September 6, 2011

Geosciences Prof Says Study Shows That Clouds Don’t Cause Climate Change

COLLEGE STATION, Sept. 6, 2011 — Clouds only amplify climate change, says a Texas A&M University professor in a study that rebuts recent claims that clouds are actually the root cause of climate change.

Andrew Dessler, a Texas A&M atmospheric sciences professor considered one of the nation’s experts on climate variations, says decades of data support the mainstream and long-held view that clouds are primarily acting as a so-called “feedback” that amplifies warming from human activity. His work is published today in the American Geophysical Union’s peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Dessler studied El Niño and La Niña cycles over the past 10 years and calculated the Earth’s “energy budget” over this time. El Nino and La Nina are cyclical events, roughly every five years, when waters in the central Pacific Ocean tend to get warmer or colder. These changes have a huge impact on much of the world’s weather systems for months or even years.clouds in a blue sky

Dessler found that clouds played a very small role in initiating these climate variations — in agreement, he says, with mainstream climate science and in direct opposition to some previous claims.

“The bottom line is that clouds have not replaced humans as the cause of the recent warming the Earth is experiencing,” Dessler says.

Texas is currently in one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, and most scientists believe it is a direct result of La Niña conditions that have lingered in the Pacific Ocean for many months.

Dessler adds, “Over a century, however, clouds can indeed play an important role amplifying climate change.”

“I hope my analysis puts an end to this claim that clouds are causing climate change,” he adds.

For more information about Dessler’s research, go to http://goo.gl/zFJmt

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents an annual investment of more than $630 million, which ranks third nationally for universities without a medical school, and underwrites approximately 3,500 sponsored projects. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.

Contact: Andrew Dessler at (979) 862-1427 or adessler@tamu.edu; or Keith Randall, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4644 or keith-randall@tamu.edu

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1 Comment to Geosciences Prof Says Study Shows That Clouds Don’t Cause Climate Change

  1. For a determination as to whether clouds impact upon climate, or better, whether the total moisture in the atmosphere will play a role in the behavior of climate, we should first go back to a time when there were hardly any moisture in the atmosphere, that was during the peak of the last Ice Age. If from there the ice sheets have retreated and is continuing to retreat even today, that means, that the level of moisture in the atmosphere is increasing and will continue to increase until all the polar ice will have melted. With more water in the atmosphere, it will become more humid, and more clouds will form, heavier flooding will follow during typhoons and hurricanes, and heavier snowfall. This situation is already a climate change without people being involved. That is the ice sheets melting is still a continuing process from since the last Ice Age.

    To top it, it is reported and scientifically acknowledge that it was Europe who first brought down their forests to only 20% remaining, then the United States also to 20% remaining, and now the rest of the world to only 20% remaining. So if now the entire world have lost 80% of its forests, what have we lost with it? Of course, trees produce the cool element oxygen, and removes the hot element CO2. On top of that, trees help keep moisture on their roots, trunks, branches, and leaves, and on the ground beneath their canopies. So if we have lost 80% the forests is it not logical that we have lost 80% of the oxygen these were producing in the past, and 80% of the forests’ CO2 absorbing capacity, and 80% of the ground water that these were keeping? And if these have all happened, can we say that these massive global event have not affected the climate at all?

    Note that when the polar ice will have completely melted, then another threshold is reached, and the evaporation of the salt waters will begin. As of now, the oceans have remained as it is, because it has kept its saltiness, and this is due to the fact that its topmost layer of fresh water coming from melting ice, rivers and rain are shielding the oceans from direct radiation. The fresh waters are the first to evaporate.

    Imagine the scenario when the waters in the atmosphere go up 10% from the present level of 4% to 5%. Now the warming due to the natural swing from Ice Age to thermal maximum will continue even if we remove all cars from our planet. Unless of course before the entry of humans, the Earth reached a climate equilibrium at that time when the expanse of the forests were vast and pristine. If there was an equilibrium, then our removal of the forests and its continuing removal is the main cause of the harsh climate we are now all experiencing.

    The solution, therefore, for the mitigation of the harshness of climate, is to bring back the forests.

  2. Gabriel Atega on September 7th, 2011
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