Climate Physics 101

Climate change: news and comments

Sorry folks, cosmic rays really are in charge


On this blog and others, most comments about my previous post “Yet another trick of cosmic rays” have been friendly. Thank you. But some people still want to dismiss all the meticulous experimental, observational and theoretical work of Henrik Svensmark and his colleagues in the Danish National Space Institute by saying there is simply no link between cosmic rays and the climate.

Having written two books on the subject, and still engaged with it, I could in rebuttal flood this post with evidence of many kinds, on time scales from days to millennia or longer. I’ll content myself with just one pair of graphs spanning 50 years. They’re from a 2007 report by Svensmark and the Institute’s director, Eigil Friis-Christensen, and they’re based on a European Space Agency project called ISAC. The carbon dioxide boys and girls would die for a match of cause and effect of this quality.

Cosmic ray intensity is in red and upside down, so that 1991 was a minimum, not a maximum. Fewer cosmic rays mean a warmer world, and the cosmic rays vary with the solar cycle. The blue curve shows the global mean temperature of the mid-troposphere as measured with balloons and collated by the UK Met Office (HadAT2).

In the upper panel the temperatures roughly follow the solar cycle. The match is much better when well-known effects of other natural disturbances (El Niño, North Atlantic Oscillation, big volcanoes) are removed, together with an upward trend of 0.14 deg. C per decade. The trend may be partly due to man-made greenhouse gases, but the magnitude of their contribution is debatable.

From 2000 to 2011 mid-tropospheric temperatures have remained pretty level, like those of the surface, despite the continuing increase in the gases – in “flat” contradiction to the warming predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Meanwhile the Sun is lazy, cosmic ray counts are high and the oceans are cooling.


Svensmark, H. and Friis-Christensen, E., “Reply to Lockwood and Fröhlich The persistent role of the Sun in climate forcing”, Danish National Space Center Scientific Report 3/2007.


48 Responses to Climate Physics 101

  1. Max Beran says:

    It was interesting seeing the magnitude of the correlations between the variables. What you show is surely that cosmic ray flux “explains” 20% of the variance of the temperature anomaly (half of which is still present in the raw series). As the temperature anomaly is from a detrended and smoothed baseline this leaves untouched the space for arguing that CO2 is the factor determining the trend. AGW believers would presumably counter your point about CO2 dieing for such a close match that an important fraction of its cause effect chain passes through “low-pass” components of the Earth System that smooth out the peaks and dips that are the most impressive features of cosmic ray association. They would also probably argue that the removal of peaks and troughs of the temperature series removes events which do not have either a CO2 or a cosmic ray origin.

  2. Nige says:

    Since you’re a former New Scientist editor, what do you have to say to the people like Dr Helene Guldberg who was treated harshly by the New Scientist just for questioning their treatment of AGW in the “Global Environment Roadshow” over a decade ago. See her article, “Eco-evangelism: Beware the New Scientist’s UK Global Environment Roadshow – you’ll learn nothing but the art of guilt-trip.”

    She wrote: “Jeremy Webb, editor of the New Scientist, started by emphasising that human beings have ‘as much destructive potential’ as that which brought about former mass extinctions … First, global warming (we were given a weather forecast for 2050, with the UK in a mini Ice-Age, the east coast of the USA flooded, the west coast swamped by malaria-carrying mosquitoes, South America wreaked by forest fires, and so on) …

    “When I pointed out that none of the speakers had presented any of the scientific evidence that challenged their doomsday scenarios, Webb just threw back at me, ‘But why take the risk?’ What did he mean: ‘Why take the risk of living?’ You could equally say ‘Why take the risk of not experimenting? Why take the risk of not allowing optimum economic development?’ But had I been able to ask these questions, I suppose I would have been accused of being in bed with Dubya. … The experience was like attending a religious meeting – a mass confessional, in fact, where ‘we are all sinners’, but some of us sin more than others. … If this event had been organised by Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, I suppose I would not have got so agitated. But this kind of moralism dressed up as science – without any opportunity for rational debate – makes my blood boil.”

