment forms just one part, contradicts their conventional view. Now we want to close in on the details of the unexpected chemistry occurring in the air, at the end of the long journey that brought the cosmic rays here from exploded stars.”

###

The new paper is:

Response of cloud condensation nuclei (>50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation” H. Svensmark, Martin B. Enghoff, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, Physics Letters A 377 (2013) 2343–2347.

In experiments where ultraviolet light produces aerosols from trace amounts of ozone, sulfur dioxide,and water vapor, the relative increase in aerosols produced by ionization by gamma sources is constant from nucleation to diameters larger than 50 nm, appropriate for cloud condensation nuclei. This resultcontradicts both ion-free control experiments and also theoretical models that predict a decline in the response at larger particle sizes. This unpredicted experimental finding points to a process not included in current theoretical models, possibly an ion-induced formation of sulfuric acid in small clusters.

FULL PAPER LINK PROVIDED IN THE PRESS RERLEASE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51188502/PLA22068.pdf (open access PDF)

LOCAL COPY: (for those having trouble with link above):  Svensmark_PLA22068 (PDF)

(h/t to “me” in WUWT Tips and Notes)

Added: an explanatory video from John Coleman –

And this documentary:

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David

So of course, it is the sun 🙂

MikeN

Yes that’s what this would mean. The sun keeps out cosmic rays.

David

sun(s)

Continuing the sterling reputation of Danish science in the tradition of Tycho, Steno & Bohr, redeeming the odium of Boiling Jim Hansen, possibly of Norwegian extraction.

steven

Can somebody say Nobel?

NeedleFactory

Can others open the “open access” pdf? I cannot.

Kurt in Switzerland

Waiting for Pierrehumbert and Gavin to get in their obligatory stabs.
But still hoping that curiosity will win over dogmatism.
Kurt in Switzerland

Dave Day

It is stuff like this that is why I love this site and return daily…….
I learn so much.
Many thanks Anthony,
Dave

The open access PDF seems to have an extra space embedded in the file extension. If you save it with a different extension and then back to .pdf it opens fine.

David

Absolutely, it was always going to be magnetic/gravitational modulation of cosmic rays together with solar activity.
Piers Corbyn isn’t looking so silly now is he?
Of course the warmists are going to attempt to blame the pause on this effect which may be difficult if the cloud cover records don’t match the temperature plateau.
REPLY: Piers looks silly because he makes grandiose forecast skill claims that are so vaguely written they can compete with Jeane Dixon style astrological forecast language, not because he believe is cosmic ray modulation – Anthony

GlynnMhor

Meanwhile, here in Canada ice cover is delaying supply shipments to northern communities:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/09/03/north-barge-delays.html

Sensorman

Needle – yes, it has an extra hyphen in the file extension, but just open it with Acrobat reader and it should be fine

Bill Parsons

The process is that when there are more cosmic rays, they help create more microscopic cloud nuclei, which in turn form more clouds, which reflect more solar radiation back into space, making Earth cooler than what it normally might be.

Does Svensmark suggest that the level of cosmic radiation is in flux – or that fluctuations in the sun’s energies cause variations in the earth’s magnetic shield?

Kurt in Switzerland

NeedleFactory:
Save file (already has a .pdf extension) — will go to your Downloads folder
Open Acrobat (probably helps if you have a recent version)
Open File (PLA22068.pdf)
Kurt in Switzerland

JimS

So let me get this straight: reduced solar radiation, means more cosmic radiation, which means more clouds? If so, then this would be a double whammy negative feedback system? I apologize for the non-scientific terminology used.

Londo

“Can others open the “open access” pdf? I cannot.
There is a minus (-) sign at the end of the file name. Just rename the file.

Corey S.

“the upcoming IPCC AR5 report will be obsolete the day it is released.”
I agree, but the ‘purveyors of all the is climate science’ will say that since it isn’t IN the report, that they will have to wait until the next one.
Everyone knows that the IPCC report is the top of the food chain for ‘true’ CC scientists./
The powers that be will find some way to exclude it, in the end. Just wait and see. Or, they will have some on their side write a paper that ‘refutes’ this one, giving them the cover they need.
It will be interesting to see this one play out.

mrsean2k

@Bill Parsons
Nigel Calder has a long-but-worth-reading post on the mechanism and some of the claimed effects it’s had on earth over geological timescales (over a year old, so likely some changes):
http://calderup.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/a-stellar-revision-of-the-story-of-life/

Interesting but still doesn’t explain the circulation changes between zonal and meridional jets with varying degrees of atmospheric ‘blocking’.

