NASA satellite found that “clouds of Earth are increasingly low”
February 24, 2012
A NASA satellite found that “the clouds of Earth are increasingly low. They’ve lost 1% of their height, 3at least 0 to 40 meters, in the last decade”.
The scientists reported that “if this process continues, our planet could cool more efficiently, reducing the temperature of the planet’s surface and potentially slowing the effects of global warming”.
Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand analyzed measurements of cloud heights taken for ten years, from 2000 to 2010, with instruments of the spacecraft NASA’s Terra.
The study, published in the journal of Geophysical Research Letters, indicates “a general trend of decreasing the height of clouds. The average fell about 1% during the decade, at least 30 to 40 meters”.
Roger Davies, who led the research, explains that “although the record is too small to be definitive, it provides an indication that something important might be happening, although it is necessary to track them in the longer term to determine the influence of this process in global temperatures”.
“A steady reduction in the height of the clouds would cool the Earth into space more efficiently, reducing the temperature of the planet’s surface and potentially slowing the effects of global warming. This may represent a mechanism of ‘negative feedback’, a change caused by global warming, oddly enough, that helps to counteract it. We do not know exactly what causes the decrease of high clouds, but must be due to a change in circulation patterns that lead to cloud formation at high altitude”.
“The Terra spacecraft will continue to collect data to see if this trend continues”.