Monday, September 19, 2011

New paper shows clouds have a large negative-feedback cooling effect

A paper published last week in the journal Meteorological Applications undermines a key assumption of the theory of man-made global warming, finding that the cooling effect of clouds far outweighs a supposed 'greenhouse' warming effect. Alarmists claim clouds have an overall 'positive-feedback' warming effect upon climate due to 'back-radiation' of the 'greenhouse' gas water vapor. This new paper based on satellite measurements finds instead that clouds have a large net cooling effect by blocking solar radiation and increasing radiative cooling outside the tropics. The cooling effect is found to be -21 Watts per meter squared, more than 17 times the supposed warming effect from a doubling of CO2 concentrations [1.2 W/m2]. Another key assumption of the AGW theory topples in the face of real-world data showing the net feedback from clouds is strongly negative.

Combining satellite data and models to estimate cloud radiative effect at the surface and in the atmosphere

Richard P. Allan

Abstract: Satellite measurements and numerical forecast model reanalysis data are used to compute an updated estimate of the cloud radiative effect on the global multi-annual mean radiative energy budget of the atmosphere and surface. The cloud radiative cooling effect through reflection of short wave radiation dominates over the long wave heating effect, resulting in a net cooling of the climate system of − 21 Wm−2. The short wave radiative effect of cloud is primarily manifest as a reduction in the solar radiation absorbed at the surface of − 53 Wm−2. Clouds impact long wave radiation by heating the moist tropical atmosphere (up to around 40 Wm−2 for global annual means) while enhancing the radiative cooling of the atmosphere over other regions, in particular higher latitudes and sub-tropical marine stratocumulus regimes. While clouds act to cool the climate system during the daytime, the cloud greenhouse effect heats the climate system at night. The influence of cloud radiative effect on determining cloud feedbacks and changes in the water cycle are discussed.

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