There are several articles out on this recently. They are all scientific and stuff. Long story short, CERN's CLOUD team just blew a huge hole in the notion that the science is settled on AGW. Here are a few links with the snippets I like, the last one likening these findings to the AGW alarmist's dam finally breaking.
Given scientific findings like this, is it really an extreme position for a politician to want to hold off on spending resources on something we don't yet understand?
Physics World: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/46953
To their surprise, the researchers found that when simulating the atmosphere just a kilometre above the Earth's surface, sulphuric acid, water and ammonia – the components generally believed to initiate aerosol production – were not on their own enough to generate the quantities of aerosols observed in the real atmosphere, falling short by a factor of up to a thousand, even when the pion beam was switched on. They conclude that other molecules must also play a role, and say that an organic compound or compounds are most likely.
As Kirkby explains, if the missing substance is manmade, then human pollution could be having a larger cooling effect than is currently believed (emissions of sulphur dioxide are already known to generate the sulphuric acid that is vital for aerosol production). Otherwise, says Kirkby, if the missing substance comes from a natural source, the finding could imply the existence of a new climate feedback mechanism (possibly, he adds, higher temperatures increasing organic emissions from trees).
However, when simulating the atmosphere higher up, the researchers found a stronger cosmic-ray effect. They discovered that at altitudes of 5 km or more, where temperatures are below –25 °C, sulphuric acid and water can readily form stable aerosols of a few nanometres across and that cosmic rays can increase the rate of aerosol production by a factor of 10 or more.
The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/25/cern_cloud_cosmic_ray_first_results/
Climate models will have to be revised, confirms CERN in supporting literature (pdf):
"[I]t is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours [sulphuric acid and ammonia] and water alone.
The work involves over 60 scientists in 17 countries.
Nigel Calder's blog: http://calderup.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/cern-experiment-confirms-cosmic-ray-action/
How the warmists built their dam
Shifting from my insider’s perspective on the CLOUD experiment, to see it on the broader canvas of the politicized climate science of the early 21st Century, the chief reaction becomes a weary sigh of relief. Although they never said so, the High Priests of the Inconvenient Truth – in such temples as NASA-GISS, Penn State and the University of East Anglia – always knew that Svensmark’s cosmic ray hypothesis was the principal threat to their sketchy and poorly modelled notions of self-amplifying action of greenhouse gases.
In telling how the obviously large influences of the Sun in previous centuries and millennia could be explained, and in applying the same mechanism to the 20th warming, Svensmark put the alarmist predictions at risk – and with them the billions of dollars flowing from anxious governments into the global warming enterprise.
For the dam that was meant to ward off a growing stream of discoveries coming from the spring in Copenhagen, the foundation was laid on the day after the Danes first announced the link between cosmic rays and clouds at a space conference in Birmingham, England, in 1996. “Scientifically extremely naïve and irresponsible,” Bert Bolin declared, as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As several journalists misbehaved by reporting the story from Birmingham, the top priority was to tame the media. The first courses of masonry ensured that anything that Svensmark and his colleagues might say would be ignored or, failing that, be promptly rubbished by a warmist scientist. Posh papers like The Times of London and the New York Times, and posh TV channels like the BBC’s, readily fell into line. Enthusiastically warmist magazines like New Scientist and Scientific American needed no coaching.
Similarly the journals Nature and Science, which in my youth prided themselves on reports that challenged prevailing paradigms, gladly provided cement for higher masonry, to hold the wicked hypothesis in check at the scientific level. Starve Svensmark of funding. Reject his scientific papers but give free rein to anyone who criticizes him. Trivialize the findings in the Holy Writ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. None of this is paranoia on my part, but a matter of close personal observation since 1996.
“It’s the Sun, stupid!” The story isn’t really about a bunch of naughty Danish physicists. They are just spokesmen for the most luminous agent of climate change. As the Sun was what the warmists really wanted to tame with their dam, they couldn’t do it. And coming to the Danes’ aid, by briefly blasting away many cosmic rays with great puffs of gas, the Sun enabled the team to trace in detail the consequent reduction in cloud seeding and liquid water in clouds. See my post http://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/do-clouds-disappear/ By the way, that research also disposes of a morsel of doubt in the new CLOUD paper, about whether the small specks made by cosmic rays really grow sufficiently to seed cloud droplets.
As knowledge accumulated behind their dam and threatened to overtop it, the warmists had one last course to lay. Paradoxically it was CLOUD. Long delays with this experiment to explore the microchemical mechanism of the Svensmark effect became the chief excuse for deferring any re-evaluation of the Sun’s role in climate change. When the microchemical mechanism was revealed prematurely by the SKY experiment in Copenhagen and published in 2006, the warmists said, “No particle accelerator? That won’t do! Wait for CLOUD.” When the experiment in Aarhus confirmed the mechanism using a particle accelerator they said, “Oh that’s just the Danes again! Wait for CLOUD.”
Well they’ve waited and their dam has failed them.
Hall of Shame
Retracing those 14 years, what if physics had functioned as it is supposed to do? What if CLOUD, quickly approved and funded, had verified the Svensmark effect with all the authority of CERN, in the early 2000s. What if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had done a responsible job, acknowledging the role of the Sun and curtailing the prophecies of catastrophic warming?
For a start there would have no surprise about the “travesty” that global warming has stopped since the mid-1990s, with the Sun becoming sulky. Vast sums might have been saved on misdirected research and technology, and on climate change fests and wheezes of every kind. The world’s poor and their fragile living environment could have had far more useful help than precautions against warming.
And there would have been less time for so many eminent folk from science, politics, industry, finance, the media and the arts to be taken in by man-made climate catastrophe. (In London, for example, from the Royal Society to the National Theatre.) Sadly for them, in the past ten years they’ve crowded with their warmist badges into a Hall of Shame, like bankers before the crash.