    This is the whole problem, a hubris created originally with good intentions by the popular science media, but which ends up turning political and losing sight of the science. Jerome Y. Lettvin wrote in “The Second Dark Ages, paper given at the UNESCO Symposium on “Culture and Science”, Paris, 6-10 September 1971 (reprinted in Robin Clarke, Notes for the Future, Thames and Hudson, London, 1975, pp. 141-50):

    “There are two distinct meanings to the word ‘science’. The first meaning is what physicists and mathematicians do. The second meaning is a magical art, about which the general public has superstition. … What is of harm is the blind faith in an imposed system that is implied. ‘Science says’ has replaced ‘scripture tells us’ but with no more critical reflection on the one than on the other. … reason is no more understandable this year than prayer a thousand years ago. Little Billy may become a scientist as earlier he might have turned priest, and know the sacred texts … The chromed apparatus is blessed by distant authority, the water thrice-filtered for purity, and he wears the white antiseptic gown … But the masses still move by faith. … I have fear of what science says, not the science that is hard-won knowledge but that other science, the faith imposed on people by a self-elected administering priesthood. … In the hands of an unscrupulous and power-grasping priesthood, this efficient tool, just as earlier … has become an instrument of bondage. … A metaphysics that ushered in the Dark Ages is again flourishing. … Natural sciences turned from description to a ruminative scholarship concerned with authority. …

    “But the immense ease with which the data can be shuffled by machine has seduced him. Model after model springs to mind before the huge ink-blot of correlation matrices. He must test them, cautiously, carefully. … On the superstition that reduction to number is the same as abstraction, it permits any arbitrary assemblage of data to be mined for relations that can then be named and reified in the same way as Fritz Mauthner once imagined that myths arise. … Our sales representatives, trained in your tribal taboos, will call on you shortly. You have no choice but to buy. For this is the new rationalism, the new messiah, the new Church, and the new Dark Ages come upon us.”

    • calderup says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Nige.
      New Scientist was a different magazine during my ten years as staff writer, science editor and editor. Nearly all the main articles were written by top experts, often with heavy (approved) editing to make them readable. Comment by editors and staff was limited to 10%, and the right to comment had to be earned by finding hard news.

  3. The observed electric fields in thunderclouds are generally too weak to initiate the atmosphere’s electrical breakdown. But cosmic rays can play a surprising role in the drama of lightning.
    A. V. Gurevich and K. P. Zybin

    Solar flares tigger earthquakes
    Jain, R., Physical Research Laboratory.
    Each of the 682 >4.0 earthquakes under study was preceded by a solar flare of GOES importance B to X class by 10-100 hrs.

    RISING volcano ash causes cooling clouding.
    Explosive volcanic eruptions triggered by cosmic rays
    Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, Hiroko Miyahara, Ryuho Kataoka, Tatsuhiko Sato, Yasuhiro Ishimine

    Lightning-rod NETS around Earth faults and volcanoes =
    anti-quake = anti-eruptive = anti-volcanic winter.

  4. adrianvance says:

    Cosmic rays are a bit of a stretch when the heating of the atmosphere can be much more easily explained. To nominate CO2 as controlling the atmosphere is ridiculous.

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition, 1/7th the absorber of IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 80 times as many molecules captures 560 times as much heat making 99.8% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.2% of it.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    The Two Minute Conservative at for political analysis, science and humor. Daily on Kindle.

    • Adrian, water vapor makes MILDER climate, not GLOBAL warming. H2O is as shock absorber, makes warmer nights / colder during the day – NOT global warming gas. Water vapor intercepts sunlight in upper atmosphere; where cooling is much more efficient. Then at night, it slows cooling – because the proportion in different of temp between the ground and upper atmosphere is less. Comparison of Brazil V Sahara will tell you the truth, as a big natural experiment. (H2O + CO2 are ”shade-cloth effect gases, not greenhouse effect)

