Climate change: It’s all in the clouds.


Climate change: It’s all in the clouds.

“All sunshine makes a desert.” This is an old Arabic proverb. The Arabs should know. They have a lot of deserts and more desert land is added every year in the Muslim world. Is this due to global warming, or is it due to mismanagement of precious water resources, overgrazing and cutting down of trees?
“The planet has a fever,” Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore said March 2007 in a joint congressional hearing. “The science is settled,” Gore told the lawmakers. ”Carbon-dioxide emissions — from cars, power plants, buildings and other sources — are heating the Earth’s atmosphere.”
Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara warned Sep 30 in Copenhagen during his speech about Tokyo’s bid for the Olympics that the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games, with global warming an immediate threat to mankind.
Many years ago the summers in eastern USA were full of thunderstorms, but not too many day long rains. In the 1960’s, the increased burning of high sulfur coal and diesel fuel led to day long “acid rains”. The fish died in lakes that already were too acidic.
Then most of the coal fired power plants got scrubbers, low sulfur diesel fuel was mandated and the rain again got less acid.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continued, this acts as a green house gas, and the earth would then get warmer, the more CO2, the warmer the earth. This looked like a sure thing around 1999, when the alarm sounded: Unless we drastically reduce the CO2 emissions, we will face a thermal runaway, and life as we know it will be no more.

The polar ice caps were melting at an alarming rate, and we could see an ice-free arctic summer in less than 20 years (or was it 50? The number of years seems to vary.)
“Recent projections suggest polar bears could be extinct within 70 years.” The Telegraph recently announced.

This seemed true until mid 2007, when the yearly melting of the icecaps suddenly stopped and the ice caps started growing again.
The Arctic polar ice cap as of Sep 15 2009 is 5 million square kilometers, up 23% from 2007.
The Antarctic ice cap as of Sep 16 2009 is 18.5 million square kilometers, up 5% from 2008, and up 3% from 1979 – 2000 average.
On the 8th of October it was announced that the ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history (World Climate Report). Did you miss the headlines?

2009 has been a different year. The clouds seem to have changed character again. The clouds over Pennsylvania this summer reminded me of the Swedish clouds of my childhood. Something must have changed to make the clouds look more Nordic.
Then I read an article about solar winds and how they affect cosmic rays. The article was written by the Dane Henrik Svensmark (born 1958), a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

The article is sure to cause controversy over Svensmark’s theory of cosmic ray to cloud modulation, which is said to be affecting earth’s climate. Svensmark says this is now leading to a global cooling phase. Just a couple of weeks after Svensmark’s bold announcement, NASA has announced that we have hit a new record high in Galactic Cosmic Rays, up 19% from the last recorded peak to a new space age high.
Suddenly a lot of things that has puzzled me about climate change started to make sense. We are much more dependent on the variations in the sun than previously thought, but not for the reasons we thought. The Sun has regular 11 year cycles of magnetic activity. The magnetic activity rises and falls again. This has almost no effect on the weather, so something else must cause the weather changes.
How could cosmic radiation cause clouds? Let us take an analogy with boiling water. It boils at the boiling point. If distilled water is used it heats up above the boiling point and erupts in a burst of bubbles that can be quite dangerous. If de-ionized water is used it is even more pronounced. The gas bubbles must have a core of something to form from.
It is the same thing with condensation. The air can be super-saturated with moisture and nothing happens unless there is a surface to condensate on. Dust particles and ions will do fine, but if the air is clean there will be no clouds.
The cosmic radiation that hits the earth comes from distant super-nova explosions and is assumed to be constant. Most of it is absorbed in the solar wind that surrounds the earth, but some particles survive and enter the earth’s atmosphere. The speed of the particles is very close to the speed of light, so they have an enormous energy. When they hit the atmosphere they ionize the molecules they come in contact with, not once, but many times, and they leave a trail of ions until they are fully absorbed in the atmosphere. This trail is an ideal condensation trail, and clouds can form. As with the example of boiling water, once it starts, the clouds feed on themselves.
So, this is the reason the clouds have changed character. The Iron Nuclei cosmic radiation is 4 times more in 2009 than it was in 2000. The clouds are more disbursed, smaller and with less energy each, but over larger areas. Since clouds cause cooling of the earth, it explains the recent cooling trend. It also explains why the tropical storms could not get organized but dissipated rather than develop into full blown hurricanes. As an added bonus the Ozone layer is recovering.
So, Mr. Gore, the science is not settled, the interesting part has just begun. Right now, there is a team of scientists at the CERN supercollider investigating cosmic radiation and its ability to form clouds in a condensation chamber. The results will not be available for a while, but when the results are reported we will find that all climate models have overestimated the CO2 influence, and underestimated the importance of clouds as temperature regulators.
What does this mean for the future of the politics of climate change? Rather than concentrating on CO2 emissions we should concentrate on the water management of the earth. The disappearance of Lake Aral and Lake Tsad, the lowering of the water table in many environmentally vulnerable areas of the world is a much greater danger to the environment. This is mostly happening in Muslim and other totalitarian areas of the world. Now, that’s an inconvenient truth, Mr. Gore!
Lennart Bilen, 2009

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