Investigating the Role of Electrified Clouds in the Global Electric Circuit with Emphasis on Oceanic and Non-lightning Producing Clouds

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Wiebke Deierling, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and C. P. Kalb, M. Peterson, A. Baumgaertner, C. Liu, and D. Mach

Electrified clouds play a major role in the global electric circuit (GEC). One of their contributions to the GEC is supplying current from cloud tops that helps maintain a potential difference between earth's surface and the upper atmosphere. Previous studies have looked at quantifying the contribution of currents from different electrified cloud types using observational data. This study investigates the role of different electrified clouds based on high resolution model simulations from the Community Earth System Model (CESM) for different temporal scales. In CESM, electrified cloud currents are parameterized using model microphysical and dynamical cloud properties. Simulated global current distributions will be compared to ones estimated from observational data and then separated into cloud categories. Then contributions from these cloud categories in particular oceanic and non-lightning producing ones will be compared. Initial results will be shown.