Speed Reads

The future is now?

Terrifying new climate study finds clouds could vanish from Earth within a generation

Nearly everyone has experienced the childhood joy of lying back in the grass and watching the clouds. But a horrifying new study proposes that due to rapid climate change, future generations might not have many clouds to look at — and that's not even the scariest part.

The chilling report, detailed in Quanta Magazine, explains that stratocumulus clouds (those are the big, fluffy, pretty ones) serve an important role in reflecting sunlight back into space and keeping the temperature on Earth stable. But scientists have found that there is a point of no return as more of the clouds break up due to rising temperatures, and the planet steadily becomes hotter as a result.

The really scary part? We could hit that point in our children's lifetime:

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the cloud research, simulations, models, and findings, but at this point it sure doesn't look good. Read the full study, and what scientists say can still be done, at Quanta.