Global warming refers to the persistent rise in the earth’s temperature, including the temperature of the air, the sea, and the surface of the earth. Since the early 20th century, the global air and sea surface temperatures have cumulatively risen by about 0.8° C; two-thirds of the rise has been recorded since 1980. It means that the Earth’s surface has become much warmer in the last three decades than ever before, according to the records since 1850 (See, 2001). For this reason, the scientists around the world have been working extra hard to find out the cause of the global warming. This continued research allowed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to conclude that most effects of the global warming are caused by rising accumulation of greenhouse gases produced as a result of the human activities such as industrial production and engine emissions. This conclusion is supported by over 90% of scientists; it was also adopted by the national science academies of all leading industrialized nations. Moreover, this assertion was affirmed by the findings of the 2013 research, in which the IPCC indicated that the biggest contributor to the global warming is carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the process of the fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and some other human activities such as deforestation (See, 2001).
Nevertheless, a recent study conducted by Henrik Svensmark, a Danish physicist, indicated that the carbon dioxide emission is not the primary cause of global warming. Svensmark (2007) came up with the theory of Cosmoclimatology, which outlines a natural mechanism causing the climatic fluctuations. This theory suggests that the accumulation of cosmic rays caused by the variations in the sun's electromagnetic field is the primary driver of the global warming. This paper focuses on the Cosmoclimatology theory in explaining the causes of the global warming.
The Cosmoclimatology Theory
The Cosmoclimatology theory outlines a chain of events that causes the fluctuations in the global temperatures, which currently result in a number of climatic challenges and global warming. The theory explains that the global warming is caused by the cosmic rays; the explosion of supernovas and collisions of the celestial objects in the cosmos produce rays that come to the earth surface (Svensmark, 2012). Most of the cosmic rays are prevented from reaching the earth by the electromagnetic activity of the sun. The theory explains that when the sun is active, solar wind sweeps away the cosmic rays around the earth, thus preventing them from reaching the atmosphere. On the other hand, when the sun is inactive, there is insufficient solar wind to sweep away the rays; hence, more cosmic rays penetrate into the earth’s atmosphere.
When the cosmic rays reach the lower atmosphere layers of the Earth that contain more sulphur dioxide, ozone, and water vapor, the rays ionizes the air. Consequently, they produce electrons that cause the formation of more cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) hence creation of the more dense clouds (Svensmark & Friis-Christensen, 1997). The formed dense low-clouds act as a shield that reflects more solar energy back to the space, thus cooling down the planet. In the absence of the dense clouds, more solar energy reaches the earth’s atmosphere resulting in the global warming. It means that the variations in the sun’s electromagnetic activity and intensity of the cosmic rays from space cause the periodic warming and cooling of the Earth (Svensmark, 2007). Therefore, the presence of the solar-modulated cosmic ray occurrences fully explains the causes of the global warming experienced in the world today. This Cosmoclimatology theory completely exonerates the initial theory about the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions as the cause of the global warming. If this theory is right, the present efforts by to world leaders to minimize the greenhouse gas emission from the industries around the world re inconsequential since the real cause is not considered. The nations are going to lose their economic power when more manufacturing processes are reduced or stopped, but global warming will still be experienced.
History of the Cosmoclimatology Theory Development
The development of the Cosmoclimatology theory can be traced back to 1904 when Edward L. Maunder tried to associate the occurrence of sunspots with the changes in the world temperatures. In 1904, the scientist noticed that the number of sunspots had an eleven-year cycle. Today, they can be observed in real time online at spaceweather.com website. The analysis of a 400-year record of the sunspots monthly number revealed that there were only few occurrences between 1645 and 1715 (Svensmark, 1998). Maunder named this period the Maunder Minimum and this period corresponded to the coldest period ever experienced in the last 1000 years, also known as the Little Ice Age. A possible link between the sunspots and cold climate has since then instigated the climatologists to continue the study and try to associate the number of sunspots with different climate variables, such as temperature and precipitations.
The attempts to link the sunspots and climate variations were later abandoned in the 1980s after it was found out that the percentage adjustment of the solar heating was inadequate to cause the variations. These findings changed the focus to the connections between the cosmic rays and sunspots, beryllium-10 on the surface of meteorites, carbon-14 in the atmosphere, and other issues. Further study reported that the dating of carbon-14 required to be adjusted to follow up the fluctuations of the cosmic rays, the failure made most carbon-14 samples inconsistent (Svensmark, & Friis-Christensen, 1997).This finding asked a further question of whether the cosmic rays could have any unknown influence on other geophysical phenomena; hence, the climatologists continued with more research.
A New Climate Theory
In 1995, a breakthrough was made by Henrik Svensmark; he discovered a convincing link between the cosmic ray flux and cloud cover of the Earth. The scientist has proved that when the sun is more active, more sunspots are recorded, stronger magnetic field is produced, and the larger auroras of the solar particles following the earth's magnetic lines occur; consequently, the solar winds are stronger. The strong solar winds sweep away the cosmic rays around the Earth; thus, fewer cosmic rays reach the earth surface causing the reduction of the cloud cover. This phenomenon results in the warmer temperatures. This relationship is represented in figure 2; it indicates the effect of the cosmic ray number and the low amount of clouds as recorded by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology satellite (Svensmark, 2009).
