Important new research on climate change....
We blogged earlier this week a report from the Daily Telegraph on climate change....they actually missed the real story from Denmark.
This key research, long in gestation, and embargoed until October 4, appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A (October 3). Here is the press release:
"'Do electrons help to make the clouds?'
By H. Svensmark, J.O.P. Pedersen, et al. (doi:10.1098/rspa.2006.1773)*
Using a box of air in a Copenhagen lab, physicists trace the growth of clusters of molecules of the kind that build cloud condensation nuclei. These are specks of sulphuric acid on which cloud droplets form. High-energy particles driven through the laboratory ceiling by exploded stars far away in the Galaxy - the cosmic rays - liberate electrons in the air, which help the molecular clusters to form much faster than atmospheric scientists have predicted. That may explain the link proposed by members of the Danish team, between cosmic rays, cloudiness and climate change."
And here is the link to the report from the Danish National Space Center: 'Getting closer to the cosmic connection to climate' (October 4).
One especially eminent science writer has already declared: "The implications for climate physics, solar-terrestrial physics and terrestrial-galactic physics are pretty gob-smacking....."
I say, watch this space. Slowly, but surely, this revelation could well open a can of wormholes in climate-change science.
The reason is simple. The experiment ties in beautifully with the brilliant work of geochemist, Professor Ján Veizer of the Ruhr University at Bochum, Germany, and the University of Ottawa in Canada, and Dr. Nir Shaviv, an astrophysicist at the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who for some time have been implicating cosmic rays and water vapour, rather than carbon dioxide, as the main drivers of climate change. Indeed, they have put down 75% of climate change to these drivers.
Cosmic rays are known to boost cloud formation - and, in turn, reduce temperatures on Earth - by creating ions that cause water droplets to condense. Ján Veizer and Nir Shaviv calculated temperature changes at the Earth's surface by studying oxygen isotopes trapped in rocks formed by ancient marine fossils. They then compared these with variations in cosmic-ray activity, determined by looking at how cosmic rays have affected iron isotopes in meteorites.
Their results suggest that temperature fluctuations over the past 550 million years are more likely to relate to cosmic-ray activity than to CO2. By contrast, they found no correlation between temperature variation and the changing patterns of CO2 in the atmosphere.
But the mechanism remained far from understood.....until now. For it seems that the Danish team may well have discovered that mechanism.