By Bob Hoye December 6, 2019
From time to time, physics with a burst of discovery has enjoyed a renaissance. Regrettably, there have been times when it has been repressed by control freaks. One of the most daunting was the Church-mandated doctrine that the Solar System revolved around the Vatican. In the early 1600s, it was risky to your freedom and life to doubt the official word. Which consensus was based upon the authority of scripture–the most convincing peer review of the day.
Almost as threatening has been today’s state-sponsored notion that bureaucrats can and must “manage” the temperature of the nearest planet.
Indeed, this week a Danish professor suggests that his personal anxieties could be relieved by military hostilities against heretics. Highly motivated, the professor stated “this is your emission target, it’s not negotiable.”
Over in the political world, intrusion is becoming “too much”. Resulting in popular uprisings as ordinary people crave relief from the cost of bullying bureaucrats and politicians.
As part of the controlling mania, climate research independent of the state is being condemned.
A lengthy experiment in authoritarian government prevailed into the early 1600s, when it was bypassed by a renaissance in physics and the reformation of in-your-face and in-your-wallet government. In science, there were two key “Eurekas”. One was in 1610 when Galileo observed that moons were rotating around Jupiter. Government dogma was that all, repeat all, heavenly objects revolved around the Earth. The other breakthrough was when Kepler in 1605 finally discovered the real shape of planetary orbits. This was ironical because he had spent years trying to fit the observed orbits into certain geometric “models”. Which seems familiar.
Altogether some 40 “models” were tried and seen to fail. Then he tried the ellipse.
Our world of political conflict is consequent to more than a hundred years of increasingly abusive bureaucratic ambition. This is provoking popular uprisings that could lead to another great reformation. And with remarkable finesse it is accompanied by a renaissance in physics. Also about the Solar System, with authorities unrelenting in their condemnation of today’s heresy.
In the 1990s solar physicists, Penn and Livingston, determined that the long trend in the Sun’s increasing activity would reverse to declining. And it has with Solar Cycles 23 and 24 being the weakest since the early 1900s.
Research in the 1970s observed that climate cooling trends were associated with declining solar activity. And vice versa. However, over millions of years, changes in the Sun’s heat output have been small relative to changes in the Earth’s temperature. Something else has been in play.
Water, in ocean and atmospheric currents, has been the conveyor of surface heat from hot to cold places. And clouds beyond providing cooling shade reflect the Sun’s heat to outer space. Two events.
Cosmic rays have immense energy and force atmospheric change.
In the world of particle physics, these are relatively big and fast. Indeed, one detected in 1991 had so much energy that researchers called it the “Oh-My-God” particle. So, even average ones hitting our atmosphere produce a fascinating series of collisions. An atmospheric shower of secondary radiation that cascades down, creating X-rays as well as ions of nitrogen and oxygen. And ions can be the nuclei for cloud formation.
When solar activity is increasing the strengthening magnetic field reduces cosmic ray penetration. Going the other way, diminishing solar activity reduces field strength allowing more rays through. Supercooled water vapor needs a little something to condense out on. Like the jet exhaust from airliners forming condensation trails. Or from cosmic rays.
Physicist Henrik Svensmark in the late 1990s theorized that such rays could prompt cloud formation, which would be a cooling force. Investigating it required the tools of science. Logic, determination, instrumentation and time.
And when dealing with the physics of particles a good place to start was with the powerful accelerator CERN located near Geneva. Concerned about the threat to its CO2 theories, the establishment tried to block the experiment. But Svensmark in the appropriately named CLOUD experiment eventually got the time and in 2011 it supported his theory.
What is terrific about this is the ability to measure cloud cover. Next, it is significant to come up with a theory. And of historical importance is that the theory has been supported in “the lab”, which is very short term. And in the great outdoors.
The latter includes brief surges in solar activity. Called coronal mass ejections (CME), they are associated with substantial changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. The pulse of energy has prompted a drop in cosmic rays, called the “Forbush decrease” (FD). The hit can be over hours with the recovery taking a few days. Frequency of FDs relates to the 11-year solar cycle.
With each event influencing cloud formation, which is frequent confirmation.
Nir Shaviv is an astrophysicist who had accepted the CO2 “Greenhouse” story. Why? Because the media was going on about it. Then looking into it, changed his mind and then accomplished some significant research. In 2014 he was awarded the Einstein Fellowship at Princeton.
His research observed cosmic ray influence from vast changes in our–the Milky Way–galaxy. With a periodicity out to 32 million years.
So, with evidence from very brief to over millions of years, the Cosmic Ray Theory seems to be a significant breakthrough. The establishment is hostile, again. And political history seems in the early stages of a great reformation, again.
Bob graduated with a BSc in Geology and Physics in 1962, before the University of British Columbia had a Department of Geophysics. After some wonderful summers working in the bush in hardrock geology, Bob made some money on a mining play. He has been in the investment business for over 50 years and over the last 40 heading up a group providing research to financial institutions. He runs http://www.pivotaladvice.com/