The Climatic Influence of Earth Clouds (image) University of Chicago Caption Clouds exert a major influence on Earth¹s climate. If clouds only cooled the planet by reflecting solar energy back to space, Earth would completely ice over. But if clouds only warmed the planet by absorbing and reemitting infrared energy back to the surface, Earth would fry under a runaway greenhouse effect like the one on Venus. Credit Norman Kuring, NASA GSFC Usage Restrictions News organizations may use this image in connection with reports about the research of Dorian Abbot, Jun Yang and Nicolas Cowan. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.