Logo of CERN. Have they found the Higgs boson? And what if they have? Logo of CERN. Have they found the Higgs boson? And what if they have?

Global warming models obsolete

The world’s climate scientists must now revise their computer models, and for reasons that cannot make global warming alarmists happy. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) now says that the sun has far more to do with the globe’s warmth than they suspected.

The CERN CLOUD experiment

Logo of CERN. Has global warming alarmism tarnished this organization?
LOGO of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research

CERN announced yesterday the results of its latest experiment, called CLOUD (for “Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets”). As The Register (London) reported, CERN found that cosmic rays actually cause clouds to form, at least in the high reaches of the troposphere. (See Kirkby et al., “Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation”, Nature, 476: 429–433, 25 August 2011, DOI 10.1038/nature10343.)

The two most important things that CERN has found are:

  1. Cosmic rays can make clouds form up to ten times faster, strictly by acting on sulfuric acid and ammonia vapor. This works most strongly at altitudes of five miles and higher, where the air is cool.
  2. Within a mile of the ground, something more must be happening. Sulfuric acid and water alone cannot account for all the cloud formation at this level.

On the second basis alone, the lead investigator, Jasper Kirkby, said that climate scientists would have to revise their models. At issue: these models assume that water, sulfuric acid, and ammonia vapors are the only vapors that form clouds. This is not correct. Other vapors take part—and whether they come from the wild or from human activity, even CERN does not know yet. (See this video interview with Dr. Kirkby.)

What this means for global warming

These findings mean that everything that everyone ever thought about global warming needs a second look. The cosmic-ray finding especially says that the sun has far more influence on the earth’s temperature than any activity of man. The Register knows this, and so does the head of CERN:

CERN’s director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer warned his scientists “to present the results clearly but not interpret them”. Readers can judge whether CLOUD’s lead physicist Jasper Kirkby has followed his boss’s warning.

Paul Joseph Watson at Infowars.com put it more bluntly:

In a shocking illustration of how the man-made climate change establishment has seized control of the scientific process, physicists at the CERN lab in Geneva were gagged from drawing conclusions about data that seeks to replicate studies which prove the sun is the main driver of climate change, after their boss told them that such heresy was politically incorrect.

This refers to an earlier report about the CLOUD findings from The Register. In it, Andrew Orlowski makes a serious charge: that CERN deliberately sought to suppress a finding unfriendly to the consensus of progressive politicians and the United Nations. That consensus is: that governments need to tax carbon dioxide, cap it, trade it, and do everything possible to limit it. And if they don’t, global warming will go on without stopping, until the earth turns into a desert.

Is global warming real or unreal?

That question is more than academic. The man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama, campaigned on that issue. The question is more than political, too: it has provoked at least one major lawsuit. (Connecticut et al. v. American Electric Power et al.)

At least one frequenter of the comment space of this site suggests that 98 percent of all climate scientists believe that:

  1. Global warming is happening,
  2. Man is to blame for it,
  3. Man can stop it, if he adopts a “sustainable lifestyle.”

If these three points look familiar to frequent readers, they should. They look like the elements of standing in a court of law:

  1. Injury in fact,
  2. A connection between the injury and something that someone did,
  3. A way that a court can relieve the injury.

The CERN findings go directly, not only to whether global warming is happening, but also to whether man is to blame. This is the second part of standing: a connection between an injury in fact (in this case, global warming) and the conduct of the defendant (in this case, man’s industrial activity). Consider the implications: a scientist finds something to suggest that man is not to blame. And his boss doesn’t want him to talk. But of course, now that Nature has published the article, Kirkby must talk. The press expects him to talk.

The larger question

Whether CERN’s higher-ups tried to cover up this finding is less important than the finding itself. Usually the cover-up is worse than the embarrassment that one tries to avoid by covering up. This time the first embarrassment is far greater, greater even than the Climate-gate scandal of two years ago. That earlier scandal showed that the world’s climate scientists loved their global warming theory too much to let dissent get in the way. We see now that those scientists don’t have the facts they thought they had. Worse, they love their theory too much even to let facts get in the way.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

evidence, global warming, scientific theory, tax, United Nations


Terry A. Hurlbut

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

Comments (19)

  • I do feel that climate change is happening. I don’t believe it’s as extreme as the left is saying, however.

