Goethe University, US Climate Scientist Confirm: Clouds “Can Result In Significant Changes To Earth’s Surface Temperature”

CO2 as the major climate driver looks shakier than ever.

Scientists confirm clouds and their changes have a huge impact on the earth’s surface temperature…

Anna Possner’s research shows clouds and their changes have a real impact on earth’s surface temperature, a Goethe University press release confirms. Photo source: annapossner.com, Carnegie Science.

According to Germany’s Goethe University, Carnegie Institution for Science climatologist Anna Possner’s research on layered clouds in the lower atmosphere shows that clouds “act as a semi-transparent parasol” and “reflect a significant portion of incoming sunlight” and “have a cooling effect on Earth’s surface.” …and that cloud changes “can result in significant changes to Earth’s surface temperature”.

Clouds like a semi-transparent parasol

Released at: Wed, 09 May 2018 13:40:00 +0200 (024)
FRANKFURT. Following the Paris Climate Agreement, Germany and France created the program “Make Our Planet Great Again,“ to promote climate change research. One of 13 researchers selected by an expert jury of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is coming from the USA to the Goethe University in a few months.

The climate change researcher Dr. Anna Possner is leaving the renowned Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford and will join the Department for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the Goethe University. Thanks to a one million euro grant, she will start her own research group in Frankfurt. This group will cooperate with the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), where it will also be located.

Anna Possner’s research focuses on layered clouds in the lowest kilometres of the atmosphere, which act as a semi-transparent parasol for Earth’s surface. They reflect a significant portion of incoming sunlight, but only marginally affect Earth’s heat emission. They thus have a cooling effect on Earth’s surface. Any sheet of low-level cloud may span hundreds of kilometres and all together they span around one fifth of Earth’s oceans. Changes in their areal extent or reflective properties can result in significant changes to Earth’s surface temperature.

In some regions of the globe, the mid-latitudes and the Arctic, these clouds consist not only of water drops, but may contain a mixture of ice particles and water drops. The proportion of water drops to ice crystals affects the clouds’ reflective properties. “While we have hypotheses about how the radiative properties may be affected within a single cloud,” Anna Possner explains, “we are limited in our understanding of how the presence of ice crystals impacts the areal coverage and reflective properties on the scale of an entire cloud field.” She will use satellite retrievals and sophisticated numerical models to help answer this question.

Since completing her doctoral dissertation at the ETH Zurich, Anna Possner, who was born in Jena, has studied the impact of particles on the reflective properties of clouds. During this time she focused in particular on low-lying clouds over the oceans, where she quantified and evaluated the impact of ship emissions on clouds. During her postdoc years at the ETH Zurich and the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, she extended her analyses to include mixed-phase clouds.

The German-French program “Make Our Planet Great Again“ seeks to support the creation of solid facts as a basis for political decisions in the fields “climate change”, “earth system research” and “energy transformation”. Of the 13 scientists selected for Germany, seven are in the US, two were most recently working in Great Britain and one each is in Switzerland, Canada, South Korea and Australia. They were selected during a two-stage process out of approximately 300 applications.

Further Information: Prof. Joachim Curtius, Department for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Faculty for Geosciences / Geography, Riedberg Campus, Tel.: +49 (0) 798-42058, curtius@iau.uni-frankfurt.de.

99 responses to “Goethe University, US Climate Scientist Confirm: Clouds “Can Result In Significant Changes To Earth’s Surface Temperature””

  1. AndyG55

    “have a cooling effect on Earth’s surface.” …”changes can result in significant changes to Earth’s surface temperature”.

    And cloud cover has been decreasing, letting more energy into the oceans, to be released as El Nino steps or transients.

    Warming has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with atmospheric CO2.

  2. Gentle Tramp

    Hi Pierre

    Thanks for the interesting information. However you should change this mistake:

    The Goethe-Insitute for the advancement of the German Language

    (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goethe-Institut)

    is quite a different thing than

    The Goethe-University in Franfurt/Main

    (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goethe_University_Frankfurt)

    and the first of the two does not perform any kind of Natural Science.

