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Climate Variability & Change, Water & Energy Cycles

Two research themes are proposed. The first will focus on understanding the basic distribution of low clouds in satellite measurements and its simulation in three general circulation models (GCMs) - the NCAR Community Atmospheric Model (CAM) and the NASA GISS and GSFC global climate models. We propose large-eddy simulations (LESs) of low clouds over the northeast subtropical Pacific by using atmospheric forcing that is observationally constrained by satellite measurements and modern reanalysis products. We will use the same forcing to drive single-column models (SCMs) and evaluate physical representation of low clouds in the three GCMs against measurements and LES results. Idealized forcing will be constructed from twice daily observational data to aid the interpretation of model processes. The second theme will focus on response of clouds to external forcing and cloud-climate feedbacks. We will first study the seasonal variation of low clouds. We will use LES simulations with seasonally varying forcing to test a hypothesis on the mechanism of observed cloud variations between summer and winter. We will then use SCMs with seasonal as well as idealized climate change forcing to study the response of low clouds in the GCMs. We will finally design ensemble physical models, based on improved understanding of model processes, to investigate cloud-climate feedbacks over the Northeast subtropical Pacific. The proposed research will lead to better understanding of physical processes of turbulence, convection, condensation, and large-scale circulations in regions of low clouds as well as to improved representation of low clouds in GCMs. It will also advance our understanding of climate feedbacks associated with low clouds, leading to more reliable projection of future climate changes from models.

Project PI: Minghua Zhang/Stony Brook University

Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000

Phone: 631-632-8318

Fax: 631-632-8820

Email: mzhang@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

http://atmgcm.msrc.sunysb.edu/

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010

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