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Exploding Stars Influence Climate Of Earth

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  • Pat Neuman
    May explain part of the the small bump in global temperatures during the 2nd quarter of the the 20th century. Pat N Exploding Stars Influence Climate Of Earth
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2006
      May explain part of the the small bump in global temperatures during
      the 2nd quarter of the the 20th century. Pat N

      Exploding Stars Influence Climate Of Earth

      Cosmic radiation entering Earth's atmosphere. Credit: Danish
      National Space Center.
      by Staff Writers
      Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Oct 06, 2006
      A team at the Danish National Space Center has discovered how cosmic
      rays from exploding stars can help to make clouds in the atmosphere.
      The results support the theory that cosmic rays influence Earth's
      An essential role for remote stars in everyday weather on Earth has
      been revealed by an experiment at the Danish National Space Center
      in Copenhagen.

      It is already well-established that when cosmic rays, which are high-
      speed atomic particles originating in exploded stars far away in the
      Milky Way, penetrate Earth's atmosphere they produce substantial
      amounts of ions and release free electrons.

      Now, results from the Danish experiment show that the released
      electrons significantly promote the formation of building blocks for
      cloud condensation nuclei on which water vapour condenses to make

      Hence, a causal mechanism by which cosmic rays can facilitate the
      production of clouds in Earth's atmosphere has been experimentally
      identified for the first time.

      The Danish team officially announced their discovery on Wednesday in
      Proceedings of the Royal Society A, published by the Royal Society,
      the British national academy of science.

      The experiment

      The experiment called SKY (Danish for "cloud") took place in a large
      reaction chamber which contained a mixture of gases at realistic
      concentrations to imitate the chemistry of the lower atmosphere.

      Ultraviolet lamps mimicked the action of the Sun's rays. During
      experimental runs, instruments traced the chemical action of the
      penetrating cosmic rays in the reaction chamber.

      The data revealed that electrons released by cosmic rays act as
      catalysts, which significantly accelerate the formation of stable,
      ultra-small clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules which are
      building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei. A vast numbers of
      such microscopic droplets appeared, floating in the air in the
      reaction chamber.

      "We were amazed by the speed and efficiency with which the electrons
      do their work of creating the building blocks for the cloud
      condensation nuclei," says team leader Henrik Svensmark, who is
      Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research within the Danish
      National Space Center. "This is a completely new result within
      climate science."

      A missing link in climate theory

      The experimental results lend strong empirical support to the theory
      proposed a decade ago by Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-
      Christensen that cosmic rays influence Earth's climate through their
      effect on cloud formation.

      The original theory rested on data showing a strong correlation
      between variation in the intensity of cosmic radiation penetrating
      the atmosphere and the amount of low-altitude clouds. Cloud cover
      increases when the intensity of cosmic rays grows and decreases when
      the intensity declines.

      It is known that low-altitude clouds have an overall cooling effect
      on the Earth's surface. Hence, variations in cloud cover caused by
      cosmic rays can change the surface temperature. The existence of
      such a cosmic connection to Earth's climate might thus help to
      explain past and present variations in Earth's climate.

      Interestingly, during the 20th Century, the Sun's magnetic field
      which shields Earth from cosmic rays more than doubled, thereby
      reducing the average influx of cosmic rays.

      The resulting reduction in cloudiness, especially of low-altitude
      clouds, may be a significant factor in the global warming Earth has
      undergone during the last century. However, until now, there has
      been no experimental evidence of how the causal mechanism linking
      cosmic rays and cloud formation may work.

      "Many climate scientists have considered the linkages from cosmic
      rays to clouds to climate as unproven," comments Eigil Friis-
      Christensen, who is now Director of the Danish National Space Center.

      "Some said there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could
      influence cloud cover. The SKY experiment now shows how they do so,
      and should help to put the cosmic-ray connection firmly onto the
      agenda of international climate research."

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