As Lawrence Solomon has reported, with little fanfare–certainly none from pseudo-scientific, apocalyptic, anthropogenic warmists and their uncritical (if witless) media and political champions–Jasper Kirkby et al. have just published a seminal paper in Nature (“Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation.” Nature Volume: 476, Pages: 429-433 (25 August 2011) DOI: doi:10.1038/nature10343).
Solomon’s pellucid lay description summarizes the key study findings and their devastating impact upon the so-called “settled science” of greenhouse gas- mediated, “anthropogenic warming”:
The research…comes from über-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest centres for scientific research involving 60 countries and 8,000 scientists at more than 600 universities and national laboratories. CERN is the organization that invented the World Wide Web, that built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and that has now built a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreated the Earth’s atmosphere. In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.
Solomon also reports how the lead investigator, Jasper Kirkby, overcame the lemming-like marginalization and vilification of two impeccably-credentialed Danish scientists (from the Danish Space Research Institute) who originally proposed the hypothesis (i.e., in 1996) that cosmic rays and the sun play an integral role in global warming.
Mr. Kirkby…convinced the CERN bureaucracy of the theory’s importance and developed a plan to create a cloud chamber — he called it CLOUD, for “Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets.”
Alas, Solomon notes, Kirkby repeated,
…the same tactical error that the Danes [the two Danish Space Research Institute scientists who put forth the theory in 1996] had — not realizing how politicized the global warming issue was, he candidly shared his views with the scientific community. “The theory will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” Mr. Kirkby told the scientific press in 1998, explaining that global warming may be part of a natural cycle in the Earth’s temperature. The global warming establishment sprang into action, pressured the Western governments that control CERN, and almost immediately succeeded in suspending CLOUD. It took Mr. Kirkby almost a decade of negotiation with his superiors, and who knows how many compromises and unspoken commitments, to convince the CERN bureaucracy to allow the project to proceed. And years more to create the cloud chamber and convincingly validate the Danes’ groundbreaking theory.
And Solomon fears the continued bullying of serious scientists who refuse to abide the anthropogenic warmists politicized narrative is evident in how an obviously reluctant Nature–and CERN–have chosen to present (i.e., censor!) Kirkby et al’s groundbreaking findings.
Yet this spectacular success will be largely unrecognized by the general public for years — this column will be the first that most readers have heard of it — because CERN remains too afraid of offending its government masters to admit its success. Weeks ago, CERN formerly decided to muzzle Mr. Kirby and other members of his team to avoid “the highly political arena of the climate change debate,” telling them “to present the results clearly but not interpret them” and to downplay the results by “mak[ing] clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.” The CERN study and press release is written in bureaucratese and the version of Mr. Kirkby’s study that appears in the print edition of Nature censored the most eye-popping graph — only those who know where to look in an online supplement will see the striking potency of cosmic rays in creating the conditions for seeding clouds.
That graph and an explanatory legend are presented at the end of this blog
CERN, and the Danes, have in all likelihood found the path to the Holy Grail of climate science. But the religion of climate science won’t yet permit a celebration of the find.
Solomon’s concluding observation reminds me of a trenchant comment by Princeton University Physics Professor, and Director of Research at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1990-1993, William Happer. Dr. Happer remarked that a religious cult of Climate Scientologists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has evolved, whose fanaticism he characterizes thusly:
Disagreeing with them is like going to Saudi Arabia and criticizing Muhammad.
CERN’s hidden CLOUD graph, and what it demonstrates (as summarized aptly by Solomon)
(Source: Fig. S2c from supplementary online material for J. Kirkby et al., Nature, 476, 429-433, Nature 2011)
The graph above does not appear in the print edition of Nature, but it does make a showing at the back of the online supplementary material. The graph shows how cosmic rays promote the formation of clusters of molecules that can then grow and seed clouds in the real atmosphere.
At 03.45 am in a CLOUD experiment in Geneva, ultraviolet light began to create molecules in the cloud chamber, which approximates the air in the atmosphere. Jn above shows the neutral phase of the experiment, during which the CLOUD experiment electrically removed ions and molecular clusters. At 4.33 am, the CLOUD experiment stopped the electrical removal and allowed natural galactic cosmic rays (Jgcr) to enter the chamber through the roof of the Geneva building, leading to a faster rate of cluster buildup.
Then, at 4.58 am, CLOUD also beamed charged pion particles (Jch) from an accelerator (these are equivalent to cosmic rays), the rate of cluster production took off, convincingly demonstrating the effect of cosmic rays on cluster growth.
In the graph above, the different colours show the different diameters of the clusters in nanometres. The blue clusters, which are smallest, grew fastest; the black ones, which are the largest, took the most time.