BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Measuring How Well Climate Models Calculate Effects of Clouds on Earth's Warming
Published: February 17, 2012
Posted: May 30, 2012

Cloud fraction is the dominant modulator of radiative fluxes. For this study, DOE scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory evaluated cloud fraction simulated in the IPCC AR4 GCMs against long-term, ground-based measurements. They focused on the vertical structure, total amount of cloud, and its effect on cloud shortwave transmissivity. Comparisons were performed for three climate regimes represented by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) sites: Southern Great Plains (SGP); Manus, Papua New Guinea; and North Slope of Alaska (NSA). Both inter-model deviation and model bias against observation were investigated. The results show that the model observation and inter-model deviations have similar magnitudes for the total cloud fraction and the normalized cloud effect, and these deviations are larger than those in surface downward solar radiation and cloud transmissivity. Similar deviation patterns between inter-model and model measurement comparisons suggest that the climate models tend to generate larger biases against observations for variables with larger inter-model deviation. The ARM measurements enabled the team to evaluate the seasonal variation of cloud vertical structures in the GCMs.

Reference: Qian, Y., C. N. Long, H. Wang, J. M. Comstock, S. A. McFarlane, and S. Xie. 2012. "Evaluation of Cloud Fraction and Its Radiative Effect Simulated by IPCC AR4 Global Models Against ARM Surface Observations," Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12, 1785-1810. DOI: 10.5194/acp-12-1785-2012. (Reference link)

Contact: Wanda Ferrell, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0043, Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105, Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3120
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)