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02.01.11 News
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Clouds: The Wild Card Of Climate Change

It is a little-known, but significant, fact that about 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by clouds at any given time. But, not all clouds are the same; different types of clouds affect the Earth's climate differently. While some types of clouds help to warm the Earth, others help to cool it. Currently, all of the Earth's clouds exert a net cooling effect on our planet. But the substantial and opposing influences of clouds begs the question: What will be the net effect of all of the Earth's clouds on climate as the Earth continues to warm in the future? Will clouds accelerate warming or help offset, or dull, warming?
Image credit: © University Corporation for Atmospheric Research