Clouds and Microphysics

Clouds and microphysics play an important role in weather and climate prediction.

Clouds redistribute heat and moisture through the atmosphere, as well as producing precipitation at the surface and reflecting solar radiation back out to space.  Their evolution can be very complex due to the interactions between the clouds themselves, radiation and fluid dynamics. Clouds act on a very wide range of scales - the micro-scale of the microphysical processes producing rain and snow, through to the macroscale of the clouds themselves and the flow in which they reside. .

The research we carry out explores a number of aspects of clouds and microphysics. These include investigations at the process level using cloud resolving models (CRMs) - such as the Large Eddy Model (LEM) and the idealized Unified Model - as well as the development of cloud and microphysics parametrizations for use in the UM.  There is also a strong interaction with the clouds group in Observation Based Research and academia.

Key aims

  • to improve the representation of clouds and microphysics in the Unified Model,

  • to understand the cloud processes which are fundamental to their evolution

  • to develop our cloud resolving models, so that they provide robust and detailed information on which we can base our parametrization development.

Current Projects

  • Development of PC2 cloud scheme

  • Development of Unified Model microphysics parametrization

  • Understanding fundamental differences between microphysical representations

  • Cloud modelling studies with the LEM

  • GASS cloud intercomparison projects

  • Aerosol-cloud interactions

  • The Cascade project

Last updated: 15 January 2014