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Global Warming And Newton
By Ernest Stewart

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." ~~~ Sir Isaac Newton ~ Newton's third law of motion.

Global Warming can be explained in a few very simple formulas. A lot of folks see the reaction of Global Warming; they can see the effects, but not the causes. For example, the way clouds cover the Earth is changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the late 1980s.

Here's where Newton comes in. Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher. When clouds go away, you have a desert! It's not just the no rain; it's also the constant heat!

"These changes are predicted by most climate models of global warming, even though those models disagree on a lot of other things related to clouds. I guess what was surprising is that a lot of times we think of climate change as something that's going to occur in the future, this is happening right now. It's happened during my lifetime - it was a bit startling," says Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

At any given moment, about 70 percent of our planet is covered by clouds. Clouds aren't as simple as their fluffy nature might suggest. To understand them, scientists have to track the behavior of tiny water droplets, as well as huge masses of clouds that might be hundreds of miles wide. So, you've got to be on your toes!

And climate modelers also have to take into account the fact that clouds can have two different effects on temperatures.

"During daytime, if there are a lot of clouds present, thick clouds, then that will keep the temperature cooler, because clouds reflect incoming sunlight back to space. But thick clouds can also act like a blanket that keeps the Earth's warmth in, which is the reason why a cloudy night won't be as cold at the surface as a clear night," says Norris.

"While weather satellites can give you tons of cloud pictures, these satellites aren't that great for trying to figure out long-term trends. The difficulties we have is that every few years a new satellite is put up with a different instrument, the orbits change, and this all changes how much cloud the satellite measures," Norris explained.

So, he and his colleagues recently did a bunch of corrections that would make it possible to compare cloud measurements over a couple of decades, starting in the 1980s.

In this week's issue of the journal Nature, the researchers explain how their findings match what scientists would expect to see, based on climate models.

Of course, clouds aren't the only reason for Global Warming, but they are a contributor -- just one single reaction to the action of the planet heating up. So, one may conclude Sir Isaac knew his stuff, huh?


05-29-1987 ~ 07-09-2016
Thanks for the laughs!

01-17-1934 ~ 07-09-2016
Thanks for the reports!


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(c) 2016 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 14 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.

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Issues & Alibis Vol 16 # 29 (c) 07/15/2016