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Global Warming Science isn’t Settled

June 17, 2016

Ever since the 2011 CLOUD experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), alarmists have tried to denigrate the results, claiming it’s a myth that cosmic rays can affect global warming. Some alarmists web sites, such as Skeptical Science, have made this claim.

In fact, the CLOUD experiments could drastically alter the entire global warming and climate change debate, which is why the alarmists’ have so vehemently attacked the concept that cosmic rays could affect cloud cover and global warming.

Cloud Chamber for CLOUD Experiment at CERN. Photo courtesy of CERN

Cloud Chamber for CLOUD Experiment at CERN. Photo courtesy of CERN

In the late 1990s, Danish scientists proposed that the sun could affect the number of cosmic rays entering the Earth’s atmosphere, and that cosmic rays could affect cloud cover and temperatures.

Mr. Jasper Kirkby, a CERN scientist, told the scientific press in 1998, “The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century.”

That’s a powerful concept, that cosmic rays could account for half, and possibly all of the temperature rise over the past century.

Mr. Kirkby, after considerable resistance from alarmists in government, finally persuaded the CERN establishment to conduct the CLOUD, for “Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets” experiment.

The initial reports from the 2011 CLOUD experiment established that cosmic rays entering the atmosphere could create clouds.

But recent reports concerning the 2014 experiments have gone much further, and established two important findings.

First, the new report shows that a combination of cosmic rays from space and gases emitted by trees can create clouds, without the need for man-made pollution. Earlier, it was thought that man-made pollution was important for cloud formation.

This affects all the computer projections that have been made about temperature rise.

Low-level cloud cover affects temperatures by casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface and by reflecting sunlight back into space.

More low-level cloud cover results in lower temperatures. Less cloud cover results in higher temperatures.

The IPCC computer models made assumptions about the extent of cloud cover prior to the industrial revolution, assuming there were fewer clouds because there was less pollution.

The end result is that greenhouse gases aren’t having as great an effect on temperature rise as originally believed: “Ton for ton, they may not be quite as potent in producing future warming.”

This means the models have been overstating future temperature rise.

The second result of the CLOUD experiment shows that cosmic rays may have a greater effect on cloud formation than initially thought: “Ions produced in the atmosphere by galactic cosmic rays are found to enhance the formation, [i.e., multiply] the rate of these particles [needed for cloud formation] significantly.”

The CERN website says the extent of these findings are unknown, and infers they may be slight, but it’s an irrefutable fact that the science isn’t settled.

The end result of the latest CLOUD experiments show: (1) That the models used by the IPCC to predict future temperatures are overstating temperature rise to some extent, and (2) That cosmic rays have a greater effect on low-level cloud formation than previously thought.

This provides increasingly strong evidence that atmospheric CO2 is not the primary cause of global warming, and that the sun, by its effect on the number of cosmic rays entering the Earth’s atmosphere, is more likely to be the primary cause of global warming and climate change.

It’s clear the science is not settled, and there is strong evidence that science is proving that atmospheric CO2 is not the cause of climate change.

* * * * * *

Nothing to Fear explains why CO2 isn’t to be feared. Chapter 15, An Alternative Hypothesis, describes Dr. Svensmark’s hypothesis on cosmic rays.

Nothing to Fear is available from Amazon and some independent book sellers.

Link to Amazon:

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

Book Cover, Nothing to Fear

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. donb permalink
    June 17, 2016 11:39 am

    So-called cosmic rays are not electromagnetic radiation, but high-energy (average energy 3 giga-volts), ionized particles, mostly hydrogen nuclei (protons). That magnetic fields associated with the solar cycle changes the flux of these particles in the inner solar system and in Earth’s atmosphere has been know for much longer than the 1990s. When these charged particles enter the atmosphere, they create additional ions. Such ions attract, and thus build nuclei for further condensation. This is established science. The ultimate purpose of the CERN experiment was to determine whether cloud aerosols could be readily formed. The conclusion of that study was optimistic, but suggested more research.

    I agree with Donn that this factor could be important. And known solar cycles longer-term than 22-years may also produce significant variations in cloud density.

