Using Satellite Observations to Understand Cloud-Climate Interactions: The Subtropical Cloud Transition

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 11:45 AM
231ABC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Joao Teixeira, JPL, Pasadena, CA; and M. Lebsock, P. Kalmus, G. Matheou, and K. Suselj

Subtropical cloud regimes such as stratocumulus, cumulus and the transition from stratocumulus to cumulus, play a key role in cloud-climate interactions. Recent studies have highlighted the lack of complete understanding of this transition and the fact that climate models do not simulate in a realistic manner the physics of the transition. In this presentation, recent results on the global characterization of the subtropical cloud transition from satellite data are used to illustrate its essential properties and the key questions remaining for a complete understanding of the transition. The observations together with Large-Eddy Simulations (LES) of the cloud transition are used to develop parameterizations, simple models of the transition and a better understanding of the dynamics that leads to the ultimate demise of stratocumulus and its impact on climate.