Tim Cullen: Svensmark Vindicated

Posted: December 3, 2013 by tallbloke in Analysis, climate, Clouds, cosmic rays, Cycles

Guest post fromm Tim Cullen. Be sure to visit his site MalagaBay.

Svensmark Sings

In 1996 Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen discovered a connection between cosmic rays and global cloud cover.

In 1996 a surprising discovery was announced that the intensity of cosmic rays incident on the earth’s atmosphere correlates closely with variations of global cloud cover [Svensmark and FriisChristensen 1996].

Clouds both reflect incoming and trap outgoing radiation, and they thus play an important role in the Earth’s radiation budget.

Center for Sun-Climate Research – Technical University of Denmark

The discovery revealed a 2% variation in cloud cover during the solar sunspot cycle.

The reported variation of cloud cover was approximately 2% over the course of a sunspot cycle.

This may appear to be quite small; however, the possible consequences on the global radiation (energy) budget are not.

Simple estimates indicate that the resultant global warming could be comparable to that presently attributed to greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.

Center for Sun-Climate Research – Technical University of Denmark

Eleven years later Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder revived interest in the discovery when their “new theory of climate change” was published.

During the last 100 years cosmic rays became scarcer because unusually vigorous action by the Sun batted away many of them.

Fewer cosmic rays meant fewer clouds—and a warmer world.

The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change – Totem Books – 2007

Obviously, claiming cosmic rays “have more effect on the climate than manmade CO2” ran contrary to the mainstream Global Warming Juggernaut.

Unsurprisingly, experimental verification of the theory has been slow and controversial.

SKY Experiment
Svensmark conducted proof of concept experiments in the SKY Experiment at the Danish National Space Institute.

To investigate the role of cosmic rays in cloud formation low in the Earth’s atmosphere, the SKY experiment used natural muons (heavy electrons) that can penetrate even to the basement of the National Space Institute in Copenhagen.

The hypothesis, verified by the experiment, is that electrons released in the air by the passing muons promote the formation of molecular clusters that are building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei.

Critics of the hypothesis claimed that particle clusters produced measured just a few nanometres across, whereas aerosols typically need to have a diameter of at least 50 nm in order to serve as so-called cloud condensation nuclei.

Further experiments by Svensmark and collaborators published in 2013 that showed that aerosols with diameter larger than 50 nm are produced by ultraviolet light (from trace amounts of ozone, sulfur dioxide, and water vapor), large enough to serve as cloud condensation nuclei.


However, lets bypass the newspeak from Wikipedia and get the theory straight from the horse’s mouth.

Henrik Svensmark

Center for Sun-Climate Research – Technical University of Denmark

Unfortunately, the hypothesis is subject to interpretation because it uses the phase “cosmic rays”.

Hard core astrophysicists would interpret “cosmic rays” to mean “particles” with energies above 108 eV and see an inverse relationship between “cosmic rays” and sunspots.

Cosmic Ray particles versus Sunspots

Variation of cosmic ray intensity and monthly sunspot activity since 1958 according to the Germany Cosmic Ray Monitor in Kiel (GCRM) and NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), respectively.

High sunspot activity correlates with low cosmic ray intensity, and vice versa.

Last month incorporated: August 2009 (GCRM) and October 2009 (NGDC). Last diagram update: 6 November 2009.


Soft core astronomers would interpret “cosmic rays” to mean electromagnetic energy ranging from X-Rays to Gamma Rays and see a synchronous relationship with sunspots.

Sunspots versus Solar X-Rays

Figure 10: 1-8 Å (1.55-12.4 keV) solar X-ray flux at 1.0 AU, measured with the GOES satellites. The times of the Chandra and XMM-Newton observations are marked, together with the corresponding mean solar X-ray flux, which was highly variable during the XMM-Newton observation.

First observation of Mars with XMM-Newton
High resolution X-ray spectroscopy with RGS
K. Dennerl1 – C. M. Lisse – A. Bhardwaj – V. Burwitz – J. Englhauser – H. Gunell – M. Holmström – F. Jansen – V. Kharchenko – P. M. Rodríguez-Pascual
A&A 451, 709-722 (2006)


Furthermore, soft core astronomers looking at the “0.50-0.96 MeV proton differential flux” also see a synchronous relationship with sunspots.

