Archive for the ‘solar system dynamics’ Category

Dr Mike McCulloch has been making truly remarkable discoveries about some of the mysteries of the cosmos over the last two decades. He has answers to fundamental questions such as ‘what causes the force that resists the change in speed and direction of any mass?’, ‘why do observations indicate that the inertial force varies with acceleration in the outer reaches of galaxies?’ and ‘how can we tap into the implicated energy fields to generate propellant-less thrust, and potentially generate electrical energy to power our homes, industries and vehicles?’. His published papers cover the first two of these questions, and touch on the third, although there’s plenty more to be teased out of the implications of his Quantised Inertia theory. The third question is the acid test.

Mike believes science has to have practical, applicable results, and for the last few years, he has been successfully generating those at his lab in Plymouth University, funded by DARPA. He has been getting measurable thrust from purely electrical input. Other collaborating labs have similar results. Exciting times indeed.

But like many scientists who threaten the established and accepted theory in their field, his work has been largely ignored because it falsifies mainstream ‘dark matter’ theory, or dismissed because it ‘must be impossible’. Although he has got measurable results, DARPA funding is ending, and he has no more teaching work to return to at Plymouth University. Mike wants, as far as possible, to keep the ongoing developments of QI publicly accessible, by crowdfunding. He needs our help to fund and equip a new lab, and set up a ‘Horizon Institute’, online initially, to enable the collaboration of academics and citizen scientists. Please read his message below, and then I’ll let you know how you can help.


Earth’s rings ‘are made of electricity–a donut-shaped circuit carrying millions of amps around our planet.’ But proton auroras are ‘still mysterious’.

May 15, 2023: Europeans are still trying to wrap their minds around what happened after sunset on April 23, 2023. Everyone knew that a CME was coming; photographers were already outside waiting for auroras. But when the auroras appeared, they were very strange.

“I had never seen anything quite like it,” says Heiko Ulbricht of Saxony, Germany. “The auroras began to tear themselves apart, pulsating as they formed individual blobs that floated high in the sky.”

“It literally took my breath away,” he says. “My pulse was still racing hours later!” The same blobs were sighted in France and Poland, and in Denmark they were caught flashing like a disco strobe light.

Ordinary auroras don’t act like this.

Indeed, “these were not ordinary auroras,” confirms space physicist Toshi Nishimura of Boston University. “They are called ‘proton auroras,’ and they come from Earth’s ring current system.”

Most people don’t…

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Solar Flares and the Origin of Life

Posted: May 14, 2023 by oldbrew in research, solar system dynamics

Countering extra-terrestrial delivery theories of life on Earth.

Paper: Formation of Amino Acids and Carboxylic Acids in Weakly Reducing Planetary Atmospheres by Solar Energetic Particles from the Young Sun (April 2023)
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In 1952 the famous Miller-Urey experiment proved that lightning in the atmosphere of early Earth could produce the chemical building blocks of life. New research reveals that solar flares might do an even better job.

“The production rate of amino acids by lightning is a million times less than by solar protons,” says Vladimir Airapetian of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a coauthor of the new paper.

Above: An artist’s concept of the early Earth

Early research on the origins of life mostly ignored the sun, focusing instead on lightning as an energy source. In the 1950s Stanley Miller of the University of Chicago filled a closed chamber with methane, ammonia, water, and molecular hydrogen – gases thought to be prevalent in Earth’s early atmosphere – and repeatedly ignited an electrical spark to simulate lightning. A week later, Miller and his graduate advisor Harold Urey analyzed the chamber’s contents and…

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Precession of Earth’s axis [image credit: NASA, Mysid @ Wikipedia]

A number of researchers have hypothesised that the relative motions of Jupiter, Earth and Venus are connected to the length of solar cycles. In this post we will show that cyclic periods of 83 years (Gleissberg), 166 years (Landscheidt, Wilson), and 996 years (Eddy, Stefani et al) are found not just in the syzygies and synodic periods between these planets, but also in their heliocentric orientations with respect to a frame of reference rotating at the rate of Earth’s axial precession. This discovery has implications for our understanding of the forces driving that axial precession, and opens some new avenues for hypothesising about the links between planetary motion and solar activity variations.

