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The CLOUD experiment

24 August 2011

theComments on the CLOUD experiment results and a paper in Nature this week, August 25th, are somewhat revealing. Andrew Mountford, author of The Hockey Stick Illusion, at his blog www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/8/24/cloud-experiment-links.html sets the tone of the blogosphere flavour by running through some reactions. For example, the internet home of The Team, Real Climate, says the results don't really matter because cosmic ray levels haven't changed, while Nature, hand on heart, says cosmic rays do cause change, but … and New Scientist sees cloud making as another human effect on climate. Over at Chemistry World they can't bear even to mention the name of Henrik Svensmark – obviously something of a bogeyman to the establishment. As expected the Guardian could not see the signifcance of the results while at Reuters the cosmic ray effect is said to be very small – negligible. As for the BBC, no prizes …

It is necessary to play around on the blogosphere to get a feel of what the CLOUD experiment is really all about (for example http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/24/breaki9ng-news-cern-experiment-con… but it is really at Nigel Calder's blog that the real story behind the CLOUD experiment can be found (http://caldersup.wordpress.com ). Just what does it mean for CAGW alarmism? 

Calder begins the post with a small graph that the Nature paper (printed version) omitted, probably because it was quite damaging to the consensus. It shows explicitly that cosmic rays promote the formation of clusters of molecules that in the real atmosphere can grow and seed clouds. At the heart of the process is an electric field (representing plasma from the Sun) that cleans the atmosphere of ions. When the electric field was switched off cosmic rays were able to build clusters of molecules at a higher rate and when CLOUD simulated stronger cosmci rays the rate of cluster production increased further still. Henrik Svensmark's hypothesis is that much of the global warming in the 20th century was due to a reduction in cosmic rays as a result of heightened solar activity. This led to reduced cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures. The CLOUD experiment has confirmed this is part of the story – possibly not the whole of the story but an important part thereof and enough to account for the hike in global temperatures during the 1980s and 1990s etc. 

Nigel Calder, co-author with Henrik Svensmark of The Chilling Stars, the popularised book on his research, then describes how the wider science community marginalised the hypothesis – as they saw it as a major threat to CAGW theory which had achieved so much success in funding and public awareness. We all know that science has some tawdry practises, tarnishing the reputations of maverick scientists on many occasions (or anyone that might have the temerity to challenge the establishment view). The climate science as popularised at NASA GISS, UEA CRU, the Potsdam Institute, Penn State and various other education and research facilities. The IPCC, the climate science arm of the UN, a huge money launderer, said of the hypothesis in 1996, it was 'scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible' in an attempt to keep the money collection bins rolling. A huge PR machine went into overdrive and kept the BBC, The Times, the New York Times, Guardian, Independent, ABC, CNN, and most of the media organisations in the west, well informed – in so far as the Svensmark hypothesis had nowhere to go. On top of this Scientific American, and New Scientist (and remember, Calder is a former editor of the New Scientist) as well as more august journals such as Science and Nature were all used by the PR people to deflect attention away from the Sun, the real temperature provider for anything living on the surface of the Earth. Funny, now the experiment is over why would anyone think the Sun was not the principle actor?

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