Solar Impact On Climate Greater Than Thought

Written by Dr Benny Peiser

solar flare sunspot

new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals that the solar influence on climate is much larger than is generally recognized.

The report, by Professor Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Institute, outlines some of the remarkable correlations between solar activity and past climate changes.

It also shows that the output of the Sun alone – the so-called total solar irradiance – cannot explain them.

“Changes in total solar irradiance are actually quite small,” says Professor Svensmark. “They would have to be nearly 10 times larger to explain how the oceans warm and cool over the 11-year solar cycle.”

New research suggests that other mechanisms can amplify the effect of solar activity. The New report reviews the possible candidates, concluding that the most likely of these is the effects of galactic cosmic rays on cloud formation.

This idea is plausible in theory and has received substantial empirical support in recent years.

However, Professor Svensmark says that insufficient attention is being paid to this research area:

“Galactic cosmic rays seem to be very important drivers of the Earth’s climate. But they are mostly being ignored at the moment because they are seen as distracting from conventional global warming research. Science needs to do better if we want to make progress in understanding the actual impact of natural factors of climate change.”

Henrik Svensmark: Force Majeure – The Sun’s Role In Climate Change (PDF)

About the author

Prof Henrik Svensmark is a physicist and a senior researcher in the Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics Division of the National Space Institute (DTU Space) in Lyngby, Denmark. Svensmark presently leads the Sun-Climate Research group at DTU Space.


Professor Henrik Svensmark

Comments (3)

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    Ken Hughes


    He’s right of course, but this is nothing new. This mechanism was explained way back in the Channel 4 UK television documentary, “The Great Global Warming Swindle”.

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    Robert Beatty


    An interesting and forensic study by Professor Henrik Svensmark and his team of solar and cosmological influence on climate, but with several major unknowns still to be identified: “Needless to say, more research into the physical mechanisms linking solar activity to climate is needed. It is useless to pretend that the problem of solar influence has been solved.”
    Interesting to note there is no comment in this paper on the possible influence of core heat on climate, yet cosmic rays are known to penetrate beyond the atmosphere: “Cosmic rays are very penetrating and as well as penetrating through the atmosphere they have also been detected under the ground such as in the London Underground system as well as down deep mines.”
    Core activity is much closer to home than solar and undoubtedly cyclical – evidence the parallel basalt ranges on either side of the mid atlantic ridge. These may indicate a connection with electro magnetic, or cosmic ray variations. Recent magnetic pole movement is unusual.
    Satellite views of hot Pacific sea water plumes shown at and an unexplained ‘blob’ of hot sea surface water off western USA and Canada is further evidence of core heat influence which results in variations to sea temperature. This is integral to weather consideration, and must also have far reaching effects.

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    Saw a lot of articles on this theory, funny no one mentions the old “Cloud Chamber” particle detector; put a bit of radioactive material in a transparent chamber with a cool, humid atmosphere and pull a bit of vacuum and watch the ion trails get manifested by cloud formation.

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