      Blaming water vapor as bad for the climate is detrimental and misleading; especially for dry countries as Australia, Pakistan / Africa. Extra storm-water saved on land 1] improves the climate 2] prevents foods and droughts 3] increases density and mas of vegetation 4]decreases dry heat production – less dry heat to destroy the water vapor produced by the sea 5] extra water vapor increases the volume of glaciers and ice on the polar caps 6] with extra dry heat – ice can evaporate without turning into liquid first. 7] on the polar caps is enough coldness to produce 5km thick ice in one season – therefore the ice on the polar caps entirely depends on the availability of raw material to replenish the deficit of ice melted by the geothermal heat on lands and the salty currents below the ice. Adrian, guess what that raw material for replenishing the ice is! Because of propaganda you support; in Australia is illegal to build a new dam

      In Australia, government is repossessing farmer’s water – to drain it into the estuary = as it never rained. Farmer irrigates when is dry and hot – after that water evaporates, benefits the surrounding vegetation. Less farmers irrigating = less humidity in the air > evaporation increases on the surviving farms and in the surrounding forests and is preparing the for big bushfires. B] In Pakistan if there were dams – floods would have decreased – dams produce clean electricity and improve the climate. If the flood-water was into dams – Pakistan’s farmers irrigate in dry season > when water evaporates from the dam / farms – because of the planet spinning eastward > that moisture goes west – west of Pakistan is the Horn of Africa – where people and vegetation is mummified without water + bushfires without moisture on land. Adrian, that makes you a ”premeditated mass murderer” nothing personal, just naked facts. That was only very small example of the grotesque damages the misleading creates; you and anybody wants many, many more proofs; on my website

      • adrianvance says:

        Sorry, but you are ignoring the basic physics of the atmosphere. Water vapor is a gas and a very good absorber of the red side of the spectrum. It is the reason the sky is blue and the seas are too.

        Look at the absorption charts at the American Meteorological Society or NASA’s “On the Shoulder’s of Giants” web and you will see that all the other gases in air are transparent, non-absorbing of IR save the little bit by CO2 which is 1/7th the ababsorber

      • Hi Adrian, people in NASA, and the meteorologist involved in the climate debate – in a bus and direct to Alcatraz. I’m a theoretician, prefer to believe in Sahara and Brazil’s climates; than swindlers manipulating for more tax$$$.

        Adrian, the sunlight comes from the OTHER side of the dirty + H2O clouds. Mate, CO2 absorbs much more coldness at night than O+N, those two factors cancel each other!!! Reason CO2 is used for making dry ice. They are just about on everything back to front. H2O+CO2 are a shock absorber – create milder climate, NOT GLOBAL warming. Oxygen + nitrogen, by expanding INSTANTLY when get warmer / shrinking when cooled; are regulating the OVERALL temp to be same every day of every year and millenia. When one area gets warmer than normal; other areas MUST get colder than normal.

        If one part, or the whole troposphere get warmer than normal -> O+N expand there extra, upward -> release EXTRA heat into the stratosphere / intercept extra coldness in 3,5 seconds, if you will – that EXTRA coldness falls down in a jiffy and equalizes.

        But, if part gets colder than normal simultaneously -> air shrinks there = makes space for the extra volume of air, where is gone hotter = ice age / extra warming simultaneously, or just more extreme temp. My formulas and the laws of physics say: because of the processes I just explained; extra heat overall in the troposphere is NOT cumulative.

        Atom bomb explosion of millions of degrees heat is cooled in 6-7 minutes – by oxygen + nitrogen expanding for 3 minutes – then shrinking for 4 minutes. Those two gases don’t shrink, unless they are cooled. Mushroom goes into the stratosphere – intercepts EXTRA coldness; otherwise that coldness just zooms away unused. Saying that IS a GLOBAL warming, doesn’t make it for real.

        Same temp will be tomorrow as yesterday; today the sunlight will produce lots of heat + geothermal heat released + heat from burning fuel – all will be gone. For the last 150y, not enough EXTRA heat has accumulated, to boil one chicken egg. Thanks to the ”sensitivities” of O+N in change of temp. When people take on board what I say – they believe in the laws of physics – people that contradict me are contradicting those laws. Cheers!

