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Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

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Pint

Science is awesome...

I know I end up repeating myself on these science articles, but wow Science is awesome. Who would have thought, that the explosion of a supernova halfway across the galaxy, would have an effect (through those cosmic rays) on our planet and it's cloud formation.

Awesome! Beer for those boffins -->

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Re: Science is awesome...

Not so fast, the beer needs to be put on ice for a moment.

I would like the scientists to tell me whether or not the space rays are more polluting to the atmosphere than my Corolla. If they are, then I'll give them a bottle of whiskey of their choice (as long as it's not Bells or Teachers, because they're shite).

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Re: Science is awesome...

Than your Corolla alone? Yes, I expect that all those 'space rays' would have a greater effect. But than all the Corollas on the planet, over all the years they've been chugging away -- seems less likely.

(And I agree with you regarding Bells.)

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Headmaster

Re: Science is awesome...

They may well be shite, but Bell's and Teacher's are whisky. Jack Daniel's and Jameson is whiskey. It may be the season of goodwill, but there's no need to let standards slip! Merry Christmas!

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Pint

Re: Science is awesome...

It'll be an icy cold day in hell before I ever refer to the bourbon Jack Daniels & co a "whiskey".

Although, granted, I used whiskey in reference to whisky made in Scotland, it should be noted that the "e" in whiskey identifies it as Irish.

Merry *hic* Christmas

*hic*

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Pint

Re: Science is awesome...

Fair point about the bourbon! Each to his own. I guess I should've worked out the Irish connection from your user name! Cheers!

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Re: Science is awesome...

Jack Daniels is a Tennessee sour mash whiskey (it says so on the bottle). As I heard it, when whisky making in Scotland changed Irish and American distillers wanted to distinguish their product from what they saw as an inferior way of making whisky, by adding an 'e'. Personally, I all for single malt whisky, but that may just be me,

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Re: Science is awesome...

"Jack Daniels is a Tennessee sour mash whiskey (it says so on the bottle). As I heard it, when whisky making in Scotland changed Irish and American distillers wanted to distinguish their product from what they saw as an inferior way of making whisky, by adding an 'e'. Personally, I all for single malt whisky, but that may just be me,"

I agree. Single malts are far superior. The only exception to that is Jamesons, Powers and Paddy whiskies. All blended yes but bloody lovely.

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Unhappy

The bad news

... is that the anti man-made lot will jump on this as justification for doing nothing.

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Re: The bad news

the anti man-made lot will jump on this as justification for doing nothing.
So what are you proposing we do about cosmic rays?

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Re: The bad news

We don't need to jump. We've just been waiting for slow freights like you to get a clue.

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Mushroom

Re: The bad news

EXPLODE MORE STARS (mwahahahaha)

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Re: The bad news

We've just been waiting for slow freights like you to get a clue.

Says the clueless conspiracy-monger.

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Mushroom

Re: The bad news

"EXPLODE MORE STARS"

That's all very well, but make sure you learn some phenomenology first. You never know when a thermostellar bomb can go haywire.

https://youtu.be/5b58Zh_5VKI

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Re: The bad news is that you can't stop cosmic rays!

Yeah, about "doing something", the fact is that YOU can't stop particles going the speed of light and nothing can. So you were blathering on about something?

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Old News?

The Chilling Stars: A Cosmic View of Climate Change. Svensmark's book was published in 2003.

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Re: Old News?

Very old. The Warmists have been trying to suppress this for years but it just won't go away. Seems it provides a science-based, non-CO2-based explanation for climate changes (besides the Milankovitch cycles).

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Re: Old News?

>Seems it provides a science-based, non-CO2-based explanation for climate changes

John, if you think this interesting titbit gives aid to your anti-AGW ideology, you're even more deluded than usual.

These are changes (literally) on a cosmic scale, which may help explain long-term climate variations. They do nothing to explain the short-term warming we are observing. Is that clear?

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Re: Old News?

Strum, you really should understand a subject before commenting on it.

"These are changes (literally) on a cosmic scale, which may help explain long-term climate variations."

Yes, cosmic ray flux levels are a "cosmic scale" thing. But the theory in question says nothing about that. The theory says that what matters is the flux level that reaches the troposphere (where the clouds are) and actually generates more (or less) cloud cover, thus affecting the climate bigly by changing the Earth's albedo.

