Lecture on Cosmic rays and climate by Physicist Jasper Kirkby of CERN

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Steve Netwriter
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Cosmic rays and climate by Jasper Kirkby (speaker) (CERN)
4th June 2009

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The current understanding of climate change in the industrial age is that it is predominantly caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, with relatively small natural contributions due to solar irradiance and volcanoes. However, palaeoclimatic reconstructions show that the climate has frequently varied on 100-year time scales during the Holocene (last 10 kyr) by amounts comparable to the present warming - and yet the mechanism or mechanisms are not understood. Some of these reconstructions show clear associations with solar variability, which is recorded in the light radio-isotope archives that measure past variations of cosmic ray intensity. However, despite the increasing evidence of its importance, solar-climate variability is likely to remain controversial until a physical mechanism is established. Estimated changes of solar irradiance on these time scales appear to be too small to account for the climate observations. This raises the question of whether cosmic rays may directly affect the climate, providing an effective indirect solar forcing mechanism. Indeed recent satellite observations - although disputed - suggest that cosmic rays may affect clouds. This talk presents an overview of the palaeoclimatic evidence for solar/cosmic ray forcing of the climate, and reviews the possible physical mechanisms. These will be investigated in the CLOUD experiment which begins to take data at the CERN PS later this year.

Must read slides:

Slides from the lecture (7.2MB):

Because the full information has not been posted elsewhere, and most mentions of this point to one article which does not offer all the information, I've posted it all here.

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Steve Netwriter
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Highlights from Lecture

I. Present Climate Change

Page 3:
Total Net Anthropogenic Forcing estimated at 1.6 W/m2

Page 4:
Clouds contribute 30 W/m2

My interpretation:
So a variation of just 5% in cloud cover would be equal to the estimated Anthropogenic Forcing.

Page 5:

In video, a year of varying cloud. This shows varying reflected radiation from clouds, and varying emitted heat radiation from where there are no clouds.

Very complex and not simulated well by models

II. Evidence for pre-industrial solar-climate variability

Page 6:
Pre-industrial climate variation could not have been caused by Man.
The mechanism for the variability is not well understood.

Page 7:

Little Ice Age from around 1600 to 1710.
Coincided with low sunspot activity, Maunder Minimum.

From the video (@9:20):
"This period (Maunder Minimum) coincided with recorded very cold periods in Europe and elsewhere, in fact signals have been observed over the entire globe of the Little Ice Age"

At around 1800 to 1820, the Dalton Minimum.

From video (@9:40):
"This was a similarly cold period, you can see that in the sunspot record".

My comment:
So Jasper has identified two global cold periods. One from around 1600 to 1710, and the other from around 1800 to 1820.

Page 8:
"Global climate - last 2000 years".

Top right diagram shows Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Ace (LIA).
It also shows the hockey stick, which does not match the other lines.

From video (@10:00):
"There are many reconstructions which agree or disagree depending in fact on whether they include tree rings or not. Tree rings are a very difficult proxy to use, but never mind"

From video re boreholes (@11:10):
"These confirm this dip here" (the LIA) "and this warm period here" (the MWP).

From video (@11:40):
"This little red line here is actually the thermometer record you saw right at the beginning, this is global warming, and seen in this context at least part of the warming over this period could be interpreted at least qualitatively as part of coming out of the LIA"

"Of course the argument is that it is very steep over the last 30 years or so, so even if the early part has a natural component it's accelerating now. Anyway it's interesting to step back and look at it in a wider perspective"

From video (@12:00):
"The 2nd panel down here shows the variation of cosmic rays over the same period. It's inverted" (So high cosmic rays when the line is lower).
"You see this same general pattern" (as the first panel with MWP and LIA).

Referring to the 3rd panel:
"There are quite a number of records, this is one of them, and there are many others, that show a detailed climatic reconstruction, over this period, this happens to be glaciers in the Andes....and you can see visual correspondence between these two" (the glaciers and the cosmic rays)

Referring to Austrian speleotherm:
"This correspondence has been extended back in central Europe over 2000 years. This is temperatures in a cave, this is delta 18 as it's called, a stable isotope of Oxygen which is sensitive to temperature....this is the temperature reconstruction, this is the cosmic ray reconstruction, CO2 was essentially flat over this period"

Page 9:
Siberian climate - last 700 yr.

