Saturday, January 27, 2007

Clouds and cosmic rays

There is a lot of discussion on the correlation of GCR (cosmic ray) modulation of the climate during quiet sun periods. As a simplistic statement during periods of high solar activity the magnetosphere sheath protects the earth from galactic rays.

As we observed here

Low-altitude clouds are significant because they especially shield the Earth from the sun to keep us cool. Low cloud cover can vary by 2% in five years, affecting the Earth's surface by as much as 1.2 watts per square metre during that same period. "That figure can be compared with about 1.4 watts per square metre estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the greenhouse effect of all the increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the Industrial Revolution," Dr. Svensmark explained.

There is also an interesting paper
Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect
of galactic cosmic rays on clouds
Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) changes have been suggested to affect weather and climate, and new evidence is presented here directly linking GCRs with clouds. Clouds increase the diffuse solar radiation, measured continuously at UK surface meteorological sites since 1947. The ratio of diffuse to total solar radiation—the diffuse fraction (DF)—is used to infer cloud, and is compared with the daily mean neutron count rate measured at Climax, Colorado from 1951–2000, which provides a globally representative indicator of cosmic rays. Across the UK, on days of high cosmic ray flux (above 3600!102 neutron counts hK1, which occur 87% of the time on average) compared with low cosmic ray flux, (i) the chance of an overcast day increases by (19G4) %, and (ii) the diffuse fraction increases by (2G0.3) %. During sudden transient reductions in cosmic rays (e.g. Forbush events), simultaneous decreases occur in the diffuse fraction. The diffuse radiation changes are, therefore, unambiguously due to cosmic rays. Although the statistically significant nonlinear cosmic ray effect is small, it will have a considerably larger aggregate effect on longertimescale (e.g. centennial) climate variations when day-to-day variability averages out.

Graph above Stott et al science 2001

Monday, January 22, 2007

The spy in the sky

It is a funny world

The first of a fleet of five identical all-weather German spy satellites was http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0612/19sarlupe/ Tuesday aboard a Russian rocket to collect high-resolution images of the ground 24 hours a day.

Called SAR-Lupe 1, the 1,587-pound craft is Germany's first reconnaissance satellite. It is fitted with a large radar dish antenna that can pierce darkness and thick clouds to resolve targets. The radar data can be analyzed and turned into images.

The spacecraft launched atop a Kosmos 3M rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in far northern Russia a few seconds after 1400 GMT (9:00 a.m. EST) Tuesday.

The rocket released SAR-Lupe 1 into a 300-mile high Sun-synchronous orbit about a half-hour later, ending the launch in success.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sea surface temperatures the untold story

In the southern hemisphere we have been experienicing lower then usual SST.As we noted here
there are a number of anomalies in the hypothesis that agw will increase temperatures ,and is seen in SST,The lack of increase in sst is always ezplained by thermal inertia and this takes time.Interesting questions arise in energy dissipation rates that see levels plummet in times of LOW Solar activity.

The trend in sst is reflected in correlation of solar cycles,that dispel the dance of the model makers.

A chilling relic resurrected in the freezer

The vaults beneath the mosaic stone
Contain'd the dead of ages gone:
Their names were on the graven floor,
But now illegible with gore;
The carved crests, and curious hues
The varied marble's veins diffuse,
Were smear'd, and slippery — stain'd, and strown
With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown:
There were dead above, and the dead below
Lay cold in many a coffin'd row;


Concern as revived 1918 flu virus kills monkeys
Questions raised over safety of revived microbe.

Reports Nature

The 1918 influenza virus, which killed some 50 million people worldwide, has proved fatal to macaques infected in a laboratory. The study follows Nature's controversial publication of the virus's sequence in 2005, alongside a paper in Science that described the recreation of the virus from a corpse and its potency in mice.

Some scientists question the wisdom of reconstructing such a deadly virus. Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Something’s are better left buried, beware the curse of Tamerlane

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Consensus ? it depends who you talk to.

