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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So what did (does?) cause ice ages?
Henrik Svensmark's theory is that high-energy cosmic rays originating in the destruction of stars in other parts of our galaxy substantially explain the changes in the world's temperature throughout its history. Ice ages and hot periods, as well as shorter lived warming and cooling events (like the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) are explained by the...
Published on 4 Dec 2007 by Nicholas J. R. Dougan

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32 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dishonest book
First of all I have to give praise to anyone who dares to challenge prevailing theories, often putting their own careers on the line. It's so much easier to just follow the "flow". Hans Svensmark and other scientists who advocate their alternative theory of global warming deserve credit for venturing down this different path, re-searching preconcieved ideas, searching...
Published on 12 July 2007 by Inge Brede Johannessen


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So what did (does?) cause ice ages?, 4 Dec 2007
By 
Nicholas J. R. Dougan "Nick Dougan" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
Henrik Svensmark's theory is that high-energy cosmic rays originating in the destruction of stars in other parts of our galaxy substantially explain the changes in the world's temperature throughout its history. Ice ages and hot periods, as well as shorter lived warming and cooling events (like the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) are explained by the combination of our solar system's proximity to areas in the galaxy where cosmic activity is highest and the cycle of our Sun's magnetic activity (and thus its ability to protect us from those rays). How? Such cosmic rays - charged sub-atomic particles - stimulate the creation of low-level clouds, and those clouds cool the Earth by reflecting heat back into space. Svensmark does not duck the issue - he states that this effect explains most warming and cooling, leaving only a secondary role for changes in CO2, however caused. Such warming that has occurred over the last century was caused by unusually high magnetic activity of the Sun keeping cosmic radiation away, meaning fewer clouds and a warming world.

This book is written by Svensmark and Nigel Calder, a scientific journalist. It is highly readable and the science well explained. The book is made easier by the fact that the argument is explained in the overview at the start, and each chapter is preceded by a short summary. One quibble is that although there are chapter references at the back, it is not possible to identify the origin of all the bold assertions Svensmark and Calder make.

Svensmark has had his scientific critics; many are catalogued by name. Many, such as Bert Bolin, a Swedish professor of meteorology and member of the IPCC, abused his developing theory because it was "naive and dangerous" - it did not comply with the developing consensus that global warming is man made through the agency of CO2, and that to deny this was to encourage further complacency by self indulgent politicians and ordinary folk. Such attempts to stifle research do not reflect well on the scientists involved. The book gives the impression that he has won over many outright critics and many other scientists who similarly sought explanations for global temperature changes in extra-terrestrial sources but who posited different mechanisms.

Certainly, if you are inclined to wonder, there is ample evidence that Svensmark is working with many scientific colleagues - he is no lone crank - and even where he is not actively working with others his theories have found supporting evidence from other work in other fields - including work that was being undertaken without any obvious connection to climate change research. Although primarily a theoretical physicist, he conducted experiments in the basement of his Danish National Research Centre, apparently demonstrating the cloud forming effectiveness of muons, or high-energy electrons. It seems to me that he and his colleagues have made their case well, quite the contrary to the impression given by Inge Brede Johannessen below. Nor, Mr Listen, is there anything remotely polemic about it! In 2010 an experiment at CERN may provide further evidence of the physics of the basic process. But for the global warming consensus this experiment, originally devised by another scientist and blocked, the book suggest, by physicists unwilling to expose themselves to the criticism of the global warming consensus, might have taken place five years ago.

If your mind is open to the questions (a) is the planet warming? And, if so, (b) why? and (c) how much? then this is a book for you. The science is not that difficult to understand, though if you are a layman like me then you have I think to be modest enough to admit that you probably couldn't identify any scientific howlers in the book, let alone in the Svensmark and colleagues' scientific papers listed in the back. As I write the world's great and good have jetted off to Bali to discuss climate change "mitigation", and most of that mitigation will involve restricting CO2 emission. As others such as Bjorn Lomborg have pointed out, the cost of such a restriction may be the loss of much of the economic growth, and the alleviation of poverty, that would otherwise happen. It is always worth considering whether we have identified the right enemy - or even whether there is an enemy at all. Besides, we all know about ice ages: have you ever wondered what actually caused them?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who say they've found it.", 20 April 2009
By 
J. M. Evans (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
Over 200 years ago, no less a person than the King's Astronomer, William Herschel, tracked the price of wheat and bread and how these varied with sunspot activity. The link is clearly: more sunspots cause better weather giving better yields of wheat; with fewer sunspots the weather and wheat yield are worse. Although he could not have known the astronomical mechanism behind this, he observed and noticed this effect which has been tracked throughout the decades since.

