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Revealing differences in GCM representations of low clouds

Revealing differences in GCM representations of low clouds,10.1007/s00382-009-0694-5,Climate Dynamics,Brian Medeiros,Bjorn Stevens

Revealing differences in GCM representations of low clouds   (Citations: 2)
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Aquaplanet configurations of four atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs) are compared with standard, Earth-like configurations and observations. The focus here is on tropical, low-level clouds, which have been identified as important for estimates of climate sensitivity. Investigating the distribution of the monthly mean vertical velocity and lower-tropospheric stability, the aquaplanets are seen to capture the core of the distribution of the more Earth-like configurations, whose distributions are, in turn, similar to that of reanalysis data. By conditionally sampling over these distributions, low-cloud regimes are defined, separating shallow cumulus convection from stratocumulus. Within each regime, the GCMs produce similar large-scale environments, yet disparate depictions of the clouds. Aquaplanets lack stratocumulus because of their zonally symmetric boundary conditions, but produce extensive trade-wind regions populated by shallow cumulus clouds just like those in the Earth-like setting. The analysis shows that aquaplanets can be compared with observations, just as well as the Earth-like configuration, with the added ability to focus on particular regimes without complications from geographical or temporal biases.
Journal: Climate Dynamics - CLIM DYNAM , vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 385-399, 2011
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    • ...Medeiros and Stevens, 2010; Nuijens et al., 2009]...
    • ...The criteria used are twofold, following Medeiros and Stevens [2010]: first, a dynamic constraint requiring subsiding motion through the lower troposphere (i.e., w ≥ 10 hPa d −1 at 500 and 700 hPa), and second, a thermodynamic constraint that requires the lower‐tropospheric stability to match that of radiosondes launched during RICO (12.26K ≤ LTS ≤ 14.14K, which is the mean value ±0.5s)...
    • ...Medeiros and Stevens 2010], with the advantage of larger sample size...

    Brian Medeiroset al. Low-latitude boundary layer clouds as seen by CALIPSO

    • ...The validity of using w700 to constrain dynamic regimes has been demonstrated extensively [e.g., Bony et al., 2004; Bony and Dufresne, 2005; Norris and Iacobellis, 2005; Medeiros and Stevens, 2010]...
    • ...The amount of low‐level clouds is closely related to the inversion strength [Klein and Hartmann, 1993; Wood and Bretherton, 2006; Medeiros and Stevens, 2010], because inversion at the top of the boundary layer is the favorable condition for cloud formation and maintenance of existing clouds...

    Wenying Suet al. An estimate of aerosol indirect effect from satellite measurements wit...

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