A study conducted by CERN focused on cloud formation raises new questions on how pollution affected the global warming process. Scientists hope that this discovery will help them make more accurate projections for last century’s temperatures and to better understand Earth’s climate.
The Results of the Study
Clouds are created around atmospheric particles, and these particles were thought to be originated from air pollution.
Even if scientists included the possibility of natural factors being involved, the vast majority of clouds were believed to be created by particles coming from coal burning and industrialization.
This study shows that particles may be caused by cosmic rays coming from space and gases coming from trees. The process would not involve pollution, but only natural elements.
The authors even succeeded in creating a simulation of this process in one of their laboratories. The natural cloud formation had also been observed from a Swiss observatory situated on the top of a 3,000 m high mountain.
Kirkby, one of the scientists involved in the experiments, said that this natural cloud formation could take place only in very pure, pristine environments.
This would be the third study performed by CERN authors in search for how clouds are formed.
Effects on Global Warming Predictions
Clouds have an important role in establishing the global temperature because they reflect sunlight out from the Earth, thus helping in the cooling process.
The assumptions so far were that clouds only came with industrialization, because they would have needed pollution particles in order to form. Last century’s sky was believed to be less cloudy. Earth was thought to be more protected from having greenhouse gases blocked on its surface.
The discovery shows that cloud formation may not need artificial particles. It is an entirely natural process and scientists now know that, in the past, clouds were even more numerous.
Another implication is that greenhouse gases may not have been the principal factor in global warming. Moreover, pollution may not have been the cause for the cloud barrier creation.
It appears that yet another study managed to cast a shadow on the role that clouds have in protecting us against global warming. At this point, scientists no longer know for sure if the cloud barrier will increase or decrease the risks for our planet.
Even if the former explanation may prove false, all scientists agree to the fact that human activity has a significant impact on global warming process.
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