A troubling hypothesis about how the sun may impact global warming is finally laid to rest.Carnegie Mellon University’s Peter Adams along with Jeff Pierce from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, have developed a model to test a controversial hypothesis that says changes in the sun are causing global warming.
The hypothesis they tested was that increased solar activity reduces cloudiness by changing cosmic rays. So, when clouds decrease, more sunlight is let in, causing the earth to warm. Some climate change skeptics have tried to use this hypothesis to suggest that greenhouse gases may not be the global warming culprits that most scientists agree they are.
In research published in Geophysical Research Letters, and highlighted in the May 1 edition of Science, Adams and Pierce report the first atmospheric simulations of changes in atmospheric ions and particle formation resulting from variations in the sun and cosmic rays. They find that changes in the concentration of particles that affect clouds are 100 times too small to affect the climate.