Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling
01 December 2016

Clouds at Barbados are Representative of Clouds across the Trade-Wind Regions in Observations and Climate Models


This paper shows that clouds near Barbados exhibit similar properties to those over much of the tropical oceans. This finding allows observations taken at Barbados to be generalized to the broader tropics. 



The same approach is applied to climate models to show that errors in simulated clouds near Barbados are similar to errors across the tropical oceans. The errors are related to the representation of the vertical structure of clouds and the boundary layer and the underlying turbulent and convective mixing that create the clouds. 



Because trade wind clouds are a key contribution to the spread in climate model estimates of climate sensitivity, improvements in these clouds could reduce uncertainty in climate projections.


Brian Medeiros
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)