0.50-0.96 MeV proton differential flux versus Sunspots

Solar Energetic Particle Variations
David Lario – George M Simnett

The stalled mainstream “experimental verification” [of Svensmark’s theory] has focussed upon the hard core particle Galactic Cosmic Rays that have an inverse relationship with sunspots.

Therefore, in the interests of science, let’s follow the soft core Solar Cosmic Ray thread.

Firstly, the lower energies associated with Solar Cosmic Rays means:

a) A flux of “about 10,000 per square meter per second”.
b) Electromagnetic Showers [not Hadronic Showers].
c) The majority of the Electromagnetic Showers will originate in the D Layer.

Ionosphere D Layer


Additionally, the Solar Cosmic Ray flux of “about 10,000 per square meter per second” is a couple of orders of magnitude greater than the Galactic Cosmic Ray flux.

The flux of incoming cosmic rays at the upper atmosphere is dependent on the solar wind, the Earth’s magnetic field, and the energy of the cosmic rays.

The combined effects of all of the factors mentioned contribute to the flux of cosmic rays at Earth’s surface.

For 1 GeV particles, the rate of arrival is about 10,000 per square meter per second.

Cosmic ray flux versus particle energy


Therefore, any variation in the flux of Solar Cosmic Rays [Gamma Rays, X-Rays and Solar Wind] is going to directly effect the electromagnetic energy flux arriving at the “Earth’s surface”.

Electromagnetic shower

As we have seen, both the Solar Proton flux and the Solar X-Ray flux are synchronised with the Solar Sunspot cycle.

Solar X-Ray Flux

Figure 13: 1-8 Å (1.55-12.4 keV) solar X-ray flux at 1.0 AU, measured with GOES-7 (before March 1995) and GOES-8 (afterwards). During the ROSAT and Chandra observations (indicated by dashed vertical lines), the solar X-ray flux was similar.

Discovery of X-rays from Mars with Chandra
K. Dennerl – Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
A&A 394, 1119-1128 (2002)

An X-ray telescope (XRT) is a telescope that is designed to observe remote objects in the X-ray spectrum.

In order to get above the Earth’s atmosphere, which is opaque to X-rays, X-ray telescopes must be mounted on high altitude rockets or artificial satellites.


Therefore, mainstream science has already verified the Svensmark hypothesis [without having to fall down the rabbit hole of climate science].

It really is that simple [provided Solar Cosmic Rays don’t have an unfortunate accident].

Additionally, more Solar Cosmic Rays will result in more Electromagnetic Showers and this will lead to more ionization and more photodissociation in the atmosphere as the energy of the Solar Cosmic Rays is dissipated in an electromagnetic cascade.

The dissipated Solar Cosmic Ray energy is then realised as thermal energy when the particles recombine to form neutral elements and molecules.

Thus the lower atmosphere is [also] warmed via Solar Cosmic Ray.

This atmospheric warming is clearly documented and demonstrably peaks [just below the D Layer] at an altitude of 50 kilometres.

D Band and Temperature profile

Ultimately, through the mediation of Solar Cosmic Rays, the Earth’s surface temperature is marginally [as in degrees Kelvin] synchronised with the solar sunspot cycle.

Thankfully, some sections of mainstream science are beginning to understand this solar connection as they consider the implications of an extreme Carrington event.

Ionization rates

Influence of a Carrington-like event on the atmospheric chemistry, temperature and dynamics: revised
M Calisto, I Usoskin and E Rozanov – 2013
Environmental Research Letters Vol: 8 Num: 4

Clearly, this is [not] a wonderful Christmas present for settled science.

But let’s hope that Mikey and the Mechanics are gleefully singing the Cosmic Rays Blues around the Christmas tree [or in front of a roaring fire as they burn their energy budgets] this year.

Back to the Future – 1985
Back to the Future

  1. oldbrew says:

    If incoming cosmic rays are from three sources – solar, galactic, extra-galactic – prediction looks tricky unless long-term patterns can be identified.

  2. ren says:

    5 December winter begins in Europe.

    Energetic radiation is quite different and easy to observe, for example the level of neutrons at the surface, or in aircraft radioactivity of 10 to 15 km.

  3. ren says:

    Of course I do not mean solar radiation, which is generally too low energies.

  4. ren says:

    The influence of galactic cosmic rays is particularly evident over the Arctic Circle during the polar night, with low solar activity, and then it is best to explore.

