Latest News

Tracking the role of clouds in climate change

The role clouds play in climate change remains a mystery, but the EUCLIPSE ('Cloud intercomparison, process study and evaluation project') project is set to shed light on this issue by using state-of- the-art technology to produce an accurate picture of the relation of clouds to changing weather patterns. The EU-funded project, backed to the tune of EUR 3.5 million, aims at helping meteorologists predict more accurately future worldwide patterns of climate change.

We live with them all our lives, but how often do most of us look up and notice the extraordinarily complex shapes and formations made by the millions of drops of water vapour that condense in the sky to form clouds?
We take their role in the ecosystem for granted, but clouds play a central role in the formation of the world's weather patterns in terms of rainfall, sunshine hours and temperature. And now with the changing of traditional worldwide weather patterns -due to climate change - their role is being given close attention.

The four-year collaborative project will study the role of clouds in contributing to climate change. EUCLIPSE involves 13 research institutions led by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. Other prestigious institutes participating in the project are the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany.

The research will be led by Professor Pier Siebesma of TU Delft. The project's aim is to produce much clearer current climate models to shed more light on the role that clouds are playing in climate change.

Climate models give predictions on changes in the climate. Currently, however, they are not accurate enough because of deviating weather patterns that are triggered by these changes. Existing climate models show how low cloud responds differently in various models due to CO2 in the atmosphere. Being able, therefore, to predict the behaviour of cloud is of vital importance in climate change prediction.

A new climate model called EC-Earth will be used to calculate the behaviour of clouds in an increasingly warm climate using high resolution models to represent clouds in a realistic way.

The project will be divided into a series of Work Packages which will, among others, use Earth System Modelling (ESM) predicting systems to carry out simulation activities. These will include evaluating how clouds behave in a warming climate, assessing the behaviour of clouds in different climates, quantifying climate sensitivity to identify cloud behaviour in different regions, and simulating extreme weather and temperature conditions in Europe with relevant cloud behaviour.

A series of case studies will also be carried out and EUCLIPSE will use a new range of satellites which for the first time will be able to depict clouds three-dimensionally.

These 'A-train' satellites are equipped with active radar and lidar systems, and will be used for critical testing of climate models. Their results will be used for the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and will give a much clearer picture of how cloud formation is responding to climate change.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fair Science Designed by Roxblog - Copyright © 2014

Theme images by Bim. Powered by Blogger.