CERN Scientists Back Alternative Climate Change Theory

File-CERN_logoFor those of you who think that all scientists subscribe to the “global warning is caused by humans” theory, some very prominent exceptions are making some noise, now led by the boffins at CERN, reports Anne Jolis in the Wall Street Journal:

In April 1990, Al Gore published an open letter in the New York Times “To Skeptics on Global Warming” in which he compared them to medieval flat-Earthers. He soon became vice president and his conviction that climate change was dominated by man-made emissions went mainstream. Western governments embarked on a new era of anti-emission regulation and poured billions into research that might justify it. As far as the average Western politician was concerned, the debate was over.

But a few physicists weren’t worrying about Al Gore in the 1990s. They were theorizing about another possible factor in climate change: charged subatomic particles from outer space, or “cosmic rays,” whose atmospheric levels appear to rise and fall with the weakness or strength of solar winds that deflect them from the earth. These shifts might significantly impact the type and quantity of clouds covering the earth, providing a clue to one of the least-understood but most important questions about climate. Heavenly bodies might be driving long-term weather trends.

The theory has now moved from the corners of climate skepticism to the center of the physical-science universe: the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. At the Franco-Swiss home of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, scientists have been shooting simulated cosmic rays into a cloud chamber to isolate and measure their contribution to cloud formation. CERN’s researchers reported last month that in the conditions they’ve observed so far, these rays appear to be enhancing the formation rates of pre-cloud seeds by up to a factor of 10. Current climate models do not consider any impact of cosmic rays on clouds.

Scientists have been speculating on the relationship among cosmic rays, solar activity and clouds since at least the 1970s. But the notion didn’t get a workout until 1995, when Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark came across a 1991 paper by Eigil Friis-Christensen and Knud Lassen, who had charted a close relationship between solar variations and changes in the earth’s surface temperature since 1860…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]

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  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    The problem is, that “Climate Science”, is a nascent field.

    When your average cloud defies our understanding of physics,  trying to understand the entire system of global climates is definitely beyond our current grasp.

    Not that we shouldn’t try.

    But, I always get a chuckle when the weatherman can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen later in the day, then I see some guy talking about how in 2130 the entire planet will be locked in the grip of a new ice age, or hot and suffering from a new deluge. 

    Talk about hubris…

    • quartz99

      predicting the direction of an overall system is a very different thing from predicting one cloud at one point in time in the system. It’s all about probabilities. When you’re trying to specifically state what’s going to happen in the system at one point in both time and location, your certainty goes way down. When predicting the overall result of a system, however, it’s much easier to approach a high probability of accuracy. If you add energy to a closed system, certain things are the necessary result. Those results are averages across the whole system. Saying that storms are going to be stronger does not mean that you will have a storm tomorrow. It means that when you do get a storm again, it is more likely to be stronger than not.

      You’re comparing apples to apple trees. I can’t necessarily predict what precise twig an apple will appear on or how many will grow on the tree (though I can make some educated guesses) and whether or not there will be a bug in the apple when I pick it. But I can say that if I don’t make any attempt to halt a pest infestation, that any given apple is more likely to have bugs in it, that if it doesn’t get proper sun there will be less apples of high quality, and so on. This is what you’re looking at when you compare one day’s weather forecast to a climate model’s long-term forecast.

      • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

        You know, I see a lot of rationalizations of this sort. And let me be clear, I’m agnostic on “Global Warming”, anthropogenic or otherwise. “Climate Change”, however is evident from fossil records, if nothing else.

        But… when your physics can’t even explain how clouds form and continue to exist, I’m just not going to believe you’ve got the ability to tell me how many there’s going to be 100 years from now.

        Sorry, I’m just a skeptic like that.

        The postulation that more energy is accumulating in the system is also unproven. Geological and historical records shows that it has cycled, so change does not necessarily equal certain doom.

        Current Climate Science is pretty sloppy, but that’s ok. It’s new and we’re still working the bugs out. When we get the bugs worked out I’ll give it its due. Til then, I’m not going to get alarmed or even concerned about anything it might have to say.

        There’s plenty of other real and immediate problems to work on.

        • quartz99

          …don’t know how clouds form? …seriously? Did you ever even take an elementary science class? Were you not taught this in first grade?

