Publications


Biomass burning aerosols in most climate models are too absorbing

Nature Communications Nature Research (part of Springer Nature) (2021)

H Brown, X Liu, R Pokhrel, S Murphy, Z Lu, R Saleh, T Mielonen, H Kokkola, T Bergman, G Myhre, R Skeie, D WATSON-PARRIS, P STIER, B Johnson, N Bellouin, M Schulz, V Vakkari, JP Beukes, PG van Zyl, S Liu, D Chand


A wavelet transform method to determine monsoon onset and retreat from precipitation time‐series

International Journal of Climatology Wiley (2021)

JL García‐Franco, S Osprey, LJ Gray

A new method to determine monsoon onset and retreat timings using wavelet transform methodology applied to precipitation time‐series at the pentad scale is described. The principal advantage of this method is its portability, since it can be easily adapted for any region and dataset. The application of the method is illustrated for the North American Monsoon and the Indian Monsoon using four different precipitation datasets and climate model output. The method is shown to be robust across all the datasets and both monsoon regions. The mean onset and retreat dates agree well with previous methods. Spatial distributions of the precipitation and circulation anomalies identified around the onset and retreat dates are also consistent with previous work and illustrate that this method may be used at the grid‐box scale, not just over large area‐averaged regions. The method is also used to characterise the strength and timing of the Midsummer drought in southern Mexico and Central America. A two peak structure is found to be a robust structure in only in 33% of the years, with other years showing only one peak or no signs of a bimodal distribution. The two‐peak structure analysed at the grid‐box scale is shown to be a significant signal in several regions of Central America and southern Mexico. The methodology is also applied to climate model output from the Met Office Hadley Centre UKESM1 and HadGEM3 CMIP6 experiments. The modelled onset and retreat dates agree well with observations in the North American Monsoon but not in the Indian Monsoon. The start and end of the modelled Midsummer drought in southern Mexico and Central America is delayed by one pentad and has a stronger bimodal signal than observed.


Machine learning for weather and climate are worlds apart.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 379 (2021) 20200098-

D Watson-Parris

Modern weather and climate models share a common heritage and often even components; however, they are used in different ways to answer fundamentally different questions. As such, attempts to emulate them using machine learning should reflect this. While the use of machine learning to emulate weather forecast models is a relatively new endeavour, there is a rich history of climate model emulation. This is primarily because while weather modelling is an initial condition problem, which intimately depends on the current state of the atmosphere, climate modelling is predominantly a boundary condition problem. To emulate the response of the climate to different drivers therefore, representation of the full dynamical evolution of the atmosphere is neither necessary, or in many cases, desirable. Climate scientists are typically interested in different questions also. Indeed emulating the steady-state climate response has been possible for many years and provides significant speed increases that allow solving inverse problems for e.g. parameter estimation. Nevertheless, the large datasets, non-linear relationships and limited training data make climate a domain which is rich in interesting machine learning challenges. Here, I seek to set out the current state of climate model emulation and demonstrate how, despite some challenges, recent advances in machine learning provide new opportunities for creating useful statistical models of the climate. This article is part of the theme issue 'Machine learning for weather and climate modelling'.


Impacts of varying concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei on deep convective cloud updrafts: A multimodel assessment

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences American Meteorological Society 78 (2021) 1147-1172

P Marinescu, S van den Heever, M Heikenfeld, A Barret, C Barthlott, C Hoose, J Fan, A Fridlind, T Matsui, A Miltenberger, P Stier, B Vie, B White, Y Zhang

This study presents results from a model intercomparison project, focusing on the range of responses in deep convective cloud updrafts to varying cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations among seven state-of-the-art cloud-resolving models. Simulations of scattered convective clouds near Houston, Texas, are conducted, after being initialized with both relatively low and high CCN concentrations. Deep convective updrafts are identified, and trends in the updraft intensity and frequency are assessed. The factors contributing to the vertical velocity tendencies are examined to identify the physical processes associated with the CCN-induced updraft changes. The models show several consistent trends. In general, the changes between the High-CCN and Low-CCN simulations in updraft magnitudes throughout the depth of the troposphere are within 15% for all of the models. All models produce stronger (~+5%–15%) mean updrafts from ~4–7 km above ground level (AGL) in the High-CCN simulations, followed by a waning response up to ~8 km AGL in most of the models. Thermal buoyancy was more sensitive than condensate loading to varying CCN concentrations in most of the models and more impactful in the mean updraft responses. However, there are also differences between the models. The change in the amount of deep convective updrafts varies significantly. Furthermore, approximately half the models demonstrate neutral-to-weaker (~−5% to 0%) updrafts above ~8 km AGL, while the other models show stronger (~+10%) updrafts in the High-CCN simulations. The combination of the CCN-induced impacts on the buoyancy and vertical perturbation pressure gradient terms better explains these middle- and upper-tropospheric updraft trends than the buoyancy terms alone.


