Writing in the journal Nature, a team of Australia-based researchers says it has found how cloud formation plays a role in climate, which has been one of the greatest uncertainties in the prediction of global warming.
The group says that while climate models show a relatively low global temperature reaction to carbon dioxide emissions, those models currently do not factor in all the water vapor released into the atmosphere.
The report concludes that “real world observations” show the accepted models are wrong.
They point to fewer clouds forming than the models project, which means more sunlight will enter the atmosphere, making the atmosphere far more sensitive to the warming effects of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
“Climate skeptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect,” said lead author Steven Sherwood.
“But what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models (that) predict less warming, not those that predict more,” Sherwood added.