          That’s nearly on par with O’Reilly’s statement “The tides go in, the tides go out, you don’t know why that happens” to Bill Nye on Fox… I mean… seriously? “Ignoring science because I couldn’t be bothered to pay attention in class or even use google before typing” is NOT synonymous with “skeptic”. Not even close.

          Clouds are a combination of water vapor and ice crystals in the sky. The various compositions and concentrations produce different types of cloud. Water evaporates into the sky from the ground and from bodies of water, forms tiny drops and ice crystals around particulates in the air and clumps together in various ways based on different conditions (such as how warm the air is and how big the particulates are). Then when conditions are right, the water returns to the earth as rain or mist. If you want more detail, really, there’s plenty of kid’s sites that explain this in small words that I’m sure you can find with Google.

          Also, a simplified metaphor used to explain a complex subject in a more easily grasped way is not a rationalization. “I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m too lazy to learn anything, but I like to call myself a skeptic so it’s ok and it’s cool.” THAT is a rationalization.

          • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

            Didn’t take you long to descend to the ad hominems… sigh. Shame, I kinda like you, or at least your comments.

            Yeah, I paid attention in science class. Yeah, we covered diffusion, effusion, etc. Yeah, clouds in the open sky seem to violate what we know about gas diffusion. Yeah, there are still serious questions about what triggers cloud formation.

            More research is definitely in order, for at least one of us.

            And let me add a P.S. I don’t like to call myself a skeptic, if for no other reason than Randi and his merry bunch of idiots have poisoned the term.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            you know, there are lotsa coloring books for kids that explain 9/11 why is there so much fuss about that too; kids understand it

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658985635 Nick Mather

      Climate science is not a nascent field, unless of course you define “nascent” as over 100 years old. Climate science emerged as an attempt to understand the last ice age. Not to mention there is a difference between weather and climate.

      • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

        You’re really going to argue that Climate Science is a mature field?

        Really?

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    The problem is, that “Climate Science”, is a nascent field.

    When your average cloud defies our understanding of physics,  trying to understand the entire system of global climates is definitely beyond our current grasp.

    Not that we shouldn’t try.

    But, I always get a chuckle when the weatherman can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen later in the day, then I see some guy talking about how in 2130 the entire planet will be locked in the grip of a new ice age, or hot and suffering from a new deluge. 

    Talk about hubris…

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    The problem is, that “Climate Science”, is a nascent field.

    When your average cloud defies our understanding of physics,  trying to understand the entire system of global climates is definitely beyond our current grasp.

    Not that we shouldn’t try.

    But, I always get a chuckle when the weatherman can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen later in the day, then I see some guy talking about how in 2130 the entire planet will be locked in the grip of a new ice age, or hot and suffering from a new deluge. 

    Talk about hubris…

  • FindingBalance

    I try to be agnostic about everything…climate change could be due to humans or cosmic rays or it might just be part of an ongoing cycle which the earth experiences from time to time or perhaps it is some combination of all of the above. Or you could get really out-there and contemplate that it is the direct result of aliens tampering with our atmosphere in order to make it more breathable/comfortable (ie: The Arrival). But that does not mean that we cannot – in the meantime – be making green-friendly choices which are only going to have a positive impact upon the planet and all of the other lifeforms who dwell here with us. It is all about priorities…or a significant lack thereof.    

  • FindingBalance

    I try to be agnostic about everything…climate change could be due to humans or cosmic rays or it might just be part of an ongoing cycle which the earth experiences from time to time or perhaps it is some combination of all of the above. Or you could get really out-there and contemplate that it is the direct result of aliens tampering with our atmosphere in order to make it more breathable/comfortable (ie: The Arrival). But that does not mean that we cannot – in the meantime – be making green-friendly choices which are only going to have a positive impact upon the planet and all of the other lifeforms who dwell here with us. It is all about priorities…or a significant lack thereof.    