Bill Parsons

The process is that when there are more cosmic rays, they help create more microscopic cloud nuclei, which in turn form more clouds, which reflect more solar radiation back into space, making Earth cooler than what it normally might be.
Does Svensmark suggest that the level of cosmic radiation is in flux – or that fluctuations in the sun’s energies cause variations in the earth’s magnetic shield?

I could have read further before I posted. The sun’s role is explained below..

DirkH

JimS says:
September 4, 2013 at 9:38 am
“So let me get this straight: reduced solar radiation, means more cosmic radiation, which means more clouds? If so, then this would be a double whammy negative feedback system? I apologize for the non-scientific terminology used.”
Total Insolation does not change significantly. What changes significantly is only the magnetic field. So; “single whammy” – by modulating the albedo of Earth.

I have always believed that this was one of the many secondary effects associated with changing solar conditions.
That is a quiet sun allows more cosmic rays to enter earth’s atmosphere which in turn will promote more clouds colder temperatures.
The location of the Magnetic Pole, also has a bearing as to where the cosmic ray penetration will be greatest over the earth. The lower the latitude of the magnetic poles ,the lower will be the latitude of maximum cosmic ray penetration,. The lower the latitude of comic ray penetration the more moisture will be present, for the cosmic rays to work with.

M Courtney

So this raises a question:
Is this the Nobel Prize for Chemistry or Physics?

steven:
At September 4, 2013 at 9:29 am you ask

Can somebody say Nobel?

Elevation of the Svensmark Hypothesis to be the Svensmark Theory would open up entire new fields of climate physics. That elevation requires that the experimental observation can be understood theoretically.
So, Henrik definitely would deserve a Nobel Prize for physics if he can evince the required theoretical understanding of his experimental observation.
I think we should be prepared to start a pro-Nobel campaign for Henrik when he completes his study.
Richard

Ursus Augustus

An interesting speculation is that the cloud albedo effect is non uniform and say more effective over the Pacific and drives the ENSO cycles and hey presto… a powerfull compound mechanism. But that’s just me here in Oz getting excited that we are about to boot out a loony warmist government and elect one with a leader who once expressed the opinion ( as we are often reminded) that global warming alarmism was “just crap”.

Brad

Where’s Leif and his “the sun doesn’t vary enough”?
REPLY: Leif talks about TSI not varying enough, and he’s right. Magnetic field is a whole different animal – Anthony

Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state)

Leif?

Sorry but this was all settled already. Time to move on from these scientific and experimental distractions and get on with the work of total global domination, err, I mean tackling man-made climate change.

pokerguy

So, this would seem to lend support to the apparent relationship between sun spot minima and maxima and warming and cooling in the historical climate record , such as the MWP and the LIA?
If so, where’ Leif to shoot it down?

Matt

Followed this story a long time ago, and when looking back to recall how these Scientists around Svensmark were treated by the community it must be a perfect day for them now. AGW storytelling will drag on for a whie and then silently disappear.
This could be a nobel prize, i would shoot for physics.
Rgds from Germany
Matt

Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state)

Who would want a Nobel prize…..Gore and Obama have one, they have been tainted and ruined. Remember the risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting. I heard that again today, is it a broken record? The world is in chaos, just wait until the temp. drops the next 30 years. It’s going to get really ugly.

MinB

The most wonderful aspect of this was reading about an experiment, I didn’t detect the word ‘model’ once.

Sedron L

Wait. How did the climate science overlords let this paper get published??

Sedron L

MinB says:
The most wonderful aspect of this was reading about an experiment, I didn’t detect the word ‘model’ once.
All data is model-dependent. All of it.

MinB

Or I should say, the experimental results trumped the theoretical
models.

