Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

Natural aerosols, not ‘human pollution’. Another climate assumption gets blown out of the water.
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In addition to oxygen, nitrogen or carbon dioxide, the air we breathe contains small amounts of organic gases, such as benzene and toluene, says

These oxidize into small particles or aerosols that contribute to the condensation of water in the droplets that form clouds.

Now, a study by the Institut de Cièncias del Mar (ICM-CSIC), the Instituto de Química Física Rocasolano (IQFR-CSIC) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) stresses the importance of clouds, which filter solar radiation, for understanding past and future climate changes.

“If we don’t get the clouds right, we won’t get the climate right,” says Charel Wohl, ICM-CSIC researcher and lead author of the study. “We are just beginning to unveil the multiple ingredients that form cloud seeds,” he adds.


Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy

Introducing the term: Astronomical Harmonic Resonances (AHR). To see the figures cited below, go to the original article (here). A familiar topic to long-time Talkshop visitors, e.g. here.
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The mechanism and even the existence of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have remained under debate among climate researchers, and the same applies to general temperature oscillations of a 60- to 90-year period, writes Antero Oilia, Ph.D. @ Climate Change Dispatch.

The recently published study of Ollila and Timonen has found that these oscillations are real and they are related to 60- and 88-year periodicities originating from the planetary and solar activity oscillations.

These oscillations can be observed in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), the Pacific Multidecadal Oscillation (PMO), and actually in the global surface temperature (GST). The similarities between the GST, AMO, PMO, and AHR (Astronomical Harmonic Resonances) are obvious in Fig. 1.

The oscillations are not limited only to temperatures.


Jupiter [image credit: NASA]

Unexpected patterns and teleconnections. Some new light is shed on the workings of the solar system’s largest planetary atmosphere.
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Scientists have completed the longest-ever study tracking temperatures in Jupiter’s upper troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere where the giant planet’s weather occurs and where its signature colorful striped clouds form, says Subaru Telescope.

The work, conducted over four decades by stitching together data from NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescope observations, found unexpected patterns in how temperatures of Jupiter’s belts and zones change over time.

The study is a major step toward a better understanding of what drives weather at our solar system’s largest planet and eventually being able to forecast it.

Jupiter’s troposphere has a lot in common with Earth’s: It’s where clouds form and storms churn. To understand this weather activity, scientists need to study certain properties, including wind, pressure, humidity, and temperature.


Cumulus clouds from above [image credit: Jakec @ Wikipedia]

From airborne observations, these researchers find ‘trade-wind clouds are far less sensitive to global warming than has long been assumed’. Their study says: ‘Our observational analyses render models with large positive feedbacks implausible’. Consequently, they believe, extreme rise in Earth’s temperatures is less likely than previously thought.
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In a major field campaign in 2020, Dr. Raphaela Vogel who is now at Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) and an international team from the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique in Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg analyzed observational data they and others collected in fields of cumulus clouds near the Atlantic island of Barbados.

Their analysis revealed that these clouds’ contribution to climate warming has to be reassessed, says Eurekalert.

“Trade-wind clouds influence the climate system around the globe, but the data demonstrate behavior differently than previously assumed. Consequently, an extreme rise in Earth’s temperatures is less likely than previously thought,” says Vogel, an atmospheric scientist.


Cumulus clouds over the Atlantic Ocean [image credit: Tiago Fioreze @ Wikipedia]

The article says iodine’s ‘catalytic role in particle formation enhances its effects in the atmosphere wherever it goes, whether that role is eliminating protective ozone molecules or increasing cloud cover.’ But it’s not clear why this claim would be correct: ‘As sea ice melts in the Arctic, more iodine can enter the atmosphere, increase cloud cover and enhance warming effects on the region.’ Effects of cloud cover differ between high and low cloud, for example.
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An international team led by CU Boulder researchers has cracked the chemical code driving the formation of iodine particles in the atmosphere, revealing how the element contributes to increased cloud cover and depletes molecules in the Earth’s protective ozone layer, says

The research, conducted at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), was published today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

It’s the first time that any experiment in the world has demonstrated the mechanism for how the gas-phase form of iodine—known as iodic acid—forms, and suggests it has an significant role in atmospheric particle formation.


