Clouding the Climate Models
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Study probes clouds' climate role
An international team of scientists is hoping to shed light on how clouds over the Pacific Ocean are affecting global climate and weather systems.
The clouds, some of which are bigger than the US, reflect sunlight back into space and cool the ocean below.
The team hopes to learn more about the clouds' properties and if pollution from activities such as mining affect the formation of these systems.
Mining? I knew it is all Mr Remittance Man's fault
A team of 20 climate and cloud experts from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) are taking part in the expedition, which will be based in Chile.
Hugh Coe, the lead scientist for the British consortium, said the project would help improve the accuracy of climate change models.
"These are some of the largest cloud systems in the world and we know that they must play a very significant role in climate change, yet we know that climate models do not represent them very well," he explained.
"This campaign is a fantastic opportunity to make cutting-edge measurements in a unique environment and merge them with state-of-the-art climate models.
"We hope to finally hit some of the uncertainties in current climate models on the head."
Heretic! Burn him at the stake (in a carbon neutral way, of course).
The UK project - funded by NCAS, the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) and the UK Met Office - is one part of an international three-year project called VOCALS, which is exploring how complex interactions between clouds, oceans and land affect the world's climate.
But I thought the science was settled