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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Global Warming Reduces the Surface Area Covered by Cumulus Clouds, Increasing Their Warming – Nature World News

Cumulus clouds in trade-wind areas cover nearly 20% of our planet, cooling it.

Until recently, it was assumed that global warming would reduce the amount of surface area covered by clouds, thereby amplifying the warming.

However, a team of researchers has now disproved that assumption.

Clouds less climate-sensitive than assumed


(Photo : Billy Huynh/Unsplash)

In a major field campaign in 2020, Dr. Raphaela Vogel, who is now at Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), and an international team from the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique in Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, analyzed observational data they and others collected in fields of cumulus clouds near the Atlantic island of Barbados.

Their analysis revealed that these clouds’ contribution to climate warming has to be reassessed.

Trade-wind clouds have an impact on the global climate system, but the data show a different pattern than previously thought, as per ScienceDaily.

As a result, an extreme rise in global temperatures is less likely than previously thought, according to Vogel, an atmospheric scientist.

Though this aspect is critical for more accurately projecting future climate scenarios, it does not mean we should abandon climate protection.

Many climate models have simulated a significant reduction in trade-wind clouds, which would mean that much of their cooling function would be lost, causing the atmosphere to warm even more.

This is unlikely, according to new observational data.

What is certain is that as global warming continues, more water on the ocean’s surface evaporates, and moisture near the base of trade wind clouds rises.

On the other hand, the air masses in the upper part of the clouds are extremely dry and only become slightly moister.

This causes a significant difference in moisture between above and below. When the air masses mix in the atmosphere, this is dispelled.

The previous hypothesis: drier air is transported downward, causing cloud droplets to evaporate faster and increasing the likelihood of cloud dissipation.

The observational data from Barbados now provides the first robust quantification of how prominent vertical mixing is and how it affects moisture and cloud cover overall.

As a result, it is the first data to shed light on a critical process for understanding climate change.

In summary, increased mixing does not cause the lower layers to dry out or the clouds to dissipate.

Rather, the data show that as vertical mixing increases, cloud cover increases.

Also Read: Ocean of Clouds over Minnesota Captured on Photo; Scientists Explain Why

How Do Clouds Affect Earth’s Climate?

Clouds influence both the warming and cooling of our planet. Clouds keep the Earth’s climate cooler than it would be without them, as per NASA Kids.

However, as the Earth’s climate warms, we won’t be able to rely on this cooling effect indefinitely.

At any given time, clouds cover roughly two-thirds of our planet.

As a result, it is not surprising that clouds play an important role in Earth’s climate.

Clouds have two major effects on climate. For starters, they are an essential component of the water cycle. Clouds act as a conduit between rain and snow, oceans and lakes, and plants and animals.

Second, clouds have a significant impact on Earth’s temperature. But it gets more complicated: clouds can both cool and warm the Earth’s temperature.

Clouds can block the Sun’s light and heat, lowering the Earth’s temperature. On a cloudy day, you’ve probably noticed this type of cooldown.

However, some of the Sun’s heat does reach Earth. The heat from the Sun can be trapped by clouds.

Even when there is no sunlight, clouds continue to trap heat. It’s as if clouds are wrapping the Earth in a warm blanket.

As a result, clouds can have both a cooling and a warming effect. When it comes to the Earth’s climate, do clouds warm more than they cool, or vice versa? That is dependent on where the clouds are in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Clouds tend to cool rather than warm within a mile or so of the Earth’s surface. These lower, thicker clouds primarily reflect the heat of the Sun. This cools the planet’s surface.

Clouds high in the atmosphere have the opposite effect: they warm rather than cool the Earth. Some of the Sun’s heat is trapped by high, thin clouds. This heats the Earth’s surface.

Climate scientists predict that as the Earth’s climate warms, fewer clouds will form to keep it cool. As a result, we can’t rely on clouds alone to slow global warming.

To comprehend clouds and their impact on climate, we must first comprehend the entire atmosphere.

Climate scientists are attempting to understand the complex role of clouds in our atmosphere as they attempt to predict how the Earth is changing.

Several NASA satellites are collecting data on clouds. CloudSat, for example, is attempting to determine how much clouds contribute to changes in the Earth’s climate.

Related article: Trace Gases Can Be Formed From Aerosol Particles That Seed Clouds

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