Skip to comments.When Physics Trumps Hysteria in Global Warming
Posted on 07/19/2007 5:27:19 AM PDT by Valin
Studiously hidden from public view are some extraordinary findings in physics which are providing new understanding of our planetary history, as well as providing a much more plausible scientific understanding of global warming. Regrettably, the current hysteria about global warming is based much more on fear, political agendas, and computer models that dont agree with each other or the climate, rather than hard-nosed evidence and science.
The climate forces which have led to the estimated 0.6C degree temperature increase over the past 100 years or more (according to the International Panel on Climate Change) have been assumed to be man-made CO2 emissions from advanced nations including the U.S. We know this cant be true for several reasons.
The first is that water vapor provides 95 percent of the total of the greenhouse gases, not CO2. The total of the CO2 represents less than 3 percent of the total. The second is that of the total atmospheric CO2 inventory, the manmade fraction is less than 3 percent of the CO2 total and therefore far less than 1 percent of the total greenhouse gas inventories. Third, studies of the recent climate variations are finding, for example, (See article by J. Oestermans, Science, p. 375, April 29, 2005) that glaciers have been receding since 1750 or so, well before any significant man-made CO2 emissions occurred.
The mid 1700s were at the very depths of the Little Ice Age, which we have learned was the coldest climate over the last 5000 years. Obviously, other warming forces were at work before humans had anything to do with it.
It seems more logical that natural forces are still at work with warming and cooling our climate. For example, Fred Singer and Dennis Avery pointed out in their book Unstoppable Global Warming that over the past 1,000,000 years in climate observations, there have been about 600 periods of warming, and we can surmise from these cycles that among them are about 599 periods of cooling.
Now we have learned much more based upon observations of cosmic radiation, their sources, and the Suns magnetic fields, combined and new discoveries in the laboratory. A new and more comprehensive understanding of our planetary environment has emerged. This gives us a scientifically defensible explanation of both global warming and cooling.
As the Oesterman study of the 250 years of receding glaciers shows, warming preceded the CO2 increases of the 20th century. That is, man-made CO2 was not significantly involved in this 200 year warming period on the earth. Nor does man-made CO2 explain those 600 periods of warming over the past 1,000,000 years.
We have known that cosmic radiation is a source of very powerful radiation, more powerful than any in those huge manmade accelerators. We also know that the more energetic cosmic rays can reach the surface of the Earth passing completely through the atmosphere. Those of lesser energy can collide with molecules in the air causing an avalanche of nuclear and particle fragments as they pass through the atmosphere. The energy is dispersed in showers of these particles while still in the atmosphere.
These collisions are truly nuclear in nature, highly energetic, and take place in our atmosphere every second. These are the nuclear processes by which the atmosphere acts as a protective shield to inhabitants on the earth. These are well known to airline safety experts, as well as to those astronauts who spend weeks and months outside of our protective atmosphere.
The streams of cosmic radiation originate from deep space sources both within our galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as from galaxies more distant.
Most of the cosmic rays are charged particles (mostly protons) but less prevalent heavier particles are often measured too, and can be of enormous energy. Being charged particles they can be deflected and modulated by the many magnetic fields found in space. In the proximity of our Sun and the solar system incoming particles feel the magnetic field of the Sun and are deflected.
The extent of the deflection depends upon the strength of the magnetic field of the Sun. The solar magnetic field has been known, studied, and measured for only a few decades. As with other stars, the Sun is able to deflect many, but not all, of these particles of cosmic radiation away from our solar system and our planet according to well-known rules of physics and magnetism.
Thanks to some recent excellent experimental work in physics by those such as Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark, we now know that cosmic rays and some of the debris from nuclear collisions with atoms in the atmosphere are directly involved with the initiating mechanisms of cloud formation.
Basically, the more cosmic rays, the more clouds are formed and the cooler the temperature. Since many of the cosmic rays can be deflected by the Suns magnet field, the cosmic ray intensity varies inversely with the strength of that field. The stronger the solar magnetic field, the fewer cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, fewer clouds are formed, and the climate becomes warmer.
Today the Suns magnetic field is more than twice as strong as it was at the turn of the last century. During the mid 1700s during the Little Ice Age there was a 70 year period when there were no sunspots (called the Maunder Minimum), and the solar magnetic field was very weak.
The cosmic rays were not deflected as much by a weakened solar magnetic field, more clouds were formed, thus a cooler climate at that time. These findings provide a simple plausible explanation, defensible with sound physics, and dont involve a major role for CO2 at all.
Some of the materials formed in the atmosphere by the cosmic ray collisions are radioactive as well, and are one of many natural sources of radioactivity. These are deposited in the Earths surface, and are used to construct a very accurate history of the geology and climate millions of years ago. It can be measured with surprising accuracy.
In this instance some important collision products formed in the upper atmosphere, are carbon-14 (C-14) and berrylium-10 (Be-10). Being radioactive they decay into non-radioactive products. These have accurately known periods of decay and scientists can measure these materials in both ice cores and geologic cores samples.
