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Connections between clouds, radiation, and midlatitude dynamics: a review

Ceppi, P. and Hartmann, D. L. (2015) Connections between clouds, radiation, and midlatitude dynamics: a review. Current Climate Change Reports, 1 (2). pp. 94-102. ISSN 2198-6061

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s40641-015-0010-x


We review the effects of dynamical variability on clouds and radiation in observations and models and discuss their implications for cloud feedbacks. Jet shifts produce robust meridional dipoles in upper-level clouds and longwave cloud-radiative effect (CRE), but low-level clouds, which do not simply shift with the jet, dominate the shortwave CRE. Because the effect of jet variability on CRE is relatively small, future poleward jet shifts with global warming are only a second-order contribution to the total CRE changes around the midlatitudes, suggesting a dominant role for thermodynamic effects. This implies that constraining the dynamical response is unlikely to reduce the uncertainty in extratropical cloud feedback. However, we argue that uncertainty in the cloud-radiative response does affect the atmospheric circulation response to global warming, by modulating patterns of diabatic forcing. How cloud feedbacks can affect the dynamical response to global warming is an important topic of future research.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:46105

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