  5. DD More says:

    Also need to remember that the solar wind impacts against the Earth’s magnetic field, which extends 7-10 times the earth’s diameter outward from the earth. So when you hear that the energy levels as compaired to TSI, which only impacts the atmosphere, is so much lower the area difference is 153 B-km2 vs 784 B-km2 to 15,390 B-km2. My thought is that since much of the energy is channeled into the Arctic, does the high level solar wind times cause more zonal air flow and the low level solar wind lead to more meridional air flow.

  6. ren says:

    Above the Arctic Circle during the polar night very well visible effects of cosmic radiation.

  7. ren says:

    One thing is certain at 100% looking at the level of the neutron in 2009 and 2010.
    When solar activity is low cosmic rays may reach record levels.

  8. tallbloke says:

    High energy galactic cosmic rays reach higher levels at solar minimum. Lower energy ‘solar cosmic rays’ sink to lower levels.

  9. ren says:

    Tallbloke, and I quote: December 03, 2013; 8:35 AM
    The weather pattern is going to have the extremes of cold, snow and ice the next two weeks.

  10. ren says:

    Of course, in the U.S..

  11. ren says:

    Look at this.

  12. Me_Again says:

    Doesn’t this tie in neatly with Clive Best and Euan Mearns research?

  13. tallbloke says:

    Next post up is from Roger Andrews following up Euan and Clive’s work.

  14. pochas says:

    Where have I heard that its particles, not cosmic rays, that matter? Piers Corbyn? Thanks for this article, which helps with some important gaps in my knowledge. If its ohmic heating that follows from plasma entering the global electric circuit (ionosphere) then an effect on weather is plausible. Ohmic heating concentrated at the poles would contribute to the polar temperature inversion, augmenting the effect of UV heating on the stratosphere, both effects acting together. This would modify the vertical circulation profile of the stratosphere/upper troposphere (think strength of the stratocell), potentially influencing the surface zonal/meridional flow patterns. Not talking about clouds here, which I believe may have less effect than sometimes imagined. Am I making sense here?

  15. ren says:

    Pochas you’re right. Only winter cosmic electrons strongly reduce ozone, but most in certain areas of the polar vortex, causing blockage. This is connected with the Earth’s magnetic field.

  16. I still prefer my alternative solution as to how solar variations achieve their effect which also fits observations but will just have to wait and see.

  17. Bob Weber says:

    The ELECTRIC WEATHER EFFECT paradigm is presently replacing the carbon dioxide “driven” greenhouse gas effect theory of climate change. It all boils down to photons, protons, and electrons.

    Henrik Svensmark, Eigil Friis-Christensen, and Nigel Calder illustrated how the variable solar x-ray and proton flux defines the solar cycle itself, and the fact that solar proton flux modulates cosmic ray flux (mainly protons) in Earth’s atmosphere, leading to fewer clouds and more warmth from the sun’s electromagnetic flux during higher solar activity periods of the solar cycle.

    Since all cosmic rays and solar energetic particles are charged particles (mostly protons, with electrons and ions/isotopes of heavier elements), they accelerate away from their parent star ELECTRICALLY, creating magnetic “fields” along the way. Space weather results from an all-pervasive, highly variable environment that is simultaneously electromagnetic (photons, gamma rays, x-rays) AND electrical AND magnetic (cosmic galactic rays and solar energetic particles).

    Gamma rays and x-rays are electromagnetic. Cosmic rays and solar energetic particles are moving charges in space. Moving charge is defined as electricity, therefore space weather is ELECTRIC WEATHER. Fundamentally all space weather events as experienced here on Earth are thus ELECTRIC WEATHER EFFECTS.

    Higher sunspot activity with more sunspots & coronal holes, solar flares, CMEs, and filament eruptions result in a denser, faster solar energetic particle flux (solar wind), which, when interacting with Earth’s magnetosphere electrically & magnetically, causes jet stream fluctuations.

    Mitch Batros illustrated this by way of many examples with this equation from his book “Solar Rain”:

    Sunspots=>Solar Flares (CMEs)=>Magnetic Shift=>Shifting Ocean and Jet Stream Currents=>
    Extreme Weather (Solar Rain – 2005)

    For years, monthly, Piers Corbyn forecasts solar activity and predicts how those solar particles are modulated by magnetic lunar motion and how that all affects our weather, climate, and tektonics. He forecasts USA and UK/Europe weather long-range based on these fundamental physical principles. His track record on predicting the occasion and timing of sudden stratospheric warming events, extreme weather events, and blocking high pressure patterns long-range is really outstanding.

