Guest essay by Eric Worrall
An increase in Noctilucent clouds, strange illuminated streamers of light at the edge of space, has been blamed on global warming.
According to the SFGate;
Mystery lights in space increasing, moving south, potential sign of global warming
Strange blue lights glowing on the edge of space first appeared over polar regions in 1885 and today, sightings are becoming increasingly common, and now the phenomenon is moving into lower latitudes including Northern California.
Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, these glowing space clouds may be a celestial siren, warning of Earth’s global warming, according to some scientists.
Last year WUWT reported that Noctilucent clouds were on the increase, and predicted that global warming would be blamed. However, a NASA press release suggests Noctilucent clouds are more likely to be associated with decreased solar activity.
To study long-term changes in noctilucent clouds, Russell and his colleagues used historical temperature and water vapor records and a validated model to translate this data into information on the presence of the clouds. They used temperature data from 2002 to 2011 from NASA’s Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, mission and water vapor data from NASA’s Aura mission from 2005 to 2011. They used a model previously developed by Mark Hervig, a co-author on the paper at GATS, Inc., in Driggs, Idaho.
The team tested the model by comparing its output to observations from the Osiris instrument on the Swedish Odin satellite, which launched in 2001, and the SHIMMER instrument on the U.S. Department of Defense STPSat-1 mission, both of which observed low level noctilucent clouds over various time periods during their flights. The output correlated extremely well to the actual observations, giving the team confidence in their model.
Russell and his team will research further to determine if the noctilucent cloud frequency increase and accompanying temperature decrease over the 10 years could be due to a reduction in the sun’s energy and heat, which naturally occurred as the solar output went from solar maximum in 2002 to solar minimum in 2009.