Michael Asher has given us an overview of the current state of the solar output hypothesis as prime factor in determining global climate. These quoted experiments on the subject of cosmic ray as a causation agent for cloud cover will certainly be challenged by the global warming believers. The actual experimental work is as limited as that done on the CO2 hypothesis. In other words, they are profoundly suggestive but not necessarily decisive.
Much more important is the well established and direct correlation between sunspot activity as proxy for solar magnetic activity and climatic variation. It had been dismissed because the actual apparent magnitude of the radiation change was simply far too small to be significant.
However, the idea that the magnetic release of a storm of cosmic rays inducing excess cloud cover works wonderfully.
Of course, the weather that we have experienced during the past two years must then be reinterpreted, perhaps as an anomalous and perhaps rare heat shift into northern latitudes that then left the
Whatever happened, this winter is a complete revisit of the worst winters of forty years ago. And if we are relying on solar radiation to kick in and change this apparent situation, then we have at least a couple of years to wait once sun spot activity resumes.
As I have already posted, this summer will be very telling on how we understand this phenomena. Of course, predictions of yet another little ice age are somewhat premature. But is would be remarkable if it turns out that this solar cosmic ray mechanism is a major driver in climate variation, nicely taking ocean current changes, pollution and CO2 back out of contention.
At least the effect range is insufficient to be the causation of a real Ice Age.
Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age
Michael Asher (Blog) - February 9, 2008 11:53 AM
A typical sunspot compared to the size of the earth. Sunspots have all but vanished in recent years.
Henrik Svensmark explains the SKY experimentGlobal Cooling comes back in a big way
Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago -- and it signaled a solar event known as a "Maunder Minimum," along with the start of what we now call the "Little Ice Age."
Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for
During the Little Ice Age, global temperatures dropped sharply. New York Harbor froze hard enough to allow people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, and in Britain, people reported sighting eskimos paddling canoes off the coast. Glaciers in
But will it happen again?
In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the
I believe that the Russians are relying on a long data cycle that is able to partially resolve the forty(?) year temperature cycle better that any data we have. Or perhaps they have a better theory that makes them braver! They have certainly been justifiably strong in their opinions.
Observational data seems to support the claims -- or doesn't contradict it, at least. According to data from
Researcher Dr. Timothy Patterson, director of the
Such research dates back to 1991, when the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study showing that world temperatures over the past several centuries correlated very closely with solar cycles. A 2004 study by the Max Planck Institute found a similar correlation, but concluded the timing was only coincidental, as the solar variance seemed too small to explain temperature changes.
I reasonably assume that these studies were done with tree rings, and in
However, researchers at DMI continued to work, eventually discovering what they believe to be the link. The key factor isn't changes in solar output, but rather changes in the sun's magnetosphere A stronger field shields the earth more from cosmic rays, which act as "seeds" for cloud formation. The result is less cloud cover, and a warming planet. When the field weakens, clouds increases, reflecting more light back to space, and the earth cools off.
Recently, lead researcher Henrik Svensmark was able to experimentally verify the link between cosmic rays and cloud formation, in a cloud chamber experiment called "SKY" at the
Even NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies -- long the nation's most ardent champion of anthropogenic global warming -- is getting in on the act. Drew Shindell, a researcher at GISS, says there are some "interesting relationships we don't fully understand" between solar activity and climate.