Saturday, September 06, 2008
  "The Chilling Stars"

Finished reading The Chilling Stars. Authors are listed as Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder, but really it's Calder writing about the scientific work of Svensmark and his colleagues. Calder is an old hand at popular science writing, knows how to weave the facts into a narrative with enough drama and adventure to keep you reading.

The basic argument is somewhat complex, but it's decisive.

1. Cloud tops are whiter than land. Where land is covered by clouds, the sun's warmth is mainly reflected outward, so cloudy areas are cooler. This is obvious, but needs to be stated as part of the argument.

2. Clouds form when the right kind of tiny particles are present in enough quantity to gather water drops. This has been known in general forever, but understood in detail only recently. Svensmark's experiments have demonstrated exactly how it happens, and it's mainly triggered by cosmic rays. (Also triggered by other kinds of particles, such as volcanic dust or pollution, but these factors are non-periodic and restricted to small areas.)

3. Cosmic rays are constantly impinging on the earth from various sources. Cosmic rays are not really rays; they are atoms of various elements, stripped of their electrons, shooting through space close to the speed of light. Einstein's formulas work properly here, giving these particles an effective mass that's much larger than you'd expect at normal speeds.

4. On million-year time scales, the density of cosmic rays varies as our solar system gradually moves through different parts of the galaxy. Some areas have more exploding stars, thus more of the fast-moving atoms.

5. On shorter time scales, the cosmic rays are largely modulated by the behavior of the sun. "Any idea that the Sun is just a distant ball of light is completely obsolete. We live deep within its extended atmosphere, which is laced with its magnetic field."

6. When the sun is more active, as shown by more sunspots, it throws out more magnetic pulses. These magnetic pulses deflect more of the cosmic rays. When the sun is less active, it doesn't send as many 'bouncers' out into its system, so more of the party-crashing cosmic waves get into the room.

7. Pulling it together: Quiet sun lets more cosmic rays reach the earth, triggering more water vapor to form clouds, cooling the earth. Active sun repels more of the cosmic rays, so we have fewer clouds, letting the earth get warmer.

It's always been obvious to all but the Gaia fanatics that our warming and cooling follows the sunspot cycle, but the sunspots don't change the sun's direct heat emission enough to explain our changes. (Similarity of patterns doesn't prove causation until you can show a direct mechanism connecting the two patterns, and show that the mechanism accounts for all of the similarity.)

Calder shows conclusively that the sun's valving of cosmic rays is sufficient all by itself to explain our warming and cooling at the scale of decades and centuries, and that the slower changes of cosmic rays due to our motion through the galaxy are sufficient to explain at least some of the longer shifts from ice age to warm age.

In other words, the carbon-hating Gaia worshippers must either show that their sacramental CO2 effects add onto the cosmic-ray effects to create twice the observed warming, or they must shut the hell up.

They won't shut up, of course, because they are no longer operating in the realm of science and logic. They are lunatic religious zealots who have gained control of all important institutions. They're on a roll. Blood-fetish fanatics who own the levers of power are not going to be stopped by mere argument.

= = = = =

I should add a positive note: It appears that the scientific funding authorities on the Euro continent are not quite as Gaia-infested as Americans. After several years of struggle, using personal money and small grants, Svensmark finally got into the big time with a lab all his own at CERN. This gives him the equipment, technicians, and predictable funding to carry out a long series of detailed experiments. With such backing, it will be harder for real scientists to ignore him. American "scientists", of course, will continue to follow Gaia, dragging this country down into the seventh circle of Hell.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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