With 21st century knowledge and scientific experience it is now possible to investigate the mechanism behind this. As a scientist (physicist) and engineer myself, I was keen to find an intelligent book about climate change, written by proper scientists, and I was happy when I found the book "The Chilling Stars". And having read it, I was not disappointed. It puts forward a most convincing argument, using scientific methods, as to what the main driver(s) of our climate are. It contains not only a description of the work done by the authors themselves, but also contain clear references to many other scientists stating their names, their particular field of study or research, their place of research and the findings of their work and how they relate to the subject of climate change - details which can be verified by any reader of the book.

The book also refers to proper, i.e. scientific, objections to the proposed theory, describing clearly what the anomalies were perceived to be, e.g. specifically during the Laschamp event. This prompted further investigation by the authors and their teams, whose theory was ultimately more complete and `water-tight' than the one originally proposed.

Furthermore, as a physicist myself I have been able to check for myself the information given in the book which is related to my own previous work, and every single item is correct. Specialists in other scientific fields such as cosmology, geology and meteorology can check details relevant to their work, and there is no reason to doubt that that information in those other specialist fields will likewise be correct.

In short, this is a very readable book which puts across a most convincing, more realistic theory on climate change. From data available from many sources (geological, meteorological and others), this book not only presents a most convincing theory on what drives climate, but also recognises that much scientific research still needs to be done. Despite great progress and knowledge, the last chapter states where research needs to continue, not just for the fields of geology, astronomy, etc. in themselves, but expertise must also pass between these areas to enable and even more complete this theory of climate change possible.

And as for the next stage, this reader will be keen to follow the next stage of research being done by the authors and their team - the ongoing research of the `Cloud' project at CERN.

To quote from André Gide (1869-1951): "Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who say they've found it."
From the content of this book and the ongoing investigation into the mechanism causing climate change (the `Cloud' project at CERN) the authors of this book and their teams clearly belong to the first category. Those who claim to have the (inconvenient) truth fit into the second category.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis of climate change and its causes, 31 Oct 2008
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
Henrik Svensmark, director of the Centre of Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Centre, and Nigel Calder, the well-known science writer, have produced a challenging book on climate change.

When stars die, they do so in supernova explosions that emit cosmic rays, which create ions, which form clouds. Low clouds - less than 3000 metres above the surface - keep the planet cool. The less active the sun is, the more cosmic rays get through to the earth, and so the more clouds there are to cool the earth.

The Danish National Space Centre's SKY experiment showed how cosmic rays set free electrons which then catalysed the clubbing together of sulphuric acid molecules, the most important source of condensation nuclei. These cosmic rays have varied since the world began; their influx depends largely on where the earth is in the galaxy in our orbit around the centre of the Milky Way. When the earth is in dark regions with few stars where the rays are scarce, the climate is warm. When the earth is in bright regions where the rays are intense, the climate is cool.

The medieval warm period of 1000-1300 was followed by the cool periods of 1300-60 and 1450-1540, and a worse one, the little ice age of 1645-1715, then another cool period in 1790-1820. The peak of the little ice age was 1700, which coincided with the Maunder Minimum, when the sun's magnetic activity was very low, reducing its ability to shield the earth from cosmic rays.

In the last century, the sun's magnetic field doubled in strength, reducing the cosmic rays and so the clouds, thus heating up the earth by 0.70C from 1900 to 2005, 70% of the 20th century's warming. The authors predict that global warming in this century is likely to be at the low end of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's forecast of a 1.80C-40C rise by 2100.

Indeed, temperatures have not risen since 2001, even though global CO2 emissions have been rising faster than ever. Also, the Antarctic's area of sea ice grew by 8% between 1978 and 2005.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The open minded will thoroughly enjoy this..., 2 Aug 2008
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
NOTE: There are two editions of this book, buy the later one The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate published in February 2008, it has been updated with a large new chapter at the back which brings you upto date, and is important.

Svensmark's theory finally offers a highly attractive alternative to the traditional GHG forcing model. It's neat, tight, not at all messy, rather elegant infact. `The Chilling Stars' takes you behind the dry published research paper's in far more detail, and allows you to engage with the excitement and wonder as a new scientific theory takes shape.

I've been following the AGW debate for some time, firstly as a supporter of AGW and then slowly moving towards a more sceptical stance. This year (2008) I've spent a lot of time reading the various research papers to get behind the media hype of both sides. What stands out is the relatively messy theory behind the idea of AGW, it's certainly not proven, it's just the best theory science had to date to explain the forcing seen. The GCR/Climate link just kept popping up in my research, as did Svensmark's name. Despite the rubbishing of his work, his hypothesis on paper looks sound to me. It's clearly upset a lot of people, more so because of the politically sensitive subject that Co2 has become.

