Jasper Kirkby is a British experimental particle physicist currently with CERN. He originated the idea for the Tau-Charm Factory, an accelerator now under construction as BEPC II in Beijing. He has led several large particle accelerator experiments at SPEAR; the Paul Scherrer Institute; and most recently, the CLOUD experiment at CERN.
The CLOUD experiment is investigating possible physical mechanisms for solar/cosmic ray forcing - a theory whereby cloud nucleation is affected by cosmic rays and the cosmic rays are affected by solar activity. The main purpose of the CLOUD experiment is to simulate the conditions under which clouds form in earth's atmosphere--specifically, the process by which cloud condensation nuclei form from aerosols in the atmosphere. Kirkby et al. published the results of CLOUD's first experiment in the journal Nature in 2011, reporting that cosmic rays "seemed to enhance the production of nanometre-sized particles from the gaseous atmosphere by more than a factor of ten." He added, however, that the particles in question are far too small to serve as cloud condensation nuclei, adding, "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step."
- Head in a CLOUD, May 12, 2011. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/multimedia/45950
- Bichell, Rae Ellen (14 December 2012). "Creating clouds in the lab to better understand climate". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Kirkby, J.; Curtius, J.; Almeida, J. O.; Dunne, E.; Duplissy, J.; Ehrhart, S.; Franchin, A.; Gagné, S. P.; Ickes, L.; Kürten, A.; Kupc, A.; Metzger, A.; Riccobono, F.; Rondo, L.; Schobesberger, S.; Tsagkogeorgas, G.; Wimmer, D.; Amorim, A.; Bianchi, F.; Breitenlechner, M.; David, A.; Dommen, J.; Downard, A.; Ehn, M.; Flagan, R. C.; Haider, S.; Hansel, A.; Hauser, D.; Jud, W.; Junninen, H. (2011). "Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation". Nature. 476 (7361): 429–33. Bibcode:2011Natur.476..429K. doi:10.1038/nature10343. PMID 21866156.
- Brumfiel, G. (2011). "Cloud formation may be linked to cosmic rays". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2011.504.
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