Research objectives and content
In the tropics deep convection is the major source of water vapour for the free-troposphere. Thus cloud microphysical processes do not only determine cloud properties, but must also be central to the way that convection moistens the environment. To accurately determine cloud and water vapour feedbacks in the climate change problem, the key microphysical processes must be identified and the way they interact understood.
Computing resources now permit a new use of cloud resolving models (CRMs) to investigate convective processes, by allowing the long integration times necessary for an equilibrium status to be achieved.
The aim is to use a CRM to identify the microphysical processes that determine the magnitude and vertical profile of convective water transport in cases of both enhanced and suppressed convection.
The initial experiments will be conducted using a homogeneous sea surface temperature (SST). Further investigations will use underlying SST gradients, to explicitly represent the interaction between convective and large-scale motions.
The results of these experiments will then be used to test the methodology of the convective and cloud parameterization schemes in the Max Planck global circulation model and will lead to improvements in the way tropical clouds are represented in global models.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Conducting this research at the Max Planck Institut would enable me to benefit from the vast experience in large-scale global modelling that exists there, and provide access to the necessary super-computing facilities. Additionally, the project would introduce cloud resolving modelling to the Max Planck Institut, and will strengthen the European tropical climate research effort.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)