Could clouds’ radiator effect vanish with global warming?


A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience has concluded that if the world adopts a business-as-usual approach towards global emissions, then stratocumulus clouds, which provide a cooling effect in the poles and subtropics, could break up, subjecting the world to even greater warming. The research was carried out by Tapio Schneider, who studies cloud dynamics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, United States. The results were published on February 25, 2019.

“The clouds that clump together into massive sheets over the oceans are called stratocumulus clouds, and worldwide, they can reflect roughly 4 to 7 per cent of the energy from the Sun,” reads a web report on the website of Nature. However, retired scientist from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, JR Kulkarni, told Down To Earth that the study was not convincing enough.

“The figure of 1,200 ppm is very high. A transition from 400 to 1,200 is highly unlikely, if not impossible,” said Kulkarni. He pointed out other problems.

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