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 years 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-reveiwed journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Dessler studied El Nino and La Nina cycles over the past 10 years and calculated the Earth’s “energy budget” over this time. El Nino and La Nina are times of the year when waters in the central Pacific Ocean tend to get warmer or colder, and these changes have a huge impact on much of the world’s weather systems for months.
Dessler found that clouds played a very small role in initiating these climate variations — in agreement with mainstream climate science and in direct opposition to these previous claims.
“The bottom line is that clouds have not replaced humans as the cause of the recent warming the Earth is experiencing,” Dessler explains.
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 Nina conditions that have lingered in the Pacific Ocean for many months.
Dessler added that, “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.
Contact: Andy Dessler at (979) 862-1427 or email@example.com or Keith Randall, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION, Sept. 6, 2011
For a discussion of one of the fallacious contrarian papers refuted by Dessler, see paper #2 by Spencer et al HERE, in the essay The Contrarians? that discusses contrarians / deniers / faux skeptics in depth.
For a summary of mainstream climate science click HERE.
Here is the published paper:
Cloud variations and the Earth's energy budget
- Clouds are not causing climate change
- Observations are not in disagreement with models on this point
- Previous work on this is flawed
Author: Andrew E. Dessler
The question of whether clouds are the cause of surface temperature changes, rather than acting as a feedback in response to those temperature changes, is explored using data obtained between 2000 and 2010. An energy budget calculation shows that the energy trapped by clouds accounts for little of the observed climate variations. And observations of the lagged response of top-of-atmosphere (TOA) energy fluxes to surface temperature variations are not evidence that clouds are causing climate change.
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, doi:10.1029/2011GL049236
Here is a list of other posts on this topic compiled by Prof. Scott Mandia, whose own post is a real gem:
Andrew Dessler’s New Paper Debunks Both Roy Spencer And Richard Lindzen - Skeptical Science
Roy Spencer Persecuted By Own Data - Barry Bickmore
The Eternal Return or: The Unbearable Wrongness of Spencer and Braswell - The Policy Lass
Journal editor resigns over ‘problematic’ climate paper - Richard Black
Spencer & Braswell and the Review Process - John Nielsen-Gammon
Remote Sensing Editor Resigns Over Spencer/Braswell Paper - Barry Bickmore
A Reality Check on Clouds and Climate - Andrew Revkin
Spencer and Braswell fundamentally flawed, journal editor resigns - Bart Verheggen
Climate Skeptic Science: Approach with Caution – Peter Sinclair
Spencer/Braswell: This is not New. This is the Way it’s Done. – Peter Sinclair
Bombshell: Journal Editor Resigns over Flawed Spencer paper – Peter Sinclair
Wagner Apologized - Eli Rabett
Holy editor resignation, Batman! - William M. Connelly
Climate noise amplification - Jason Thibeault
Bad Week for Roy “Wrong-Way” Spencer – Peter Sinclair
New Research Examines Role of Clouds in Climate Change - Scientific American
Roy Spencer Responds With More Shoddy Statistics and Excuses - Barry Bickmore
Cloud picture at the top from Wikipedia