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

BER Research Highlights

Turning Shallow Puffy Clouds into Deep Showering Clouds
Published: October 12, 2010
Posted: November 03, 2010

DOE scientists used ARM Climate Research Facility long-term comprehensive observations from the Southern Great Plains site to systematically test theories for the transition of midday shallow puffy clouds to late-afternoon deep clouds that rain intensely. They found strong observational support for theories involving convection dynamics, lateral entrainment, and the increase of atmospheric moisture in the first few miles above the ground before the transition to deep clouds begin. They also confirmed the effect of surface conditions variability in the initiation and maintenance of deep clouds. This study is among the first to comprehensively validate these theories over land using ARM Climate Research Facility observational data. These observations and conclusions will be used to improve the representation of convective clouds in cloud-resolving climate models, addressing the well-known issues with the prediction of late-afternoon deep clouds and rain over land.

Reference: Zhang, Y. and S. A. Klein. 2010. "Mechanisms affecting the transition from shallow to deep convection over land: Inferences from observations of the diurnal cycle collected at the ARM Southern Great Plains site," Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 67(9), 2943-2959.

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

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)