NASA: Ice Clouds could Help Predict Climate Change
Yes, NASA says ice clouds could help predict climate change. Ice clouds are important because they can reflect sunlight back into space, which helps to cool the Earth. However, ice clouds can also trap heat, which can contribute to global warming.
Scientists are still learning about how ice clouds will respond to climate change. However, they believe that ice clouds could play a significant role in determining how the Earth’s climate changes in the future.
NASA is planning to launch a new mission to study ice clouds in more detail. The mission, called the Polarized Submillimeter Ice-cloud Radiometer (PolSIR), will launch in 2024. PolSIR will use a new type of instrument to measure the polarization of light that is reflected by ice clouds. This information will help scientists to better understand how ice clouds interact with sunlight and how they affect the Earth’s climate.
The PolSIR mission is part of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program. This program is designed to develop new technologies for studying the Earth’s climate system. PolSIR is the first mission in the program to focus on ice clouds.
The data collected by PolSIR will be used to improve climate models. Climate models are computer programs that simulate the Earth’s climate. They are used to predict how the Earth’s climate will change in the future.
Improving climate models is important because it will help scientists to better understand the risks of climate change and to develop ways to mitigate those risks.
Here are some of the ways that ice clouds could help predict climate change:
- Ice clouds can reflect sunlight back into space, which helps to cool the planet. This is why ice clouds are often called “the Earth’s air conditioner.”
- Ice clouds can also trap heat, which can contribute to global warming. This is because ice crystals are very good at absorbing infrared radiation.
- Ice clouds can change in size and shape as the Earth’s climate changes. This is because ice crystals form when water vapor in the atmosphere condenses around dust particles. As the Earth’s climate warms, there is more water vapor in the atmosphere. This means that there are more ice crystals to form, and ice clouds can become larger and more reflective.
- Ice clouds can also change their distribution as the Earth’s climate changes. This is because ice clouds are more likely to form at higher altitudes in a warmer climate.
By understanding how ice clouds interact with the climate system, scientists can better predict how climate change will affect the Earth in the future.