From video (@13:45):
"This is a new paper which is just being published now, in GRL, showing another reconstruction, this is temperature...this is the variation of cosmic rays, again you see this very close association, this is a one degree C temperature change, quite a considerable temperature change in comparison with current warming, this is entirely a natural effect, we don't know what the origin of this is, as I keep stressing. Of course there is a divergence here in the 20th century, part of this is CO2, perhaps all of it is CO2, but...up to 50% could be due to Solar contribution, and that's rather a different amount than the current understanding"

Page 10:
N. Atlantic ice rafted debris - last 10 kyr (Holocene)

From video (@14:45):
"This is extending going back 12,000 years, looking at Ice Rafting debris...one can reconstruct the intensity of icebergs in the north Atlantic"

"The coloured lines are two independent reconstructions of cosmic rays, over the same period, and you just have to look at it by eye the association of these two curves, and clearly it goes beyond just a random association"
"There is clearly a connection between the cosmic ray changes and these changes in the ice rafted debris"

"The LIA is this dip here and the MWP is that thing there, but that association we saw before has been repeated 10 times or so over the last 12,000 years, the Sun seems to go quite frequently into a very quiet state of low activity and into a high activity state"

Page 11:
GCR influence on ITCZ/monsoon in Little Ice Age?

ITCZ = Inter Tropical Convergence Zone.
The hydrological Cycle.

From video (@17:25):
"During the LIA, all these boxes shown in yellow, had drier conditions than normal, and all these blue circles were wetter than normal"
"So there seems to have been a systematic global shift during the LIA"

Page 12:
Indian Ocean monsoon - 6.5-9.5 kyr ago

From video (@17:50):
"There is an exquisite record here of a cave in Oman?...and what you see here is two curves, one reflecting rainfall measured in that stalagmite, and the grey curve is measuring the variation in cosmic ray intensity...and you can see the essentially perfect correspondence between these two curves."

"So by some means cosmic rays, or Solar variability, they're ambiguous, were controlling very tightly the variation of rainfall in this region"

Page 13:
Solar-climate mechanisms

GCRs = Galactic Cosmic Rays

From video (@19:25):
"There are very very few possible candidate mechanisms"
"They are listed here"
"There could be a direct effect of Solar variability on the climate to do with the brightness of the Sun or some spectral component of the Sun"
"Or there could be an indirect effect because the change in the magnetic activity of the Sun directly influences the shielding, the Solar wind, and the shielding of cosmic rays, so these are modulated by magnetic changes of the Sun, and that would be called an indirect effect"

"Now there are many studies of Sun-like stars and estimations of what could be the change in this period of the Solar irradiance...and it's estimated that only a few hundredths of a degree between the LIA and today could have been due to the brightness of the Sun".

A point from me:
I do not trust this conclusion.

"How do we resolve this ambiguity?"
"Well there is a way, that is that the cosmic rays are also modulated by other things, short-term magnetic disturbances, geomagnetic field and on much longer timescales the galactic environment"

Page 14:
Asian monsoon and geomagnetic field

"The authors who prepared this paper questioned whether this was evidence or not for an association of the geomagnetic field with the Asian monsoon, at least over this 5,000 year period"
"I don't think one can be definitive, it's suggestive"

Page 15:
Galactic modulation of climate? - 500 Myr

From video (@24:50):
"On a very very long timescale, we are now looking at 500 million years, the Earth's age is 4.5 billion years, so this is going 20% back to the beginning of the Earth"

My summary:
Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) vary as the Solar system moves between spiral arms of the Galaxy.
Deep ocean temperature in the bottom chart varies with GCRs.

From video (@27:10):
"The Earth has gone through very strong climate shift from greenhouse to icehouse conditions, we are in an icehouse condition, meaning there is ice at the south pole, there is ice at the north pole, this is an icy condition"

"There have been periods in the past when there have been absolutely no ice on Earth, and where tropical plants grew north of the Artic circle"

From video (@27:40):
"The classical explanation of climate change on this long time period is due to very big changes in CO2, but CO2, the reconstructions are shown here, we're at 400ppm at the moment, in the past it's been 10x or even more...and they don't show any periodicity, there is no obvious correspondence between these fluctuations and CO2."

"So perhaps there is a very long-term Galactic effect"

III. Solar variability in the 20th century

Page 17 & 18:

From video (@28:40):
Video of Sunspot activity.

From video (@30:35):
"The Sun has two characteristics, one is its brightness, the orange colour that you're looking at, and the other characteristic, it's a Jekyll and Hyde character, the other is this magnetic activity, which is manic, it's changing very strongly over the Solar cycle and it's on a long-term timescale"

Page 19:
Cosmic ray changes during 20th century

From video (@31:00):
"So what are the cosmic ray changes in the 20th century?"
"The answer is there was a very large change of cosmic ray flux in the 20th century, the Solar magnetic flux, the magnetic activity increased by a factor of about 2.3, but it was largely confined to the first half of the century, and that caused a 20% decrease in cosmic rays"

"If cosmic rays are affecting clouds, as we are going to get onto in a moment, that would have caused, in principle, a decrease of clouds, at least over the first half"

from video (@31:36):
"In the 2nd half of the century we've had direct measurements from counters"
"When the Sun is at a high of a sunspot cycle, it causes a dip, it increases the shielding of cosmic rays, and causes a dip in the cosmic ray intensity reaching Earth, and it's more important at higher geomagnetic latitudes"

Page 20:
Sea-level change in 20th century

From video (@32:30):

"It's 17cm over the whole century, 1.7mm per year, and it's fairly constant, so it's very interesting this plot, the first thing that's so interesting is why is it so steady?"

