Not content with just stirring the pot in particle physics, CERN has embarked on an experiment aimed at addressing whether or not comic rays from deep space might be seeding clouds in Earth's atmosphere, influencing climate change. The early findings are far from deciding the issue of whether climate change is man made or otherwise, but they have borne some interesting results. It turns out that cosmic rays could be influencing temperatures on Earth. Perhaps even more groundbreaking, it turns out they also might not. Welcome to climate science.
The notion is this: Cosmic rays that we know are bombarding our planet from the far reaches of space are pelting the atmosphere with protons, and those protons can ionize some compounds that in turn condense into aerosols, basically droplets in the atmosphere. Clouds might in turn build around those droplets, and those clouds shield the Earth, reducing temperatures.
But our dosing of cosmic rays is dependent on the sun. When the sun is emitting lots of radiation during high points in the solar cycle, its magnetic field shields us from some of those cosmic rays. An active sun spells fewer rays spells fewer clouds, and hence warming temperatures on Earth.
So, are cosmic rays (or the lack thereof) to blame for our current spate of rising temperatures? Of course/not/maybe.
The experiment at CERN is fabricating the upper atmosphere in the lab by trapping ultra-pure air and things like water vapor, ozone, ammonia, and sulphur dioxide in a chamber. They are then bombarding that air with protons from the same generator that supplies the Large Hadron Collider. Preliminary results show that these faux cosmic rays indeed have an effect on the atmosphere: When high energy protons stream in, production of nanometer-sized particles in the atmosphere increases by more than ten times.
Case closed. But not really. Those particles that are forming are far too small to actually seed a cloud. So while CERN has proven that cosmic rays are definitely influencing the upper atmosphere, the connection between warming and cosmic rays is far from firmly established.
Naturally, different scientists are reaching different conclusions, but all seem to think this experiment is a worthwhile idea, even if it basically asks more questions than it answers. So, just to recap, the whole climate change argument has not been put to rest. Maybe I should've noted that at the beginning of the post.
I realize popsci is science for the layman; however, I'm not sure "comic" rays referred to in the second line of the story, exist. And I'm holding firm on this one, I've done the math.
Cosmic rays or cosmic amounts of industrialism, this planet's life sustaining abilities will not last indefinitely. You can either look for a piece of mind and 'go green' or you can simply live your life the way you have and will.
Our only salvation lies ultimately in God's will; immediately in our ability to realize that space colonization and escaping our solar system is the only logical conclusion for our longevity for the next few millions of years, let alone hundreds to thousands of years.
Exposure to "comic" rays is what gave Eddie Murphy his superpowers.
its always god this god that on this site...
Its ironic how when there are more cosmic rays, we are better shielded
probably saves all our lives on a regular basis...
I think you mean Robert Townsend. Wait that was "Meteor Man." Are you talking about "Pluto Nash?"
Actually it's the magnetic field and heliopause of the sun that protects us from most cosmic rays and the Earth's magnetic field that protects us from both cosmic and solar rays. Doesn't stop the fact that climate change is real.
BTW, enter the juvenile like angst with mention of the 'g' word. I got no problem with atheism but if you're the kinda person that gets angry at the mention of a greater cosmic intelligence than what exist on the surface you might want to check with a psychiastrist, or fall out of public society. This is right on the same lines as getting miffed at the mention of certain ethnic groups.
All you gotta say is, "That's not my style," and roll with it. Flaring up everytime someone mentions god (or any gods or goddesses) is textbook to a clinical case of "Hot Beef."
Whatever your issue with God (whatever your god might be) go work it out with him or the clergy that represent it. Otherwise just stop commenting on that. Scientists do believe in a god. Science is our academic path to godly understanding. If you were a student/proponent of one of the greatest scientific minds of our civilization (Albert Einstein) you wouldn't dispute any mention.
Rub your ears, "Woosah" a bit, take a time out, a juice box and some cracker snacks, and come back when you have something else more constructive to say other than complaining about the mention of God or why something logical sounds ridiculous to you. If you can't do that, you can always try to stop your 2 ton vehicle from 40mph with your feet. No one gives a f$*#.
This the best our scientific journals can do?
"Organic chemical vapours may have a previously unimagined cooling effect on global climate." - Josh Howgego
That was another opening statement from the Royal Society.
The experiment at CERN confirms an earlier experiment that had previously tested cosmic rays in cloud formations in the SKY Experiment at the Danish National Space Science Center. Those conclusions were published in a book called,'The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change,' by Svensmark and Calder.
That discovery was 4 years ago in 2007.
Those results, coupled with these new results, CONFIRM cosmic ray ionization do in fact increase cloud formation during periods of low sunspot activity.
To suggest cosmic rays 'may' or 'possible' or 'likely' misleads others in the scientific process.
The IPCC had previously stated that cloud feedback is temperature based, as a result of rising Co2. The IPCC did not include positive feedbacks from lower TSI and increases in CGRS in any of their GCMS.
The scientific process has been established and confirmed now from two sources.
To deny this fact only confirms that what was considered a 'settled science' is now firmly up in the air.
@Climate for all: this isn't a scientific journal, though. it's blog, and a summery.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
@-my name here- :
The RSC is a scientific journal.
The quote I referenced is from that journal.
If you had 'read' what I wrote, you would have noticed that my question was in regards to that journal, and I only associated this article from POPSCI with it.
As to the learning from the 'mistake of others,' I could not disagree with you more.
Having watched the whole of the CAGW community live in a bubble, oblivious to their own mistakes and refusing the facts surrounding them, you should direct that assumption at them.
That response makes reading comments all the more entertaining.
