Cloudy forecast

Cloudy forecast

The biggest source of climate uncertainty is white and fluffy

By Gabriel Popkin, 16:11 PM March 6, 2014

From space, clouds appear to perform an intricate and never-ending ballet. Thin streaks dance at the poles, vast storms plow across the jet streams, spinning cyclones get tossed up in the tropics and deep convecting monsters churn near the equator. Clouds whip and curl and billow, materializing seemingly out of nowhere and dissipating just as mysteriously.

The mystery deepens when scientists try to understand how clouds influence climate. Clouds lead a sort of double life, both trapping and de...

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