"There's no sign of it going up more steeply, over this period" (1960 onwards)
"It really doesn't reflect the temperature increase at all well"
"So what's the cause of this?"
"Well there are two main contributions, one is the thermal expansion of the oceans, and the other is land ice melting"

From video (@36:00):

"I've just overlaid the sunspot cycle"

"There was a very strong El Nino here which has a big effect on sea level" (1997/1998)

"So there is a very suggestive association there that these things may be associated with the Sun" (the variations of ocean level).

From video (@36:00):

"It's very interesting, that this paper there isn't a single mention anywhere in that paper of the Sun, and to me it's absolutely incredible that he can publish, that this data can be published, at least...to rule it out, but something should be said because it seems so obvious

Page 21:
Sea-level positive feedback

Roughly, if all 5 billion people, equally endowed as the cartoon all went swimming at the same time, the sea level would rise by about 1 micron Smiling

Page 22:
Recent global temperatures - last 30 yr

From video (@37:10):

"The situation over the last 30 years is very interesting, and to me raises a lot of questions"

"The satellite measurements are systematically measuring less warming than the surface temperature measurements"

"A lot of the variance was an El Nino, in fact nearly all the variance was due to El Nino Southern Oscillation, and that has a very big effect on global temperatures"

"Not only is there disagreement here, over the absolute rise over this period, but there is also very important disagreement, perhaps even more importantly, in the distribution of the warming"

"This is what all climate models show" (top chart, equator on the left, up he height in the atmosphere)

"All climate models show that the warming is faster in the upper Troposphere, this is essentially the greenhouse effect at work, whereas the satellite measurements, well they agree that the north pole has been warming rapidly, but they don;t at all show this warming pattern in the atmosphere"

"So no only is it low, but it should be higher, there's a real discrepancy here, and it's an unsolved problem"

My comment:
In other words the climate models are wrong.

From the video (@39:00):

"Let's look at the last 8 years"
"The last 8 years...both sets of data agree, that the temperatures are flat"
"But the CO2 is definitely increasing, it's increased substantially over this period, so this must be some sort of natural forcing that's going on here, so what is the natural forcing?"

"Well, we don't know is the answer"
"But I'm going to show two things that could be contributors"

Page 23:
Pacific Decadel Oscillation

From video (@39:30):

El Nino Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), on discovered 10 years ago !!

"They have similar amplitudes, the important difference is in the timing"
"The PDO has a much longer periodicity, a 30 year periodicity, and it went through several phase changes, it was positive here during the warming period of the climate (1900 to 1940), negative here during a cooling period (1940 to 1980), it was positive here during a warming period (1980 to 2008?), and we don't know yet, it may have switched into a negative"

That might mean 20 years of cooling. That would annoy the alarmists Sideways laugh Sideways laugh

Page 24:
Sunspot weakening

From video (@41:10):

"There was a very interesting paper which I only saw a year ago, in fact nobody saw it apart from the authors and a few referees, until a year ago because it was turned down for publication, and this is a beautiful beautiful experimental method. I have no idea why the referees turned this down"

My comment:
I can guess Smiling

"It must have offended the scientific sense of orthodoxy"

My comment:
Yes, something like that Smiling

From video (@41:40):

"On 3 different counts these experimenters measured a weakening of sunspots..."
"When they extrapolate the data it says if you get to 2015 the sunspots may have totally disappeared, and that was their conclusion, and they were turned down for publication"

Page 25:
Current very low solar activity

From video (@42:35):
"What's the reality today, we are now 5 or 4 years beyond their publication, we're here, this is the Sun's irradiance, it's the lowest it's ever been since records started 30 years ago, the cosmic rays are the highest they've ever been, not only that the period of this last cycle is now 13.1 years at least"
"If you look at this complete sunspot record, back to 1750, there is only one sunspot cycle that has a longer period that 13.1 years, and it's here, just before the Dalton Minimum started"

"So we have a lot of information which is all saying the Sun's activity is going very very low at the moment"

IV. Physical mechanism

Page 26 & 27:

The cosmic ray effect would have to be on clouds.
CCN = Cloud Condensation Nuclei
More aerosols = more and longer lasting clouds.