The amounts measured are directly related to many important natural features. Variations in both C-14 and Be-10 can be used to deduce the historical record of variations in the solar magnetic field. By similar techniques the scientists are able to determine variations in the cosmic radiation rates directly, going back hundreds of millions of years. Since the rate of influx of cosmic rays over time has not been constant, our climate has not been constant either.
What lies ahead are some exciting times in climate physics and our understanding of the environment. Unexplained findings in geological and climate histories are now being explained by these new lines of inquiry. It appears that the Suns magnetic field has had a stronger effect on our climate than just the variations in solar irradiance could explain.
Political leaders, environmental advocates, and even Oscar-winning documentarians who claim that the debate of climate science is over, have been shown once again to be very wrong.
Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., a science and energy reporter for Hawaii Reporter and a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and now lives in Eastern Washington. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level.
The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
by Henrik Svensmark (Author)
The Best Popular Introduction to Climate Science, April 25, 2007
By Fritz R. Ward “dayhiker” (Crestline, CA United States) - See all my reviews
For many years it has been known that periods of global cooling are associated with with reduced solar activity. In the 1970s, Jack Eddy of the High Altitude Observatory in Colorado named the correlation between the lack of sunspots and the consequent decline in earth’s temperature the “Maunder Minimum” and showed that similar sequences of global warming and cooling were also associated with increasing and decreasing solar activity. Until recently, however, no one has been able to provide a mechanism explaining why this correlation exists. Henrik Svensmark, however, has done just that in his published work and with the help of science writer Nigel Calder has provided a very readable explanation of how solar activity affects climate change. This book has profound implications for policy debates in this country and deserves a wide audience.
Svensmark’s theory is that cosmic rays which originate from collapsing stars (novas) are the primary cause of cloud formation, in particular the formation of low level clouds, those 3,000 meters above the ground and lower. Muons, basically very dense electrons, which are among the few cosmic particles to survive the solar winds and contact with the earth’s atmosphere to sufficiently interact with with atoms near the surface, liberate electrons in the atomosphere which in turn join with molecules that form stable clusters. These clusters attract a small amount of sulpheric acid and then water molecules to ultimately generate water droplets, the basis of cloud cover. But how exactly does cloud cover affect climate? Most climate models simply see clouds as a byproduct of climate changes, but as Svensmark and Calder demonstrate, clouds themselves are the predominant factor in global cooling. Although they trap heat between the clouds and earth’s surface, they also reflect radiant energy from the sun back into space. The net effect of low lying clouds is therefore a cooling one. And, as it happens, all periods of global cooling have coincided with increasing cosmic rays and cloud cover.
The implications of this theory are quite startling. For one thing, it almost completely elimates increases and decreases of carbon dioxide and other so called green house gasses (GHG) from the equation of climate change, a matter of some concern to those who use fears of anthropomorphic global warming to advance their political agendas. Indeed, when Svensmark first proposed his theory in the mid 1990s, it was called “dangerous” because, if correct, it would undermine the vast public funding currently available to the many scientists who feed off of global warming fears. Unfortunately for them, Svensmark’s theories have since been experimentally vindicated, something that cannot be said for the “models” that GHG advocates use to prop up their increasingly discredited arguments. Indeed, Svensmark’s “chilling stars” are able to explain all the data that other climate change models note. For example, since 1900 the solar magnetic field has almost doubled, resulting in a dramatic decline in the amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth’s surface. There has been a consequent temperature increase (.6 degrees celsius) and an 8.6% decrease in cloud cover. This results in “a warming of 1.4 watts per square meter.”(p. 80) But this figure is crucially important because it is precisely the same figure that advocates of the man made global warming hypothesis say is the result of increases in greenhouse gases. What this means is that natural variation almost entirely explains all observed temperature increases this century, and this model, unlike the GHG model, is experimentally vindicated.
But what really sets Svensmark and his colleagues apart from the man made global warming advocates is that this model, while also explaining the observed rise in temperature, also explains the data that the other models ignore, and in some cases irresponsibly cover up. For example, it is well known that Antarctica is not experiencing global warming. This is part of a long term climate trend in which Antarctica has for thousands of years experienced cooling while the rest of the world warms, and warming as the rest of the world cools. It is part of the troubling evidence that skeptics of man made global warming routinely bring to the table and which popular films like Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” conveniently ignore. Advocates of GHG as the primary mover of climate change typically try to brush off this anomaly by explaining that they need “more data.” But Svensmark explains it easily. The Antarctic ice cap is the one place on earth that is so reflective that it actually loses more radiant energy on cloudless days than on cloudy ones. So, while cloud cover cools the rest of the planet, it warms Antarctica, and as the rest of the planet warms with a decrease in cloud cover, Antarctica cools.
Similarly, Svensmark’s work explains the cooling trend the world experienced from the 1940s to the mid 1970s. This period also saw one of the greatest outputs of GHG in history and man made global warming theorists have a great deal of trouble dismissing it. Indeed, for a long time they ignored it but following the pulbication of Michael Crighton’s novel ‘State of Fear’ this anomaly became common knowledge among the literate public. This period also coincides with a slight reduction in solar activity and a slight increase in cosmic ray induced cooling. In terms of the history of global climate, this cooling was not very dramatic, but it was sufficient by 1975 to lead many popular publications to speculate on the coming of a new ice age. Interestingly enough, the solution to “global cooling” political activists sought in the 1970s also involved a reduction in fossil fuel usage, so one might reasonably be skeptical now of their claims to solve global warming by the same technique.