Novosti reports on the feeling of the Russian space academics...

Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases emitted through human activity, generally believed to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, are an effect rather than the cause of global warming, a prominent Russian scientist said Monday.

Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory, said global warming stems from an increase in the sun's activity. His view contradicts the international scientific consensus that climate change is attributable to the emission of greenhouse gases generated by industrial activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

"Global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy - almost throughout the last century - growth in its intensity," Abdusamatov told RIA Novosti in an interview.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Paradox for Pariahs

If a chemical system at equilibrium experiences a change in concentration, temperature, or total pressure; the equilibrium will shift in order to minimize that change.
Le Chatelier's principle

China is set to overtake the US in one important respect. With a couple of years it will become the world's biggest CO2 emitter, beating the US a decade earlier than expected. And of that output, nearly two-thirds will be derived from coal. China is believed to have little oil and gas, but coal enough to power its economic surge for at least another century. It has 13 percent of the world's coal reserves.

Unfortunately much of China's coal is high sulphur, and puts out masses of sulphur dioxide, soot, and other nasty stuff. Since they are opening coal-fired power stations at the rate of one a week, and expect to double their energy consumption by 2020, this is not good news. Some reports suggest that 1,000 new coal-fired stations are planned.

Now we have an interesting paradox. China and India both high users of high sulphur coal are also the world’s biggest producers of rice and are the largest emitters of methane from wetland rice fields .

Since 1990 the worlds methane levels are stable to slightly decreasing,this in conjunction with a ten fold increase in those countries in energy consumption,what has happened?

Wetlands are a potent source of the radiatively important gas methane (CH4). Recent findings have demonstrated that sulfate (SO4 2 ) deposition via acid rain suppresses CH4 emissions by stimulating competitive exclusion of methanogens by sulfate-reducing microbial populations. Here we report data from a field experiment showing that a finite pulse of simulated acid rain SO4 2 deposition, as would be expected from a large Icelandic volcanic eruption, continues to suppress CH4 emissions from wetlands long after the pollution event has ceased. Our analysis of the stoichiometries suggests that 5 years is a minimum CH4 emission recovery period, with 10 years being a reasonable upper limit. Our findings highlight the long-term impact of acid rain on biospheric output of CH4 which, for discrete polluting events such as volcanic eruptions, outlives the relatively short-term SO4 2 aerosol radiative cooling effect.

Gauci, V., N. Dise, and S. Blake (2005), Long-term suppression of wetland methane flux
following a pulse of simulated acid rain, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32,

So what happens when we reduce sulphur in a system that has adjusted to the higher levels of acidic rain.

Acid rainfall in the Appalachian Mountains has decreased in recent years and organisms in its streams are thriving. But the environmental comeback could be creating new problems of its own, scientists say.

A drop in nitric and sulfuric acid levels in the streams is changing biological activity in the ecosystem and hiking dissolved carbon levels, scientists reported at the American Geophysical Union conference last week in San Francisco.

Dissolved carbon dioxide occurs as a result of organism respiration and decay of organic matter. It is a key source of acidity in pristine water.

"These are unexpected results," said David DeWalle, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University. "Rising amounts of carbon dioxide in streams and soil could have implications for the forest ecosystem, and the carbon balance in general."

Using Le Chatelier's principle we can predict that if we are to add a species to the overall reaction, the reaction will favor the side opposing the addition of the species. Likewise, the subtraction of a species would cause the reaction to fill the “gap” and favor the side where the species was reduced.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The eye of Brahma descendent from the heavens

Known as the Black Orlov or The Eye of Brahma, the jewel's curse allegedly began when it was removed from a Hindu shrine in southern India and then claimed to be responsible for the violent deaths of two Russian princesses.

Legend tells of a monk removing the original rough 195-carat diamond from the eye of the Idol of Brahma at a shrine near Pondicherry, India. This sacrilege allegedly cursed all future owners of the precious stone to a violent death.

