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Steven C. Sherwood, Sandrine Bony, Olivier Boucher, Chris Bretherton, Piers M. Forster, Jonathan M. Gregory, and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

The traditional forcing–feedback framework has provided an indispensable basis for discussing global climate changes. However, as analysis of model behavior has become more detailed, shortcomings and ambiguities in the framework have become more evident, and physical effects unaccounted for by the traditional framework have become interesting. In particular, the new concept of adjustments, which are responses to forcings that are not mediated by the global-mean temperature, has emerged. This concept, related to the older ones of climate efficacy and stratospheric adjustment, is a more physical way of capturing unique responses to specific forcings. We present a pedagogical review of the adjustment concept, why it is important, and how it can be used. The concept is particularly useful for aerosols, where it helps to organize what has become a complex array of forcing mechanisms. It also helps clarify issues around cloud and hydrological response, transient versus equilibrium climate change, and geoengineering.

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C. R. Mechoso, R. Wood, R. Weller, C. S. Bretherton, A. D. Clarke, H. Coe, C. Fairall, J. T. Farrar, G. Feingold, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, J. McWilliams, S. P. de Szoeke, S. E. Yuter, and P. Zuidema

The present paper describes the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS), an international research program focused on the improved understanding and modeling of the southeastern Pacific (SEP) climate system on diurnal to interannual time scales. In the framework of the SEP climate, VOCALS has two fundamental objectives: 1) improved simulations by coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (CGCMs), with an emphasis on reducing systematic errors in the region; and 2) improved estimates of the indirect effects of aerosols on low clouds and climate, with an emphasis on the more precise quantification of those effects. VOCALS major scientific activities are outlined, and selected achievements are highlighted. Activities described include monitoring in the region, a large international field campaign (the VOCALS Regional Experiment), and two model assessments. The program has already produced significant advances in the understanding of major issues in the SEP: the coastal circulation and the diurnal cycle, the ocean heat budget, factors controlling precipitation and formation of pockets of open cells in stratocumulus decks, aerosol impacts on clouds, and estimation of the first aerosol indirect effect. The paper concludes with a brief presentation on VOCALS contributions to community capacity building before a summary of scientific findings and remaining questions.

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Bjorn Stevens, Gabor Vali, Kimberly Comstock, Robert Wood, Margreet C. van Zanten, Philip H. Austin, Christopher S. Bretherton, and Donald H. Lenschow

Data from recent field studies in the northeast and southeast Pacific are used to investigate pockets of open cells (POCs) that are embedded in otherwise uniform stratocumulus. The cellular structure within a POC resembles broader regions of open cellular convection typically found further offshore. In both regions, cells are composed of precipitating cell walls and cell interiors with depleted cloud water and even clearing. POCs are long lived and embedded in broader regions of stratocumulus where average droplet sizes are relatively large. In contrast, stratiform, or unbroken, cloud formations tend to be accompanied by less, or no, drizzle, suggesting that precipitation is necessary for the sustenance of the open cellular structure. Because, by definition, open cells are associated with a reduction in cloud cover these observations provide direct evidence of a connection between cloudiness and precipitation—a linchpin of hypotheses that posit a connection between changes in the atmospheric aerosol and climate.

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C.-H. Moeng, W. R. Cotton, C. Bretherton, A. Chlond, M. Khairoutdinov, S. Krueger, W. S. Lewellen, M. K. MacVean, J. R. M. Pasquier, H. A. Rand, A. P. Siebesma, B. Stevens, and R. I. Sykes

This paper reports an intercomparison study of a stratocumulus-topped planetary boundary layer (PBL) generated from ten 3D large eddy simulation (LES) codes and four 2D cloud-resolving models (CRMs). These models vary in the numerics, the parameterizations of the subgrid-scale (SGS) turbulence and condensation processes, and the calculation of longwave radiative cooling. Cloud-top radiative cooling is often the major source of buoyant production of turbulent kinetic energy in the stratocumulus-topped PBL. An idealized nocturnal stratocumulus case was selected for this study. It featured a statistically horizontally homogeneous and nearly solid cloud deck with no drizzle, no solar radiation, little wind shear, and little surface heating.

Results of the two-hour simulations showed that the overall cloud structure, including cloud-top height, cloud fraction, and the vertical distributions of many turbulence statistics, compared well among all LESs despite the code variations. However, the entrainment rate was found to differ significantly among the simulations. Among the model uncertainties due to numerics, SGS turbulence, SGS condensation, and radiation, none could be identified to explain such differences. Therefore, a follow-up study will focus on simulating the entrainment process. The liquid water mixing ratio profiles also varied significantly among the simulations; these profiles are sensitive to the algorithm used for computing the saturation mixing ratio.

