Progress on Understanding Cloud-Radiation Interactions

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 07:00
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At the previous Climate Modeling PI Meeting, I presented a novel technique for diagnosing cloud feedbacks, quantifying the contributions from individual cloud types, and separating the feedback among changes in several gross cloud properties: the cloud radiative kernel. Since then, the cloud radiative kernel has been used to provide insight into the role of clouds in the planet's radiation budget, with studies that fall into two basic categories: First, we have diagnosed the impact of cloud changes on estimates of radiative forcing from a variety of agents. These include rapid cloud adjustments that increase the positive radiative forcing from CO2, aerosol-cloud interactions that enhance the negative forcing from aerosols, and poleward cloud shifts accompanying jet shifts associated with the ozone hole in causing a net planetary heating. Second, we have quantified the temperature-mediated cloud feedbacks in response to both greenhouse warming forced by CO2 and interannual climate fluctuations associated with ENSO. In this presentation I will highlight our recent findings from these studies. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. It is supported by the Regional and Global Climate Modeling Program of the Office of Science at the DOE.

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