Monday, May 16, 2011

New Danish experiment confirms cosmoclimatology

While the results of the CLOUD experiment will be published in 2 or 3 months, another competing experiment has just revealed its results in Geophysical Research Letters:
Aerosol nucleation induced by a high energy particle beam (abstract)

Danish celebration of the paper (autom. transl. to EN)

Physics World (popular overview)
The five Danish authors have used a 580 MeV electron beam to ionizine the atmosphere-like content of their chamber. The graphs show pretty clearly that the formation rate increases with the radiation. At O(10,000) ions per cubic centimeter, the nucleation rate approximately doubles while the existing data are compatible with a linear dependence.

This is a very intense relationship. Note that the clouds in the atmosphere cool the Earth roughly by 10 times the warming induced by a CO2 doubling, so even 10% of the change of the cloud cover beats a doubled CO2. 10% of the change of the clouds corresponds to roughly 1,000 ions per cubic centimeter - in the regions of the atmosphere where the clouds are expected to form.

Of course, there are many other complicated mechanisms that decide about the aggregate amount of clouds but if the question is Do the cosmic rays influence the local and instantaneous nucleation rate, the answer is clearly Yes.

The Danish authors try to emphasize that the nature of the ionizing radiation is irrelevant which is why expensive colliders are a waste of money. Fortunately, the LHC - and even SPS - were not built just for the CLOUD experiment because that would be a waste of money, indeed. ;-)

Via Nigel Calder

Endeavour with AMS finally launched

With more than a two-week delay, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer was finally launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavour today. The launch was successful; see the first minute. AMS will also study the cosmic rays.

By the way, Roy Spencer has shown that the climate sensitivity is approximately 1 °C by looking at the 1955-2010 ocean heat content.


  1. Crossposted from a comment at WUWT:

    Email exchanges between outside scientists and RealClimate scientists are always fun to read.

    Rancourt (a physicist) recently wrote a short paper on radiation physics, the greenhouse effect, and the Earth’s radiation balance, arriving at the conclusion that “the predicted effect of CO2 is two orders of magnitude smaller than the effects of [solar irradiance and planetary albedo and emissivity].” He sent the paper to the RealClimate folks for input. He now presents the email exchanges.

    Peer criticism — Revised version of Rancourt radiation physics paper.

    1. Rancourt writes original version of article, HERE.
    2. Asks for and receives peer criticism, HERE.
    3. Rancourt writes significantly revised version of article, HERE.
    4. Asks for and receives further peer criticism about revised version, PRESENT POST.
    5. It appears that Rancourt’s revised paper is correct: The predicted effect of CO2 is two orders of magnitude smaller than the effects of other parameters.

    Following the posting of this significantly revised version of Denis Rancourt’s paper about Earth’s radiation balance: Rancourt asked the climate scientists at RealClimate for follow-up criticism — resulting in this email exchange:

  2. Well, I don't know if Rancourt's calculations are correct, but if they are, the conclusions seem hard to ignore, though probably not entirely surprising: a two order of magnitude IRRELEVANCE (as he puts it) of CO2 relative to those other variables?? So this means that CO2 variations are spectacularly unnecessary to explain any of the observed temperature variations of the last 100 years. No wonder the Real Climate guys don't even want to hear about it. The last two paragraphs read:

    "In view of the above model sensitivity calculations and given the physical simplicity of the model based on established physical principles, it is clear that many factors will have a larger effect on surface-temperature-determining radiation balance than CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. For example, such factors as changes in longwave emissivity due to changes in land use (soil humidity, vegetation type), changes in surface temperature response times regarding the diurnal irradiation cycle, changes in albedo from aerial mineral dust variations due to land use changes, changes affecting cloud dynamics, changes affecting dynamic radiation balance response times on a rotating Earth, solar irradiance variations, and many more, are all expected to have larger impacts than CO2 concentration under present saturation absorption conditions."

    "Anyone wishing to focuss on CO2 concentration as a climate driver should have the onus to explain ignoring the above straightforward demonstration of a two order of magnitude irrelevance of CO2 relative to solar irradiance (of known seasonal variation) and albedo and emissivity (both under-studied and significantly complicated)."

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