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By Climatologist Cliff Harris

Article published on April 1, 2012

Ever since Henrik Svensmark explained his theory concerning the connection between cosmic rays and the formation of clouds in 1996 in Copenhagen, Denmark, I’ve received at least 100 e-mails and letters on the possible ‘dawn of the cosmic ray era’ in climate science.

Earlier in March, Jerry Boyd sent me this e-mail on cosmic rays. I found his conclusions very interesting to say the least. Here’s what he wrote:

"The Svensmark hypothesis posits that periods of global warming and global cooling are explained by the interaction of the sun and cosmic rays. At least until recently, this hypothesis was largely discounted by the global warming advocates, because they contended that solar activity could not be responsible for significant changes in global temperatures. The computer models citied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (which is the basis of the so-called ‘consensus’ on climate science) assumed little or no solar effect on climate. Therefore, global warming theorists settled on a non–solar cause of global warming. Vola! Carbon dioxide became the villain of the hour!

You can understand the dismay when a serious research physicist from Denmark walks onto the stage with a climate hypothesis which is based on a combination of solar magnetic forces and cosmic rays. If he is correct, one of the pillars of global warming theory crumbles. Aspects of the Svensmark hypothesis have been experimentally tested, including using the European particle collider, apparently validated, and are in the process of being published and peer-reviewed.

If this hypothesis holds up, ten years from now, Svensmark will win a Nobel prize, and the U.S. may decide to try to again be a first-world economy and rejoin with China, India, Russia and Canada, who are not so stupid as the U.S. in believing that you can get by without carbon-based fuels."

In 2011, Svensmark updated his cosmic ray hypothesis. Here are his recent findings:

Cosmic rays, high-energy particles raining down from exploded stars, knock electrons out of air molecules.

The electrons help clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules to form, which can grow into cloud condensation nuclei – seeds on which water droplets form to make clouds.

Low clouds made with liquid water droplets cool the Earth’s surface.

Variations in the Sun’s magnetic activity alter the influx of cosmic rays to the Earth.

When the Sun is lazy, magnetically speaking, there are more cosmic rays and more low clouds, and the world is cooler.

When the Sun is active fewer cosmic rays reach the Earth and, with fewer low clouds, the world warms up.

The Sun became unusually active during the 20th Century and as a result "global warming" occurred.

Recently (2006-2010) the Sun has been unusually lazy and "global warming" seems to have gone into reverse, as expected by the Svensmark hypothesis.

Coolings and warmings of around 2 deg. C have occurred repeatedly over the past 10,000 years, as the Sun’s activity and the cosmic ray influx have varied.

Over many millions of year, much larger variations of up to 10 deg. C occur as the Sun and Earth, traveling through the Galaxy, visit regions with more or fewer exploding stars.

Both Boyd’s and Svenmark’s conclusions concerning the probable effects of cosmic rays on the Earth’s weather, particularly clouds formations, make sense to this climatologist. But, I’m merely ‘a watcher in the Idaho woods.’ Theories of all types must be proven over specific periods of time. I’m a patient man.