You’ve experienced clouds in the lower Earth atmosphere-or troposphere-affecting weather, from those 4 o’clock cumulonimbus clouds in Colorado that left you drenched during a thunderstorm, to the stratus clouds during a foggy visit to the Pacific Northwest. The complex physics of cloud development makes them difficult to predict. Due to this, and the many variables that can alter them, the relationship between clouds and climate is not entirely understood. Tropospheric clouds can play a dual role in climate: they absorb outgoing energy emitted by Earth’s surface to warm us up, and also reflect incoming energy from the Sun back to space and cool us down.
In this public lecture from May 4, 2011, Dr. Odele Coddington discusses how cloud measurements, obtained from land, sea, air, and space give us insight into their effects on climate, as well as fun cloud facts, such as why they are white, and why they float!
Watch the Public Lecture