Aerosols and Clouds

Cumulus cloud in blue sky

The interaction between clouds and aerosols is one of the greatest uncertainties in our understanding of weather and climate science. Only by discovering how to represent aerosol-cloud interaction processes, that are currently lacking in climate and weather models, will we reduce model uncertainty and increase our predictive capability for climate and weather.

We use the MAC3 cloud model to study these processes, combined with extensive analysis of field campaign measurements. MAC3 (Model of Aerosols and Chemistry in Convective Clouds) is a bin-resolved microphysics and aerosol model which enables us to investigate a wide range of topics of cloud microphysics and aerosol-cloud interactions. The model has been successfully applied in field campaigns, for example, Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO), The Ice and Precipitation Initiation in Cumulus (ICEPIC), The Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS), and The COnvectivePrecipitationExperiment (COPE).

We work closely with colleagues at the Met Office. Together we are developing and using tools to explore the dynamical and thermodynamic feedbacks of these complex aerosol-cloud systems.

We are covering a diverse set of environments that range from warm-phase stratocumulus through mixed-phase to ice only clouds systems. Our research also focuses on convective clouds and the response of their dynamics and precipitation to changes in aerosols.

Our research utilises the expertise of the Aerosols and Climate group and benefits from working with the Ice Nucleation group. We collaborate with colleagues across UK academia (ICE-D, CLARIFY) and internationally (DACCIWA, BACCHUS).

Research group members