Thermodynamic regulation of ocean warming by cirrus clouds deduced from observations of the 1987 El Niño

Citation:
Ramanathan, V, Collins W.  1991.  Thermodynamic regulation of ocean warming by cirrus clouds deduced from observations of the 1987 El Niño. Nature. 351:27-32.

Date Published:

May

Keywords:

balance, circulation, climate feedback, co2, convection, radiation, sea-surface temperature

Abstract:

Observations made during the 1987 El Nino show that in the upper range of sea surface temperatures, the greenhouse effect increases with surface temperature at a rate which exceeds the rate at which radiation is being emitted from the surface. In response to this 'super greenhouse effect', highly reflective cirrus clouds are produced which act like a thermostat, shielding the ocean from solar radiation. The regulatory effect of these cirrus clouds may limit sea surface temperatures to less than 305 K.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1038/351027a0