Sedron L

Also, Minb, let me direct your attention to the 11 uses of the word “simulation” in the paper, as in
“The red curve is a typical result of a numerical simulation of the experimental situation using a standard numerical aerosol model.”
They are directly comparing their results to model predictions.

Sedron L:
At September 4, 2013 at 10:11 am you say

All data is model-dependent. All of it.

It seems you have been spending too much time on the wrong parts of the web.
38-24-34 is not the only kind of data.
Richard

Reblogged this on The Next Grand Minimum and commented:
The connections between the Sun, Cosmic Rays and the cold climate associated with grand minimums is becoming much clearer.

MikeN

Shouldn’t this be the new sticky post?

Sedron L:
Your post at September 4, 2013 at 10:15 am says in total

Also, Minb, let me direct your attention to the 11 uses of the word “simulation” in the paper, as in
“The red curve is a typical result of a numerical simulation of the experimental situation using a standard numerical aerosol model.”
They are directly comparing their results to model predictions.

Allow me to rephrase that for clarity.
Comparison of the experimental results with model predictions indicates the models are wrong.
Richard

Crispin in Waterloo

I love to see new science confirming innovative theory.
Now that the mechanism has been demonstrated it should be straightforward to show it taking place in the atmosphere. Because the reaction rate is so high it will also be relatively easy to catch the molecular transformation sequence in snapshots.
Did CERN already know this but not report it, instead asking for 5 more years before drawing conclusions?
Hang in Svensmark, recognition is coming for this remarkable advancement in the understanding of cloud formation.

RockyRoad

Sedron L says:
September 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

MinB says:
The most wonderful aspect of this was reading about an experiment, I didn’t detect the word ‘model’ once.
All data is model-dependent. All of it.

No,–let me correct you, Sedron:
“All models are data-dependent (unless the modeler doesn’t like the results, then he is free to cogitate, speculate, and agitate until he fulfills his nefarious ideologically-driven agenda).”
You just had it backwards (and if you’re a “climate scientists” you don’t see the need for much data anyways)!
Nirvana must be great!
You don’t really believe you can generate “data” from models, do you?

Eric Ellison

Josh : Time to update your cartoon of the other day with yet another knob!

The paper has this to say “It is proposed that an ion-mechanism exists which provides a second significant pathway for making additional H2SO4, as a possible explanation of the present experimental findings”. They injected sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the chamber and managed to convert some of that [using UV-lamps] to sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and found that adding ions to the mix made that process more efficient. This does not seem to be much of a confirmation of a correlation that has not held up over time in the first place.

JDN

@Svensmark
You used electropolished stainless steel in the container. Did you do this to eliminate metal cluster contribution? Where is the control showing the container doesn’t contribute material to aerosol formation? How did you clean the chamber prior to the experiments so that adsorbed chemicals weren’t contributing? Can there be a contribution from your PTFE membrane?

CRS, DrPH

Anthony says (h/t to “me” in WUWT Tips and Notes)…
A guy shouldn’t have to tip his own hat to himself! I offer a generous hat-tip, thanks! I’ve long held that Svensmark was onto something, this is very good to learn about.
However, the CAGW crowd will now say, “OK, Svensmark is right, but when the sun picks up activity again, it will deflect cosmic radiation & the planet will grow hotter and hotter!” Count on it.
REPLY: that wasn’t me putting a tip comment in my own tip thread, that’s how the person signed the tip comment – Anthony

DesertYote

Sedron L says:
September 4, 2013 at 10:15 am
They are directly comparing their results to model predictions.
###
OH NOES, they are doing SCIENCE!
Dude, you need to learn how science works before making silly comment.
1. Make some observations.
2. Concoct a theory (model, e.g. G*m1*m2/r^2)
3. Collect data.
4. COMPARE data with MODEL.
5. Adjust model.
6 Rinse repeat.

Anthony, I am so glad to hear you say Magnetic Field is a whole different animal because it is, and do not forget the geo magnetic field also has to be taken into consideration. This can compound solar magnetic changes.
The ap index is the index we should be watching the most in my opinion going foward.

Sedron L

Comparison of the experimental results with model predictions indicates the models are wrong.
Svensmark et al are using model predictions to validate (or invalidate) their experimental findings.

Here comes Leif to the rescue.