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We propose that not only amplitude, but the mean period of the solar cycle itself derives from planetary influence in a specific manner.


During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s corona and prominences are visible to the naked eye [image credit: Luc Viatour / ]

A climate detective story.

H/T Paul Vaughan
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When medieval monks were looking up at the night sky, writing down their observations of celestial objects, they had no idea that their words would be invaluable centuries later to a group of scientists in a completely different field: volcanology.

A new study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature explains how descriptions of lunar eclipses by monks and scribes were key in studying some of the largest volcanic eruptions on Earth, says CTV News.

Using a combination of these medieval writings and climate data stretching back centuries, researchers were able to clarify the date of around 10 volcanic eruptions that took place between the year 1100 and 1300.


March equinox arriving.
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Equinox shadows are unique, says EarthSky.

Do you enjoy sundials, and shadows? Did you know that – on the day of an equinox, and only on the day of an equinox – the tip of an upright stick’s shadow follows a straight west-to-east path?

If you track the shadow’s tip (aka its terminus) as it moves across the ground on the day of the equinox, you’ll see it tracing out that straight line, as shown – beginning around 00:20 – in the video below:

Full article here.

Extremely Rare CME

Posted: March 15, 2023 by oldbrew in News, solar system dynamics

Good job it went the ‘other’ way.

March 13, 2023: Something big just happened on the farside of the sun. During the early hours of March 13th, SOHO coronagraphs recorded a farside halo CME leaving the sun faster than 3000 km/s:

Because of its extreme speed, this CME is classified as “extremely rare,” a fast-mover that occurs only once every decade or so. A NASA model of the event shows the CME heading almost directly away from Earth. Good thing!

Although the CME was not Earth-directed, it has nevertheless touched our planet. See all the snowy dots and streaks in the coronagraph movie above? Those are energetic particles accelerated by shock waves in the CME. They create short-lived luminous speckles when they hit SOHO’s digital camera.

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite has detected the particles reaching Earth–all from the CME’s backside. Imagine what a frontside blast would have been like. Earth’s magnetic field is funneling the particles toward the…

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The lead researcher spoke of “a new and natural explanation for the unbiased observation, that the L4 asteroids are about 1.6 times more than the asteroids in the L5 swarm.” In other words, a ratio of 8:5. In 2018 another team, studying Jupiter’s poles, ‘found an octagon-shaped grouping over the north pole, with eight cyclones surrounding one in the middle, and a pentagon-shaped batch over the south pole. Each cyclone measures several thousand miles (kilometers) across.’ Again, a ratio of 8:5.
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An international team of scientists, including NYU Abu Dhabi researcher Nikolaos Georgakarakos and others from the U.S., Japan, and China, led by Jian Li from Nanjing University, has developed new insights that may explain the numerical asymmetry of the L4 and L5 Jupiter Trojan swarms, two clusters containing more than 10,000 asteroids that move along Jupiter’s orbital path around the sun.

For decades, scientists have known that there are significantly more asteroids in the L4 swarm than the L5 swarm, but have not fully understood the reason for this asymmetry, says

In the current configuration of the solar system, the two swarms show almost identical dynamical stability and survivability properties, which has led scientists to believe that the differences came about during earlier times of our solar system’s life.


Cosmic Rays Sink to a 6-Year Low

Posted: January 1, 2023 by oldbrew in cosmic rays, Cycles, solar system dynamics

The approach to solar max is underway.

Dec. 30, 2022: Cosmic rays reaching Earth just hit a six-year low. Neutron counters in Oulu, Finland, registered the sudden decrease on Dec. 26th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field:

The CME swept aside galactic cosmic rays near our planet, abruptly reducing radiation levels. Researchers call this a “Forbush Decrease,” after American physicist Scott Forbush, who studied cosmic rays in the early 20th century.

