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Examination of New CERES Data for Evidence of Tropical Iris Feedback

Chambers, L. H., B. Lin, and D. Young (2002), Examination of New CERES Data for Evidence of Tropical Iris Feedback, J. Climate, 15, 3719.

New data products from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Satellite have been examined in the context of the recently proposed adaptive tropical infrared Iris hypothesis. The CERES Single Scanner Footprint data products combine radiative fluxes with cloud properties obtained from a co-orbiting imaging instrument. This enables the use of cloud property– based definitions of the various regions in the simple Iris climate model. Regardless of definition, the radiative properties are found to be different from those assigned in the original Iris hypothesis. As a result, the strength of the feedback effect is reduced by a factor of 10 or more. Contrary to the initial Iris hypothesis, most of the definitions tested in this paper result in a small positive feedback. Thus, the existence of an effective infrared iris to counter greenhouse warming is not supported by the CERES data.