  • bobbiethejean

    Fffffffail. I am so disappointed (but not surprised) to see you idiots reporting this dross. Have a gander, morons, at the actual papers. The scientists themselves say exactly the very opposite of what you are claiming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvztL9r47MI  

    • Rex Vestri

      You’re correct! 
      Notice the source of the story – the Wall Street Journal – which is, of course, a Murdoch/News Corp publication. That alone immediately calls into question anything the story says. Just more Fox-News-type bullshit and lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobbie-Jean-Pentecost/100000391760333 Bobbie Jean Pentecost

    Fffffffail. I am so disappointed (but not surprised) to see you idiots reporting this dross. Have a gander, morons, at the actual papers. The scientists themselves say exactly the very opposite of what you are claiming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvztL9r47MI  

  • Rex Vestri

    You’re correct! 
    Notice the source of the story – the Wall Street Journal – which is, of course, a Murdoch/News Corp publication. That alone immediately calls into question anything the story says. Just more Fox-News-type bullshit and lies.

  • Rex Vestri

    You’re correct! 
    Notice the source of the story – the Wall Street Journal – which is, of course, a Murdoch/News Corp publication. That alone immediately calls into question anything the story says. Just more Fox-News-type bullshit and lies.

  • 5by5

    First things first. It’s not a “report” from the Wall Street Journal. It’s a column from their opinion pages, which are notorious for their wackjob rightwing slant.

    Second, read Bobbie Jean’s post to find a real report.

  • 5by5

    First things first. It’s not a “report” from the Wall Street Journal. It’s a column from their opinion pages, which are notorious for their wackjob rightwing slant.

    Second, read Bobbie Jean’s post to find a real report.

  • Anonymous

    predicting the direction of an overall system is a very different thing from predicting one cloud at one point in time in the system. It’s all about probabilities. When you’re trying to specifically state what’s going to happen in the system at one point in both time and location, your certainty goes way down. When predicting the overall result of a system, however, it’s much easier to approach a high probability of accuracy. If you add energy to a closed system, certain things are the necessary result. Those results are averages across the whole system. Saying that storms are going to be stronger does not mean that you will have a storm tomorrow. It means that when you do get a storm again, it is more likely to be stronger than not.

    You’re comparing apples to apple trees. I can’t necessarily predict what precise twig an apple will appear on or how many will grow on the tree (though I can make some educated guesses) and whether or not there will be a bug in the apple when I pick it. But I can say that if I don’t make any attempt to halt a pest infestation, that any given apple is more likely to have bugs in it, that if it doesn’t get proper sun there will be less apples of high quality, and so on. This is what you’re looking at when you compare one day’s weather forecast to a climate model’s long-term forecast.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    You know, I see a lot of rationalizations of this sort. And let me be clear, I’m agnostic on “Global Warming”, anthropogenic or otherwise. “Climate Change”, however is evident from fossil records, if nothing else.

    But… when your physics can’t even explain how clouds form and continue to exist, I’m just not going to believe you’ve got the ability to tell me how many there’s going to be 100 years from now.

    Sorry, I’m just a skeptic like that.

    The postulation that more energy is accumulating in the system is also unproven. Geological and historical records shows that it has cycled, so change does not necessarily equal certain doom.

    Current Climate Science is pretty sloppy, but that’s ok. It’s new and we’re still working the bugs out. When we get the bugs worked out I’ll give it its due. Til then, I’m not going to get alarmed or even concerned about anything it might have to say.

    There’s plenty of other real and immediate problems to work on.

  • Anonymous

    …don’t know how clouds form? …seriously? Did you ever even take an elementary science class? Were you not taught this in first grade?

    That’s nearly on par with O’Reilly’s statement “The tides go in, the tides go out, you don’t know why that happens” to Bill Nye on Fox… I mean… seriously? “Ignoring science because I couldn’t be bothered to pay attention in class or even use google before typing” is NOT synonymous with “skeptic”. Not even close.

    Clouds are a combination of water vapor and ice crystals in the sky. The various compositions and concentrations produce different types of cloud. Water evaporates into the sky from the ground and from bodies of water, forms tiny drops and ice crystals around particulates in the air and clumps together in various ways based on different conditions (such as how warm the air is and how big the particulates are). Then when conditions are right, the water returns to the earth as rain or mist. If you want more detail, really, there’s plenty of kid’s sites that explain this in small words that I’m sure you can find with Google.

