Feeds

Top Indian space boffin beams down climate shocker

Cherche les cosmic rays

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

India's leading space physicist believes cosmic rays affect the Earth's climate far more than previously thought.

U R Rao has analysed 45 years of data and declared that the forcing from charged particles is higher than previously thought, at 1.1Wm-2, and human-forcing lower than the IPCC "consensus" of 1.6Wm-2.

Rao should know his muons. He launched India's satellite program in the 70s, and became head of the Indian Space Agency in the 1980s; many of his 350 published papers are about galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). He makes an unlikely candidate for a skeptic, having written books on sustainability and implementing the United Nations' Agenda 21.

The influence of charged particles on climate is controversial, not least because it's based on observation and physics experiments, rather than trick cycling computer modelling. GCRs have been demonstrated to "seed" cloud formation, and small variations in cloud cover are known to have significant impacts on surface temperature.

The IPCC estimates human forcing via greenhouse gas emissions to be 1.6Wm-2, whereas clouds reduce the amount of incoming radiation received by 44Wm-2, also reducing the outgoing (longwave) radiation by 31Wm-2.

The quantity of GCRs reaching Earth depends on the solar magnetic field and Earth's own magnetosphere, which act as umbrellas shielding the surface from the particles. The strength of this "background drizzle" of GCRs varies, depending on the Earth's relative position to the galaxy.

A major experiment called CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") using CERN's original proton particle accelerator, has been designed to study how charged particles nucleate clouds. It finally cranked into life in 2009.

Full results have yet to be published, but confirm the relationship. Others argue that cosmic ray penetration to surface level is merely a proxy for solar magnetic activity.

Despite the controversy, supporters point to both short-term and long-term correlations between cosmic ray activity and climate.

The report was commissioned by Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who has described the manmade global warming hypothesis as a "religion".

"We’re not denying the contribution of greenhouse gases — we’re only trying to expand the scientific debate to look at some non-greenhouse gas factors that may also influence global warming," Ramesh told the Telegraph of India. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.