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Water & Energy Cycles

We will integrate satellite observations together with high-resolution models in order to characterize cloud transitions in the tropics and subtropics and to develop parameterizations of cumulus convection in ocean-atmosphere coupled systems. What physical processes are behind the transitions from stratocumulus to cumulus, and between shallow and deep cumulus, is still an open question. An obvious consequence is that, despite advances, the representation of these processes in climate and weather models is still deficient. Shallow cumulus convection plays a key role in these transitions. The shallow convection boundary layer is the mediator between stratocumulus regimes (key contributors to cloud radiative forcing) and deep convection regimes that control tropical circulations. The cloudy boundary layer has been difficult to observe from space, which has prevented a detailed understanding of its global scale properties. During the last few years, several satellite instruments have improved our ability to measure these properties. We will exploit the potential of instruments such as AIRS, CALIPSO, GPS radio occultation, Cloudsat, ISCCP, scatterometry, MODIS and MISR. We will use high-resolution models in order to better characterize shallow and deep convection. We will evaluate convection parameterizations in the GMAO, NCAR and GISS coupled and uncoupled versions. This will be done in the context of the GPCI cross-section, where models are evaluated along a Pacific Ocean transect that contains important regimes: stratocumulus, shallow cumulus, deep cumulus, and the transitions between them. We will develop, validate and implement boundary layer convection parameterizations based on the Eddy-Diffusivity/Mass-Flux (EDMF) approach. A more realistic characterization and parameterization of the convective boundary layer will: (i) allow for more realistic simulations of present and future climate, (ii) provide insight into the physics behind the transitions between stratocumulus, shallow cumulus and deep cumulus, and (iii) add new data sets to fulfill the goals of the MAP program.

Project PI: Joao Teixeira/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 169-237 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109

Phone: (818)354-2762

Fax: (818)393-4619

Email: teixeira@jpl.nasa.gov

http://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/Teixeira/

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010

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