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Climate Change Contrarians Latch On To Cosmic Ray Explanation for Global Warming


Cosmic RaysClimate change skeptics have long been trying to find a different explanation for the climate changes than have been occurring over the last century. In an attempt to debunk the widely held belief, upheld by scientific study, they are maintaining that the sun and galactic cosmic rays are linked directly to climate change, not humans.

Galactic cosmic rays are high energy particles that originate outside our solar system. The hypothesis purports that cosmic rays can seed cloud formations and so fewer cosmic rays reaching the Earth means less cloud formation. Fewer clouds reflecting sunlight then means there is more solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface and, voilà, global warming.

The sun’s magnetic field deflects galactic cosmic rays, so if the sun is in a phase of high activity with a strong magnetic field, fewer cosmic rays will reach Earth. So, based on the hypothesis, galactic cosmic rays will amplify the solar influence on the global climate, it’s a cooling effect from low solar activity or warming from high solar activity.

However, real science demonstrates that the solar activity and the amount of solar rays reaching the Earth’s surface have remained flat over the past 60 years. If they were really the culprit of global warming, we would see an upward trend in solar activity and a downward trend in cosmic rays reaching the Earth. In fact, a recent paper in the journal Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics stated bluntly that even if cosmic rays affected cloud production, global cooling, not global warming, would be happening.

Climate contrarians have latched onto the cosmic ray theory as an alternative explanation to human-caused global warming. The theory has been taken seriously enough to have been the subject of extensive scientific research over several years, and the hypothesis does not hold up under close scrutiny

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