  5. […] [update] Nigel Calder has a second blog post up to try and persuade some of the disbelievers. Climate-Physics-101 […]

  6. […] scientific research places at center stage the role of the sun, stars, and cosmic rays. Click here for […]

  7. Louis Hissink says:


    So, solar activity diminishes, cosmic rays increase and the system temperature drops. I assume the increase in cosmic rays is then due to a decrease in the geomagnetic field strength and/or a decrease if the Earth’s surgical electric field? This means a coupling between the geomagnetic field and the Sun, making the increase and decrease of cosmic rays an effect.

    Just musing.

    • calderup says:

      Changes in the Sun’s magnetic activity, Louis, admit or repel more coamic rays to the inner Solar System. The Earth’s field is relatively unimportant in this context.

      • Louis Hissink says:

        Ok, so it’s changes in the solar magnetic field that modulates the cosmic rays entering the solar system, rather than the earth per se. Thanks 🙂

      • Calder & Louise, when soon one day happens that is lots of activity on the sun; or gets flat – but the temp on the earth stays the same; will you be guys prepared to admit that: oxygen + nitrogen are regulating the temp; to be overall same?

        When the moon is between the sun / earth – lots of sunlight is reflected; but doesn’t get enough EXTRA coldness to cool ONE bottle of beer. When Venus, or Mercury is in-between; 5% of the sunlight is reflected for the whole day!!! Hypothetical: if there was no sun, earth would have being close to ultimate zero. If 5% of the sunlight is reflected… 5% from ultimate zero to +14C… during Mercury blocking the sun for a day – would have at least gone 15C colder! Instead, unless you are into astronomy, wouldn’t even know that mercury is partially blocking the sun / meteorologist don’t take it in consideration for predicting the next day’s temp. Because oxygen + nitrogen are 100% regulating the temp, by shrinking when colder / expanding INSTANTLY, when warmed.

        Solar / galactic influence is good horoscope entertainment, but has nothing to do with reality. Accuracy in teacup reading has improved by 30%, crystal balls are of inferior quality (made in China)… in the name of science, back to tarot cards – or, start using the laws of physics, will be the only alternative… Q: do oxygen+ nitrogen instantly expand when warmed / shrink when cooled, because they have nothing better to do; or they are doing it to prove that I’m correct?! Warmist + Skeptics are barking up the same wrong tree. Stop looking what is creating GLOBAL warming; when is no such a thing as GLOBAL warming. When some place gets warmer than normal – declaring it as GLOBAL; is same as saying: at lunch time, the planet is warmer by 12C, than before sunrise…?!

  8. Corlyss Drinkard says:

    How great to find Mr. Calder’s alive and blogging! I first read his books on the universe, the earth, and the mind back in the late 60s early 70s. They were so compelling that I have been a science junkie ever since. I owe him an enormous debt of thanks and use this fortuitous opportunity to tell him.

  9. Alex Harvey says:

    Dear Nigel,

    How is it that Svensmark et al. could produce a graph like this one showing a clear correlation between cosmic rays and climate whereas RealClimate manage to produce one showing the exact opposite?

    • calderup says:

      Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate says
      “We were clear in the 2006 post that establishing a significant GCR/cloud/climate link would require the following steps (given that we have known that ionisation plays a role in nucleation for decades). One would need to demonstrate:
      1 … that increased nucleation gives rise to increased numbers of (much larger) cloud condensation nuclei (CCN)
      2 … and that even in the presence of other CCN, ionisation
      changes can make a noticeable difference to total CCN
      3 … and even if there were more CCN, you would need to show that this actually changed cloud properties significantly,
      4 … and that given that change in cloud properties, you would need to show that it had a significant effect on radiative forcing.”

      Points 1 and 2 are addressed in my previous post, “Yet another trick …” and Point 3 is covered in the Svensmark, Bondo and Svensmark paper referenced there. Point 4 is dealt with e.g. by the Svensmark & Friis-Christensen figure in the present post.

      It really does all add up, Alex.


      • Alex Harvey says:

        Dear Nigel,

        I believe we should be open-minded enough to consider all possibilities.

        At the moment, you have presented one graph that presents prima facie evidence that cosmic rays are controlling the climate. RealClimate presented a graph that appears to show the opposite.

