Less Indirect Effect

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Science  01 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5595, pp. 919d
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5595.919d

The indirect aerosol effect—the modification of cloud coverage and properties by atmospheric aerosols—is the largest uncertainty in the calculation of the net solar energy budget. Lohmann and Lesins (p. 1012) propose a more precise estimate of the anthropogenic indirect aerosol effect by constraining predictions from complex climate models with observations of aerosol and cloud properties made by the POLDER satellite. By considering the effects of aerosols on both cloud albedo and cloud lifetime, their estimate of the indirect aerosol effect, 0.8 watts per square meter (W m−2), is much smaller than previous values derived from climate model simulations alone (1.4 W m−2).

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