Despite the obvious differences in eddy structure in two- and three-dimensional simulations, the cloud structure predicted by the 2D CRMs was similar to that obtained by the 3D LESs, even though the momentum fluxes, the vertical and horizontal velocity variances, and the turbulence kinetic energy profiles predicted by the 2D CRMs all differ significantly from those of the LESs.

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J. Teixeira, B. Stevens, C. S. Bretherton, R. Cederwall, J. D. Doyle, J. C . Golaz, A. A. M. Holtslag, S. A . Klein, J. K. Lundquist, D. A. Randall, A. P. Siebesma, and P. M. M. Soares
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Bjorn Stevens, Donald H. Lenschow, Gabor Vali, Hermann Gerber, A. Bandy, B. Blomquist, J. -L. Brenguier, C. S. Bretherton, F. Burnet, T. Campos, S. Chai, I. Faloona, D. Friesen, S. Haimov, K. Laursen, D. K. Lilly, S. M. Loehrer, Szymon P. Malinowski, B. Morley, M. D. Petters, D. C. Rogers, L. Russell, V. Savic-Jovcic, J. R. Snider, D. Straub, Marcin J. Szumowski, H. Takagi, D. C. Thornton, M. Tschudi, C. Twohy, M. Wetzel, and M. C. van Zanten

The second Dynamics and Chemistry of Marine Stratocumulus (DYCOMS-II) field study is described. The field program consisted of nine flights in marine stratocumulus west-southwest of San Diego, California. The objective of the program was to better understand the physics a n d dynamics of marine stratocumulus. Toward this end special flight strategies, including predominantly nocturnal flights, were employed to optimize estimates of entrainment velocities at cloud-top, large-scale divergence within the boundary layer, drizzle processes in the cloud, cloud microstructure, and aerosol–cloud interactions. Cloud conditions during DYCOMS-II were excellent with almost every flight having uniformly overcast clouds topping a well-mixed boundary layer. Although the emphasis of the manuscript is on the goals and methodologies of DYCOMS-II, some preliminary findings are also presented—the most significant being that the cloud layers appear to entrain less and drizzle more than previous theoretical work led investigators to expect.

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Greg M. McFarquhar, Christopher S. Bretherton, Roger Marchand, Alain Protat, Paul J. DeMott, Simon P. Alexander, Greg C. Roberts, Cynthia H. Twohy, Darin Toohey, Steve Siems, Yi Huang, Robert Wood, Robert M. Rauber, Sonia Lasher-Trapp, Jorgen Jensen, Jeffrey L. Stith, Jay Mace, Junshik Um, Emma Järvinen, Martin Schnaiter, Andrew Gettelman, Kevin J. Sanchez, Christina S. McCluskey, Lynn M. Russell, Isabel L. McCoy, Rachel L. Atlas, Charles G. Bardeen, Kathryn A. Moore, Thomas C. J. Hill, Ruhi S. Humphries, Melita D. Keywood, Zoran Ristovski, Luke Cravigan, Robyn Schofield, Chris Fairall, Marc D. Mallet, Sonia M. Kreidenweis, Bryan Rainwater, John D’Alessandro, Yang Wang, Wei Wu, Georges Saliba, Ezra J. T. Levin, Saisai Ding, Francisco Lang, Son C. H. Truong, Cory Wolff, Julie Haggerty, Mike J. Harvey, Andrew R. Klekociuk, and Adrian McDonald

Abstract

Weather and climate models are challenged by uncertainties and biases in simulating Southern Ocean (SO) radiative fluxes that trace to a poor understanding of cloud, aerosol, precipitation, and radiative processes, and their interactions. Projects between 2016 and 2018 used in situ probes, radar, lidar, and other instruments to make comprehensive measurements of thermodynamics, surface radiation, cloud, precipitation, aerosol, cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), and ice nucleating particles over the SO cold waters, and in ubiquitous liquid and mixed-phase clouds common to this pristine environment. Data including soundings were collected from the NSF–NCAR G-V aircraft flying north–south gradients south of Tasmania, at Macquarie Island, and on the R/V Investigator and RSV Aurora Australis. Synergistically these data characterize boundary layer and free troposphere environmental properties, and represent the most comprehensive data of this type available south of the oceanic polar front, in the cold sector of SO cyclones, and across seasons. Results show largely pristine environments with numerous small and few large aerosols above cloud, suggesting new particle formation and limited long-range transport from continents, high variability in CCN and cloud droplet concentrations, and ubiquitous supercooled water in thin, multilayered clouds, often with small-scale generating cells near cloud top. These observations demonstrate how cloud properties depend on aerosols while highlighting the importance of dynamics and turbulence that likely drive heterogeneity of cloud phase. Satellite retrievals confirmed low clouds were responsible for radiation biases. The combination of models and observations is examining how aerosols and meteorology couple to control SO water and energy budgets.

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