Cloud Forcing (a.k.a. Cloud Radiative Forcing (CRF) or Cloud Radiative Effect (CRE)) refers to the complex effects which cloud cover has on the Earth's 'radiation budget' - in other words how much they affect warming by the Sun.
Clouds can reflect (heating) radiation from the Sun back into space, but can also increase atmospheric heating due to absorption of radiation coming from below, from the Earth's surface.
Current calculations and climate models tend to assume that, on average, clouds tend to cool the Earth's surface by about 13 W/m2.
But, because of the extreme complexity of climatic heating/cooling feedback loops, there is considerable disagreement amongst climatologists about their overall effects. This uncertainty has profound implications for creating accurate computer models of Climate Change.
Clouds remain one of the largest uncertainties in future projections of climate change by global climate models, owing to the physical complexity of cloud processes and the small scale of individual clouds relative to the size of the model computational grid.
Source : Wikipedia
Various Earth orbiting satellites (e.g. GERB - see link below) are part of current studies aimed at resolving the questions of clouds' effects on Climate Change.
These effects collectively referred to as Cloud Forcing or Cloud Radiative Forcing (CRF) and Feedback are not yet understood to the level where it can be predicted with certainty whether their possible feedbacks will in total be positive and accelerate, or negative and slow down global warming.
Source : Wikipedia
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)
You are currently viewing an auto-translated version of Wikenigma
Please be aware that no automatic translation engines are 100% accurate, and so the auto-translated content will very probably feature errors and omissions.
Nevertheless, Wikenigma hopes that the translated content will help to attract a wider global audience.