New cloud formation discovery may lessen warming forecast

May 25, 2016 by Seth Borenstein
In this Oct. 29, 2013 photo, provided by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the CLOUD experiment simulation chamber at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, outside of Geneva, Switzerland. That's where scientists have found a new natural process for cloud formation, which may that future global warming may not be quite as hot as some of the worst predictions. (Maximilien Brice/European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) via AP)

A new discovery about how clouds form may scale back some of the more dire predictions about temperature increases caused by man-made global warming.

That's because it implies that a key assumption for making such predictions is a bit off.

"What this will do is slightly reduce and sharpen the projections for temperature during the 21st century," said researcher Jasper Kirkby.

Nonetheless, he added, "We are definitely warming the planet."

Kirby works at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN. He is the lead author of one of three studies on the topic released Wednesday by the journals Nature and Science.

Essentially, the work reveals a previously unknown natural process that in a complex way creates atmospheric particles around which form. The most common source of particles is air pollution, usually sulfuric acid from the burning of fossil fuels. There are also natural sources, but they have been considered far less important for cloud formation.

The new work shows that a combination of cosmic rays from space and gases emitted by trees also creates particles, and then clouds, without man-made pollution. The scientists witnessed this in a cloud simulation chamber and from a Swiss mountaintop observatory more than two miles high (3.5 kilometers).

"This process is only effective in pristine environments and there are very, very few pristine environments left on Earth," Kirkby said. Nowadays, the process is overwhelmed by pollution particles.

To a layman, the significance of this for predictions of global warming may appear a bit, um, cloudy. But here's how it works:

The computer models used to make those predictions require making assumptions about what conditions were like before industrialization, when the widespread burning of coal, oil and gas began pumping greenhouse gases into the air. Clouds are an important factor in this because they cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space.

Nobody knows just how cloudy skies were in the old days. Scientists have figured there were far fewer clouds than now, Kirby said. But the discovery of a new natural route to cloud formation suggests that cloud cover was in fact greater than scientists had assumed.

If so, the way these simulations work, it would mean that haven't been quite as potent in producing warming so far as scientists thought. So, ton for ton, they may not be quite as potent in producing future warming either.

Kirby said it's too soon to tell how much less warming the new study implies. Other recent studies found flaws in climate forecasts because of uncertainty about clouds that would increase, not decrease, possible warming in the future.

A better understanding of clouds is good, but much more work is needed before scientists dial down estimates for the future, said Yale scientist Trude Storelvmo and NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel, who didn't participate in the new work.

Explore further: Another study says warming may be worse than experts think

More information: "New particle formation in the free troposphere: A question of chemistry and timing," Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5456

Jasper Kirkby et al. Ion-induced nucleation of pure biogenic particles, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature17953

Jasmin Tröstl et al. The role of low-volatility organic compounds in initial particle growth in the atmosphere, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature18271

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34 comments

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cantdrive85
2.5 / 5 (11) May 25, 2016
Whaaatt? You mean the science isn't settled? Be damned you blasphemous heretics.
indio007
3.3 / 5 (7) May 25, 2016
They will surely burn for this.
HocusLocus
1.4 / 5 (9) May 25, 2016
Wonderful! This means Henrik Svensmark's research is no longer being systematically ignored because it provides a reasonable foundation for a connection between solar cycles and climate... which does not mesh well with the hysterically anthropogenic narrative. https://www.youtu...TPF1blpQ
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (9) May 25, 2016
More clouds = more reflection. good.
Hocus - not quite sure how you made that connection...
Eddy Courant
1.5 / 5 (8) May 26, 2016
This is only news to the scientists. Who are always the last to know. And always the first to draw dire conclusions.
NiteSkyGerl
May 26, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Code_Warrior
3 / 5 (4) May 26, 2016
There are also natural sources, but they have been considered far less important for cloud formation

Further down in the article:
Nobody knows just how cloudy skies were in the old days. Scientists have figured there were far fewer clouds than now.