    • June 17, 2016 1:34 pm

      Thanks for your comments. It’s a very interesting concept that’s been formulated by Dr. Svensmark, that seems to get more and more validation.

  2. Don Shaw permalink
    June 18, 2016 11:57 am

    Great article
    It is clear that the science is not settled, but that does not suit the agenda of the progressives which has nothing to do with Science.

    • June 18, 2016 12:12 pm

      That’s very true. The comments I get from Facebook are almost unbelievable, unless one recognizes that the people making the comments don’t know the science, but have merely bought into the CO2 religion.

  3. June 23, 2016 1:01 am

    These results are also supported by results of air sampling over a year at the Swiss JFJ (Jungfraujoch), 3580 m Research facility, reported in one of the latest Science Magazine editions (vol.352, p. 1109 – 1112), titled cryptically as: “New particle formation in the free troposphere: A question of chemistry and timing”. I say ‘cryptically’, as the scientists, Dr. Bianchi et al., probably don’t want to disturb the myth about manmade globul warming.
    The article actually report all the interesting data, but in a way, that you hardly understand the meaning of the results. The only give-away (to people unfamiliar with deep meteorological science), is one of the final sentences, stating: “In short, chemistry and timing play the main roles. To properly represent nucleation in the free troposphere, future atmospheric models should take these factors into consideration.”

    Even the front of Science, v. no 352, issue 6289, boasts the JFJ facility and clouds, With the Words: “The birth of clouds: How New particles form in the free troposphere”.
    The Cosmos is not mentioned With a Word….

  4. September 23, 2016 8:37 pm

    While it’s interesting that experiments provide some support for small pieces of the hypothesized chain of events that involve magnetic control of cloudiness and therefore a role for solar fluctuations far beyond the normal radiative role you would expect from the sun. The scientific world hasn’t rallied around this theory for normal reasons in science (lack of supporting evidence and difficulty explaining evidence that runs directly against this), though I understand this group appears to be in the conspiracy camp so will tend to discount normal scientific reasoning and processes.

    That said, conspiracy theories aside, the conventional problems here are easy to see: (a) the full physical chain of effects isn’t demonstrated, (b) what data we have on cloudiness and temperature doesn’t correlate well with solar fluctuations, even when looking for regional or lagged correlations. So there is no strong supporting reason to rally around the theory given how well supported and observed other physical influences on the climate are (other than “I like this theory better!” – which is great for those taking political approaches, but not the normal approach in science.)


    Krissanen-Totton and Davies 2013: “Investigation of cosmic ray–cloud connections using MISR”
    “Our long-term analysis of MISR data finds no statistically significant correlations between cosmic rays and global albedo or globally averaged cloud height, and no evidence for any regional or lagged correlations”

    Benestad 2013: “Are there persistent physical atmospheric responses to galactic cosmic rays?”
    “A set of Monte Carlo simulations nevertheless indicated that the weak amplitude of the global mean temperature response associated with galactic cosmic rays (GCR) could easily be due to chance (p-value = 0.6), and there has been no trend in the GCR. Hence, there is little empirical evidence that links GCR to the recent global warming.”

    etc. The IPCC reviewed the available evidence in the last assessment report and concluded “No robust association between changes in cosmic rays and cloudiness has been identified”. But again there are obviously lots of conspiracy theories about IPCC and science so I realize conventional scientific evidence and method may not be considered ‘admissable’ to those commenting here.

    • September 24, 2016 10:47 am

      Thank you for your excellent comments.
      There is no question that there is conflicting or at least ambiguous evidence, that cosmic rays are affecting global temperatures.
      The same can be said about the CO2 hypothesis. My book Nothing to Fear, examines historic evidence that CO2 is not the cause of global warming. There is additional evidence in this regard. Even the IPCC computer models vastly overstate the effect of CO2 on temperatures.
      The new 2nd edition of “Evidence-based Climate Science,” is due to be available Sept 30, 2016, and it has additional information on the effects of cosmic rays. I mention this, because it is an example of evidence that counters the examples you cite.
      Contrary to you comment, I believe that there is strong linkage between sun spots and temperatures. The Maunder Minimum a case in point, though there are studies that have shown linkage graphically.
      For me, the question boils done to whether we destroy our standard of living to cut CO2 emissions 80%, the amount cited by the UN as having to be cut to stop disastrous consequences of global warming, or do we allow science, real science, guide our actions.
      The evidence in favor of the CO2 hypothesis is very weak, while the evidence that the sun is the cause of global warming grows consistently stronger.
      Destroying my grand children’s future because of an hypothesis that hasn’t been proven, and where the IPCC evidence, in the form of computer programs, have actually undermined the CO2 hypothesis, is wrong … and why I provide factual information on energy issues.

