Clouds cool…in three simple steps…

Just posted at WUWT

1. Clouds happen in the troposphere (well, apart from some special kinds of clouds)
2. Clouds reflect radiation back to space
3. Radiative (“feedback”) effects are negligible in the troposphere (read raypierre’s book if you don’t believe that)

Hence radiative effects have little or no roles to play wrt clouds, apart from reflection back to space.

Therefore clouds can only cool. Empirically this can be shown in days when the sky is overcast apart from where the sun is. Were clouds to warm the surface, an “oven” effect would soon establish itself. Of course it never happens with any kind of tropospheric cloud: if it did it would violate the finding that radiative effects are negligible in the troposphere.

Therefore clouds can only cool.

Here's What Livescience Doesn't Want You To Read

A comment of mine “disappeared” from Liescience. Surprise, surprise! Here it is then:


Sometimes I do all looks like a theater where everybody feels they need to play their usual, tired characters…

Noaa _cloud_ researcher; “it is not newsworthy”

Once upon a time we were told only peer-reviewed research was important. Now there is a peer-reviewed paper with a brand new tack on clouds&climate. If that is not newsworthy then what is?

Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at texas a&m university: “he’s taken an incorrect model, he’s tweaked it to match observations, but the conclusions you get from that are not correct”

Talk about having an a priori, unchangeable opinion…

Dessler, the A&M climatologist said that he doubted the research would shift the political debate around global warming.

Do clouds care about what a climatologist has to say about the political debate around global warming? Is this ‘Livescience’ or ‘Livepolitics’?

Gavin Schmidt, a NASA goddard climatologist: “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

Lord Oxburgh of Oxburgh Climategate Review fame told the UK parliament that “it probably would have been true” to say that “it was actually impossible to reconstruct temperatures over the last thousand years”

Kevin Trenberth: “I cannot believe it got published,”

Of course he cannot. Trenberth is in the scientific dissent suppression business.


Scientists have shown that as the planet warms water vapor, and thus clouds, will increase, trapping even more heat

Have shown? Talk about prejudice…shouldn’t reporting remain separate from a journalist’s opinion?

The study, published july 26 in the open-access online journal remote sensing, got public attention when a writer for the heartland institute
the paper was mostly unnoticed in the public sphere until the forbes blogger declared it “extremely important.

It’s just two days!! And the paper was mostly unnoticed because Livescience fails at his mission “to satisfy curious readers” and never reports on papers that don’t agree with mainstream climate science.

University of Alabama, Huntsville researcher Roy Spencer, is a climate change skeptic and controversial figure within the climate research community
No climate scientist contacted by Livescience agreed.

Spencer is a climate scientist himself. Was that too difficult to report?

When Is A Climate Satellite Not Exactly A Climate Satellite?

I have just been at a beautiful presentantion at the British Interplanetary Society in London, by Jessica Housden of EADS-Astrium about the upcoming ESA “EarthCARE” satellite (beautiful especially to us engineering boffins that is).

Designing a Spacecraft to Observe Climate Change

Understanding of the atmosphere is a continual process, with scientists all over the world endeavouring to determine how our atmosphere works and how it is changing. One such mission, EarthCARE, will be observing several processes which will help scientists. How will this be done and how will the spacecraft work?

Jessica Housden is a systems engineer for the EarthCARE mission, which will observe water content and aerosol distribution in the atmosphere.

Ms Housden said that EarthCARE, designed to look at clouds and aerosols, will be up there for 4 years from around 2013 (don’t bet your house on that though…there’s lots to learn before it can actually fly).

Upon hearing that I suddenly realised something confirmed during the Q&A session later: the climate-change EarthCARE satellite is not exactly a satellite to study the climate.

For a start, 4 years are way too short a time to see what climate is doing, let alone to see it changing.

You see, EarthCARE is a climate-change satellite. Its measurements will be used to (surprise, surprise!) help climate modellers improve their models (as everybody knows, clouds have been particularly badly modelled up to now).

After all, that’s what it “says on the tin” (“Spacecraft to observe Climate Change“, not “Climate“). Nothing to fault EADS-Astrium for…still, I suspect in the upcoming future one will have to be careful about this apparently minute distinctions.

What about the Climate then? Well, EarthCARE would be a good starting point. For example one of its instruments is designed to measure incoming and outgoing fluxes, thereby answering many of the questions we still have about the planetary energy budget.

But you’d need a constellation of EarthCAREs for proper climate research, perhaps 5 or 6, if only to observe a particular spot more than once a month. And you’d need also a steady supply, to have enough of them up there despite the relatively-short 4-year lifetime.