Cirrus Clouds and the Climate

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
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Abstract

Cirrus clouds may act to cool or warm the earth's surface, depending upon their infrared emissivity. Direct observation of cirrus cloud emissivities in mid-latitude and tropical environments indicates that cirrus may produce different effects at different latitudes. In the tropics, cirrus emissivities were large enough to cause a significant warming tendency while mid-latitude data showed a cooling effect.

Abstract

Cirrus clouds may act to cool or warm the earth's surface, depending upon their infrared emissivity. Direct observation of cirrus cloud emissivities in mid-latitude and tropical environments indicates that cirrus may produce different effects at different latitudes. In the tropics, cirrus emissivities were large enough to cause a significant warming tendency while mid-latitude data showed a cooling effect.

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