The Role That Clouds Play in Uncertainty in the Climate Sensitivity

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:20 PM
Andrew E Dessler, Texas A&M Univ, College Station, TX, United States
Much of the uncertainty in evaluations of the climate sensitivity comes from the uncertainty in the cloud feedback. This comes from the unique property that clouds affect both the solar and infrared energy budgets of the planet, and these effects tend to offset. As a result, the net cloud effect is a small difference between large, offsetting terms. In addition, these estimates tend to be derived from short-term climate variations (e.g., ENSO). I will examine various estimates of the cloud feedback and investigate what they can tell us about the equilibrium climate sensitivity and its uncertainty.