Solar activity playing a minimal role in global warming
The findings, made by Professor Terry Sloan at the University of Lancaster and Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale at the University of Durham, find that neither changes in the activity of the Sun, nor its impact in blocking cosmic rays, can be a significant contributor to global warming.
The results have been published in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters.
Changes in the amount of energy from the Sun reaching the Earth have previously been proposed as a driver of increasing global temperatures, as has the Sun's ability to block cosmic rays. It has been proposed that cosmic rays may have a role in cooling the Earth by encouraging clouds to form, which subsequently reflect the Sun's rays back into space.
According to this proposal, in periods of high activity the Sun blocks some of the cosmic rays from entering the Earth's atmosphere, so that fewer clouds form and the Earth's surface temperatures rise.
In an attempt to quantify the effect that solar activity—whether directly or through cosmic rays—may have had on global temperatures in the twentieth century, Sloan and Wolfendale compared data on the rate of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere, which can be used as a proxy for solar activity, with the record of global temperatures going back to 1955.
They found a small correlation between cosmic rays and global temperatures occurring every 22 years; however, the changing cosmic ray rate lagged behind the change in temperatures by between one and two years, suggesting that the cause may not be down to cosmic rays and cloud formation, but may be due to the direct effects of the Sun.
By comparing the small oscillations in cosmic ray rate, which was taken from data from two neutron monitors, and temperature with the overall trends in both since 1955, Sloan and Wolfendale found that less than 14 per cent of the global warming seen during this period could be attributable to solar activity.
Furthermore, the researchers reviewed their own previous studies and surveyed the relevant literature to find other evidence of a link between solar activity and increasing global temperatures existing. Their findings indicated that overall, the contribution of changing solar activity, either directly or through cosmic rays, was even less cannot have contributed more than 10 per cent to global warming in the twentieth century.
They concluded that the paleontological evidence, derived from carbon and oxygen isotopes, was "weak and confused" and that a more-up-to-date study linking cosmic rays with low-level cloud cover was flawed because the correlation only occurred in certain regions rather than the entire globe.
Sloan and Wolfendale also discussed the results from the CLOUD experiment at CERN, where researchers are looking at ways in which cosmic rays can ionize, or charge, aerosols in the atmosphere, which can then influence how clouds are formed. They also examined instances where real-world events produced large-scale ionization in the atmosphere.
Events such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and nuclear weapons testing would have been expected to have affected aerosol production in the atmosphere, but no such effects could be seen.
Professor Sloan said: "Our paper reviews our work to try and find a connection between cosmic rays and cloud formation with changes in global temperature.
"We conclude that the level of contribution of changing solar activity is less than 10 per cent of the measured global warming observed in the twentieth century. As a result of this and other work, the IPCC state that no robust association between changes in cosmic rays and cloudiness has been identified."
Other news from the department science
Wastewater treatment plants as drivers for the energy transition
Technical add-on module can, in principle, turn any wastewater treatment plant into a CO2 sink and decentralized methane production plant
Pixel-by-pixel analysis yields insights into lithium-ion batteries
In a first, researchers have observed how lithium ions flow through a battery interface, which could help optimize the material’s design
New ionic materials boost hydrogen fuel cell efficiency!