A large-scale analysis of pockets of open cells and their radiative impact

Geophysical Research Letters American Geophysical Union (2021)

D Watson-Parris, S Sutherland, M Christensen, R Eastman, P Stier

Pockets of open cells sometimes form within closed‐cell stratocumulus cloud decks but little is known about their statistical properties or prevalence. A convolutional neural network was used to detect occurrences of pockets of open cells (POCs). Trained on a small hand‐logged dataset and applied to 13 years of satellite imagery the neural network is able to classify 8,491 POCs. This extensive database allows the first robust analysis of the spatial and temporal prevalence of these phenomena, as well as a detailed analysis of their micro‐physical properties. We find a large (30%) increase in cloud effective radius inside POCs as compared to their surroundings and similarly large (20%) decrease in cloud fraction. This also allows their global radiative effect to be determined. Using simple radiative approximations we find that the instantaneous global annual mean top‐of‐atmosphere perturbation by all POCs is only 0.01 W/m2.


Origins of multi-decadal variability in sudden stratospheric warmings

Weather and Climate Dynamics Copernicus Publications 2 (2021) 205-231

O Dimdore-Miles, L Gray, S Osprey

Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are major disruptions of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) stratospheric polar vortex and occur on average approximately six times per decade in observation-based records. However, within these records, intervals of significantly higher and lower SSW rates are observed, suggesting the possibility of low-frequency variations in event occurrence. A better understanding of factors that influence this decadal variability may help to improve predictability of NH midlatitude surface climate, through stratosphere–troposphere coupling. In this work, multi-decadal variability of SSW events is examined in a 1000-year pre-industrial simulation of a coupled global climate model. Using a wavelet spectral decomposition method, we show that hiatus events (intervals of a decade or more with no SSWs) and consecutive SSW events (extended intervals with at least one SSW in each year) vary on multi-decadal timescales of periods between 60 and 90 years. Signals on these timescales are present for approximately 450 years of the simulation. We investigate the possible source of these long-term signals and find that the direct impact of variability in tropical sea surface temperatures, as well as the associated Aleutian Low, can account for only a small portion of the SSW variability. Instead, the major influence on long-term SSW variability is associated with long-term variability in amplitude of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO). The QBO influence is consistent with the well-known Holton–Tan relationship, with SSW hiatus intervals associated with extended periods of particularly strong, deep QBO westerly phases. The results support recent studies that have highlighted the role of vertical coherence in the QBO when considering coupling between the QBO, the polar vortex and tropospheric circulation.


Vertically resolved magma ocean–protoatmosphere evolution: H2 , H2O, CO2, CH4, CO, O2, and N2 as primary absorbers

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets American Geophysical Union (2021)

T Lichtenberg, DJ Bower, M Hammond, R Boukrouche, P Sanan, S Tsai, RT Pierrehumbert

The earliest atmospheres of rocky planets originate from extensive volatile release during magma ocean epochs that occur during assembly of the planet. These establish the initial distribution of the major volatile elements between different chemical reservoirs that subsequently evolve via geological cycles. Current theoretical techniques are limited in exploring the anticipated range of compositional and thermal scenarios of early planetary evolution, even though these are of prime importance to aid astronomical inferences on the environmental context and geological history of extrasolar planets. Here, we present a coupled numerical framework that links an evolutionary, vertically‐resolved model of the planetary silicate mantle with a radiative‐convective model of the atmosphere. Using this method we investigate the early evolution of idealized Earth‐sized rocky planets with end‐member, clear‐sky atmospheres dominated by either H2, H2O, CO2, CH4, CO, O2, or N2. We find central metrics of early planetary evolution, such as energy gradient, sequence of mantle solidification, surface pressure, or vertical stratification of the atmosphere, to be intimately controlled by the dominant volatile and outgassing history of the planet. Thermal sequences fall into three general classes with increasing cooling timescale: CO, N2, and O2 with minimal effect, H2O, CO2, and CH4 with intermediate influence, and H2 with several orders of magnitude increase in solidification time and atmosphere vertical stratification. Our numerical experiments exemplify the capabilities of the presented modeling framework and link the interior and atmospheric evolution of rocky exoplanets with multi‐wavelength astronomical observations.


