Saturday, June 9, 2007

Global Warming, a Cosmic Cause


I heard about this a little while ago and wanted to give it space to be read and thought about. Ok, not that the masses are hanging on my every written word, but.. It is still important to incorporate this very important research as the finger pointing and consequent problem solving has to shift in a bit of different direction. Not only that, people with opposing viewpoints have been so polarized, that this bit of news can upset plenty of people on either side of the coin and either have them negate any sustainable practices (what's the use?) or react with equal force to save it even more. Who knows.. Anyhow.. here goes, excerpt time:

Man-made climate change may be happening at a far slower rate than has been claimed, according to controversial new research.

Scientists say that cosmic rays from outer space play a far greater role in changing the Earth's climate than global warming experts previously thought.

In a book, to be published this week, they claim that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.


High levels of cloud cover blankets the Earth and reflects radiated heat from the Sun back out into space, causing the planet to cool.
Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Centre







Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing.

He claims carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity are having a smaller impact on climate change than scientists think. If he is correct, it could mean that mankind has more time to reduce our effect on the climate.

The controversial theory comes one week after 2,500 scientists who make up the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change published their fourth report stating that human carbon dioxide emissions would cause temperature rises of up to 4.5 C by the end of the century.


More on the cosmic rays and climate change from the Danish National Space Centre

So now what?

9 comments:

JC said...

The whole problem with the theory that cosmic rays (or lack thereof) are driving global warming is that cosmic radiation has shown no trend over the last 50 years. So even if cosmic rays are linked to cloud formation, all they'll find is the cloud formation 50 years ago is the same as it is now and has little to no impact on global warming today.

Ingrid said...

Interesting point JC. I hope to read up on that more. Don't you think that when scientists talk about a trend they refer to a longer time period as opposed to a recent occurence? I am more in the wholistic camp myself although admittedly I do not know enough of it to put myself strongly in one or the other. let's say I'm more inclined to believe that there are many factors involved that need to be addressed as a whole, not just one factor that will make all the difference in problem solving. I also believe that regardless, reducing the CO2 as if it was the sole serious major contributor would be a wiser approach. Norway is planning to be 100% CO2 pollutant free in a short period of time (forgot the exact years, 20 or 30 so I don't want to guess).. I want to write about Norway as they have been progressive as any country should be and the former Norwegian PM was interviewed on Democracy Now with some interesting statements.. that would tie in with CO2 reduction. Crossing my fingers that will be this week as I'm at home with two kids and no summer camps!
Anyhow, thanks for your feedback.. I like to put 'things' out there so people give their own pov.. thanks for stopping by,
Ingrid

JC said...

Thanks for the response Ingrid. In terms of the trend in cosmic rays, it's been measured for about 50 years and over that time, there's been no long term trend. It matches similar measurements in solar irradiance, sunspot numbers, UV radiation and radio flux which all have levelled out over the same period. Recent global warming began around 30 years ago so it can't be solar variations causing it.

I hope you're right about Norway. The world seems to be in a holding pattern where the major nations are saying "I won't do it if he won't". So hopefully if a few countries take some leadership, it might lead others to follow.

Ingrid said...

JC... you sound very knowledgable about this. From what you're saying, it makes absolute sense in what you say. Part of me feels that, if the source comes from the Danes, who could not be in anyone's 'pocket' so to speak, it must have some validity in it. If you'd like, you're welcome to write a guest post here on my blog to share in more details and references your point of view, let me know and email me..
Ingrid

Karen Street said...

Ingrid,

The Danish have a lot of kooks on faculty, look at Lomborg. Check to see if reports come from highly respected organizations (National Academy of Sciences, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) or appear in peer-review journals (Science and Nature). That doesn't make them correct, but this is a better way to get information about science.

It isn't just carbon dioxide, it's also methane (natural gas, from fossil fuel use, rice farms, cow, waste, etc), ozone (from fossil fuel burning), soot (from fossil fuel burning),and carbon dioxide and methane from deforestation and peat bog destruction (where they had been in short-term storage, as opposed to long-term storage of fossil fuels).

There are also positive feedbacks, feedbacks which reinforce whatever direction the trend is: ice replaced by soil or water, lighter plants replaced by darker plants, plants which store more carbon dioxide (trees) replaced by those which store less (lianas, vines).

Ingrid said...

Thanks Karen, as I noticed earlier, you're very well read and you are absolutely right; check peer reviews and at all the variables at play you mentioned. I think that, when I have time this week, I need to add some of those suggested reads in my link list. Do you have any other ones you could suggest? Thanks for your feedback AND I haven't forgotten about the genetically altered food post where I was going to reply you more at length.. I find myself stressed for time to read in depth but as usual.. I have a list that is getting longer and longer with articles to read.. no worries, at some point it ought to happen! lol
Ingrid

Karen Street said...

Ingrid,

It will take a while to get through all of the recommendations to date!

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
• US National Academy of Science
Science magazine (the easier stuff at the beginning)
Nature magazine (the easier stuff at the beginning
• David Bodanksy's Nuclear Energy 2nd Edition

and perhaps one more:
RealClimate -- a blog put out by climatologists

These sources will send you to other sources.

Enjoy!

Ingrid said...

wow Karen, great sources. Thanks! I'll be sure to add these to my link list, thanks for the trouble!

Ingrid

The Cunning Runt said...

I really know shamefully little about how the magnitude of the man-made causes of global climate change "stacks up" to other effects beyond our control, but if the world's scientists can collectively affirm that we're having a significant effect, it seems prudent and moral to change that for the better.

And look at the potential leaps and innovations which are already accruing from our rethinking of our carbon-based economies and technologies! Not to mention putting an end to mountaintop removal mining, giant coal-tar sand mining, horizontal hydro-fragging, etc.

The unsustainability of this system nearly makes the idea of global warming a moot point, as we really have to make the prescribed changes anyway.

Did that make sense?? I'm kinda out of my league here...