Climate models underestimate cooling effect of daily cloud cycle

Cloud formation is part of the hydrological cycle. The climate models that scientists use to project future conditions appear to underestimate the cooling effect that clouds have on a daily — and even hourly — basis, particularly over land.

A study from Princeton University titled ‘ Diurnal cloud cycle biases in climate models’ was published in late 2017. The study examines the reflection of radiation from clouds, with the effect of lowering the amount of radiation reaching the land surface, and as a result, reducing the temperature. The result shows that climate models have been underestimating the cooling effect of clouds, and as a result, over-estimating the potential warming effect of increased greenhouse gases.

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