Posted by: JohnnyRook | December 29, 2008

High Clouds Linked to Storms and Rainfall Increasing Because of Global Warming

Science News is reporting on another climate related study [original article here-subs required] from the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco:

In a presentation today to the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, JPL Senior Research Scientist Hartmut Aumann outlined the results of a study based on five years of data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua spacecraft. The AIRS data were used to observe certain types of tropical clouds [Deep Convective Clouds (DCC)–JR] linked with severe storms, torrential rain and hail. The instrument typically detects about 6,000 of these clouds each day. Aumann and his team found a strong correlation between the frequency of these clouds and seasonal variations in the average sea surface temperature of the tropical oceans.

For every degree Centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average ocean surface temperature, the team observed a 45-percent increase in the frequency of the very high clouds. At the present rate of global warming of 0.13 degrees Celsius (0.23 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, the team inferred the frequency of these storms can be expected to increase by six percent per decade. [emphasis–JR]

Aumann said the results of his study, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, are consistent with another NASA-funded study by Frank Wentz and colleagues in 2005. That study found an increase in the global rain rate of 1.5 percent per decade over 18 years, a value that is about five times higher than the value estimated by climate models that were used in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [emphasis–JR]

It has become clear that the latest IPCC report has underestimated the rate of climate change, which means that people who cite the report as justification for their policy decisions are probably proposing inadequate solutions to the problem of Climaticide. It is vitally important that government leaders get the latest information so that they can develop and implement policies that are actually strong enough to deal with the crisis.

Tropical Storm Ophelia, September 2005

Crossposted at Daily Kos



  1. Uh, you mean they found that higher SST’s result in increased cloud cover? Evaporation over tropical seas (and every other sea) SHOULD vary with SST change, right? Increased high clouds result in cooling, not warming. Feedback. Consequent result is COOLING due to reduced heat reaching the sea surface, lowering SST. The study does not support your conclusion that climate models are UNDERESTIMATING. Try again.

    • You have completely missed the point of the article. The authors do not argue that high clouds lead to warming, since they generally don’t. Their point is that there is a relationship between SST’s and the frequency of storm clouds in the atmosphere. Thus, global warming causes increased storminess and intense precipitation events, at a much higher rate it turns out, than the IPCC projected.

  2. Of course there is a relationship between SST and clouds, storm or not. Don’t need to be scientist to know that. Problem is there is no evidence of any increase in heavy storms, cyclones, extreme weather, or any other sort of intense weather during the historical record of warming since 1850. What you have is a an analysis of increased rain which is attendant with higher SST’s. So what? There is no EMPIRICAL evidence to support any increase in extreme weather, as study after study has found. Nothing wrong with a little more rain, since most of it falls in the ocean anyway.

  3. How denialists love to play with words. So “increased rain” doesn’t mean “increased storminess and intense precipitation”?

    And there’s no evidence for an increase in “heavy storms, cyclones, extreme weather, or any other sort of intense weather”?

    That is completely false. If you’re are going to post comments here you’re going to have to do better than trot out the old denialist/delayer lies and disinformation.


    Science: Extreme rains supercharged by warming

    Nature: Hurricanes ARE getting fiercer — and it’s going to get much worse

  4. No need to attack and disparage others, is there?

    The “Science” publication you refer to is a “SIMULATION”, that is, a model based analysis to argue against empirical evidence. This is modelling, not empirical data.

    You quote from Nature. Fine, here are some items for your reference.

    Global Warming and Tropical Cyclones Reference
    Vecchi, G.A. and Soden, B.J. 2007. Effect of remote sea surface temperature change on tropical cyclone potential intensity. Nature 450: 1066-1070.

    No Consensus on Hurricanes and Global Warming Reference
    Klotzbach, P.J. and Gray, W.M. 2006. Causes of the unusually destructive 2004 Atlantic basin hurricane season. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 87: 1325-1333.

    Hurricane Intensity vs. Temperature Reference
    Free, M., Bister, M. and Emanuel, K. 2004. Potential intensity of tropical cyclones: Comparison of results from radiosonde and reanalysis data. Journal of Climate 17: 1722-1727.

