Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming
NASA ^ | 04.08.09 | NA

Posted on 04/10/2009 1:57:00 AM PDT by neverdem


Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming
artist concept of aerosols reflecting light Aerosols can influence climate directly by either reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation as it moves through the atmosphere. The tiny airborne particles enter the atmosphere from sources such as industrial pollution, volcanoes and residential cooking stoves. Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
> Larger image

Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.

Emitted by natural and human sources, aerosols can directly influence climate by reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation. The small particles also affect climate indirectly by seeding clouds and changing cloud properties, such as reflectivity.

A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience.

Though there are several varieties of aerosols, previous research has shown that two types -- sulfates and black carbon -- play an especially critical role in regulating climate change. Both are products of human activity.

Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.

electron microscope images of black carbon attached to sulfate particles Researchers used an electron microscope to capture these images of black carbon attached to sulfate particles. The spherical structures in image A are sulfates; the arrows point to smaller chains of black carbon. Black carbon is shown in detail in image B. Image C shows fly ash, a product of coal-combustion, that's often found in association with black carbon. While black carbon absorbs radiation and contributes to warming, sulfates reflect it and tend to cool Earth. Credit: Peter Buseck, Arizona State University
> Larger image

At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon -- small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels -- absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere.

In the modeling experiment, Shindell and colleagues compiled detailed, quantitative information about the relative roles of various components of the climate system, such as solar variations, volcanic events, and changes in greenhouse gas levels. They then ran through various scenarios of how temperatures would change as the levels of ozone and aerosols -- including sulfates and black carbon -- varied in different regions of the world. Finally, they teased out the amount of warming that could be attributed to different climate variables. Aerosols loomed large.

The regions of Earth that showed the strongest responses to aerosols in the model are the same regions that have witnessed the greatest real-world temperature increases since 1976. The Arctic region has seen its surface air temperatures increase by 1.5 C (2.7 F) since the mid-1970s. In the Antarctic, where aerosols play less of a role, the surface air temperature has increased about 0.35 C (0.6 F).

That makes sense, Shindell explained, because of the Arctic's proximity to North America and Europe. The two highly industrialized regions have produced most of the world's aerosol emissions over the last century, and some of those aerosols drift northward and collect in the Arctic. Precipitation, which normally flushes aerosols out of the atmosphere, is minimal there, so the particles remain in the air longer and have a stronger impact than in other parts of the world.

Since decreasing amounts of sulfates and increasing amounts of black carbon both encourage warming, temperature increases can be especially rapid. The build-up of aerosols also triggers positive feedback cycles that further accelerate warming as snow and ice cover retreat.

In the Antarctic, in contrast, the impact of sulfates and black carbon is minimized because of the continent's isolation from major population centers and the emissions they produce.

"There's a tendency to think of aerosols as small players, but they're not," said Shindell. "Right now, in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and in the Arctic, the impact of aerosols is just as strong as that of the greenhouse gases."

graph showing yearly temperature trends Since the 1890s, surface temperatures have risen faster in the Arctic than in other regions of the world. In part, these rapid changes could be due to changes in aerosol levels. Clean air regulations passed in the 1970s, for example, have likely accelerated warming by diminishing the cooling effect of sulfates. Credit: Drew Shindell, Goddard Institute for Space Studies
> Larger image (pdf)

The growing recognition that aerosols may play a larger climate role can have implications for policymakers.

"We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we're just looking at carbon dioxide," Shindell said. "If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we're much better off looking at aerosols and ozone."

Aerosols tend to be quite-short lived, residing in the atmosphere for just a few days or weeks. Greenhouses gases, by contrast, can persist for hundreds of years. Atmospheric chemists theorize that the climate system may be more responsive to changes in aerosol levels over the next few decades than to changes in greenhouse gas levels, which will have the more powerful effect in coming centuries.