The Dec. 26th event continues a trend that began in 2020. Since then, cosmic ray fluxes have been fitfully decreasing as one CME after another hit Earth. The reason is Solar Cycle 25, which began around that time and has been gaining strength. The Forbush Decreases are adding up.

Scott Forbush was the first to notice the yin-yang relationship between solar activity and cosmic rays. When one goes up, the other goes down. CMEs play a big role in this relationship…

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One of an average 7.3 outbursts a year according to Wikipedia.

Nov. 25, 2022: The British Astronomical Association (BAA) is reporting a new outburst of cryovolcanic comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann. On Nov. 22nd, the comet’s nucleus suddenly brightened by more than 4 magnitudes–a sign that a major eruption was underway. Cryomagmatic debris is now expanding in a shell shaped like Pac-Man:

Cai Stoddard-Jones took the picture on Nov. 23rd using the Faulkes Telescope North in Hawaii. At the time, the shell was already more than 100,000 km in diameter.

The Pac-Man shape of the ejecta shows that this is not a uniform global eruption. Instead, it is coming from one or more discrete sources on the comet’s surface.

This fits a leading model of the comet developed by Dr. Richard Miles of the British Astronomical Association. Miles believes that 29P is festooned with ice volcanoes. There is no lava. The “magma” is a cold mixture of liquid hydrocarbons (e.g., CH4, C2H4, C2H6 and…

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Jupiter [image credit: NASA]

Even less feasible than permanently changing Earth’s climate with tiny amounts of trace gases, but theorists have ideas to test.
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We have exactly one world, in all the Universe, that we know for a fact to be hospitable to life: ours, says Science Alert.

So when we’re looking for habitable planets in other planetary systems, beyond our own corner of the galaxy, we often use Earth as the perfect template.

But a new study has revealed Earth isn’t as habitable as it could be. In fact, it could be even more livable, if Jupiter’s orbit shifted slightly.


As Nasa is reported as suggesting that ‘stronger winds in El Niño years can slow down the planet’s spin’, can we – on the basis of no research at all – nominate La Niña as a suspect here? Just trying to be helpful, as MSN claims: Experts confused after earth spins faster.
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Analysis: Reflecting a recent trend, 29 June was the shortest day on our planet since the 1960s. What’s going on? – wonders The Guardian.
. . .
If time feels tighter than ever of late, blame it on the revolution. On 29 June this year, Earth racked up an unusual record: its shortest day since the 1960s, when scientists began measuring the planet’s rotation with high-precision atomic clocks.

Broadly speaking, Earth completes one full turn on its axis every 24 hours. That single spin marks out a day and drives the cycle of sunrise and sunset that has shaped patterns of life for billions of years.

But the curtains fell early on 29 June, with midnight arriving 1.59 milliseconds sooner than expected.



The Financial Post of July 09, 2022, reported that Canada will release a sanctioned, overhauled gas turbine to Germany, for use in Russia’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, hopefully preventing a further collapse of Germany’s economy, says Friends of Science. Critics denounced the move as conflicting with Canada’s “Stand with Ukraine” policy. According to Canada’s international trade website: “Germany, with the largest economy in the EU and the fourth largest in the world … Germany is Canada’s largest export market in the EU…with two-way merchandise trade totaling $25.8 billion in 2021.”

Germany is heavily reliant on natural gas from Russia. DW reported on July 11, 2022, that Germany was preparing for possible total Russian gas cut-off which would mean economic collapse and social strife due to rationing of low gas reserves and a cold winter ahead.

EChemi reported in April 2022, Germany chemical giant BASF warned that it may have to shut down production: “there is no substitute for natural gas as a raw material or energy source (in Germany), and a shortage of natural gas will result in it not having enough energy for chemical production and lack of key raw materials for manufacturing products.” Many BASF products are familiar and important to the daily life of millions of people worldwide. About 39,000 people work at BASF’s Ludwigschafen chemical processing complex in Germany.

