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Climate Change Could Make LA’s June Gloom Disappear – And It’s Not A Good Thing




Downtown Los Angeles on an overcast day.
Downtown Los Angeles on an overcast day.
Omar Barcena via Flickr Creative Commons

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We all hate June Gloom and May Gray – but before you jump for joy at the idea of an even sunnier Southern California, skipping those months of cloud cover would be detrimental to the planet.

Cloud cover keeps the Earth cool, because it reflects sunlight. Without cloud cover, that sunlight is absorbed and makes the Earth warmer… which then leads to a thinner cloud cover… which then makes the Earth warmer… which then leads to thinner cloud cover… you get the gist.

One study from the California Institute of Technology found that when there are high concentrations of greenhouse gases (as there is now), the marine cloud layer starts to disappear. And, as shown by the cycle laid out above, the marine cloud layer would eventually disappear completely.

This wouldn’t happen any time soon. The study’s lead author, Tapio Schneider, said it would take at least 100 years, even with very high levels of greenhouse gases. But the study shows a direct connection between clouds and global warming – a factor many climate models overlook.

Larry sits down with Schneider to talk about his research and what it means for Southern California and the rest of the world.

Guest:

Tapio Schneider, lead author of the study; he’s also a professor of environmental science and engineering at the California Institute of Technology