The value of Svensmark and Calder’s book, however, extends far beyond the current debates on global climate change and what, if anything, we as a society should do about it. They note that periods of warming and cooling have had a tremendous impact on human history, including the development of agriculture, and on the whole development of life on earth. Indeed, their research suggests ways to narrow the search for life in other parts of our galaxy. The final chapter of the book describes the myriad of research projects that will open up to investigators once this new (but already well tested) paradigm of climate change is adopted.
But the promise of new research, even the promise of a better model, is hardly sufficient to insure the adoption of Svensmark’s “Chilling Stars” as a new paradigm for research in the modern era. Historically, as Thomas Kuhn has demonstrated, “science” advances by using a paradigm, a carefully constructed set of theories. These paradigms guide research until a point at which there are too many unexplainable gaps in the theory for the paradigm to continue to be useful. At this point, a new paradigm replaces it. Usually the process by which one paradigm replaces another is fraught with argument, debate, and in some cases dramatic confrontations among advocates of competing ideas. This is how science operates and it generally works quite well. Svensmark’s work has been subjected to just this sort of rigorous testing for the last decade and has shown itself to be remarkably versatile. However, late 20th and 21st century science is altogether different than science in earlier periods of human history. Scientists used to be motivated by religious considerations (a desire to better understand creation) or humanitarian motives (curing diseases like polio) or simply curiosity. Such motivations are still common among many scientists. But increasingly, political advocacy coupled with the public funding of science has led to a new motivation for science: the advancement of a political agenda. In such an environment, it may not matter that the work of Svensmark and his colleagues better explains climate, the development of life on the planet, and even better predicts the future. The political usefulness of their studies does not, at present anyway, coincide with that of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and so it is quite possible that their work simply will not get the attention it deserves. This signals a dramatic, and perhaps fundamental, change in the way science operates. Will the future see a continued commitment to experimental research and the free publication of diverse views, or will the modern scientists win out, stiffling open debate and corrupting data to advance their agendas. The case of Michael Mann and his famous “hockey stick” graph is instructive in this regard. Mann, an advocate of the man made global warming hypothesis, knew that the medieval warming period and the little ice age of the last millenia contradicted the GHG theory. So he simply revised history by creating a chart that that showed a stable climate for a thousand years followed by a dramatic increase in the 20th century. He also hid his raw data and algorithms from public and scientific scrutiny for almost a decade, an act that would have immediately disqualified his work from serious consideration among the previous generation of scientists. But in the “Brave New World” of science, his graph graced numerous IPCC publications. Calder rightly calls Mann’s work “Orwellian” and dismisses it in favor of finding a theory that accurately explains, rather than explains away, actual climate changes in earth’s history. But one cannot help but wonder if Orwell’s vision was correct. Time, and in particular, the reception of this spectacular book, will tell. Be sure to get the book yourself and enjoy the read.
Already posted about 4 hours ago.
Since when have facts gotten in the way of Al Gore.
The current hysteria about "global warming" and in particular anthropogenic global warming, is entirely based on fear, political adgendas and faulty computer models.....
I’ll get back to you on that. While you’re waiting you might want to read War & Peace, take a world tour, clean the grout, take up brain surgery, by the time you’ve done those I might be done searching....but I wouldn’t count on it.
This is sure to be ignored by the MSM.
Thanks for posting it Valin, because I was sound asleep at 4:33 AM EDT and missed it.
Bump for later
The Chicken Little Society has always had a sizeable following............
Reading your comment made me think: As the Global Warming story starts to wobble on its way to falling apart, when it’s finally over and the new consensus is that man made warming is baloney will we say that Al Gore lied to us or that he was just wrong?
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
Scientists used to be motivated by religious considerations (a desire to better understand creation) or humanitarian motives (curing diseases like polio) or simply curiosity. Such motivations are still common among many scientists. But increasingly, political advocacy coupled with the public funding of science has led to a new motivation for science: the advancement of a political agenda.
Repeat loud and often.......................
will we say that Al Gore lied to us
Before citing this article in future, an important note about CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
The influence of the tiny amount of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere, compared to the total amount of atmospheric CO2 has been justified elsewhere by noting the following:
While water vapor retains most of the Earth’s heat from re-radiation back into space, water does not cover all the bandwidths of radiation (if it did, Earth would look black from orbit). CO2 also blocks a limited number of bandwidths of radiation.
The zinger is that H20 and CO2 block bandwidths that are complementary to each other. So say out of ten bandwidths, water blocks 1-7 and CO2 blocks 9 and 10.
This *theoretically* *might* mean that even a tiny, marginal increase in total CO2 might leverage far more energy than would be suspected on the surface.
Now, this is a hypothetical argument, but one you might meet if you are arguing against MMGW.
Good article, thanks for posting!