Tropical scene

The researchers say ‘climate models often differ on the precise degree of future warming, largely due to their representation of clouds.’ For decades we’ve been told to believe variations in carbon dioxide are the key to any future warming, but climate model forecasts have been unable to deliver the hoped-for precision. Predicting future cloud variations looks like a tall order.
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Quick Summary

— Study adds a missing piece to the climate science puzzle of simulating clouds.
— Lightness of water vapor influences the amount of low clouds.
— Some leading climate models don’t include this effect.
— Including vapor buoyancy into climate models helps improve climate forecasting.

Clouds are notoriously hard to pin down, especially in climate science, says UC Davis.

A study from the University of California, Davis, and published in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that air temperature and cloud cover are strongly influenced by the buoyancy effect of water vapor, an effect currently neglected in some leading global climate models.


These researchers seem to have forgotten about the dominant role of water vapour when referring to so-called greenhouse gases – which is odd considering the topic of their study. Are they still promoting an excuse for 1970s cooling?
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Small sulfate particles of diameters 0.4 µm or less from anthropogenic sources could have had a cooling effect on the climate in the 1970s, by triggering cloud formation and reflection radiation, says Hokkaido University (via

Global warming and climate change are one of the most pressing issues of this century.

It is well known that carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas [Talkshop comment – no it isn’t, that’s water vapour by far], but what is less known is that a few anthropogenic aerosols retard the effects of greenhouse gases.

One such chemical is sulfate, which is more infamous for its role in acid rain.


Anvil of a thundercloud over Columbia [image credit: Eulenjäger @ Wikipedia]

Researchers hope ‘to ease comparisons between climate and weather models with observations from weather instruments’, broadly speaking. In terms of modelling this is a known area of difficulty.
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The Earth Model Column Collaboratory is an open-source research platform that pairs complex data with weather observations to create highly accurate climate models and forecast predictions.

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes, says

While we might imagine puppies or whales or breaking waves, climatologists look at them as massive bundles of water in various forms that contribute to the daily weather, and ultimately, climate.

The numbers, shapes and sizes of the liquid drops and ice crystals contained in a cloud, for example, will determine how it will scatter light or emit and absorb heat.


Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica [image credit:]

Another hole in ‘settled’ climate science? Over-sensitivity to changing conditions may sound familiar. Researchers find “The major implication is that, even though the latest CMIP models improve the simulation of their mean states, such as radiation fluxes at the top of the atmosphere, the detailed cloud processes are still of large uncertainty.” Southern Ocean clouds seem to have been ‘improperly simulated’ when compared to data.
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Clouds can cool or warm the planet’s surface, a radiative effect that contributes significantly to the global energy budget and can be altered by human activities, claims Eurekalert.

The world’s southernmost ocean, aptly named the Southern Ocean and far from human pollution but subject to abundant marine gases and aerosols, is about 80% covered by clouds.

How does this body of water and relationship with clouds contribute to the world’s changing climate?


Netherlands beach [image credit:]

Dutch meteorologists expect ‘we will have more cloudy summer weather again’ sometime in the future. For now: more sun = more heat. Who knew?
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The Netherlands this summer has had the highest amount of solar radiation recorded since 1976, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI) reported.

The “sunny summer fits in with the trend of increasing solar radiation in the Netherlands since the 1990s,” the KMNI added.

The Dutch west coast currently receives 9% more sunshine than the country’s east though solar radiation has increased 3% in summer and 5% in spring, KMNI reported.


Sea ice optional? [image credit: BBC]

Sir David King’s plan from last year, now revived: Send in the clouds. The general idea: ‘creating white cloud cover that will come over the Arctic Sea during the three months of the polar summer. They hope this would reflect sunlight away so that the growth of ice over the Arctic sea during the previous winter is retained through the summer.’ Sir David: “And if we could just repeat that every year for the coming 20 or 30 years, then we might manage to create the ice cover that is needed to protect the Arctic Sea.” And then he woke up?
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The heatwaves will kick in even if countries stick to their current climate targets, but refreezing the Arctic could curb dangerous changes, former chief scientific advisor Sir David King says.
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The record-breaking heatwave that scorched swathes of Europe in recent months will become an “average” summer as soon as 2035, even if countries stick to their current climate targets, new research suggests.

The Met Office’s Hadley Centre has forecast an average summer in central Europe will be more than 4°C hotter by 2100 than it was before humans started burning fossil fuels at scale, reports Sky News.

