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

BER Research Highlights

Impacts of Tropical Clouds on Weather and Climate
Published: April 20, 2009
Posted: April 30, 2009

Scientists in DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program used high-resolution radar data from two ARM sites in the tropical western Pacific and found that the daily and vertically averaged solar radiation absorption in the area between the Earth's surface and the top of the atmosphere is same, whether tropical skies are cloudy or clear. They also found that the presence and vertical location of clouds greatly influence where the energy gets absorbed in the atmosphere even though clouds do not affect the average absorption.These findings are significant for climate change because the amount and location of solar absorption in the atmosphere drive air movement, which affects weather and climate.

Reference: McFarlane, S. A., J. H. Mather, T. P. Ackerman, and Z. Liu. 2008. Effect of clouds on the calculated vertical distribution of shortwave absorption in the tropics, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D18203, doi:10.1029/2008JD009791. website

Contact: Kiran Alapaty, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3175
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-23.1 Climate 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

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)