Scale‐aware space‐time stochastic parameterization of subgrid‐scale velocity enhancement of sea surface fluxes

Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems American Geophysical Union (AGU) (2021)

J Bessac, HM Christensen, K Endo, AH Monahan, N Weitzel


Climate impacts of COVID‐19 induced emission changes

Geophysical Research Letters Wiley 48 (2021) e2020GL091805

A Gettelman, R Lamboll, C Bardeen, P Forster

The COVID‐19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in economic activity in 2020. We use estimates of emissions changes for 2020 in two Earth System Models (ESMs) to simulate the impacts of the COVID‐19 economic changes. Ensembles of nudged simulations are used to separate small signals from meteorological variability. Reductions in aerosol and precursor emissions, chiefly Black Carbon (BC) and sulfate (SO4), led to reductions in total anthropogenic aerosol cooling through aerosol‐cloud interactions. The average overall Effective Radiative Forcing (ERF) peaks at +0.29±0.15 Wm−2 in spring 2020. Changes in cloud properties are smaller than observed changes during 2020. Impacts of these changes on regional land surface temperature range up to +0.3K. The peak impact of these aerosol changes on global surface temperature is very small (+0.03K). However, the aerosol changes are the largest contribution to radiative forcing and temperature changes as a result of COVID‐19 affected emissions, larger than ozone, CO2 and contrail effects.


Machine learning for weather and climate are worlds apart

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences The Royal Society 379 (2021) 20200098

D Watson-Parris

Modern weather and climate models share a common heritage, and often even components, however they are used in different ways to answer fundamentally different questions. As such, attempts to emulate them using machine learning should reflect this. While the use of machine learning to emulate weather forecast models is a relatively new endeavour there is a rich history of climate model emulation. This is primarily because while weather modelling is an initial condition problem which intimately depends on the current state of the atmosphere, climate modelling is predominantly a boundary condition problem. In order to emulate the response of the climate to different drivers therefore, representation of the full dynamical evolution of the atmosphere is neither necessary, or in many cases, desirable. Climate scientists are typically interested in different questions also. Indeed emulating the steadystate climate response has been possible for many years and provides significant speed increases that allow solving inverse problems for e.g. parameter estimation. Nevertheless, the large datasets, nonlinear relationships and limited training data make Climate a domain which is rich in interesting machine learning challenges.


Atmospheric circulation of brown dwarfs and directly imaged exoplanets driven by cloud radiative feedback: global and equatorial dynamics

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press (2021)

X Tan, AP Showman

Brown dwarfs, planetary-mass objects and directly imaged giant planets exhibit significant observational evidence for active atmospheric circulation, raising critical questions about mechanisms driving the circulation, its fundamental nature and time variability. Our previous work has demonstrated the crucial role of cloud radiative feedback on driving a vigorous atmospheric circulation using local models that assume a Cartesian geometry and constant Coriolis parameters. In this study, we extend the models to a global geometry and explore properties of the global dynamics. We show that, under relatively strong dissipation in the bottom layers of the model, horizontally isotropic vortices are prevalent at mid-to-high latitudes while large-scale zonally propagating waves are dominant at low latitudes near the observable layers. The equatorial waves have both eastward and westward phase speeds, and the eastward components with typical velocities of a few hundred  m s−1 usually dominate the equatorial time variability. Lightcurves of the global simulations show variability with amplitudes from 0.5 percent to a few percent depending on the rotation period and viewing angle. The time evolution of simulated lightcurves is critically affected by the equatorial waves, showing wave beating effects and differences in the lightcurve periodicity to the intrinsic rotation period. The vertical extent of clouds is the largest at the equator and decreases poleward due to the increasing influence of rotation with increasing latitude. Under weaker dissipation in the bottom layers, strong and broad zonal jets develop and modify wave propagation and lightcurve variability. Our modeling results help to qualitatively explain several features of observations of brown dwarfs and directly imaged giant planets, including puzzling time evolution of lightcurves, a slightly shorter period of variability in IR than in radio wavelengths, and the viewing angle dependence of variability amplitude and IR colors.


