A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Do I detect the first tiny rumblings of a paradigm shift in climate-change science?
"The greenhouse effect must play some role. But those who are absolutely certain that the rise in temperatures is due solely to carbon dioxide have no scientific justification. It's pure guesswork." [Henrik Svensmark, Director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research, Danish National Space Center, joint author of the new research, as quoted in The Copenhagen Post (October 4)]

Yesterday, some extremely important new research on climate change was quietly released. Few newspapers picked it up, The Daily Telegraph (October 4) and the Copenhagen Post (October 4) being but slight exceptions, both carrying only brief reports.

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.

Do I detect the first deep and quiet rumblings of a long-term paradigm-shifting piece of work?

Indeed, I sense the first minute bounce in a new Kuhnian curve. Of course, for the moment, the work will be drowned out by the clamour of the Great Grand Global Warming Narrative. After all, it is the last thing the committed - and politicians like Cameron, Campbell, and Gore - want to hear.

May I thus encourage all readers of EnviroSpin to work especially hard to bring the significance of this vital research to as many journalists and politicians as possible?

Thank you. It is time to begin to change the paradigm.

Philip, nice to be back. And just in time for tea!
[*Here are the complete details of the new research paper: Proceedings of the Royal Society A, October 3rd, 2006. Full title: ‘Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions’. Authors: Henrik Svensmark, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, Nigel Marsh, Martin Enghoff & Ulrik Uggerhøj]

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?