** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences

    Toward reduction of the uncertainties in climate sensitivity due to cloud processes using a global non-hydrostatic atmospheric model

    Satoh M, Noda A, Seiki T, Chen Y, Kodama C, Yamada Y, Kuba N, Sato Y

    NICAM, Cloud microphysics scheme, Cloud changes, Cloud feedback, Global non-hydrostatic model, Global warming

    In estimates of climate sensitivity obtained from global models, the need to represent clouds introduces a great deal of uncertainty. To address this issue, approaches using a high-resolution global non-hydrostatic model are promising: the model captures cloud structure by explicitly simulating meso-scale convective systems, and the results compare reasonably well with satellite observations. We review the outcomes of a 5-year project aimed at reducing the uncertainty in climate models due to cloud processes using a global non-hydrostatic model. In our project, which was conducted as a subgroup of the Program for Risk Information on Climate Change, or SOUSEI, we use the non-hydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model (NICAM) to study cloud processes related to climate change. NICAM performs numerical simulations with much higher resolution (about 7 km or 14 km mesh) than conventional global climate models (GCMs) using cloud microphysics schemes without a cumulus parameterization scheme, which causes uncertainties in climate projection.

    The subgroup had three research targets: analyzing cloud changes in global warming simulations with NICAM with the time-slice approach, sensitivity of the results to the cloud microphysics scheme employed, and evaluating circulation changes due to global warming. The research project also implemented a double-moment bulk cloud microphysics scheme and evaluated its results using satellite observation, as well as comparing it with a bin cloud microphysics scheme. The future projection simulations show in general increase in high cloud coverage, contrary to results with other GCMs. Changes in cloud horizontal-size distribution size and structures of tropical/extratropical cyclones can be discussed with high resolution simulations. At the conclusion of our review, we also describe the future prospects of research for global warming using NICAM in the program that followed SOUSEI, known as TOUGOU.