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Atmospheric Composition, Climate Variability & Change

Cloud radiative forcing remains one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate projections. Aerosol-cloud interactions can also alter cloud radiative forcing, adding complexity and a strong anthropogenic influence to the problem. Furthermore, climate models are very sensitive to the representation of cold (all or partially ice) cloud processes. These processes are particularly important in the upper troposphere, and in the polar regions. In this proposal, we describe a plan to address pressing model development and evaluation issues related to clouds and aerosols. We will implement state-of-the-art cloud microphysics and aerosol-cloud interactions in the NASA-Goddard Earth Observation System (GEOS) modeling system. We will then characterize and reduce model uncertainties related to cold cloud and aerosol processes using an innovative “weather” approach to diagnostics that incorporates detailed comparisons with observations. Finally, we will use climate models and satellite observations to investigate the influence of cold cloud processes on climate. Our analysis will make extensive use of NASA Earth Observation System (EOS) platform sensors (e.g., A-train) for process evaluation, and will also make use of NASA Modern Era Retrospective - analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) retrospective analysis system for long-term statistics to assess variability. We anticipate three outcomes from our proposed efforts: 1) community climate models will be updated to reflect recent advances in modeling of cloud and aerosol processes, 2) new diagnostic tools will be utilized, evaluated, and shared with the climate modeling community, and finally 3) an improved understanding of the effects of cold cloud processes on climate will be gained.

Project PI: Andrew Gettelman/National Center for Atmospheric Research

National Center for Atmospheric Research Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000 USA

Phone: (303)497-1887

Fax:  (303)497-1492   Email: andrew@ucar.edu

http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/andrew/

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010

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