"This is an important model study, raising lots of great questions that will need to be investigated with field research," said Loretta Mickley, an atmospheric chemist from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. who was not directly involved in the research. Understanding how aerosols behave in the atmosphere is still very much a work-in-progress, she noted, and every model needs to be compared rigorously to real life observations. But the science behind Shindell's results should be taken seriously.

"It appears that aerosols have quite a powerful effect on climate, but there's still a lot more that we need to sort out," said Shindell.

NASA's upcoming Glory satellite is designed to enhance our current aerosol measurement capabilities to help scientists reduce uncertainties about aerosols by measuring the distribution and microphysical properties of the particles.

Related Links:

> Climate Response to Regional Radiative Forcing During the 20th Century
> Fact sheet: What are Aerosols?
> Glory Mission
> New Observing Technique Turns Gray Skies to Blue
> NASA Study Improves Ability to Predict Aerosol’s Effect on Cloud Cover
> NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
> Who is Drew Shindell?

Adam Voiland
NASA's Earth Science News Team
Find this article at:

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: aerosols; carbonblack; globalwarming; sulphates
Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century

Drew Shindell1 & Greg Faluvegi1

AbstractRegional climate change can arise from three different effects: regional changes to the amount of radiative heating that reaches the Earth's surface, an inhomogeneous response to globally uniform changes in radiative heating and variability without a specific forcing. The relative importance of these effects is not clear, particularly because neither the response to regional forcings nor the regional forcings themselves are well known for the twentieth century. Here we investigate the sensitivity of regional climate to changes in carbon dioxide, black carbon aerosols, sulphate aerosols and ozone in the tropics, mid-latitudes and polar regions, using a coupled ocean–atmosphere model. We find that mid- and high-latitude climate is quite sensitive to the location of the forcing. Using these relationships between forcing and response along with observations of twentieth century climate change, we reconstruct radiative forcing from aerosols in space and time. Our reconstructions broadly agree with historical emissions estimates, and can explain the differences between observed changes in Arctic temperatures and expectations from non-aerosol forcings plus unforced variability. We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University, New York 10025, USA Correspondence to: Drew Shindell1 e-mail:

1 posted on 04/10/2009 1:57:01 AM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Now wait I’m cornfused.

Isn’t there a guy who wants to spew the air full of particles to STOP globull warming?

If I read this correctly, this would just mainly melt the poles.

2 posted on 04/10/2009 1:59:39 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Beat a better path, and the world will build a mousetrap at your door.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
The Cooling World
Newsweek, April 28, 1975

There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self- sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.

"A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale," warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, "because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century."

A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth's average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the "little ice age" conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.

Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. "Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data," concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. "Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions."

Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.

"The world's food-producing system," warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA's Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, "is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago." Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.


The Cooling World:

Original Newsweek article with scary maps and graphs:

3 posted on 04/10/2009 1:59:40 AM PDT by ETL (ALL the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

There is no evidence that CO2 has ever caused significant warming on Earth, at least not when the concentrations were within 10-15 times of what they are today. Water vapor is, by far, the most important greenhouse gas in the Earth system. Water vapor accounts for about 95% of the greenhouse effect on Earth. -etl

by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD


"Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere [historically] is the product of oceanic respiration due to the well-known but under-appreciated solubility pump. Carbon dioxide rises out of warm ocean waters where it is added to the atmosphere. There it is mixed with residual and accidental CO2, and circulated, to be absorbed into the sink of the cold ocean waters. Next the thermohaline circulation carries the CO2-rich sea water deep into the ocean. A millennium later it appears at the surface in warm waters, saturated by lower pressure and higher temperature, to be exhausted back into the atmosphere. Throughout the past 420 millennia, comprising four interglacial periods, the Vostok record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is imprinted with, and fully characterized by, the physics of the solubility of CO2 in water, along with the lag in the deep ocean circulation.

Notwithstanding that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, atmospheric carbon dioxide has neither caused nor amplified global temperature increases. Increased carbon dioxide has been an effect of global warming, not a cause. Technically, carbon dioxide is a lagging proxy for ocean temperatures. When global temperature, and along with it, ocean temperature rises, the physics of solubility causes atmospheric CO2 to increase.

