July 24th issue of Science: Study shows clouds may exacerbate global warming with positive feedback, but there's a caveat in the Science summary

This study is being listed as proof by some of the usual alarmist types that the issue of cloud feedback is settled. Before accepting that, read this from the summary in the June 24th issue of Science by Richard A. Kerr:

The first reliable analysis of cloud behavior over past decades suggests—but falls short of proving—that clouds are strongly amplifying global warming. If that’s true, then almost all climate models have got it wrong. On page 460, climate researchers consider the two best, long-term records of cloud behavior over a rectangle of ocean that nearly spans the subtropics between Hawaii and Mexico. In a warming episode that started around 1976, ship-based data showed that cloud cover—especially low-altitude cloud layers—decreased in the study area as ocean temperatures rose and atmospheric pressure fell. One interpretation, the researchers say, is that the warming ocean was transferring heat to the overlying atmosphere, thinning out the low-lying clouds to let in more sunlight that further warmed the ocean. That’s a positive or amplifying feedback. During a cooling event in the late 1990s, both data sets recorded just the opposite changes—exactly what would happen if the same amplifying process were operating in reverse.

Here’s the press release. I’ve looked at a few news writeups on it, and the caution listed in Science about it not being proven  seems to be off the reporting radar. We’ll need further studies on a global scale, and not just one patch of ocean, before the question can be fully answered.  – Anthony

http://www.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/consultingwi.jpg

This image shows unique cloud patterns over the Pacific Ocean of the coast of Baja California, an area of great interest to Amy Clement and Robert Burgman of the University of Miami and Joel Norris of Scripps Oceanography, as they study the role of low-level clouds in climate change. Credit: NASA

From Physorg.com

The role of clouds in climate change has been a major question for decades. As the earth warms under increasing greenhouse gases, it is not known whether clouds will dissipate, letting in more of the sun’s heat energy and making the earth warm even faster, or whether cloud cover will increase, blocking the Sun’s rays and actually slowing down global warming.

In a study published in the July 24 issue of Science, researchers Amy Clement and Robert Burgman from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Joel Norris from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego begin to unravel this mystery. Using observational data collected over the last 50 years and complex climate models, the team has established that low-level stratiform appear to dissipate as the ocean warms, indicating that changes in these clouds may enhance the warming of the planet.

Because of inconsistencies in historical observations, trends in cloudiness have been difficult to identify. The team broke through this cloud conundrum by removing errors from cloud records and using multiple data sources for the northeast , one of the most well-studied areas of low-level stratiform clouds in the world. The result of their analysis was a surprising degree of agreement between two multi-decade datasets that were not only independent of each other, but that employed fundamentally different measurement methods. One set consisted of collected visual observations from ships over the last 50 years, and the other was based on data collected from weather satellites.

“The agreement we found between the surface-based observations and the was almost shocking,” said Clement, a professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami, and winner of the American Geophysical Union’s 2007 Macelwane Award for her groundbreaking work on . “These are subtle changes that take place over decades. It is extremely encouraging that a satellite passing miles above the earth would document the same thing as sailors looking up at a cloudy sky from the deck of a ship.”

What was not so encouraging, however, was the fact that most of the state-of-the-art climate models from modeling centers around the world do not reproduce this cloud behavior. Only one, the Hadley Centre model from the U.K. Met Office, was able to reproduce the observations. “We have a long way to go in getting the models right, but the Hadley Centre model results can help point us in the right direction,” said co-author Burgman, a research scientist at the University of Miami.

Together, the observations and the Hadley Centre model results provide evidence that low-level stratiform clouds, which currently shield the earth from the sun’s radiation, may dissipate in warming climates, allowing the oceans to further heat up, which would then cause more cloud dissipation.

“This is somewhat of a vicious cycle potentially exacerbating global warming,” said Clement. “But these findings provide a new way of looking at clouds changes. This can help to improve the simulation of clouds in , which will lead to more accurate projections of future climate changes. ”

One key finding in the study is that it is not the warming of the ocean alone that reduces cloudiness — a weakening of the trade winds also appears to play a critical role. All models predict a warming ocean, but if they don’t have the correct relationship between clouds and atmospheric circulation, they won’t produce a realistic cloud response.

“I am optimistic that there will be major progress in understanding global cloud changes during the next several years,” said Norris. “The representation of clouds in models is improving, and observational records are being reprocessed to remove spurious variability associated with satellite changes and other problems.”