    Regards, GT

  3. Gentle Tramp

    Bloody Typos…

    It should be “Goethe-Institute” – Of Course…

    Sorry 😉

  4. Kenneth Richard

    http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/cloud%20radiative%20forcing.pdf
    “The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling.”

    ftp://bbsoweb.bbso.njit.edu/pub/staff/pgoode/website/publications/Goode_Palle_2007_JASTP.pdf
    The decrease in the Earth’s reflectance [cloud cover] from 1984 to 2000 suggested by Fig. 4, translates into … an additional global shortwave forcing of 6.8 Wm2. To put that in perspective, the latest IPCC report (IPCC, 2001) argues for a 2.4 Wm2 increase in CO2 longwave forcing since 1850. The temporal variations in the albedo are closely associated with changes in the cloud cover.”

    http://file.scirp.org/Html/22-4700327_50837.htm
    The reduction in total cloud cover of 6.8% [between 1984 – 2009] means that 5.4 Wm−2 (6.8% of 79) is no longer being reflected but acts instead as an extra forcing into the atmosphere… To put this [5.4 Wm-2 of solar radiative forcing via cloud cover reduction between 1984-2009] into context, the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report…states that the total anthropogenic radiative forcing for 2011 relative to 1750 is 2.29 Wm−2 for all greenhouse gases and for carbon dioxide alone is 1.68 Wm−2. The increase in radiative forcing caused by the reduction in total cloud cover over 10 years is therefore more than double the IPCC’s estimated radiative forcing for all greenhouse gases and more than three times greater than the forcing by carbon dioxide alone [from 1750 to present]. … According to the energy balance described by Trenberth et al. (2009), the reduction in total cloud cover accounts for the increase in temperature since 1987, leaving little, if any, of the temperature change to be attributed to other forcings.”

    http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/usoskin_CR_2008.pdf
    Even a small change in the cloud cover modifies the transparency/absorption/reflectance of the atmosphere and affects the amount of absorbed solar radiation, even with no changes in the solar irradiance. Since the flux of CR [cosmic rays, which influences cloud cover changes] is modulated by the solar magnetic activity, this provides a link between solar variability and climate.”

    http://eae.sagepub.com/content/25/2/389.abstract
    We will show that changes of relative humidity or low cloud cover explain the major changes in the global mean temperature. We will present the evidence of this argument using the observed relative humidity between years 1970 and 2011 and the observed low cloud cover between years 1983 and 2008. One percent increase in relative humidity or in low cloud cover decreases the temperature by 0.15 °C and 0.11 °C, respectively. In the time periods mentioned before the contribution of the CO2 increase was less than 10% to the total temperature change.”

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/8505/2013/acp-13-8505-2013.html
    [T]here has been a global net decrease in 340 nm cloud plus aerosol reflectivity [1979-2011]. … Applying a 3.6% cloud reflectivity perturbation to the shortwave energy balance partitioning given by Trenberth et al. (2009) corresponds to an increase of 2.7 W m−2 of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface and an increase of 1.4% or 2.3 W m−2 absorbed by the surface.”

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/12/9581/2012/acp-12-9581-2012.html
    The Earth’s climate is driven by surface incident solar radiation (Rs). Direct measurements have shown that Rs has undergone significant decadal variations. … By merging direct measurements collected by Global Energy Budget Archive with those derived from SunDu [sunshine duration], we obtained a good coverage of Rs [surface incident solar radiation] over the Northern Hemisphere. From this data, the average increase of Rs [surface incident solar radiation] from 1982 to 2008 is estimated to be 0.87 W m−2 per decade [2.3 W/m-2 total]

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alejandro_Sanchez-Romero/publication/281448448_Trends_in_global_and_diffuse_solar_radiation_in_Spain_based_on_surface_observations_1981-2012/links/55e8155d08ae65b638996cf3.pdf
    “The linear trend in the mean annual series of global solar radiation shows a significant increase since the 1980s of around 10 Wm-2 over the whole 32-year study period.”

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00704-016-1829-3
    “The present paper describes how the entire series of global solar radiation (1987–2014) and diffuse radiation (1994–2014) were built, including the quality control process. Appropriate corrections to the diffuse component were made when a shadowband was employed to make measurements. Analysis of the series reveals that annual mean global irradiance presents a statistically significant increase of 2.5 W m−2 (1.4 %) decade−1 (1988–2014 period), mainly due to what occurs in summer (5.6 W m−2 decade−1). These results constitute the first assessment of solar radiation trends for the northeastern region of the Iberian Peninsula and are consistent with trends observed in the regional surroundings and also by satellite platforms, in agreement with the global brightening phenomenon. Diffuse radiation has decreased at −1.3 W m−2 (−2 %) decade−1 (1994–2014 period), which is a further indication of the reduced cloudiness and/or aerosol load causing the changes.”

    1. SebastianH

      Are you hoping something will change when you repeat those quotes?

