A puzzling feature of climate change may have an extra-terrestrial explanation, according to a researcher in the US.

Fangqun Yu, of the State University of New York-Albany, suggests the answer may lie in cosmic rays. He argues the rays may cause changes in cloud cover which could explain the temperature conundrum.

Although researchers have proposed that changes in cloud cover could help to explain the discrepancy, none has been able to account for the varying heat profiles.