Source: University of Miami (news : web)

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Jack Hughes

They saved the best bit ’til last:
“…observational records are being reprocessed…”

Dave Wendt

In a warming episode that started around 1976, ship-based data showed that cloud cover—especially low-altitude cloud layers—decreased in the study area as ocean temperatures rose and atmospheric pressure fell.
What satellite data from 1976 were they coordinating the ship board data to? One wonders how tightly the time constraints on the data were controlled since a small variance in lags could just as easily indicate the cloud conditions were moving the SSTs. I think I’ll save the $15 for beer and wait for someone else to do the grunt work of reading this beauty.

So we don’t understand how the clouds work and we don’t understand how the sun works, yet there’s supposed to be a scientific consensus on the long term trajectory of Earth’s temperature? It’s laughable. When we don’t understand two of the primary variables in the climate equation there is no way we can have confidence, much less consensus.

Jack Hughes

Serious question about climate models – maybe subject for a new thread ?
What does the output of a model look like ?
What level of granularity do they try to predict ? Is it just one global average temperature per year ? One per month ? One per month per continent ? One per month per 100 mile square ?
And what about rainfall ? Winds ? Frosts ? Hours of sunshine ?
It’s got to be fine-grained enough to be verifiable and useful. In fact it’s starting to look a bit like a global weather forecast.
If it’s not verifiable in a short space of time it’s worthless. 5 years maximum. All this stuff about the year 2099 is useless this year – we want to know a bit sooner if today’s model is any good.

savethesharks

Would be interested to hear Svensmark’s assessment of this…
Also…why is it such a big deal and out of the realm of natural variability that in warm cycles in such situations, there are less clouds?
If there is a cap of warmer dryer air aloft, then of course the positive feedback would take place.
It happens (it has happened this summer in Texas).
The quote: “Together, the observations and the Hadley Centre model results provide evidence that low-level stratiform clouds, which currently shield the earth from the sun’s radiation, may dissipate in warming climates, allowing the oceans to further heat up, which would then cause more cloud dissipation”.
Hmm…I thought higher ocean temperatures meant more volatility and heat energy for hurricanes…
We’re not talking the Persian Gulf here….
Mother Earth will always find a way to balance herself out….
CHRIS
Norfolk, VA, USA

Freddy

“Using observational data collected over the last 50 years and complex climate models …”
“…by removing errors from cloud records…”
Betcha this is going to be another data-torturing exercise with no statistical significance.

John F. Hultquist

Before too many people get carried away it might be wise to remember that evidence of warming is not evidence of AGW. When the models have been improved to the point that they “have the correct relationship between clouds and atmospheric circulation,” and, I’ll add, ocean circulations and solar changes, —
Wake me when that happens. —
the role of humans will likely have been relegated to insignificance.

David

“One key finding in the study is that it is not the warming of the ocean alone that reduces cloudiness — a weakening of the trade winds also appears to play a critical role. All models predict a warming ocean, but if they don’t have the correct relationship between clouds and atmospheric circulation, they won’t produce a realistic cloud response.”
Could the weakening of the trade winds be the cause of reduced cloudiness, and hence the warmer oceans?

Gene Nemetz

Have they heard of Roy Spencer ?

Gene Nemetz

I’ll just let them believe what they want. I wouldn’t want to bother them down with due diligence or anything.

J.Hansford

I’m no scientist, but it seems the AGW activists are trying to muddy the waters in an attempt to counter Bob Carter, De freitas, McLean, and their paper showing that the extra El Nino’s are responsible for the warming of the atmosphere from 1977 till 1998….
This recent paper would seem to show the cloud behaviour that causes that warming of the ocean which 7 months later, causes warming of the atmosphere….. Which is very interesting….
However, it does cool also… So there is no “run away” effect…. So this supposed “Positive feedback” is stable…
Secondly, how does CO2 enter into the equation of clouds again?… when the process described, is evaporation by radiative processes due to albedo changes?
Slowly but surely real science is being done. The AGW mob are being dragged kicking and screaming back into the Natural variation causes Climate Change, fold.
REPLY: I think it is only coincidence that these papers were published so close to one another. I don’t see this a “counter” to Bob Carter, De freitas, and McLean. – Anthony

Gene Nemetz

The first reliable analysis of cloud behavior over past decades…
Reliable according to who ?