EU energy geopolitics expert Samuel Furfari explains in his July 12, 2022, Atlantico article, “Towards a gas cut: the moment of truth on our dependence on hydrocarbons has come,” oil and gas provide the ‘horse-power’ to make large scale food production possible, but they are also the source of fertilizer. Skyrocketing fertilizer costs and blocked wheat exports from Ukraine will create food shortages and famine.


The Bastille Day Event

Posted: July 14, 2022 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Solar physics, solar system dynamics

Some interesting solar physics here.

July 14, 2022: When a solar storm is so strong that the Voyager spacecraft feel it at the edge of the solar system, you know it must be special. Twenty-two years ago today, July 14, 2000, the lonely travelers were on the verge of escaping space weather altogether when giant sunspot AR9077 exploded. The flare was so intense, it sent shockwaves to the very edge of the solar system.

SOHO images of the Bastille Day solar flare (left) and CME (right). The onset of snow in the images is a result of energetic protons hitting the spacecraft

Earth was on the doorstep of the blast, dubbed The “Bastille Day Event” because it coincided with the national day of France. Subatomic particles, especially protons, arrived in a ferocious wave, peppering satellites and penetrating deep into Earth’s atmosphere. Sensors on Earth’s surface registered a rare GLE–a “ground-level event.”

“People flying in commercial…

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Once again it’s my pleasure to publish a new paper by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller at the Talkshop. In this study, we see the presentation of a climate conundrum, and recent surface solar radiation data which helps shed new light on the questions surrounding the ongoing adjustment of global temperature datasets. This new study applies theory developed in Ned and Karl’s previous paper to enable quantification of the global temperature drop during the “1970s ice-age scare”. This won’t be the last word on the topic, but it offers a solid grounding for further research.

A PDF version of this article can be downloaded here.

Implications of a New Gridded Dataset of Surface Solar Radiation
for the Evolution of Earth’s Global Surface Temperature Since 1960

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
July, 2022


A new data set of measured Surface Solar Radiation (SSR) covering six continents (Yuan et al. 2021) reveals that the Earth surface received annually 6.6 W m-2 less shortwave energy in 2019 than it did in the early 1960s, and that the average solar flux incident on land decreased by 8.2 W m-2 between 1962 and 1985. Since the Sun is the primary source of energy to the climate system, this pattern of SSR change over the past 60 years (oftentimes referred to as global dimming) suggests that the early 1960s were much warmer than the present. However, all modern records of global surface air temperature show a net warming of about 1.0 K between 1962 and 2019. We investigate this conundrum with the help of an independently derived model (previously verified against CERES observations) that accurately converts observed SSR anomalies into changes of global surface temperature. Results from the SSR-based temperature reconstruction are compared to observed global surface temperatures provided by UAH 6.0 and HadCRUT5 datasets. We find that the SSR-based global temperature estimates match quite well the UAH satellite record from 1982 to the present in terms of overall trend and interannual variability suggesting that the observed warming of the past 40 years was the result of a decreased cloud albedo and an increased SSR rather than rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The HadCRUT5 record also shows a satisfactory agreement with the SSR-based temperatures over the same time period. However, between 1962 and 1983, the SSR-based temperature reconstruction depicts a steep global cooling reaching a rate of -1.3 K/decade during the 1970s. This is drastically different from the mild warming claimed by HadCRUT5 over this time period. The cooling episode indicated by the SSR data is corroborated by more than 115 magazine and newspaper articles published throughout the 1970s as well as a classified CIA Report from 1974 all quoting eminent climatologists of the day, who warned the public that the observed worldwide drop of temperatures threatened the global food supply and economic security. Based on this, we conclude that researchers in charge of the HadCRUT dataset have likely removed the 1962 – 1983 cooling episode from the records before the publication of HadCRUT1 in 1994 in an effort to hide evidence contradicting the UN Resolution 43/53 from 1988, which proclaimed a global warming caused by greenhouse gases as a major societal concern, and urged Governments to treat it as a priority issue in climate research and environmental protection initiatives.

