Nature has a review on its front cover (subs req, of course) that pretty well says forget solar forcing for explaining current climate change (“brightening of the Sun is unlikely to have had a significant influence on global warming since the seventeenth century”; not to be outdone, Science refers to a Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. peice saying much the same). But inside we have Climate change: A cosmic connection about CLOUD, which is a CERN expt to try to find the elusive cosmic-ray cloud connection that much of the solar folk hope for by shooting particle beams through controlled air. This idea has been around quite a while – at least since the EGU was last at Nice, and probably before. But it looks like its finally been funded ($11 M for the first phase; not obviously a useful use of money).

The problem with the cosmic-ray connections stuff is twofold: they keep changing their minds about how it is supposed to work (high clouds? total? low? where… etc In a 2004 article published in Eos, Paul Damon… and Peter Laut… discussed several examples of what they called “unacceptable handling of observational data” by Svensmark and Friis-Christensen which exaggerated the correlation. Among several flaws, including arithmetical errors, they noted that the cloud data that had been used originally did not represent total global cloud cover, and that when the correct data were used the correlation broke down. Svensmark began to use a different measure of cloudiness, justifying this by arguing that the new measure made more sense than the original one as something that the cosmic rays might be influencing.) and the mechanism is quite unclear (well in many cases there is no mechanism: its just correlations. But many cloud folk seem to think there is no chance of cosmic rays making the required changes to clouds). This expt presumably might shed some light on the mechanism, errr, or maybe it won’t.

Yet more evidence that people challenging the dominant paradigm of GW can’t get funding :-)


  1. #1 Eli Rabett

    If you gotta gun you gotta use it

    [That was quick. But indeed… as Nature sez, “It is not a completely neutral attempt — Kirkby gives talks that put a strong emphasis on the cosmic-ray interpretation of climate history, and Svensmark is a member of the CERN team” -W]

  2. #2 llewelly

    If you gotta gun you gotta use it

    This gun will likely make their feet hurt.

  3. #3 TCO

    It’s a great use of money. We need more experimental work. Too much goofy Mannian statistics.

  4. #4 Hank Roberts

    I wonder what’s correlated here. The reports are of a magnetic field anomaly east of Australia, reportedly associated with a cosmic ray anomaly, and a cloudiness anomaly. Looking at the gravity satellite mapping (same one reporting mass loss in Greenland) there also seems to be a gravity anomaly at about the same location, which I haven’t heard talked about in this regard. I’ll hunt up the links, too nice a day to say indoors right now though. The climate may be going to hell, but you can still have a nice day.

  5. #5 Hank Roberts

    Head in a Cloud covered the cosmic ray report a bit; I asked them there about the gravitational anomaly.

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