How can that assumption be supported if nobody knows just how cloudy the skies were in the old days? Is the author getting it wrong or is this characterization accurate? If accurate, then what motivated the assumption? I could understand making models that assumed more cloudiness now as well as models that assume less cloudiness now in order to establish a range until better assumptions can be made, but to just assume it's more cloudy now can easily be characterized as an agenda driven assumption. This can be extremely damaging to the credibility of climate science because detractors can legitimately ask what other assumptions aren't valid. It's so damaging when science is politicized to support an agenda.
Code_Warrior
2.6 / 5 (5) May 26, 2016
The trolls will never get it. Falsifiability. It's what makes science. You're seeing it in action. Our statements our falsifiable. Now, FUCKING-SHIT-FOR-BRAINS-TROLLS, state the null hypothesis to yours. Any of them. AGW is a hoax? Falsifiability criterion? Still waiting. Electric Universe? Just like always, no null hypothesis, just a lot of assumptions that get supported by cherry picking data as you work backwards from a conclusion. Just like religion.

Fuck you, cantthink. This is precisely why we are better than you are.

This is science, yet you're getting emotional about it. Why? Isn't it a good thing that there may not be as much warming as the models predict? It seems to me that the goal is to keep the planet from a run-away greenhouse effect, but you're lashing out as if someone killed your pet. Then you claim to be better than another person. Why are you so invested in a particular outcome? That's politics, not science.
Da Schneib
4.1 / 5 (13) May 26, 2016
Clouds also retain heat; this effect is less than the amount they reflect from sunlight, but greater than the effect of global warming gases at night. Therefore, in cloudy conditions during the day, less heat makes it to the ground, and in cloudy conditions at night, less heat makes it out to space. This makes modeling the heat effect of clouds very complex.

Then there's the tradeoff between nighttime and daytime formation of clouds, and the effect of more heat in increasing the absolute humidity by evaporating more water, and of course the effect of particulates as in these papers in providing nucleation sites that promote more cloud formation.

What is certain is that even if there is more cloud cover than there was before, it's still getting warmer. All this is going to do is reduce the rate at which it's getting warmer, and it's not yet even clear it will do that.

The good news is, we're now getting a handle on modeling cloud cover so we can improve our models.
cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (5) May 26, 2016
cantdrive
Whaaatt? You mean the science isn't settled?

Nope - the science is not settled. That is news to you?

It is news, I've been told ad nauseum that the science of AGWism is settled. Just go ask Bill Nye, the pseudoscience guy.
So anyway - the next time you get sick -don't bother going to the doctor.

Trust me, I won't. Doctor's errors kill more people every year than car accidents, violent crime, and smallpox combined.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (7) May 26, 2016
The trolls will never get it. Falsifiability. It's what makes science. You're seeing it in action. Our statements our falsifiable. Now, FUCKING-SHIT-FOR-BRAINS-TROLLS, state the null hypothesis to yours. Any of them. AGW is a hoax? Falsifiability criterion? Still waiting. Electric Universe? Just like always, no null hypothesis, just a lot of assumptions that get supported by cherry picking data as you work backwards from a conclusion. Just like religion.

Fuck you, cantthink. This is precisely why we are better than you are.

Wow, NSG...:-)
I've said it before - and I'll say it again. You're Feisty! :-)
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) May 26, 2016
Clouds also retain heat; this effect is less than the amount they reflect from sunlight, but greater than the effect of global warming gases at night. Therefore, in cloudy conditions during the day, less heat makes it to the ground, and in cloudy conditions at night, less heat makes it out to space. This makes modeling the heat effect of clouds very complex.

And as temp readings indicate, we're gettin' warmer, so....
How long til we're all boiled like lobsters (but different)?
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (7) May 26, 2016
How can that assumption be supported if nobody knows just how cloudy the skies were in the old days?

Obviously didn't stop them from making dire predictions.
If accurate, then what motivated the assumption?

An agenda.
This can be extremely damaging to the credibility of climate science because detractors can legitimately ask what other assumptions aren't valid.