    Also, a simplified metaphor used to explain a complex subject in a more easily grasped way is not a rationalization. “I don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m too lazy to learn anything, but I like to call myself a skeptic so it’s ok and it’s cool.” THAT is a rationalization.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Didn’t take you long to descend to the ad hominems… sigh. Shame, I kinda like you, or at least your comments.

    Yeah, I paid attention in science class. Yeah, we covered diffusion, effusion, etc. Yeah, clouds in the open sky seem to violate what we know about gas diffusion. Yeah, there are still serious questions about what triggers cloud formation.

    More research is definitely in order, for at least one of us.

  • Anarchy Pony
  • Wanooski
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658985635 Nick Mather

    Different versions of this article were circulating last week on various conservative blogs. All of them decided that the research done at CERN invalidates anthropogenic climate change. However, I decided to look at the actual research and accompanying article at Nature. The experiment in no way proves that cosmic rays effect climate. The experiment was an on the ground experiment using synthetic cosmic rays and the researchers openly admit that their findings were both preliminary and tentative. Absolutely no research has been performed to demonstrate that cosmic rays do indeed effect the formation of clouds in the atmosphere. There are too many questions and more research needs to be completed. As well, nowhere do the researchers claim that the cosmic ray theory replaces anthropogenic climate change. Instead, this is being spun by conservative news sources in a way unintended by the researchers.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Exactly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658985635 Nick Mather

    Different versions of this article were circulating last week on various conservative blogs. All of them decided that the research done at CERN invalidates anthropogenic climate change. However, I decided to look at the actual research and accompanying article at Nature. The experiment in no way proves that cosmic rays effect climate. The experiment was an on the ground experiment using synthetic cosmic rays and the researchers openly admit that their findings were both preliminary and tentative. Absolutely no research has been performed to demonstrate that cosmic rays do indeed effect the formation of clouds in the atmosphere. There are too many questions and more research needs to be completed. As well, nowhere do the researchers claim that the cosmic ray theory replaces anthropogenic climate change. Instead, this is being spun by conservative news sources in a way unintended by the researchers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658985635 Nick Mather

    Climate science is not a nascent field, unless of course you define “nascent” as over 100 years old. Climate science emerged as an attempt to understand the last ice age. Not to mention there is a difference between weather and climate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=658985635 Nick Mather

    Climate science is not a nascent field, unless of course you define “nascent” as over 100 years old. Climate science emerged as an attempt to understand the last ice age. Not to mention there is a difference between weather and climate.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    You’re really going to argue that Climate Science is a mature field?

    Really?

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    You’re really going to argue that Climate Science is a mature field?

    Really?

  • Wanooski

    Exactly.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    you know, there are lotsa coloring books for kids that explain 9/11 why is there so much fuss about that too; kids understand it

  • Rooti

    This is a coup for big business. They got the environmental movement to chase its tail for years over the man made global warming theory. The focus should always have been on actual pollution, sustainability and environmental protection and not on a theory developed from computer models. It makes a lot more sense that the Sun is the primary influence affecting temperature on planet Earth rather than a greenhouse gas that only makes up 0.035% of the atmosphere. The reason so many scientists backed the Anthropogenic theory was simple: that was the direction grant money was flowing to. 

  • Rooti

    This is a coup for big business. They got the environmental movement to chase its tail for years over the man made global warming theory. The focus should always have been on actual pollution, sustainability and environmental protection and not on a theory developed from computer models. It makes a lot more sense that the Sun is the primary influence affecting temperature on planet Earth rather than a greenhouse gas that only makes up 0.035% of the atmosphere. The reason so many scientists backed the Anthropogenic theory was simple: that was the direction grant money was flowing to. 

    • Anarchy Pony

      The theory existed before computers could have modeled it.

  • Anonymous

    What great news! Now we can make all the pollution we want and never have to deal with any consequences! Thanks, WSJ!

  • Anonymous

    What great news! Now we can make all the pollution we want and never have to deal with any consequences! Thanks, WSJ!

  • razzlebathbone

    What great news! Now we can make all the pollution we want and never have to deal with any consequences! Thanks, WSJ!

    • YEA

      I am letting the A/C in my Hummer run as I type this!

  • Lily123y
  • YEA

    I am letting the A/C in my Hummer run as I type this!

  • Wanooski

    The theory existed before computers could have modeled it.

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