Henrik Svensmark experiment overturns assumed laws, large clumps form

Posted: March 3, 2012 by tchannon in Astrophysics, atmosphere, cosmic rays, Geomagnetism


Fig 3 from paper, my words. Upper, red is supposed mathematical model where droplet size is unable to grow, blue is actual result. Lower, control without radiation, also a fail.

“Response of Cloud Condensation Nuclei (> 50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation”

Henrik Svensmark, Martin B. Enghoff, and Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen

Cite: http://arxiv.org/abs/1202.5156v1 preprint

“In experiments where ultraviolet light produces aerosols from trace amounts of ozone, sulphur dioxide, and water vapour, the number of additional small particles produced by ionization by gamma sources all grow up to diameters larger than 50 nm, appropriate for cloud condensation nuclei. This result contradicts both ion-free control experiments and also theoretical models that predict a decline in the response of larger particles due to an insufficiency of condensable gases (which leads to slower growth) and to larger losses by coagulation between the particles. This unpredicted experimental finding points to a process not included in current theoretical models, possibly an ion-induced formation of sulphuric acid in small clusters.”

This paper reports a very important result which if confirmed is experimental evidence cosmic ray cloud seeding, given suitable atmospheric trace chemicals can produce particles large enough to seed clouds.

Nigel Calder write more about this. (link below).


 Nigel Calder has a second blog post up to try and persuade some of the disbelievers. Climate-Physics-101 [/update]

h/t to Bishop Hill, and Nigel Calder

Posted by Tim Channon, co-moderator

  1. TG McCoy says:

    Well is this interesting. i’ve held that Svensmark was correct..
    Getting closer..

  2. tchannon says:

    Now someone has to discover what is wrong with the maths used in the incorrect theory.

    Allowing predictions and where to look.

  3. Meanwhile the IPCC continues to credit CO2 for the climate change that they should have attributed to natural causes.

  4. Aussie says:

    Can you please tell Hans that Australia now has enough rain!!

    Actually, when I was still a child and Melbourne was in drought at the time, I can remember talk of seeding the clouds to bring on the rain. The idea of cloud seeding has been around for more than 50 years. I am not sure if they carried out any experiments at the time. I lived across the road from a portion of the CSIRO that was located in Melbourne and always had some kind of interest in these things.

  5. AusieDan says:

    Hi Aussie,
    Long ago, in the early 1950’s I think, the CSIRO regularly seeded clouds in drought areas, at the request of local farmers.
    Again, from recollection, these were not very successful and were eventually terminated.
    I think that there may have been some more recent work in Tasmania – result unknown to me.

    I would imagine at that time they lacked Svensmarks’ recipie.
    Also as I think this could have been a user pays venture and if so, farmer A paid and farmer B got some rain – what caused that – only vaugue statistics were available.

    So don’t hang your hat on those old trials.
    Svensmark is very thorough and as to CERN, well, perfectionist is not a strong enough term!
    Eventually, on dozens of fronts that are opening up, the dam just hs to crack and the light of truth and reason must shine through.
    But Oh! How long!
    How long before we can all relax once more and get back to making progrss – in science – in our economies?

  6. Hans says:

    Aussi, when moist air is uplifted it ALWAYS rains according to my experience and knowledge. When moist air is not uplifted of is lacking for a long time a drought will happen. Hence, the question boils down to where and why moist air is uplifted over a specific area. Any farmer can be hit by such climate variations.

    Svensmark results raise questions. As far as I can understand there will always rain when moist air is uplifted to the condensation point in a real atmosphere (observational evidence). Most afternoons in Sweden during summer we can see cumulus clouds forming and disappearing in [a] continous [continuous?] and very fast process (without raining). We call them summer clouds. Theoretically we are told that there has to exist seed particles for a droplet to condense. The problem seems to be that in laboratories droplets will not form so easily at the condensation temperature (under cooling of -20C might be required). Well, laboratories are not equal to a free atmosphere.

    My take is that either there are always micro and nano particles available in the real atmosphere for droplets to grow or there are other reasons for droplets to grow in the real atmosphere. There exist for example an electrical field in the atmosphere. Lightning is a proof. Something has to happen also before lightning occurs. Many or even most submicro particles get charged in a real atmosphere and will serve as condensation nuclei. Uplift turbulence might be influential in the creation of both charging and condensing processes. In this case it is easy to rely on observations instead of experiments in a closed chamber. There has to be data since hundred years ago but I don´t know where. Google might be useful.

