Influence of Cirrus Clouds on Weather and Climate Processes: A Global Perspective

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  • 1 Dept. of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
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Abstract

Current understanding and knowledge of the composition and structure of cirrus clouds are reviewed and documented in this paper. In addition, the radiative properties of cirrus clouds as they relate to weather and climate processes are described in detail. To place the relevance and importance of cirrus composition, structure and radiative properties into a global perspective, we present pertinent results derived from simulation experiments utilizing models with varying degrees of complexity, which have been carried out for the investigation of the influence of cirrus clouds on the thermodynamics and dynamics of the atmosphere. In light of these reviews, suggestions are outlined for cirrus-radiation activities aimed toward the development and improvement of weather and climate models for a physical understanding of cause and effect relationships and for prediction purposes.

Abstract

Current understanding and knowledge of the composition and structure of cirrus clouds are reviewed and documented in this paper. In addition, the radiative properties of cirrus clouds as they relate to weather and climate processes are described in detail. To place the relevance and importance of cirrus composition, structure and radiative properties into a global perspective, we present pertinent results derived from simulation experiments utilizing models with varying degrees of complexity, which have been carried out for the investigation of the influence of cirrus clouds on the thermodynamics and dynamics of the atmosphere. In light of these reviews, suggestions are outlined for cirrus-radiation activities aimed toward the development and improvement of weather and climate models for a physical understanding of cause and effect relationships and for prediction purposes.

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