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NERSC Initiative for Scientific Exploration (NISE) 2011 Awards

Representing Convective Clouds in Global Circulation Models

David Romps, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Associated NERSC Project: Interactions of Clouds, Convection, and Climate (m1196)
Principal Investigator: William Collins, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

NISE Award: 1,000,000 Hours
Award Date: March 2011

Convective clouds are very difficult to represent in GCMs in part because of their tendency to cluster together. This tendency -- called convective organization -- is influenced by the way in which clouds modify their local environment by changing the local radiation budget, surface fluxes, and atmospheric humidity. This last factor has not been quantified, and it is the goal of this project to do so.

This project will use the cloud-resolving model called Das Atmosphaerische Modell (DAM) to study the two-way interactions between small-scale clouds and the atmosphere's large-scale circulation and climate. DAM has been used extensively for the past three years on a variety of platforms, including Harvard's 10k-core Odyssey cluster and NASA's Columbia and Pleiades supercomputers.