Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Clouds Virtually Unexplored Factor in Climate Change

One thing was clear at last weekend's Global conference; Science knows very little about clouds. In fact, two satellites were sent into space last year with the express purpose of trying to understand more about how clouds are formed, how they disperse, and so on. I would propose the following analogy.

For the first 60 years that psychology was being developed, we studied external aspects of behavior. Stimulous/response, fight or flight, sensory perception. We drew our conclusions and made our predictions based only on these aspects. More recently, we have started to study the brain in great detail. As we have done so, pschology has moved from the couch to the pill, and even therapy is moving to behavior modification and away from long, drawn out psychotherapy.

Our efforts to understand, predict, or effect weather are similarly limited by our lack of understanding of clouds. The picture above is one of the first images coming back from the CloudSat satellite. In a couple of years we will have a substantial increase in our understanding of the brains of the atmosphere. Maybe it will help us have a far greater understanding of global weather trends. More

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