And what does change that flux level here on Earth? Obviously it's the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun. In particular, the Sun's magnetosphere matters a lot because it extends a long way out, giving the incoming charged particles more time to be steered away from the inner system. And that solar magnetosphere is strongly variable on rather short time scales, for reasons not yet fully understood. Probably has to do with chaotic turbulence within the Sun I suppose...

Basically the solar magnetic field is the proposed "control lever" for some climate changes, such as the Little Ice Age a couple centuries ago. And guess what? Astronomers of that time all reported a strange absence of sunspots, which happen to be direct manifestations of the Sun's magnetic field! Go figure.

In short, solar magnetic changes are not cosmic in their timing whatsoever. Solar magnetic changes can and do occur quite rapidly, and can account for short term climate changes.

Is that clear? ;-/

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Re: Old News?

Seems it provides a science-based, non-CO2-based explanation for climate changes (besides the Milankovitch cycles).

But there are problems with Milankovitch cycles. Just as there are problems with CO2-driven climate change. It's all about quantifying effects. So the key CO2 one is sensitivity. That's generally X degrees per doubling of CO2. If X is high, more warming, low, less. And it's generally assumed the response is logarithmic.

That's where there's a lot of sensitivity. For a small value of X, CO2's not a problem, ie if X=1.2 we'll keep to the arbitary <2C warming. Then there's comparisons between models using different CO2 sensitivity values and measured temperatures. If the model says we should be 3C warmer, and observations show we're only 0.5C, then sensitivity is too high, or there are negative effects. If those negative effects counter CO2 warming, then there's no problem, and arguably benefits from higher CO2 levels, like the 'greening of the planet'.

Which is where Svensmark's theories, and also Milankovitch cyles come in. We know climate changes naturally. We know that can be extreme, ie an Ice Age, or less extreme, ie a Little Ice Age or Medieval Warming Period. Some try to deny the extent or magnitude, but there's evidence supporting them. CO2 driven climate can't really support natural cooling, especially not to Ice Age levels. Milankovitch cycles struggle with effect exceeding cause, ie a small change in insolation leading to a large change in temperature.

Where I think Svensmark's theory comes in is filling in some of the feedback or forcing gaps. So on it's own, it may not be enough to explain recorded climate changes, but we know there are solar cycles and variability in things that affect or attenuate cosmic rays.. But there are also issues with weak correlation, or effect exceeding cause. But we do know that clouds are notoriously difficult to model, and have a large impact on temperatures.

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Re: Old News?

So the key CO2 one is sensitivity. That's generally X degrees per doubling of CO2. If X is high, more warming, low, less. And it's generally assumed the response is logarithmic.
The response to additional CO2 on infra-red light absorption by Earth's atmosphere was characterised by Svante Arrhenius in the 19th C.

It is not "assumed" to be logarithmic. It is logarithmic on theoretical and empirical grounds. As an analogy, think of CO2's infra-red absorption to be characterised as a sheet of glass between a light source and light absorber. To keep it simple, our sheet of glass absorbs 50% of the light passing through. Adding a second sheet of glass blocks 50% of the remaining light thus total absorption is now 75%. Rinse and repeat.

Calculating the absorption of infra-red emitted by Earth's surface for entails dividing the atmosphere into an arbitrary number of layers and summing the result for each layer. This would be tedious except for MODTRAN:

The MODTRAN® (MODerate resolution atmospheric TRANsmission) computer code is used worldwide by research scientists in government agencies, commercial organizations, and educational institutions for the prediction and analysis of optical measurements through the atmosphere. MODTRAN was developed and continues to be maintained through a longstanding collaboration between Spectral Sciences, Inc. (SSI) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The high sensitivity to CO2 claimed by warmists is the result of an assumption. To wit, the so-called Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. This entails the belief that the slight increase in temperature caused by increased CO2 necessarily increases the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. As Paltridge, Rking and Pook revealed in their paper Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data there is no empirical evidence for this.

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No such thing as climate change. none. This is fake news.

* The term "climate" was made up by the Obama administration to move attention away from <topic of the day here>. Fact.

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Anonymous Coward

"No such thing as climate change" ,,,,,, You are demonstrably wrong there. Climate does change. There is a wealth of historical evidence to demonstrate that. What we haven't managed to do is work out the science of what makes it change well enough to know with any certainty what percentage of the change 0% to 100% is due to human activity.

Anyone who claims either 0% or 100% with religious fervour is almost certainly wrong.

