Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cloud 'feedback' affects global climate and warming

Date:
December 10, 2010
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Changes in clouds will amplify the warming of the planet due to human activities, according to a breakthrough study that shows that warming due to increases in greenhouse gases will cause clouds to trap more heat, which will lead to additional warming.

Changes in clouds will amplify the warming of the planet due to human activities, according to new research.
Credit: iStockphoto/Tamara Kulikova

Changes in clouds will amplify the warming of the planet due to human activities, according to a breakthrough study by a Texas A&M University researcher.

Related Articles


Andrew Dessler, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, says that warming due to increases in greenhouse gases will cause clouds to trap more heat, which will lead to additional warming. This process is known as the "cloud feedback" and is predicted to be responsible for a significant portion of the warming over the next century.

Dessler used measurements from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument onboard NASA's Terra satellite to calculate the amount of energy trapped by clouds as the climate varied over the last decade. He also used meteorological analyses provided by NASA's Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

"It's a vicious cycle -- warmer temperatures mean clouds trap more heat, which in turn leads to even more warming," Dessler explains. His work is published in the Dec. 10 issue of Science magazine and is supported by a NASA research grant.

While climate models had long predicted that the cloud feedback would amplify warming from human activities, until recently it was impossible to test the models using observations.

"This work suggests that climate models are doing a pretty decent job simulating how clouds respond to changing climates," Dessler says.

Some prominent climate skeptics have recently been arguing that clouds would act to stabilize the climate, thereby preventing greenhouse gases from causing significant warming.

"Based on my results, I think the chances that clouds will save us from dramatic climate change are pretty low," he explains. "In fact, my work shows that clouds will likely be amplifying the warming from human activities.

"I think we can be pretty confident that temperatures will rise by several degrees Celsius over the next century if we continue our present trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. E. Dessler. A Determination of the Cloud Feedback from Climate Variations over the Past Decade. Science, 10 December 2010: 1523-1527 DOI: 10.1126/science.1192546

Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Cloud 'feedback' affects global climate and warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209141231.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2010, December 10). Cloud 'feedback' affects global climate and warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209141231.htm
Texas A&M University. "Cloud 'feedback' affects global climate and warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209141231.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins