## Friday, January 23, 2009 ... //

### U.S.: global warming is the least concern

As Benjamin (and Marc Morano) has pointed out,

global warming is the smallest concern
for the U.S. citizens among 20 topics they were offered.

It is clear that most people usually return to some common sense after some time, and because of the weak economy (#1 topic) and a cool winter, it is clear that possible & imaginary threats and expensive proposals to avoid them simply can't be important for the people, regardless of the actual merit of this fearful science (which happens to be non-existent).

Cosmic-climate link supported by muons that see the stratosphere

Also, we follow Anthony Watts, the web's best science blogger in 2008 according to a large poll, and bring you a weekly dose of the peer-reviewed denialist literature.

In a press release, a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters is promoted:
S. Osprey and hundreds of authors: Sudden stratospheric warmings seen in MINOS deep underground muon data
This scientific work actually comes from high-energy physics. Deep underground, in an iron mine in Minnesota (the same state where Minnesotans for global warming live) that is controlled by the Fermilab's MINOS collaboration, one can use a detector to measure the intensity of cosmic rays (well, the flux of muons, the electrons' 206.8 times heavier siblings) and these measurement display an unexpectedly strong correlation with the weather (temperature) in the upper atmosphere called the stratosphere. The link was especially strong and surprising during sudden, multi-day-long stratospheric warming episodes in the Northern Hemispheric winter.

In other words, underground muons can now be used to reconstruct the stratospheric temperature! The correlation between the cosmic rays and the climate is pretty much proven by now.

The direction of the causation

Still, don't judge too quickly: you must be careful before you declare this to be a proof of the Svensmark-Shaviv cosmoclimatological theories because the MINOS correlation is at least partially (and possibly mostly) caused by the influence of the temperature on the production of muons from mesons - the opposite direction of the causal influence than climatologists would care about.

To be sure, the causal relationship between the underground muon flux and the stratospheric temperatures can go in both ways - both directions can contribute to the correlation.

The cosmic mesons may speed up the creation of low-lying clouds which usually cool down the surface, but because they reflect more of the solar radiation back to space, they give more opportunity to the stratosphere to heat up: more cosmic rays mean a warmer stratosphere.

The opposite relationship exists, too. A warmer stratosphere is "expanded" and the fraction (and the typical position) of the mesons destroyed by the air is influenced, too. That's why the fraction of mesons with long enough life to decay to muons is also affected. But let me admit that the sign of the relationship in this paragraph isn't quite clear to me at this point.

At any rate, most forcings predict the opposite changes of the trend for the stratosphere than for the troposphere. For example, the greenhouse effect cools down the stratosphere much like it heats up the troposphere.

Sociology & other MINOS stuff

If you care about the sociology, the MINOS authors are almost as numerous as the IPCC and their average IQ exceeds the IPCC's IQ roughly by 7 points. ;-) The list of authors includes my Harvard ex-colleague, Prof Gary Feldman, who is clearly even higher on this scale. :-)

This is the second article on this blog that is largely dedicated to MINOS. The first one was not related to the climate: it was about the neutrino oscillations:
Bush lost a few neutrinos in Minnesota

There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama. Via Gene Day. ;-)