A determination of the cloud feedback from climate variations over the past decade. Academic Article uri icon


  • Estimates of Earth's climate sensitivity are uncertain, largely because of uncertainty in the long-term cloud feedback. I estimated the magnitude of the cloud feedback in response to short-term climate variations by analyzing the top-of-atmosphere radiation budget from March 2000 to February 2010. Over this period, the short-term cloud feedback had a magnitude of 0.54 0.74 (2) watts per square meter per kelvin, meaning that it is likely positive. A small negative feedback is possible, but one large enough to cancel the climate's positive feedbacks is not supported by these observations. Both long- and short-wave components of short-term cloud feedback are also likely positive. Calculations of short-term cloud feedback in climate models yield a similar feedback. I find no correlation in the models between the short- and long-term cloud feedbacks.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 55.706

author list (cited authors)

  • Dessler, A. E.

citation count

  • 175

complete list of authors

  • Dessler, AE

publication date

  • December 2010