  1. Introduction

It is a matter of conventional wisdom now that the Earth was significantly cooler during 1960s compared to the 21st Century. Similarly, no one disputes that the planet’s surface temperature was 1.2oC lower in the beginning of the 20th Century compared to the present. This paradigm of climate change is based on surface temperature records maintained by several research teams that show remarkable consistency with one another. Figure 1 portrays global temperature anomalies based on 6 datasets supposedly constructed using different approaches summarized by Morice et al. (2021). All global records depict a nearly continuous warming since 1920 with a brief pause of the temperature rise between 1940 and 1980. No record shows a drop of global temperature between 1960 and 1980, which is at odds with a well-documented, decade-long discussion in the media about an ongoing rapid cooling during the 1970s currently known as the “1970s ice-age scare”.

Figure 1. Global surface temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2021 according to 6 official data sets. Note the remarkable consistency among various time series (borrowed from Fig. 8 of Morice et al. 2021).


Ned Nikolov sends exciting news. He’s been invited to co-edit a special issue of ‘Climate’ jounal, carried by high impact factor open access publisher MDPI; the world’s largest and fastest growing open access publisher. He has now issued the call for papers.

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154): “Natural Drivers of Climate Change: New Frontiers”
This special issue belongs to the section “Climate and Environment“.
UPDATE: Deadline for manuscript submissions now : 30 June 2023 |

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to welcome contributions for a Special Issue in the MDPI journal Climate focused on natural drivers of the Earth’s climate. Results from Atmosphere/Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) highlight the critical role of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in determining the course of future climatic change. These models, rooted in theory, do not successfully simulate natural phenomena such as ENSO, PDO and AMO. However, recent published research suggests that the natural forcing of climate may have been underestimated and that the lack of proper representation of such forcing in models may be highly consequential for climate projections. For example, studies have shown that cloud albedo has decreased over the past 40 years, and the resulting increase of surface solar radiation is a significant contributor to the observed warming (Herman et al. 2013Hofer et al. 2017Pfeifroth et al. 2018Pokrovsky 2019Delgado-Bonal et al. 2020Dübal & Vahrenholt 2021). At the same time, the inability of AOGCMs to predict changes in cloud albedo has been recognized as a leading source of uncertainty in climate projections (Williams et al. 2020Ceppi & Nowack 2021).


Beware ‘unusual frequencies (harmonics)’.

June 13, 2022: Researchers have mapped the best and worst places to be in the USA during a severe geomagnetic storm. For residents of some big cities, the news is not good.

“Resistive structures in the crust and mantle of the Earth make cities along the east coast of the USA especially vulnerable to geomagnetic storms,” says Jeffrey Love of the US Geological Survey (USGS), who led the study. “The hazards are greatest for power systems serving Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, – a megalopolis of over 50 million people.”

Above: If you live near an orange dot you might be in trouble. Peak geoelectric field amplitudes during the March 13, 1989, geomagnetic storm, from Love et al (2022).

These conclusions are based on a new study of the biggest geomagnetic storm of the Space Age–the Great Québec Blackout. On March 13, 1989, two major CMEs hammered…

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A reconstruction of the Anglian ice sheet in Precambrian North London (credit: BBC / The Natural History Museum, London)

They claim this solves the so-called 100,000 year problem described by Wikipedia:
‘The 100,000-year-problem refers to the lack of an obvious explanation for the periodicity of ice ages at roughly 100,000 years for the past million years, but not before, when the dominant periodicity corresponded to 41,000 years. The unexplained transition between the two periodicity regimes is known as the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, dated to some 800,000 years ago.’ [41,000 years being the approximate obliquity cycle period]

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In a new study published today in the journal Science, the team from Cardiff University has been able to pinpoint exactly how the tilting and wobbling of the Earth as it orbits around the Sun has influenced the melting of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere over the past 2 million years or so.

Scientists have long been aware that the waxing and waning of massive Northern Hemisphere ice sheets results from changes in the geometry of Earth’s orbit around the Sun, says

There are two aspects of the Earth’s geometry that can influence the melting of ice sheets: obliquity and precession.