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Anyone who claims either 0% or 100% with religious fervour is almost certainly wrong.

Or was joking...

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> "The term "climate" was made up by the Obama administration..."

Yeah, I'd say it wasn't an honest comment. Just another inane attempt at a false flag operation, sigh.

Oh well, at least it does indicate the desperation among some of the CAGW crowd. Can't blame them tho. The stars just aren't aligning for their cause any more.

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Anyone who claims either 0% or 100% with religious fervour is almost certainly wrong.

Anyone who types a sentence like that is almost certainly unaware of Poe's law.

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Anonymous Coward

"Poe's Law" ...... you do realize that even if someone is making an extreme claim for fun and to wind up "believers" what they are saying still wrong.

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Climate change is real - every 24 hours

Not that humans can do anything about that, unless they:

- stop the planed Earth from rotation, that warms the Earth in day-time side, and cools it in night-time side, with dramatic temperature fluctuations of 10-20 degrees in most parts of our planet every 12 hours or so, that would have long caused catastrophic planetary and civilization failures by theories of warmists;

- install the giant termostat regulator on the Sun and stop our star from cyclic increase or decrease of its heat production in every 11, 40 and other know astrophysical cycle periods;

- build a giant shield around the Solar system protecting against the cloud-forming comic rays from the Universe;

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Anonymous Coward

So it's alien chemtrails? I knew it and to think people laughed at my tin foil hat.

Just wait, when it comes out that Elvis shot JFK in the studio where they filmed the moon landings I will be fully vindicated.

If anything happens to me it was the lizard people.

On a side note, very interesting science, Would these cosmic rays have to be factored into weather modelling?

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Would these cosmic rays have to be factored into weather modelling?
No. Weather modelling is based on data no older than 7 days. The effects Svensmark describes occur over periods of weeks to millions of years, so they can be treated as a constant in weather models.

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Anonymous Coward

"Weather modelling is based on data no older than 7 days."......... so how does that work with a 10 day forecast?

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so how does that work with a 10 day forecast?
Here in SE Australia we have 7 day forecasts that are 70% accurate. Presumably if you are getting 10 day forecasts they are based on 10 day old data.

Huonville Forecast

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Trollface

Sweet

Could someone tell Al Gore?

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In what universe is this hard science?

If scientific hypotheses have to be testable to be science (that is, it should be practically possible to prove them to be wrong), then this idea is only very tenuously scientific. To test it you have to irradiate the whole earth, or wait for the solar system to reach a different part of the galaxy. It's fair to say that the basic phenomenon can be demonstrated in a cloud chamber (that's what cloud chambers do), but quite a leap to go from that to the atmosphere of the whole Earth, with many other phenomena present. Nice idea, could be true, but like the man said the beer stays on ice for now.

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Re: In what universe is this hard science?

Climate science is exempt from the scientific method.

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Re: In what universe is this hard science?

I think that that is a rather simplistic view of the way in which scientific ideas develop. The reality is more nuanced, and indeed the authors of the paper state that:

"The mechanism could therefore be a natural explanation for the observed correlations between past climate variations and cosmic rays, modulated by either solar activity or caused by supernova activity..."

Furthermore, there was a degree of hypothesis testing. The authors, after having used some nifty mathematical modelling, raised the hypothesis that cosmic rays could increase the size of cloud condensation nucleii, and tested this experimentally, and in doing so failed to disprove the hypothesis.

Very few things are absolutely (dis)provable in science: hypothesis are put forward, tested and evidence accumulated. This leads to a "best current view" of the world, although what "best" is is rarely uncontentious, and most scientists would anyway acknowledge that their "best current view" is a best incomplete, and very likely incorrect in some aspects.

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FAIL

Re: In what universe is this hard science?

"The team studied the effects of cosmic rays on a simulation of Earth’s atmosphere, recreated inside a cloud chamber, which mimics the planet’s upper atmosphere inside a controlled lab setting where these interactions can be studied up close."

http://www.ibtimes.com/cosmic-rays-trigger-climate-change-earth-increasing-cloud-cover-study-2630728

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Re: In what universe is this hard science?

"Very few things are absolutely (dis)provable in science: hypothesis are put forward, tested and evidence accumulated."

No, it is fundamental that any hypothesis that cannot be tested (i.e. cannot in principle be disproved) cannot itself be scientific. It can be many other useful things, and (as in the present case) it can offer the challenge of working out the test that will make it scientific, but unless there is a way to test it, it's not a scientific hypothesis.