Jimmy Haigh

Were I a peer who was being asked to review this study I would probably have commented something along the lines of: “It’s just an ‘awfy wee bit’ of the planet that you are looking at here so it’s probably best not to jump to any conclusions about global climate change”

Jimmy Haigh

And, meanwhile, back on the sun, still no sunspots…

J.Hansford

Plus, didn’t Prof Richard Lindzen describe this with his “Iris effect”?… But show it as a Negative feedback….?
So is that the other side of the coin in this scenario?
…. just musing.

Dave Wendt…its true there were no weather satellites in 1976, but it was the year of the great PDO climate shift.
Very convenient of Clement et al to ignore three years without satellite data, so let’s hope they adjusted the model.
REPLY: There were indeed weather satellites in 1976, but they did not carry the kinds of imagers used for UAH data we know today. – Anthony

Does the paper itself give any details about the timing of the events? That is to say, does it seem more likely that the warming ocean occurred before the dissipating cloud cover, or the other way around? Fewer low-level clouds would mean more warming at the surface, so did the clouds go away for a while and let the ocean warm, or not?

rbateman

“This is somewhat of a vicious cycle potentially exacerbating global warming,” said Clement. “But these findings provide a new way of looking at clouds changes. This can help to improve the simulation of clouds in climate models, which will lead to more accurate projections of future climate changes. “
So, the very clouds that water the Earth and deposit the snows are now going to parboil the Earth and destroy all life as we know it.
That’s certainly a new way of looking at things through jaded sunglasses.
What is it that they are trying to do, hypnotize the world?

rbateman

Micajah (22:24:25) :
It’s circular reasoning, and nothing more than that.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and when the clouds part the sun heats the tropical water and makes more. If they didn’t move away via circulation, the Earth would be more like permanent overcast.

All I know is, when it gets cloudy here it generally gets cooler. Why just today, while sitting at the Farmers Market, I’d be baking in the sun. But as soon as some clouds blocked the sun, it was comfortably cool. So explain again how clouds exacerbate “global warming” (which isn’t global)?

“The role of clouds in climate change has been a major question for decades. As the earth warms under increasing greenhouse gases, it is not known whether clouds will dissipate, letting in more of the sun’s heat energy and making the earth warm even faster, or whether cloud cover will increase, blocking the Sun’s rays and actually slowing down global warming.”
This is still making the assumption that the factor A in AGW is near 1. Therefore the conclusion: “no matter what the clouds do in real life or in our models, weyou are still doomed if don’t stop ouryour way of life as it.”

Gary Plyler

This could just be another case of which came first, the warming sea surface or the reduced amount of low level clouds. The same problem occured in the initial ice core readings where CO2 was assumed to be the cause of warming, but that was later determined wrong (by 600 to 1200 years)
So, the Svensmark hypothesis would put the chain of events as:
1. more solar activity, causing
2. less galactic cosmic particles, causing
3. less low level clouds, causing
4. more heating of the sea surface.
Meanwhile, the AGW crowd put it this way:
1. more CO2, causes
2. heating in middle troposphere (no hotspot detected), causes
3. radiative heating of sea surface, causes
4. less low level clouds.
This time, there is so little time delay that determination of which is first, less clouds or warmer sea surface, the AGW crowd may be able to get away with this.
But wait, what is the mechanism that causes warmer sea surface to result in fewer low level clouds? How can that be tested and verified using that pesky old Scientific Method?
At least the Svensmark hypothesis is being quantitatively tested. This new paper by Clement and Bergman is only documenting a coincidence. Those who poo poo the Svensmark hypothesis claim that the sunspot-climate relationship is mearly coincidence (albeit, they had to say the LIA and MWP did not exist, or were only applicable to Europe, or …..).

Sandy

Looking at that unusual stratus over the ocean one can see that it is less than active. Now let’s talk about a patch of late afternoon tropical cu-nims.
It too is ‘cloud’, it too reflects heat like this stratus cloud, but..
The tropical cu-nims happen every day, they suck enormous amounts of surface heat up into Hadley cells for more efficient cooling and they continue their cooling effects into the night.
It seems obtuse of the researchers to consider a relatively rare cloud type when there is a very obvious everyday cloud type, the tropical cu-nim, that plainly does an awful lot more to our daily heat account and badly needs understanding.
Tell ’em Willis!

rokshox

[snip – policy]

Phillip Bratby

“Together, the observations and the Hadley Centre model results provide evidence”. I wasn’t aware that model results can provide evidence.

