Research

Modeling

Models give us the ability to predict the future and better understand the underlying mechanisms that govern the atmosphere and oceans. 

In our group we run simulations to understand how different processes interact and affect the climate. 

We evaluate simulations performed by other modeling centers, and perform our own simulations on the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputer

Earth observations

Observations of the atmosphere play a critical role in evaluating the models that we use to predict the future. 

Our group uses spaceborne remote sensing and in situ measurements to better understand clouds and  climate.

Cloud feedback

The flow of energy in and out of the Earth system is modulated by clouds. 

Boundary layer clouds strongly affect the reflection of sunlight back to space while high clouds affect the flow of heat. 

This means that the response of clouds act as a strong feedback on warming. The complex, multi-scale behavior of clouds lead to the uncertainty in climate sensitivity predicted by global climate models being dominated by cloud feedback. 

Our group examines how models represent clouds and the behavior of clouds in observations of the present day climate to better constrain cloud feedback.

Aerosol-cloud interactions

Aerosols have the potential to interact with clouds, changing their microphysical properties and processes, which in turn may change the macrophysical behavior of the clouds (e.g. thickness and extent). 

The most robust aerosol-cloud interaction (aci) is to increase the number concentration of cloud droplets and the light reflected by clouds back to space. 

We examine observations and models to better constrain the degree to which aerosol affect cloud properties and the overall flows of radiation in the Earth system.