This breakthrough contributes to accelerating progress toward sustainable energy solutions in line with global efforts towards decarbonization
A Second Life for Electric Car Batteries
Scientists develop a decision model for retired lithium-ion batteries
‘Lab-on-a-drone’ sends science skyward to keep track of smelly air pollution
A low-cost 3D printed analytical IoT platform for vertical monitoring of gaseous hydrogen sulphide
Accelerating battery research with robots
Smart, autonomous and chemistry-agnostic: The world urgently needs new types of energy storage
Pyrolysis processes promise sustainable recycling of fiber composites from rotor blades
Economic and ecological recycling solution for fiber composites on the horizon
Observing nanoparticles with unprecedented precision
Illuminated: Researchers investigate new physical phenomena on the nanoscale with microstructured fibers
Start-up recycles plastic lab waste into new test tubes and petri dishes
University of Bath is home to UK’s first pilot plant for recycling plastic lab waste
Falling Walls announces Science Breakthrough of the Year 2023 laureates
“These outstanding breakthroughs will change the face of the world and impressively prove what ingenuity, curiosity and courage can achieve”
New material concept allows more cost-effective production of blue organic light-emitting diodes
When heat turns into electricity at 1000 °C
New perspectives for producing electricity from industrial waste heat
Repellant and Hostile to Bacteria
Zwitterionic polymeric sulfur ylides: antifouling coating with a synergistic effect
Most read news
Major breakthrough in the development of electric vehicle batteries
New study finds ways to suppress lithium plating in automotive batteries for faster charging electric vehicles
Green methanol for shipping and industry: € 10.4 Mio. for the "Leuna100" project
A consortium of two Fraunhofer institutes, DBI-Gastechnologisches Institut Freiberg, Technical University of Berlin and C1 makes industrial history at the Leuna site
Research shows table salt could be the secret ingredient for better chemical recycling
Table salt as the key to the plastics recycling revolution?
Graphene discovery could help generate hydrogen cheaply and sustainably
Microscopic insights into electrochemical interfaces
New battery holds promise for green energy
Redox-flow battery eliminates costly and inefficient membrane
Cleaning water with ‘smart rust’ and magnets
New method for pollutants such as crude oil, glyphosate, microplastics and hormones
Leipzig-based start-up converts CO₂ into green chemicals with patented plasma catalysis
CO₂ recycling as a useful complement to carbon capture and storage
World record: World's longest-range electric car comes from Munich
Electric car drives over 2500 kilometres on a single battery charge
More news from our other portals
Cells with an ear for music release insulin
For the first time, researchers are using music, including Queen's global hit "We will rock you," to stimulate insulin release from cells
Blender Bites launches at Walmart USA
The products are to be introduced in about 1,600 stores across the country
"Anti-obesity drugs" normalises brain in obesity
Anti-obesity drug improves associative learning in people with obesity
Clean water from fog
A property known as photocatalytic memory ensures that this also functions when skies are overcast and at night
Benchtop NMR spectroscopy can accurately analyse pyrolysis oils
More accessible analysis could help develop the potential of bio-oils as an alternative to fossil fuels
Microbe of the Year 2023: Bacillus subtilis – for health and technology
Already, Bacillus subtilis is indispensable in many industries, and many more innovations are expected
Stanford study shows how the meat and dairy sector resists competition from alternative animal products
Younger generation gets sick earlier and more often than older generation
In spite of their advanced age, they are in the middle of life, healthy, active and mentally alert – they are referred to as the “young old”
Green, sweet and crisp - New apple variety Pia41 approved
The apple bred at the Julius Kühn Institute receives variety protection
How sleep deprivation can harm the brain
Sleep deprivation decreases the amount of a factor that protects neurons
Special iron uptake deep inside the Savoy cabbage head
It has been revealed that the mechanism of iron uptake by plastids in the absence of light is similar to the process facilitated by photosynthesis.
Sugar: Small increase in production despite record prices
EU sugar market more than in need of reform to keep medium-sized processing companies competitive
Bruker Corporation and PhenomeX Inc. Announce Definitive Agreement for Bruker to Acquire PhenomeX in All-Cash Transaction
Acquisition initiates Bruker’s entry into functional single-cell biology research solutions
A whole new order of bacteria could hold the key to improving biogas production
The discovery was made by researchers from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands
How to inactivate common cold viruses
In the cold season, cold viruses are everywhere. But we can do something about it
KNAUER invests in Dresden-based start-up company
Both companies will offer integrated solutions in the field of material separation and laboratory organisation
How minimal genetic differences can turn healthy food into a deadly danger
You are what you eat - this old saying could take on a new dimension according to latest research results
A microchip for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano, p-Chip Corporation, and Kaasmerk Matec Partner to Launch Breakthrough in Food-Safe Digital Tracking Technology
Scientists use quantum device to slow down simulated chemical reaction 100 billion times
What happens in femtoseconds in nature can now be observed in milliseconds in the lab
Straws and disposable tableware: Also made of paper often with harmful chemicals for the environment and health
The supposedly better alternative is often not better at all, scientists emphasize