Researchers have managed to replicate the effect of cosmic rays on the aerosols in the atmosphere that help to create clouds. Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist in Denmark, said the experiments suggested that man's influence on global warming might be rather less than was supposed by the bulk of scientific opinion.
Cosmic rays — radiation, or particles of energy, from stars, which bombard the Earth — can create electrically charged ions in the atmosphere that act as a magnet for water vapour, causing clouds to form.
Dr Svensmark suggests that the Sun, at a historically high level of activity, is deflecting many of the cosmic rays away from Earth and thus reducing the cloud cover.
"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"