When it comes to climate change predictions, clouds are a pain in the butt. In fact, according to the IPCC, they’re the largest pain in the butt. They’re pretty squirrelly things: small, fast, and variable in shape, size and behavior, which makes them really challenging for climate scientists to work with. Clouds also have a big impact on the climate — and could potentially make the effects of climate change much worse.

That’s why Joel Norris, a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, decided that it’s time to get cirrus about understanding clouds. His goal: to search through old satellite records to find how the skyscape has changed with global warming and what might be in store for the future. Watch our video to learn more about these misunderstood meteorological formations.