      • September 24, 2016 1:44 pm

        “The same can be said about the CO2 hypothesis”

        With respect Donn, the support in physics and the direct observational evidence supporting the existence of the greenhouse effect and the general understanding of the scale of that effect is of completely different character than that for the GCR hypothesis. The greenhouse effect is directly observed. The spectral changes in outgoing longwave radiation that result from a change in atmospheric chemistry are near-exactly predicted. The support for the two hypotheses is just not remotely comparable, at least by any conventional and rational measure.

        The idea that “the CO2 hypothesis” (really an entire body of understanding about the greenhouse effect, radiative effects and earth’s energy budget) is based solely on “IPCC computer programs” is so wrong on so many levels it’s frustratingly difficult to understand how you think you could possibly be in a position to stand in judgement of all this when statements like this make you seem completely unfamiliar with the relevant science, theory and evidence.

        I am painfully familiar with the AGW rejection point of view, I’ve followed it for a couple of decades now and was introduced to it by family members. My issue with the AGW rejectionist movement is relatively pedestrian – the claims which uphold the viewpoint just do not hold up under scrutiny. They are not factually true, or they involve severe misunderstanding of theory.

        “historic evidence that CO2 is not the cause of global warming”

        Probably “temperatures change before CO2” types of common misunderstanding, am I correct? Paleoclimate understanding is one of the major bodies of evidence that support mainstream theory.

        “Even the IPCC computer models vastly overstate the effect of CO2 on temperatures”

        This is a great example of the genre of non-expert claims about the state of climate science. I am sure you know you cannot support this claim with anything rigorous or reproducible, like a published assessment of model performance. This is a claim made on internet blogs and by (with respect) non-experts selling books.

        As of the last review in IPCC AR5, even addressing the “pause”: “Over the 62-year period 1951–2012, observed and CMIP5 ensemble-mean trends agree to within 0.02°C per decade (Box 9.2 Figure 1c; CMIP5 ensemble-mean trend 0.13°C per decade). There is hence very high confidence that the CMIP5 models show long-term GMST trends consistent with observations, despite the disagreement over the most recent 15-year period”

        To repeat: “within 0.02°C per decade”. This is “vastly overstate” in your view? *Honestly*?

        Here is how temperatures have performed against the CMIP3 models used in earlier IPCC reports:

        The only answer the anti-AGW blogs and non-publishing authors have to all this is made-up charts that do various apple-to-orange comparisons to make projections look bad. It’s an easy thing to do with so many variables, and takes critical questioning and skepticism to unravel. Most people lack both the time and the background to do so, is all.

        Published reviews of models say completely different things than what you assert. “models have skillfully simulated many large-scale aspects of observed climate changes, including but not limited to the evolution of the global mean surface air temperature in the 20th century” (Raisanen 2007), “coupled models have been steadily improving over time and that the best models are converging toward a level of accuracy that is similar to observation-based analyses of the atmosphere” (Reichler and Kim 2008), “global temperature continues to increase in good agreement with the best estimates of the IPCC” (Rahmstorf et al 2012), “the claim that climate models systematically overestimate the response to radiative forcing from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations therefore seems to be unfounded” (Marotzke and Forster 2015) etc.

        “The Maunder Minimum a case in point, though there are studies that have shown linkage graphically”

        I’m aware that there is a huge genre of solar numerology, with people tweaking charts and scales to line things up and claim mysterious (perhaps lagged) correlation for which there is no physical mechanism. This widespread armchair speculation about solar behaviors is not participating in normal scientific publication and is not held in high regard by actual solar scientists, I expect you are aware (in any case, there is no excuse not to be aware of this.)