    I should know, I buy his forecasts at weatheraction.com, and pay attention to the weather and sun like the Tallbloke crew and so many others. After six of years of scientific study, I can say with conviction:

    A paradigm shift is underway: ELECTRIC WEATHER=>EXTREME WEATHER.

    The warmists might as well throw in the towel, raise the white flag, and surrender their greenhouse gas theories of climate change – it’s over for them, whether they realize it or not. They can’t stop the spread of the fact of these ideas any more than they can predict the weather based on miniscule atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations with their faulty computer models.

    The real climate “tipping point” is at hand – the widespread realization that our weather and climate are forced by off-planet electric space weather. We’ll see who the real deniers are now.

    Thank you Roger and Tim for being on the right side of things.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Hi Bob and welcome. The pioneering work of Brian Tinsley on the global electrical circuit needs a mention here too. I think here at the talkshop we have made a discovery which will help inform ‘electrical weather’ hypotheses. It seems that the rotationnrate of Earth may be modulated by effects related to the positions of the gas giants via the interplanetary magnetic field. The multi-decadal variations of LOD match well with the longer terms cyclic climate phenomena identified by Marcia Wyatt and Judy Curry in their ‘stadium wave’ paper. so in addition to the shorter term weather events Piers has been forecasting, we can add a mechanism for the ~60yr oceanic oscillations too.

  19. Brian H says:

    So, hard cosmic radiation suppresses sunspots?

  20. ren says:

    You have to take into account even the fact that Earth’s magnetic field weakens and the impact of cosmic radiation increases. You need to examine what areas are shielded, and what less.

  21. oldbrew says:

    According to this recent study ‘mean annual temperature maxima were nearly simultaneous to the cosmic ray minima that correspond to solar odd cycle maxima activity for 1958, 1982 and 2000–2003’

    (full paper available to download)

    The study was based in Brazil near the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly.’

  22. ren says:

    Cosmic radiation is average. Jet stream accelerates.

  23. ren says:

    Looking at the largest range of radiation can be assumed that in this area the temperature drops quickly. Higher temperatures over the Arctic Circle should be over the Bering Strait and southern Grenlandią.Tam just lock polar vortex formed.

  24. ren says:

    Compare this with the design pressure at an altitude of about 23 km.

  25. Andrew McRae says:

    Gosh, after my doubts about the Svensmark effect three days ago this article was probably the pep-talk I needed. The answer about evidence for cosmically-induced albedo reduction in the late 20th century seems to boil down to Marsh and Svensmark’s 2003 analysis of ISCCP cloud cover data. eg – http://sciencebits.com/files/pictures/climate/crcFig3.jpg

    The question then is… has anyone else found low level cloud cover changing the same way over that period or… is Svensmark and Marsh 2003 the *sole* source of the belief that cloud cover was changing in synch with cosmic rays?

    Why is it that when I graph the low level cloud cover ISCCP data shown at climexp.knmi.nl the chart looks nothing like the sunspot cycle? It looks a gentle downslope over a whole solar cycle, then drops a lot, then stays almost flat for the next solar cycle. No relation to cosmic ray flux at all.

    Further, why didn’t the BBSO Earthshine experiment see an albedo change in synch with cosmic rays between 2001 and 2007?
    [ http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Palle_etal_2008_JGR.pdf ]

    Why did both the ERBE cloud albedo and reflected shortwave series also show a gradual reduction over 20 years instead of two complete solar cycles? [See page 54 of http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/presentations/Caltechweb.pdf ]

    It would be great if Svensmark’s cloud cover reduction theory was backed up by measurement, but I can’t find any measurements that back up that theory that aren’t published by Svensmark.
    If it is a real phenomenon then their result should be reproducible by others. Any ideas?

  26. ren says:

    Within a few hours, there has been a noticeable increase in cosmic radiation at 15 km. I wonder how it is at other levels of the stratosphere.

  27. ren says:

    On confirmation of today’s measurement of Oulu.

  28. ren says:

    It is seen that the shape of the greatest radiation is the same, and depends on the magnetic field of the Earth.