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Posted Fri Jul 24 2009: from BBC:
Clouds in climate 'vicious cycle'
Clouds over the North-East Pacific dissipate as the ocean warms, according to a study in the journal Science. Researchers have described this as a "vicious cycle" of warming, as reduced cloud cover allows more of the Sun's rays to heat the Earth. They say warming could gradually reduce the low-level cloud cover that is thought to help cool the globe. But the team stressed that it was not yet possible to quantify how much this might impact on global temperatures. They said that accurate simulations of these cloud effects would improve the models scientists use to predict future climate change patterns. The accuracy of these models has been hampered by the uncertain influence of clouds on the global climate system. The low-level clouds studied here are of particular interest, as they have been shown to have a net cooling effect on the Earth, by reflecting the Sun's rays.
[Read more stories about: albedo effect, ocean warming, feedback loop]

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