Faculty of Science
May 18, 2011
New input to the United Nations climate model: Ulrik Ingerslev Uggerhøj, Physics and Astronomy, AU, along with others including Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen and Martin Bødker Enghoff, DTU Space, have directly demonstrated in a new experiment that cosmic radiation can create small floating particles – so-called aerosols – in the atmosphere. By doing so, they substantiate the connection between the Sun’s magnetic activity and the Earth’s climate.
With the new results just published in the recognised journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists have succeeded for the first time in directly observing that the electrically charged particles coming from space and hitting the atmosphere at high speed contribute to creating the aerosols that are the prerequisites for cloud formation.
The more cloud cover occurring around the world, the lower the global temperature – and vice versa when there are fewer clouds. The number of particles from space vary from year to year – partly controlled by solar activity. An understanding of the impact of cosmic particles – consisting of electrons, protons and other charged particles – on cloud formation and thereby the number of clouds, is therefore very important as regards climate models.
With the researchers’ new knowledge, it is now clear that here is a correlation between the Sun’s varying activity and the formation of aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere. Initially, the researchers have demonstrated that there is a correlation, and they will therefore now carry out systematic measurements and modellings to determine how important it is to the climate. The new studies will be made at DTU Space in Copenhagen, with support that includes a new grant of DKK 2 million (approximately EUR 270,000) from the Danish National Research Councils.
This article was posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 2:59 am