J. Space Weather Space Clim.
Volume 2, 2012
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||21 November 2012|
A cosmic ray-climate link and cloud observations
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Via Lactea s/n, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
2 Department of Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 Tenerife, Spain
3 Hvar Observatory, Faculty of Geodesy, University of Zagreb, Kačićeva 26, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
4 Finnish Meteorological Institute, Kuopio Unit, 70100 Kuopio, Finland
* corresponding author: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 10 November 2012
Despite over 35 years of constant satellite-based measurements of cloud, reliable evidence of a long-hypothesized link between changes in solar activity and Earth’s cloud cover remains elusive. This work examines evidence of a cosmic ray cloud link from a range of sources, including satellite-based cloud measurements and long-term ground-based climatological measurements. The satellite-based studies can be divided into two categories: (1) monthly to decadal timescale analysis and (2) daily timescale epoch-superpositional (composite) analysis. The latter analyses frequently focus on sudden high-magnitude reductions in the cosmic ray flux known as Forbush decrease events. At present, two long-term independent global satellite cloud datasets are available (ISCCP and MODIS). Although the differences between them are considerable, neither shows evidence of a solar-cloud link at either long or short timescales. Furthermore, reports of observed correlations between solar activity and cloud over the 1983–1995 period are attributed to the chance agreement between solar changes and artificially induced cloud trends. It is possible that the satellite cloud datasets and analysis methods may simply be too insensitive to detect a small solar signal. Evidence from ground-based studies suggests that some weak but statistically significant cosmic ray-cloud relationships may exist at regional scales, involving mechanisms related to the global electric circuit. However, a poor understanding of these mechanisms and their effects on cloud makes the net impacts of such links uncertain. Regardless of this, it is clear that there is no robust evidence of a widespread link between the cosmic ray flux and clouds.
Key words: cloud / solar activity / climate / cosmic rays / solar irradiance
© Owned by the authors, Published by EDP Sciences 2012
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
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