    Imagine the environment is like waves on a beach. You put down a rock, and the way the waves move slightly change. It disperses and still does mostly the same thing. You put down a LOT of rocks, and you’ve blocked most of the water from getting through. BUT, put down a big enough wave, and those rocks get knocked over.

    Now instead of rocks, imagine a building And instead of waves, imagine air and wind. As we’ve disrupted that, the environment has changed around us. City areas have less moisture for the atmosphere to re-absorb than normal, and more blocks in that air flow, so they are often warmer than they normally would be.

    We’ve changed from that natural order, and our cities are like hives, that are bringing an unnatural element to the world. The earth is a smart environment, and it fights back against that. As we’ve disrupted its waves, it fights a little bit harder to reject our presence.

    And in absolutely no way am I saying we should stop anything that we’re doing. We should do it smarter, and with more harmony with nature wherever possible. The liberal money making green movement is as excessive as can be. Look at all the horrible storms that are happening and hitting major population centers! Yes storms are bad. They’re dangerous. This was a particularly rough year for them. But it’s just the way the planet we live on reacts to what we’re doing on it.

    But I’m sorry – we live in really awesome times. We aren’t going back to the stone ages. I’m going to do whatever is the most economical. I’m not trying to destroy the environment. Humans are always finding better ways to do it. Generating less garbage is a good thing. Using less energy is also a good thing. But I don’t need the government ramming any of that down my throat (thanks stupid lightball legislation).

    The CERN study seems stupid and pointless. It seems they’ve pointed out that the sun is the mechanism that god put in place to sustain life on this rock. Yay sun!

    • Still, give Dr. Kirkby at CERN credit for two things: following the evidence where it led, and having the courage to stand up to his boss and state the obvious.

      • If Kirkby is honorable and to be trusted at his word, then let’s see his interpretation of his own work:

        “But, Kirkby adds, those particles are far too small to serve as seeds for clouds. “At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step,” he says.”

        You’ve totally butchered your interpretation of this paper. Both your points (1) and (2) are incorrect. First, (1) is incorrect because the results here have nothing to do with particles which can seed clouds – “cloud condenstation nuclei”. The particles whose production was increased in this study were much smaller. There is no known physical or chemical pathway whereby these smaller particles can increase the number of cloud condensation nuclei, and there is no empirical evidence to support the notion that when these smaller particles increase in concentration, so too do CCN’s.

        The second point is a hit-and-miss also. There are many well-known factors which can increase CCN concentrations in the planetary boundary layer. A curious and interesting example derives from average diurnal storminess. We tend to see an increase in the development and organization of convection in the late afternoon in the US. Why is that? Because rush hour in large metropolitan areas contributes a great deal of aerosols and other particles to the atmosphere which can serve as seeds for clouds.

        It’s great to be excited about new and interesting research. But that’s all this study is; there are no implications for a GCR to cloud/climate relationship at this point. There are still no physical mechanisms or direct observations to corroborate that hypothesis, so it just isn’t parsimonious.

        • Then why did Director-General Heuer try to muzzle him? And what do you suppose Kirkby meant by saying that the treatment of aerosol formation would need a rewrite?

          • There is no evidence that anyone tried to muzzle anyone. Heuer is specifically warning against what **you’re** doing – taking things out of context and making wild accusations and assertions. CLOUD was envisioned to explicitly test some of the more basic, fundamental aspects of Svensmark’s GCR-climate theory which hadn’t been studied before. It’s obvious to anyone who has followed this experiment for a while that people who are skeptical of modern AGW theory would latch on and over-inflate any result from the experiment. Which is *exactly* what we’re seeing in the blog-o-sphere right now. Of course, that’s par for the course.

            This quote from you sums it up exactly: “The CERN findings go directly, not only to whether global warming is happening, but also to whether man is to blame.” The thing is, **they don’t do any such thing**. Heuer is warning about making such absurd, unsupported interpretations which inevitably bring a media frenzy that overshadows any valuable scientific work being produced.

            If Heuer tried to muzzle Kirkby, then how is it that Kirkby ended up publishing his paper in *the highest profile journal in the world*? Just doesn’t make sense – it’s a conspiracy theory.

