Original Paper

Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp 137-142

First online:

A review of the relevance of the ‘CLOUD’ results and other recent observations to the possible effect of cosmic rays on the terrestrial climate

  • A. D. ErlykinAffiliated withP. N. Lebedev Physical InstituteDepartment of Physics, Durham University Email author 
  • , T. SloanAffiliated withPhysics Department, University of Lancaster
  • , A. W. WolfendaleAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Durham University

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The problem of the contribution of cosmic rays to climate change is a continuing one and one of importance. In principle, at least, the recent results from the CLOUD project at CERN provide information about the role of ionizing particles in ’sensitizing’ atmospheric aerosols which might, later, give rise to cloud droplets. Our analysis shows that, although important in cloud physics the results do not lead to the conclusion that cosmic rays affect atmospheric clouds significantly, at least if H2SO4 is the dominant source of aerosols in the atmosphere. An analysis of the very recent studies of stratospheric aerosol changes following a giant solar energetic particles event shows a similar negligible effect. Recent measurements of the cosmic ray intensity show that a former decrease with time has been reversed. Thus, even if cosmic rays enhanced cloud production, there would be a small global cooling, not warming.