      1. Kenneth Richard

        Nothing has changed. Nothing has been refuted. The quotes are illustrative of the supporting evidence in the scientific literature for the subject of this article. They weren’t cited for your benefit. I am entirely convinced that you know very little about the expansive supporting evidence for cloud radiative forcing.

        1. Penelope

          Kenneth, thank you for your posts on this thread. They add detail to my former understanding.

        2. SebastianH

          Nothing has changed

          Exactly.

          “The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling.”

          Still remains a nonsense claim since it compares the absolute forcing of clouds to the forcing of a change in CO2 concentration. It would have been interesting getting to know by how much the cloud cover needs to change to cause the same forcing change as a CO2 doubling … do you know how much they’d need to change?

          “The decrease in the Earth’s reflectance [cloud cover] from 1984 to 2000 suggested by Fig. 4, translates into … an additional global shortwave forcing of 6.8 Wm2. To put that in perspective, the latest IPCC report (IPCC, 2001) argues for a 2.4 Wm2 increase in CO2 longwave forcing since 1850. The temporal variations in the albedo are closely associated with changes in the cloud cover.”

          That is still a nonsense claim. Yes, it puts it “into perspective”, but it isn’t the whole story, isn’t it? (hint: missing the cloud greenhouse effect)

          And so on …

          1. Kenneth Richard

            http://notrickszone.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Ramanathan-Cloud-Radiative-Forcing-100-Fold-Greater-Than-CO2.jpg
            Ramanathan et al., 1989 (“Cloud Radiative Forcing”), Science, cited 1,621 times:

            “The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling. … The greenhouse effect of clouds may be larger than that resulting from a hundredfold increase in the C02 concentration of the atmosphere.

            SebastianH, cited by no one:

            “Still remains a nonsense claim”

            That is still a nonsense claim. Yes, it puts it “into perspective”, but it isn’t the whole story, isn’t it? (hint: missing the cloud greenhouse effect)

            The greenhouse effect of clouds may be larger than that resulting from a hundredfold increase in the C02 concentration of the atmosphere.

            Kauppinen et al, 2014
            http://eae.sagepub.com/content/25/2/389.abstract
            We will show that changes of relative humidity or low cloud cover explain the major changes in the global mean temperature. We will present the evidence of this argument using the observed relative humidity between years 1970 and 2011 and the observed low cloud cover between years 1983 and 2008. One percent increase in relative humidity or in low cloud cover decreases the temperature by 0.15 °C and 0.11 °C, respectively. In the time periods mentioned before the contribution of the CO2 increase was less than 10% to the total temperature change.”

    2. Bitter&twisted

      All god stuff, Kenneth.
      But wasted on the troll.
      DNFTT

      1. Bitter&twisted

        Not “god”, “good”.
        My bad.

      2. yonason (from my cell phone)
    3. tom0mason

      Another one for your store of good science Kenneth.

      Payomrat, P., Liu, Y., Pumijumnong, N., Li, Q. and Song, H. 2018. Tree-ring stable carbon isotope-based June-September maximum temperature reconstruction since AD 1788, north-west Thailand. Tellus Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology 70: 1443655, https://doi.org/10.1080/16000889.2018.1443655.

      “A graphical presentation of the proxy temperature record is presented.
      Perhaps the most significant observation to note from this paper is the decline in temperatures since the mid-1980s, with current values approaching the lowest recorded in the 226-year record. What is more, temperatures are not rising in response to the supposedly large CO2 forcing that has occurred in the atmosphere since World War II. Indeed, Payomrat et al. report that a majority of the ten warmest years of the record occurred prior to second half of the 20th century, including the six warmest years of 1950, 1949, 1948, 1947, 1945 and 1946.”
      Says ‘co2science·org’ short summary of the paper.

      Abstract available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323716733_Tree-ring_stable_carbon_isotope-based_June-September_maximum_temperature_reconstruction_since_AD_1788_north-west_Thailand

      1. Kenneth Richard

        It’s in there, about half way down…

        http://notrickszone.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Holocene-Cooling-Thailand-NW-Payomrat-2018.jpg

        “During the third segment (1870–2001), the maximum temperature pattern seemed to be constant compared to the changing rate (+0.004 °C/decade). … The short fourth segment, which occurred from 2002 to 2013, showed a deceasing trend at a rate of -0.12 °C/decade.”

        1. tom0mason

          Oh, missed that. But OK I’ll keep looking.

          1. Kenneth Richard

            Thanks. I have 5 more that I just haven’t added yet. But thanks for looking too.

