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I. G. Usoskin, M. Voiculescu, G. A. Kovaltsov and K. Mursula. Correlation between clouds at different altitudes and solar activity: Fact or Artifact?. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 68 (18), pp. 2164-2172, 2006.

Abstract: Studies of the relation between cosmic rays (CR) (solar activity) and atmospheric cloudiness are mostly based on the satellite ISCCP cloud data. However, doubts have been cast that these relations can be an artifact of instrumental effects, i.e., of the masking/obscuring low clouds by higher clouds in the satellite view. If this is the case, most of the earlier results based on ISCCP data would be devaluated. Here, we reanalyze the ISCCP cloud coverage data and its relation with the cosmic ray-induced ionization, and show that the correlation between low clouds and CR is affected by higher clouds in some geographical regions, but not everywhere. In turn, our results show that low clouds also may affect the relation of higher clouds with CR in some regions. Accordingly, correlation analysis can be performed only when the strong relation between clouds of different types is taken into account. In particular, studies based on global or latitudinal (zonally averaged) cloud data should be revised.

Keywords: Cosmic ray-induced ionization; Cosmic rays; Atmosphere; Climate; Solar-terrestrial relations; Cloud cover


Posted by Mirela Voiculescu


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