To say the moon is made of green cheese is not scientific unless there is a way of checking that it isn't. Once there is a way, then the hypothesis that the moon is made of green cheese is a valid part of science. (In case the incautious should be tempted to believe in lunar cheesism, I must add that that ship has sailed. The hypothesis happens to be wrong. But it's not just wrong, it's scientifically wrong).

One thing that we know about past climate is that all the ice core and deep-sea sediment data suggest rather strongly that changes tend to occur in steps. That is, it rather looks as if the total climate system response tends to be quite highly non-linear. Wise people don't mess with systems like that, especially when the system in question happens to be an important part of their own life-support. (Bits of that argument may not be completely scientific yet, but the common sense involved is undeniable).

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Anonymous Coward

The solar wind is currently "lower" than average and continuing to reduce, so more cosmic rays (sounds better than particles) are reaching Earth (*).

OTOH, if global temperatures change enough to cause problems then I'm not sure why we shouldn't consider reducing the inputs we can control just because there are others that we can't.

(*) this could also kill off any chance of a manned trip to Mars in the next decade or two

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Boffin

The solar wind is currently "lower" than average and continuing to reduce,

So, building a wind generator with solar panels for blades is not going to be very worthwhile, is it?

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So if the sun turns into a supernova, the extra cloud cover will stop global warming?

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[supernova ... ] the extra cloud cover will stop global warming?

Yeah - it's a sort of peril-sensitive cloud layer...

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Another dodgy headline

Extraterrestrial events didn't alter Earth's climate. They *are* an element in Earth's climate. And, like water vapour making the difference between sunny and cloudy, dry and wet, they make transient differences.

The key issue in climate change is a cumulative long-term imbalance in CO2. There are much more powerful greenhouse gases (headed by water vapour - clouds make a much bigger difference than CO2, methane, sunspots, or even volcanic ash), but they're in a natural cycle whose ultimate sources and sinks are in balance over at least the medium term.

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Re: Another dodgy headline

> "The key issue in climate change is a cumulative long-term imbalance in CO2."

Pray tell, what IS the correct balance point for atmospheric CO2 concentration? Has that bit of science been settled yet? ;-/

I seem to recall reading that our modern CO2 level is rather low as a function of the geological record, so low indeed that if it had gone much lower there would have been serious curtailment of photosynthesizing organisms everywhere.

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Re: Another dodgy headline

Who says there's any such thing as a "correct" level?

But it's the low levels of geologically-recent times that support high-metabolic-rate (warm-blooded) life forms. You'll suffocate in a stuffy room while there's still plenty of oxygen. Just like you'd suffocate on this planet's distant history, before most of the carbon was captured from the air and laid down as fossils over millions of years before we evolved.

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Windows

Meh

If Interstellar particles alter Earth's climate, by extension so must our planets magnetic field, as it variably influences said particles reaching our atmosphere. As my compatriot Wolfetone points this out as miniscule 'Corolla Data', it presumably may, at some point be useful in modifying/improving climate models affecting distant points in time. But I even bore myself.

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Paris Hilton

Interesting, but in which direction?

At a dumb bunny level I can see that no clouds at all can allow more heating but also more heat loss. Desert regions are an example where it is blazingly hot during the day but freezing at night. So do you gain more heat than you lose or vice versa?

I can see that a very heavy cloud layer (think super volcano or nuclear winter) can shut off more incoming heat than it saves in radiated heat so temperature falls.

We seem to be in the half way house normally; enough sun gets through to warm the day up but cloudy nights keep the heat in. Different results in winter and summer.

So, in the tradition of the Scotsman who blew on his hands to warm them and blew on his porridge to cool it, does extra cosmic ray input and more clouds make us warmer or cooler?

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Re: Interesting, but in which direction?

"which direction"

I would say it quite obvious that reflecting away high power radiation from a source at 15 million C is going to have more effect than reflecting back piss weak radiation from a source at a few tens of C.

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Re: Interesting, but in which direction?

does extra cosmic ray input and more clouds make us warmer or cooler?
Depends. High cloud cools at night and warms during the day. Low cloud warms at night and cools during the day. Cosmic rays affect the intensity of warming or cooling.

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Duh...

That was the plot of the movie "A Convenient Fiction", a so-called documentary response to the environmental Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".

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