Feeds

Top Indian space boffin beams down climate shocker

Cherche les cosmic rays

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.