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Simulation Quality of Polar Cloud Variability

PI: Duane Waliser
Institution: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Additional Investigators: Ryan Fuller, Jui-Lin (Frank) Li, Jonathan Jiang
Our objective is to examine the simulation quality of polar clouds and associated hydrological processes. We are motivated by a relatively new instrument, the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), aboard the Aura platform. Apart from measuring a number of chemical constituents, it also has the ability to estimate profiles of cloud ice. Satellite-based information, and thus global information, on this quantity have been challenging to obtain. Nadir viewing (IR/visible) instruments have to make a number of assumptions in order to obtain cloud ice retrievals, and over the cold, bright polar surface the problem becomes terribly difficult. The MLS on the other hand is a limb sounder that can probe deep into the polar atmosphere, and provide contemporaneous profiles of temperature and water vapor as well. This provides an altogether new resource to examine cloud variability in the polar regions - regions that of course are particularly sensitive to the prospect of global warming. Thus our intent is to utilize this resource to examine how well a sample of GCMs represent polar cloud variability. Our initial focus will be on the control experiments using monthly data on the total ice amount, as well as related quantities such as precipitation, cloud fraction, temperature and relative humidity.
  • Vavrus, S., and D. E. Waliser, 2008: Simulations of Late 20th and 21st Century Arctic Clouds in the Global Climate Models Assessed in the IPCC AR4. Climate Dynamics. Accepted. Abstract. Edit.
  • Vavrus, S., and D. E. Waliser, 2008: An improved parameterization for simulating Arctic cloud amount in the CCSM3 climate model.. Journal of Climate. In press. Abstract. Edit.

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