Clouds warm things up

Satellite data put hard numbers on key player in climate

2:05pm, December 9, 2010

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.

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