Scientist predicts cooling
Published: January 3, 2010
A university professor challenges the widely held notion that carbon dioxide is responsible for climate change — and says the Earth will continue to cool for the next half-century.
Rather than carbon dioxide, cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — already implicated in depleting the Earth's ozone layer — are to blame for changes in the global climate, according to a paper by Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
CFCs are compounds once widely used as refrigerants, and cosmic rays are energy particles originating in outer space.
Lu's peer-reviewed paper, published in the prestigious journal Physics Reports, states: "My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late-20th century.
"Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming."
The total amount of CFCs decreased around 2000, Lu said, and "correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate."
Lu found that while there was global warming from 1950 to 2000, there has been global cooling since 2002, and his research indicates that the cooling trend will continue for the next 50 years.
Lu based his research on data from laboratory and satellite observations, according to the Insciences Web site.
He previously published work on the ozone layer along with researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey.