PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

The Dust Settles on Water Vapor Feedback

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Science  26 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5568, pp. 665-666
DOI: 10.1126/science.1071400

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Summary

Water vapor could almost double the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gas increases, but doubts about the sign and magnitude of the effect persist. In his Perspective, Del Genio highlights the report by Soden et al., who demonstrate that the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 caused a positive water vapor feedback. A general circulation model reproduces this global feedback accurately. The results suggest that a substantial water vapor feedback can also be expected in response to anthropogenic climate forcing.