Exceedingly rare in nature we now find they come from the interstellar medium.

In a paper published online on December 20, 2006, in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists Jozsef Garai and Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University, along with Case Western Reserve University researchers Sandeep Rekhi and Mark Chance, claim an extraterrestrial origin for the unique black diamonds, also called carbonado diamonds.

Infrared synchrotron radiation at Brookhaven National Laboratory was used to discover the diamonds' source.

"Trace elements critical to an 'ET' origin are nitrogen and hydrogen," said Haggerty. The presence of hydrogen in the carbonado diamonds indicates an origin in a hydrogen-rich interstellar space, he and colleagues believe.

The term carbonado was coined by the Portuguese in Brazil in the mid-18th century; it's derived from its visual similarity to porous charcoal. Black diamonds are found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The sun arraigned as suspect in Global Warming.

The Nationalpost has an interesting article that will send the tongues a wagging as it did when first released by the Royal Society.As any document that challenges the scriptures of the Grand Academy of Lagado as described by Jonathon Swift presciently..

"In the school of political projectors, I was but ill entertained, the professors appearing, in my judgment, wholly out of their senses; which is a scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit, great abilities, and eminent services, of instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same foundation with that of their people; of choosing for employment persons qualified to exercise them; with many other wild impossible chimeras, that never entered before into the heart of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the old observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational which some philosophers have not maintained for truth."
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. "A Voyage to Laputa," pt. 3, ch. 6, Gulliver's Travels (1726).

Swift's Laputans excel in theoretical learning; the abstractions of "higher mathematics" are their meat and drink. They can solve equations—but they cannot build houses, because of the "contempt they bear to practical geometry, which they despise as vulgar and mechanic". Unfortunately their theoretical learning is too abstruse and "too refined for the intellectuals of their workmen ".

And so to speak the prophecies prescribed by the new Grand Academy of Lagoda(IPCC)remain as always in the virtual world and do not reflect the Physics of reality.

Man produces greenhouse gases and greenhouse gases cause global warming, most scientists agree, but how, exactly, do greenhouse gases cause global warming? While theories abound, as do elaborate computer models incorporating a multitude of gases and other climatic factors, none has been conclusive. And if greenhouse gases aren't responsible, what else could be? A clear, verifiable mechanism showing how a greenhouse gas or other physical entity can drive climate change has eluded science. Until now.

For more than a decade, Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center has been pursuing an explanation for why Earth cools and warms. His findings -- published in October in the Proceedings of the Royal Society -- the mathematical, physical sciences and engineering journal of the Royal Society of London -- are now in, and they don't point to us. The sun and the stars could explain most if not all of the warming this century, and he has laboratory results to demonstrate it. Dr. Svensmark's study had its origins in 1996, when he and a colleague presented findings at a scientific conference indicating that changes in the sun's magnetic field -- quite apart from greenhouse gases -- could be related to the recent rise in global temperatures. The chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, the chief agency investigating global warming, then castigated them in the press, saying, "I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible." Others accused them of denouncing the greenhouse theory, something they had not done.

Svensmark and his colleague had arrived at their theory after examining data that showed a surprisingly strong correlation between cosmic rays --highspeed atomic particles originating in exploded stars in the Milky Way -- and low-altitude clouds. Earth's cloud cover increased when the intensity of cosmic rays grew and decreased when the intensity declined.

Low-altitude clouds are significant because they especially shield the Earth from the sun to keep us cool. Low cloud cover can vary by 2% in five years, affecting the Earth's surface by as much as 1.2 watts per square metre during that same period. "That figure can be compared with about 1.4 watts per square metre estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the greenhouse effect of all the increase in carbon dioxide in the air since the Industrial Revolution," Dr. Svensmark explained.