Forecast skill of the Indian monsoon and its onset in the ECMWF seasonal forecasting system 5 (SEAS5)

Climate Dynamics Springer (2021)

A Chevuturi, A Turner, S Johnson, A Weisheimer, J Shonk, T Stockdale, R Senan

Accurate forecasting of variations in Indian monsoon precipitation and progression on seasonal time scales remains a challenge for prediction centres. We examine prediction skill for the seasonal-mean Indian summer monsoon and its onset in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) seasonal forecasting system 5 (SEAS5). We analyse summer hindcasts initialised on 1st of May, with 51 ensemble members, for the 36-year period of 1981–2016. We evaluate the hindcasts against the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) precipitation observations and the ECMWF reanalysis 5 (ERA5). The model has significant skill at forecasting dynamical features of the large-scale monsoon and local-scale monsoon onset tercile category one month in advance. SEAS5 shows higher skill for monsoon features calculated using large-scale indices compared to those at smaller scales. Our results also highlight possible model deficiencies in forecasting the all India monsoon rainfall.


An overview of the ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) project: aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions in the Southeast Atlantic basin

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus Publications 21 (2021) 1507-1563

J Redemann, SJ Doherty, B Luna, SE LeBlanc, MS Diamond, Y Shinozuka, IY Chang, R Ueyama, L Pfister, J-M Ryoo, AN Dobracki, AM da Silva, KM Longo, MS Kacenelenbogen, CJ Flynn, K Pistone, NM Knox, SJ Piketh, P Formenti, GR Carmichael, PE Saide, GA Ferrada, BN Holben, KD Knobelspiesse, Et al.

Southern Africa produces almost a third of the Earth’s biomass burning (BB) aerosol particles, yet the fate of these particles and their influence on regional and global climate is poorly understood. ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) is a five-year NASA EVS-2 (Earth Venture Suborbital-2) investigation with three Intensive Observation Periods designed to study key atmospheric processes that determine the climate impacts of these aerosols. During the Southern Hemisphere winter and spring (June-October), aerosol particles reaching 3–5 km in altitude are transported westward over the South-East Atlantic, where they interact with one of the largest subtropical stratocumulus subtropical stratocumulus (Sc) cloud decks in the world. The representation of these interactions in climate models remains highly uncertain in part due to a scarcity of observational constraints on aerosol and cloud properties, and due to the parameterized treatment of physical processes. Three ORACLES deployments by the NASA P-3 aircraft in September 2016, August 2017 and October 2018 (totaling ~350 science flight hours), augmented by the deployment of the NASA ER-2 aircraft for remote sensing in September 2016 (totaling ~100 science flight hours), were intended to help fill this observational gap. ORACLES focuses on three fundamental science questions centered on the climate effects of African BB aerosols: (a) direct aerosol radiative effects; (b) effects of aerosol absorption on atmospheric circulation and clouds; (c) aerosol-cloud microphysical interactions. This paper summarizes the ORACLES science objectives, describes the project implementation, provides an overview of the flights and measurements in each deployment, and highlights the integrative modeling efforts from cloud to global scales to address science objectives. Significant new findings on the vertical structure of BB aerosol physical and chemical properties, chemical aging, cloud condensation nuclei, rain and precipitation statistics, and aerosol indirect effects are emphasized, but their detailed descriptions are the subject of separate publications. The main purpose of this paper is to familiarize the broader scientific community with the ORACLES project and the data set it produced.


An overview of the ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) project: aerosol–cloud–radiation interactions in the southeast Atlantic basin

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus GmbH 21 (2021) 1507-1563

J Redemann, R Wood, P Zuidema, SJ Doherty, B Luna, SE LeBlanc, MS Diamond, Y Shinozuka, IY Chang, AM da Silva, AM Fridlind, GR Carmichael, PE Saide, GA Ferrada, SG Howell, S Tanelli, TS L'Ecuyer, AM Dzambo, OO Sy, GM McFarquhar, M Kacarab, JPS Wong, JD Small-Griswold, KL Thornhill, D Noone

