Henrik Svensmark

Henrik Svensmark

Infobox Scientist
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name = Henrik Svensmark

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nationality = Danish
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fields = Physicist
workplaces = Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI) at
Danish National Space Center
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awards = Energy-E2 Research Prize
Knud Hojgaard Anniversary Research Prize
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Henrik Svensmark is a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen who studies the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation. His work is connected to considerable controversy in the area of the global warming issue. He has highlighted how it conflicts with the theory held by some that the effects of human activity on rising temperatures are more significant than solar activity.


Henrik Svensmark is director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI), a part of the Danish National Space Center. He previously headed the sun-climate group at DSRI. He held postdoctoral positions in physics at three other organizations: University of California, Berkeley, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Niels Bohr Institute.cite news |author=Lawrence Solomon |title=The sun moves climate change |url=http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=fee9a01f-3627-4b01-9222-bf60aa332f1f&k=0 |work=online |publisher=National Post |id=The Deniers, Part VI |date=2007-02-02 |accessdate=2007-09-19]

In 1997, Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen popularised a theory that linked galactic cosmic rays and global climate change mediated primarily by variations in the intensity of the solar wind, which they have termed cosmoclimatology. This theory had earlier been reviewed by Dickinson. [Cite journal
author = Robert E. Dickinson
title = Solar variability and the lower atmosphere
journal = Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
url = http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/56/12/pdf/i1520-0477-56-12-1240.pdf
year = 1975
volume = 56
issue = 12
month = December
pages = 1240–1248
doi = 10.1175/1520-0477(1975)056<1240:SVATLA>2.0.CO;2
doilabel = 10.1175/1520-0477(1975)0561240:SVATLA2.0.CO;2
] One of the small-scale processes related to this link were studied in a laboratory experiment performed at the Danish National Space Center (paper published in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society A", February 8, 2007).

Svensmark's research downplays the significance to which atmospheric CO2 has affected recent global warming.

Cosmoclimatology theory of climate change

Svensmark detailed his theory of Cosmoclimatology in 2007. [cite journal|title=Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges|author=Svensmark, Henrik |journal=Astronomy & Geophysics (ISSN: 1366-8781)|vol=48,issue: 1, pages: 18-24 |year=2007|publisher=Blackwell Publishing] , The Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Institute "investigates the connection between solar activity and climatic changes on Earth." [cite web|url=http://www.spacecenter.dk/research/sun-climate/cosmoclimatology/a-brief-summary-on-cosmoclimatology|title=A brief summary of cosmoclimatology|publisher=Danish National Space Center] , [cite web|url=http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/Research/Research_sections/Sun_Climate.aspx|title=Connection between Solar Activity and Climate Changes|publisher=Center for Sun-Climate Research, Danish National Space Institute] . It has numerous publications documenting Cosmoclimatology and reviewing the Influence of Solar Cycles on Earth's Climate. [cite web|url=http://www.spacecenter.dk/research/sun-climate/Scientific%20work%20and%20publications|title=Scientific work and Publications|publisher=Danish National Space Center] , [cite web|url= |title=Influence of Solar Cycles on Earth's Climate|author=Freddy Christiansen, Joanna D. Haigh, & Henrik Lundstedt|publisher=Danish National Space Center|date=2007-09-04] Svensmark and Nigel Calder published a book "The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change" (2007) describing the Cosmoclimatology theory that cosmic rays "have more effect on the climate than manmade CO2":
*During the last 100 years cosmic rays became scarcer because unusually vigorous action by the Sun batted away many of them. Fewer cosmic rays meant fewer clouds--and a warmer world. [Svensmark, Henrik, "The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change", Totem Books, 2007 (ISBN 1-840-46815-7)] The book has been criticised by some scientists for exaggerating the importance of their work [ [http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/20/6/8/1] ] .A documentary film on Henrik Svensmark's theory, "The Cloud Mystery", was presented by MortensenFilm.dk [ [http://www.mortensenfilm.dk/Documentary.html "The Cloud Mystery"] ] early in 2008.