Researchers said they are confident in their analysis because they found a “very satisfactory” alignment between recorded average temperatures since 1850 and the figures that were predicted by computer models.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG), which commissioned the research, called the data an “urgent reminder” of the need for countries to go “well beyond” their climate plans, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which together aim to limit global warming to ideally 1.5°C.

The analysis shows that “even if countries meet their commitments to reduce emissions they have made so far, the situation is still set to get worse, with weather in Europe predicted to become even more extreme than seen this summer,” said former government chief scientific advisor and CCAG chair Sir David King.

Almost two-thirds of Europe and much of England is currently enduring a drought that is hitting food and power production, driven in part by hot weather. The extreme heat in July broke records in England, Scotland and France.

“This data doesn’t fully account for the instability of the Arctic, which we now know is a global tipping point that could have major cascading consequences for the entire planet,” Sir David warned.

He said it was “abundantly clear” that countries need to not only meet their NDCs, but consider increasing them.
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The CCAG argues mitigative action must include three things: reducing emissions, removing existing emissions in vast quantities and repairing “broken parts of the climate system, starting with the Arctic”.

It reiterated its calls from last year to refreeze the Arctic, which is warming much faster than the rest of the world, exacerbating other extreme weather events around the globe.

“It is only through the mitigative measures of Reduce, Remove and Repair, pursued with equal vigour and urgency, that we can hope to move away from the path to disaster we’re currently set on and achieve a manageable future for humanity,” Sir David added.

Full report here.

Cosmic Rays are Decreasing

Posted: July 29, 2022 by oldbrew in Clouds, cosmic rays, Cycles

The article notes: ‘Climate scientists are engaged in a lively debate about whether or not cosmic rays affect cloud cover.’

July 26, 2022: Cosmic rays in the atmosphere are rapidly subsiding. In the past year alone, radiation levels in the air high above California have plummeted more than 15%, according to regular launches of cosmic ray balloons by and Earth to Sky Calculus. The latest measurement on July 23, 2022, registered a 6 year low:

This development, while sudden, is not unexpected. Cosmic rays from deep space are repelled by solar activity; when one goes up, the other goes down. Since 2021, Solar Cycle 25 has roared to life faster than forecasters expected. The onset of the new solar cycle has naturally led to a decrease in cosmic radiation reaching Earth.

To many readers this may sound counterintuitive. After all, don’t solar flares produce radiation? Yes, but most high-energy radiation doesn’t come from the sun; it comes from deep space.Every day galactic cosmic rays from distant supernova explosions…

View original post 180 more words

Once again it’s my pleasure to publish a new paper by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller at the Talkshop. In this study, we see the presentation of a climate conundrum, and recent surface solar radiation data which helps shed new light on the questions surrounding the ongoing adjustment of global temperature datasets. This new study applies theory developed in Ned and Karl’s previous paper to enable quantification of the global temperature drop during the “1970s ice-age scare”. This won’t be the last word on the topic, but it offers a solid grounding for further research.

A PDF version of this article can be downloaded here.

Implications of a New Gridded Dataset of Surface Solar Radiation
for the Evolution of Earth’s Global Surface Temperature Since 1960

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
July, 2022


A new data set of measured Surface Solar Radiation (SSR) covering six continents (Yuan et al. 2021) reveals that the Earth surface received annually 6.6 W m-2 less shortwave energy in 2019 than it did in the early 1960s, and that the average solar flux incident on land decreased by 8.2 W m-2 between 1962 and 1985. Since the Sun is the primary source of energy to the climate system, this pattern of SSR change over the past 60 years (oftentimes referred to as global dimming) suggests that the early 1960s were much warmer than the present. However, all modern records of global surface air temperature show a net warming of about 1.0 K between 1962 and 2019. We investigate this conundrum with the help of an independently derived model (previously verified against CERES observations) that accurately converts observed SSR anomalies into changes of global surface temperature. Results from the SSR-based temperature reconstruction are compared to observed global surface temperatures provided by UAH 6.0 and HadCRUT5 datasets. We find that the SSR-based global temperature estimates match quite well the UAH satellite record from 1982 to the present in terms of overall trend and interannual variability suggesting that the observed warming of the past 40 years was the result of a decreased cloud albedo and an increased SSR rather than rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The HadCRUT5 record also shows a satisfactory agreement with the SSR-based temperatures over the same time period. However, between 1962 and 1983, the SSR-based temperature reconstruction depicts a steep global cooling reaching a rate of -1.3 K/decade during the 1970s. This is drastically different from the mild warming claimed by HadCRUT5 over this time period. The cooling episode indicated by the SSR data is corroborated by more than 115 magazine and newspaper articles published throughout the 1970s as well as a classified CIA Report from 1974 all quoting eminent climatologists of the day, who warned the public that the observed worldwide drop of temperatures threatened the global food supply and economic security. Based on this, we conclude that researchers in charge of the HadCRUT dataset have likely removed the 1962 – 1983 cooling episode from the records before the publication of HadCRUT1 in 1994 in an effort to hide evidence contradicting the UN Resolution 43/53 from 1988, which proclaimed a global warming caused by greenhouse gases as a major societal concern, and urged Governments to treat it as a priority issue in climate research and environmental protection initiatives.