    The existence of aerosols are proven by the aerosol part in ocean sediments (everywhere) which mostly is 20-50% of the the 1 cm per 1000 years that is accumulated. Occasionally the aerosol part in the atmosphere is very evident but much of it consists of so small particle sizes that it is not seen. I have seen sand dunes on the tops of Canary islands coming from the Sahara desert. More recently, see how the creation of aerosols works: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=77294&src=nha

  7. tchannon says:

    I suspect atmospheric seeding, hoping to produce clouds, and cloud seeding hoping to produce rain, are generally doomed because the only cases this is likely to really work are when the air is supersaturated caused by lack of seed particles, or lack of sheer volume of water.

  8. tchannon says:

    It is good seeing real science being done.

      Idea forms theory
      Some maths or logic or process
      Design and carry out controlled experiment

    Repeat to satisfaction.

    The lack of actual experiments, which are tests of the previous work, seem lacking today. Included here is the Cargo Junk Science warning about abuse by usage of statistics, multivariate instead of doing the work.

    What do I mean by multivariate?

    Joining together different items which cannot safety be joined, is unsafe, is assumptions, is apples and oranges. This is rife in many fields, medicine and climate/meteorology are two, such as computing global temperature from a vast number of instrument fragments, where each station is comprised fragments.

    Also applies in safety where multiple identical systems are too often called redundancy, a subtle error. The whole has coherency whereas an assumed statistical basis critically relies on incoherency, a random chance in time. In truth the basis of statistics is trivial, the common average dressed up in a myriad of forms, looking for coherency.

    “Other kinds of errors are more characteristic of poor science. When
    I was at Cornell, I often talked to the people in the psychology
    department. One of the students told me she wanted to do an
    experiment that went something like this–it had been found by
    others that under certain circumstances, X, rats did something, A.
    She was curious as to whether, if she changed the circumstances to
    Y, they would still do A. So her proposal was to do the experiment
    under circumstances Y and see if they still did A.

    I explained to her that it was necessary first to repeat in her
    laboratory the experiment of the other person–to do it under
    condition X to see if she could also get result A, and then change
    to Y and see if A changed. Then she would know that the real
    difference was the thing she thought she had under control.

    She was very delighted with this new idea, and went to her
    professor. And his reply was, no, you cannot do that, because the
    experiment has already been done and you would be wasting time.
    This was in about 1947 or so, and it seems to have been the general
    policy then to not try to repeat psychological experiments, but
    only to change the conditions and see what happens.

    Nowadays there’s a certain danger of the same thing happening, even
    in the famous (?) field of physics. I was shocked to hear of an
    experiment done at the big accelerator at the National Accelerator
    Laboratory, where a person used deuterium. In order to compare his
    heavy hydrogen results to what might happen with light hydrogen”
    he had to use data from someone else’s experiment on light
    hydrogen, which was done on different apparatus. When asked why,
    he said it was because he couldn’t get time on the program (because
    there’s so little time and it’s such expensive apparatus) to do the
    experiment with light hydrogen on this apparatus because there
    wouldn’t be any new result. And so the men in charge of programs
    at NAL are so anxious for new results, in order to get more money
    to keep the thing going for public relations purposes, they are
    destroying–possibly–the value of the experiments themselves,
    which is the whole purpose of the thing. It is often hard for the
    experimenters there to complete their work as their scientific
    integrity demands.”
    Extract from Cargo Junk Science, Feynman.

  9. adolfogiurfa says:

    Ions, charge, electricity. So we are arriving at the conclusion that all those zillions of tons of water (btw.now falling over aussies) floating above our heads, against the law of gravity, start to “levitate” to form clouds, when water is charged as to be Hydrogen Hydroxide HOH, and when they discharge (through visible lightnings or invisible plasma discharge) “precipitate” similarly as other metals in “solution” as Di-Hydrogen Oxide (H2O).
    Atmosphere and climate should not be an exclusive area for specialized “shamans”, but where other areas of knowledge must be considered.

  10. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think increased cloudiness is more likely to be a result of the jetstreams moving more equatorward and/or becoming more meridional.

  11. Hans says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    “I think increased cloudiness is more likely to be a result of the jetstreams moving more equatorward and/or becoming more meridional.”

    Ask yourself or anybody else, why are there jetstreams and we will be closer to understand climate change.

  12. Ray C says:

    Water vapour likes a surface to condense onto. It condenses readily and preferentially onto aerosol (because there are so many of them), when they are both in favourable conditions of humidity and temperature. Virtually all cloud droplets initially form around an aerosol. The more aerosols there are, the easier it is for clouds to form.
    Even the clearest air has many tiny particles suspended in it. It is not unusual for there to be 10,000 aerosol per cubic centimetre (160,000 per cubic inch) of air. Every time we ‘breath in’ we take in millions of them.
    Climate drivers!!
    Now Svensmark et al seems to be saying even more aerosol are formed through ionisation by Galactic Cosmic Rays. More sites for condensation!! More clouds.
    I think ionisation/particle formation happens all the time in an electrically charged/chemically dynamic atmosphere.