        I was really hoping you could say what RealClimate are getting wrong. Why should I believe your graph and not theirs?

      • Alex, H2O is exclusively controlling the climate. Big / small climatic changes are natural phenomena; GLOBAL warming is a phenomenal concocted mythology. Those two are not related. If northern polar cap is warmer than normal – there are REAL reasons for it. Usually is; change in speed of currents – that ice is seating on salty water. B] when ice decreases – water intercepts extra coldness without ice as insulator = self-adjusting.

        Unless one thinks that: Santa made extension to his toy factory = is producing extra CO2… Alex, the only thing that travels faster than the speed of light, is the human imagination; trust me, I’m one of the the most honest person on the planet. Less ice = colder. When the Norwegian explorer was going further north – it was colder there, not warmer. C] amount of polar caps ice depends entirely on the amount of raw material for renewal, not on temperature! Polar caps have enough coldness, to build.another 7km of ice on the top of the existing one, in ONE SEASON. The planet is not warmer, relax; have a glass of warm milk and go to sleep. Climate gets extreme, or gets milder; not warmer, or colder PLANET. In extreme, days are hotter – for IPCC that is WARMER planet; in that case nights are colder – but that doesn’t go into their books. WHY? If you have something stronger than milk, you will find the answer

  10. […] Calder’s Updates Share this:PrintEmailMoreStumbleUponTwitterFacebookDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Climate Change and tagged cosmic rays, IGCRs, intergalactic cosmic rays, svensmark effect. Bookmark the permalink. ← Great! “Eco-friendly” tires that kill pepole […]

  11. Max Beran says:

    Even putting the best gloss on this – that correlation implies causation and that the smoothing of the temperature series was objective and did not damage the significance – there still remains the much larger portion (near four-fifths) of the variance in the temperature signal that is not associated with cosmic rays. Then there’s the trend in the temperature series that you removed – what explains that? It seems very premature to claim that “cosmic rays really are in charge” given these two whopping great gaps in the story. Indeed it leaves plenty of space for internal variability or even CO2 to make the same claim.

  12. adrianvance says:

    To blame, or credit CO2 with anything about atmospheric physics is patently ridiculous. Water vapor is the driving force and warmer is better. To wit:

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition, 1/7th the absorber of IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 80 times as many molecules captures 560 times as much heat making 99.8% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.2% of it.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    The Two Minute Conservative at for political analysis, science and humor. Daily on Kindle.

  13. Nige says:

    “Fewer cosmic rays mean a warmer world, and the cosmic rays vary with the solar cycle.”

    It’s simply the Wilson cloud chamber effect: the more cosmic rays, the more ionization trails for clouds to form in the low pressure air of the mid troposphere:

    Lots of cosmic rays -> lots of ion trails -> lots of cloud cover -> cold

    Few cosmic rays -> few ion trails -> little cloud cover -> hot weather.

    • adrianvance says:

      The absorbed energy density from cosmic rays is microscopic. I am not talking about hte energy they have, but what the atmosphere actually captures. It is of no consequence they pass through it in 20/186,000 second and virtually none are absorbed.

      Look at the IR absorption charts for water vapor, CO2 and methane, CH4 and you will see what is going on. Water vapor has 80 times as many molecules as CO2, absorbs seven times as much energy per. Methane is almost as transparent to IR as nitrogen, but James Hansen says “Methane is 56 times the greenhouse gas as CO2.” And, there are 18 ppm! What a joke.

      • Nige says:

        The cosmic ray energy is trivial. 1 Gray (100 rads) is 1 Joule per kilogram! Yet just 5 Joules per kilogram of cosmic rays is lethal in humans. The fact the troposphere is nearly saturated at such altitudes is clear from the cloud trains formed by aircraft.

        We’re not talking about comparing the energy delivered by cosmic rays to that delivered by sunshine. We’re talking about an indirect effect, analogous to a catalyst or enzyme, not a direct energy comparison. Because dust falls out of the atmosphere, the air is relatively clean at high altitude, and requires some trigger for clouds to form.