Gary Plyler

Phillip Bratby is correct. The output of the models is not data. Data is a measured physical phenomenon.

savethesharks

“The tropical cu-nims happen every day, they suck enormous amounts of surface heat up into Hadley cells for more efficient cooling and they continue their cooling effects into the night. It seems obtuse of the researchers to consider a relatively rare cloud type when there is a very obvious everyday cloud type, the tropical cu-nim, that plainly does an awful lot more to our daily heat account and badly needs understanding.”
Spot on.
Also…the stratiform clouds are partially due to the cold California Current. . Of course they tend to go away when that portion of the ocean heats up.
And when it does….the ITCZ even has a better chance of ejecting monster amounts of heat energy towards the higher latitudes via tropical cyclones….so it all balances out in the end.
CHRIS
Norfolk, VA, USA

Brandon Dobson

As Gary Plyler suggests, it’s possible that the cause and effect in this study has been reversed, as mentioned in the following article by Dr. Roy Spencer:
“When researchers observe natural changes in clouds and temperature, they have traditionally assumed that the temperature change caused the clouds to change, and not the other way around. To the extent that the cloud changes actually cause temperature change, this can ultimately lead to overestimates of how sensitive Earth’s climate is to our greenhouse gas emissions.
This seemingly simple mix-up between cause and effect is the basis of a new paper that will appear in the “Journal of Climate.” The paper¹s lead author, Dr. Roy W. Spencer, a principal research scientist at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, believes the work is the first step in demonstrating why climate models produce too much global warming.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611184722.htm
And then we have these findings concerning cirrus clouds, again by Dr. Spencer:
“All leading climate models forecast that as the atmosphere warms there should be an increase in high altitude cirrus clouds, which would amplify any warming caused by manmade greenhouse gases,” he said. “That amplification is a positive feedback. What we found in month-to-month fluctuations of the tropical climate system was a strongly negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease. That allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space.”
“While low clouds have a predominantly cooling effect due to their shading of sunlight, most cirrus clouds have a net warming effect on the Earth,” Spencer said. With high altitude ice clouds their infrared heat trapping exceeds their solar shading effect.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071102152636.htm

Mac

So once again warmists are trying to extrapolate catastrophe from the episode of warming in the late 20th century. There is still a lot of things to be explained.
1. Was it a reduction in clouds that caused this warming, or was it the warming that caused a reduction in clouds? Chicken and egg arguement.
2. If this is an example of positive feedback, why then did it not create a tipping point for accelerated warming? Climate hystersis anyone?
3. Why is it that the oceans are currently cooling, which indicates a large natural cyclical process? Indeed why is it this entire planet cooling, all contrary to every GCM employed?

Bengt A

If theres no lag between reduced cloudines and heating this is will make a good proof for Svensmarks hypothesis. If heating lags reduced cloudines the fit is even better. If its the other way around Svensmark is in trouble. Is there any information on this issue in the paper?

Allan

Heat from the ocean raises the dew point of a parcel of air so it holds more moisture/ latent heat.
The atmosphere then stirs the pot to try an balance out the energy imbalances.
Eventually the parcel of air cools to below the dew point by any number of mechanisms and the moisture precipitates as cloud out which would further cool the air.
Is this not a question of weather rather than climate?

lulo

For more than 20 years, I have had a VERY SIMPLE thought related to climate variability that I just can’t let go, regardless of how models operate. So, I’m going to throw this out there…
When the world warms, due to some change in overall radiative balance (whether it be due to changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation or whether it be due to changes in solar effects or even… hehem… greenhouse gases), there is less cloud until a new equilibrium is reached, simply because the air warms faster than the water vapour content increases and relative humidity drops (despite the very slow increase in absolute humidity). With lower RELATIVE humidity, there is less cloud until a new equilibrium is reached. I have ALWAYS thought that a warming world (not just ocean) would NOT increase cloudiness, but, rather TEMPORARILY DECREASE it. This is NOT a vicious cycle in the long term, because, eventually a new equilibrium is established with a more or less similar global cloud cover.
When the world cools, there is more cloud on a global average basis, because a slightly higher proportion of the atmosphere hits the dewpoint during the cooling and it takes time to rain/dew out the extra moisture. Again… not a vicious cycle for long, as a new equilibrium is established with similar global cloud coverage.
This would explain the observation in this paper. This would also explain the solar amplicification effect (even without cosmic radiation effects). Maybe a change from 1367 to 1361 W/m2 isn’t a big deal until the very slight cooling causes more cloud and it cools more. The reverse would be true as well.

lulo

I meant “amplification”. Can dyslexia set in during middle age?