If increases in carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gas, could have in turn raised global temperatures, the positive feedback would have been catastrophic. While the conditions for such a catastrophe were present in the Vostok record from natural causes, the runaway event did not occur. Carbon dioxide does not accumulate in the atmosphere."

The graph above represents temperature and CO2 levels over the past 400,000 years. It is the same exact data Al Gore and the rest of the man-made global warmers refer to. The blue line is temps, the red, CO2 levels. The deep valleys represent 4 separate glaciation/ice-age periods. Look carefully at this historical relationship between temps and CO2 levels (the present is on the right hand side of the graph) and keep in mind that Gore claims this data is the 'proof' that CO2 has warmed the earth in the past. But does the data indeed show this? Nope. In fact, rising CO2 levels all throughout this 400,000-year period actually *followed* temperature increases -lagging behind by an average of 800 years! So it couldn't have been CO2 that got Earth out of these past glaciations. Yet Gore continually and dishonestly claims otherwise. Furthermore, the subsequent CO2 level increases due to dissolved CO2 being released from warming oceans, never did lead to additional warming, the so-called "run-away greenhouse effect" that Al Gore and his friends keep warning us about. In short, there is little if any evidence that CO2 had ever led to increased warming, at least not when the levels were within 10-15 times of what they are today. -etl

"The above chart shows the range of global temperature through the last 500 million years. There is no statistical correlation between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the last 500 million years and the temperature record in this interval. In fact, one of the highest levels of carbon dioxide concentration occurred during a major ice age that occurred about 450 million years ago [Myr]. Carbon dioxide concentrations at that time were about 15 times higher than at present." [also see 180 million years ago, same thing happened]:

So, greenhouse [effect] is all about carbon dioxide, right?

Wrong. The most important players on the greenhouse stage are water vapor and clouds [clouds of course aren't gas, but high level ones do act to trap heat from escaping, while low-lying cumulus clouds tend to reflect sunlight and thereby help cool the planet -etl]. Carbon dioxide has been increased to about 0.038% of the atmosphere (possibly from about 0.028% pre-Industrial Revolution) while water in its various forms ranges from 0% to 4% of the atmosphere and its properties vary by what form it is in and even at what altitude it is found in the atmosphere.

In simple terms the bulk of Earth's greenhouse effect is due to water vapor by virtue of its abundance. Water accounts for about 90% of the Earth's greenhouse effect -- perhaps 70% is due to water vapor and about 20% due to clouds (mostly water droplets), some estimates put water as high as 95% of Earth's total tropospheric greenhouse effect (e.g., Freidenreich and Ramaswamy, 'Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,' Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264).

The remaining portion comes from carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone and miscellaneous other 'minor greenhouse gases.' As an example of the relative importance of water it should be noted that changes in the relative humidity on the order of 1.3-4% are equivalent to the effect of doubling CO2.

Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System

Water vapor constitutes Earth's most significant greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of Earth's greenhouse effect (4). Interestingly, many 'facts and figures' regarding global warming completely ignore the powerful effects of water vapor in the greenhouse system, carelessly (perhaps, deliberately) overstating human impacts as much as 20-fold.

Water vapor is 99.999% of natural origin. Other atmospheric greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and miscellaneous other gases (CFC's, etc.), are also mostly of natural origin (except for the latter, which is mostly anthropogenic).

Human activities contribute slightly to greenhouse gas concentrations through farming, manufacturing, power generation, and transportation. However, these emissions are so dwarfed in comparison to emissions from natural sources we can do nothing about, that even the most costly efforts to limit human emissions would have a very small-- perhaps undetectable-- effect on global climate.

Water Vapor Confirmed As Major Player In Climate Change

ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2008) — Water vapor is known to be Earth's most abundant greenhouse gas, but the extent of its contribution to global warming has been debated. Using recent NASA satellite data, researchers have estimated more precisely than ever the heat-trapping effect of water in the air, validating the role of the gas as a critical component of climate change.