The CLOUD facility at CERN is presently in its design and prototyping phase. A prototype 3 meter aerosol chamber - limited to operation at room temperature and 1 atmosphere pressure - is expected to start operation in 2009. The final 4 meter aerosol chamber, operating at any temperature or pressure, is expected to start in 2011.

We will know if Svensmark is really on the right track when the CLOUD project at CERN start's producing data around 2012. Although the cercumstantial evidence is continuing to pile up in his favour.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Climate Is Changing!, 8 July 2008
By 
Ian Cook (MK, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
Ever thought that maybe, just maybe the climate might not stay exactly as it is today? Ever thought that because you were told about ice ages at school that climate change happens? Ever thought that scientific pronouncements should be evidence based? If the answer to the latter is 'no' then you are probably an environmentalist, so this book will not interest you. If you want to know something and want it proven then you are ahead of our (current) Royal Society, as they would doubtless want to burn this book. The sun and water vapour are the main agents in our climate. Certainly not Man. And that is a fact; carbon emissions are not and never have (natural or human -which now counts as unnatural) been a main agent of change in our climate. Despite Al Gore believing he is possessed of an infallable dogma, the inconvenient fact is that recent cooling and increased emissions breaks his unassailable link. This book gives a possible explanation of what is happening to our planet's weather. It suggests, it doesn't shout. It looks for proof. How refreshing is that?
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Theory, 15 July 2007
This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
I bought this book as I wanted to read an alternative to the idea that global warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases. Yet I didn't want anything written by someone paid for by the oil industry or some lunatic who thinks the whole thing is a hoax. This book fitted the bill nicely. Henrik Svensmark has developed an extremely interesting theory although its too early to determine its validity. The basis of it is that the sun determines much of climate variability, not simply through the heat energy it delivers but through its radiation field that counteracts cosmic rays that help with cloud formation. When the suns magnetic energy is high, less cosmic rays reach earth, fewer clouds develop and the earth heats up. The science of cosmoclimatalogy is in its infancy, the majority of work having only been accomplised in the last ten years. It has CERN interested enough to provide the resources to create experiments mimicking the effects of cosmic rays. These should be taking place by 2010 and I shall follow them with interest. However there isn't nearly enough here yet to dismiss made made global warming theories (and Henrik Svensmark doesn't deny this effect only questions it extent) but it does provide an alternative view.
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68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking theory, 10 Mar 2007
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
A well presented argument, written by two renowned scientists, that backs up its claims with hard evidence.The science involved is not overwhelming, and if you want to cut through the hysteria and try to gain a more balanced view as to the cause/s of climate change, then this is the book for you. As a previous reviewer stated, there are a number of factors to consider when looking at the climate, but he didn`t point out that some of those factors have a far bigger impact than others, as the authors do point out. They also point out that the atmosphere shows no sign of greenhouse gasses being to blame, that in any case carbon dioxide is a particularly weak greenhouse gas, that the amount of CO2 put out by human beings is negligible compared to the amount that mother nature puts out, and that at the peak of post war industrialisation, the temperature actually fell.Hence the widely held theory, not 20 years ago,that the climate was cooling down! Anybody remember the predicted "Big freeze", or "New ice age", that was expected until recently, I do.And at a time of intense industrialisation too.

I could go on and on as there are so many powerful points made in this book, but the best thing I can do is to recommend that you buy the book and read it with an open mind if you genuinely wish to inform yourself about just why the planet is getting hotter, without swallowing all the apocalyptic hype.

It may allay some fears too,because if these guys are right - then it`s all part of a natural cycle, and we can all put away our massive egos that we personally get to control the entire eco-system of planet earth.
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Climate science without the politics, 21 Mar 2007
By 
E. Henning (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
The science presented in this book has been developing now for several years, and yet is largely ignored both by our media and politicians. One scientist recently pointed that if we had known in the mid-90s what we know today about climate change, we would never have thought that a treaty like Kyoto was necessary. This book explains the reasoning behind comments like that.

But even apart from the current issue of climate change, the theories presented here are interesting in their own right, as they give for the first time a decent explanation of the origins of ice ages, backed up by sound evidence, and of other dramatic periods in the earth's history. The science is presented well, and should be understandable to most people. Hopefully, even by politicians.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A new science "Cosmoclimatology", 29 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
Anybody interested in climatology should read this book. Anybody interested in both climatology and cosmology MUST read this book. The two things are connected more closely than we ever realized. Cosmoclimatology is the birth of a new science.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More than just about Climate Change, 22 Sep 2011
By 
I. Preddy (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Paperback)
This book was bought based on a recommendation from a Climate Sceptic website and fulfilled the expectation in that regard. However, there is much more to this book than that. It gives an idea of how complex the universe is and how much work is being done to improve understanding of where we are and where we came from.
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The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change by Nigel Calder (Paperback - 15 Feb 2007)
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