Monday, March 14, 2016

Revisiting the Scattering Greenhouse Effect of CO2 ice Clouds

Revisiting the scattering greenhouse effect of CO2 ice clouds


Kitzmann et al


Carbon dioxide ice clouds are thought to play an important role for cold terrestrial planets with thick CO2 dominated atmospheres. Various previous studies showed that a scattering greenhouse effect by carbon dioxide ice clouds could result in a massive warming of the planetary surface. However, all of these studies only employed simplified two-stream radiative transfer schemes to describe the anisotropic scattering. Using accurate radiative transfer models with a general discrete ordinate method, this study revisits this important effect and shows that the positive climatic impact of carbon dioxide clouds was strongly overestimated in the past. The revised scattering greenhouse effect can have important implications for the early Mars, but also for planets like the early Earth or the position of the outer boundary of the habitable zone.

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