Potential Way That Lower UV and Clouds Make Cool

Several times now I’ve mentioned that the lower UV output of our quiet sun has lead to a shorter atmospheric height.

Here’s an article that says lower cloud heights might lead to cooler weather.

Looks to me like we’ve got a potential mechanism for lower UV to be turned into lower surface temperatures.


Cloud tops dropping closer to Earth – Could lead to global cooling
By Robert On February 24, 2012

Of course we’re being told that “global warming is bringing clouds closer to the ground,” and that “Falling clouds could counter global warming.”

Data from the NASA Terra satellite shows that the world’s clouds have lowered during the last decade, says a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Most of the reduction was due to fewer clouds at very high altitudes

The article has nice cloud pictures and a neat graph, tool.

The clouds “may be falling in response to rising global temperatures and having a cooling effect on global warming,” say researchers at the University of Auckland

“We don’t know exactly what causes the cloud heights to lower,” said lead researcher, Professor Roger Davies. “But it must be due to a change in the circulation patterns that give rise to cloud formation at high altitude.”

The time frame is short (only 10 years), but if future observations show that clouds are truly getting lower, it could have an important effect on global climate change.

Lower clouds in the atmosphere would allow Earth to cool more efficiently, “potentially offsetting some of the warming caused by greenhouse gases.”

My interpretation is much more direct. During our solar maximum, we had more UV that raised cloud levels and atmospheric height, leading to warm days. Now that the sun is taking a nap, UV has plunged, the atmosphere shortens, and we get lower clouds with colder days. Don’t see any need for a CO2 thesis at all.

There’s more at the article, including this set of links:


See also:

See also:

Thanks to David Newton, Ed Allison, Paul Hans, Dawn R. Horn and C. Peter Davis for these links

In related news, folks have found and defined a new type of cloud. Neat photos at this link:


So, wonder if the two are related…

Posted by Jay Michaels on 6/06/09 • Categorized as Extreme Weather,Meteorology,Photography

(METEOROLOGYNEWS.com) In the first new cloud type to be officially designated in over 50 years, members of the Cloud Appreciation Society are pushing for official recognition of the undulating, ominous-appearing

The Cloud Appreciation Society has designated the clouds as “Undulus Asperatus” or alternatively, “Undulatus Asperatus.” The Latin term translates loosely as “turbulent undulation.” Such clouds are relatively rare, but have been photographed in several areas around the world.

The ominous-looking clouds have been particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following convective thunderstorm activity. These clouds are not considered a precursor to severe weather, rather appear to form following rain or thunderstorm activity.

Jane Wiggins of Cedar Rapids, Iowa recently captured several spectacular images of the new cloud type as viewed from a downtown office building. Several of her images have recently been published by National Geographic Magazine – an honor which Wiggins does not take lightly.

The “Cloud Appreciation Society”? Now I really want to know how one gets a job with them ;-)
Hit the link, look at the way cool pictures.

I’ve completely lost track of how I came to be seeing any of the articles cited in recent postings ( I’m just madly catching up on things I’ve left as ‘open tabs’ too long); so if it was you, holler…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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6 Responses to Potential Way That Lower UV and Clouds Make Cool

  1. mitchel44 says:

    Have you seen this one? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682612000867?v=s5


    The strong sensitivity of the Earth’s radiation balance to variations in the lower stratospheric ozone – reported previously – is analyzed here by the use of non-linear statistical methods. Our non-linear model of the land air temperature (T) – driven by the measured Arosa total ozone (TOZ) – explains 75% of total variability of Earth’s T variations during the period 1926–2011. We have analyzed also the factors which could influence the TOZ variability and found that the strongest impact belongs to the multi-decadal variations of galactic cosmic rays. Constructing a statistical model of the ozone variability, we have been able to predict the tendency in the land air T evolution till the end of the current decade. Results show that Earth is facing a weak cooling of the surface T by 0.05–0.25 K (depending on the ozone model) until the end of the current solar cycle. A new mechanism for O3 influence on climate is proposed.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Hadn’t seen that one. Thanks!

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    Bah! Anyone that thinks warming results in Lower clouds needs to go back to school and this time pay attention! pg

  4. hillrj says:

    EM, you have probably seen this before. If you use the KNMI climate explorer and select GCN monthly observations for Irkutsk in Siberia, you get a beatiful plot showing a distinct 11 year cycle in temps from about 1880 to 1960 (then it gets ragged(UHI?) ). Since ultraviolet intensity may relate to the 11 year sunspot cycle this may support your point. Interesting is that if you try the same plot for other long term series in the middle of continents eg Alice Springs in Australia the 11 year cycle doesnt show up well at all.

  5. Pascvaks says:

    @ p.g. –
    They were probably thinking of the nice green and red clouds;-)

    @ hillrj –
    Shouldn’t there be a ‘zonal’ difference between Siberia and Alice Springs? (I’m thinking of Jupiter’s atmospheric zones and suggesting we have the same bands with a little less pollution at the moment;-)

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Pasevaks: you are quite right. All atmospheres have banding. Whether the Sun, Jupiter or the Earth. The Suns’ bright photosphere and simple chemistry yields basically one color, light yellow. The Earth has two colors blue and white caused by two water conditions and Jupiter many colors caused by many different chemicals separated out by temperature and pressure levels. The bands we see are more like belts of smaller sizes higher up over larger lower ones. I would suspect the Sun is banded much the same as Jupiter without the colorful chemistry. pg

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