The assumption list is long, number one on the list is they know what they are talking about.
It's so damaging when science is politicized to support an agenda.

That's why AGWites are so happy, they think they have convinced the politicians but really the politicians are using the situation to their own advantage.
cantdrive85
2.1 / 5 (7) May 26, 2016
#1) Clean abundant water
#2) Sanitation
#3) Abundant food
#4) Stable society
#74) Antibiotics

Life expectancy chart;
https://en.wikipe...pectancy

I think the hole gets a bit deeper than medication. But yes, due to science, applied science. The theoretical sciences are a whole different beast, climate science is in no way an applied science.
AGreatWhopper
1.8 / 5 (10) May 27, 2016
The trolls will never get it. Falsifiability. It's what makes science. You're seeing it in action. Our statements our falsifiable. Now, FUCKING-SHIT-FOR-BRAINS-TROLLS, state the null hypothesis to yours. Any of them. AGW is a hoax? Falsifiability criterion? Still waiting. Electric Universe? Just like always, no null hypothesis, just a lot of assumptions that get supported by cherry picking data as you work backwards from a conclusion. Just like religion.

Fuck you, cantthink. This is precisely why we are better than you are.


Ironclad proof that PO consciously caters to trolls. CD posts worthless spew, shitlist posts spam, Otto slanders using actual peoples' full names...but NSG categorically demonstrates why the deniers have no place on a science site and the account is deleted. Am I missing something? I definitely can't find her page.

That holiday spent in the channel islands was worth it. I'm outta here with my list of IP addresses and paying clients. Cheers!
Uncle Ira
4.2 / 5 (10) May 27, 2016
Ironclad proof that PO consciously caters to trolls.
You should be glad the nice peoples at physorg lets you guy(s) in.

Otto slanders using actual peoples' full names...
I bet you are talking about the peoples who put up his real name, and links and begged peoples to "look him up" BEFORE he ever decided he would chuck some rocks at Otto-Skippy. That actual peoples?

Am I missing something?
Yeah, flooding the nice peoples at physorg with reports and whiny complaining and posting up hundreds of postums just like the ones you are reporting and whiny complaining about.

I'm outta here with my list of IP addresses and paying clients.
Never heard that one before on the physorg, maybe somebody should give you "1" vote for making the most original idle threat. There is no where else for your style of comments (or places where they let you make them using a dozen puppets) so it is a good bet you will be back, soon.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (6) May 27, 2016
but NSG categorically demonstrates why the deniers have no place on a science site and the account is deleted. Am I missing something? I definitely can't find her page.

Yep, you're missing the elephant standing on your toes. First, there were four or three up votes on every post, by the same voters. She likely had multiple accounts so as to up vote her ego. Not to mention the emotional adolescent tirade laced with vulgarities.

That holiday spent in the channel islands was worth it. I'm outta here with my list of IP addresses and paying clients.

Your absence was worth it for us too. Why don't you show us all your real character like night sky bit__ did and tell PO and the rest of us what you really think. Have some chutzpah and go out in an emotional adolescent vulgarity laced blaze of glory. Since your leaving anyway you may as well do us all a favor and get yourself banned permanently.
cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (5) May 27, 2016
I must say, you must have really stepped over the line. That is the first time Ol' Dirty Uncle Ira has even remotely (and I definitely emphasize remotely) defended my position.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (5) May 27, 2016
That holiday spent in the channel islands was worth it. I'm outta here with my list of IP addresses and paying clients. Cheers!

Bon Voyage. Can we help you pack?
Don't forget to take all your sock puppets.
Otto_Szucks
1.8 / 5 (5) May 29, 2016
Clouds also retain heat; this effect is less than the amount they reflect from sunlight, but greater than the effect of global warming gases at night. Therefore, in cloudy conditions during the day, less heat makes it to the ground, and in cloudy conditions at night, less heat makes it out to space. This makes modeling the heat effect of clouds very complex.