  1. Introduction

It is a matter of conventional wisdom now that the Earth was significantly cooler during 1960s compared to the 21st Century. Similarly, no one disputes that the planet’s surface temperature was 1.2oC lower in the beginning of the 20th Century compared to the present. This paradigm of climate change is based on surface temperature records maintained by several research teams that show remarkable consistency with one another. Figure 1 portrays global temperature anomalies based on 6 datasets supposedly constructed using different approaches summarized by Morice et al. (2021). All global records depict a nearly continuous warming since 1920 with a brief pause of the temperature rise between 1940 and 1980. No record shows a drop of global temperature between 1960 and 1980, which is at odds with a well-documented, decade-long discussion in the media about an ongoing rapid cooling during the 1970s currently known as the “1970s ice-age scare”.

Figure 1. Global surface temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2021 according to 6 official data sets. Note the remarkable consistency among various time series (borrowed from Fig. 8 of Morice et al. 2021).


Welcome to another round of evidence-free alarmist climate assertions and propaganda, such as these gems: ‘climate-fueled weather events’ and ‘greenhouse gas pollution’. The summary says ‘Projects will give better understanding of Earth’s atmosphere’. But wasn’t it all supposed to be settled a long time ago?
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for 22 projects aimed at improving climate change predictions, says Eurekalert.

As extreme weather events and impacts of climate change continue to escalate, the research projects will advance fundamental scientific understanding of atmospheric processes, ranging from cloud formation to Arctic weather.

Expanding the scientific understanding of extreme weather and climate patterns is key to tackling the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s climate goals like slashing greenhouse-gas emissions.


Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek, Australia
[image credit: Wikipedia]

Looking into the past and future of climatic conditions on computer models can give somewhat cloudy results, at least partly because “there’s considerable uncertainty about the simulation of clouds in global climate models”.
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Were Earth’s oceans completely covered by ice during the Cryogenian period, about 700 million years ago, or was there an ice-free belt of open water around the equator where sponges and other forms of life could survive?

Using global climate models, a team of researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Vienna has shown that a climate allowing a waterbelt is unlikely and thus cannot reliably explain the survival of life during the Cryogenian, says

The reason is the uncertain impact of clouds on the epoch’s climate.


Cloud guesswork is hindering climate models, therefore relying heavily on their outputs to decide policies must be risky. A professor commented that we may “need a Manhattan Project level of new federal funding and interagency coordination to actually solve this problem.” This can’t be brushed aside as a minor issue.
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We hear a lot about how climate change will change the land, sea, and ice says Eurekalert.

But how will it affect clouds?

“Low clouds could dry up and shrink like the ice sheets,” says Michael Pritchard, professor of Earth System science at UC Irvine. “Or they could thicken and become more reflective.”

These two scenarios would result in very different future climates. And that, Pritchard says, is part of the problem.


Ammonia in the upper troposphere originates from livestock and fertiliser emissions, say the researchers. CERN says “anthropogenic ammonia has a major influence on atmospheric aerosol particles”. Implications for climate models are suggested.
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Aerosol particles can form and grow in Earth’s upper troposphere in an unexpected way, reports the CLOUD collaboration in a paper published today in Nature.

The new mechanism may represent a major source of cloud and ice seed particles in areas of the upper troposphere where ammonia is efficiently transported vertically, such as over the Asian monsoon regions.

Aerosol particles are known to generally cool the climate by reflecting sunlight back into space and by making clouds more reflective. However, how new aerosol particles form in the atmosphere remains relatively poorly known.


