Tackling the Arctic Cloud Problem

Arctic low-level clouds are long-lived and are a primary control of the surface energy balance, yet numerical models across all spatial scales fail to capture their long lifetime and radiative impact. This NERC Independent Research Fellowship will focus on improving the poor representation of two-way interactions between low-level Arctic clouds and the boundary layer structure in numerical models, which leads to incorrect cloud phase distribution, shortened cloud lifetime, and biases in the surface energy budget.

Utilising two state-of-the-art models – the Met Office NERC Cloud model and Met Office Unified Model – modelled Arctic cloud and boundary layer processes will be assessed and developed across scales from 10s of metres to global. Existing model parameterisations describing such processes are often not representative of the polar atmosphere and are likely operating outside of their range of validity in the Arctic. As such, atmospheric measurements from multiple recent field campaigns will be used to understand these unique polar clouds and boundary layer physical processes and inform model parameterisation developments appropriate for the Arctic atmosphere.