Further analysis of the 22-year period (1983-2005), as shown at figure 2, indicates that there is a relationship between the average amount of low-level cloud and the flux of cosmic rays. These facts bring the conclusion that there is a very high correlation between the two variables. This finding was also approved when Svensmark employed proxy data to analyze the relationship for a longer period. For instance, the researcher noted that, when the sun was inactive during the Little Ice Age, there was high cosmic ray flux from the space. The high cosmic rays that penetrated into the earth’s atmosphere led to ionization of air; hence, the cloud cover was thicker. The thick cloud reflected the sun rays and global temperatures became cooler. On the other hand, the situation changed after 1750 when the sun’s activity increased. During the post-1750 period when the sun was more active, the cosmic ray flux reduced since there were stronger solar winds that swept away the cosmic rays. Consequently, the thickness of the cloud cover decreased, thus allowing more sun rays to reach the earth surface leading to an increase in the global temperatures (Svensmark, 2009). According to the findings, Svensmark concluded that the global warming experienced especially acute in the last 150 years is directly linked with the solar activity and cosmic rays, but not with the greenhouse gases emitted as a result of the human activities.
It is noted that a minimal change in the thickness of the cloud cover by only 3-4%, as a result of the cosmic ray flux, is sufficient to cause the global temperature changes by a few degrees due to the inability of the loose cloud layer to reflect back the sun rays. This explanation makes more sense than the initial theory that considered the variations in the sun’s direct radiation as a possible cause of global warming. This assumption was disproved after it was found out that that the radiation made the temperatures vary by a few tenths only that was insufficient to cause the global warming (Svensmark & Friis-Christensen, 1997).
The further analysis of the data collected from the cloud cover satellites when compared with the amount of galactic cosmic rays recorded by a ground station pointed out that an increase in the cosmic rays reaching the earth’s surface make the world cloudier than when the amount of the cosmic rays are low. This finding demonstrated a unique link between the terrestrial and cosmological events, thus proving the earth’s weather and climatic patterns being the product of cosmic-ray accelerators, such as the supernova remnants present in the Milky Way. It was announced at the 1996 COSPA space science meeting, which was held in Birmingham, UK (Svensmark, 1997). This announcement revealed the influence that the sun has and proved that the clouds produce an undisputable cooling effect of the globe. Meanwhile, the amount of the cosmic-rays fluctuation depends on the strength of the solar magnetic field, which eventually reflects much of the particles from the space.
This link between the solar activity and climate gives the basis for Cosmological theory and stipulates that the climate change is naturally driven and is not related to the human activities, and the greenhouse gas emission (particularly CO2) as stipulated in the original theory. For the last ten years, this scientific assertion has incorporated different empirical and experimental evidence that the solar activity influences the climate. Today, however, it is not widely applied, and the efforts to rebut it remain unsuccessful up to date. Svensmark (1997) named this theory - the Cosmoclimatology. Nowadays, the theory is developing; it incorporates the current issues of astrophysics and solar-terrestrial physics, as well as some issues of astrobiology. In particular, it is interested in the aspects of how the outer space affects the living organisms and in the search for extraterrestrial life considering the high energy universe.
Analysis of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Theory
Strength of the Cosmoclimatology Theory
The strength of this theory is in its consistency with the other scientific branches of astronomy such as astrophysics and solar-terrestrial physics, which studies the variations in the sun's electromagnetic field and the solar magnetic field, which in turn affects the cosmic rays. The theory also corresponds with the other scientific branches such as the astrobiology that explains the relationship between the outer space and living organisms and the search for extraterrestrial life considering the high energy universe.
The assertions of the Cosmoclimatology theory bases on the strength of the findings verifiability through the observable variations of the low cloud cover with respect to the changed in the cosmic-rays fluctuation. The empirical evidence provided by Marsh and Svensmark (2000) and Svensmark (2007) confirms that the cosmic rays influence the cloud cover of the Earth. Equally, experimental evidence regarding the microphysical mechanism also indicates that the cosmic rays hasten the production of the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). The Antarctic climate inconsistency is also an indicator of the clouds ability to influence climate and the quasi-periodic climate changes over longer time; this fact also proves the disparities in the production of radio-nuclide by the cosmic rays (Svensmark, 2009).
Calculations to understand the link between the geomagnetic field variations and cosmic rays also allow to widen the horizons of space and time to be considered in the period of when the earth was young. According to Elrick and Hinnov (2006), the climatic effects of the quasi-cyclical variations of the sun are seen throughout the Phanerozoic in the geological timescales. It means that the major changes in the climate are more evident in the longer time periods when the environment of the solar system varies and the changes in the cosmic-ray increases.