As part of their review for the IPCC AR4 on solar and cosmic variables and the relationship to climate we see the following findings for the Hadley climate centre.

• High energy particles, such as galactic cosmic rays and solar protons are modulated by the 11-year solar cycle and by short-term (hours to days) solar changes. In some cases, high energy particles penetrate to the surface, which presents the possibility of atmospheric radiative changes linked to the particles’ passage through the stratosphere and troposphere. Changes in atmospheric ionisation at the surface can be caused by substantial solar changes.

• Aerosol microphysics, such as particle nucleation, coagulation, and scavenging can be expected to be modified through changes in cosmic ray ion production.

• There is detailed theoretical support for ultrafine aerosol production in the atmosphere from ions, in the regions where there is condensable vapours with no substantial competing vapour sinks. Large cluster ions, which are expected in the initial phase of particle formation, have also been detected in the free troposphere. The combination of theoretical prediction and supportive (but preliminary) experimental atmospheric results now gives reasonable confidence that particle formation occurs from ions in the troposphere, and therefore from cosmic rays. The geographical distribution of particle formation and its frequency is not known with any confidence.

• Charging of aerosol particles and droplets occurs on the particle and cloud boundaries, related to global circuit properties. Theory supports the enhanced removal of charged particles to cloud droplets, even at low particle charge levels. There is some basis for an effect of charged aerosol on freezing of super-cooled clouds through electro-scavenging, but this has not been experimentally demonstrated in the atmosphere.

• Currents flow in the global atmospheric electrical system as a result of the partial electrical conductivity of air, caused mainly by cosmic ray ionisation. The global atmospheric electrical circuit drives vertical electric currents in fair weather regions.It provides a global teleconnection, communicating atmospheric electrical changes throughout the stratosphere and troposphere, down to the surface.

• Cloud-retrievals from the ISCCP satellite program show a strong correlation between low liquid water clouds with galactic cosmic rays from July 1983 to September 1994. Without detailed model calculations combining the aerosol and cloud microphysics and estimating the effects, it is not possible to be sure whether the correlation results from a direct cosmic ray effect on low clouds, or has another origin. If a calibration correction to the data is accepted, on the basis of the absence of a polar orbiting satellite, the correlation continues until September 2001; there is some recent evidence that the correlation is stronger at high latitudes than low latitudes.

• Cosmic rays and Total Solar Irradiance variations are often closely correlated. This relationship has been used to infer past TSI changes. However it also means that cosmic ray and TSI signals may be ambiguous on some timescales: which has implications for the use of cosmogenic isotopes as proxies. The proxies actually measure the cosmic ray variations. Consequently if cosmic-ray induced aerosol microphysics changes couples strongly through to clouds, climate signals attributed through proxies to solar TSI changes could also be explained by a direct atmospheric effect of cosmic rays.

A Review of The Influence of Solar Changes
on the Earth’s Climate
L. J. Gray, J. D. Haigh, R. G. Harrison

Consequently the Jury has not reached a consenus,it has not even left the room as the scientific parameters are subjected to objective discourse.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Oil prices head south,

Peak oil pundits with short positions leap from windows as oil loses 10%.

The 10 % fall since the start of the year -- the most dramatic loss since December 2004 according to Reuters data -- is out of proportion to any fundamental weakness and has spread to the wider commodities asset class.

US crude was hovering above $55 a barrel on Friday, a key technical level, which if convincingly broken could pave the way for a deeper decline.

"Our view is the price will likely be rangebound between $55-$65 a barrel this year versus the $66 a barrel average in 2006," he said. But in the immediate term, there was also a risk of further hedge fund selling following an increase in levels of open interest, or positions that have not yet been liquidated.

"There is still the potential for a further correction. It's never a good sign when there is a big drop like this with rising levels of open interest," said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix in Switzerland. He said a close below $55 could pave the way for a move down to $50 a barrel.

