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Observational Constraints on Global Aerosol-Cloud Interactions

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October 28, 2016
Philip Stier
Hosted by Sue van den Heever


Aerosols arguably remain the single greatest uncertainty among anthropogenic perturbations of the climate system. In particular the effects of aerosol-cloud interactions on global and regional radiation budgets and the hydrological cycle remain highly uncertain.

In this presentation, I will critically review some of the achievements made towards quantifying aerosol-cloud interactions in models and observations with a focus on the role of observations in the evaluation of global aerosol-climate models.

Starting from the local scale, I will explore model-data synergies in the assessment of the representativeness of observations, the suitability of remote-sensing retrieved aerosol properties as proxy for cloud condensation nuclei, all the way to the difficulty to constrain meteorological co-variability in global satellite-based studies of aerosol-cloud interactions. I will also show that some of these limitations can be overcome through cloud life-cycle based approaches, strengthening the case for new geostationary satellites or CubeSat constellations with the ability to sample the diurnal cycle.