The result of the experiment performed by Svensmark (2007) on the Cloud Condensation Nuclei also offers an equivocal finding that the cosmic rays increase the number and size of CCN that creates the clouds droplets. This experiment was scientifically proved and revealed the intriguing correlation. To carry out this experiment, Svensmark constructed a cloud chamber containing sulfuric acid generated from the water vapor, ozone from the atmosphere above the ocean, and sulphur dioxide. He conducted a test to establish if CCN can be increased by the cosmic rays. The experiment found out that the cosmic rays could ionize the particles in the air, leading to the release of the electrons that eventually attach to the oxygen molecules and further join other water and sulfur dioxide particles to form the clusters. This process takes place exceptionally quickly and repeatedly for each electron. In this case, the electrons function as the catalysts to instigate the formation of the molecules that increase in size to produce the sulfuric acid CCN. The researcher further reported that when the resultant air was increased through the natural meteorological processes, these accumulated CCN condensed and formed more dense clouds.
In addition to the experimental results by Svensmark (2007) named the SKY, further evidence of the results were delivered in 2010 in an experiment the CLOUD, which was conducted at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. “They confirmed that cloudiness is more clearly linked with solar -modulated galactic cosmic rays than with other solar phenomena such as sunspots or the emissions of visible light, ultraviolet and X-rays (Svensmark, 1998). According to Marsh and Svensmark (2000), a major breakthrough in this issue was made with the understanding that “the lowest clouds, below about 3 km in altitude respond most closely to variations in the cosmic rays.”
The Weaknesses of the Cosmoclimatology Theory
The major weakness of the Cosmoclimatology theory originates purely from the refuters of the theory. For instance, it is noted that there is no clear physical association between the cosmic rays and the formation of clouds. The other weakness touches on the failure to explain the effect of CO2 on the water vapors and clouds. In a more recent study, also established with the help of the high-quality satellite data, it was revealed that more the cloud cover vary at the global and regional levels. This fact is considered to prove that the cosmic rays, as well as solar irradiance, have no statistically significant influence on the thickness of the cloud cover.
Another weakness highlighted by Lockwood and Frohlich (2007) refers to exaggeration of findings to favor the theory. Similarly, in 2013, Sloan and Wolfendale indicated that despite the fact that the temperature models recorded minimal correlation after every 22 years, less than 14% of global warming incidences since the 1950s could be associated with the cosmic rays. In this case, the study established that the cosmic ray rate did not correspond with the temperature changes; thus, it is not a causal relationship.
In the analysis of the impact of the space cosmic rays on the cloud cover, Professor Terry Sloan published a research that aimed at testing the suggested causal link between the cosmic rays and cloud cover. She found no considerable association between the cosmic ray intensity and the thickness of cloud cover in the past 20 years (Sloan & Wolfendale, 2008). Such findings weaken the assertions by Svensmark that initially established a close correlation between the two variables. The parallel theories such as that of the millennial evidence that shows correlation between CO2 and temperature also undermine the Cosmoclimatology theory. In this case, the changes in the temperature are associated with the changes in the CO2 levels.
Does the Cosmoclimatology Theory Portray the Modern World Accurately?
The Cosmoclimatology theory, in my view, effectively explains one of the causes of the global warming. The fact that there are links in the variations of cosmic rays amount as a result of the solar activities changes and concurrent changes in the climate show that there is a certain relationship between the cosmic rays and cloud formation. Consequently, they influence the global temperatures. In addition, the geological evidence of glaciations in terms of history shows that the earth’s climate is closely dependant on the composition of the solar system. The empirical and experimental evidences regarding the theory very; thus, they prove that the theory effectively explains the situations. For instance, in 2013, Enghoff, Pedersen, Uggerhoj, Paling, and Svensmark (2011) in another study confirmed that there was a certain correlation between the cosmic rays and the formation of aerosols and clouds, and that 50% of the world temperature variations are attributed to the solar activity. These findings consistent with the studies done more than a decade ago.
However, it is important to note that there could be the causes of global warming, other than the cosmic rays theory. The issue is still open for more research. Therefore, the other theories such as the greenhouse gas emission theory should also be considered in explaining the possibility of the existence of multiple factors contributing to the global warming. For instance, the emission of greenhouse gases has been blamed for the depletion of the ozone layer that used to reflect more sun rays back to the space. The human activities, particularly the ones associated with the CO2 emissions interfere with the atmospheric air balance leading to the climate changes.
The paper has studied the theories that explain the global warming associated with the rise in the Earth’s temperatures, including the air, sea, and surface temperatures. The global warming causes catastrophic effects including extreme weather patterns like drought, storms, and development of a some dangerous diseases. In the search to understand the causes of the global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that most effects of the global warming experienced today are caused by the increasing accumulation of the greenhouse gases emitted as a result of the human activities such as industrial production and engine emissions. However, this paper concentrated on an alternative theory known as Cosmoclimatology as the possible explanation of the global warming. This theory asserts that the climatic fluctuations are caused by natural mechanism. It suggests that the accumulation of cosmic rays that is caused by the variations in the sun's electromagnetic field leads to the formation of the cloud cover that helps reflect the sun rays preventing them from reaching the earth’s atmosphere and surface, thus providing a cooling effect.
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