Atmospheric Sciences Editors' Highlights

A New View of Old Clouds

Satellite images of marine shallow clouds are objectively classified into four distinct types, illuminating new ways to tackle a long-standing problem in climate predictions.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters


Marine shallow clouds are primary contributors to the uncertainties of climate projections. Bony et al. [2020], for the first time, provide an objective method to classify the mesoscale patterns of marine shallow clouds in satellite images. They show that surface wind and lower tropospheric stability are major factors that determine these cloud patterns.

As each cloud pattern is associated with different cloud radiative effect and cloud feedback to surface warming, this study illuminates a new path to improve the accuracy of climate change predictions—that is, studying cloud organizations and the processes that control these organizations.

Citation: Bony, S., Schulz, H., Vial, J., & Stevens, B. [2020]. Sugar, gravel, fish, and flowers: Dependence of mesoscale patterns of trade‐wind clouds on environmental conditions. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL085988.

—Hui Su, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters

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