Space Science Reviews

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 397-409

First online:

Solar Variability and Clouds – Discussion Session 3c

  • Jasper KirkbyAffiliated withCERN
  • , Ari LaaksonenAffiliated withUniversity of Kuopio

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Satellite observations have recently revealed a surprising imprint of the 11-year solar cycle on global low cloud cover. The cloud data suggest a correlation with the intensity of galactic cosmic rays. If this apparent connection between cosmic rays and clouds is real, variations of the cosmic ray flux caused by long-term changes in the solar wind could have a significant influence on the global energy radiation budget and the climate. However a direct link between cosmic rays and clouds has not been unambiguously established and, moreover, the microphysical mechanism is poorly understood. New experiments are being planned to find out whether cosmic rays can affect cloud formation, and if so how.