20 December 2017

Do supernovae influence Earth’s weather?

Climate research:

Cosmic rays flung out from exploding stars have an impact on our weather. New research in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark, involving DARK scientist Jacob Svensmark, has found that ions in Earth's atmosphere produced by supernovae are seeding clouds.

This is a breakthrough in the understanding of how cosmic rays from supernovas can influence Earths clouds and thereby climate is published today in the journal Nature Communications.

The study, in which Jacob Svensmark of the Dark Cosmology Centre at University of Copenhagen, participated, reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei – the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere. By changing the ionization in the atmosphere, the number of cloud condensation nuclei changes, and thereby the properties of clouds. More cloud condensation nuclei mean more clouds and a colder climate, and vice versa. Since clouds are essential for the Solar energy reaching the surface of the Earth the implications are huge for our understanding of why climate has varied in the past and also for future climate changes.


jacob.svensmark@nbi.ku.dk, tel: +45 26 83 11 60