Set of four maps showing condensed water path, frozen moist static energy anomaly, longwave heating anomaly, and shortwave heating anomaly from the 300 K sea surface temperature simulation at day 100.
Maps of (a) condensed water path, (b) frozen moist static energy (FMSE) anomaly, (c) longwave heating anomaly, and (d) shortwave heating anomaly. Snapshots are taken from the 300 K sea surface temperature simulation at day 100. Credit: Pope et al. [2021], Figure 6, panels a to d
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

The spontaneous clustering of convection, or “convective self-aggregation”, is a common feature in weather and climate models. Previous studies have shown that interactions between radiation and cumulus convection are crucial for the development of aggregation. Pope et al. [2021] study convection within a set of idealized simulations using the Met Office Unified Model, comparing simulations with different sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and resolutions.

The authors use a novel approach of applying a cloud classification scheme and then calculating the contribution of each cloud type to radiative feedbacks on self-aggregation. They find that the contribution of radiative interactions with clouds to aggregation decreases with SST because the amount of high-cloud decreases, and the difference in absorption of solar radiation between humid and dry regions becomes less significant for aggregation.

This analysis method provides a new framework to compare the effects of radiative interactions on self-aggregation across different SSTs and model configurations to help improve our understanding of self-aggregation.

This research article is published in the special collection Using Radiative-Convective Equilibrium to Understand Convective Organization, Clouds, and Tropical Climate

Citation: Pope, K. N., Holloway, C. E., Jones, T. R., & Stein, T. H. M. [2021]. Cloud-radiation interactions and their contributions to convective self-aggregation. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 13, e2021MS002535. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021MS002535

—Jiwen Fan, Editor, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

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