Clouds Have Moderated Warming Triggered by Climate Change

A new study has revealed how clouds are modifying the warming created by human-caused climate change in some parts of the world. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)
A new study has revealed how clouds are modifying the warming created by human-caused climate change in some parts of the world. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Led by Swansea University’s Tree Ring Research Group, researchers from Sweden, Finland, and Norway analysed information contained in the rings of ancient pine trees from northern Scandinavia to reveal how clouds have reduced the impact of natural phases of warmth in the past and are doing so again now to moderate the warming caused by anthropogenic climate change.

Even though northern Scandinavia should be strongly affected by global warming, the area has experienced little summer warming over recent decades — in stark contrast to the hemispheric trend of warming temperatures, which is strongly linked to rising greenhouse gas emissions. According to the study, temperature changes have been accompanied by an increase in cloudiness over northern Scandinavia, which in turn has reduced the impact of warming.

Mary Gagen, Professor of Geography at Swansea University, said:

Trees are removed from cold lake beds in Scandinavia. (Image: Professor Mary Gagen, Swansea University)

Trees are removed from cold lake beds in Scandinavia. (Image: Professor Mary Gagen, Swansea University)

The research team analyzed tree ring records to find out what summer temperatures were like in the past, and how cloudy it was. Using their collected data, the team produced a new reconstruction of summer cloud cover for northern Scandinavia and compared it to existing temperature reconstructions to establish the relationship between temperature and cloud cover. Gagen said:

Author Professor Danny McCarroll explained:

The preserved rings of a pine tree, which started growing in 1369 and fell into a cold lake in 1716, allow scientists to measure what the temperature was like in the summers of each year’s growth. (Image: Professor Mary Gagen, Swansea University)

The preserved rings of a pine tree, which started growing in 1369 and fell into a cold lake in 1716, allow scientists to measure what the temperature was like in the summers of each year’s growth. (Image: Professor Mary Gagen, Swansea University)

Professor Mary Gagen added:

Provided by: Swansea University [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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