        There is not even a strong *global* ‘Little Ice Age’ event in proxy reconstructions (as Pages 2K concluded) to support the ‘Maunder Minimum must always dominate’ claim. We already *had* depressed solar cycles in the past decade and what happened? Strong continuing warming in ocean and on the surface.

        Jones et al 2011, “What influence will future solar activity changes over the 21st century have on projected global near-surface temperature changes?”
        “Even in the event of the Sun entering a new Maunder Minimum like activity state the climate response is very small compared to the projected warming due to anthropogenic influences”

        Click to access 2011JD017013.pdf

        Gray et al 2009, “Solar Influences on Climate”
        “Despite these uncertainties in solar radiative forcing, they are nevertheless much smaller than the estimated radiative forcing due to anthropogenic changes, and the predicted SC‐related surface temperature change is small relative to anthropogenic changes.”

        Click to access 2009RG000282.pdf


        Donn, do you think you can answer why the El Nino in 2016 hit global peaks about 0.4°C warmer than the El Nino in 1998, when by all ENSO measures they were nearly idenitcally sized El Nino events? All this while solar levels have been depressed relative to 20th century levels? Why the continuous heat accumulation in the ocean? Conventional science has completely reasonable answers to all this. Why throw them away?

        You cannot explain any of this. You imagine global cooling is coming, but is it fair to suspect you have been predicting this for a long time without success? Do you want to put money behind your beliefs? I am willing to bet as highly as you wish – and give favorable odds – on bets that coming years will see global temps higher than the average over the past 20 (or 18) years for a given type of ENSO year.

        Do you feel strongly enough about your views and the evidence which supports them to place such bets? Or you only feel strongly enough to sell books that make the claim?

        “Destroying my grand children’s future”

        The threats to our grand children’s future couldn’t be clearer. We had a full 25% mortality of the Great Barrier Reef just this year from ocean warming, on top of huge ongoing declines in global coral cover over the past 40 years. Giant treasures of the world disappearing, with enormous associated economic impact, and that’s before damage really starts to mount from rising sea levels and storm surge. No one knows the future, but you are rather casually condemning our grand children to what the global scientific community says are enormous risks to the stability and prosperity of the world as we know it. Attempting to invert things and take the moral position when you *factually* cannot support your alternative beliefs about the world is not a defensible position.

    • Truthocracy permalink
      May 30, 2022 6:45 am

      Dr. Svensmark’s work is now published in Nature’s Scientific Report (2021) and is now part of the literature.

      There’s an interview of Dr. Svensmark talking about the extreme difficulties they encountered while a reviewer was examining their work and couldn’t replicate their results for almost 2 years!

      Then he admitted of having misused the data provided by Dr. Svensmark even though he was constantly receiving guidance as to how to use and apply it.

      I have been studying the climate for more than a decade now and it is now my firm belief that the whole ordeal is 99.99% political than scientific.

  5. September 24, 2016 2:40 pm

    Geoffmprice: I was happy to enter into a discussion with you on the science of global warming, but it’s clear you take an extreme view and try to discredit everything I have said.
    The Maunder Minimum is well stablished science. There has been an established link between the Maunder and Dalton Minimums with temperatures on earth.
    With respect to the models not being able to predict actual temperatures, I refer to Dr Christy, University of Huntsville Alabama, whose charts, presented to Congress, have shown that actual temperatures are far below those predicted by the IPCC computer models.
    Temperatures have been rising steadily since the end of the Little Ice Age, so it’s not surprising that current temperatures may be among the highest on record, no matter which El Nino you wish to look at.
    I take affront at your saying I am condemning my grandchildren to huge risks. I would never do that.
    Everything in my book, Nothing to Fear, is factually correct.
    You can’t cite one statement that is not factually correct.
    In fact, I defy you to find one statement that is not factually correct.
    I will leave it to the average person to decide what to do about the so-called climate threat, in which you seem to want to condemn millions, if not billions, to energy poverty and a low standard of living.

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