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


Small Ice Crystals in High-altitude Clouds Do Impact Global Circulations
Published: May 04, 2009
Posted: May 11, 2009

Scientists in DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program used a global climate model and found that moderate changes in the concentration of small ice crystals in high-altitude clouds, known as Cirrus clouds, had a large impact on the predicted climate.  Using ARM measurements, new mathematical descriptions of ice particle sizes and concentrations, falling speeds, and radiative properties of cirrus clouds were incorporated into a community global climate model.  Moderate increases in small ice crystal concentrations produced lower fall speeds, more cirrus cloud coverage (a 5.5% global increase) and ice content, and warmer atmosphere temperatures (over 3° C) at high altitudes.  In the tropical regions these changes had an overall cooling effect, but a warming effect elsewhere.  Since the present methods to measure concentrations of small ice crystals in cirrus clouds have a high degree of uncertainty, these modeling results underscore the need to improve measurements for better quantification of climate change prediction.

Reference: Mitchell, D.L., P.J. Rasch, D. Ivanova, G.M. McFarquhar, T. Nousiainen (2008), Impact of small ice crystal assumptions on ice sedimentation rates in cirrus clouds and GCM simulations.  Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L09806, doi:10.1029/2008GL033552 

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

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

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)