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The Cloud

March 15, 2013

The Cloud experiment at CERN has given greater credibility to the hypothesis, possibly first scientifically established in 1801 by William Herschel, that the sun affects the climate. Herschel linked sunspots with the price of wheat. He demonstrated that more sunspots resulted in lower prices for wheat, while fewer sunspots resulted in higher prices.

Around 1875, William Jevons relooked at the price of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas and rye, and established that prices for these commodities varied in accordance with an 11-year sunspot cycle.

More dramatic evidence was provided by another astronomer, Walter Maunder, who at the age of 70, in 1922, linked the lack of sunspots between 1645 and 1715, to the bitter cold of that period. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Dr. Jack Eddy focused attention on Maunder’s work, that the significance of the Maunder Minimum became understood.

Earlier sunspot records, and those identified by Maunder, established the link between sunspots and the Little Ice Age, and periods of higher and lower temperatures1.

While this became accepted theory, the actual linkage between sunspots and climate had not been established. In 1997, Henrik Svensmark and Friis-Christensen published a paper, “Variation of Cosmic Ray Flux and Global Cloud Coverage – a Missing Link in Solar-Climate relationships”, proposing that sunspots could eject magnetic particles, a solar wind, that would affect the earth’s magnetic field and modulate the number of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

The more sunspots, the stronger the sun’s magnetic field and the more that cosmic rays would be deflected from the earth. Fewer sunspots, such as during the Maunder Minimum, resulted in a weaker magnetic field and more cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

Svensmark suggested that cosmic rays could affect low level cloud formation, with more cosmic rays creating more low level clouds. He proposed that an increase in low level cloud coverage would result in lower temperatures as they acted like a shade over the earth, while also reflecting more sunlight away from the earth’s surface.

Cosmic rays in red and cloud cover in blue. From Shaviv presentation.

Cosmic rays in red and cloud cover in blue. From Shaviv presentation.

This graph shows the correlation, and near perfect fit, between the number of cosmic rays reaching the earth, in red, and the cloud cover, in blue.

The major controversy surrounding Svensmark’s hypothesis was whether cosmic rays could induce cloud formation.

In 2007, Svensmark conducted a laboratory experiment that seemed to confirm that cosmic rays could induce cloud formation.

The debate then resulted in the Cloud experiment at CERN, Europe’s premiere research center.

The Cloud experiment proved, with little doubt, that cosmic rays can induce cloud formation.

Professor Nil Shaviv, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, explains all of this, plus the results of computer projections using the effects of low level clouds on temperatures, in a 37 minute presentation. The presentation is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QtnueIJGjc

His computer projections, using the effects of low level clouds  and the same economic scenarios used by the IPCC in their computer projections, resulted in temperature projections below those of the IPCC’s, for nearly the complete range of economic scenarios.

Temperature predictions from IPCC (range in red) and cloud cover hypothesis (range in green) From Shaviv presentation.

Temperature predictions from IPCC (range in red) and cloud cover hypothesis (range in green) From Shaviv presentation.

The green arrows depict the range of Shaviv’s computer projections, while the red arrows depict the range of the IPCC’s projections.

Svensmark’s hypothesis establishes, with reasonable certainty, that CO2 is not the major cause of climate change and global warming  … It’s the sun.

The presentation by Shaviv goes into greater depth, and is worth watching in order to gain a fuller understanding of the issue.

This scientific evidence makes it clear the EPA should revisit its endangerment finding, stop trying to cut CO2 emissions, and allow market forces determine which energy source to use for power generation and transportation.

Notes:

  1. The source of historical information is The Sun Kings, by Stuart Clark.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Neil Jones permalink
    March 15, 2013 1:04 pm

    Remarkable! Sun spots. Who woulda thought? Maybe Al Gore’s theory will soon descend into a place where the sun don’t shine.

    Neil

  2. March 15, 2013 3:03 pm

    Neil:
    Thanks. Interesting observation.

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