<jats:p>Abstract. Southern Africa produces almost a third of the Earth's biomass burning (BB) aerosol particles, yet the fate of these particles and their influence on regional and global climate is poorly understood. ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) is a 5-year NASA EVS-2 (Earth Venture Suborbital-2) investigation with three intensive observation periods designed to study key atmospheric processes that determine the climate impacts of these aerosols. During the Southern Hemisphere winter and spring (June–October), aerosol particles reaching 3–5 km in altitude are transported westward over the southeast Atlantic, where they interact with one of the largest subtropical stratocumulus (Sc) cloud decks in the world. The representation of these interactions in climate models remains highly uncertain in part due to a scarcity of observational constraints on aerosol and cloud properties, as well as due to the parameterized treatment of physical processes. Three ORACLES deployments by the NASA P-3 aircraft in September 2016, August 2017, and October 2018 (totaling ∼350 science flight hours), augmented by the deployment of the NASA ER-2 aircraft for remote sensing in September 2016 (totaling ∼100 science flight hours), were intended to help fill this observational gap. ORACLES focuses on three fundamental science themes centered on the climate effects of African BB aerosols: (a) direct aerosol radiative effects, (b) effects of aerosol absorption on atmospheric circulation and clouds, and (c) aerosol–cloud microphysical interactions. This paper summarizes the ORACLES science objectives, describes the project implementation, provides an overview of the flights and measurements in each deployment, and highlights the integrative modeling efforts from cloud to global scales to address science objectives. Significant new findings on the vertical structure of BB aerosol physical and chemical properties, chemical aging, cloud condensation nuclei, rain and precipitation statistics, and aerosol indirect effects are emphasized, but their detailed descriptions are the subject of separate publications. The main purpose of this paper is to familiarize the broader scientific community with the ORACLES project and the dataset it produced. </jats:p>


Impact of stochastic physics and model resolution on the simulation of tropical cyclones in climate GCMs

Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society (2021)

P Vidale, K Hodges, B Vanniere, P Davini, M Roberts, K Strommen, A Weisheimer, E Plesca, S Corti

The role of model resolution in simulating geophysical vortices with the characteristics of realistic Tropical Cyclones (TCs) is well established. The push for increasing resolution continues, with General Circulation Models (GCMs) starting to use sub-10km grid spacing. In the same context it has been suggested that the use of Stochastic Physics (SP) may act as a surrogate for high resolution, providing some of the benefits at a fraction of the cost. Either technique can reduce model uncertainty, and enhance reliability, by providing a more dynamic environment for initial synoptic disturbances to be spawned and to grow into TCs. We present results from a systematic comparison of the role of model resolution and SP in the simulation of TCs, using EC-Earth simulations from project Climate-SPHINX, in large ensemble mode, spanning five different resolutions. All tropical cyclonic systems, including TCs, were tracked explicitly. As in previous studies, the number of simulated TCs increases with the use of higher resolution, but SP further enhances TC frequencies by ≈ 30%, in a strikingly similar way. The use of SP is beneficial for removing systematic climate biases, albeit not consistently so for interannual variability; conversely, the use of SP improves the simulation of the seasonal cycle of TC frequency. An investigation of the mechanisms behind this response indicates that SP generates both higher TC (and TC seed) genesis rates, and more suitable environmental conditions, enabling a more efficient transition of TC seeds into TCs. These results were confirmed by the use of equivalent simulations with the HadGEM3-GC31 GCM.


Atmospheric circulation of brown dwarfs and directly imaged exoplanets driven by cloud radiative feedback: effects of rotation