  5. Puckster

    “Scientists confirm clouds and their changes have a huge impact on the earth’s surface temperature…”

    Well…duuuuuuuhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Goethe University, US Climate Scientist Confirm: Clouds “Can Result In Significant Changes To Earth’s Surface Temperature”. CO2 as the major climate driver looks shakier than ever. – Newsfeed – Hasslefree allsorts

    […] Ref.: http://notrickszone.com/2018/05/10/goethe-institute-renowned-us-climate-scientist-confirm-clouds-can… […]

  7. John F. Hultquist

    clouds “act as a semi-transparent parasol” and “reflect a significant portion of incoming sunlight”

    Who knew?

  8. AndyG55

    A pity we don’t have cloud cover data going back further.

    It would be very interesting to see if it was linked to the AMO or PDO in any way.

  9. Lasse

    I hope You all have seen Willis Eschenbachs studies:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/05/09/clouds-and-el-nino/

    He have put/detected clouds at different levels and thus regulating better.

    In Sweden we have seen the sun 8% more since 1980s!

  10. Henning Nielsen

    Even for someone named Possner, how can it possibly be news that changing cloud cover affects the climate? I thought that was old established knowledge. But maybe old knowledge is not taught anymore, only new ignorance.

    1. Penelope

      Possner may have been trying to demonstrate the falsity of the counterargument that clouds retain more surface heat than the solar heat that they reflect.

      Having an actual numerical grasp on the two is quite valuable.

  11. M E

    Further Information: Prof. Joachim Curtius, Department for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Faculty for Geosciences / Geography, Riedberg Campus, Tel.: +49 (0) 798-42058, curtius@iau.uni-frankfurt.de.

    May be Sebastian could satisfy his curiosity by contacting Professor Curtius. A polite enquiry might result in some links to the work they are doing.
    If these scientists are bothering to look into this, and spending time and money on it, they must have a reasonable hypothesis which can be investigated in depth. Let them do it and see the results then advance your own hypothesis based on those results. Next set up your own study , produce results and let others see them.

  12. Pochas

    If that woman would go blond, ditch the eyegasses and learn face makeup, she would be a knockout. And still smart. Very dangerous.

    1. Pochas

      Didn’t think this would escape moderation. 😇

    2. Penelope

      I expect she’s doing better things with her time, no?

  13. Penelope

    Unfortunately, the French-German program “Make Our Planet Great Again” is a determination to continue the hoax. Quote from their webpage:

    “The fight against climate change must change scale and become irreversible. On the initiative of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, France is swinging into action with a bold Climate Plan. Presented in July 2017, it contains a series of ambitious and innovative measures to embed the objectives of the Paris Agreement in public action and to involve all actors in this global fight. With this plan, France is speeding up its commitment to achieve energy and climate transition on its own territory, within the European Union and at the international level.”

  14. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    I am waiting for the public “debate” between the CAGW and non-believers. In conversational English and directed toward critical thinkers. I waste all sorts of time following blogs and other material that passes as “scientific” literature, trying to catch a nugget or two of truth.

    So far, I have not caught the fever. I do not embrace theories which cannot be corroborated by empirical scientific study, instead relying on sophisticated logic and computer analysis – ruling everything out, so the answer must be what they suspected to begin with.

    We don’t know what we don’t know.

    1. SebastianH

      Except those models are based on the laws of physics and observations. What skeptics propose never is. They do “statistical analysis” and come up with correlations that aren’t based on any known mechanism. Curve fitting is one of their strongest arguments that it’s all “natural” … that’s the kind of logic (and computer analysis) that you should oppose 😉

      1. AndyG55

        “Except those models are based on the laws of physics and observations. “

        They are also based on many unproven ASSumptions,

        They are NOT science.

        They are a FANTASY.

        Even the proposed mechanism of CO2 warming is anti-physics, and remains without any form of empirical proof.

        You have no idea of any kind of logic, except twisted.

        If you did, there is no way you could continue to support the idea of CO2 warming.

        Its TOTALLY IRRATIONAL to continue on with a baseless assumption for which there is ZERO empirical proof and to base your whole MINDLESS cult belief on it.

        1. yonason (from my cell phone)

          Contrast…

          REAL Laws Of Physics…
          https://objectivistindividualist.blogspot.com/p/false-catastrophic-man-made-global.html?m=1

          …vs…

          FAKE “Observations”
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Rc301T-hY

          I know that Andy knows the difference between real science and cow-pie in the sky greenie alarmism.

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