by G. Lloyd, July 15, 2010 in ClimateChangeDispatch
Sand deposits near the Gobi Desert in China may seem a strange place to look for evidence that cosmic rays can control how clouds are formed and the impact they have on Earth’s climate.
But Japanese scientists have measured the size of sand grains and the distance they traveled 780,000 years ago to add a new level of understanding to one of the questions that continue to baffle climate science: clouds.
The findings, published in Nature, point to big trends in natural variation of past and future climate that operate apart from greenhouse gas levels.
The study adds weight to a contentious theory by Danish researcher Henrik Svensmark, of the Danish National Space Institute in Copenhagen, which uses cosmic rays and clouds to question the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.