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 502 (2021) 678-699

X Tan, AP Showman

Observations of brown dwarfs (BDs), free-floating planetary-mass objects, and directly imaged extrasolar giant planets (EGPs) exhibit rich evidence of large-scale weather. Cloud radiative feedback has been proposed as a potential mechanism driving the vigorous atmospheric circulation on BDs and directly imaged EGPs, and yet it has not been demonstrated in three-dimensional dynamical models at relevant conditions. Here, we present a series of atmospheric circulation models that self-consistently couple dynamics with idealized cloud formation and its radiative effects. We demonstrate that vigorous atmospheric circulation can be triggered and self-maintained by cloud radiative feedback. Typical isobaric temperature variation could reach over 100 K and horizontally averaged wind speed could be several hundreds of $\, {\rm m\, s^{-1}}$. The circulation is dominated by cloud-forming and clear-sky vortices that evolve over time-scales from several to tens of hours. The typical horizontal length-scale of dominant vortices is closed to the Rossby deformation radius, showing a linear dependence on the inverse of rotation rate. Stronger rotation tends to weaken vertical transport of vapour and clouds, leading to overall thinner clouds. Domain-mean outgoing radiative flux exhibits variability over time-scales of tens of hours due to the statistical evolution of storms. Different bottom boundary conditions in the models could lead to qualitatively different circulation near the observable layer. The circulation driven by cloud radiative feedback represents a robust mechanism generating significant surface inhomogeneity as well as irregular flux time variability. Our results have important implications for near-infrared (IR) colours of dusty BDs and EGPs, including the scatter in the near-IR colour–magnitude diagram and the viewing-geometry-dependent near-IR colours.


The CLoud–Aerosol–Radiation Interaction and Forcing: Year 2017 (CLARIFY-2017) measurement campaign

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus Publications 21 (2021) 1049-1084

SJ Abel, PA Barrett, N Bellouin, A Blyth, KN Bower, M Brooks, MI Cotterell, Z Cui, N Davies, B Dingley, P Field, P Formenti, H Gordon, R Herbert, B Johnson, AC Jones, JM Langridge, F Malavelle, F Peers, J Redemann, P Stier, JW Taylor, R Wood, H Wu

The representations of clouds, aerosols, and cloud–aerosol–radiation impacts remain some of the largest uncertainties in climate change, limiting our ability to accurately reconstruct past climate and predict future climate. The south-east Atlantic is a region where high atmospheric aerosol loadings and semi-permanent stratocumulus clouds are co-located, providing an optimum region for studying the full range of aerosol–radiation and aerosol–cloud interactions and their perturbations of the Earth's radiation budget. While satellite measurements have provided some useful insights into aerosol–radiation and aerosol–cloud interactions over the region, these observations do not have the spatial and temporal resolution, nor the required level of precision to allow for a process-level assessment. Detailed measurements from high spatial and temporal resolution airborne atmospheric measurements in the region are very sparse, limiting their use in assessing the performance of aerosol modelling in numerical weather prediction and climate models. CLARIFY-2017 was a major consortium programme consisting of five principal UK universities with project partners from the UK Met Office and European- and USA-based universities and research centres involved in the complementary ORACLES, LASIC, and AEROCLO-sA projects. The aims of CLARIFY-2017 were fourfold: (1) to improve the representation and reduce uncertainty in model estimates of the direct, semi-direct, and indirect radiative effect of absorbing biomass burning aerosols; (2) to improve our knowledge and representation of the processes determining stratocumulus cloud microphysical and radiative properties and their transition to cumulus regimes; (3) to challenge, validate, and improve satellite retrievals of cloud and aerosol properties and their radiative impacts; (4) to improve the impacts of aerosols in weather and climate numerical models. This paper describes the modelling and measurement strategies central to the CLARIFY-2017 deployment of the FAAM BAe146 instrumented aircraft campaign, summarizes the flight objectives and flight patterns, and highlights some key results from our initial analyses.


The representation of winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric blocking in the ECMWF seasonal prediction systems

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society Wiley (2021) qj.3974

P Davini, A Weisheimer, M Balmaseda, SJ Johnson, F Molteni, CD Roberts, R Senan, TN Stockdale


Cloud adjustments dominate the overall negative aerosol radiative effects of biomass burning aerosols in UKESM1 climate model simulations over the south-eastern Atlantic

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Copernicus Publications 21 (2021) 17-33

