Pacific Could Serve As Global Warming Vent

Vent in heat trapping cirrus cover could release enough energy to reduce global warming from greenhouse gases.

Published: 01-Mar-2001

GREENBELT, Maryland, March 1, 2001 (ENS) - The tropical Pacific Ocean may be able to open a vent in its heat trapping cirrus cloud cover and release enough energy into space to reduce projected global warming from greenhouse gases.

If confirmed by further research, this effect - which is not seen in current climate prediction models - could reduce estimates of future climate warming by as much as two thirds, said the scientists from the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their findings appear in the March 2001 issue of the "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society."

"High clouds over the western tropical Pacific Ocean seem to systematically decrease when sea surface temperatures are higher," said Arthur Hou of Goddard's Data Assimilation Office.

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