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back to article Cloud altitude changing with climate: NZ study

A University of Auckland analysis of ten years’ worth of NASA satellite data suggests that changing atmospheric temperatures are impacting cloud formation, with fewer clouds forming at the highest altitudes. The study, by Professor Roger Davis and honours student Matthew Molloy, is designed to help feed cloud height into climate …

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Meh

Depth is one thing but what about the quality of the clouds

It is hard as said in such a short timeframe to conclude much, it would of been nice to see this data corilated with other data like solar radiation, air preasure and rainful as a global average as well as the usual subjects such as tempurature at ground/sea level.

Also were there any other sources to verify the data, satalites could drift slightly and calabrated measureing equipment starts to become less calabrated. So some other sources of data to verifiy is needed and in that the radar returns used to do rainfall would be another source of data to help verifiy the data and eliminate errors.

But air preasure plays a large part in this. Personaly last 10 years been the only time I recall seeing noctilucent clouds and there pretty high up type clouds, and pretty as well. So for me with regards to quality i'm fine with the variations we have.

But if there that worried then send up more satalites and create more space debri in orbit, could eventualy call it the disco cloud as there will be so many shiny bits of metal in orbit that snowglobes start bing used in geography.

All I can say is if your worried about global warming, chill out and wear a condom.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Depth is one thing but what about the quality of the clouds

This is a project with TERRA, can you suggest how they could have used data from before it was launched?

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Anonymous Coward

Grammar and expressive ability helps

If one is going to write pseudo-scientific words, give yourself some credibility by knowing your own language: "it would HAVE been nice ...", "PersonalLy", "But if THEY'RE ..." and more. Punctuation was invented for a reason too.

Illiteracy just alienates the reader and harms the writer's credibility

If you can not manage the language in which you write and think, how good is your understanding of science?

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Silver badge

Just a thought : what makes you sure that it is his "own" language ?

It might be, and paradoxically, I'd think that the very poor level of spelling just might be a demonstration that it is, but maybe he's a foreigner who recently started learning English.

Just a thought.

That said, I totally agree with your conclusion. If you don't know how to formulate your ideas correctly, it gives a poor mark to the validity of said ideas.

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Silver badge

Re: Depth is one thing but what about the quality of the clouds

Yes, more work is needed. But it is an interesting observation nonetheless.

On the subject of the quality of the above post, I would only suggest junking the last two paras, but to be honest on my first read I skimmed over the grammatical errors and absorbed the sense of what PXG was saying. I don't see any need at all for the AC's criticisms.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Grammar and expressive ability helps

Yes I find english my native language illogical and a royal pain to deal with on many levels, yes my spelling is shit BUT fact is for a word to be spelt wrongly it has to be interpretted correctly, that is communication. Grammer, well, enough said.

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Anonymous Coward

or he has a autistic spectrum disorder and finds the whole english language illogical and the rest is obvious :).

But yes, always been a weakness of myself, and I agree. I can have the bestest idea's but if others don't fully understand them, why should they. If English was logical you would have grammer checkers that would just work 100%. There again if you got any language, merged it with a few dozen others and changed bits every now and then, we would all end up talking java :).

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Headmaster

Re: Depth is one thing but what about the quality of the clouds

Spell check is your friend.

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Bronze badge

"between 30 and 40 meters" doesn't sound like very much to me.

Is it enough of a difference to be statistically significant?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "between 30 and 40 meters" doesn't sound like very much to me.

Why not go and read the paper and the peer review and find out?

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Mushroom

Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

With only 10 years of data on an aspect of the changing climate that "mature science" knows to have an impact, how can anyone say that climate change models in the past 10 years have *any* credibility and keep a straight face ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

Just about all models are flawed, in that it is very rare indeed that the modeller knows all the parameters or the right values for the ones he thinks he knows. Nevertheless, modelling is a powerful and successful technique. Even assessing the robustness and aerodynamics of a car or aeroplane depends upon modelling, in which there are several unknown parameters.

The data, of course, goes back ratherr more than ten years in most cases, .a few hundred or more for a few sources of evidence.

Cloud levels are just one, possible factor of unknown significance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

Noone says that models are perfect, they are constantly revised and refined.

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Re: Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

All models are flawed. The climate models that use massive computing resources to process all the variables that we understand using the physics that we're confident of, though, are more reliable than the climate models that exist inside people's heads and are based on their political outlook.

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Facepalm

Re: Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

If by "models are flawed" you mean "models are not an exact 1-to-1 model of reality", you would be right. But the point of a model is to simplify an extremely complex system to a point of usability. Sure, there are always going to be factors that are unaccounted for, the important thing is that the most important factors are taken into account and that models are correctly updated as more is known. However that does not make current models wrong, it just makes them less accurate than they could be and therefore subject to a larger margin of error than is ideal.

Or do you expect ordnance survey maps to include the exact location of every pebble in the country? The map is not the territory

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Re: Surely the key point here is that it is an admission that climate change models are flawed...

The models are valid because they can be run backwards and forwards with the data provided and they produce results that match with reality, ie our observations. They made need tweaking in the future as other factors (perhaps cloud height) come into play, but for now they're authoritative. Anyone saying different is selling something.

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Silver badge

Re: Re: models are flawed...

I'll wager a year's salary that the models for determining the aerodynamics of a car have a statistically significant higher percentage of all possible variables covered than any of the so called "climate" models do.