Sunspots [image credit: NASA]

The Sun may still have a surprise or two for solar cycle 25 theorists, but what we hear is: “I believe this will likely be the best forecast to come out of one of the NOAA/NASA Cycle prediction panels.” The article below doesn’t include the question mark in its headline.
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The Sun is waking up, says Sky and Telescope.

In recent weeks, NASA has announced X-class solar flares, observers have seen large sunspot groups with the unaided eye, and online services have issued multiple aurora alerts even for mid-latitudes.

After years of quiescence — the Sun was more often spotless than not in 2018, 2019, and 2020 — the change of pace is exciting solar observers.


I’m delighted Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller have chosen the Talkshop as the venue for the publication of this new open peer review paper on climate sensitivity. Scientific advance at the cutting edge has always been the most important aim of this blog, and I think this paper truly is an advance in our understanding of the climate system and the factors which support and modulate surface temperature on Earth and other rocky planets. 

The paper is mathematically rigorous, but is also accessible to everyone, thanks to Ned and Karl’s exemplary effort to fully explain their concepts and definitions in terms which can be understood by any interested reader who has some familiarity with the climate debate. Building on the bedrock of their 2014 and 2017 papers, this new work extends the applicability and validates the postulates of those previous papers by examining the causes of variability in planetary surface temperature and incorporating the previous findings in quantifying and deriving equations to model them. They find that Earth is sensitive to changes in cloud cover, which affects the amount of solar shortwave radiation reaching the surface, but not very sensitive to changes in Total Solar Irradiance arriving at the top of the atmosphere. They also find that the sensitivity to changes in CO2 levels has been heavily overestimated by current climate models. They show that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 560 ppm will cause an undetectable global warming of 0.004K.

A PDF of the paper can be downloaded here:  ECS_Universal_Equations.


Exact Formulas for Estimating the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity of Rocky Planets & Moons to Total Solar Irradiance, Absorbed Shortwave Radiation, Planetary Albedo and Surface Atmospheric Pressure.
Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
April, 2022

1. Introduction

The term “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity” (ECS) has become a synonym for the steady-state response of global surface temperature to a modeled long-wave radiative forcing caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration with respect to an assumed pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. According to climate models based on the Greenhouse theory, an increase of atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce a net radiative forcing (i.e. an atmospheric radiant-heat trapping) of 3.74 W m-2 (Gregory et al. 2004) resulting in a global surface warming between 2.5 K and 4.0 K with a central estimate of 3.0 K according to IPCC AR6 (see p. 11 in Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers). This implies an average unit ECS of 3.0/3.74 = 0.8 K / (W m-2) with a range of 0.67 ≤ ECS ≤ 1.07 K / (W m-2). Contemporary climate science and IPCC Assessment Reports do not discuss global temperature sensitivities to changes in cloud albedo, absorbed solar radiation or total surface atmospheric pressure. Consequently, no equations have been derived/proposed thus far to calculate these sensitivities. Part of the reason is that variations of cloud albedo are typically viewed in modern climate science as internal feedback to a climatic change induced by external forcing such as increasing anthropogenic carbon emissions. This notion is based on the 19th-Century Greenhouse theory (Arrhenius 1896) adopted by IPCC, which attributes most of the observed warming during the 20th Century and especially over the past 40 years to rising atmospheric  CO2 concentrations believed to trap outgoing long-wave radiation in the Earth’s troposphere and reduce the rate of surface infrared cooling to Space.

However, a plethora of studies published during the past 15 years have shown through both satellite and surface observations that the absorption of solar radiation by the Earth-atmosphere system has increased significantly since 1982 due to a decreased cloud cover/albedo, a phenomenon often referred to as “global brightening” (e.g. Goode & Pallé 2007; Wild 2009; Herman et al. 2013; Stanhill et al. 2014; Hofer et al. 2017; Pfeifroth et al. 2018; Pokrovsky 2019Delgado-Bonal et al. 2020; Dübal & Vahrenholt 2021;  Yuan et al. 2021).