August 8, 2002


Cosmic Rays Linked To Global Warming (American Geophysical Union, Posted 7/31/2002)
A study in the July 2002 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, published by the American Geophysical Union, proposes for the first time that interstellar cosmic rays could be the missing link between the discordant temperatures observed during the last two decades (since recorded satellite records began in 1979). The report, by Fangqun Yu of the State University of New York-Albany, proposes that the rays, tiny charged particles that bombard all planets with varying frequency depending on solar wind intensity, may have height-dependent effects on our planet's cloudiness. Previous research has proposed a link between cosmic rays and cloud cover, has not suggested the altitude dependence of the current study.

"A systematic change in global cloud cover will change the atmospheric heating profile," Yu said. "In other words, the cosmic ray-induced global cloud changes could be the long-sought mechanism connecting solar and climate variability."

The hypothesis, if confirmed, could also shed light on the Sun's role in global warming. The amount of cosmic rays reaching Earth depends on solar winds, which vary in strength by space-weather conditions. Yu points out that indications of Earth's warming have coincided with decreased cosmic ray intensity during the 20th century. Such explanations for natural causes of global warming do not rule out human contributions to temperature change, but present the possibility that humans are not solely responsible for some of the observed temperature increases

Milton Friedman has a rule that by the time the Federal Reserve takes an action to raise or lower interest rates it is already too late and they should actually do the reverse. One suspects that in twenty or thirty years, when we finally understand climate change, we'll discover that the greenhouse gasses have been protecting us from the sun's effects all along and we'll start looking for ways to make more. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2002 4:40 PM
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