The clouds theory of climate change

When climate change researchers put all the data into their computers they make certain fundamental assumptions; are those assumptions correct, or have they got the cause and effect the wrong way round. One group of scientists think that some climate researchers have put the egg before the chicken, and they claim undoubtedly that the chicken comes first.

It is perfectly clear that green house gases warm the atmosphere. This is basic science and the climate researchers say that even though the increased amounts of carbon dioxide are only tiny (from 250 parts per million to 390 parts per million), the poison is in the dose. Having started from an assumption that the extra heat comes from the extra carbon dioxide, the climate researchers then (usually) make another assumption: the extra clouds come from the extra heat they try to estimate with their computer modelling which is very sophisticated, how clouds will respond to the extra heat.  

This involves an assumption that clouds are responding to extra heat, rather than assuming that clouds are creating temperature changes by their behaviour. If clouds are creating temperature influences by their behaviour (the egg first, rather than the chicken) then many assumptions about global warming are wrong, because they place too much emphasis on greenhouse gases and not enough on clouds.

To describe this as a cause and effect relationship is greatly over simplifying the matter. Dr Roy Spencer and Dr Braswell of the University of Alabama have been studying apparently random cloud variations on climate. They are moving towards the conclusion that by varying cloud formations the planet is compensating for the additional greenhouse gases and possibly for this reason the rate of global warming will be smaller than we estimate today.

It seems that clouds do influence climate change, possibly by making the climate warmer or cooler, and by the influence of clouds on weather events like the southern oscillation. The fact that you might be able to put a period of time in the past when the climate warmed into a strong causal relationship with cloud formations neither proves nor disproves the anthropogenic theory of climate change. It just gives us yet another complex factor to try and model.

Perhaps the modelling will be worthwhile in the sense that we will be able to predict future climates at given points of time at specific places. The task of accurate climate change modelling seems so vast; it would be just as well to put measures in place now, rather than waited for accurate models. In the final analysis will the behaviour of the inhabitants of a dying planet change if they learn with certainty that they have twenty or sixty or a hundred years left?

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