        It’s completely misleading to talk about the energy density from cosmic rays. The Science Museum in South Kensington used to have a giant Wilson cloud chamber, where you could watch the cloud trails from cosmic rays actually forming before your eyes.

        It’s not a matter of air density so much as having cold, nearly saturated air. I’m well aware of the effect of H2O feedback, see

      • adrianvance says:

        There is very little water vapor at higher altitudes. That the reason the sky looks black at very high altitudes. Not only is there little to nothing for cosmic rays to heat there is no known mechanism for said heating. Why reach so far when a demonstrable effect can be seen? Most of the heating takes place in the lower atmosphere anyway.

      • Nige says:

        Cirrus clouds form at 15,000 to 20,000 feet, i.e., in the middle of the troposphere. They are enough to tip the balance by shadowing lower altitudes, and produce the climate changes.

        The reason the sky looks dark at higher altitudes (seen from space or high flying aircraft) is more to do with the low air density than water vapour. Water vapour molecules absorb wideband infrared, so the sunlight filtered through water will tend to lose the far red end of the spectrum, and appear slightly bluer. Condensed water vapour (cloud droplets) scatter light effectively and appear white in colour.

        “Not only is there little to nothing for cosmic rays to heat there is no known mechanism for said heating.”

        I clearly failed to explain clearly enough that we’re in full agreement that cosmic rays don’t do any heating. They merely trigger the condensation of water vapour (which saturates very easily in low pressure air) into cloud droplets which reflect back sunlight to space, rather than absorbing infrared as water vapour does. It is a catalytic action. The catalyst does not provide any energy itself. It is merely the trigger for a process that cools the earth by reflecting away sunlight.

      • calderup says:

        Nige, the clouds that Svensmark deals with are low-altitude liquid-water clouds.
        I recommend that, before spinning their own hypotheses about cosmic rays and clouds, commentators should see “Nutshell” on this blog at

    • Nigel Cook says:

      Thank you for the link to Note that the reference to “Falsification tests” at the bottom is in bold but is not hyperlinked to anything.

      Regardless of the precise altitude and cloud types involved (cold saturated low pressure air in all cases), the cosmic ray mechanism for climate change is the Wilson cloud chamber effect. I suggest this instrument would be a handy way of getting photos and video to communicate what is going on to people in a clear, hard-hitting manner.

      A former climate change editor for Scientific American has just (17 March 2012) written a Scientific American blog post called “Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe”, which states:

      “To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete.”

      I don’t think it’s cynical – just factual – to see this as scare mongering for political world government, the way that nuclear war dangers was used as a cover for political ideology. The idealism never ended, when the cold war ended, it was just transferred from nuclear war to pollution and climate change fear mongering. The dream persists of world government by means of scaring people using scientific authority. Maybe that is right, maybe not. It’s misleading for science to be turned into a dogma of consensus in order to motivate political actions.

  14. Max Beran says:

    I have just done as you suggested (read the nutshell) and note your graphs do not much support the hypothesis by showing the explained variance is (a) quite low, and (b) twice as high with detrended temperature as with raw temperature.

    In view of what is described in the nutshell is there a particular logic to correlating the mid-troposphere rather than the low troposphere temperature data?

  15. adrianvance says:

    The atmosphere of Mars is a case in point: It has no water vapor and is about 12% CO2, but very little of that. It is red-yellow in color from what I have seen from the pictures returned from there.

  16. Max Beran says:

    Richard Lindzen briefly mentions Svensmark, clouds and cosmic rays at around 13 minutes here:

    He doesn’t appear to deny that the mechanism could be an additional source of variation but gives short shrift to it as a feedback. That doesn’t actually differ from what your graphs are saying but it wouldn’t square with your headline about cosmic rays being “in charge” of climate.

  17. […] My comment on green scare policies as propaganda pseudoscience tool for implementing a USSR-type sta… […]

  18. […] A revised version of my comment submitted to Calder’s blog, concerning the opposition to genui… Regardless of the precise altitude and cloud types involved (cold saturated low pressure air in all cases), the cosmic ray mechanism for climate change is the Wilson cloud chamber effect. I suggest this instrument would be a handy way of getting photos and video to communicate what is going on to people in a clear, hard-hitting manner. […]

  19. chris says:

    The top graph of the pair shows essentially no correlation between the cosmic ray flux (CRF) and Earth surface temperature (correlation coefficient -0.31!). In fact several of the upward steps in temperature lead the “rise” in the CRF.

