People who claim that “the science is settled” on global warming have to be pretty unsettled by the science news in the last week.
“Setttled science”, of course, means that we are inevitably headed toward a disastrous warming of surface temperatures as forecast by some computer models, and we therefore need an international carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, pronto.
Settled science would know all of the important “forcings” and “feedbacks” in the climate system, such as the sensitivity of surface temperature to changes in carbon dioxide (a forcing) and the behavior of clouds, which could either enhance or counter warming (a feedback).
Now it appears that cloud tops are lowering, a totally unforeseen cooling feedback on carbon dioxide-induced warming. Writing in Geophysical Research Letters, University of Auckland’s Roger Davies and Matthew Molloy conclude this could be a “significant measure of a negative cloud feedback to global warming”.
The average global cloud height is linked to the average global temperature—generally, the higher the average cloud height, the higher the average surface temperature, and vice versa. The tie-in is related to the height in the atmosphere from which clouds radiate infrared radiation to space. The higher up they are, the cooler they are, and they dissipate less radiation, which means the surface stays warmer.
For More - including the GRACE satellites' discovery that the " total ice loss outside of Greenland and Antarctica was previously estimated 30% too high" and "virtually zero net melting from the massive Himalayan ice cap" see Forbes.com