University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Physics and Astronomy Colloquia > The CERN CLOUD experiment: Do cosmic rays influence Earth’s climate?

The CERN CLOUD experiment: Do cosmic rays influence Earth’s climate?

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It was proposed in 1997 that cosmic rays could affect climate change based on an observed correlation between the galactic cosmic ray flux and Earth’s cloud cover. The highly controversial proposal was considered by many climate scientists to lack any physical explanation. Nevertheless, as in the Wilson cloud chamber, ionization of the atmosphere can create new cloud particles under the right conditions. The CERN CLOUD experiment was designed to explore whether such an effect could provide a link between cosmic ray ionization, clouds and climate. After about 8 years of measurements CLOUD has made a series of breakthroughs in our understanding of how new aerosol particles are formed in our atmosphere. I will describe these breakthroughs and answer the question in the title.

This talk is part of the Physics and Astronomy Colloquia series.

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