Landmark Experiment Supports Cosmic Ray Theory

Published August 25, 2011

Climate Change Weekly #17

Researchers at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland report new evidence supporting the theory that cosmic rays may be enhancing the sun’s impact on global temperatures and climate.

Cosmic ray theory postulates that increases in solar output not only increase global temperatures through relatively direct heating of the Earth, but also indirectly by blocking cosmic rays that spur cloud formation when entering the Earth’s atmosphere. When higher solar activity blocks cosmic rays from reaching the atmosphere, the Earth experiences clearer skies that serve to further warm the planet. Thus, according to cosmic ray theory, the impact of solar variability on global temperatures is higher than scientists previously believed.

Researchers at CERN set up an experiment designed to replicate how cosmic rays might affect cloud formation. The researchers fired varying concentrations of particles from a proton accelerator into a chamber containing ultra-pure air and selected trace gases. They found that in conditions simulating the Earth’s upper atmosphere cosmic rays can increase the rate of aerosol production (which is key to cloud formation) by a factor of 10 or more.

The results do not necessarily confirm the theory that cosmic ray variance plays a significant role in global temperature fluctuations, but the results do – to the surprise of many cosmic ray theory doubters – invalidate some of the key objections to cosmic ray theory.



Irene threatens to end hurricane drought … North Atlantic mid-latitudes experiencing fewer storms … Western Pacific experiencing fewer hurricanes … Global sea level falls … La Niña returns … Feds spending alarming sums on climate change … ClimateWiki update


Hurricane Irene, which is currently situated over the Bahamas and is projected to skirt the Atlantic coast before making landfall somewhere between North Carolina and southern New England, is threatening to be the first hurricane in nearly three years to make landfall in the United States. Despite claims that global warming is causing more hurricane activity, the United States is currently experiencing the second-longest period in recorded history during which a hurricane has not made landfall. The longest period also occurred very recently, between 1999 and 2002.

SOURCE: Our Amazing Planet


Severe storm activity in the North Atlantic mid-latitudes is lower now than during the Little Ice Age, a team of geologists report in the peer-reviewed Quaternary Research. Studying flood tide deposits along the North Carolina coast, the geologists report “a general decrease in storminess at mid-latitudes in the North Atlantic,” reflecting “more stable climate conditions, fewer storm impacts (both hurricane and nor’easter), and a decrease in the average wind intensity and wave energy field in the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic,” during the past 300 years as temperatures have risen from the depths of the Little Ice Age.

SOURCES: Quaternary Research and


Tropical cyclone activity affecting the western Pacific Ocean has been declining during recent decades, multiple peer-reviewed studies report. Scientists with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology report a 60 percent decline since the late 1800s in hurricanes making landfall in Australia. Scientists in China and South Korea report a declining frequency in hurricanes striking their nations, as well.

SOURCE: World Climate Report


Global sea level dropped six millimeters in 2010 and has continued to drop in 2011, NASA satellite instruments report. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports “the rise of the global ocean has been remarkably steady” since satellite instruments began measuring sea level in 1993, which counters alarmist assertions of an acceleration in sea-level rise. While the 2010–2011 decline in global sea level is almost certainly of a temporary nature, it may force a downward revision of the long-term pace of sea-level rise.



The equatorial Eastern Pacific Central Ocean has begun cooling again, reverting to the La Niña conditions that have prevailed since mid-2010. Sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific had returned to normal in May of this year, but have cooled off to La Niña levels during the past month. La Niña conditions cause lower global temperatures but an increase in drought in the southern United States.

SOURCE: Watts Up With That?


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports annual federal spending on climate change has nearly doubled since 2003, with the federal government spending $106 billion on climate change between 2003 and 2010. The Obama administration plans to further increase spending on climate change, creating vested interests reliant on the continuation of global warming scares.



The Heartland Institute has created a Web site,, to help everyone – from high school students to scientists working in the field – quickly find the latest and most reliable information on climate science. Please send your suggestions for new pages or improvements to current ones to John Monaghan at [email protected]. And if you have new research to share, is the perfect place.

An example from ClimateWiki, Emissions from Renewable Energy, reads in part:

Many individuals are under assumption that renewable energy resources are ideal because they do not release emissions. This is not the case. Though renewable resources release less greenhouse gas emissions than renewable sources, the renewable energy sources that are being most prominently promoted are not as efficient (or cost effective) as they are being represented.

Life-cycle emissions from renewable electricity generation range from 9 to 41 mT CO2-e per MWh, with wind and hydropower at 9 to10, and photovoltaics at 32. Fossil fuel-burning plants, in contrast, ranged from about 440 mT CO2-e per MWh for natural gas combined cycle turbines and up to 1,050 for some coal plants.

If you have questions about the ClimateWiki or about The Heartland Institute, contact Jim Lakely, director of communications, at [email protected] or call 312/377-4000.


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Master Resource
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International Climate Science Coalition
Climate Scientists’ Register
Science and Public Policy Institute
Climate Depot by Marc Morano
World Climate Report by Dr. Patrick Michaels
E-FACT Report by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)
Global Warming Policy Foundation by Benny Peiser
Biweekly Updates from the Cooler Heads Coalition
Climate and Environment Review by the Center Science and Public Policy
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change by Craig Idso et al.
Watts Up With That? by Anthony Watts
ICECAP by Joseph D’Aleo
Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre
Climate Science by Roger Pielke Sr.
Junk Science by Steve Milloy

The Heartland Institute is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. The Heartland Institute publishes the monthly newspaper Environment & Climate News and sponsors the International Conference on Climate Change, the largest regular gathering of global warming experts challenging the notion that humans are creating a global warming crisis. James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

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