Readers resist the triumph of cosmic rays over CO2
Last fall, after public opinion polls showed most of the Western world’s citizens had turned against global-warming alarmism, after governments started to slash their subsidies for renewable energy, and after whining from the alarmists showed that they, too, knew the game was over, I concluded that Al Gore et al. had decisively lost the global-warming debate.
Global temperatures had stopped climbing, hurricanes hadn’t materialized in abnormal numbers, the Arctic ice had largely recovered while the Antarctic ice had steadily grown, polar bear populations were on the increase, and on and on — in effect, every major global-warming scare had been debunked. As important, the alarmists could no longer rhetorically ask, “If humans aren’t changing the climate through CO2, what is?”
There was now an impressive answer: cloud cover, caused by the interaction of cosmic rays and the Sun. To the distress of the alarmists, new research at the Danish Space Research Institute and Geneva-based CERN were affirming this cosmic ray-Sun theory, and other prestigious scientific bodies were giving it credence. Last week, in one of the few columns I’ve written in the last six months on the now-passé issue of global warming, I described the Royal Astronomical Society’s publication of an important new work that continues the ascendancy of this theory.
Updated below with MUST READ comments from Piers Corbyn
I do not deny the reality of climate change. No, this is not a change of mind, reversing my longstanding skepticism toward claims of human-caused global warming. I have never denied climate change—and that is precisely why I reject the global warming hysteria. But a fascinating new scientific contribution from Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark, who is single-handedly blowing away the alleged "consensus" on what drives the climate, has given me a whole new appreciation for climate change.
The term "climate change denier" is obviously objectionable because of the word "denier." That word is carried over from the phrase "Holocaust denial" and is meant to smear global warming skeptics by associating us with the vicious motives of those who airbrush the crimes of the Nazis. But the more substantive objection to this phrase is that we skeptics do not deny the reality of climate change. We embrace it all too thoroughly.
We understand that the climate is changing and that it has always been changing. The four-and-a-half-billion-year history of the Earth is a history of constant, wild swings in global temperatures and weather, from the steamy jungles that nurtured the dinosaurs to the vast equatorial glaciers of "Snowball Earth."
(If you follow the link about Snowball Earth, by the way, you may notice that the theory is controversial and has its own skeptics. Funny how that works. In genuine science, for any new theory there is a competing theory, and the question is settled by more evidence and not by people lining up behind some top-down political "consensus.")
The April Weatheraction.com YouTube from Piers Corbyn by George Gottlieb and Sofia Sallons. Well done to each of you for putting this video together and we hope you can keep this popular spot going.
Piers Corbyn gives a review of recent Weather News topics including the recent paper in Nature by Shakun and the Henrik Svensmark "Cosmic Jackpot" and also a mention of his Headline forecast for May in the UK.
True to form, the overwhelming majority of press outlets failed to report the juiciest global-warming gossip of the week — a change of heart on the issue by one of the world’s most celebrated environmentalists. Also true to form, the press failed to report the most profound science story of the week — a startling theory that not only absolves humans of blame in global warming but sheds light on another taboo subject: shortcomings in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Unlike their coverage of the political establishment or the corporate establishment, journalists will rarely be skeptical of the scientific establishment. Perhaps these unskeptical journalists don’t question scientists out of a belief that scientists’ pronouncements are free of the self-interest that taints politicians or corporations. Or perhaps these journalists, who are themselves rarely scientifically literate, blindly accept the views of scientific authority figures because they lack the training to assess rival views. Or perhaps these journalists fear being subjected to ridicule if they buck politically correct views. Whatever the reasons for journalistic deference to dogma in science, the victim is the information-consuming public, which at best is kept in the dark, at worst is duped.
Today the Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes (online) Henrik Svensmark’s latest paper entitled “Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth”. After years of effort Svensmark shows how the variable frequency of stellar explosions not far from our planet has ruled over the changing fortunes of living things throughout the past half billion years.
By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger. Shredding the textbooks, Tuzo Wilson, Dan McKenzie and Jason Morgan merrily explained earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, and even the varying depth of the ocean, simply by the drift of fragments of the lithosphere in various directions around the globe.
In Svensmark’s new paper an equally concise theory, that cosmic rays from exploded stars cool the world by increasing the cloud cover, leads to amazing explanations, not least for why evolution sometimes was rampant and sometimes faltered. In both senses of the word, this is a stellar revision of the story of life.
Updated below with MUST READ comments from Piers Corbyn
P. Gosselin: There’s been lots of disingenuous criticism from the CO2 end-of the world warmists and Armageddonists aimed at Fritz Vahrenholt’s and Sebastian Lüning’s new best selling skeptic book Die kalte Sonne. Much of it attacking Svensmark’s theory of solar amplification via cosmic rays.
Again. none have really read the book, they simply repeat the same old debunked arguments.
Henrik Svensmark hits back at the skeptics at the Die kalte Sonne site (scroll down to the English version):
Prof. Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Center (Copenhagen) on the criticism aimed at his solar amplifier via cosmic rays:
"Some people, including your critic Florian Freistetter on ScienceBlog, seem to think that physics is a democratic process and what matters is to count how many papers favour or disfavour each hypothesis. That of course is nonsense. All that really signifies is the evidence from observations and experiments, and how a theory stands up to attempts to falsify it. Remember Einstein’s comment on the pamphlet Hundert Autoren gegen Einstein (1931) – “If I were wrong, one would be enough”.
Man-made global warming crisis crusaders are now facing a new threat. Their anti-fossil carbon-based premise for alarmism is being challenged by new scientific evidence of important solar influences upon climate that can’t readily be blamed on us. Not that there wasn’t lots of good evidence of this before. Actually, there has been, and it has been routinely denigrated and ignored.
Only this time, the high-profile international source will be impossible for the entrenched scientific establishment to casually dismiss. No, not after experiments at the world’s leading physics laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland recently revealed an inverse correlation between periodic changes in sunspot activity levels, and quantities of cosmic rays entering Earth’s atmosphere that trigger surface-cooling cloud formations.
Sunspots are areas of localized magnetic activity on the sun’s surface that are coupled with high energy streams of charged particles called solar winds. The overall number of sunspots typically varies in frequency over 11 year cycles. During the most active periods the solar winds shield more outer space cosmic rays from penetrating the Earth’s magnetic field and entering the atmosphere to nucleate low-level clouds. But when sun spot activity is low, a condition that can sometimes persist over decades and longer, the increased cosmic ray bombardment produces more cloud cover, hence cooling influences.