Page 28 & 29:
On the cloud mechanism.

Page 30:
Is ion-induced nucleation globally important?

From video (@46:00):
Lack of data to be able to trust results, of which there is disagreement.

Page 31 & 32
Aerosol production by solar cosmic rays
Cloud observations

"All these studies which say yes there is an effect or no there isn't are not independent because they are all using the same ISCCP satellite cloud dataset, and interpreting it in different ways"

Page 33:
Global electrical circuit

V. CLOUD experiment at CERN

Page 34

Page 35:
CLOUD collaboration

Page 36:
Cloud observational scales

Page 37:
CLOUD method

Page 38:

Page 39:
Aerosol bursts

Page 40:
CLOUD-06 results

Page 41:
CLOUD-09 design requirements

Page 42:
CLOUD-09 chamber at CERN

Page 43:
CLOUD plans

Page 44:

• Climate has continually varied in the past, and the causes are not well understood - especially on the 100 year timescale relevant for today’s climate change

• Strong evidence for solar-climate variability, but no established mechanism. A cosmic ray in?uence on clouds is a leading candidate

• CLOUD at CERN aims to study and quantify the cosmic ray-
cloud mechanism in a controlled laboratory experiment

• The question of whether - and to what extent - the climate is in?uenced by solar/cosmic ray variability remains central to our understanding of anthropogenic climate change

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Steve Netwriter
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Sunspots may vanish by 2015

This is the paper on sunspots disappearing:

Sunspots may vanish by 2015.
by William Livingston & Matthew Penn

We have observed spectroscopic changes in temperature sensitive molecular lines, in the magnetic splitting of an Fe I line, and in the continuum brightness of over 1000 sunspot umbrae from 1990-2005. All three measurements show consistent trends in which the darkest parts of the sunspot umbra have become warmer (45K per year) and their magnetic field strengths have decreased (77 Gauss per year), independently of the normal 11-year sunspot cycle. A linear extrapolation of these trends suggests that few sunspots will be visible after 2015.

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Steve Netwriter
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The Cloud Mystery

This video set is a wonderful continuation from Jasper Kirkby's lecture:

The Cloud Mystery (6 part video) - How Cosmic Rays and Clouds are vital to understanding Climate

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My Summary of Jasper's Lecture

My Summary of Jasper's Lecture


The amount of clouds is very important to the amount of reflected solar radiation and the amount of emitted heat radiation.
A far bigger effect than the claimed theoretical CO2 effect.

Medieval Warm Period (MWP) & Little Ice Age (LIA)

Jasper presented numerous evidence that shows that the MWP & LIA existed, and were significant global events.
This shows what a fake, what a scam, the hockey stick is, which should call into question the validity of all alarmist science.

Cosmic Rays

These affect cloud formation.
Cosmic ray intensity is affected by the magnetic fields of the Sun and Earth.
The magnetic field of the Sun is a 'hidden' massive dynamic effect.

Cosmic rays also affect rainfall.

Large Natural Variation

No surprise to anyone with a brain. The climate changes, and has done far more than the recent little variation.


Poor correlation to climate.

We are in an Icehouse

Far from the alarmist views, the Earth is currently in a cold phase, an icehouse condition, with ice at the poles.
The Earth has been a lot warmer.

Sea Level

Seems to be rising steadily, with no acceleration.

The Coming Little Ice Age

If the sunspot activity continues to decline, we may be facing another cold period, like the Maunder Minimum.

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Steve Netwriter
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Clouded research

Don't be put off by the introduction.
This is a good article.


Dr. Kirkby was immediately condemned by climate scientists for minimizing the role of human beings in global warming. Stories in the media disparaged Dr. Kirkby by citing scientists who feared oil-industry lobbyists would use his statements to discredit the greenhouse effect. And the funding approval for Dr. Kirkby's path-breaking experiment -- seemingly a sure thing when he first announced his proposal-- was put on ice.

Dr. Kirkby was stunned, and not just because the experiment he was about to run had support within his scientific institute, and was widely expected to have profound significance. Dr. Kirkby was also stunned because his institute is CERN, and science performed at CERN had never before seemed so vulnerable to whims of government funders.

And the alarmists say funding is unbiased.
What rubbish. Absurd rubbish. Biased blinkered absurd rubbish.

Meanwhile, scientists who tout the manmade theory of global warming to the exclusion of others continue to disparage the CLOUD experiment. "This link is not properly established for the moment," said Dr. Urs Neu of the Swiss Forum for Climate and Global Change, a prominent critic. "The cosmic ray theory has been used by people who want to deny human influence on global warming."

Dr. Urs Neu goes onto my list of absurd non-scientists.
No true good scientist would use the word "deny".
Idiot of the very highest grade.

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