Ice shards in Antarctic clouds let more solar energy reach Earth’s surface

Posted: April 14, 2022 by oldbrew in climate, Clouds, modelling, research, Temperature
Tags: ,

Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica

It’s noted that ‘Getting clouds right…is important for calculating how much solar radiation reaches Earth.’ A difference of 10 watts per square metre could be involved in some zones, the researchers found.
– – –
Clouds come in myriad shapes, sizes and types, which control their effects on climate, says

New research led by the University of Washington shows that splintering of frozen liquid droplets to form ice shards inside Southern Ocean clouds dramatically affects the clouds’ ability to reflect sunlight back to space.

The paper, published March 4 in the open-access journal AGU Advances, shows that including this ice-splintering process improves the ability of high-resolution global models to simulate clouds over the Southern Ocean—and thus the models’ ability to simulate Earth’s climate.

“Southern Ocean low clouds shouldn’t be treated as liquid clouds,” said lead author Rachel Atlas, a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences. “Ice formation in Southern Ocean low clouds has a substantial effect on the cloud properties and needs to be accounted for in global models.”

Results show that it’s important to include the process whereby icy particles collide with supercooled droplets of water causing them to freeze and then shatter, forming many more shards of ice. Doing so makes the clouds dimmer, or decreases their reflectance, allowing more sunlight to reach the ocean’s surface.

The difference between including the details of ice formation inside the clouds versus not including them was 10 watts per square meter between 45 degrees south and 65 degrees south in the summer, which is enough energy to have a significant effect on temperature.

Full article here.

  1. JB says:

    “high-resolution global models”


  2. oldbrew says:

    The article shows this image and caption to illustrate the concept of the process…

    How ice behaves inside clouds affects the clouds’ 3-D shape and how much sunlight is reflected back to space. Arrows at the top show that the cloud on the left reflects less sunlight (smaller arrow) than the cloud on the right, so more solar energy reaches the ocean’s surface. On the left, a large rimer, or ice chunk (blue sunburst) attracts liquid water, which freezes and then shatters to create shards (blue rectangles). These shards grow as more water freezes to them, so shattering allows ice particles to grow in clouds at the expense of liquid drops. As these faster-growing, larger, ice shards fall (left side) less liquid water is left to spread out and disperse horizontally (right side).
    Credit: Atlas et al. / AGU Advances

  3. ivan says:

    Again no actual real time experiments just computer simulations. They have some very nice simulated pictures in this paper that may, or may not, be correct. The only good point of this is the fact that someone is considering clouds in their computer simulations. Eventually they might get a computer model that approaches the possibility of being validated, which is a ‘good thing’.

  4. erl happ says:

    At latitudes greater than 40° energy from incoming radiation is less than energy lost due to outgoing radiation. These latitudes are a bottomless sink for energy. So, a marginal change one way or the other makes no difference. In these latitudes, insolation and temperature is chronically limiting. From a farmers point of view the bulk of the planet experiences sub-optimal temperatures over a disappointingly short period of time from the plant growth viewpoint. Classify as non-sustainable. More warmth would help.

  5. If more energy stays in the clouds, or more energy enters the clouds, that would promote more IR out with the more formation of more ice and more snowfall. We know, from history and data that more snowfall falls when the oceans are warmer and more thawed. North America, right now, is experiencing record snowfalls. More energy in the clouds from sunlight would power more formation of ice and more snowfall. Current events do appear to support this new theory. One more nail in the coffin for “settled science”.

  6. oldbrew says:

    2 More New Studies Reaffirm The CO2-Drives-Climate-Change Paradigm Has A Magnitude Problem
    By Kenneth Richard on 14. April 2022

    As Sedlar and colleagues emphasize in a new study, clouds “directly modify the solar and infrared radiation reaching the surface,” and the “net result of these energy fluxes determines the warming and cooling processes at the surface.”

    Quantitatively, shortwave cloud forcing modulates Earth’s surface radiative flux in magnitudes that vary by ±300 W/m² and up to 600 W/m².
    . . .
    Meanwhile, it takes about 22 ppm of CO2 concentration changes to impact Earth’s surface energy budget by a grand total of 0.2 W/m² (Feldman et al., 2015). Extrapolated, it would take a 110 ppm CO2 concentration change to affect the surface energy imbalance by 1 W/m².
    – – –
    But climate modellers focus on CO2?

    ‘Extrapolated, it would take a 110 ppm CO2 concentration change to affect the surface energy imbalance by 1 W/m²’ – probably not, because the alleged effect levels off with increasing concentrations, so it would take even more CO2 than that — assuming current theory has merit.

  7. oldbrew says:

    APRIL 14, 2022
    Light amplification accelerates chemical reactions in aerosols

    Aerosols in the atmosphere react to incident sunlight. This light is amplified in the interior of the aerosol droplets and particles, accelerating reactions. ETH researchers have now been able to demonstrate and quantify this effect and recommend factoring it into future climate models.
    . . .
    Many organic and inorganic compounds are light-sensitive, and when exposed to light, they can break down into smaller molecules, which can be gaseous and therefore escape. “The aerosol particles lose mass in this way, changing their properties,” Signorell explains. Among other things, they scatter sunlight differently, which affects weather and climate phenomena. In addition, their characteristics as condensation nuclei in cloud formation change.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Antarctic sea ice hits lowest minimum on record
    11 March 2022

    Natural variability is probably the cause, although global warming could have a role.
    . . .
    The record low was partly due to strong winds pushing ice out of the Ross Sea, a bay off the coast of Antarctica, to areas farther north, where it is warmer. There, the ice broke up and melted, says Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at NSIDC, who is based at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I think much, if not all, of the event can be ascribed to natural variability,” says Meier.
    – – –
    So no big deal, despite what alarmists may think or say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s