  13. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hans said:

    “Ask yourself or anybody else, why are there jetstreams and we will be closer to understand climate change.”

    Agreed as far as that goes but far better to know why they are variable.

    I think it is due to the constant interaction betweeen different air masses at poles and tropics with bottom up oceanic influences competing with top down solar influences.

    The query in my mind as regards this thread is whether changes in cosmic ray quantities would have a significant effect as compared to sun (from other more direct causes) and oceans.

  14. Harvey Harrison says:

    The important word here is ‘ionization’ for in the vastness of the universe the chance of a collision between two of anything is slim. Nature only seems to follow one rule for gathering things together whether that be nebula gathered into stars or microscopic particles gathered into cloud nuclei; charge it. Ions (charged particles) are either surplus or deficient in electrons therefore they attract things of the opposite charge. This is the same process by which your monitor screen gathers all the dust in the room even if you just cleaned it.
    The Svensmark Effect is most noticeable when the sun spot number is under 50. When the sun is stronger than that a surplus of electrons keeps the particles well separated. When under 50 deep space protons sneak in and team up with local electrons making the particle either neutral or positive attracting more electrons and the speck of dust they are clinging to. In this manner specks are clumped together electrically until large enough to condense water vapour on their surface, gain weight, and make a low cloud.
    When the sun is very weak low clouds are our friends and hold in what heat we do have. When the sun is very strong the clouds vanish and the ground heats until evaporation causes high clouds bouncing the heat back off. In this fashion both extremes of heating and cooling are moderated by clouds.
    A case in point happened just recently when the sun was stuck at a mid-point with a SSN 50 – 100. With no clouds, high or low, there was no moderation so temperatures dropped 2 – 8 C.
    This effect is most noticeable at low elevation in the mid-latitudes where most of the human race lives therefore where it is needed the most. The problem comes with a weak Solar Cycle like the one we are in where we don’t get any warming, SSN 120+, or Svensmark moderation, SSN 50-. A prolonged period of this would result in a Little Ice Age. As it is I see more of a rerun of the Dirty Thirties; unpleasant but survivable.
    We hope.

  15. Wayne Job says:

    Another scientific brick for the wall that is slowly surrounding the consensus.

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ Stephen Wilde says:
    I think increased cloudiness is more likely to be a result of the jetstreams moving more equatorward and/or becoming more meridional.

    Click to access ajp-jp4199707C408.pdf


  17. Doug Proctor says:

    This appears to be the second part of the CERN Cloud experiment, the second part that was a) most pertinent to the CGR theory of cloud formation, and b) the part that was not done. It’s omission, and non-addressed time for doing, struck me as the “scientific”/political establishment’s response of horror at what they might be doing to the legitimacy of various political institutions to know best for their citizens and economies.

    The CERN cloud experiment showed that CGR at the levels expected under low sunspot conditions created large amounts of very small nuclei. The nuclei was stated, however, as far too small for cloud formation; some process, untested and supposedly outside the ken of these brilliant CERN physicists, was necessary to transform these small nuclei into larger ones suitable for cloud droplet condensation. Svensmark seems to have addressed this.

    If he could do such a thing, why hasn’t CERN done it? Just as CERN delayed for years with the first CLOUD test, I suspect CERN already knows the answer, but politically it is not suitable right now. Some other terrible scandal needs to arise, first.

    Now if Gore could pull a Gleick …

    … or another massage.

  18. tchannon says:

    Doug, you are writing what plenty were thinking.

    Poor Henrik has to produce embarrassing results as best he can to force action.

  19. Ray C says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Hans said:
    “Ask yourself or anybody else, why are there jet streams and we will be closer to understand climate change.”

    Stephen Wilde said;
    “Agreed as far as that goes but far better to know why they are variable.

    I think it is due to the constant interaction between different air masses at poles and tropics with bottom up oceanic influences competing with top down solar influences.

    The query in my mind as regards this thread is whether changes in cosmic ray quantities would have a significant effect as compared to sun (from other more direct causes) and oceans.”

    Is it correct to say; Clouds need aerosol in order to form in the first place?

    If the answer is in the affirmative, then all sources of aerosol production affect climate circulations, and the interacting air masses. If, as is likely, aerosol loading increases from spring to autumn, and reaches peak at late autumn ‘storm time’ then, coupled with stored summer heat, higher evaporation amounts and increased amounts of aerosol (giving more sites for condensation) the result is invigoration which drives the circulation faster or energises the systems. If there were no aerosol there would be no cloud…..
    So the extremely fast rotation of the planet, the atmosphere trying to ‘keep up’ with the rotation and the seasonal catalyst of increased aerosol loading conspire to create speed and variation in weather systems. The variables are; the sun and the aerosol loading, as both influence the water vapour (heat) holding capacity of the atmosphere.