4 posted on 04/10/2009 2:02:13 AM PDT by ETL (ALL the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck

This is just a lame attempt to keep the global warming hooey going. They think that by doing this they can use it as proof that there is still global warming even though the worlds average temperature has been dropping since 2000. In other words there is still global warming but just not where everyone happens to live and observe it. Time to role out the drowning polar bear commercials again.

5 posted on 04/10/2009 2:16:38 AM PDT by Steel Bill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Yeah, we’re really getting our money’s worth with NASA....

As a science nerd it breaks my heart.

6 posted on 04/10/2009 2:30:05 AM PDT by LifeComesFirst (Until the unborn are free, nobody is free)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Can we pump some of that Arctic hot air down to the lower 48? If so I'm taking a cue from Minnesotans For Global Warming and spewing as much aerosols into the air as I can. Here's a pic from the M4GW HQ as they try to generate another degree.


My Heros!


7 posted on 04/10/2009 2:32:31 AM PDT by prisoner6 (Right Wing Nuts hold the country together as the loose screws of the Left fall out.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Although sunspot cycle 24 is VERY slow to get underway (decades-long records are being broken), over the course of the past 80-100 years sunspot numbers have actually been through the roof. That is, during each *peak* of the 11-year solar activity cycle throughout this 80-100 yr period. Cycle-24 has just recently begun but is not expected to get really busy for a couple more years yet. The peak of SC-24 isn't expected until 2011 or 2012. The following which I pieced together, describes a possible connection between solar/sunspot activity and climate.-etl

If you look at the chart below, you will see that sunspot activity (during solar maxes--the individual peaks every apprx 11 yrs) has been relatively high since about 1900 and almost non-existent for the period between about 1625 and 1725. This period is known as the Maunder (sunspot) Minimum or "Little Ice Age".-etl


From BBC News [yr: 2004]:
"A new [2004] analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer."..."In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface.

This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it. It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive."

It's really hard to imagine how this little ball of fire could have any impact on our climate at all. /s

But the main arguments being made for a solar-climate connection is not so much to do with the heat of the Sun (the sun isn't getting warmer) but rather with its magnetic cycles. When the Sun is more magnetically active (typically around the peak of the 11 year sunspot cycle --we are a couple of yrs away at the moment), the Sun's magnetic field is better able to deflect away incoming galactic cosmic rays (highly energetic charged particles coming from outside the solar system). The GCRs are thought to help in the formation of low-level cumulus clouds -the type of clouds that BLOCK sunlight and help cool the Earth. So when the Sun's MF is acting up (not like now -the next sunspot max is expected in about 2011 or 2012), less GCRs reach the Earth's atmosphere, less low level, sunlight-blocking clouds form, and more sunlight gets through to warm the Earth's surface...naturally. Clouds are basically made up of tiny water droplets. When minute particles in the atmosphere become ionized by incoming GCRs they become very 'attractive' to water molecules, in a purely chemical sense of the word. The process by which the Sun's increased magnetic field deflects incoming cosmic rays is very similar to the way magnetic fields steer electrons in a cathode ray tube (old-time television tube) or electrons and other charged particles around the ring of a subatomic particle accelerator.-etl

There's an excellent new book out on the subject titled The Chilling Stars. It's written by one of the top scientists advancing this theory (Henrik Svensmark).

