Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could Cosmic Ray Influence Climate By Charging Up More Frequent Lightning Storms?

Date:
July 22, 2009
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Could cosmic rays be influencing climate by charging up more frequent lightning storms? Several factors influence global climate change. Long-term influences that work over hundreds of thousands of years have an astronomical origin, namely the eccentricity, axial tilt and precession of the Earth's orbit.

Could cosmic rays be influencing climate by charging up more frequent lightning storms? European researchers hope to answer that question in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Global Warming.

Related Articles


Several factors influence global climate change. Long-term influences that work over hundreds of thousands of years have an astronomical origin, namely the eccentricity, axial tilt and precession of the Earth's orbit. Natural processes on earth, such as volcanic activity and lightning also affect the levels of particulates in the atmosphere and so affect climate. Higher levels of particulates in the atmosphere increase cloud cover, which reduces the amount of energy from sunlight absorbed by the earth's surface.

However, our burning of fossil fuels at an increasingly high rate is adding the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, at alarming rates. This activity together with human activities that are also raising levels of other greenhouse gases, including methane, are cause for concern and underpin efforts to prevent irreversible climate change.

Heitor Reis and Clแudia Serrano of the Geophysics Centre of ษvora, Portugal, point out that another factor must be considered in detailed climate models. They explain that on a shorter timescale, solar activity, which follows an eleven-year cycle, may have a subtle effect not previously recognised.

Their research suggests that the eleven year solar cycle causes a rise and fall in cosmic rays reaching the earth's surface and so causes a rise and fall in lightning activity. Less solar activity means higher cosmic rays flux and fewer lightning storms, whereas at times of maximum solar activity there are fewer charged particles in the atmosphere so it is more resistant to the smooth flow of charge and lightning bolts occur as the resistance suddenly breaks down.

This lightning effect is in turn affected by the amount of particulate matter in the atmosphere, which depends on fossil fuel burning. The team explains that these two confounding factors also influence cloud cover and so depending on the specific point at which we are in the solar cycle the effect of particulates from fossil fuel burning may have a positive or negative effect on storms, cloud cover, and so the earth's ability to reflect away energy from sunlight.

When solar activity is close to its minimum cosmic rays will increase cloud cover and lightning, which will almost completely cancel out the warming effect of added greenhouse gases at that point in time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Reis et al. Coal and fuel burning effects on the atmosphere as mediated by the atmospheric electric field and galactic cosmic rays flux. International Journal of Global Warming, 2009; 1 (1/2/3): 57 DOI: 10.1504/IJGW.2009.027081

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Could Cosmic Ray Influence Climate By Charging Up More Frequent Lightning Storms?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721090127.htm>.
Inderscience. (2009, July 22). Could Cosmic Ray Influence Climate By Charging Up More Frequent Lightning Storms?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721090127.htm
Inderscience. "Could Cosmic Ray Influence Climate By Charging Up More Frequent Lightning Storms?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090721090127.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins