New tool helps researchers investigate clouds, rain and climate change

Posted: October 13, 2022 by oldbrew in climate, Clouds, data, Measurement, modelling, predictions, research

Anvil of a thundercloud over Columbia [image credit: Eulenjäger @ Wikipedia]

Researchers hope ‘to ease comparisons between climate and weather models with observations from weather instruments’, broadly speaking. In terms of modelling this is a known area of difficulty.
– – –
The Earth Model Column Collaboratory is an open-source research platform that pairs complex data with weather observations to create highly accurate climate models and forecast predictions.

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes, says

While we might imagine puppies or whales or breaking waves, climatologists look at them as massive bundles of water in various forms that contribute to the daily weather, and ultimately, climate.

The numbers, shapes and sizes of the liquid drops and ice crystals contained in a cloud, for example, will determine how it will scatter light or emit and absorb heat.

Despite the enormity of clouds, many of these dynamics happen at a small scale. So, to better understand how all those imaginary creatures produce the effects that they do, researchers rely on computer-generated climate models.

These models can bring together information from different weather instruments, physics calculations and other observations to increase our knowledge of how the atmosphere works.

But due to limits in computing power, climate models must simplify the way clouds are represented. This introduces uncertainty in both projections of cloud behavior and climate change.

Typically, in order to improve cloud representations, model results are compared with observations. However, the climate model and observation communities have historically worked separately, sometimes making the process hard to navigate.

To bridge the gap between these two communities, climate scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies developed an easier way to compare cloud models with observations from weather instruments.

The result is a modeling platform and weather instrument simulator called the Earth Model Column Collaboratory (EMC²).

Results from current climate models don’t directly compare to those from radars, satellites and other sensors whose signals can’t directly detect key cloud parameters like liquid water content and number of drops.

Instead, they detect microwave and visible light reflected by clouds and precipitation. As an instrument simulator, EMC² can convert the more detailed model-simulated cloud parameters to these weather instrument signals.

Another complication in climate modeling is the size of the geographic areas researchers want to study.

Full article here.

  1. […] New tool helps researchers investigate clouds, rain and climate change | Tallbloke’s Talkshop … […]

  2. JB says:

    “create highly accurate climate models and forecast predictions.”

    …. Uh, yeah.

  3. catweazle666 says:

    Heh, more computer games – er sorry, “climate models”…

    Anyone who claims that a purported computer game – er “climate simulation” of an effectively infinitely large open-ended non-linear feedback-driven (where we don’t even know all the feedbacks, and even the ones we do know, we are unsure of the signs of some critical ones) chaotic system – hence subject to inter alia extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, strange attractors and bifurcation – is capable of making meaningful predictions over any significant time period is either a charlatan or a computer salesman.

    Ironically, the first person to point this out was Edward Lorenz – a climate scientist.

    Lorenz’s early insights marked the beginning of a new field of study that impacted not just the field of mathematics but virtually every branch of science–biological, physical and social. In meteorology, it led to the conclusion that it may be fundamentally impossible to predict weather beyond two or three weeks with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

    Some scientists have since asserted that the 20th century will be remembered for three scientific revolutions–relativity, quantum mechanics and chaos.

    You can add as much computing power as you like, the result is purely to produce the wrong answer faster; but for some climate “scientists” I suppose it pays the mortgage…

  4. oldbrew says:

    Inserting a theory of a minor trace gas dominating the climate isn’t doing anything for model accuracy either.

  5. Saighdear says:

    I’ve got a Pair of Binos and a spotting ‘scope with a nifty folding aluminium Stepladder if that helps! Oh and the Heron is flying around looking for something again.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Seems like a reasonable article here…

    ‘A cunning plan’: how La Niña unleashes squadrons of storm clouds to wreak havoc in your local area
    Published: October 17, 2022

    Extreme weather, such as the heavy rainfall battering eastern Australia, is like military conflict. In war, the enemy’s behaviour depends on the decisions of many actors: from generals and lieutenants down to individual soldiers. Similarly, heavy rainfall is the culmination of diverse physical processes, from the planetary scale down to the microscopic.

    A strategic defence requires anticipating how the enemy will behave across this hierarchy. To continue with the military analogy, this is how we can explain the weather offensive of the past week.

    The generals command the offensive

    Processes on a yearly or planetary scale, such as La Niña and the Southern Annular Mode, are like generals. Over the preceding years and months, these two generals hatched a plot of warmer-than-usual waters and more-easterly-than-normal winds around northern and eastern Australia.

  7. United Nations Agenda 21 : The Death Knell of Liberty

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