    And just because others have informed opinions, here is an editorial for you: Hurricanes and Global Warming: Is There a Connection?
    Volume 9, Number 21: 24 May 2006

    A great number of RESEARCH articles from peer reviewed journals can be found at the following index on this subject matter under the heading of hurricanes:

    BTW, there is no need to claim that the site is biased. Science is science, either the research supports you or it does not support you.

    Good day.

  5. Any reader wishing to know more about the Center for the Study of CO2 and Climate Change, to which Mr. Jacobs refers, can click here:

    From the Exxon Secrets web site:

    “The Center’s viewpoint is a needed antidote to the misleading and usually erroneous scientific claims emanating from the Federal scientific establishment and adopted by leading politicians, such as Vice President Al Gore.” The Center has since tried to distance itself from the Western Fuels Association, however, the Center is run by Keith and Craig Idso, along with their father, Sherwood. Both Idso brothers have been on the Western Fuels payroll at one time or another. Keith Idso, then a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, was a paid expert witness for Western Fuels Association at a 1995 Minnesota Public Utilities commission hearing in St. Paul, MN, along with MIT’s Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, and Robert Balling (The Heat is On).

    Unfortunately, the Exxon Secrets web site omits these interesting paragraphs from Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat is On

    In May 1995 Judge Allan Klein, who sits on the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, was charged with the responsibility of determining the environmental costs of the burning of coal by Minnesota power plants. In his administrative courtroom in St. Paul, Judge Klein heard testimony from four greenhouse skeptics who had been hired as expert witnesses not only on behalf of Western Fuels Association, but of several local utilities and the state of North Dakota the largest supplier of coal to neighboring Minnesota. [The Heat is On p. 39]

    [Keith] Idso’s testimony in St. Paul provided a moment of public embarrassment to his coal sponsors and a touch of comic relief for the audience. On the stand he was asked about an article he had written titled “The Greening of the Planet.” The article, which had appeared in a magazine called the <em New American detailed in a fairly clinical scientific style his experiments on the effects of enhanced carbon dioxide on sour orange trees. But it concluded with a startling bit of political rhetoric: “This good news [about enhanced carbon dioxide] is not what those intent on destroying our freedoms and imposing their will on the nations of the earth want us to hear, and they skillfully promote alternative voices to confuse the issue. The truth will not be suppressed.”

    Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Wirtschafter asked Idso on the witness stand, “Mr. Idso, do you know if the New American is published by an advocacy group or a research institute?

    “I know it’s not a scientific magazine,” Idso replied. “It’s something in the popular press.”

    “Is it published by an advocacy group of some sort?” Wirthschafter asked.

    “I don’t know if it’s advocacy.” I know it’s some political type organization.”

    “What organization is that?”

    “I can’t remember, Idso said. “Some kind of society, I think.”

    “Was it the John Birch Society? Wirtschafter asked.

    Idso conceded that it was.[emphasis–JR] [The Heat is On p. 43-44]

  6. Uh, so?

    I can mention that the IPCC is a UN funded organization, the most political, corrupt, anti-American, anti-Western, anti-capitalist and un-scientific organization in the world. I can point out that the IPCC executive summaries have been challenged by the very scientists who did the work as “misleading”. Of course the UN and IPCC have their OWN agendas, and to pretend they do not is simply ludicrous.

    I cannot verify your references, as the Exxon Secrets website (“ES”), which is probably more accurate than Gelbspan’s book, omits the quotes to which you refer. You can be sure that any fair minded person also knows that Gelbspan and the ES website have their own vendetta against Exxon and against the energy industry per se.

    Want to mix science and politics? Fine. Anyone who is SURE of AGW (although I doubt it myself, I think the SCIENCE is arguable) finds himself in the company of Al Gore, Mr. Hansen (who wants to shut off any debate) and the major media, all of which have clear political, environmental and economic agendas. Not great company.

    You have simply used character assassination – to attack the persons making the argument instead of attacking the argument. I give $ to organizations who espouse a position I agree with, as do you. That doesn’t mean I or you control them. The issue is the science, not our personal beliefs.

  7. Why Climate Denialists are Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology

  8. So anyone who disagrees with you is blind to Racts and Reason? There is NO room for argument? This is NOT science, but religion.

    You have declared me, and the thousands of intelligent persons and scientists who disagree or question you and your beliefs as being “Blind to Facts and Reason”.


    Good bye.

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