Philip_B

Low altitude cloud layers—decreased in the study area as ocean temperatures rose and atmospheric pressure fell.
Less low altitude cloud = more early morning sunshine = shorter time for net radiative cooling in the early morning = higher Tmin
This is further evidence that increasing Tmin – most of the claimed global warming – is due to increased early morning sunshine, not reflected in temperatures over the rest of the day.
Ie, most of the ‘global warming’ is an artifact of how ‘global warming’ was measured. Which explains why most of it dissapeared when the satellite data became available.

John in NZ

OT but breaking news, NZ government has announced a target of 20% reduction of GHG by 2020. Not sure if that is from 1990 levels or from now but it probably doesn’t matter. They claim it will only add $NZ60.00 per annum to the average household. Let me be the first to call BS on this. NZ are doing the EU trick of promising to do something while doing nothing. But they are going to tax us a bit just cause they can. Greenpeace had a campaign to suggest 40% reduction by 2020. This was laughable because livestock methane emmissions account for 50% of our GHG. To achieve a 40 % reduction without killing all the sheep and cattle in nz would require an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Dave Wendt

I’m not really familiar with ship board weather logs. Would it be the norm for them to include specific cloud types and altitude and coverage estimations?

Barry L

The best way to test the cloud relation to warming would be to compair average cloud cover on the equator to some constant reference point away from the equator??
Being warmer at the equator, we can tell if there is more or less cloud.
One could then use that compairison to judge how a warmer planet would react. If there are less clouds at the equator, global warming will runn out of controll. If there are more clouds at the equator, one would have to assume negative feedback dominates the basic process.
My vote is for negative feedback. is this wrong?

Ed Zuiderwijk

If clouds amplify any warming, why hasn’t all the water on the planet been boiled off by now? There was about 4 billion years time to crank up the temperature through ever more clouds.
When I go to the beach I see that there’s a lot of water left.
The conclusion I draw is obvious.

NastyWolf

Ah, those vicious cycles. And to think it all starts with the bubbles in the beer. I suspected as much…

Alexej Buergin

And what is the effect of clouds at night ?

Allan M

“The agreement we found between the surface-based observations and the satellite data was almost shocking,”
Maybe that is the purpose they had in mind. (Think Copenhagen)

rbateman:
“What is it that they are trying to do, hypnotize the world?”
Exactly.

Loved these quotes:

“We have a long way to go in getting the models right…

And:

“The representation of clouds in models is improving, and observational records are being reprocessed to remove spurious variability associated with satellite changes and other problems.”

Say what?

Claude Harvey

I’ve noticed that the wind never blows unless trees are wagging about. Who knew? Trees cause wind! At sea, I’m pretty sure the wind is generated by waves, particularly the white ones.

jeroen

the modern maximum of the sun has lowerd the cloud cover and warmed the oceans. Its just the other way around.

Patrick Davis

“John in NZ (01:00:51) :
OT but breaking news, NZ government has announced a target of 20% reduction of GHG by 2020. Not sure if that is from 1990 levels or from now but it probably doesn’t matter. They claim it will only add $NZ60.00 per annum to the average household. Let me be the first to call BS on this. NZ are doing the EU trick of promising to do something while doing nothing. But they are going to tax us a bit just cause they can. Greenpeace had a campaign to suggest 40% reduction by 2020. This was laughable because livestock methane emmissions account for 50% of our GHG. To achieve a 40 % reduction without killing all the sheep and cattle in nz would require an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions.”
Strewth! I thought NZ was the only shining light of sense in the pacific with regards to AGW. Well, it is clear it is seen as a revenue stream, just like GST and road user charges on petrol/diesel, and the one-off short-term 4c p/l tax on fuel for Auckland only that the whole contry had to pay for and then GST. Yes, a tax (GST) on levies, charges and taxes. I understand that a tax on a tax was illegal in NZ, like GST of the TV license, which was abolished because someone won a case in court about it.

