Are Cosmic Rays Influencing Oceanic Cloud Coverage – Or Is It Only El Niño?
- Cite this article as:
- Farrar, P.D. Climatic Change (2000) 47: 7. doi:10.1023/A:1005672825112
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The monthly average (C2) cloudcoverage data produced by the International SatelliteCloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) for the period ofJuly 1986–June 1991 show strong global and regionalcloud coverage variations associated with the ElNiño of 1986–1987. The Pacific Ocean, inparticular, shows strong regional variations in cloudcoverage. These agree well with contemporaneoussatellite observations of broadband shortwave infraredcloud forcing measured by the Earth Radiation BudgetExperiment. Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997)noted a similarity between the shape of the timeseries curve of average cloud coverage fraction formid- to low-latitude ocean-areas and the time seriescurve of cosmic ray flux intensity. They proposed acausal relationship – a `missing link' for solarcycle influence on Earth climate. Further spatial andtemporal analysis of the same ISCCP C2 data in thispaper indicates that the cloud coverage variationpatterns are those to be expected for the atmosphericcirculation changes characteristic of El Niño,weakening the case for cosmic rays as a climaticforcing factor.