Precipitation in shallow convection: Comparing the Southern Ocean against the North Atlantic


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The key research questions in this project are:

  • What is the nature of precipitation (including the frequency, intensity and thermodynamic phase) generated from the shallow mesoscale cellular convection (MCC)?
  • What are the key governing processes (dynamical and microphysical) that underpin the production of precipitation in shallow convection?
  • What is the connection between the MCC and aerosol concentrations and how do they help elucidate any systematic hemispheric contrast and human impacts?

The details

The best constructions of the Earth's climate continue to be challenged by large errors in the energy budget over high-latitude oceans, with large biases in precipitation estimates directly contributing to these errors. Satellite precipitation products also suffer from considerable discrepancies over the regions, which limit our ability to understand and tackle the energy budget bias.

A poorly represented energy budget not only limits the ability of climate models to simulate future climate in these regions, but it also has far-reaching impacts across the globe via key climate processes such as carbon uptake, heat and momentum transport, and air-sea feedback.

The project will take both existing and emerging in-situ and state-of-the-art remote-sensing observations from recent field campaigns to understand precipitation characteristics and processes over the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic, with a primary focus on the open and closed MCC systems.

Representative cases will be simulated with a convection-permitting model to investigate the meteorology and physical processes that underlie the evolution of these systems and associated precipitation.

The graduate researcher on this project is: Larry Ger Aragon

Supervision team

First published on 12 July 2022.

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