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Title: Cirrus feedback on interannual climate fluctuations

Cirrus clouds are not only important in determining the current climate, but also play an important role in climate change and variability. Analysis of satellite observations shows that the amount and altitude of cirrus clouds (optical depth <3.6, cloud top pressure <440 hPa) increase in response to inter-annual surface warming. Thus, cirrus clouds are likely to act as a positive feedback on short-term climate fluctuations, by reducing the planet’s ability to radiate longwave radiation to space in response to planetary surface warming. Using cirrus cloud radiative kernels, the magnitude of cirrus feedback is estimated to be 0.20±0.21W/m2/°C, which is comparable to the surface albedo feedback. Most of the cirrus feedback comes from increasing cloud amount in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) and subtropical upper troposphere.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA (United States). Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
  2. Texas A&M Univ., College Station TX (United States). Department of Atmospheric Sciences
  3. Jet Propulsion Lab./Caltech, Pasadena, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 24
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States