Earth Buzz @ the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes

Creating clouds in the computer

We need to know how clouds work to understand changes in our climate.

Clouds are central to any weather or climate simulation. Clouds reflect sunlight, warm the Earth like a blanket at night, move lots of air (and pollution) up and down, and, of course, produce all of our rain and snow.

Scientists are using computer models to understand the Earth's climate, but clouds are many times smaller than the cloud grid cells used in global models of weather and climate. The grid cells are typically the size of Delaware, but there could be thousands of clouds in Delaware at any given time. Most models can determine whether or not the entire grid cell is cloudy, but they can't represent the individual clouds. So researchers at the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) are working on ways to more accurately factor clouds into climate models.

Courtesy Kables.