Chris Wright

They appear to have discovered something quite earth-shattering: that it tends to be warmer when there are less clouds!
Seriously, there is an obvious question of cause-and-effect. This study does demonstrate a strong correlation between clouds and temperatures. But you have to be very careful to establish which is the cause and which is the effect.
The ice cores appeared to prove that temperatures were driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide. But we now know it was the other way round. When Gore said “When the carbon dioxide goes up, the temperature goes up” he should have said “When the temperature goes up, the carbon dioxide goes up”.
Of course the difficulty is that often things are both a cause and an effect. In the case of the ice cores, the temperature was probably controlled by carbon dioxide to some extent (giving rise to the dreaded positive feedback). But as it can’t be seen in the record (as far as I’m aware) then the effect of CO2 on the temperature must be very small and possibly negligible. So, although the correlation between CO2 and temperature over hundreds of thousands of years is extraordinarily strong, there clearly is no significant positive feedback.
Could a similar situation apply to temperatures and clouds? The fact that I’m sitting at my desk and writing this tends to suggest that negative feedbacks are dominant. If the global climate were dominated by positive feedbacks then there would probably be no human civilisation, no climate scientists, no Al Gore….
Chris

A few thoughts about Clement et al:
The area of the North Pacific chosen for study by Clement et al is identified in their supplemental materials as 15N-25N, 145W-115W. Refer to the text for Figure S1:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/325/5939/460/DC1/1
Though they don’t display a typical ENSO signal, the SST anomalies for that area of the Northeast Tropical Pacific are strongly influenced by ENSO, as are trade winds, cloud cover, etc. The SST Anomalies from 1950 to present clearly show the 1976 Pacific Climate Shift. And they also show a positive trend (0.068 deg C/decade), a warming, which is consistent with the tone of the study.
http://i28.tinypic.com/qqbw4j.png
However, if we shorten the period to 1975 to present, the linear trend of the SST anomalies is negative (-0.056 deg C/decade).
http://i28.tinypic.com/2uft89k.png
During El Nino events, the cloud cover and precipitation follow the warm water from the Pacific Warm Pool to the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific. The increase in convection over the eastern equatorial Pacific during those El Nino events should impact the trade winds and cloud amount over the area studied. Would the low cloud cover be drawn toward the equator by the convection during the El Nino events?

Purakanui

New Zealand is a small player in a big world. Climate Minister Nick Smith has to balance what I suspect is his personal wish (do nothing) against the need to be seen to be ‘doing something’. Because NZ is highly trade dependent, we can’t afford to outrage critical markets. Tourism is a case in point. We attract a lot of tourists through the promise of ‘100 percent pure’, ‘Clean, Green NZ’. Some of our big markets (especially the segments that visit us) are highly conservation/green values sensitive.
We are already suffering reduced arrivals because of the global recession and are struggling against the northern hemisphere perception that a trip to NZ creates ‘a huge carbon footprint’. New Zealand simply cannot afford to be seen to be doing nothing and be pilloried or ostracised for its apostasy. It is the same with agriculture; we are facing the ‘food miles’ problem as well, even though NZ lamb on the English table generates less ‘carbon’ than its Welsh equivalent, distance notwithstanding.
The previous leftist government was evangelical about ‘carbon’; we were to be the first ‘carbon neutral’ nation ever, no matter the cost. The new government (centre right) is more sanguine. We are to be ‘cautious followers’, not pioneers. This, it seems to me, is cautious following and will never eventuate. The failure of other countries to honour their various extravagant commitments will allow us to weasel out as well, as reality strikes.
As for taxes on taxes – oh, yes! GST (Goods and Services Tax) applies to everything.
Even rates (local city taxes) attract GST.

AlanG

I will be very interested to see what Roy Spencer has to say about this. It’s right up his street. He may say it’s the other way round – reduced cloud cover leading to rising sea temperature. The great fault of this study is that it is a static representation of the relationship between temperature and clouds and completely ignores the dynamic behavior of cloud formation and dissipation. A clue can be found in the sentence – “One key finding in the study is that it is not the warming of the ocean alone that reduces cloudiness — a weakening of the trade winds also appears to play a critical role”. You’ll notice there is no assessment of which role is dominant.
We know two things for certain. 1. Precipitation exactly matches evaporation, and 2. The atmosphere is not saturated with water vapor. Increased trade winds would cause increased evaporation leading to surface cooling and increased cloud cover. The extra moisture would come down somewhere as precipitation so cloud cover would be greater or thicker somewhere. Interestingly, if the atmosphere was saturated with water vapor then the positive feedback (dCo2 -> dT -> dH20vapor -> dT) would be true.
I’m not convinced by this study but it’s promising that mainstream scientists are finally researching and measuring clouds. They have yet to realize that the dynamic behavior of clouds is key.