We try to better understand which processes control the distribution and evolution of clouds residing at high altitudes in the tropics. A large effort is directed towards correctly representing convectively detrained anvil cirrus clouds, which have been found to be the radiatively dominant cloud type in this area and have not been adequately studied yet. For this purpose, the Exascale Earth System Model coupled to an innovative unified cloud scheme is used in combination with satellite data. This newly developed model is able to simulate areas with multiple cloud species in a better way compared to other climate models. We evaluate the model simulations of tropical clouds with satellite data to find the main source of the model bias.
Furthermore, we focus on the model representation of processes such turbulence, cloud radiative effects, or microphysical processes controlling the detrained ice mass and test which processes are crucial for the life cycle of tropical anvil cirrus clouds (Fig. 1b). We also explore the dependence of anvil cloud representation on vertical model resolution.