H Che, P Stier, H Gordon, D Watson-Parris, L Deaconu

The South-eastern Atlantic Ocean (SEA) is semi-permanently covered by one of the most extensive stratocumulus cloud decks on the planet and experiences about one-third of the global biomass burning emissions from the southern Africa savannah region during the fire season. To get a better understanding of the impact of these biomass burning aerosols on clouds and radiation balance over the SEA, the latest generation of the UK Earth System Model (UKESM1) is employed. Measurements from the CLARIFY and ORACLES flight campaigns are used to evaluate the model, demonstrating that the model has good skill in reproducing the biomass burning plume. To investigate the underlying mechanisms in detail, the effects of biomass burning aerosols on the clouds are decomposed into radiative effects (via absorption and scattering) and microphysical effects (via perturbation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and cloud microphysical processes). The July-August means are used to characterise aerosols, clouds and the radiation balance during the fire season. Results show around 65% of CCN at 0.2% supersaturation in the SEA domain can be attributed to biomass burning. The absorption effect of biomass burning aerosols is the most significant in affecting clouds and radiation. Near the continent, it increases the maximum supersaturation diagnosed by the activation scheme, while further from the continent it reduces the altitude of the maximum supersaturation. As a result, the cloud droplet number concentration responds with a similar pattern to the absorption effect of biomass burning aerosols. The microphysical effect, however, decreases the maximum supersaturation and increases the cloud droplets concentration over the ocean; although this change is relatively small. The liquid water path is also significantly increased over the SEA (mainly caused by the absorption effect of biomass burning aerosols) when biomass burning aerosols are above the stratocumulus cloud deck. The microphysical pathways lead to a slight increase in the liquid water path over the ocean. These changes in cloud properties indicate the significant role of biomass burning aerosols on clouds in this region. Among the effects of biomass burning aerosols on the radiation balance, the semi-direct radiative effects (rapid adjustments induced by biomass burning aerosols radiative effects) have a dominant cooling impact over the SEA, which offset the warming direct radiative effect (radiative forcing from biomass burning aerosol–radiation interactions) and lead to overall net cooling radiative effect in the SEA. However, the magnitude and the sign of the semi-direct effects are sensitive to the relative location of biomass burning aerosols and clouds, reflecting the critical task of the accurate modelling of the biomass burning plume and clouds in this region.


Description and evaluation of aerosol in UKESM1 and HadGEM3-GC3.1 CMIP6 historical simulations

Geoscientific Model Development Copernicus Publications 13 (2020) 6383-6423

C Jones, A Povey, C Scott, A Sellar, S Turnock, M Woodhouse, N Abraham, M Andrews, N Bellouin, J Browse, K Carslaw, M Dalvi, M Glover, D Grosvenor, B Johnson, A Jones, Z Kipling, J Palmiéri, C Reddington, S Rumbold, M Richardson, N Schutgens, P Stier, M Stringer, Y Tang

We document and evaluate the aerosol schemes as implemented in the physical and Earth system models, the Global Coupled 3.1 configuration of the Hadley Centre Global Environment Model version 3 (HadGEM3-GC3.1) and the United Kingdom Earth System Model (UKESM1), which are contributing to the sixth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). The simulation of aerosols in the present-day period of the historical ensemble of these models is evaluated against a range of observations. Updates to the aerosol microphysics scheme are documented as well as differences in the aerosol representation between the physical and Earth system configurations. The additional Earth system interactions included in UKESM1 lead to differences in the emissions of natural aerosol sources such as dimethyl sulfide, mineral dust and organic aerosol and subsequent evolution of these species in the model. UKESM1 also includes a stratospheric–tropospheric chemistry scheme which is fully coupled to the aerosol scheme, while GC3.1 employs a simplified aerosol chemistry mechanism driven by prescribed monthly climatologies of the relevant oxidants. Overall, the simulated speciated aerosol mass concentrations compare reasonably well with observations. Both models capture the negative trend in sulfate aerosol concentrations over Europe and the eastern United States of America (US) although the models tend to underestimate sulfate concentrations in both regions. Interactive emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds in UKESM1 lead to an improved agreement of organic aerosol over the US. Simulated dust burdens are similar in both models despite a 2-fold difference in dust emissions. Aerosol optical depth is biased low in dust source and outflow regions but performs well in other regions compared to a number of satellite and ground-based retrievals of aerosol optical depth. Simulated aerosol number concentrations are generally within a factor of 2 of the observations, with both models tending to overestimate number concentrations over remote ocean regions, apart from at high latitudes, and underestimate over Northern Hemisphere continents. Finally, a new primary marine organic aerosol source is implemented in UKESM1 for the first time. The impact of this new aerosol source is evaluated. Over the pristine Southern Ocean, it is found to improve the seasonal cycle of organic aerosol mass and cloud droplet number concentrations relative to GC3.1 although underestimations in cloud droplet number concentrations remain. This paper provides a useful characterisation of the aerosol climatology in both models and will facilitate understanding in the numerous aerosol–climate interaction studies that will be conducted as part of CMIP6 and beyond.

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