blue Polar Mesospheric Clouds viewed from the International
Space Station (1)
You live in a town in Alaska. Your local government
is considering implementing mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions
to lessen the town's impact on climate. But there are some vocal opponents
who insist that it is premature to implement any restrictions because
climate change isn't really happening.
Two of the town council members say that you
can tell if the climate is changing just by observing the clouds overhead.
They say that the clouds will change if the climate changes. So if you
see changes in the clouds, you'll have evidence that the climate really
is changing. If you do not see changes in the clouds, you'll have evidence
that the climate is not changing.
You are on a science committee that is tasked with either defending or debunking this suggestion. If you defend it, you should recommend the kinds of changes to look for, in what kinds of clouds, over what time period, and why. If you debunk the suggestion you should describe why it is incorrect and recommend a better way to figure out if there is evidence that climate is changing.
(1) Photo credit:
Don Pettit and NASA TV.