    The bottom graph shows an apparent correlation between solar output and the residual temperature variability once the global warming and some stochastic variability (ENSO/volcanoes etc.) have been “removed” by some entirely unspecified procedure.

    However since the other elements of the solar cycle (sunspots, open solar flux, total solar irradiance) vary in pretty much exact antiphase with the CRF, the apaprent correlation of the CRF with the (global warming-denuded) temperature residual has nothing necessarily to do with the CRF. It is rather more likely to be due to the other components of the solar cycle which of course are well-known to have small but significant effects on the Earth surface temperature.

    Not surprisingly Svensmark and Friis-Christensen never published this stuff…

  20. hillrj says:

    Re. Chris observation about correlation/causation. Maybe CRF influences the sun…

  21. hillrj says:

    re the comment by Chris, correlation causation. Could CRF be influencing the sun?

  22. Mervyn says:

    Let me just explain the situation about water vapour in the atmosphere (humidity) and cloud cover.

    In Darwin, Australia, everyone knows that temperature is not so much the problem but that humidity is the problem. In Darwin, 32C and 80% humidity feels unbearable compared to 32C and 10% humidity in Alice Springs. So everyone in Darwin understands the impact of humidity on daily life.

    In Darwin, Australia, everyone also knows the impact of cloud cover on a hot day. Instant coolness. Whether one is a stockman on a cattle station, or at the beach, or at one of the local swimming pools, when the clouds sail across the sky and block out the sun, relief relief relief!

  23. Pascvaks says:

    FYI- a related discussion at Chiefio – “Big planets modulate stars, but small planets can’t?”. Have a strong feeling Svensmark’s position will soon win all the marbles in this game;-)

  24. Nige Cook says:

    I’ve placed a paper on this subject here: if anyone is interested.

  25. […] been proven in the lab by Henrik Svensmark and CERN CLOUD, and in weather balloon measurements [ ]. * This model uses sunspot count [SIDC SSN data] to slightly reduce albedo to allow faster solar […]

    • Andrew McRae says:

      The irony of this pingback to Calder’s blog is that my attempt to model Earth’s climate using mainly the Svensmark effect has actually led me to question the veracity of the Svensmark effect.

      Dr Svensmark’s hypothesis is fundamentally assuming that greater cosmic ray flux increases the Bond albedo of the Earth by increasing low level cloud cover. Unfortunately this implies that Earth’s albedo should be changing quite predictably and regularly in synchrony with the solar magnetic cycle every 11 years. That’s unfortunate because in fact that has not occurred.

      If Nigel wishes to cling to the cloud alteration hypothesis then he is going to have to find an observational data set on global albedo or cloud cover that shows the albedo changing in synch with solar cycles. Try as I might, I have not found any evidence that shows this, and believe me I tried [ ]. Never mind what happens in the lab, it hasn’t occurred in the only place where it really counts: in the real atmosphere during 1983 to 2007.

      Don’t you think it is a bit strange that the only graph purporting to empirically support the Svensmark hypothesis is published by Svensmark himself? Worse, it only shows a link between cosmic rays and *temperature*, not a link between cosmic rays and *cloud cover* as his hypothesised mechanism actually requires. That Svensmark and Marsh temperature graph shape (which Nigel points to above) does not resemble the original ISCCP low-level cloud cover data either and if you don’t believe me just graph the data yourself using the climate explorer tools at [ ].

      The cosmic-climate connection itself is not in doubt, there’s too much evidence to ignore it, but the mechanism here on Earth can’t be cosmic rays changing clouds, because although clouds and albedo did decrease in the 1980s and 1990s, causing some of that warming, this did not vary proportionally to cosmic ray flux over the two 11-year cycles in that period.

      What happened to reproducible results in Science?

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