No, A New Study Does Not Show Cosmic-Rays Are Connected To Global Warming
The way some of the media report on climate change can be simply stunning. For example, an opinion piece in The Financial Post has the headline "New, convincing evidence indicates global warming is caused by cosmic rays and the sun — not humans".
There’s only one problem: that’s completely wrong. In reality the study shows nothing of the sort. The evidence, as far as the limitations of the experiment go (that’s important, see below), do not show any effect of cosmic rays on global warming, and say nothing at all about the effect humans are having on the environment.
In practice, the actual connection between cosmic rays and cloud formation is really hard to determine. So a group of scientists at the European particle lab CERN decided to test the basics. They created a cloud chamber, bombarded it with cosmic rays, and examined the results. They found two very interesting things:
1) The number of aerosols created went up vastly as the particles blasted the chamber. That would seem to indicate that cosmic rays really are tied to global warming. Except…
2) The actual total number of aerosols created was way below what’s needed to account for cloud formation. Sure, there were more aerosols, but not nearly enough.
In fact, in the abstract of the paper itself, the authors state:
However, even with the large enhancements in rate due to ammonia and ions, atmospheric concentrations of ammonia and sulphuric acid [i.e. aerosols] are insufficient to account for observed boundary-layer nucleation.
Let me be clear: there may yet turn out to be a connection between cosmic rays and cloud formation. Perhaps cosmic rays are the first step in a many-step process that enhances aerosols via different methods, making enough to trigger clouds. It’s possible, and since they created a lot of aerosols in their rig it’s worth pursuing.
However, this study shows that under the conditions of the experiment, the effect of cosmic rays by themselves is too low to trigger cloud formation at the rates actually seen in our atmosphere. What is very clear is that any claims at this time that cosmic rays definitely affect global warming are baloney. As the authors of the experiment say, this is a good first step but there’s a long way to go to understand this problem, and as the website PhysOrg reiterates, “Though this most recent experiment doesn’t really answer the question of whether cosmic rays are having an impact on our weather, it does open the door to more research.”
August 25, 2011
Sixth Investigation Clears "Climategate" Scientists Of Falsifying Data
Is this sort of investigative scrutiny even precedented? How many investigations will it take before people realize that “Climategate” was a case of radical Climate Skeptics publishing e-mails about subjects which they have only a superficial, layman’s understanding of? Essentially extrapolating their ignorance into conclusions of wrongdoing?
The five previous investigations were conducted independently by:
House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
Science Assessment Panel
Pennsylvania State University
UEA-Commissioned Independent Climate Change E-mail Review
National Science Foundation
August 21, 2011
Someone reblogged my post about Rick Perry’s claim of “the money-making research hoax” that is climate science, frustrated that the media overplays the consensus. Put another way, they think that there are are large numbers of “nonbelievers” in the climate science community that aren’t getting heard.
Right before I hopped into my climate scientist buddy’s Ferrari on our way out to a coke-and-Cristal-fueled evening debating the latest climate publications over rare vintage jars of Soviet-era caviar and tender baby bluefin tuna sashimi (all served on gold platters delivered on the backs of scantily-clad models)*, I found this neat website:
If you take 4,000 climate science publications, all peer-reviewed, over the last 178 years, and classify them as “skeptical”, “neutral” or “pro-manmade-global-warming”, you get the above picture. Go ahead, play with it yourself, and you can even see how it trends over time and pick out the papers from each year.
I’d say the consensus on either neutral effects or in support of man-made global warming is pretty strong. If you turned that graphic into 100 scientists, less than 5 of them would be “climate skeptics”. That’s consensus.
*You gotta spend that climate science hoax $ somehow, amiright?
August 20, 2011
"When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science - Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position….I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a - a party that - that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula."
— Jon Huntsman, Republican Presidential Candidate
August 17, 2011
Rick Perry: Climate Change Is A Hoax Drummed Up By Scientists Looking To Make Money
How do you engage in climate debate with people who think it’s acceptable to lie with such enormous testicular fortitude? I mean, the set of brass balls on Gov. Perry’s lies here would sink the Titanic under their own weight.
August 9, 2011
People Under 35 Have Never Seen Normal Global Temperatures
When you compare today’s climate to data from 1850-1940, when the climate was “normal” and fluctuated up and down around a steady baseline, a troubling discovery pops up. The last time that the global average temperature was below the “normal” was in 1976.
So if you’re younger than 35, a warming Earth is your new normal. Temperatures go up and down across the globe year by year.
But when you extend the data out to 30-100 years, you can start to smooth out those fluctuations and see more gradual trends (the image at the top). That’s what the “normal” temperature seeks to describe.
I suggest you check out Grumbine’s full post to learn what these “normals” mean, how they are calculated and why these recent temperatures are significant.
EDIT: The y-axis in the top graph represents a measure called “degree-months” which is a way to quantify the accumulation of temperature change over time when compared with the “normal” baseline.