Satellite data put hard numbers on key player in climate
Over the past decade, during short-term climate changes, clouds trapped heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and warmed the planet, a new study suggests.
The work is the most detailed look at how clouds affect climate — one of the biggest scientific unknowns in how much global warming to expect (SN: 12/4/10, p. 24). Some researchers have suggested that clouds might cool the planet overall, but the study supports the opposite idea, that clouds make things toastier.
“This is really the first quantitative test of the total cloud feedback in climate models,” says Andrew Dessler, an atmospheric scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station. “The