Wednesday, May 21

The Cosmic Ray-Climate Connection

Kirkby reports that "diverse reconstructions of past climate change have revealed clear associations with cosmic ray variations recorded in cosmogenic isotope archives, providing persuasive evidence for solar or cosmic ray forcing of the climate." Despite the increasing evidence of its importance, however, he says that "solar-climate variability is likely to remain controversial until a physical mechanism is established." In this regard he discusses two different classes of microphysical mechanisms that have been proposed to connect cosmic rays with clouds, which interact significantly with fluxes of both solar and thermal radiation and, therefore, climate: "firstly, an influence of cosmic rays on the production of cloud condensation nuclei and, secondly, an influence of cosmic rays on the global electrical circuit in the atmosphere and, in turn, on ice nucleation and other cloud microphysical processes." Kirkby reports, in this regard, that "considerable progress on understanding ion-aerosol-cloud processes has been made in recent years, and the results are suggestive of a physically-plausible link between cosmic rays, clouds and climate."

Testing The Water GOM