            Kirkby says no such thing about needing to rewrite the treatment of aerosol formation. *At best*, this result provides an interesting new chemo-physical mechanism which will be added in the form of a few sentences to undergraduate atmospheric chemistry textbooks. It just has no significance in the greater scheme of things.

        • John,
          You are a denyer, your ideology stands in the way of the facts. Warming is occuring, as it has on and off for millions of years. The cause is the same now as it was then, the sun, not humanity. One volcanic eruption overshaddows any attempts by us to influence climate. The temperature of other plannets in our system is also rising, we are not causing this, it’s the solar output. Gently push your preconsceived veiws out of the way and, SEE.
          Daniel

  • Revision of climate change models is a double-edged sword for the denialists. Such revision could easily yield approximately the same results, or even “worse” climate change results. Unlike the denialists’ irrationality, real science incorporates new observations and lets the chips fall where they may.

    • Is this an example of letting chips fall?

      “I just used Mike’s Nature trick of grafting the real-time temperature series onto the proxy data to hide the decline.”

      Phil Jones, Director, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, UK.

      • You have misrepresented the meaning of this quote. You have never seriously acknowledged that several investigations have found NO instances of fraud associated with this gentleman’s actions, nor of Michael Mann’s actions. You seem to want the chips to fall where only YOU want them to fall, and NOT as they may.

        • First, I do not hold myself responsible for “The Fix” being in as regard Phil Jones, Michael Mann, et al.

          Second, I stand by my read of “hide the decline.” That is far more damaging even than the word trick, because it clarifies the meaning of trick better than anything else could do. (Scientists call that sort of thing an “internal control.”)

          Third, “hide the decline” is not the only quote by a global-warming alarmist. Kevin Trenberth, one of Jones’ colleagues, once said,

          The fact is, we cannot show a definite warming trend, and it is a travesty that we can’t.

          The travesty is the pretense that anyone was doing science, to justify an abrogation of human liberty.

          I also found repeated references to using the peer-review process to blackball dissenters. Now you might believe that dissenting from the global warming narrative alone constitute just cause for getting fired and never working in science again. I do not.

  • “You willfully misunderstand Heuer and Kirkby. And I stand by my interpretation.”

    Your interpretation is blatantly wrong to anyone with a cursory familiarity with this science. Tell us, have you actually read the Nature article? It is behind a paywall, after all…

    Would you kindly re-assure us that you’ve *actually read the paper* by identifying what citation #27 is, and the sentence in the article which references it? I see no reason to accept the validity of your interpretation if you can’t prove that you actually read the article.

      • Who cares about the supporting information? What matters is whether or not you’ve read the actual paper which most directly discusses the experiment, its results, and conclusions. If you haven’t read the paper, then just admit it and I’d be happy to send you a copy.

        But then again, if you admit that you haven’t read the paper, how in the world can you have an informed, valid opinion on the research and an educated interpretation of its results? So please, just dispel my concern that you haven’t read the paper by citing what reference is documented as #27 in the Nature article and what sentence references it, so that we can get back on board to discussing science.

        • I gather that you haven’t read the supporting information. If you had, you would know that it includes Dr. Kirkby’s findings. I also have a video interview with Dr. Kirkby.

          I’m not in the habit of taking out paid subscriptions to Nature and other journals. But if you’re going to dismiss the supporting information, information provided by CERN itself, then it doesn’t matter whether I’ve read the paper or not. What matters is that I have only your unsubstantiated word for what the paper contains. And that I will not accept.

  • Change and exceptions are normal and will always be so,in your life,on earth,in the Solar system,in our Galaxy and in our universe

  • The climate is changing; it changes every day, from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year to year. And yes, humans can affect temperatures and humidity levels by planting trees, installing sprinker systems, and paving over natural landscapes with black top.

    But these activities are not the activities that the alarmists are considering in search for a wishful global catastrophe that would permit them to dismantle modern society. The fact that the CLOUD study did not overtly declare that man is the cause of global warming is remarkable. At the very least it says that the certainty with which the Al Gore Gang based their calamity scenario is not correct. Their scientists are infallible and the billions of dollars being spent on counter-global warming measures is just a waste of money. And this is “at the least.”

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