As we said here

The heavens interfere with polls

On May 18 2003, officials overseeing an election in Schaerbeek, a suburb of Brussels, got a shock. An electronic vote-counting machine declared that 4,096 more people had cast their vote than the ballot slips testified. The machine had been thoroughly tested and deemed perfect. So what went wrong?

The answer was, literally, a strike from the heavens.

Technicians pointed the finger of blame at cosmic rays -- particles that zip across the cosmos at huge speed and, while rightly ignored by humans as a health concern, can wreak havoc with highly sensitive microelectronic circuits.

Physorg reports on an act of god

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The day the world will stop

On Sept. 1, 1859, the Earth was immersed in a magnetic storm the likes of which could cause a power outage equal or greater than the Aug. 14, 2003 blackout. Compared to the large space storms, known as superstorms, which occurred during the recent solar cycles, the 1859 storm was ten times stronger. At that time, aurora, commonly called northern lights, were seen as far south as Rome and Havana and it disrupted telegraph communication, then an indispensable technology, world-wide.

Today there will be disruption to satellites some with permanent damage,(during the December event 2 satellites received instrument damage.Mobile phones will be inoperative as systems go down,energy grids will be disrupted sometimes for months dependent on secondary systems.Radio and television will be disrupted due to accelerated inonisation.

In scientific circles where solar flares, magnetic storms and other unique solar events are discussed, the occurrences of September 1-2, 1859, are the star stuff of legend. Even 144 years ago, many of Earth's inhabitants realized something momentous had just occurred. Within hours, telegraph wires in both the United States and Europe spontaneously shorted out, causing numerous fires, while the Northern Lights, solar-induced phenomena more closely associated with regions near Earth's North Pole, were documented as far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii, with similar effects at the South Pole.

What happened in 1859 was a combination of several events that occurred on the Sun at the same time. If they took place separately they would be somewhat notable events. But together they caused the most potent disruption of Earth's ionosphere in recorded history. "What they generated was the perfect space storm," says Bruce Tsurutani, a plasma physicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

What transpired during the dog days of summer 1859, across the 150 million-kilometer (about 93 million-mile) chasm of interplanetary space that separates the Sun and Earth, was this: on August 28, solar observers noted the development of numerous sunspots on the Sun's surface. Sunspots are localized regions of extremely intense magnetic fields. These magnetic fields intertwine, and the resulting magnetic energy can generate a sudden, violent release of energy called a solar flare. From August 28 to September 2 several solar flares were observed. Then, on September 1, the Sun released a mammoth solar flare. For almost an entire minute the amount of sunlight the Sun produced at the region of the flare actually doubled.

"With the flare came this explosive release of a massive cloud of magnetically charged plasma called a coronal mass ejection," said Tsurutani. "Not all coronal mass ejections head toward Earth. Those that do usually take three to four days to get here. This one took all of 17 hours and 40 minutes," he noted.

Back in 1859 the invention of the telegraph was only 15 years old and society's electrical framework was truly in its infancy. A 1994 solar storm caused major malfunctions to two communications satellites, disrupting newspaper, network television and nationwide radio service throughout Canada. Other storms have affected systems ranging from cell phone service and TV signals to GPS systems and electrical power grids.

Such a blackout is also likely to cause transient voltage stresses and permanent damage to network equipment such as high-voltage breakers, transformers, and generation plants, which makes them unavailable for restoring power. Hours or days may pass before power can be restored. Oak Ridge National Laboratory assessed the potential impact of a widespread blackout in the northeastern United States from a geomagnetic storm event slightly more severe than the March 1989 blackout as a $3–6 billion loss in gross domestic product. This figure does not account for the potential disruption of critical services such as transportation, fire protection, and public security. Other assessments placed the 1989 and 1991 geomagnetic storm effects in a category equivalent to Hurricane Hugo and the San Francisco earthquake in their relative impact on the reliability of the electric power grid.

There is a good technical perspective here.

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