And as temp readings indicate, we're gettin' warmer, so....
How long til we're all boiled like lobsters (but different)?
- WhydG
Please pass the butter.
Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (4) May 29, 2016
#1) Clean abundant water
#2) Sanitation
#3) Abundant food
#4) Stable society
#74) Antibiotics

Life expectancy chart;
https://en.wikipe...pectancy

I think the hole gets a bit deeper than medication. But yes, due to science, applied science. The theoretical sciences are a whole different beast, climate science is in no way an applied science.
- CD85
Just to add a little to CD's effective and eloquent observations, I thoroughly agree that it is "Applied Science" and those particular scientists who should be commended for their truly hard work, research and their desire to bring to fruition that which makes the best possible life and living conditions on Earth for those who have placed their trust, faith and hope in these men and women, who work tirelessly to enable the cornucopia of Nature's bounty to open for one and all. It is these scientists who make possible life, health and the pursuit of happiness.
HeloMenelo
4.2 / 5 (5) May 29, 2016
That holiday spent in the channel islands was worth it. I'm outta here with my list of IP addresses and paying clients. Cheers!

Bon Voyage. Can we help you pack?
Don't forget to take all your sock puppets.


aaa its my favorite monkey... let's play shall we.... :D

meanwhile the global warming in your skull continues... now now monkey, let those 2 corn seeds inside cool down a bit there's plenty more brainless thoughts you still need to post... ;)
HeloMenelo
4.3 / 5 (6) May 29, 2016
I must say, you must have really stepped over the line. That is the first time Ol' Dirty Uncle Ira has even remotely (and I definitely emphasize remotely) defended my position.


but you still cannot drive... no worries monkey, i see you have plenty of sockpuppets holding your hand while you try and make sense of that complicated word in your head called science... ;)
Phil100a
3.9 / 5 (7) May 29, 2016
What I find amusing about those who use this information to "prove" their climate denier positions is how blatantly unaware they are of their own ignorance re: the scientific method. It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Here's a clue for all the science deniers - scientific method method, by default, *assumes* that all discovery is *refutable*. This means that science delves mostly in probability, and not "final facts".

The misunderstanding of this basic tenet of science permits cherry picking deniers of all stripes to pick whatever new information they find among the millions of scientific studies to support their positions, but they stop there- they don't say "let's wait and see". They act in a way that turns partial information into confirmation bias, to strengthen belief. Ignorance is bliss!
Captain Stumpy
4.1 / 5 (9) May 29, 2016
...due to science, applied science. The theoretical sciences are a whole different beast
@cd
1- applied science comes from theoretical science

2- it's the application of theoretical science in experimentation that defines what applied science is, because it either validates the theory or refutes it

3- the word theory, used in science, isn't the same thing as the word theory used in eu or colloquial terminology
Uncle Ira
4.5 / 5 (8) May 29, 2016
I must say, you must have really stepped over the line. That is the first time Ol' Dirty Uncle Ira has even remotely (and I definitely emphasize remotely) defended my position.
Well I must say right back at you, you are still waiting for the first time, why you don't try holding your breath while you are waiting. No NAZI has ever held a position I defended. Choot, I even fault their own mothers for loving them.

Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (3) May 29, 2016
What I find amusing about those who use this information to "prove" their climate denier positions is how blatantly unaware they are of their own ignorance re: the scientific method. It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Here's a clue for all the science deniers - scientific method method, by default, *assumes* that all discovery is *refutable*. This means that science delves mostly in probability, and not "final facts".
- Phil100a

In every past thread dealing with AGW, the "scientific method" was strangled by many AGWites in favor of "final facts", as though AGW were a "done deal" that offered none other than "incontrovertible evidence", rather than "probable or possible cause" of a warming trend. The histrionics on the part of AGWites who seemed oblivious to alternative possibilities such as volcanic eruptions, etc. often bordering on the insane, in their haste to apply guilt ONLY to the human condition. There was no assumption that the climate models could be wrong
Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (2) May 29, 2016
(cont'd)
The misunderstanding of this basic tenet of science permits cherry picking deniers of all stripes to pick whatever new information they find among the millions of scientific studies to support their positions, but they stop there- they don't say "let's wait and see". They act in a way that turns partial information into confirmation bias, to strengthen belief. Ignorance is bliss!
- Phil100a