  20. Hans says:

    Ray C says: (March 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm)
    “Is it correct to say; Clouds need aerosol in order to form in the first place?” and
    “If there were no aerosol there would be no cloud….”.

    This question has to be answered by observational evidence. It´s not enough with laboratary experiments. If the number of aerosol particles are 5 times more abundant over land it should rain 5 times more over land than over sea (see below). I doubt this is the case and clouds are as usual over sea as over land. IMO there exist condensation processes that are not taken into account. Turbulence in combination with charged molecules is one option to consider. The impact of topography is well known. You get as much clouds over an isolated cloud top on an ocean island volcano top as over a mountain top on land when there is little wind and sun shine. The former can cause a 20 mile long cloud formation downwind indicating the influence of turbulence on condensation. The topic of real condensation processes are far from resolved and there is no single solution at hand.

    warm cloud process
    o a moisture laiden air parcel rises, cools at dry adiabatic lapse rate (~1oC/100m) until it reaches the dewpoint, at which point condensation occurs. After that, any further rise causes cooling at the moist adiabatic lapse rate (0.5 – 0.9oC/100m), because of the released latent heat. (Fig)
    o super saturation: relative humidity > 100%
    o condensation nuclei are needed to increase condensation
     most efficient particles: Aitken nuclei (0.01-0.1 micro m)
     typical source: dust from land, sea spray (hygroscopic!)
     5 million/l air over land, 1 million/l air over the ocean
    o experiment: salt crystals as condensation nuclei (Fig)
    o experiment: when a beer bottle is opened, a cloud forms in the neck. If temp. of the bottle is 5oC, temperature drops to ~-36oC when bottle is opened (Fig)
    o experiment: when beer is pored into a glass, bubbles form on scratches and dust particles, adding salt can increase the bubble formation: clouds in a glass of beer
    o excercise: condensation on a mirror in the bathroom (Fig); condensation on windshields
    o condensation only creates droplets ice crystals grow in favor of liquid droplets
    o ice crystals are very efficient condensation nuclei
    o most efficient in mid latitudes (temperatures low enough, but enough instability in the atmosphere)

  21. Ray C says:

    Hans, thank you for your reply to my question/statement.
    Ray C says: (March 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm)
    “Is it correct to say; Clouds need aerosol in order to form in the first place?” and
    “If there were no aerosol there would be no cloud….”.

    Hans says; March 9, 2012 at 11:34 am
    “This question has to be answered by observational evidence.”

    Just sticking to the basic principle of cloud formation for now. One simple observation;

    The steam from a boiling kettle condenses onto aerosol just after it leaves the spout and evaporates off as the vapour moves into a warm, dry room. The aerosol are still there!
    While it is true that “steam” is made up of tiny droplets, it is more accurate to note that these droplets do not form by coalescence directly from the gas phase. Rather, steam forms the same way that clouds do; by water vapour condensation onto aerosol particles.

    or this; The kids in Hawaii are educated well!

    Both my above statements are true, which puts the microphysical properties of aerosol central to the climate debate. Yet! nobody talks about them. Strange!

    I suppose the fact that aerosol are not high on the agenda deems them relatively unimportant to the wider debate. In my opinion they are the most important variable in it. The simple fact that clouds do no form without them confirms this.
    They are solid or liquid particles which allow water vapour to do what it does in our atmosphere and thereby shape the climate. It really is that simple.
    But there’s more.
    They are a major source of heat absorption in the air, both directly (dry)and when they help form droplets of water. It is well known that water has a higher heat capacity than air.
    They are an essential ingredient of climatic variation and biological processes which have a massive effect on everything which drives this planets intricate and chaotic systems.
    This should be fully understood and integrated into the debate, they are so important. No theory of climate is complete without them. The Microphysical properties of aerosol must be included.
    But then if the real truth of their importance was common knowledge, which it should be, but does not seem to be, the co2 debate would be challenged. Both sides of the debate follow the heat without understanding the basic ingredient of weather formation, it would seem!; Aerosol, particulates, bio dust and liquid elixir balls, call them what you like. They might be running the show.
    ………but aerosols play a critical role in the process. In fact, most clouds owe their existence to aerosols that serve as the tiny “seeds,” called cloud condensation nuclei.
    Because aerosol do what they do, they are what I call climate drivers due to the fact they cause wind and move on it. ( along with the spinning planet and sun, of course.)
    An example;
    We attribute the effect, which is most significant in summer, to an aerosol-induced invigoration of upward winds.

    Click to access BNL-91041-2010-JA.pdf

    Ray C.