Bravo! (not sarcasm, promise)
Scientist have proven we humans are polluting our atmosphere with all sorts of chemicals and gases. CO2 being depicted as a contributor to global warming and we humans are the cause of it. It’s also been proven we humans are reducing the ozone layer. Reduction of the ozone layer allows more ultra violet radiation to hit earth and is unhealthy for planets, animals and humans. We humans cause this and we influence it's continue behavior. Now if cosmic rays change our atmosphere I did not read from the above article what we humans can do about it. Perhaps one day a extreme solar flare may happen too and burn the earth to crisp. I like to see more science about the things we do control and how we can make earth a healthier and safer place. I guess studying cosmic rays is important, but I feel there are more relevant things to consider that we control.
"....Reduction of the ozone layer allows more ultra violet radiation to hit earth and is unhealthy for PLANTS, animals and humans...."
Here's an idea: Cosmic rays as an energy source.
Sure this stuff is harmful to life in many ways but so is nuclear radiation and we use nuclear energy to work power grids all across the globe.
It's a long shot but it's a possible source of power, and a possible missing link to our desire to journey across the stars. Harnessing solar energy can only do so much. Harnessing cosmic energy...now that's something a little heavier.
@BubbaGump - Actually, the Ozone layer is healing. Try to stay current:
@sickness, healing based up a short period of time. I am not ready to through a party just yet. The ozone at the poles also varies each year with different atmospheric changes; there are a great many variables in play.
Poor poor BubbaGump....
This is exactly whats so wrong with the current scientific community.
There is not a single skeptic that deny's that chemicals, i.e. mercury, arsenic, soot and other pollutants made by man are harmful.
It's assuming that Co2 is.
Even in the technical papers of the IPCC, they suggest that their theory of a warming planet, based on Co2 climate models is but an assumption.
They don't state it is a scientific fact.
All you have to do is read the reports yourself.
It says so. Don't take my word for it.
@climateForAll, I can very easily be wrong about the CO2 causing climate change. Fine. But if the earth is blasted by cosmic rays, there is nothing you and I can do about it. My point was to focus on the the polution we are dumping in our earth that we control and effect our lives. Yes we humans do this and we do have a controlling effect on how we dump into earth. " Poor poor yourself.... " you miss the point of my comment.
@climateForAll, ".... I like to see more science about the things we do control and how we can make earth a healthier and safer place....." You do remember reading this sentence right?
Yes cosmic rays can have an effect on earth, this is common sense.
We are traveling through space that no other human has. Our galactic orbit is about 280 million years. For all we know extinction periods happen when we travel through parts of space with high concentration of gamma, x-rays etc.
You may be tempted to think that we are just in orbit around our sun, traveling the same path every year..no, our sun is orbiting around the center of our galaxy (the black sun, or black hole), and we orbit the sun, so if you can picture the path of earth in your head, we are really just twirling through space, never in the same place twice.
@ Pheonix1012 I completely agree with you! Although somewhere in Genisis it does say it is our duty to take care of the earth, and while many dont believe CO2 is causing global warming, there are hundreds of other problems that are equally as bad or worse ( deforestation, resource depletion, our overconsumptious, or however you spell that, society and hippies.
please continue to write 3 page long philisophical discussions no one reads on my account
For this science should be our tool to living better more advanced lives that helps to preserve this planet's ecosystem. BubbaGump does have a point about hearing about stories that take 'green option' technology to the next level. There are ways we can keep living the way we do only with less damaging technologies and industrial methods. The biggest problem with people is succeptibility to change.
Most Americans would rather drive that large freighter of a gas-guzzling pickup truck (more often for the sake of appearances than actual use) or that mothership of a classic luxury or sports car than drive a small box-lunch of a car that gets better gas mileage cuts back on emissions and/or is a hybrid electric.
When it comes to energy we always need more of it because we rely so much on our automated digitized technology that burning coal and nuclear reaction will dominate the energy game until cold fusion comes along, because wind farms, solar energy, and bloom boxes just won't cut it.
These mindsets and the general lack of scientific interest in the greater global population is what holds back the usage of these advancements to preserve the Earth as we should.
If science is the knowledge and wisdom of God (and I'm speaking academically bjorn so don't you dare pipe up!!) then the masses are simply ignoring his wisdom in blissful ignorance. In an old testament world, this mindset would certainly lead to doom, and it can for us if we don't try to preserve our habitat with the knowledge and application scientists and engineers are trying to thrust in our faces.
I thought I told you to go suck on a juice box and take a time out. Stop complaining! It's pre-pubescent.
Solar Wind, Coronal Mass Ejections and Cosmic Rays are mostly hydrogen or hydrogen ions. The Earth’s atmosphere is about 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. If a lot of hydrogen or hydrogen ions reach the atmosphere, it will likely react with the oxygen and produce water.
There were some recent solar flares with large coronal mass ejections. How much mass was ejected? Where does this material go? Does it fall back to the Sun? Does it achieve orbit in the Solar System? Is it captured by the planets? Does it leave the Solar System?
What would happen if the Earth’s orbit passed through a cloud of Hydrogen?
@Tony_Who, Sometimes when I drink to many Coronas and I feel the Cosmic Rays churning about, I compile a mass ejection of solar wind. What happens if my solar wind passes a cloud of hydrogen, my guess, I create my own BIG BANG in the Solar System!
Sometimes you have to change your l'attitude,
but not so much that you have to change your shorts.
An average CME is about 1.6 x 10^12 kg of mostly hydrogen (from Wikipedia).
This is enough hydrogen to make 14.4 x 10^12 kg of water if enough oxygen is supplied (18 kg of water per 2 kg of hydrogen). This is about 14.4 cubic kilometers, or 3.45 cubic miles of water. That is enough water for about 1.3 inches of rain across the entire state of California.