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Heat death of the universe with loss of cloud cover

Fortune Data Sheet:New computer simulations reported in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience show that the atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide could dissolve stratocumulus clouds. Scientists forecast that, with less cloud cover, the world’s surface temperature could rise as high as 8 to 10 degrees Celsius in addition to the warmth caused by the greenhouse effect. “To imagine 12 degrees of warming, think of crocodiles swimming in the Arctic and of the scorched, mostly lifeless equatorial regions” that befell Earth 56 million years ago, reports Quanta Magazine.

  • Clouds currently cover about two-thirds of the planet at any moment. But computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer. With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control.
  • For decades, rough calculations have suggested that cloud loss could significantly impact climate, but this concern remained speculative until the last few years, when observations and simulations of clouds improved to the point where researchers could amass convincing evidence…”
  • See also BBC – How artificially brightened clouds could stop climate change

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