Experimental Verification

Preliminary experimental verification has been conducted in the SKY Experiment at the Danish National Space Science Center. CERN is preparing comprehensive verification in the CLOUD Project.

KY Experiment

Svensmark conducted proof of concept experiments in the SKY Experiment at the Danish National Space Institute. [cite web|url=http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/Research/Research_sections/Sun_Climate/Experiments_SC/SKY.aspx|title=The SKY experiment|publisher=Danish National Space Institute]

To investigate the role of cosmic rays in cloud formation low in the Earth’s atmosphere, the SKY experiment used natural muons (heavy electrons) that can penetrate even to the basement of the National Space Institute in Copenhagen. The hypothesis, verified by the experiment, is that electrons released in the air by the passing muons promote the formation of molecular clusters that are building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei.

CLOUD Project Experiments

Scientists are preparing detailed atmospheric physics experiments to test Svensmark's thesis, building on the Danish findings. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, started a multi-phase project in 2006, including rerunning the Danish experiment. CERN plans to use an accelerator rather than rely on natural cosmic rays. CERN's multinational project will give scientists a permanent facility where they can study the effects of both cosmic rays and charged particles in the Earth's atmosphere.cite news |author=Lawrence Solomon |title=The sun moves climate change |url=http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=fee9a01f-3627-4b01-9222-bf60aa332f1f&k=0 |work= National Post |id=The Deniers, Part VI |date=2007-02-02 |accessdate=2007-09-19] CERN's project is named CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets). [cite web |url=http://cloud.web.cern.ch/cloud/|title=CLOUD Project Documents]

Debate & Controversy

Galactic Cosmic Rays vs Global Temperature

Mike Lockwood of the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Claus Froehlich of the World Radiation Center in Switzerland published a paper in 2007 which concluded that the increase in mean global temperature observed since 1985 correlates so poorly with solar variability that no type of causal mechanism may be ascribed to it, although they accept that there is "considerable evidence" for solar influence on Earth's pre-industrial climate and to some degree also for climate changes in the first half of the 20th century. [Cite journal
author = Mike Lockwood & Claus Fröhlich
title = Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature
journal = Proceedings of the Royal Society A
doi = 10.1098/rspa.2007.1880
year = 2007
volume = 463
pages = 2447

Svensmark's coauthor Calder responded to the study in an interview with [http://www.londonbookreview.com/index.html LondonBookReview.com] , where he put forth the counterclaim that global temperature has not risen since 1999. [http://www.londonbookreview.com/interviews/nigelcalder.html LondonBookReview.com interview with Nigel Calder]

Later in 2007, Svensmark and Friis-Christensen brought out a [http://www.spacecenter.dk/publications/scientific-report-series/Scient_No._3.pdf/view Reply to Lockwood and Fröhlich] which concludes that surface air temperature records used by Lockwood and Fröhlich apparently are a poor guide to Sun-driven physical processes, but tropospheric air temperature records do show an impressive negative correlation between cosmic-ray flux and air temperatures up to 2006 if a warming trend, oceanic oscillations and volcanism are removed from the temperature data. They also point out that Lockwood and Fröhlich present their data by using running means of around 10 years, which creates the illusion of a continued temperature rise, whereas all unsmoothed data point to a flattening of the temperature, coincident with the present maxing out of the magnetic activity of the Sun, and which the continued rapid increase in CO2 concentrations seemingly has been unable to overrule. This reply has so far not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Galactic Cosmic Rays vs Cloud Cover

