Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters
For decades, a small group of scientific dissenters has been trying to shoot holes in the prevailing science of climate change, offering one reason after another why the outlook simply must be wrong. Over time, nearly every one of their arguments has been knocked down by accumulating evidence, and polls say 97% of working climate scientists now see global warming as a serious risk.
Yet in recent years, the climate change skeptics have seized on one last argument that cannot be so readily dismissed: Clouds will save us. They acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm, but they assert that clouds — which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on the type and location — will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which civilization depends. Their theory exploits the greatest remaining mystery in climate science, the difficulty that researchers have had in predicting how clouds will change.