Poster Session P1.83 Challenging cloud physicists

Monday, 28 June 2010
Exhibit Hall (DoubleTree by Hilton Portland)
Roland List, Prof. Roland List, Toronto, ON, Canada

Handout (877.8 kB)

Cloud physicists and dynamicists have gotten more and more enamored in the challenges of climate change - to the detriment of their former fields. Thus, the intellectual input into cloud physics has diminished and some areas have become static and staid, and remained undeveloped. The move to larger space and time scales has further led the development away from the cloud and precipitation scale. Statistics is a necessary tool in physics. However, its application is set in physical context. Unfettered applications have now taken over in atmosphere-related measurements, and data have to fulfill criteria of “significance”. Thus aircraft measurements are often taken over distances exceeding in-cloud processes but are, nevertheless, used for applications at cloud scales. The same is observed in radar meteorology where the resolution with the finest radars is too coarse and gives waste particles, i.e. particles rejected in precipitation processes, “control” over what is then stated to happen. Other areas of concern are cloud models that all show smooth updrafts (see all relevant text books!), thus disregarding the packaging of rain and hail into entities of limited dimensions. Are these particles ensembles randomly distributed, or is there a periodicity involved? Our Doppler radar measurements of hail falling in thin sheets of limited width and height that have been independently duplicated in high resolution dynamic clod models by the South Dakota group, need to become a major concern of cloud modeling. And, most importantly for climate modeling, where are the models of the physics and dynamics of precipitation formation? Progress has been made, but it has not been picked up by modelers with a grasp of cloud physics and dynamics. No wonder that climate modelers are now considering to replacing “messy” cloud physics by statistics – without any basis in cloud and cloud microphysics. It is more “accurate” an leads to “better” results. Statistics is easier to accommodate without considering the difficulties of the real world! Do you want to stand on the sideline and watch?
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