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European project on cloud systems in climate models

European project on cloud systems in climate models

Objective

Problems to be solved
Current climate models contain important deficiencies in the representation of cloud systems. Well known symptoms, when comparing model simulation of the present climate with observations, is the lack of stratocumulus over the ocean, of incorrect diurnal cycle of cumulus and precipitating deep convection over continents, and lack of sensitivity of deep convection development to the moisture profile. Clouds remain one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change predictions.
Scientific objectives and approach
The strategy to address these issues is based on the use of the hierarchy of models and observations to integrate cloud studies across the full range of scales. Numerical models range from General Circulation Models (GCM) through Single Column models (SCM) to Cloud Resolving Models (CRM) and Large Eddy Simulations (LES). Observations, which will be used, vary from global satellite measurements to local observations of individual clouds through lidar and millimetric radar. A comprehensive 4-D database will be established using several LES models and CRMs of specific cases. These cases relate to the critical problems noted above associated with the prediction of clouds in regional and global climate and Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. The LES/CRM datasets will be used to investigate deficiencies in climate and NWP models using 9 different SCMs as a test bed. Specific issues to be addressed will be the general failure of regional and global models to predict stratocumulus amounts, the diurnal triggering of boundary layer convection and deep precipitating convection over land, and the lack of sensitivity of deep convection development on moisture profile in these models. Once reasons for deficiencies have been identified, physically based corrections will be introduced in SCMs and GCMs. The project will aim to improve climate and NWP models ability to represent both the mean structure (horizontally and vertically) and time variability of cloud water and amount for the critical cases defined above. Six different European climate models will participate.
Expected impacts
The results will help narrowing the uncertainties in global and regional climate models and climate predictions. The results will also be important for weather prediction and may contribute to better forecast of severe precipitation events and flooding.

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Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE

Address

Avenue Gustave Coriolis 42, C.N.R. Mtttorologique
31057 Toulouse

France

Administrative Contact

Katherine PIQUET-GAUTHIER (Mr)

Participants (11)

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CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE

France

ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE

France

EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR MEDIUM-RANGE WEATHER FORECASTS

United Kingdom

INSTITUTO DE CIENCIAS DA TERRA E DO ESPACO

Portugal

INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE METEOROLOGIA

Spain

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.

Germany

METEO-FRANCE

France

ROYAL NETHERLANDS METEOROLOGICAL INSTITUTE

Netherlands

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE - MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

United Kingdom

SWEDISH METEOROLOGICAL AND HYDROLOGICAL INSTITUTE

Sweden

UTRECHT UNIVERSITY

Netherlands

Project information

Grant agreement ID: EVK2-CT-1999-00051

  • Start date

    1 March 2000

  • End date

    28 February 2003

Funded under:

FP5-EESD

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 111 850

  • EU contribution

    € 1 185 900

Coordinated by:

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE

France