Chicken Little might have been onto something. Scientists at a NASA-funded university study in Auckland have found that the billowy clouds that cover our Earth are getting lower. Over the past decade, the height of clouds across the globe has decreased by one percent, but the good news is that the lowered clouds could help cool the Earth and aid in fighting the effects of global warming.
The team has been monitoring cloud height using NASA’s satellite technology, and comparing the data to past numbers. NASA’s Terra spacecraft has also collected data with its Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer device. Thus far, they’ve found that between March 2000 and February 2010, clouds have lowered at an average of 100 to 130 feet.
Could these clouds lowering be Mother Earth’s natural defense against global warming? Scientists have said that should the clouds continue to lower, the Earth would be able to cool more efficiently, decreasing temperatures and combating overheating to a degree. Lead researcher Roger Davies explains that the clouds could be lowering themselves as a reaction to change in circulation patterns due to global warming, but then counteracting some of the effects of global warming.
Since the decline in height has only been recorded since 2000, there is not enough data to determine the exact causes or effects of the lowering of these clouds, but NASA will continue to monitor the effects on global temperatures.
Images via Wikimedia Commons