Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Clouds Shifting Toward Poles With Climate Change

Over the last three decades, global cloud patterns have changed, and mid-latitude storm tracks--the paths that cyclones travel in the Northern and Southern hemispheres--have been drifting toward our planet's poles, according to a new study published in Nature.

The changes match those predicted by climate model simulations, and they've probably added to global warming that is causing climate change. Those findings are good news for scientists who for years have struggled to model the role of clouds in climate change. According to scientists the movement of clouds toward the polls is "problematic for our future" and makes efforts to slow warming more urgent.
About 70 percent of Earth is covered by clouds at any given moment. Their interaction with climate isn't easy to study.

Climate modelers have to take into account clouds can have two different effects on temperatures. During daytime thick clouds will keep the temperature cooler because clouds reflect incoming sunlight back to space. But thick clouds can also act like a blanket that keeps the Earth's warmth in. Clouds have been called the wild card of climate science. Researchers argue over how exactly global warming will affect clouds and vice versa.

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