Students review illustrations, maps, cross-sections, and graphs that tell a piece of the story about the effects of clouds on climate. They answer "True and False" questions about each visual and discuss what they take away from the information.
Provide students with the following question to help them put the pieces together from the Get the Picture: Clouds and Climate Images.
Have students look at the image of Marine Stratocumulus Clouds. Explain that the image is from the GOES satellite, so the clouds are seen from above. Low clouds like these often form over the ocean off the west coast of South America. Over other subtropical oceans like this one, low clouds are also common.
Have students write an answer to the following question:
- What would happen to the climate if these clouds disappear?
- Instruct students to, in their answer, cite the Image numbers (1-5) that provide evidence to support your conclusion.
Answer: Low clouds have a cooling effect (Image 2) because they reflect solar energy out to space (Image 3), so without them, more energy would make it to the Earth’s surface (Image 4), and this would cause warming (Image 5).