EUREC4A : a field campaign to elucidate the couplings between clouds, convection and circulation

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Bony, Sandrine
Stevens, Bjorn
Ament, Felix
Bigorre, Sebastien P.
Chazette, Patrick
Crewell, Susanne
Delanoë, Julien
Emanuel, Kerry A.
Farrell, David
Flamant, Cyrille
Gross, Silke
Hirsch, Lutz
Karstensen, Johannes
Mayer, Bernhard
Nuijens, Louise
Ruppert, James H.
Sandu, Irina
Siebesma, Pier
Speich, Sabrina
Szczap, Frédéric
Totems, Julien
Vogel, Raphaela
Wendisch, Manfred
Wirth, Martin
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Trade-wind cumulus
Shallow convection
Cloud feedback
Atmospheric circulation
Field campaign
Trade-wind cumuli constitute the cloud type with the highest frequency of occurrence on Earth, and it has been shown that their sensitivity to changing environmental conditions will critically influence the magnitude and pace of future global warming. Research over the last decade has pointed out the importance of the interplay between clouds, convection and circulation in controling this sensitivity. Numerical models represent this interplay in diverse ways, which translates into different responses of trade-cumuli to climate perturbations. Climate models predict that the area covered by shallow cumuli at cloud base is very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, while process models suggest the opposite. To understand and resolve this contradiction, we propose to organize a field campaign aimed at quantifying the physical properties of trade-cumuli (e.g., cloud fraction and water content) as a function of the large-scale environment. Beyond a better understanding of clouds-circulation coupling processes, the campaign will provide a reference data set that may be used as a benchmark for advancing the modelling and the satellite remote sensing of clouds and circulation. It will also be an opportunity for complementary investigations such as evaluating model convective parameterizations or studying the role of ocean mesoscale eddies in air–sea interactions and convective organization.
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Surveys in Geophysics 38 (2017): 1529–1568, doi:10.1007/s10712-017-9428-0.
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Surveys in Geophysics 38 (2017): 1529–1568
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