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Silver badge

@Tads: That would be a

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire! lie, not just a damned lie from statistics.

The models don't go backwards without significant hard-coded data based on observations.

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Anonymous Coward

Difficult to Believe!

El Reg article on climate research without a single snide comment on efforts of those concerned. I look forward to more of this style of reporting!

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Re: Difficult to Believe!

He's still picked an article that implies as global warming ramps up, clouds will save us! It's same old same old. What a maroon.

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Meh

@Tads

Since they don't have a *reason* why this is occurring (it's an *empirical* observation) I'm curious how you extrapolate that idea from the information given?

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g e
Silver badge

A pattern is emerging

The planet seems able to defend itself against the actions of a few scurrying clothes-wearing techno-apes...

Who'd have thought something as big as a planet wouldn't be massively affected by fuel-burning monkeys over the span of 300 or so years.

Gosh.

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Re: A pattern is emerging

"The planet seems able to defend itself against the actions of a few scurrying clothes-wearing techno-apes..."

Frankly the planet couldn't care less; the species on it might be more or less concerned depending on what happens however.

"Who'd have thought something as big as a planet wouldn't be massively affected by fuel-burning monkeys over the span of 300 or so years."

Yeh - it just got off it's arse one day and said "make me a particularly massive Antarctic ozone hole !" because we obviously had sod all to do with it....

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WTF?

Re: Re: A pattern is emerging

You might want to think for a few moments what insyteenyweeny bacteria can do to the human body, or how about viruses.... while you're still holding onto that thought that scale is what matters in system behaviour.

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Re: Re: Re: A pattern is emerging

"while you're still holding onto that thought that scale is what matters in system behaviour."

Yes indeed - that was rather part of my point, was the reply meant for the OP Ben ?

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Devil

I'm impressed!

An objective climate article on el Reg!

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Re: I'm impressed!

It was an interesting article and really refreshing to just have it reported straight.

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Re: I'm impressed!

He's provided fodder for the climate skeptics to trumpet "The planet will heal itself!" which oh look they already have in comments on this thread.

I'm thinking poor Lewis needs the validation of being someone "special" to the climate denier camp, they love themselves a tame journalist they can funnel their biased stories to and would reward him with lots of time, care and attention. I hope you get beer and hookers out of it as well Lewis, mwah.

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Silver badge

Re: I'm impressed!

No, it's not. Given that the authors themselves say there is insufficient data in their study to say anything about climate. Ten years is more on the order of weather.

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Silver badge

"ten years is too short a time to draw hard conclusions"

I'd say that two centuries of incomplete data is not enough to draw hard conclusions either, given that the climate obeys the laws of thermodynamics and the fact that thermodynamics is the hardest domain of science that humanity is required to understand - bar none.

But we still have to progress, even if it is only in baby steps, one at a time. Maybe in a millennia or two, we'll have a proper understanding of what climatology really is and we'll be able to properly predict weather patterns on a global scale. Meanwhile, there's a market for doomsayers and naysayers alike. We'll just have to live with it.

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Mushroom

Let me help you with that....

A University of Auckland analysis of ten years’ worth of NASA satellite data suggests that cloud formation, with fewer clouds forming at the highest altitudes is changing atmospheric temperatures. See what I did there ?

Oh and please stop telling me how lovely your models are. They cannot predict past climate based on known historical data. ergo useless.

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Re: Let me help you with that....

"Oh and please stop telling me how lovely your models are. They cannot predict past climate based on known historical data. ergo useless."

Interesting "fact" - care to explain, or would you prefer to continue to use vast, sweeping generalisations with nothing to support them ?

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Anonymous Coward

@Mr Nobody

What do you base your comment on? Models do predict past climate, that's how they're tested.

If you could also let us know what your qualification in modeling climate (or anything) is, that would help me judge an appropriate weighting to give to your post.

Me: I don't design models, but my partner does so I have a little knowledge by osmosis.

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Anonymous Coward

what a surprise!

El Reg, in a never ending search for "truth," cherry picks climate related articles and references only those aligning with their editorial bias. Yawn.

Interestingly, the jokers over at "Top Gear" make endless fun of hybrid and electric cars because, in their view, they're less fun than conventional cars.

Who says King Ludd is dead?

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

Pesky things, clouds.

and now it seems their *average* height of formation has dropped 1% in 10 yrs, which (if carried to the logical extreme) means *ground* level by the next millennium.

So, yes given the age of the planet that *is* pretty significant.

So it would seem this is another of those *little* details about clouds that isn't modeled very well.

And by implication has not *been* modeled very well by *any* model up to the present.

Hopefully this will begin to change.

As for *why* it exists I cannot say, it's as one (or more) of the mechanisms that form clouds were *somehow* appearing at a lower level in the atmosphere, either something coming upward from the ground getting higher or something coming down from outside getting lower.

Whatever could that be?

Once again congratulations to the team (hence the thumbs up). To me it's *amazing* that something as simple as essentially a stereoscopic pair of pictures can yield such precision.

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Bronze badge

Reminds me of cartoons

Where they shot an arrow against the wall, THEN draw a target around it, indicating a bulls eye.

So, modify the model to get the desired results in the future, but fail to correct it when the future doesn't turn out the way you had hoped.

Wishful thinking all!

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