In April 2008, Professor Terry Sloan of Lancaster University published a paper in the journal "Environmental Research Letters" titled "Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover", [cite journal |last=Sloan |first=Terry |coauthors=Wolfendale, A.W. |title=Testing the proposed causal link between cosmic rays and cloud cover |journal=Environmental Research Letters |volume=3 |issue=April-June 2008 |pages= |publisher= |location= | date=2008-04-03 |url= http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/3/2/024001/erl8_2_024001.html |doi= |id= |accessdate=2008-04-05] which found no significant link between cloud cover and cosmic ray intensity in the last 20 years. Svensmark responded by saying "Terry Sloan has simply failed to understand how cosmic rays work on clouds".cite news |last=Black |first=Richard |title='No Sun link' to climate change |publisher="BBC News" |date=2008-04-03 |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7327393.stm |accessdate=2008-04-05] Dr. Giles Harrison of Reading University, describes the work as important "as it provides an upper limit on the cosmic ray-cloud effect in global satellite cloud data". Harrison studied the effect of cosmic rays in the UK. [cite journal |last=Harrison |first=Giles |coauthors =Stephenson, David |title=Empirical evidence for a nonlinear effect of galactic cosmic rays on clouds |journal= |volume=462 |number=2068 |pages= |publisher= |location= |doi= |url=http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~swshargi/WebStuff/Pubs/Abstracts/Harrison&Stephenson06.htm|id= | accessdate = 2008-04-05] He states: "Although the statistically significant non-linear cosmic ray effect is small, it will have a considerably larger aggregate effect on longer timescale (e.g. century) climate variations when day-to-day variability averages out". Brian H. Brown (2008) of Sheffield University further found a statistically significant (p<0.05) short term 3% association between Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) and low level clouds over 22 years with a 15 hour delay. Long-term changes in cloud cover (> 3 months)and GCR gave correlations of p=0.06. [cite ref|url=http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/4060/|author=Brown, B.H.|year=2008|title=Short-term changes in global cloud cover and in cosmic radiation|journal=Journal of Atmopsheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics|volume=70|issue=(7)|pages=1122 -1131]

elected publications

* Cite journal
author = Henrik Svensmark
title=Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth's Climate
journal=Physical Review Letters

* Cite journal
author = Henrik Svensmark, Jens Olaf P. Pedersen, Nigel D. Marsh, Martin B. Enghoff & Ulrik I. Uggerhøj
title = Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions
journal =
volume = 463
number = 2078
year = 2007
pages = 385–396
doi = 10.1098/rspa.2006.1773
url = http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/content/3163g817166673g7/fulltext.pdf

* Cite journal
author = Henrik Svensmark
url = http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1468-4004.2007.48118.x
title = Astronomy & Geophysics Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges
journal = Astronomy & Geophysics
volume = 48
issue = 1
pages = 1.18–1.24
doi = 10.1111/j.1468-4004.2007.48118.x
year = 2007


* Cite book
author = Henrik Svensmark & Nigel Calder
url = http://www.iconbooks.co.uk/book.cfm?isbn=1-84046-815-7
title = The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change
location = Thriplow
publisher = Icon
year = 2007
isbn = 9781840468151

* Cite book
author = Henrik Svensmark
url =
title = The Chilling Stars: A Cosmic View of Climate Change
year = 2008
edition = 2nd
publisher = Icon Books (UK)/Totem Books (USA)
isbn = 1840468661


* 2001, the Energy-E2 Research Prize
* 1997, Knud Hojgaard Anniversary Research Prize


External links

*Calder, Nigel, " [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged] ", TimesOnline, February 11, 2007
* [http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/the-discover-interview-henrik-svensmark/article_view?b_start:int=3&-C= DISCOVER] Interview with Henrik Svensmark, by Marion Long. "Sun's shift may cause global warming" - June 2007
* [http://www.londonbookreview.com/lbr0037.html LondonBookReview.com] - Book review of "The Chilling Stars"
* [http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/(exhyypqqvjxwhcmtenejbf55)/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=searcharticlesresults,1,1;&displayreferences=true#references Scientific report] Proceedings of the Royal Society A 463, 385-396 (2007).
* [http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/sppi_originals/the_unruly_sunne_cannot_be_ruled_out_as_a_cause_of_recent_climate_variation.html Discussion of Sun controversy on scienceandpublicpolicy.org]
* [http://public.web.cern.ch/PUBLIC/en/Research/CLOUD-en.html The CLOUD project]

NAME = Henrik Svensmark

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