The science is settled. There is nothing left to learn about how the climate works in our wonderful world. 97% of scientists agree and that number of learned folk simply cannot be wrong, can they?
So why do pesky, inquisitive, minds keep finding out new stuff? In the latest news:
Cold Air Rises
Yes perversely, and against all you ever thought you knew, cold humid air is lighter than warm dry air under the same temperature and pressure conditions. This is called the vapour buoyancy effect.
In a study published on May 6, 2020 in the journal Science Advances, the authors show the profound implications water vapour buoyancy has on Earth’s climate and energy balance and that this effect helps to stabilize tropical climates and buffer some of the impacts of a warming climate.
What this study discovered was that this effect allows cold, humid air to rise, forming clouds and thunderstorms in Earth’s tropics. Meanwhile, warm, dry air sinks in clear skies. The end result is that earth’s atmosphere emits more energy to space than it otherwise would without vapour buoyancy. Ain’t nature grand?
The study found that the lightness of water vapor increases Earth’s thermal emission by about 1-3 watts per square meter over the tropics. That value compares with the amount of energy captured by doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The authors’ calculations further suggest that the radiative effects of vapor buoyancy increase exponentially with climate warming.
A better understanding of the vapor buoyancy effect and its stabilizing role in the tropics can also improve cloud and thunderstorm simulations, as well as climate models, the study said.
“Now that we understand how the lightness of water regulates tropical climate, we plan to study whether global climate models accurately represent this effect,” said the study’s lead author, Seth Seidel, a graduate student researcher at UC Davis.
Oh, noes! First, we find that the uptake of CO2 into the oceans was out by a factor of 100% and now the tropics are offsetting all the nasty heating caused by a doubling of CO2.
But no matter, remember folks – the science is settled.
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