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Title: Are atmospheric updrafts a key to unlocking climate forcing and sensitivity?

Both climate forcing and climate sensitivity persist as stubborn uncertainties limiting the extent to which climate models can provide actionable scientific scenarios for climate change. A key, explicit control on cloud–aerosol interactions, the largest uncertainty in climate forcing, is the vertical velocity of cloud-scale updrafts. Model-based studies of climate sensitivity indicate that convective entrainment, which is closely related to updraft speeds, is an important control on climate sensitivity. Updraft vertical velocities also drive many physical processes essential to numerical weather prediction. Vertical velocities and their role in atmospheric physical processes have been given very limited attention in models for climate and numerical weather prediction. The relevant physical scales range down to tens of meters and are thus frequently sub-grid and require parameterization. Many state-of-science convection parameterizations provide mass fluxes without specifying Vertical velocities and their role in atmospheric physical processes have been given very limited attention in models for climate and numerical weather prediction. The relevant physical scales range down to tens of meters and are thus frequently sub-grid and require parameterization. Many state-of-science convection parameterizations provide mass fluxes without specifying vs in climate models may capture this behavior, but it has not been accounted for when parameterizing cloud andmore » precipitation processes in current models. New observations of convective vertical velocities offer a potentially promising path toward developing process-level cloud models and parameterizations for climate and numerical weather prediction. Taking account of the scale dependence of resolved vertical velocities offers a path to matching cloud-scale physical processes and their driving dynamics more realistically, with a prospect of reduced uncertainty in both climate forcing and sensitivity.« less
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. (GFDL),National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Karlsruhe Inst. of Technology (KIT) (Germany)
  4. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Univ. Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. (GFDL)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1329440
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; SC0004534
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES