The galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) originating from astrophysical sources and traversing through the interstellar/interplanetary medium reach the terrestrial atmosphere and produce complex dynamic changes in it. The flow rate of GCRs incident on the Earth’s upper atmosphere is varied by the solar wind and the geomagnetic field. Striking correlations between the cloud cover and GCR fluxes on long time scale are observed whereas on short time scale no significant correlation is found. These observations are directly related to climate variations on short term as well as long term. In the present paper, we have reviewed and attempted to provide an overview of cosmic ray effects on terrestrial processes such as electrical phenomena, lightning discharges cloud formation and cloud coverage, temperature variation, space weather phenomena, Earth’s climate and the effects of GCRs on human health. It is shown that CRs control long term variations of some of the above mentioned physical processes, which in turn control short term and long term variations in climate. It is also pointed out that there are many basic phenomena which need further study and require new and long term data set.
Atmospheric Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2011
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