And here is the website for the place where he does his research:
2008: "The Center for Sun-Climate Research at the DNSC investigates the connection between variations in the intensity of cosmic rays and climatic changes on Earth. This field of research has been given the name 'cosmoclimatology'"..."Cosmic ray intensities – and therefore cloudiness – keep changing because the Sun's magnetic field varies in its ability to repel cosmic rays coming from the Galaxy, before they can reach the Earth." :

From a well-referenced column (see wiki link for ref 14):
"Sunspot numbers over the past 11,400 years have been reconstructed using dendrochronologically dated radiocarbon concentrations. The level of solar activity during the past 70 years is exceptional — the last period of similar magnitude occurred over 8,000 years ago. The Sun was at a similarly high level of magnetic activity for only ~10% of the past 11,400 years, and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode.[14]"

[14] ^Solanki, Sami K.; Usoskin, Ilya G.; Kromer, Bernd; Schüssler, Manfred & Beer, Jürg (2004), “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years”, Nature 431: 1084–1087, doi:10.1038/nature02995, . Retrieved on 17 April 2007 , "11,000 Year Sunspot Number Reconstruction". Global Change Master Directory. Retrieved on 2005-03-11.


"Reconstruction of solar activity over 11,400 years. Period of equally high activity over 8,000 years ago marked.
Present period is on [the right]. Values since 1900 not shown."

From NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's "Not So Frequently Asked Questions" section:

Q-Does the number of sunspots have any effect on the climate here on Earth?

A-Sunspots are slightly cooler areas on the surface of the Sun, due to the intense magnetic fields, so they radiate a little less energy than the surroundings. However, there are usually nearby areas associated with the sunspots that are a little hotter (called falculae), and they more than compensate. The result is that there is a little bit more radiation coming from the Sun when it has more sunspots, but the effect is so small that it has very little impact on the weather and climate on Earth.

However, there are more important indirect effects: sunspots are associated with what we call "active regions", with large magnetic structures containing very hot material (being held in place by the magnetism). This causes more ultraviolet (or UV) radiation (the rays that give you a suntan or sunburn), and extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV). These types of radiation have an impact on the chemistry of the upper atmosphere (e.g. producing ozone). Since some of these products act as greenhouse gases, the number of sunspots (through association with active regions) may influence the climate in this way.

Many active regions produce giant outflows of material that are called Coronal Mass Ejections. These ejections drag with them some of the more intense magnetic fields that are found in the active regions. The magnetic fields act as a shield for high-energy particles coming from various sources in our galaxy (outside the solar system). These "cosmic rays" (CRs) cause ionization of molecules in the atmosphere, and thereby can cause clouds to form (because the ionized molecules or dust particle can act as "seeds" for drop formation).

If clouds are formed very high in the atmosphere, the net result is a heating of the Earth - it acts as a "blanket" that keeps warmth in.

If clouds are formed lower down in the atmosphere, they reflect sunlight better than they keep heat inside, so the net result is cooling. Which processes are dominant is still a matter of research.

NASA graph of sunspot activity over the past 400 years [note the profound lack of sunspot activity during the "Little Ice Age" period (apprx 1650-1720), AND the sharp INCREASE particularly during the past 60 years:

100,000-Year Climate Pattern Linked To Sun's Magnetic Cycles:

ScienceDaily (Jun. 7, 2002) HANOVER, N.H.
Thanks to new calculations by a Dartmouth geochemist, scientists are now looking at the earth's climate history in a new light. Mukul Sharma, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, examined existing sets of geophysical data and noticed something remarkable: the sun's magnetic activity is varying in 100,000-year cycles, a much longer time span than previously thought, and this solar activity, in turn, may likely cause the 100,000-year climate cycles on earth. This research helps scientists understand past climate trends and prepare for future ones.

8 posted on 04/10/2009 2:39:47 AM PDT by ETL (ALL the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Solar/sunspot Cycle 24, which began in Jan 2008, is especially slow to get going with activity. In fact, 2008 had the most sunspot-free days of any year in the past 50.


From, September 30, 2008:

Coinciding with the string of blank suns is a 50-year record low in solar wind pressure, a recent discovery of the Ulysses spacecraft. (See the Science@NASA story Solar Wind Loses Pressure.) The pressure drop began years before the current minimum, so it is unclear how the two phenomena are connected, if at all. This is another mystery for SDO and the others.


"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," adds Pesnell. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim."

Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age [50 years]


Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age

As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times.

"Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle."

And it is a very quiet time. If solar activity continues as low as it has been, 2008 could rack up a whopping 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it a century-level year in terms of spotlessness.

Hathaway cautions that this development may sound more exciting than it actually is: "While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.

Some solar physicists are welcoming the lull.

"This gives us a chance to study the sun without the complications of sunspots," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Right now we have the best instrumentation in history looking at the sun. There is a whole fleet of spacecraft devoted to solar physics--SOHO, Hinode, ACE, STEREO and others. We're bound to learn new things during this long solar minimum."

As an example he offers helioseismology: "By monitoring the sun's vibrating surface, helioseismologists can probe the stellar interior in much the same way geologists use earthquakes to probe inside Earth. With sunspots out of the way, we gain a better view of the sun's subsurface winds and inner magnetic dynamo."

"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," adds Pesnell. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim."

Pesnell is NASA's project scientist for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a new spacecraft equipped to study both solar irradiance and helioseismic waves. Construction of SDO is complete, he says, and it has passed pre-launch vibration and thermal testing. "We are ready to launch! Solar minimum is a great time to go."

Coinciding with the string of blank suns is a 50-year record low in solar wind pressure, a recent discovery of the Ulysses spacecraft. (See the Science@NASA story Solar Wind Loses Pressure.) The pressure drop began years before the current minimum, so it is unclear how the two phenomena are connected, if at all. This is another mystery for SDO and the others.

Who knew the blank sun could be so interesting?

More to come...

Related article:
Solar Wind Loses Power, Hits 50-year Low - Sept. 23, 2008

9 posted on 04/10/2009 2:44:10 AM PDT by ETL (ALL the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

They’re just guessing. They did say “may”. Like, it may rain today. There I just did it. I am a NASA quality scientist.

The true result of all this government science will be to discredit science. When it should be used to hold to account those that spew this nonsense. What else are they wrong about?

10 posted on 04/10/2009 3:21:43 AM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Bill; IrishCatholic; Normandy; According2RecentPollsAirIsGood; Fiddlstix; ...

Beam me to Planet Gore !

11 posted on 04/10/2009 3:50:54 AM PDT by steelyourfaith (What new from the Thief-in-Chief?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: steelyourfaith

“residential cooking stoves”, i.e. gas grills.

They’ll have to remove mine from my cold dead hands.

12 posted on 04/10/2009 4:06:41 AM PDT by RU88 (The false messiah can not change water into wine any more than he can get unity from diversity.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Aerosols can influence climate directly by either reflecting or absorbing...

So which is it? The first sentence negates the entire article.

13 posted on 04/10/2009 4:18:56 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Apr 08, 2009

New Climate Change Web Site Promises to be ‘Eco-News on Steroids’
By Matt Cover, CNS News Launch Aims To Redefine Global Warming Reporting

NASA: Clean-air regs, not CO2, are melting the ice cap ^ | 9th April 2009 | Lewis Page

14 posted on 04/10/2009 4:56:15 AM PDT by Matchett-PI (The biggest threat to the US economy is the US Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

All I have to say about this is......’psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssstt’. ;-)

15 posted on 04/10/2009 5:35:01 AM PDT by RushIsMyTeddyBear ("The smallest minority on earth is the 'individual'." ~ Rush Limbaugh)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 1010RD
NASA= State science institute. Who is John Galt?
16 posted on 04/10/2009 6:12:24 AM PDT by justrepublican (Dear Santobama, I want a...................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

IIRC, one of Mario Cuomo’s last acts as governor of NY was to sign a bill to tax aerosol deodorant because it causes air pollution.

17 posted on 04/10/2009 11:10:49 AM PDT by printhead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: printhead

Anyone got that “Oh no, not this sh** again”! picture??

18 posted on 04/10/2009 6:59:53 PM PDT by cfrels
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
Prior to the early 1990’s heavy industry in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was belching lots of this stuff.
19 posted on 04/11/2009 3:30:51 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson