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Cloud Behaviour in Large-scale Circulation Regimes of the Tropics

PI: Sandrine Bony
Institution: Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique du C.N.R.S.
Cloud radiative feedbacks are likely to explain part of the climate sensitivity spread among climate models. This project aims at evaluating and better understanding the behaviour of clouds simulated by the different coupled models participating to the IPCC AR4. The focus will be put on tropical regions. This project has two main objectives:

1) To analyze and to evaluate against observations the behaviour of tropical clouds simulated by the models on interannual to decadal timescales during the 20th century.

Emphasis will be put on:
- the presence of trends
- the sensitivity of clouds and cloud radiative forcing to changes in sea surface temperature.

2) To analyze the changes in cloudiness and in cloud radiative forcing simulated by the models in climate change scenarios.

Emphasis will be put on:
- the relationship, for each individual model, between the behaviour of clouds simulated in the current climate and in a global climate change.
- the influence of large-scale circulation changes.
- the relationship between cloud changes and climate sensitivity.

Composites of cloud properties within large-scale circulation regimes of the Tropics (Bony S, J-L Dufresne, H Le Treut, J-J Morcrette and C Senior, 2004: "On dynamic and thermodynamic components of cloud changes", Climate Dynamics, 22, 71-86).

Coupled models simulations analyzed in priority:
- 20th century simulation to year 2000.
- 1% CO2 run to doubling or quadrupling of CO2.
  • Bony, S., and J.-L. Dufresne, 2005: Marine boundary layer clouds at the heart of tropical cloud feedback uncertainties in climate models. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L20806, doi:10.1029/2005GL023851. Abstract. Edit.

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