Cosmic rays and the Titanic

Titanic link?

Nigel Calder explores the correlation between cosmic ray flux and its effect on the climate, in particular in relation to the sinking of the Titanic (100 years ago on 15 April):

Although it seems a strange thing to celebrate, the Titanic Festival in Belfast, where the ship was built, will very soon mark the 100th anniversary of the liner’s foundering on 15 April 1912 after hitting a south-wandering iceberg, with the loss of a multitude of passengers and crew.

Comparing the £100-million Titanic complex newly built in Belfast with the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the travel writer Simon Calder has commented, “There is a great shipbuilding heritage, it is a divided city, but the Guggenheim is great on the outside but rubbish on the inside – unlike the Titanic building.”

What’s more, James Cameron’s movie “Titanic” has been remastered in 3D for the centenary.

Time then for me to dig out some slides that I’ve used off and on in lectures since 1999 as an illustration of Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic rays in action, controlling our climate. But first, just to show that I’m not being kooky, here’s a graph from a 2000 paper by E. N. Lawrence of the UK Meteorological Office. “The Titanic disaster – a meteorologist’s perspective,” related iceberg abundance at low latitudes to a scarcity of sunspots (see image top right).

And Steven Goddard recalls a much older article, from the Chicago Tribune in 1923, that also linked icebergs with sunspots.

The notion that the Sun is dimmer when there are few sunspots goes right back to William Herschel at the beginning of the 19th Century. The trouble is that the variations in solar brightness, as measured by satellites, are too small to explain the strong influence of the Sun on climate as recorded over thousands of years, and continuing into the 21st Century. That’s where Svensmark’s discovery of 16 years ago comes in, with the amplifier. Cosmic rays coming from the Galaxy are more intense when there are fewer sunspots and they increase the global cloud cover, so cooling the world.

Read it all here.

And while we’re on the subject of Svensmark and cosmic rays, Anthony on Facebook linked to an interesting series of videos in which Svensmark and Nir Shaviv are both interviewed. First three parts are excellent, will get to watch the remainder soon. There doesn’t appear to be a date, but from the upload information, it was made prior to the results of the CLOUD experiment.

One of the most astonishing quotes comes from Bert Bolin (he of the IPCC, who had decided prior to the IPCC’s formation that CO2 was responsible for the present warming), who says of Svensmark’s work:

“Scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible”

Yes, you read that right. The head of the IPCC said that reporting scientific results from an experiment was “irresponsible”. It is a wonderful quote to cite, because it exposes at a stroke the political agenda of Bolin and the IPCC, where the risk of derailing the pre-conceived plan to regulate CO2 is deemed “irresponsible”.

It’s also instructive to witness the hostility that Svensmark receives from The Cause. And they accuse the sceptics of being “anti-science”?

Here is the first:



  1. Apparently it’s more responsible to use a crystal ball to see what the climate might be like a hundred years from now, waste billions of dollars taxing people and researching said predictions and their effects, and scare the pants off everyone.

  2. A Mr. J. Lane of Clarence Park in South Australia, linked low sunspot activity to increased icebergs and the Titanic tragedy well before Steve Goddard’s 1923 article.

    “… quantities of ice are now drifting about the North Atlantic as (ice)bergs, to the serious menace of shipping in those waters. The unusual heat— the result of a condition of minimum sunspots — has been reflected also in the summer just over in the southern hemisphere. South Africa and Australia both, had a particularly trying ordeal … I would suggest that the Commonwealth Weather Bureau should ascertain if the danger exists … as such action may perhaps prevent the repetition on a smaller scale in the Southern Ocean of such a terrible catastrophe as the loss of the Titanic.”

    Mr. Lane wrote that on 19 April, 1912 – 4 days after the Titanic sinking.

  3. one person missed that maiden voyage, the one person who SHOULD have been on it, but missed it deliberately as he knew in advance what was to happen, because it was his own plan.

    [REPLY – conspiracy theory?]

  4. For more detail see


  5. I love your site – great work.

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