As Steve pointed out, it seems that the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is greatly affected by minute particulate matter in the atmosphere, and the cooling trend that the scaremongers were so exercised about in the ’70s was replaced by a warming trend when there was less soot and pollution – Who knew? (And is the industrialization of China contributing to the recent cooling trend?)
Furthermore, the article at Watts Up contains this gem in one of the references:
“Reductions in aerosol pollution is thought to result in a reduction in haze and cloud layers, leading to an increase in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface, and ultimately, an increase in surface temperatures.”
This correlation of the levels of particulates and Nitrogen/Sulfur Oxides, with higher levels of cloud formation also explains why volcanic eruptions and other large events (big meteorites) can result in several years of cooling, and why the big fear during the cold war was of a “Nuclear Winter” provoked by all the junk blown into the atmosphere in the event of a nuclear war.
But Wait, there’s MORE! The Rush Limbaugh “Official Climatologist”, Dr Roy Spencer, has done a great deal of research to show that more clouds = more cooling, that water vapor has a much bigger effect on climate than CO2, AND that the water vapor cycle helps stabilize global temperatures. (Graphic: RushLimbaugh.com)
In their books, Dr Roy W Spencer, along with Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, have shown that there are many influences stronger than CO2 on the rise and fall of global temperatures, including water vapor, long-term solar cycles, and oceanic cycles driven by those solar cycles. They have documented the human and geological temperature records, the medieval warm period (during which Greenland was green and inviting, and Iceland less icy), and the rise and fall of CO2 levels.
Surprise – CO2 does not cause warming, but rather, CO2 levels FOLLOW warming trends, as plant and animal activity increases during warm periods – CO2 is, in fact, a LAGGING INDICATOR. (A statistician’s way of saying these Warmist bozos are looking in the rearview mirror!)
There’s EVEN MORE: An increasing body of research links cloud formation with cosmic ray flux intensity, and has shown a highly correlated cause and effect between cosmic rays and solar cycles on the one hand, vs cloud formation and temperature trends on the other hand.
So, not only do long term solar cycles drive long term temperature trends, and water vapor/clouds have a bigger effect on heat absorption by the Earth than CO2, BUT ALSO, we have a new player on the scene which links all the pieces together – Cosmic Rays! Let me explain….
Cosmic Rays, which are basically high energy ionized particles from way beyond the Solar System (hence “cosmic”), are fast moving and hard to detect. Cloud formation from moist air is catalyzed by the presence of minute particles of dust or soot, or by the passage of high energy ions. Indeed, one of the earliest methods of detecting electrons, protons, positrons, muons, and other particles, including Cosmic Rays, was a “CLOUD CHAMBER“, in which moist air, right at the point of condensation (supercritical humidity) was subjected to radiation, and the ions were identified by the kinds of trails of condensation they caused.
As long ago as 1959, the late Edward Ney of UMN, suggested “that any climatic sensitivity to the density of tropospheric ions would immediately link solar activity to climate“. Why? Because variations in the solar flux and solar wind alter the energy level of Cosmic Rays reaching the Earth, and variations in the energy of those ions would alter the rate of cloud formation, and thus the amount of solar heat retained vs reflected. Hmmm.
Enter Nir Shaviv and his colleague, Jan Veizer, who, in 2003, added further proof of the link between Cosmic Rays and climate: by showing that the propensity for ice ages to develop corresponded with the transits of the Solar System through the spiral arms of the Galaxy.
Furthermore, they were then able to correlate actual ice ages with periods when low solar activity corresponded with high Cosmic Ray activity, and stated that, although we are reaching the end of an “icehouse” period of high Cosmic Ray activity, during which we have ice-ages come and go, and that gradually over the next few millions of years, the severity of ice-ages should diminish, and eventually disappear altogether, they wouldn’t be buying beachfront property in Northern Canada just yet! (Second article by Shaviv on Spiral arms of the Galaxy vs Ice Ages)
Even more than showing the strong correlation between Cosmic Ray Flux, the Sun’s influence on that flux, and global temperatures, Shaviv and Vezier showed that the variations due to Cosmic Rays accounted for more than 2/3 of the Earth’s cyclical temperature variations, relegating the effects of CO2 and everything else to less than one third of the total variation!
Like many discoveries, once you can see the connection, your vision suddenly becomes 20-20, and you wonder why nobody spotted it before… Then you remember those old cloud chambers, and the thoughts of Professor Edward Ney – all the pieces were there, but someone needed to make the link. Once Shaviv and Veizer had shown the connections between our motion through the sprial arms of the Galaxy, solar activity levels, the resulting Cosmic Ray levels, and global temperatures, others were able to find additional corroboration, and a clear picture began to form:
Shorter version: An active phase of the Sun beats back cosmic rays, reducing cloud cover, and warming the Earth.
Separately, Henrik Svensmark, who eventually named the new branch of study “Cosmoclimatology”, had been seeking a link between Cosmic Ray flux, Solar activity, and cloud cover, but could not prove that temperature variations were more dependent on Cosmic ray flux than directly on Solar output.
By adding the Galaxy’s background Cosmic Ray variations to the mix, and by providing historical proof of those levels via meteorite records, Shaviv and Veizer provided the robust link Svensmark was seeking. Indeed, multiple climate signals were found to be in alignment, making the link very robust indeed – see graphic.
Further proof that Cosmic rays are a major influence on cloud formation, and thus temperatures, was provided in 2011 by Jasper Kirkby and a team at CERN, the European particle accelerator, who built a comprehensive cloud test chamber, where they could experiment with aerosols, particles, and ions, such as Cosmic Rays.
Of particular interest amongst their finds was that Cosmic rays can increase the rate of formation of cloud condensation nuclei by a factor between 2 and 10+, meaning that Cosmic Rays and their variations can have a very large impact on cloud formation, and thus global temperatures!
In conclusion, factors which affect cloud cover, especially low altitude cloud cover (troposphere), have a much larger effect on global temperatures than CO2, and while Carbon Dioxide levels have fluctuated wildly over the eons, often being much higher than today, ice ages have come and gone, in step with the waves of Cosmic Rays which trigger them.
So, let’s keep on burning that coal, and enjoying our air conditioning – plants like CO2, don’tcha know, and let us rejoice that real research rather than cooked books is leaving those high priests of Climate Change shot through with Cosmic Rays!
Special thanks to Howard and Raymond Richmann at American Thinker for their excellent article which pulled a lot of threads together for me.