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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division
Research Highlights

April 2007

Researchers Record a Tropospheric Trifecta in February

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As the official news outlet of the American Meteorological Society, the BAMS publication is devoted to editorials, topical reports to members, articles, professional and membership news, conference announcements, programs and summaries, book reviews, and society activities.

Congratulations to Jennifer Comstock, Sally McFarlane, Jim Barnard, Chuck Long, Connor Flynn, and Jim Mather for a banner month in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). As coauthors of three articles appearing in the February 2007 issue of BAMS (Volume 88, Issue 2), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists and their colleagues are contributing key information about the importance of clouds related to the earth's energy budget through their research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program.

As described in a previous research highlight, Drs. Comstock and McFarlane and their ARM colleagues evaluated more than a dozen algorithms used to characterize the microphysical properties of upper tropospheric ice clouds. The data gap found by the team could mask increases to the greenhouse effect caused by these clouds.

Drs. Barnard, Long, Flynn, and McFarlane coauthored a related paper describing a study of the difficulty in accurately retrieving the properties of "thin" liquid clouds. Out of the 18 cases evaluated, even the simplest cloud case in their study revealed significant discrepancies among the various retrieval techniques currently used, even among algorithms within the same general classification. This has important implications for computer models that use retrieval algorithms to represent thin clouds in climate models.

Dr. Mather coauthored a paper describing the scientific objectives and results of the month-long Mixed Phase Arctic Cloud Experiment, or M-PACE, conducted in 2004. Previous studies showed that arctic clouds frequently consist of one or more liquid layers that precipitate ice; thus, mixed-phase clouds. Measurements obtained by aircraft and from remote sensing ground-based instruments throughout the experiment were successful in documenting the microphysical structure of these clouds. For years to come, this data set will be used to refine models used to simulate arctic climate.

Congratulations to all our researchers on such a great showing in a single issue! To contact any of these researchers, please see our staff contact list.


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