Perhaps you never read ALL of the responses from AGW "deniers", but it was they who preferred the "wait and see" attitude, which AGWites eschewed, mainly because the evidence offered by climate "scientists" and their AGWite supporters were consistently slanted toward an irrefutable culpability by humans over all other possible causes of a climate warming trend. There was never any chance given to allow scientists to continue their research in these Physorg threads. Instead, the AGWites behaved like howling wolves and their prey was AGW deniers. Shameful behavior.
Otto_Szucks
1 / 5 (2) May 29, 2016
I see that there is an error being committed in defining "Applied Science", giving that particularly impeccable science and its practitioners a false air of inconclusiveness which is best geared to the type of science that is theoretical in its nature and not substantial, factual, and most of all -- purposeful.
Applied Science has set goals that are immediate and purposeful where an idea is either accepted or rejected but never mulled over endlessly while trying to fit theory with reality as in theoretical science.
Applied Science takes an idea, creates the design while removing all possible glitches and then builds the product. Other aspects are factored in such as production costs, etc. It encompasses many various fields such as pharma, electrical appliances, vehicles, military hardware, etc. A client/customer requests a specific product, and Applied Science makes it so. Theory has nothing to do with it. Unless it is a tesseract house.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) May 30, 2016
1- applied science comes from theoretical science


Not necessarily. Often it's the other way around as a discovery is made and applied, and then becomes theoretical science as the phenomenon is more understood.

The difference is more appropriately drawn between empirical and theoretical science. Empirical science describes what is observable and draws inferences to what should follow, while theoretical science tries to come up with a narrative as to why that is and what else it means.

If one kicks a football and finds out by experiment how far it will go, that's empirical science. If one then uses the information to drop a pigeon off a phone line, that's applied science. If one then creates a theory of ballistics based on the football and predicts the flight of other spherical objects based on common assumptions about the flight of objects, that's theoretical science.

Captain Stumpy
3.4 / 5 (5) May 30, 2016
Not necessarily. Often it's the other way around as a discovery is made and applied,...
@Eikka
i can't discount that this happened in the past quite a bit
... but i was speaking very specifically about the definition of applied science
Applied science is a discipline of science that applies existing scientific knowledge to develop more practical applications, like technology or inventions.
https://en.wikipe..._science

https://www.vocab...+science

sorry for the confusion
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 30, 2016
i can't discount that this happened in the past quite a bit

And it's still happening quite a bit especially in material sciences and chemistry.

Theoretical sciences rarely turn up with things that are practical in the everyday sense. They tend to produce things like new particles or new theoretical models for predicting quantum phenomena, whereas in day-to-day applied sciences you see more people just throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks - and then coming up with theories as to why - because the theoretical sciences aren't quite there yet to predict what's really going to happen with a new rocket engine or a new battery chemistry. You just have to try it and find out.

Science is not solely the result of theory, and theory doesn't always result in science.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 30, 2016
For example, it's often said that the GPS network of satellites is a direct result of Albert Einstein's theoretical work on relativity, but that isn't exactly true. The way GPS works would work even if Einstein's relativity didn't because it's based on simple time differences between propagating radio waves.

So, the GPS system actually has or had a switch to turn Einstein's corrections on and off in case he was wrong.

Even if Einstein hadn't come up with the theory, they soon would have found out because the GPS spot would drift 12 miles a day and nobody could tell why - except if there was something fishy going on with gravity wells and the speed of time.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) May 31, 2016
And it's still happening quite
and again... aint disputing it

just pointing out the definition

not trying to argue against what you said, Eikka...
believe me, i do understand
... but i am also willing to accept the scientific method and adapt my perspective based upon new evidence

the idiot above(not you Eikka)? not so much

i wonder if said idiot knows about this:
http://journals.p....0017006

LMFAO

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