Last week I was listening to NPR and they had an interesting story about the clouds covering our planet. According to the reporter, the average
height of clouds has been getting lower over the past few years.
That was the extent of the story, so I did a little digging. Here's what I've found:
The study, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, revealed an overall trend of decreasing cloud height. Global average cloud
height declined by around one percent over the decade, or by around 100 to 130 feet (30 to 40 meters). Most of the reduction was due to fewer clouds
occurring at very high altitudes.
Scientists have only recently (past decade) begun to study this phenomenon, so its premature to make long-term predictions.
If the clouds are indeed lowering, what effect can we expect?
A consistent reduction in cloud height would allow Earth to cool to space more efficiently, reducing the surface temperature of the planet and
potentially slowing the effects of global warming. This may represent a "negative feedback" mechanism -- a change caused by global warming that
works to counteract it. "We don't know exactly what causes the cloud heights to lower," says Davies. "But it must be due to a change in the
circulation patterns that give rise to cloud formation at high altitude."
So if we combine this information with the information about the solar hibernation, does it indicate a higher possiblilty for a cooling trend in the