Cloud patterns and the climate
The researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand have revealed their measurements of global average cloud height in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In the ten-year period, the global cloud height has dropped by 1%, or around 30 to 40 metres everywhere in the world. These numbers may seem insignificant, but 10 years is a short period considering earth’s history. The decline in cloud altitude in such a short period means something quite important might be going on.
If this declination of height continues, it will allow the earth to cool faster, reduce the surface temperature of the planet, and slow the effects of global warming. The scientists call it a “negative feedback” mechanism—theorizing that is caused by global warming itself in order to counteract it.
Global warming affects the air circulation patterns, which led to this declination of cloud altitude.
This, however, is still theory. If the clouds rise back up in the next 10 years, it can be concluded that they are not slowing climate change and is not a negative feedback. However, it they do keep coming down, it will be very significant and may be earth’s own solution to decrease the speed of climate change. The featured image is the x y scatter graph of earth’s average cloud height over the 10-year period. The line of best fit tells us that there is a declination overall.
This is related to geography because climate is a big part of the subject. Climate is affected by many external factors, including proximity to water, location on the planet, and altitude. The clouds and their altitude also play a key factor in this, and may very well determine the future world we will live in. In the meantime, scientists of the University of Auckland will continue to monitor the global cloud altitude patterns over the course of next ten years, in order to determine the reason of the occurrence more clearly.