I’m delighted Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller have chosen the Talkshop as the venue for the publication of this new open peer review paper on climate sensitivity. Scientific advance at the cutting edge has always been the most important aim of this blog, and I think this paper truly is an advance in our understanding of the climate system and the factors which support and modulate surface temperature on Earth and other rocky planets. 

The paper is mathematically rigorous, but is also accessible to everyone, thanks to Ned and Karl’s exemplary effort to fully explain their concepts and definitions in terms which can be understood by any interested reader who has some familiarity with the climate debate. Building on the bedrock of their 2014 and 2017 papers, this new work extends the applicability and validates the postulates of those previous papers by examining the causes of variability in planetary surface temperature and incorporating the previous findings in quantifying and deriving equations to model them. They find that Earth is sensitive to changes in cloud cover, which affects the amount of solar shortwave radiation reaching the surface, but not very sensitive to changes in Total Solar Irradiance arriving at the top of the atmosphere. They also find that the sensitivity to changes in CO2 levels has been heavily overestimated by current climate models. They show that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 560 ppm will cause an undetectable global warming of 0.004K.

A PDF of the paper can be downloaded here:  ECS_Universal_Equations.


Exact Formulas for Estimating the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity of Rocky Planets & Moons to Total Solar Irradiance, Absorbed Shortwave Radiation, Planetary Albedo and Surface Atmospheric Pressure.
Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. and Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
April, 2022

1. Introduction

The term “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity” (ECS) has become a synonym for the steady-state response of global surface temperature to a modeled long-wave radiative forcing caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration with respect to an assumed pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. According to climate models based on the Greenhouse theory, an increase of atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to 560 ppm would produce a net radiative forcing (i.e. an atmospheric radiant-heat trapping) of 3.74 W m-2 (Gregory et al. 2004) resulting in a global surface warming between 2.5 K and 4.0 K with a central estimate of 3.0 K according to IPCC AR6 (see p. 11 in Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers). This implies an average unit ECS of 3.0/3.74 = 0.8 K / (W m-2) with a range of 0.67 ≤ ECS ≤ 1.07 K / (W m-2). Contemporary climate science and IPCC Assessment Reports do not discuss global temperature sensitivities to changes in cloud albedo, absorbed solar radiation or total surface atmospheric pressure. Consequently, no equations have been derived/proposed thus far to calculate these sensitivities. Part of the reason is that variations of cloud albedo are typically viewed in modern climate science as internal feedback to a climatic change induced by external forcing such as increasing anthropogenic carbon emissions. This notion is based on the 19th-Century Greenhouse theory (Arrhenius 1896) adopted by IPCC, which attributes most of the observed warming during the 20th Century and especially over the past 40 years to rising atmospheric  CO2 concentrations believed to trap outgoing long-wave radiation in the Earth’s troposphere and reduce the rate of surface infrared cooling to Space.

However, a plethora of studies published during the past 15 years have shown through both satellite and surface observations that the absorption of solar radiation by the Earth-atmosphere system has increased significantly since 1982 due to a decreased cloud cover/albedo, a phenomenon often referred to as “global brightening” (e.g. Goode & Pallé 2007; Wild 2009; Herman et al. 2013; Stanhill et al. 2014; Hofer et al. 2017; Pfeifroth et al. 2018; Pokrovsky 2019Delgado-Bonal et al. 2020; Dübal & Vahrenholt 2021;  Yuan et al. 2021).


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.
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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.


Several types of cirrus clouds [image credit: Piccolo Namek @ Wikipedia]

Headline: ‘Airborne study reveals surprisingly large role of desert dust in forming cirrus clouds’. Researchers found ‘Even at low concentrations dust was found to play a big role in controlling cloud properties’. One said: “These results are a striking message to the aerosol and cloud science community, that we need to improve our treatment of dust and cloud formation in climate models to more accurately predict current and future climate.” Not much faith can be put in predictions of the future climate if predicting the present one is known to be inaccurate?
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Every year several billion metric tons of mineral dust are lofted into the atmosphere from the world’s arid regions, making dust one of the most abundant types of aerosol particles in the atmosphere, says

Now, scientists are learning that tiny bits of dust from the hottest and driest parts of the Earth are a surprisingly large driver in forming the delicate, wispy ice clouds known as cirrus in the cold, high-altitudes of the atmosphere.

While scientists have known that desert dust particles can seed certain clouds, the extent of that relationship has been a long-standing question.