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Could there be a link between galactic cosmic rays and cloud formation? An experiment at CERN is using the cleanest box in the world to find out.
The Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment uses a special cloud chamber to study the possible link between galactic cosmic rays and cloud formation. Based at the Proton Synchrotron (PS) at CERN, this is the first time a high-energy physics accelerator has been used to study atmospheric and climate science. The results should contribute much to our fundamental understanding of aerosols and clouds, and their affect on climate.
Earth’s climate may not warm as quickly as expected, suggest new cloud studies
All the researchers stress sulfuric acid is still a major contributor to cloud formation on Earth today. “Today the purely plant-based pathway is much less important than it was preindustrially,” Kirkby explains. Crucially, however,the result means climate modelers can’t assume that the ancient past was much less cloudy simply because there was less sulfur dioxide. If ancient cloud cover was closer to today’s levels, the increase in the cloud-cooling effect due to human pollution could also be smaller—which means that Earth was not warming up so much in response to increased greenhouse gases alone. In other words, Earth is less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought, and it may warm up less in response to future carbon emissions, says Urs Baltensperger of the Paul Scherrer Institute, who was an author on all three papers. He says that the current best estimates of future temperature rises are still feasible, but “the highest values become improbable.” The researchers are currently working toward more precise estimates of how the newly discovered process affects predictions of the Earth’s future climate.
Cloud-seeding surprise could improve climate predictions
Molecules released by trees can seed clouds, two experiments have revealed. The findings, published on 25 May in Nature1, 2 and Science3, run contrary to an assumption that the pollutant sulphuric acid is required for a certain type of cloud formation — and suggest that climate predictions may have underestimated the role that clouds had in shaping the pre-industrial climate.
In addition to releasing carbon dioxide, burning fossil fuels indirectly produces sulphuric acid, which is known to seed clouds. So, climate scientists have assumed that since pre-industrial times, there has been a large increase in cloud cover, which is thought to have an overall cooling effect by reflecting sunlight back into space. And they have assumed that this overall cooling effect has partially masked the climate’s underlying sensitivity to rising carbon dioxide levels.
Until recently, atmospheric scientists thought that only sulphuric acid vapour, which can be produced by volcanic emissions or by burning fossil fuels, could trigger this process. As a result, it was thought that pre-industrial skies were somewhat less cloudy than present ones because they contained less of this pollutant, says Kirkby.
But there's no getting around the facts related to more CO2 + more phyto-available nutrients floating around means more lush plant life on planet earth.
originally posted by: Kalixi
The people who cling onto the Climate Change contextual lie will have a brain aneurysm before accepting this information.